back to article US air force chiefs sacked in robot-armada brouhaha

The civilian and uniformed heads of the US Air Force have been fired, according to reports. The two men's reluctance to unleash armadas of drone aircraft into the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq was apparently a major factor in the decision. However, there was also some unpleasantness regarding mislaid nuclear weapons, and …

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Joke

"deadly cargo"

...as opposed to the cuddly, huggable conventional bombs that give you a peck on the cheek and shyly ask you to give their daddy all your oil.

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Black Helicopters

Actually,

It's probably more a case of LAST-war-itis. That's the usual military way.

It's possible that the USAF has become more far-sighted, but more likely, they are STILL planning to fight the USSR (for which the F22 was designed), and by good fortune, a potential future war against Russia/China just happens to offer a very similar prospect.

Or in other words, they're so far behind the times that they're about to be lapped.

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Black Helicopters

The US Air Force should be disbanded

The US Air Force is already an anachronism. Manned fighters should be given to the US Navy, as should all nuclear ballistic missiles. Land based nuclear ballistic missiles are also an anachronism that should be phased out. UAV's should be left in the direct control of whoever's forces those UAV's are supporting, which means Army and Navy (& Marines, who are part of the Navy).

All future fighters & bombers should have dual UAV/manned capability in the same aircraft. All future fighters should have Aircraft Carrier takeoff & landing capability.

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Black Helicopters

Interesting

Over here on this side of the pond, there's absolutely NO mention of anything about unmanned aircraft, it's *all* about the "lost" a-bombs. This is literally the first I've heard about this.

Which is why I read El Reg! (and the BBC instead of CNN or Faux News)

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Why draft pilots?

OK, it's running on the same principles as a plane, but it doesn't require the physcal fitness or survival training of a real pilot and you could feasibly do this job while eating pizza.

Surely they should be snapping up all those air force rejects who had good reflexes but who were too short, too asmatic or suffered from too much cake retention to get in a real jet.

It shouldn't be difficult to recruit - you get all the fun of a uniform and a special security pass to impress the ladies while never being more than a short drive from Vegas and having zero chance of the bad guys shooting you.

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Joke

Re: The US Air Force should be disbanded

but.. but...

Then who would fire upon the friendly forces on the ground?

Mine is the invisibility cloak. Oh, you can't find it? oops!

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Anonymous Coward

Pram - toys

Just because they used cheap transport for some nukes and didn't tell the passengers surely is no reason to get rid of the slackers. Oh, everyone puts things down and can't remember where they left them.

They are sulking, they wanted new toys to play with and Santa didn't bring them at Xmas.

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Black Helicopters

Ahh yes.

Good old "nasty" nukes eh? Unlike those nice n friendly lumps of steel full of that exploding stuff.

Gotta love it.

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Accountability

Er, AC, "on this side of the pond" there has been perfectly adequate coverage of this issue. You would have to read a newspaper, instead of getting your news from televised light-entertainment yakfests masquerading as news, though.

See, for example, today's NYT coverage. Sample quote:

"Mr. Gates has also expressed frustration about some Air Force actions on weapons procurement, budgets and execution of the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, his aides said.

The Air Force has more than doubled the number of armed Predator and Reaper hunter-killer aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan since early last year, but aides to Mr. Gates say he is still not satisfied with the number of surveillance aircraft in the war zone. "

But, frankly, the tussle over unmanned aircraft really is the less interesting part of this story. What is more interesting is seeing an old-school apparatchik like Gates standing out from the Bush administration by actually valuing accountability over loyalty.

I had honestly expected that the fact that the Air Force had no idea where a portion of its nukes are at any given time would be blamed on low-level "bad apples" -- technical sergeants, lieutenants, etc. "not following procedures". This indeed appeared to be the spin impressed on this news story by the AF a few months ago.

Gates appears to have stood up to them, however, making the obvious observation that a culture of security and accountability around nuclear weapons can only be created from the top, and that the failure to create that culture is a senior command failure. The heads that are rolling are accordingly being detached from the torsos of generals and senior DOD civilian officials, rather than from those of the operational personnel. Kudos to him for that.

