America’s Incredible Shrinking Air Force

Here’s the next step in DoD’s mini-sizing the Air Force – aka ‘bye, bye USAF’ – project:
Venerable A-10 Warthog Faces Extinction
January 31, 2012
by Michael Hoffman

The venerable A-10 tank killer aircraft is taking a hit of its own as part of the Defense Department’s decision to eliminate six of the Air Force’s tactical air squadrons and one training squadron.

Air National Guard squadrons will bear the brunt of the losses. Three of the five A-10 squadrons going away will be Guard units. Air Force leaders plan to eliminate one Reserve and one active duty squadron.


First built in 1975, the A-10 Thunderbolt II – better known as the “Warthog” — is known as the infantryman’s favorite Air Force aircraft because of its ability to fly low and slow over a battlefield providing close air support.

The Air Force flies 189 A-10s in the active duty, 108 in the Air National Guard, and another 48 in Reserves. Air Force leaders plan to phase out the A-10 and allow the F-35 Lightning II to take its mission sets once it enters the Air Force fleet in numbers.

But the F-35 program has experienced problems and Panetta announced in his budget “preview” that the Pentagon would delay it once again.

But, I thought the F-35s were supposed to make up for the F-22s we didn’t build? What am I missing here? Looking back a tad:

Weekly Standard Blog
A Good Day for the ChiComs
Posted by Michael Goldfarb
on July 21, 2009 01:35 PM

There will soon be a crisis of American airpower: old F-15 and F-16s, aging F-18s and not enough of them to fill carrier decks, too few F-22s (that you’re going to be very reluctant to use) and late arriving (and limited) F-35s (and what’s the likelihood that F-35 goes forward according to plan?), plus a dinky and old bomber fleet. I haven’t worked out the numbers, but if you look forward 7-10 years, the picture has got to be very ugly.  [emphasis added]

But then again, since there are going to be no tankers, it doesn’t matter that there are no fighters.

Also, the Air Force’s Minuteman III ICBM force has been taken off line re-targeted:

Washington Times
April 7, 2010
Obama strategy frustrates nuke foes
Bill Gertz and Eli Lake

The Obama administration’s nuclear strategy review made public on Tuesday keeps in place all strategic weapons needed to fight a nuclear war and presents only minor policy changes, a move that upset arms-control advocates who had sought major cuts in U.S. forces.

The report of the yearlong Nuclear Posture Review changes how nuclear arms will be used against non-nuclear weapons states. Nuclear-missile forces will remain on alert to be fired within minutes to counter a nuclear strike, but the intercontinental ballistic missile warheads now are targeted on open oceans — not Russian or Chinese cities — in case of an accidental launch, senior administration officials said in releasing the report. [emphasis added] 

“This review describes how the United States will reduce the role and numbers of nuclear weapons with a long-term goal of a nuclear-free world,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said at the Pentagon, echoing President Obama’s pledge last year.  

The missiles may as well have been taken off-line since re-targeting the fleet takes about an hour. Essentially, this gives the Russians/Chinese a first strike option against our land-based missile force. Not to worry, though, since they’re our friends. Right?

I can’t help but wonder what Greenpeace thinks of Obama’s “Nuke the Whales” ICBM targeting plan.

Keep in mind that Robert Gates, a Bush II appointee, was Defense Secretary until July 1st of last year. Panetta is just continuing with the Gates USAF downsizing project which is really the brainchild of the Bush clan. But that’s a story for another time.

Just how many ways are there of spelling S*U*R*R*E*N*D*E*R?


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