USAF FY17 Budget Targets A-10

While quietly providing Close Air Support to the Iranians in the ugly battle against ISIL, the A-10 is being snubbed here at home. It is all part of the USAF’s ongoing Operation Destroy CAS.

The USAF is attempting to once again bail out on the Warthog, while the Warthog bails out the world.

If that may seem to be hyperbolic statement, sadly it isn’t.

According to a DefenseNews article, US Air Force FY17 Budget: Expect Consistency As CR Looms, the USAF is sticking to its plan to mothball the A-10. Although the A-10 is deployed to more locations for combat and theatre protection than any other fighter, and ISIL is waging a ground war, the USAF has even gone so far as to omit the airframe as a topic of discussion at Air Force Association’s annual Air & Space Conference this week.

The A-10 is answering the priorities of two Combatant Commanders and doing so more than any other fighter in the USAF. CENTCOM has requested even more A-10s and is going to station them at two separate locations within his area of responsibility (AOR). No other fighter is being tasked in this way. Further, CENTCOM explicitly trusts the aircraft and Attack pilot community to fulfill many roles not the least of which is the Overall Mission Commander position for high visibility tasks across the entire AOR. This role places the A-10 in charge of the entire air power structure (fixed and rotary wing) during these important strike missions.

Thanks to The Project On Government Oversight, the world now knows to what lengths Lockheed Martin resorted to in order to keep at least a few of the F-35 aircraft flight-worthy during recent testing, it is still unclear as to what lengths the USAF will go to sell the A-10 as unworthy. Because it is as much a matter of saving face, as it is a desire to end CAS, the USAF will likely go to whatever lengths it takes.

General Mark Welsh, according to DefenseNews, “did not specifically acknowledge that the A-10 retirement remains in the budget, but his words hint to his thinking: “Go back to our starting on a strategic-planning process — the story is consistent,” he said. “It has to be. You can’t keep changing the right answer. If the analysis still applies, if the priorities are still the same from the combatant commanders, and the operational analysis supports the priorities, then the answers probably won’t change.”

The only problem with that logic is that they haven’t arrived at the right answer because their priorities do not reflect the reality of war. We will certainly fight a different war well into the future, and maybe well into the future the F-35 will be able to make it off the ground, but the world will not sit idly by waiting to fight a war the USAF wants to fight.

Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute told DefenseNews that Operation Destroy CAS will fail, however the USAF has “to put it in the ’17 budget request, because they need to have it in the ’18 request, and they can’t be seen as flip-floppers. They have to be consistent in asking for it again so when they come back in ’18 perhaps something will have changed, either in the politics, budget or the reality of the capability argument.”

FY17 the USAF wants to put two squadrons of A-10s in boneyard from MO and IN. These states have indicated to the USAF they are willing to take a deal on the backs of our Ground Troops
FY17 the USAF wants to put two squadrons of A-10s in boneyard from MO and IN. These states have indicated to the USAF they are willing to take a deal on the backs of our Ground Troops

It is because of that sort of political maneuvering that the USAF continues to incur criticism. In an article on DoDbuzz.com about the USAF decision to snub the A-10 at this week’s conference, popular USAF critic USAF, Col. Tony Carr (ret), said the omission of the A-10 was probably part of an effort to avoid the topic. Carr, a Distinguished Flying Cross winner and publisher of the military website, John Q. Public, said “My guess is that the decision was made to avoid talking about it because it’s considered a contentious subject and leaders don’t want to make statements that can later be turned against favored narratives one way or another.” Carr concluded, “But when you consider the role the A-10 has been playing against ISIS and in Europe, it’s really a huge disservice to a great many airmen that it’s not going to be prominently discussed.”