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Anonymous Coward being a plank

Quite frankly your post on the USAF being disbanded has to be the worst idea I've heard all week.

Why should manned aircraft be handed over to the USN? Why hand over their nuclear weapons.

Air operations can and often are launched completely independently of ground and naval operations. Have you never heard of strategic bombing campaigns. Not all air operations are in support of the other service arms. Please don't claim strategic bombing operations are a thing of the past and will never happen again.

Also why would you increase airframe weight and cost by an average of 15% to include the capability of manning an unmanned aircraft. One of the two reasons for unmanned aircraft is cost reduction, the other being pilot safety.

And to finish, giving all aircraft a carrier capacity would again dramatically increase cost and reduce overall effectiveness. As a carrier capacity just like a pilot capacity has a cost, weight, maintenance and performance overhead.

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Thumb Up

I approve

Quality starts at the top. And that's where the buck stops too. But to actually see action taken based upon these facts is remarkably rare. Well done.

(Mind you there's probably a not-so-well hidden agenda too)

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Silver badge
Stop

Re: The US Air Force should be disbanded

There will always be a need for land-based aircraft. Land-based aircraft are much more economical to operate than sea-based aircraft, as they do not need the additional structural support needed for catapult takeoffs and arrestor landings. Given a near-enough friendly airfield, land-based aircraft are preferred. Most bomber craft are Air Force, too, due to their size. In fact, the Air Force is a lot more than just attack craft. Most utility aircraft (AWACS, tankers, etc.) are controlled by the Air Force.

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Flame

USAF disbanded? History lesson..

People (including our own government..) seem to have forgotten that the four branches of military were designed to be able to suppress a threat from one rogue branch as necessary. If there's mutiny in the Air Force, the Marines, Army and Navy can take them out. They're supposed to balance each other, and possess technology and materials that the other branches don't have for very specific reasons.

Every branch wants to be better-stronger-faster and there's always a competitive spirit between them, but our executive branch and lame-duck congress of the early 2000's are allowing things to get out of control.

Regarding the foul-ups, that kind of crap simply doesn't happen. I believe the executive branch is up to another something and they're letting these USAF staffers hang for it.

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Bob
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There, I said it.

Gates is the most sensible person and competent the Bush administration has ever appointed (not that there's a lot of competition for sensibility and competence in the Presidential Clown Car that is the current administration), and regardless of the next president I would support his maintaining the SOD position. The fact that he A) has been willing to take his subordinates to task and hold them accountable, and B) hasn't spent the majority of his time in front of a microphone shouting "LOOK AT ME, I'M A SHILL" really makes him stand out.

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ian
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@Raston Warrior

"If there's mutiny in the Air Force, the Marines, Army and Navy can take them out."

Reminds me of "Dr. Strangelove" and General Jack D. Ripper. It certainly worked there, though a bit late.

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Black Helicopters

@Bob

"Have you never heard of strategic bombing campaigns."

Yes. Have you ever heard of one that actually achieved the military or political objectives it was supposed to?

Answer: No.

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Go

Army Air Corps

The USAF was created from the Army Air Corps after WWII. The bomb stopped the war, and "the They" needed someone to handle the nukes. It's one of the primary reasons the USAF was created.

"kind of crap simply doesn't happen"

When everybody assumes somebody else is in charge, stupid things happen. Getting rid of the potted palms at the top won't fix this, but it might help. This is pinpointing the fickle finger of fate directly at individuals who were ultimately responsible, not a group where everyone could easily blame each other. The response is slightly less nauseating than a pack of frightened dogs desperately trying to hide underneath each other, and coming from the Bush White House, it once again smells of deceit, lies, and cover-up.

Agreement on the non-sexy Afghan drone reasons, we didn't hear anything about that from the "News" disorganizations on the west side of the pond.

"...Happy is the day when the Air Corps gets it's pay, as we go rolling rolling home. [new verse] I've got <six|four|tup>pence..."

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Coat

@Steve, r.e why draft pilots?

