I have to agree with Noah; the evidence for inter-service tension between the Army and the Air Force in this article is largely inferential. Shanker relates some anecdotes about Army frustration with the performance of the Air Force, notes that the Army is developing a UAV force, and concludes that the former must have brought about the latter. But of course the Army doesn’t need to be frustrated with the Air Force to seek to augment its own capabilities; the dynamics are complicated, but it’s hardly unusual for organizations to try to seize new turf and pursue greater autonomy, even absent bureaucratic tension. Moreover, Noah correctly notes that Odin (the Army UAV project) has been in the open for quite some time, in contrast to the picture that Shanker tries to paint.
As everyone is aware, I’m all for augmenting the tactical capabilities of the Army at the expense of the Air Force. However, I suspect that Shanker is inferring something that isn’t there. It’s possible that people on the inside are telling him something that he’s not relating to us, but we need to see that evidence before jumping to conclusions.
See also Peter.