13 Comments

  1. The F-35 car hardly keep up with it’s own shadow – it’s guns – rather gutless – and short lived before a reload is needed – is the F-35 the answer or the problem. The A-10 is a fighting machine – will it stand up to new Russian AA missiles now moving into Syria that are going to be fired at it? Not without knowing we are going to take some losses – knowing we are going to need to fight on the ground – OURSELVES – not the 55 million spent to train forces of Iraq to have them and their provided weapons disappear. That’s the real issue – want to kick some butt go get in the fight – bring everything that kills and use it. Otherwise save the money and lives wasted in this half ass effort as now managed by our half ass leadership. You want a fight – prepare to have some death reach our young – and the need for a much larger land force and huge ‘all in ‘ effort by the nation. Now do you see that happening in this nation in this day and age?

  2. I was just thinking about the A10 the other day when I saw them flying around the clouds and Tstorms. Hadn’t heard anything on them for a while and now know why. No one cares about anything but re-elections and self importance. As noted the ‘leaders’ are anything but, that is from the top down. Most brass forget what it is to be a junior service member, be they officer or enlisted. Once they get to the glory positions they know everything and and everyone one else is too dumb to be asked about anything. In the army they all want to get o be generals and they bust their asses and anyone elses that gets in the way. Everyone needs to be a YES person. The AF is the same but they have bigger goals for more shiney toys. The grunts are happy with meals and ammo, the AF and Navy guys always want the newer and bigger toys. Sadly the army guys are getting to be the same, now talking about the “need for” newer helicopters and other shiney stuff. We used to laugh at the UH 60 guys and tell them when they are retired the UH-1 guys would take them home. Well they forced all the bells out and now want something newer and made by ‘everyone’ as a result. Guess what a mess that will be. The ah-64 was a piece of junk for the longest time, they actually were thinking about the AH-60 in the mid 80’s since they could only get about 25 hrs on a AH-64 before it broke! Keep pouring in the $$ and eventually it will work, but look at the marines they still fly the AH-1 as a W model and love it. Oh we;l its only money and these col’s and generals need to have the opportunity to get good jobs with the contractors when they retire, so belly up boys.

  3. No surprises here. The more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m curious why DefenseNews didn’t reach out to our Congresswoman, a.k.a “A-10 savior” for her talking points? My guess is because she has nothing new to say and it’s not an emergency yet…there’s no limelight in routine legislative activity. During the last two funding rounds, I said that a 1-year reprieve is not a solution. Barber did it. McSally did it. Yet, we’re STILL talking about killing the Warthog! Targeted Congressional pressure relentlessly applied at the DoD level could stop this nonsense. Thanks for listening.

    • Mr. Wooten, as you know, the A-10 community is fighting not only congress but also the so-called “military-industrial complex.” The aircraft manufacturers give huge sums to their politician buddies thereby corrupting the process irreparably. We also are up against the military guys at the top, most of whom could give a tinker’s damn about ground troops. All they want is some shiny new plaything, cost and efficiency be damned. I agree that targeted pressure could have some effect but the task is absolutely daunting to the average citizen who thinks, and rightfully so, that our DC representation is anything but.

      • You expertly laid out the problem(s), aroy. Thanks. Yes, it’s daunting, but we supposedly elected someone who was going to take this issue on–and win. Has anyone here in the district been briefed on the actions taken to date and those planned? Would be a wonderful time for some town halls on the topic, but maybe that’s just me. Thanks for weighing in.

  4. How many new/old awesome A10’s could be built for one F35 boondoggle.

    Dust off the die’s and molds and get to.

  5. Just more evidence that Trump is right when he calls our leaders, AKA, “hired help”, STUPID and that he is correct in his appraisal of them. Actually they are very smart as they take BILLIONS in BRIBES from their wealthy handlers and Trump is right when he call’s these bribes “Blood Money”. To my knowledge the A-10 is the best aircraft ever made that supports ground troops. This is all about the WEALTH, GREEDY people that make and supply their products to our military forces and nothing else as they want more trillions from we the taxpayers for something new. All of my life I have used the “K.I.S.S method” and “if it is not broken, don’t fix it”. The biggest problems are the “hired Help” we have that make wars but are to COWARDLY to actually go and fight them. Make our Country great again by electing Trump as our leader.

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