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What's wrong with the Air Force?

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19 hours ago, torqued said:

I get what you're saying, and I get what joe1234 is saying. I managed to do almost 22 years and never had a position that wasn't flying, instructing, or evaluating and my thoughts have been all over the map on this issue.

There's always been the constants in the Squadron: A few stick and rudder guys that just nailed everything, few GK gurus, a couple deadbeats, and then... everyone in the middle. For whatever reason, I marked 2012 as the year when I saw a notable decline in the middle of the squadron's "give a shit" attitude and emphasis toward flying skills. That's also around the time I noticed a massive increase in complexity of simply being a pilot/member of the Air Force. It was around this time when the Great PC Witch Hunt occurred, more inspections, budget sequestrations/less flying, new finance policies, etc.

After a while, every checkride/training folder began with conversations along the lines of "Hey, I'm just trying to get through this. I've been working on MICT checklists for the past month and have been cancelled for MX/WX/Ops six times." And they weren't lying. So then I go to the SQ/CC with my concerns and he says, "Yeah, I know what you mean. I just got back from a conference and had to jump on a line and seat swap with 2 other pilots last night to get my one to/app/landing for the month. Maybe we should schedule a GK/tactics briefing this week to up everyone's game." Surprise, no one dropped their deployment prep, CBTs, OPRs/EPRs, Wing staff circlejerks, training summary reports, FEF reviews, travel voucher puzzles so Petey Patchwearer could lecture everyone how to calculate a tactical descent profile into Baghdad international.

So I would debrief the flight, I'd try to offer techniques, get in the weeds a little, and they'd rapidly nod while checking their watch. They all had to make slides for the next morning's staff meeting, send an email, meet some sort of deadline for more important matters.

My point is it's a math problem. I don't think the quality/character of the average pilot of the squadron has declined. But if you increase the complexity of the job and therefore reduce the time available to dedicate to improving flying skills, the result is the result. On top of that, the Air Force doesn't require or reward you for being better than you were yesterday in your primary duty. I 100% agree that everyone should strive to be better than the minimum. Challenging oneself and being the best pilot you can be for your country and coworkers should be reward in itself, but it still competes with, and is secondary to, the other time and tasks the Air Force requires.

Checks!

 

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Not sure where to put this but if you want to read about how your USAF leadership works...this is a great example.

 

>>Yep, there were concerns. “All shit broke loose,” Negrete said. The opposition was strongest in the office of Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff. “It was an immediate ‘no, no way, get rid of this, take the hard drives away from these boys, delete this,’ ” Negrete recalled.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidaxe/2020/05/08/a-10-documentary/#7e80896725d9

 

 

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Awesome story and share. The documentary is still on YouTube. Fantastic piece. 

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1 hour ago, FLEA said:

Awesome story and share. The documentary is still on YouTube. Fantastic piece. 

Working CAS in OEF, if shit got bad you could send some vipers or strike eagles over a TIC quickly and then get some .4 mach A-10s overhead when you could.  The A-10’s once on station would finish the fight 10/10 times.

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That was a good article on the backstory of that video.  Thank God for dudes not compromised by the system doing the right thing.

I hope this guy got sent an autographed copy on his birthday.

5G3BKOSLMBBPTMM5KX6ZHZ7JFU.jpg

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That was a good article on the backstory of that video.  Thank God for dudes not compromised by the system doing the right thing.
I hope this guy got sent an autographed copy on his birthday.
5G3BKOSLMBBPTMM5KX6ZHZ7JFU.jpg

Do tell. Who is that and what’s the back story?

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3 hours ago, Blue said:

Currently retired and (unsurprisingly) working for Lockheed.

Those F-35s aren't going to sell themselves here or abroad...

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Blue said:

Currently retired and (unsurprisingly) working for Lockheed.

They all go back to the mothership at some point 

Going to a point in the article referenced above on the backstory and the mid 2010's effort to divest the A-10, I watched the exchange between McCain and and Welsh:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/video/2016/03/03/mccain-slams-usaf-chief-welsh-on-a-10-effectiveness/

I understand Welsh's point that he really didn't get a chance to make as McCain was cutting him off, we have X dollars total in the Dept of the AF appropriation, that X is always less than missions/things we need to do or buy, so some don't get done or bought.  He should have turned that into give me more and I will save it, BCA be damned.  If you're not going to give me more money, give me more authority over the AF appropriation to re-program resources and fix the glitch.  You're a 4 star chief of a branch, you're not going anywhere but to retirement after this, fight the good fight and even if you don't win, you'll make great TV making a politician squirm when you retort to his sophistry with a solution.

