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What's wrong with the Air Force?

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Aircraft acquisition needs to change in my opinion and the AF needs to look at how other services. The Navy had an outstanding aircraft in the F-14 Tomcat but in the late 90s it was getting old. They retrofitted it and updated it and it continued to serve as a great fighter/bomber until late the next decade. It was replaced ENTIRELY buy a completely new airframe. The USAF can’t say the same about the F-15C and its attempts to purchase a large number of F-22s went down the drain. How then did the Navy completely replace their F-15C equivalent on a greater than 1:1 margin? That’s 500+ airframes in the fleet, doing God’s work compared a program that never really went anywhere and produced a smallish 179 frames.

Continuing to use the Navy, let’s talk about the EF-111 I brought up. The USAF canned that aircraft, losing the metal, the funding and the majority of pilot slots that go along with it. Since the AF canned the Raven, the Navy’s EA-6B Prowler fleet actually GREW! That’s right, the Navy pulled EA-6Bs out of the desert to make NEW squadrons to fill the need. Some AF guys get to contribute to the program but what a loss!!!!!! With the advent of the EA-18G “Growler”, the Navy will continue to control the assets, control the money and control the manpower that performs the mission. The AF is a back seat player and did it to itself. So please, take a moment to look back in time before AF moves forward with aircraft ideas. What assets can be kept, what assets can be based at XYZ base instead of ABC base and what assets can be shifted to the ANG?

Not to interrupt a perfectly good rant, but thinking the grass is greener on the Navy side is just fucked up.

The Navy didn't just go out and buy full up Super Hornets and call it good. They spent more money "phasing it in" with APG-73 first, no conformal fuel tanks as originally advertised, and outwardly canted wingtip pylons (great thinking boys).

The Navy is notorious for fucking up acquisitions - often getting an upgrade for a jet but then only equipping half the squadron in a clusterfuck of combinations. For example - some squadrons would have half the jets with Link, a third with JHMCS, some with 9X, but none with all three. WTFO?

It's funny reading all of this crying, because I've been on both sides of the fence, and it's just a different flavor of the same bitching. The Air Force is even better in a lot of ways while being the same in others.

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Looks like SECDEF gets it. We may see some real change.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140218/NEWS05/302180006/Hagel-digs-deep-into-military-ethics-problem

From the article:

“The military is locked into this ‘character’ and ‘integrity’ talk as the default way to talk about these problems,” said Martin Cook, who teaches military ethics at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.

The result is that blame falls on the moral failings of a few individuals, while questions about broader institutional problems — poor training, toxic command climates, flawed personnel policies and deeper cultural issues — never get raised, Cook said.

“If you consider that there may be some other environmental factors behind this, it greatly expands the aperture for who is responsible,” Cook said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stunned many at the Pentagon recently by suggesting the military has a “deep” ethical problem. His top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, used the word “systemic.”

“It is the responsibility of all of us,” Hagel said, to root out problems like cheating, fraud, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault and other forms of misconduct that have cropped up in recent months.

After a wave of recent misconduct reports, Hagel is signaling an intent to go beyond the traditional response to scandal — firing a mid-level commander, drawing up a new PowerPoint-based training regimen or rewriting an official policy laden with bureaucratic jargon.

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Good luck changing the culture in the 13S careerfield without ending some careers.

We are still doing the force-shaping, right? I can't remember with all the retractions and re-releases of announcements.Some of these leaders might be ripe for a SERB. Or at that level, would it just be an SRB?

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Not to interrupt a perfectly good rant, but thinking the grass is greener on the Navy side is just ######ed up.

The Navy didn't just go out and buy full up Super Hornets and call it good. They spent more money "phasing it in" with APG-73 first, no conformal fuel tanks as originally advertised, and outwardly canted wingtip pylons (great thinking boys).

The Navy is notorious for ######ing up acquisitions - often getting an upgrade for a jet but then only equipping half the squadron in a cluster###### of combinations. For example - some squadrons would have half the jets with Link, a third with JHMCS, some with 9X, but none with all three. WTFO?

It's funny reading all of this crying, because I've been on both sides of the fence, and it's just a different flavor of the same bitching. The Air Force is even better in a lot of ways while being the same in others.

