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An Angry Rant that I Can Get Behind

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First, check out this angry rant against the United States Air Force.

It’s a rant that I can appreciate for obvious reasons, but the ranter also makes some very solid points; the criteria by which Air Force officers move up the chain of command appear to be different than those of the other services (or at least most branches of other services), and these differences are consequential for development of leadership potential. As such, leadership of the service might well suffer relative to the Army and Navy. I think it’s an empirical question as to whether Air Force leadership is actually worse than Army or Navy leadership, but I’ve read a lot of anecdotes along these lines, and the theory makes intuitive sense.

The argument here is different from my own case against the Air Force, which concentrates instead on problems presented by the Air Force’s structural position within the national security bureaucracy. However, I would say that the case made here is consistent with the argument I’m making; if we conceived of the Air Force as part of a military organization geared towards the realization of combined arms victory, rather than as its own independent entity, then problems associated with the promotion of technical experts (fighter pilots) to leadership positions wouldn’t be as significant. I also have to wonder how much the victory of the fighter faction over the bomber faction has made a difference regarding the quality of Air Force leadership. I tend to think that the bomber faction has a wrongheaded and destructive approach to theorization of strategic warfare, but at least it has a firm grasp on the idea that the use of military force ought to be geared toward political outcome. I’m not sure that’s the case for the fighter faction; air superiority is a operational, not strategic concept, and ground attack a tactical, not strategic mission. The argument made by the poster at Op-For would seem to back this conclusion up.

Anyway, like I said; it’s a rant worth reading.

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