Edited by Clark Griswold
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2 hours ago, Clark Griswold said:

They all go back to the mothership at some point 

Going to a point in the article referenced above on the backstory and the mid 2010's effort to divest the A-10, I watched the exchange between McCain and and Welsh:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/video/2016/03/03/mccain-slams-usaf-chief-welsh-on-a-10-effectiveness/

I understand Welsh's point that he really didn't get a chance to make as McCain was cutting him off, we have X dollars total in the Dept of the AF appropriation, that X is always less than missions/things we need to do or buy, so some don't get done or bought.  He should have turned that into give me more and I will save it, BCA be damned.  If you're not going to give me more money, give me more authority over the AF appropriation to re-program resources and fix the glitch.  You're a 4 star chief of a branch, you're not going anywhere but to retirement after this, fight the good fight and even if you don't win, you'll make great TV making a politician squirm when you retort to his sophistry with a solution.

Welsh spoke to all the SNCO’s at Altus when I was there back in 2013-2014. It was just him, Chief Cody, and the SNCOs. He flat out said he loved the A-10, it was the first fighter he flew, but he couldn’t afford it. Every career field he had manned over 100%, he had to pay for out of hide, which is why he did the Great Hunger Games, Congress told him to STFU that he was keeping the A-10, getting the F-35...so the only thing he could do was cut personnel. Pretty tough place to be put in, and a good example of how one can be the CSAF and still be told by civilians to STFU and color on how their branch was goin to run.

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Welsh spoke to all the SNCO’s at Altus when I was there back in 2013-2014. It was just him, Chief Cody, and the SNCOs. He flat out said he loved the A-10, it was the first fighter he flew, but he couldn’t afford it. Every career field he had manned over 100%, he had to pay for out of hide, which is why he did the Great Hunger Games, Congress told him to STFU that he was keeping the A-10, getting the F-35...so the only thing he could do was cut personnel. Pretty tough place to be put in, and a good example of how one can be the CSAF and still be told by civilians to STFU and color on how their branch was goin to run.


I get it, but the execution was piss poor. I had just PCSd to EGUN just before Christmas 2013 and got a phone call telling me to show up the next day for a CC call to announce the AF would cut 36,900 people ASAP.

There’s no real way to win other than being honest with the troops.


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43 minutes ago, Right Seat Driver said:

 


I get it, but the execution was piss poor. I had just PCSd to EGUN just before Christmas 2013 and got a phone call telling me to show up the next day for a CC call to announce the AF would cut 36,900 people ASAP.

There’s no real way to win other than being honest with the troops.


Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network mobile app

 

They gave him 3 years over which to make the cuts, and he screwed the pooch by making them all in the first year...which then made us short people a year later when surprise the needs changed. That was unsat. 

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1 hour ago, Sua Sponte said:

Welsh spoke to all the SNCO’s at Altus when I was there back in 2013-2014. It was just him, Chief Cody, and the SNCOs. He flat out said he loved the A-10, it was the first fighter he flew, but he couldn’t afford it. Every career field he had manned over 100%, he had to pay for out of hide, which is why he did the Great Hunger Games, Congress told him to STFU that he was keeping the A-10, getting the F-35...so the only thing he could do was cut personnel. Pretty tough place to be put in, and a good example of how one can be the CSAF and still be told by civilians to STFU and color on how their branch was goin to run.

Yup - it (the DoD) is treated by both sides as a jobs program setting up the inevitable real needs vs. political/parochial interests. 

It's easy for me as a nobody and not having been in his position but if you get to that pinnacle and are asked to put 10 lbs of shit in a 5 lbs sack, fall on your sword and say no.  Don't rationalize that you'll mitigate it by working it out as best you can on the inside, just tell them no and on the way out make your thoughts known. 

Now, all that is when you are at the pinnacle and not every other time at your career when you are given piss and told to make it lemonade am I saying to throw in the towel and quit, like pornography versus art, you know it when you see it.

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They gave him 3 years over which to make the cuts, and he screwed the pooch by making them all in the first year...which then made us short people a year later when surprise the needs changed. That was unsat. 
Wasn't the 1 year vs 3 year cuts driven by the SECAF?
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43 minutes ago, jazzdude said:
7 hours ago, SurelySerious said:
They gave him 3 years over which to make the cuts, and he screwed the pooch by making them all in the first year...which then made us short people a year later when surprise the needs changed. That was unsat. 

Wasn't the 1 year vs 3 year cuts driven by the SECAF?

Yep.  Selfie Queen Debbi James decided that we were going to save more money by making all the cuts as soon as we could.  

Even if you buy that argument, it was still wildly mismanaged.  People denied VSP or TERA because they were "too critically manned", while others in the same AFSCs were forced out even though they wanted to stay.  Telling people just before Christmas that they may be losing their jobs, but "don't worry about it, just enjoy the holidays".  Gutting entire career fields so badly that we still haven't recovered almost a decade later.

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I am pretty certain the manpower cuts were unrelated to the a-10 debacle. The cuts were mandated for all the service branches and started in late 2013.   For the af it was accelerated because Debbie's hiring was based on her downsizing experience with saic. She wanted to show the world she was a pro at downsizing.   I had so much hope for Welsh when he came on board, but I didn't see much leadership from him. He promised the officers a vector but never produced one because he got sidetracked with the sexual harassment scandals.   He passively aggressively got rid of blues Monday. Just generally stayed out of controversies.   The force definitely accelerated the downward spiral under his regime with the focus on volunteering and selfie queen tours.  It was sickening.

