I am going to get A LOT of flak for this: but in my opinion
, the Air Force continues to fail to step up to the plate for the GWOT.
Recently I've worked with USAF
personnel, closer than I have ever done so in my career. And the general consensus amongst myself, and my Army brethren, is that the Air Force is aloof to the fact that we're fighting a war.
There is a lack of urgency. There is a lack of teamwork with other branches. There is a lack of a belief that the current conflict requires a new approach, and tactics of '91 and '97 are no longer valid. And there is a lack of confidence that what they're doing, is truly making a difference.
And to me, that kind of failure is a core result of a systemic failure of leadership, at the highest levels.
I have watched a mission be scrubbed for questionable reasons - forcing a team to hoof it out of their mountain position over night. And the AF
leadership's response to this was a simple "Opps, our bad."
And I think it has to do with two main reasons.
1.) The mentality of fighting a Gulf War/Balkans style conflict is so entrenched into Air Force planning and operations, they have struggled to meet the very new challenges of OIF, OEF, GWOT.
2.) The leadership is isolated from the realities of this war. Whereas Marine and Army commanders have multiple tours of duty on the front line, and lead near the action --- the technology age has allowed the Air Force to prosecute an air war, from over 8,000 miles away, creating a sterile environment. They are detached from seeing how their successes impact the war, and more importantly.... how their failures impact the lives of those on the ground.
Now flame away. I'm sure I just pissed a few people off!
Your men have to follow your orders. They don't have to go to your funeral.