In a just published op-ed, AEI defense scholar Mackenzie Eaglen gives us a glimpse of the Air Force's own March Madness – US planes operating in every region of the world.
In March 2011, the Air Force was asked for help by every regional US combatant commander. Each had a priority one mission. In one month, US aircrafts were deployed in Japan (because of the tsunami), in Libya (to enforce the no-fly zone), in South America (for President Obama’s visit), and in Afghanistan (to support of combat operations). Yet, if the Air Force continues to age and shrink at the current rate, the next commander-in-chief will not have the same capabilities in the future warns Eaglen.
In a longer National Security Outlook study, Eaglen explains how the Air Force has been hit the hardest by the latest defense cuts - leaving America with not enough planes.
Eaglen points out that:
• The United States now has fewer than one-third the number of bombers that it had during the Vietnam era, and existing B-2 long-range strike aircraft are nearly two decades old.
• At the same time, the Obama administration has declared the Asia-Pacific region to be a new priority for US defense efforts, and air power is a key part of this strategy.
• Policymakers must stop hiding behind rhetoric and quickly make the necessary air power investments to equip the nation to face potential threats in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly from China’s rapidly advancing aerial capabilities.
Mackenzie Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the House and Senate, in the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, and on the Joint Staff. She can be reached at [email protected] or through [email protected] (202.862.5945).
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