To add to that, the only reason they got the SH in the first place is that they completely and utterly botched the two major NAVAIR post-Cold War acquisitions projects. First the ATA/A-12 program imploded, spending $2B with nothing to show for it but one mockup, and then NATF turned out to be vaporware. So by 1995 they were staring down having no A-6 replacement, no F-14 replacement, and no money. Thus enter the SH, a program that was completely built on compromises and that prioritized being affordable over everything else. On the one hand, this made for a relatively drama free procurement (no Congressional hearings or 60 Minutes stories about massive cost overruns) but on the other it led to some pretty hilarious performance compromises (e.g., those outward canted pylons).

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I hear Luke is about to have a boots on the ramp policy.

Correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like you're meshing "boots on the ground" (an Army term), with "feet on the ramp" (an Air Force punishment term).

Feet on the ramp was used in the mid 90's to ground guys who did not take the bonus, and still had ADSCs left (mostly FAIPs in their second assignment). Officially it was a "manning" tool, but everyone knew it punitive and meant to pressure guys into re-upping. Problem was, they grounded so many guys they couldn't man the missions, and finally cried uncle, and the program was terminated. But not before they sold the termination as Big Blue "being cool and treating everyone right".

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Looks like SECDEF gets it. We may see some real change.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140218/NEWS05/302180006/Hagel-digs-deep-into-military-ethics-problem

From the article:

“The military is locked into this ‘character’ and ‘integrity’ talk as the default way to talk about these problems,” said Martin Cook, who teaches military ethics at the Naval War College in Rhode Island.

The result is that blame falls on the moral failings of a few individuals, while questions about broader institutional problems — poor training, toxic command climates, flawed personnel policies and deeper cultural issues — never get raised, Cook said.

“If you consider that there may be some other environmental factors behind this, it greatly expands the aperture for who is responsible,” Cook said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stunned many at the Pentagon recently by suggesting the military has a “deep” ethical problem. His top spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, used the word “systemic.”

“It is the responsibility of all of us,” Hagel said, to root out problems like cheating, fraud, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault and other forms of misconduct that have cropped up in recent months.

After a wave of recent misconduct reports, Hagel is signaling an intent to go beyond the traditional response to scandal — firing a mid-level commander, drawing up a new PowerPoint-based training regimen or rewriting an official policy laden with bureaucratic jargon.

I'm not saying he's wrong, I just find being lectured-to about ethics by a career politician to be ironic.

I also find it ironic that the author believes that the military is losing the trust of the American people. In my experience, it is me who no longer trusts the American people (voters who pay nothing in terms of sacrifice to have the military they want) to chose politicians who will exercise some restraint and judgement when they send a nation to war. Years upon years of deployments has me a little cynical I suppose.

To call the problem systemic labels everyone as liars and cheaters. That is simply not the case.

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We are still doing the force-shaping, right? I can't remember with all the retractions and re-releases of announcements.Some of these leaders might be ripe for a SERB. Or at that level, would it just be an SRB?

The more I have to deal with folks at Peterson, the more I see opportunities for ADSC waivers and SERBs.

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What's the 13S culture like? I was enlisted in MX (culture:work your hands to the bone to keep the pilots happy) and am now an MSC (replace pilots with doctors in the previous sentence). The few 13S dudes that I've met have had the "I couldn't make the cut to be Aircrew so FML" attitude.

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What's the 13S culture like? I was enlisted in MX (culture:work your hands to the bone to keep the pilots happy) and am now an MSC (replace pilots with doctors in the previous sentence). The few 13S dudes that I've met have had the "I couldn't make the cut to be Aircrew so FML" attitude.

I can't speak for 13S, I just work with them, but the "couldn't cut it" attitude exists everywhere. There are flyers, doctors, and pro athletes that walk around like they screwed something up and their life sucks. They need to deal with it, and work hard at what they do. Every job has sucky parts, so hack it at what you do, or do something else.

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What's the 13S culture like? I was enlisted in MX (culture:work your hands to the bone to keep the pilots happy) and am now an MSC (replace pilots with doctors in the previous sentence). The few 13S dudes that I've met have had the "I couldn't make the cut to be Aircrew so FML" attitude.