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11 hours ago, Sua Sponte said:

Welsh spoke to all the SNCO’s at Altus when I was there back in 2013-2014. It was just him, Chief Cody, and the SNCOs. He flat out said he loved the A-10, it was the first fighter he flew, but he couldn’t afford it. Every career field he had manned over 100%, he had to pay for out of hide, which is why he did the Great Hunger Games, Congress told him to STFU that he was keeping the A-10, getting the F-35...so the only thing he could do was cut personnel. Pretty tough place to be put in, and a good example of how one can be the CSAF and still be told by civilians to STFU and color on how their branch was goin to run.

I believe that's referred to as a "false dilemma," or more accurately, a "false choice."  In other words, "a deliberate attempt to eliminate several options that may occupy the middle ground on an issue."

I'm certainly no expert, but you can't tell me with a straight face that the United States Air Force, with it's ~$160 Billion yearly budget, had no other option than choosing between retiring the A-10 and the Personnel Hunger Games.

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29 minutes ago, Blue said:

I believe that's referred to as a "false dilemma," or more accurately, a "false choice."  In other words, "a deliberate attempt to eliminate several options that may occupy the middle ground on an issue."

I'm certainly no expert, but you can't tell me with a straight face that the United States Air Force, with it's ~$160 Billion yearly budget, had no other option than choosing between retiring the A-10 and the Personnel Hunger Games.

I believe it to an extent, there were certainly other options but personnel cost make up almost 50% of the annual budget. People are the most expensive weapon system we own. 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Blue said:

I believe that's referred to as a "false dilemma," or more accurately, a "false choice."  In other words, "a deliberate attempt to eliminate several options that may occupy the middle ground on an issue."

I'm certainly no expert, but you can't tell me with a straight face that the United States Air Force, with it's ~$160 Billion yearly budget, had no other option than choosing between retiring the A-10 and the Personnel Hunger Games.

That ~$160 Billion yearly budget gets eaten up pretty fast when you were planning on retiring a MWS to buy another MWS, but you're going to keep both MWS's, which involves the associated aircrew/maintenance/support personnel, training for said personnel, R&D, construction on support buildings (hangars, sim buildings, etc), and other associated costs. Oh yeah, you're buying that KC-46 thing too, upgrading the KC-135, buying more C-130J's, etc. You are mandated by Congress to keep aircraft, keeping people over 100% manning, which people are your most expensive asset, is going to really eat away at your budget.

Edited by Sua Sponte

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Sua Sponte said:

That ~$160 Billion yearly budget gets eaten up pretty fast when you were planning on retiring a MWS to buy another MWS, but you're going to keep both MWS's, which involves the associated aircrew/maintenance/support personnel, training for said personnel, R&D, construction on support buildings (hangars, sim buildings, etc), and other associated costs. Oh yeah, you're buying that KC-46 thing too, upgrading the KC-135, buying more C-130J's, etc. You are mandated by Congress to keep aircraft, keeping people over 100% manning, which people are your most expensive asset, is going to really eat away at your budget.

Then we make a Deal with the Devil / Congress... we swap MWS's out but keep at least most of the people and adapt the facilities at those locations losing/gaining MWS's as required to make it politically feasible.  

We want to retire the A-10 so let us buy a less expensive new Attack platform and retrain a majority percentage of the total force that flies and supports it, show them you save X dollars in the long run.  We want to retire the E-8, ok we want to buy a new C2/ISR/ELINT/EA/etc... but we want this new platform that saves Y dollars over the long run.

There's a chance that we will gain or retain some capabilities that the AF institutionally thinks it can do without but in acquiring new iron with lower operational costs and potentially lower manpower costs, it enables wiggle room in future budgets to get more of the higher priority toys.

@FLEA brought up the other elephant in the room, the cost of MILPERS.  It's grown about 65% proportionately since the early 2000's IIRC from the last article I read on it.  If we don't figure out the best way to compensate adequately, contain the rate of compensation and benefits to include benefits for dependents the DoD is going to end up as pension and healthcare organization with some weapons programs too.

Edited by Clark Griswold

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If we don't figure out the best way to compensate adequately, contain the rate of compensation and benefits to include benefits for dependents the DoD is going to end up as pension and healthcare organization with some weapons programs too.


So how do you get people to stay in (or join in the first place)? Can't reduce ops tempo. Can't increase bonuses. I guess you could kick all the dependants to the market for healthcare to save money. You could also cut BAH so it no longer covers renters insurance and only 95% of the expected housing cost and make the member pay the rest out of pocket, while divesting yourself of maintaining base housing and contracting it out to the lowest bidder. You could cut retirement and make the member take on market risk for their retirement.
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14 minutes ago, jazzdude said:

Can't reduce ops tempo. 

 


We can, leaders just won't make the decisions to cut the bullshit deployments.

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