Because they're the only ones qualified to remote pilot a dropship anyway!

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Happy

Stupid things happen?

My theory is the the population of the world is getting more stupid with every generation that passes. One day we'll all wake up and the intelligent people will be gone, and we'll be left with a bunch of shit no one knows how to fix.

Look we all know it's happening, we just won't admit it. I mean, tell me that 20 years ago anyone would have been surprised at finding the administration lied about their reasons for invading Iraq. But you listen to the media now, and they're all saying "wow, so that press secretary said GW made it all up and we didn't need to invade at all" as if this was some sort of revelation.

However I also think they're wrong. He didn't lie, it's just he's stupid. And I think the Republicans did it deliberately. They want to find out how stupid Americans were, and put George Bush up for election to find out.

"If they don't notice, we'll be able to do anything we want. If no one complains they have to be complete idiots. No, don't worry, it's not like he can do anything catastrophic... He did what? Invaded which country? How did he come to that conclusion? Wow.."

And you know one of them is sitting in the back of the room saying "I think we can go even more stupid..".

So you see it's not their fault they lose things. They're just stupid. The stupid are out-breeding the intelligent. Is anyone checking? Is anyone making sure intelligent people are getting sex? No!

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Stop

Re: @Bob

'"Have you never heard of strategic bombing campaigns."

Yes. Have you ever heard of one that actually achieved the military or political objectives it was supposed to?

Answer: No.'

Actually the answer is yes - many times. In recent memory a strategic bombing campaign over Afghanistan was used to allow the rebels in Afghanistan to overturn the Taleban, with a lot of success, and minimal western ground troop involvement. A little further back, the strategic bombing campaign before Iraq 1 in 91 softened up the troops sufficiently to make the liberation of Kuwait into a cakewalk.

Going further back, the Second World War had a bunch of strategic bombing campaigns that worked. The targeted bombing of synthetic oil factories by the US over Germany combined with the defeat of Germany in Stalingrad (thereby denying Germany access to oil) effectively shut down the blitzkrieg machine and prevent any real counterattacks on the western front. And the mother of all strategic bombing, the dropping of 2 atomic bombs on Japan, directly resulted in the surrender of Japan.

We can look at other campaigns in history if you are interested, but I recommend you read a few history books before making wild claims about the efficacy of strategic bombing.

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Black Helicopters

Strategic Bombing

"Yes. Have you ever heard of one that actually achieved the military or political objectives it was supposed to?"

Answer: No.

Surely 9/11, for example should be regarded as a complete strategic success?

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hmm...

""Yes. Have you ever heard of one that actually achieved the military or political objectives it was supposed to?"

Answer: No"

So basically his answer is yes, he knows the point you are making and recognises the existence of strategic bombing as a modern military strategy but disagrees so would like to reference political success (like it matters) to try and offset the validity of your opinion. ;)

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Joke

Re: A little further back, the strategic bombing campaign before Iraq 1 in 91...

Would "Iraq 1" be the original in the Iraq trilogy? I heard it was a box office smash but Iraq 2 wasn't as popular. Iraq 3 will probably be dire, shortsighted and cheaply manufactured but have a cute chick in a lead role.

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Jim
Flame

shouldn't that be...

"And the mother of all strategic bombing, the dropping of 2 atomic bombs on Japan, directly resulted in the surrender of Japan."

..resulted in the unconditional surrender of Japan. IIRC they were (conditionally) willing to end hostilities prior to the bombs being dropped.

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Alien

Or there is more then meets the eye !

Or there is more then meets the eye and in reality it is about improving the basic pay and conditions of all US Air Force Staff as in this article in 2007 for since 2001 Afghanistan and more so in 2003 the DC Chimp has been playing a very underhanded nasty deck of cards in regard to the basic funding of all his full and part time military forces at his beck and call !

Many of whom he has been using up as expendables "Haig Style" in his costly multi trillion dollar wars of no end in sight , feeding his fellow pigs whilst simultaneously playing the charlatans variant of false flag patriotism as recently as his attendance to an Air Force Officer Graduation Ceremony not all that long ago and speculation as to designating an existing national memorial in a state which has always been a solid blue since it was the last territory to join the Union(now at least we know why he was there in the first place before the hatchet burying and the blood letting began !) !