The 13S culture is too immature to really define. There are definitely some people that wanted to be pilots and didn't make the cut; I would say they are less than 10% of the CGOs and usually leave after their first tour. Our biggest problem for years was the cross flow of missileers. Through no fault of their own, they would come to space jobs after their missile tours with no knowledge of space and zero credibility and then be put into leadership positions simply because of their rank. For the ones that put missiles behind them and were willing to learn, the transition was fine. For the ones that tried to make space fit into the rigid missile structure, the lives of everyone working for them sucked, and the mission suffered. Now missiles is completely separate except for a handful of transfers, and our assignments have been converted to 3 years to ensure 3 ops tours before making major and moving to staff. The leadership is focused on building experts in mission areas that can come back to lead later on and actually know what the hell is happening.

One of the biggest issues facing space ops is what jobs are for officers and what jobs are for enlisted. Currently, we have A1Cs doing literally the exact same job as senior captains. We have SrA in OSS and OGV training and evaluating Captains. The ratio of Os to Es in most space squadrons is close to 1:1. Something's going to give, this model isn't sustainable.

At the end of the day, most 13S are very satisfied with the career field. The work is interesting. We have by far the best basing options of any AFSC. Deployments are voluntary. Our ops centers are very nice. We don't wear reflective belts. We don't have any Chiefs to Chief us. The few we have in the wing have much more important things to do. When I quit pilot training, I was really worried about going to 13S; now, I'm happy to be here and wouldn't want to change.

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Words..

We have by far the best basing options of any AFSC.

Say again? I'd put my basing list up against yours!

I found it very interesting being and Vandy and seeing the.. issues between the E's and O's in the OG. There's going to be a similar issue with us, but along the A/B shred.. and then with the 1B Cyber-Ops E's.

All my peers and I want to know is how the cross-flow to "A-Shred Operators" is going to work in the future with Sq CC's, NOSC, ESD's etc.. Currently we've got a Maj CC'ing a Sq with a tenant unit run by a Lt Col. Figure that crap out.

I'm trying to unscrew my bases' migration to the AFNET, and asked the "Crew Commander" Lt for a org chart showing the flow for cyber direction. Holy Mary. There's no way to explain who to call for a problem.

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Say again? I'd put my basing list up against yours!

You're crazy. List the best bases in the Air Force, I'll bet you13S's are there. List the worst bases; we don't go there.

Our three bad bases are Thule, Clear and Cavalier. Only a few people go to those places, and it's only for 1-2 years.

ETA: The irony of posting how good we've got it in the What's wrong with the Air Force thread isn't lost on me.

Edited by Gravedigger

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You're crazy. List the best bases in the Air Force, I'll bet you13S's are there. List the worst bases; we don't go there.

Our three bad bases are Thule, Clear and Cavalier. Only a few people go to those places, and it's only for 1-2 years.

ETA: The irony of posting how good we've got it in the What's wrong with the Air Force thread isn't lost on me.

C-17's have a pretty good base selection, minus the FTU at Altus (McGuire, McChord, Charleston, Hickam, McGuire, Dover, Travis, Elmendorf)

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C-17's have a pretty good base selection, minus the FTU at Altus (McGuire, McChord, Charleston, Hickam, McGuire, Dover, Travis, Elmendorf)

.....Cannon, Creech, Hollaman, Big Fork, white jet bases....

Far as I know a 13S stays a 13S, where as an 11M C17 driver "can" go do all kinds of other fun stuff that doesn't involve C17s

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.....Cannon, Creech, Hollaman, Big Fork, white jet bases....

Far as I know a 13S stays a 13S, where as an 11M C17 driver "can" go do all kinds of other fun stuff that doesn't involve C17s

And every other 11M is in the same boat, which includes the guys that spent one assignment at Pope or McConnell then to RPA's.

At least Barney drivers got one good assignment out of it.

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Not Air Force, but still the same issue with some of the younger troops...

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And before anyone pipes up, Army Regulation 600-25, "Salutes, Honors, and Visits of Courtesy" states that during "Reveille" and "Retreat," moving vehicles will stop and military passengers and drivers will dismount and render the proper courtesies...

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What's Wrong With Army would be a lot longer thread. What a bunch of fucks.

With the lowest ASVAB entry requirements and taking folks in with GED's (the Marines won't accept GED's and the USAF only a few a year) what do you expect?

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With the lowest ASVAB entry requirements and taking folks in with GED's (the Marines won't accept GED's and the USAF only a few a year) what do you expect?

