I just read some of the non-sense described in the "future battlefield" discussions of Air Chronicles:
...and its very angering to hear such re-hashes of the 1950s nuclear bomb fatalism that crippled our ability to fight and win wars on the ground due to our pre-occupation with firepower from the air (100,000 U.S. dead in Korea/Vietnam). First off, none of the authors seems to understand what war really is. Its about control of the government and the ground. Authors should not be using somebody else's thinking as a starting point for the discussion like one author uses the 9 principles of war which are abstractions.
Another author, Colonel John Warden, in the link above uses linear thinking by making an enemy a neat series of circles with in the very center leadership, which is total BS because in real life noone conceptually or in physical form places themselves in neat target circles for the AF to bomb them.
A nation in total war will have dozens, hundreds and thousands of leaders dispersed and inter-mingled throughout the population ready to fill the shoes of their Ho Chi Minh or Hitler if killed, they may even be more effective! These leaders are not seperate from the other aspects of society in order to make them a convenient "bull's eye" for a USAF PGM as Warden wishes. In war, there may not be a "center of gravity" for airpower to hurt or kill if the majority of the populace are behind the war. What if these leaders don't give a shit how many of their people U.S. bombs kill? His "dart board" is used-car salesman tactics to sell Congress and the American people a "lemon" called airstrike-only posturing warfare. In reality, leadership and all these aspects are inter-mingled in the terrain, and the only way to sever them for sure is on the ground with maneuver and ground-taking forces that don't let these forces inter-act.
In our discussions on these topics we should Start with REALITY and stay with REALITY. We had wars for centuries before there was any MOOSE MUSS acronymns or high explosives landing on anybody's heads from an airplane. Think about it. Yet these authors sing a chorus of how the WMD "boogie man" which includes the 1950s nuclear threat---make dropping ordnance from aircraft and "striking deep" the most important element of our defense because we can digitally target things. Will spy satellites detect urban guerrillas/terrorists? Strike at WHO? The nuclear bomb that went off in an American city was placed there by a saboteur using a backpack??? What if he didn't work for ANY nation-state?. Who are we going to bomb? Again, the control of the ground ignored. People live on the ground, not the air. People cause wars, and most people live in cities. Other than wiping out a city and killing thousands/millions which will lose the effort on CNN to 4th Generation warfare means, will airpower alone be enough to win in cities? Ask the Russians in Chechnya.
The real reason for this lust for deep air strikes and air campaigns must be to advance the USAF at the expense of U.S. national security. The authors take WMD and use it to make armored ground maneuver by the Army "impossible" because we would have to disperse (as if we DON"T want to do this?), surrendering control of the ground to the enemy because we are too cowardly to take it. Reflect on the fall of South Vietnam in 1975 and how our total air/sea supremacy meant nothing as the North Vietnamese swallowed the free people on the GROUND. Dropping ordnance--regardless of how precise---wouldn't have saved them then or saves anyone else today. I think its high time the USAF get off its ass and start advocating joint Airborne Warfare and not just air strikes. This also means an end to the Army version of gutless stand-off ordnance delivery mentalities (Air campaigns without the air), too.
This means using aircraft to strike to unbalance the enemy and seize the high ground of the air and then insert DECISIVE GROUND TAKING ARMY MANEUVER FORCES IN LIGHT ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICLES. This was how the Russians were going to handle "WMD" with Air-Mechanization using BMD armored fighting vehicles delivered by aircraft immediately after WMD strikes. The men inside dispersed and protected from WMD. What's the mental block here? America with the largest airlift fleet in the world cannot deliver an Air-Mech 3-D force protected and dispersed to prevail even over the WMD battlefield?
Billy Mitchell is supposed to be the patron saint of the USAF, yet he advocated Airborne warfare--the use of Army ground maneuver forces working in concert with air strikes and air supremacy gaining efforts. If he were alive today he'd be chewing out these Airpower imposter theorists who advocate a USAF-dropping-ordnance-only style of warfare. Only the Navy/Mc with their silly slow-boat-to-china lies and saber rattling posturers deserve greater condemnation for wasting our nation's budget on what is actually a taxi-service to evacuate U.S. citizens for the state Department when our economic threats and airstrikes fail. Firepower/killing is NOT war, its one of the tools of warfare, the primary GOAL of warfare is to have your will/ideas dominate and control governments/people and the ground we live on. You can't do this at 15K, even with PGMs--you need men on the ground forcing our will on the enemy by Army presence. An aircraft high overhead that has to fly back to base to rearm/refuel simply cannot control ground. Using the tortured "victory" of Kosovo as a guide is not wise. Firepower displays from the air or the ground short of nuclear annihilation against a weak opponent might get him to surrender, but against a resilient foe like the North Vietnamese only appear as the posturing it really is. We need real war-winning forces not posturers or else our "bluff" will be called again and again. The USAF as an institution needs to be reformed and its manipulation of American laziness and fear of casualties to expand its budget share with dreams of stand-off firepower killing the enemy so we don't have to get our "fingers dirty" on the ground has short-circuited the union of the U.S. Army-AF into a dominant 21st Century war form. As people sworn to defend the Constitution we OWE it to our nation and those that have died to find the TRUTH about war and act on it, not our pet mentalities.
Once the AF joins the Army for a true Airborne Warfare capability, then we will have a balanced military capability in an Icarean world that moves by AIR not sea. Many people are on the AF's side; we want the AF to be a respected military service, but we cannot defend "a service without landing gear" that bombs civilian from 15,000 feet. Let's stop expecting PGMs and fighter-bombers to win wars and start employing USAF transport aircraft to deliver Army ground maneuver forces in light AFVs to deliver the "knock out blow"; there is glory/budget enough for everyone with the right plan. Let's field a "Cactus Air Force" that can operate from dirt strips alongside Army maneuver forces in a de-centralized manner for responsive Close-Air-Support (CAS), let's use robot planes and unmanned U.S. Army "RoboCobra" helicopters to ferret out the enemy's air defenses so we can control the low-level airspace as well as the high. Lets dramatically improve airlift with Wing-in-Ground effect aircraft that deliver Battalions, Brigades and Divisions of U.S. Army forces that can win wars not multi-billion dollar tilt-rotor gadget planes that put down a mere squad of loud-mouthed marine security guards to evacuate our embassies when our posturing foreign policies fail. Real deterrence is based on actual warfighting/winning capabilities not posturing with bombs and expensive PGMs and having a taxi-service to cut and run ready with the meter running.