Author Topic: USAF Woes  (Read 135810 times)

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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #375 on: October 11, 2018, 14:16:34 »
Way out of my lane, but I find it interesting that Mattis, of all people, thinks that writing a memo demanding a certain percentage availability rate will actually result in that number. Did he provide the corresponding budget and miracle wand? Would it not have been a better metric to hold the air force to X number of concentrations of aircraft available and ready to be deployed (together with parts, weapons etc). Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the RCAF aspiration to have a 6 Pack ready to go on a warning order and X number ready to scramble for NORAD air intercept, rather than percentages?

I'm on the same lane as you, however, I highly doubt that this is something Mattis decided over morning coffee. Most everyone here knows what goes on behind an order from the top. There are briefs, back briefs, progress reports, analysis reports and many other things that are taken into account. Mattis didn't get where he is by telling people to do things he knows nothing about. Perhaps it might not be possible to reach 80%, but, guaranteed, they'll be a lot better off, platform wise, than they are now. It will also expose the hold ups to the light of day where they can be dealt with. Again, I doubt that this whole thing was launched on an idea and a hastily prepared memo. I've seen lots of goofy command requests from floppers, but Mattis isn't one of those guys, IMO.
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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #376 on: October 11, 2018, 14:24:01 »
To add to FJ's comment, I doubt that it came as a surprise to any of the recipients.

Offline CBH99

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #377 on: October 11, 2018, 18:38:53 »
I'm on the same lane as you, however, I highly doubt that this is something Mattis decided over morning coffee. Most everyone here knows what goes on behind an order from the top. There are briefs, back briefs, progress reports, analysis reports and many other things that are taken into account. Mattis didn't get where he is by telling people to do things he knows nothing about. Perhaps it might not be possible to reach 80%, but, guaranteed, they'll be a lot better off, platform wise, than they are now. It will also expose the hold ups to the light of day where they can be dealt with. Again, I doubt that this whole thing was launched on an idea and a hastily prepared memo. I've seen lots of goofy command requests from floppers, but Mattis isn't one of those guys, IMO.


Agreed FJ.

I'm wondering if this order isn't almost a "reviewing" the system to find out where the weak points really are, so the weak points can be addressed & held accountable.  Is it the front line maintenance personnel?  Lack of spare parts?  Lack of certain support from contractors/suppliers? 

If the focus is 80%, but they can't get there because of "Problem A and Problem B" - that really helps iron out where the problems lay.

And while I don't mean to sound "skeptical" in a cynical way...I wonder if this isn't part of the same strategy for the 355 ship navy, and an extra 70 squadrons for the USAF?  As in - announce a very ambitious goal, knowing full well it might not be achieved - but they'll be far better off afterwards even if the goal isn't achieved.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #378 on: October 12, 2018, 12:42:01 »
Perhaps it is as simple as this?

Situation:

Mission: You will have 80% of the following aircraft ready to fly on July 31 2019

Execution:

Support:

Command and Control:


The statement needs to be short, clear and to the point.
You will soon be told why it can't be done.... and then you can figure out how to get what you need to make it happen.

The alternative is that you get lost in bafflegab and nobody understands what it is you are trying to accomplish.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #379 on: October 12, 2018, 12:58:34 »
Its like saying your unit will have 100% of your assigned vehicles road ready. Its embarrassing when your unit pulls out and trucks begin breaking down. For aircraft spare parts are an issue specially if you are dumping old aircraft and your new ones haven't arrived.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #380 on: October 12, 2018, 13:32:18 »
Its like saying your unit will have 100% of your assigned vehicles road ready. Its embarrassing when your unit pulls out and trucks begin breaking down. For aircraft spare parts are an issue specially if you are dumping old aircraft and your new ones haven't arrived.

Agreed that it is embarrassing.  But in the meantime it might get you closer to 90% of your assigned vehicles being roadworthy.  And ease some of the problems that occur when you only have 80% of your assigned fleet available.  Some compromises will not have to be made when trying to get your unit relocated.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #381 on: October 15, 2018, 15:57:18 »
Up to 10% of the F22 fleet damaged by one Hurricane. You would think that in this age of ultra-expensive and irreplaceable fighters, they would have hardened shelters for them instead of regular hangers. You could likely build a lot of hardened shelters for the cost of just one aircraft.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/10/nearly-10-percent-of-the-us-f-22-inventory-was-damaged-or-destroyed-in-hurricane-michael/

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #382 on: October 17, 2018, 09:27:18 »
After investigators gained access to the hangers they found most of the aircraft were not as badly damaged as was initially thought.

