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Meet Your New Air Force

12:09 PM, Jan 17, 2008 • By JOHN NOONAN
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Hot off the presses, the USAF just released the much anticipated (though clumsily named) Roadmap to the Future. I'm including the link to the Air Force's press release, though I won't bother quoting from it, as the Zoomies are notorious for churning out awful canned statements that do nothing but rehash their core values and principles of warfighting. So you don't have to wade through that drivel, the Roadmap's core function is to announce the bed down plans for all of the Air Force's future weapon systems.

Here is the link to the actual plan as set forth by Air Force Chief of Staff Michael Mosley. There weren't a whole lot of surprises, though I did surmise that the AF isn't anticipating any further BRAC realignments. There's even a long term plan for Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota, which was a breath away from being dismantled under Rumsfeld in 2005. Nice to see that we plan to house our next generation bomber at four of the five major bomber bases (Whiteman will continue to fly the B-2, presumably), as the proud Air Force bomber community took a terrible hit during the Clinton years.

Also interesting, while the Air Force does intend to fly the C-27 Spartan, it will be limited to National Guard units spread across the country. On first glance, that didn't make much sense to me, as the Spartan is deigned for inter-theater airlift, not long term hauls from the mainland United States. But, with the Air Force constantly deploying their Guard and Reserve units as part of the Future Total Force integration plan, I gather that there's a method to the madness.

I'm curious to see how this plan will be affected by the election. Most of the candidates in the Republican field want to breathe new life into the Air Force by infusing more cash and resources. If the GOP wins, I'm betting that Roadmap will expand to include more aircraft housed at more bases.

If a Democrat wins, the Air Force might have to tone down their plans a bit.