Close Air Support in 2030: Moving Beyond the A-10/F-35 Debate
Nicely done. This is a well thought out and balanced piece. It puts a lot of emotionally-laden arguments in proper context.
I especially like the emphasis on getting back to a high-low mix, albeit using new UAS systems. As the authors state, we don’t have to settle for just a few “exquisite” weapons systems. A mix of capabilities, under manned control, will give us the most flexibility across the spectrum of warfare.
If the plan is to do CAS exactly as we have done it in the past, and simply swap out the A-10 for an F-35, we will never be as good as we could be. We have an opportunity and an obligation to transform the way we do CAS — to provide support to ground forces far beyond what we’ve been able to achieve in the past, in all scenarios, including highly contested threat environments. We can be more lethal, we can be more precise, and we can strike down the enemy before he ever has a chance to harm our forces on the ground. To meet that challenge we will have to make hard choices. Politics, service rivalries, budget compromises, and — inevitably — emotions are fixtures on this landscape.