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/10/15/air-force-hurricane-damage-to-tyndall-f-22s-less-than-we-feared-but-unknown-how-many-will-fly-again/

« Last Edit: October 17, 2018, 09:37:51 by tomahawk6 »

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #383 on: November 19, 2018, 13:46:32 »
Focus needed--excerpts from fairly lengthy piece by a serving USAF major (imagine that in Canada)--further links at original:

Quote
Heed the Grail Knight: Can the Air Force Choose Wisely?

Previously, I outlined what I perceived to be the erosion of mission-based culture in the Air Force. The overwhelming response tells me I was not wrong — it was one of the most-read War on The Rocks articles ever. While reaffirmed in a recent article that applied machine learning analytics to surveys, Gen. David Goldfein’s squadron revitalization team offers the most sobering assessment yet. While potentially startling to outsiders, it was no surprise to insiders that the team discovered that “many units struggled with clearly defining and communicating their purpose.” Air Force leaders have made some small strides in the right direction, but more can be done.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy provides a lens to refocus the force, however there is a problem. With more mission than Air Force there are only three possibilities: increase the force, reduce the mission, or find a better way to successfully execute assigned missions. Department of Defense leadership has testified that upwards of 5 percent annual budget growth — above inflation — is required for the next several years to implement the strategy. However, flattening defense spending appears to be gaining undeniable bipartisan support. Fortunately, there is a significant opportunity on the horizon.

Some factions in Congress also appear serious about assessing and debating the roles and missions of the U.S. armed forces. Given the disparity between strategy and resources, so should the Air Force. Rather than start with proposals on what to cut or what to change, I hope to pave the way for a broader conversation among airmen about the importance of such choices. Heed the caution of the Grail Knight from Indiana Jones: “You must choose, but choose wisely, for while the true grail will bring you life, the false grail will take it from you.” The Air Force has been down this road before, and it fundamentally influenced the service, both physically and culturally — it chose poorly...

Rock Bottom

A byproduct of failed compromises in Congress, in 2013 the Department of Defense faced sweeping across-the-board budget cuts from sequestration. Beyond the initial grounding of a significant portion of its combat fighter and bomber squadrons, 20,000 more airmen were cut. However, the most controversial move was the attempt to retire the A-10. Platform and mission aside, the process-of-elimination rationale spoke volumes about the Air Force’s priorities and what it valued as an institution.



As in times past, the Air Force seemed to blunt the impact of their actions with more words. In 2013 the Air Force rolled out its latest rebranding with five core missions: air and space superiority; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; rapid global mobility; global strike; and command and control. A long and winding road of progress, or was it? A pilot once testified to Congress that military aviation had four purposes: reconnaissance, fire control for artillery, aggressive action (i.e. fighting), and transportation. While that doesn’t sound fundamentally different than today, realize he testified in 1913 [emphasis added].

What should be clearly understood has become abstract. Today’s Air Force is a sprawling conglomerate of organizations with a wildly diverse spectrum of missions that a majority of airmen don’t even understand...

Choose Wisely

Today, the Air Force has been tapped to re-enter the ring with major competitors. It is currently rethinking the structure of the wing, developing a force presentation model, getting serious about distributed operations away from large vulnerable airbases, and being operationally unpredictable. While notable, all of this is meaningless without experienced aviators, skilled aircraft maintainers, adequate unit support, sufficient parts to keep aircraft flying, and ample munitions to wield the hammer of airpower if and when called upon.

The Air Force cannot afford to wait with bated breath for a fiscal windfall to solve the systemic problems it has. Right now it has too many missions to effectively prioritize, which has diluted both the combat capability, and to an extent, the culture of the service. If everything is a priority, then nothing is. At some point, the resources required mean necessary yet unpopular choices will need to be made. As Winston Churchill once said, “Gentlemen, we are out of money; now we have to think [emphasis added, CAF?].”

