Thursday, July 18, 2013

F-35: Who can foretell what our future wars will be?

Certainly not any of us and certainly not a particular former Congressman:
"The F-35 is a great plane with only one problem - it has no enemy," former U.S. Rep Barney Frank, D-Mass., said last month at the NetRoots conference in San Jose. "We aren't likely to get into a war with China or Russia."
Really?  Says who?  How in the world, watching China and Russia both build up their militaries, can one make such an assured statement?  How can one watch each of those nations build 5th generation fighters and pretend we don't need them too?  Does Mr. Frank think that the sophisticated equipment that the Chinese and Russians create, such as a 5th gen fighter, won't be exported to proxies?  And does Mr. Frank actually believe that if a nation believes it has a perceived advantage and a grievance it won't act on that?

And what about treaties?  It doesn't require either Russia or China to attack the US for the US to end up in a shooting war with either of them.

As Gen. Petraeus said at his retirement, the US must be prepared for a wide spectrum of conflict from high intensity to low intensity.  Mr. Frank would eschew that advice, but my guess is that in 1999, Mr. Frank never even imagined we'd be fighting in Afghanistan today.

His sort of thinking is dangerous.  It's how you get behind the power curve and stay there.  It's also how we could easily lose our ability to impose both air superiority and air dominance - critical to winning whatever type fight we find ourselves involved in in the future.
Lockheed Martin F-35 senior manager Bob DuLaney said after Monday's briefing that threats change, and major powers could supply others with sophisticated equipment to deny U.S. air superiority. " You cannot predict the next combat," the retired Air Force lieutenant general and F-16 and F-4 combat pilot said. 
That is correct.  Mr. Frank, on the other hand, suggests a dangerous course that could ultimately lead to defeat.


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