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  • QDR Pain and Budget Dips for All
    Posted by David A. Fulghum 7:17 PM on Jan 22, 2010

    The Quadrennial Defense Review is already being described as a transparent attempt to force an inadequate military force to fit into an even more inadequate defense budget.

    “It will ratify what [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates told Congress last year, not what a thorough QDR analysis can validate,” says a former chief of staff says. “In particular there is no force-sizing construct. That planning is missing and it is a major deficiency. Even if it’s hard to nail down the numbers, they are obligated to rationalize the force and the budget. How are they going to go before Congress and justify what they have proposed without matching the force to the threat and generating a set of scenarios to define it?”

    Others note that the F-35 program will suffer as a result.

    “[F-35 Joint Strike Fighter] production money is being sacrificed to fund development costs,” say a scientific advisor for the Pentagon. “The number of aircraft being delayed and pushed to the right has so far been estimated at 100. But we’re now hearing that it’s going to be well above that.”

    Another area producing mixed reactions about its level of support in the QDR and 2011 budget planning is electronic warfare and electronic attack.

    “A lot of people were counting on the electronic attack version of the F-35, but now, production is being delayed,” he says. “The Block 50 F-16 [Wild Weasels] are getting long in the tooth. Raytheon’s MALD-J [miniature air-launched decoy – jammer] is going into production and that will help some.

    “But frankly, I don’t think the Air Force knows what it will do,” the scientific advisor says. “A huge issue that will have to be settled first is how the services will conduct joint management of EW and EA. If there were a conflict over Taiwan, for example, the Chinese, the Taiwanese and the U.S. navy and Air Force would all be there with different electronic attack capabilities. If there isn’t management, blue-force fratricide will be inevitable. It will be like Baghdad. Every time someone turns on an emitter, it will interfere with someone else.”

    There are “clear deficiencies” in many areas,” the former chief of staff says. “An airborne strike force has to be able to penetrate integrated air defenses and takedown future threats. You also need sophisticated standoff EW and EA because even 5th generation aircraft [like the B-2, F-22 and F-35] won’t be able to penetrate all the way into next generation air defenses.”

    A version of the USAF force structure expected to come out of the QDR is being circulated among some intelligence officials. It sets the structure at 8 ISR wing equivalents, 29 airlift and air refueling wing equivalents, 10-11 theater strike wing equivalents (72 primary mission aircraft per wing equivalent). 5 long range strike bomber wing equivalents, 6 air superiority wing equivalents (72 primary aircraft per wing equivalent), 3 command and control wing equivalents and 10 space and cyberspace wing equivalents.

    “The structure is about right in total numbers if you count the homeland defense fighters,” the advisor says. “But the aircraft won’t operate in those stovepipes. Force structure will resemble the big combined wings [with fighters, jammers, ISR and bombers all together]. Historical roles will away. Part of the reason is that the F-22 will be the best intelligence collector and processor in any battle.”

    Tags: ar99, QDR, 2011 budget, EA/EW

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