Prioritizing the Air Force’s roles and missions is not just a fiscal necessity — it’s a cultural imperative. The Air Force needs to focus on reducing missions that are on the fringe of its purpose, reinvigorate its inherently innovative base, while being receptive to imaginative new ways to return to its roots of expeditionary airman in order to meet the missions that justify its existence as a military branch.

Change is hard, but required. Let purpose be the guide; task, mission, and culture will follow. Strategy is about choices, and the time before the Grail Knight has come. This time, let’s believe the Air Force will choose wisely, and the true grail will bring its culture back to life.

Maj. Mike Benitez is a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle Weapons Systems Officer with over two decades of service in the Air Force and Marine Corps. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, a former Air Force legislative fellow in Congress, and a Contributing Editor at War on the Rocks. The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. government.
https://warontherocks.com/2018/11/heed-the-grail-knight-can-the-air-force-choose-wisely/

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #384 on: November 22, 2018, 04:03:34 »
The USAF already gets a big slice of the pie they just need to manage what they better particularly procurement. Not to mention closing air bases and consolidating what they have,as the Army has done. They made some bad decisions like closing the F22 production line. It would cost some bucks but reopening the line and produce more would be smart given the threats out there. I would also buy upgraded F15's both fighter and strike models.They didn't want to keep the A10,but its perfect for close air support.

https://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/FM-Resources/Budget/

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #385 on: November 23, 2018, 22:51:39 »
To fix the pilot shortage the USAF has tapped their Academy graduating class. Including ROTC graduates might help to fill the pilot shortage as well.AFROTC graduates around 2000 annually. They could also expand their OTS program to help with the shortage.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: USAF Woes
« Reply #386 on: December 11, 2018, 12:12:34 »
Transport pilot problems (RCAF?):

Quote
Alarming number of mobility pilots decline bonuses to keep flying; overall bonus ‘take rates’ up slightly

Mobility pilots are declining aviation retention bonuses in alarming numbers, despite the the Air Force’s attempt to keep them in uniform with an infusion of cash.

Mobility pilot take rates dropped six percentage points, to 37.9 percent, in 2018. That’s nearly 10 percentage points lower than in fiscal 2016, when 47.6 percent of mobility pilots signed up for the bonuses.

In the past, Air Force officials have said that they hope 65 percent of eligible pilots will take the bonus in any given year.

Overall, a slightly higher percentage of pilots accepted a hefty bonus to remain in the Air Force in fiscal 2018, compared to a year ago, as the service rolled out a major expansion of the highest bonuses.

Because fewer pilots were eligible to make that decision, however, the overall number of pilots signing up to extend their service as part of the Aviation Bonus Program was down compared to fiscal 2017, and some critical groups of pilots saw significant declines.

The Air Force in May announced that, for the first time, some bomber, fixed-wing combat search-and-rescue, special operations, mobility and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance pilots would be eligible for the same maximum bonus that were previously given only to fighter pilots. To receive that maximum $420,000 bonus, pilots would have to agree to serve 12 more years.



But turning on the cash spigot appears to have had limited effect.

According to statistics provided by the Air Force, the overall percentage of eligible manned aircraft pilots agreeing to take the bonuses — known as the take rate — increased from 44 percent in 2017 to 45 percent in 2018. That halted two years of declines, after the take rates dropped from 55 percent in 2015 to 48 percent in 2016, and to 44 percent in 2017.

But even though the take rate ticked up, overall number of pilots signing up for retention bonuses dropped from 476 to 418, the statistics showed.

The Air Force is intensely worried about the shortfall of roughly 2,000 pilots, or about 10 percent of its overall pilot population, which could hurt its ability to accomplish all its missions. That kind of shortfall, which places an even greater burden on the pilots who remain, threatens to “break the force,” Secretary Heather Wilson said last year. The service has rolled out a series of programs to try to plug that gap, and a major part has been offering extremely generous retention bonuses to entice pilots to stay and pass up opportunities to fly for deep-pocketed commercial airlines...
https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/12/10/alarming-number-of-mobility-pilots-decline-bonuses-to-keep-flying-overall-bonus-take-rates-tick-up-slightly/

Mark
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