Monday, April 21, 2008

Gates Scold USAF over UAVs

Much more can be done, maintains the Secretary of Defense, via Ares blog:

"My concern is that our services are still not moving
aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield. I’ve
been wrestling for months to get more intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance assets into the theatre. Because people were stuck in old ways of
doing business, it’s been like pulling teeth. While we’ve doubled this
capability in recent months, it is still not good enough. And so last week I
established a Department of Defense-wide task force much like the MRAP task
force to work this problem in the weeks to come, to find more innovative and
bold ways to help those whose lives are on the line. The deadlines for the task
force’s work are very short.

All this may require rethinking long-standing service
assumptions and priorities about which missions require certified pilots and
which do not. For those missions that still require manned missions, we need to
think hard about whether we have the right platforms. Whether, for example,
low-cost, low-tech alternatives exist to do basic reconnaissance and close air
support in an environment where we have total command of the skies – aircraft
that our partners can also afford and use."

UAVs have already substituted manned jets on many of the latters traditional roles. As Gates declares, much more can be done, as as the number of robot planes increases, the number of manned systems should decrease.