Thats not the only problem. The bigger issue is we've spent 7 years doing that kind of crap and thanks to the reverse musical chairs that is our enlisted promotion system where we simply have too few people willing to stick around a lot of those problem children now form a good size of our NCO corps.

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Thats not the only problem. The bigger issue is we've spent 7 years doing that kind of crap and thanks to the reverse musical chairs that is our enlisted promotion system where we simply have too few people willing to stick around a lot of those problem children now form a good size of our NCO corps.

Promoting folks who run fast and shoot the gun well is a very archaic system.

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The Army infuriates me on so may levels. Two side tracks coming and yes these will paint with a broad brush:

1.) Why the warrant system sucks: Army officer pilots can end up in leadership positions without knowing what they are talking about. I tried to setup a a joint integrated fires exercise with the OH-58s on the same base. We had a training area that was at a sort of high altitude for helos, but not what I would call excessive (same as our school house) and not above what the Kiowas had actually done work at recently. Despite me working with the LT platoon leader to answer his leadership's apprehension (due to not knowing) about risk mitigation, the final answer was "no, you can't operate above XXXXmsl" with no regard for why, what was actually going on, and any thoughtful considerations by the dudes on the line.

2.) Infantry Generals who know nothing about anything that isn't grunts.: We were planning a hit, the Apache guys talked about being able to get over target and provides support for X amount of time before needing to go hit a FAARP, then they'd be back for Y period of time then we'll need to leave again. His next comment was "is that because of your crew rest" he changed his tone to mock "crew rest." To the Captain's credit he just replied, no sir we'll need to get more gas. My only point is, how does a dude get to be a 1 star in the current fight and not understand the fundamental aviation aspect of running out of gas?

I say all that, but interactions at my level and down has always been outstanding with the Army, just a bunch of dudes figuring out how to make it happen. Which I guess is why dealing with Army leadership is exasperating.

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The Army infuriates me on so may levels. Two side tracks coming and yes these will paint with a broad brush:

1.) Why the warrant system sucks: Army officer pilots can end up in leadership positions without knowing what they are talking about. I tried to setup a a joint integrated fires exercise with the OH-58s on the same base. We had a training area that was at a sort of high altitude for helos, but not what I would call excessive (same as our school house) and not above what the Kiowas had actually done work at recently. Despite me working with the LT platoon leader to answer his leadership's apprehension (due to not knowing) about risk mitigation, the final answer was "no, you can't operate above XXXXmsl" with no regard for why, what was actually going on, and any thoughtful considerations by the dudes on the line.

2.) Infantry Generals who know nothing about anything that isn't grunts.: We were planning a hit, the Apache guys talked about being able to get over target and provides support for X amount of time before needing to go hit a FAARP, then they'd be back for Y period of time then we'll need to leave again. His next comment was "is that because of your crew rest" he changed his tone to mock "crew rest." To the Captain's credit he just replied, no sir we'll need to get more gas. My only point is, how does a dude get to be a 1 star in the current fight and not understand the fundamental aviation aspect of running out of gas?

I say all that, but interactions at my level and down has always been outstanding with the Army, just a bunch of dudes figuring out how to make it happen. Which I guess is why dealing with Army leadership is exasperating.

Never ask a question of a Lt in a 3 Shop unless it involves something like how much are the tickets to the ball gonna cost. Also when asking questions of Cpts confirm PC status or confirm answer with a CW2+.

And I cant tell you how many times Ive wanted to strangle somebody over the issue of crew rest. Bullet heads dont get it and will come up with some goofy ass ways to get around it. I had a night where I spent 13 hours from start to finish physically in the aircraft with it at least APU on. But because I only spun blades for 6 hours of it (granted with a big long ass sit in the middle occasionally firing them to cool the transmission) we were within legal.

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Lawman, in this case the LT I was referring to was spot on. The kid was a PC (at least I think so, but just barely and he seemed very interested in joining the AF), we talked for multiple hours about how he could prove to his boss (a 47 guy, so no power concerns ever, and probably a shitty pilot) about why this would work and not be risky at all. We had very specific weapons delivery parameters planned, the whole flight was scripted. The answer was "you can't employ above XXXmsl." end of story.

As far as bullet heads not understanding aviation, I get it and wouldn't expect an infantry capt to understand aviation, but a General should get it. He shouldn't be a grunt fluffer asshole about it. This dude couldn't have cared less about his own Apache dudes, hey they aren't Infantry.

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