Me thinks both have gone to the wall for reasons other then those officially cited since becoming Sec Defence Robert Gates has been manipulating his some what restricted budget more and more like a round robin player hedge fund with many drop shorts across entire sections of his spending range with health care and new equipment to replace war losses being the highest casualties to date and the gap is rapidly expanding as hyper stagflation due to the rapid and ever upward escalating increases in Oil and Fuel operational costs since 10th of January 2001 , bite deeper into his rapidly diminishing pockets daily and a very unfriendly Senate Appropriations Committee he now faces !

link to 2007 article thus

http://andrightlyso.com/2007/05/04/air-force-personell-might-not-get-paid-thanks-to-reid-pelosi-and-the-dhimmicrats/

Sometimes , truth can be found in the oddest of places , but as with all intertubes a billion answers exist seeking out the questions !

As with all information released from Washington DC press offices these days one should never accept anything at face value from any of the DC Chimps cronies and pals in the current front office , as they are people who prefer much grandiose propaganda to telling the real truth like it is , as are all repukes by their very nature of being what they are and most cannot handle the truth at any time ever !

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Silver badge
Alien

US Admin/Washington DC Texas Shakedown in Meltdown along with their Currency *

"Is anyone making sure intelligent people are getting sex? No!" ... By Andy Bright

Posted Friday 6th June 2008 18:44 GMT

Yes, intelligent people are, Andy. But they are always most grateful for all added unconditional help. :-) And aint that the Sweetest of Truths.

* .... "We're gonna close this topic.

codelancer wrote that KL will not create such a network and utility." .... http://forum.kaspersky.com/index.php?showtopic=71651

codelancer is in all probability not wrong, Evgeny Tokhomiro, KL Russia Support Team. But quite another way of looking at the task, is not for crytographers to crack malicious, self serving code, for it is always easily recognised by the currency master IT servers too .... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7440536.stm ... which is the Federal Reserve Fractional Reserve Ransomware Virus going through its Death Throes .... but to offer an alternate, anti-competitive competing White Knight Cossack Binary Medicine to load any other Globally Linked Treasury with ITs Danegeld ....... which is Compromised and Corrupted Currencies Caught in Crime and Capitalist Conspiracies.

Think Big and the Picture you see will be the One that Information Shared Creates. ...... which is Really more for those Disciplined and XXXXPert in Steganography than Cryptography....... but there is no Doubt that it is the Future Way of Doing Global Business.

Now that would be a Priceless Networking Utility, which you can be sure NIRobotIQs [Network InterNetworking RobotIQs] is playing ITs Bit Role ..... "Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has their own particular part to play. No part is too great or too small; no one is too old or too young to do something." .... Bobby Sands, Dead and buried, but more Alive now than ever.

And all that anyone needs to make AIdDifference is a Beta Working Brain and presumably we all have one of those, although some of them are quite obviously perverted and subverted to the Suicidal Selfish XXXXCessPool rather than the Shared XTC of Royal and Ancient Wisdoms."

If the West is too Petrified to Out the Cowardly Armchair Warmonger and Despicable Market Profiteers, then the Shame will be Shared so that the Blame can Land right back at its ITBase. ...... Spin Machine. ..... Payola Racket ... Call IT what you will.

Time for AI Pleasant Change, N'est ce pas, mes Amis.? ....with a Change of Heart and Brain, methinks.

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Heart

Hooray Beer!

"Bobby Sands, Dead and buried, but more Alive now than ever."

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The air force...

is not only owns most us fighter aircrafts, but also bombers, transport planes, most ballistic missiles and the us space command also belongs to them. So in case of a really big war, they have most of the job to kill everyone on this planet. This is not something that can be divided between the other branches.

On the other side, the big problem with the nukes was not that they transported them across the us and left them unattended for some time, but that they exist. This weapon class was ment to be destroyed by an agreement between the usa and the soviet union. Yet, they still had them in a combat ready condition and thanks to this event, now everyone knows that they didn't destroy them in the first place.

The droners in vegas isn't a big problem, because they recruit them from other branches of the airforce, so there is no need for real pilots to be involved. The big resistance came from the leaders of the airforce, but not because of some remotely operated units, but because the government decided to use automated drones, without human controllers. Most people in the us airforce think this is a bad idea and don't want to use them at all. Getting rid of these people was necessary before drones with full autonomus ai can be used. The same thing will happen when ground units get replaced by robots in the future. Now the only question is which side will have better hackers?

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CTG
Black Helicopters

@AC Re: @Bob

The point is that most air forces - USAF/USAAC, RAF and Luftwaffe at least - have tended to make grossly exaggerated claims about the effects of strategic bombing. The USAAC and RAF both insisted they could win WWII on their own, and strenuously resisted attempts to have the bomber force redirected to tactical ground support missions. That was even used as part of the justification for setting up the USAF in the first place - if the USAAC had been independent, then it could have concentrated solely on strategic bombing and ended the war in 1944.

Trouble is, that argument was complete bollocks. All three air forces massively overstated the effectiveness of strategic bombing. Take the Dambusters raid - brilliant stuff, unbelievably courageous etc, but the strategic effects of the raid were far less than originally anticipated. Germany just moved production into underground factories in central and eastern parts with minimal interruption.

As for Desert Storm - that was *not* a strategic bombing campaign. The most effective part of the air campaign was the use of Army AH-64s in the ground support role. The USAF contribution was mostly at the "operational" level - F-15s and A-10s taking out the Republican Guard, for example - that is not strategic bombing. Strategic bombing in that context would have been, say, making Iraq surrender by carpet bombing Baghdad, or taking out the oil facilities. At the end of the day, the ground troops still had to move in and take Kuwait.

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Why can't we all just get along?

Why don't the fucking morons stop building pointless shitloads of weapons playing stupid monkey games from the past. How much of the us money gets fucked down the military money shredder every year? No wonder the country is full of retards.

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Joke

Things you don't want to hear:

Bombadier on an unarmed B52: "Did anyone else hear a loud noise just then?"

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Anonymous Coward

Strikes me as very safe

If they don't know where the nukes are, they can't fire them.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Stupid things happen?

@ By Andy Bright

It's not just that they are breeding faster but now breeding partners are picked for their looks, never mind brains or potential.

Also equal oportunities,the celebrity culture, and extended childhood mean that the gene pool is just getting greyed down to the lowest common denominator.

The future is bleak!

I say this as the parent of three daughters of breeding age, but I thought that I was the only one that noticed.

An obvious example Tony Blair made Prime Minister! How dumb was that?

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Stop

@ Andy Bright and AC

the most socially significant, frightening, terrifying, and under-appreciated movie of our lifetimes:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387808/

it's only a "comedy" in the sense that, as a "comedy" the truth can be told without "offending" the people who are the problem. Like the court jesters of old.

Working with the social services and in IT, I see this more and more. From the "Peter Principle", to some new management style that thinks ADHD is some sort of desired quality, to the hundreds of women giving birth to fatherless children, and many of these unnamed "fathers" having multiple spawn, multigenerational "assistance" cases (three generations, same household) while hardworking members of my team are now just having a second child, or in many cases, none at all.

political correctness was one of many tools to dumb down society, hollywood liberals make the "entertainment" to lower it more, while socialist politicians make sure "the system" can take care of those who cannot be arsed to learn to take care of themselves. (from birth to TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD for ALL children in the foster care system!-that's eight years of voting for whomever gives them more for nothing. Two presidential terms, four House terms, more than one Senate term, and that's just the Federal level)

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Stop

Disband the USAF?

Why on earth would we do that? We've already spent so much money on all of their pet projects...most of which were at the expense of land forces...that it's worth it just for the "shock and awe".

Gee, if we did recall history I think that there was this thing called the U.S. Army Air Corps before the Air Farce.

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