U.S. Air Force Opposes Army Plans for Long-Range Missiles
April 3 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Who said interservice rivalry is dead? The U.S. Air Force countered the U.S. Army’s plan to develop and base long-range missiles on islands in the Western Pacific aimed at China, not because the anti-China orientation is insane but because the Air Force sees the Army stomping on its turf. “Why in the world would we entertain a brutally expensive idea when we don’t, as the [Defense] Department, have the money to go do that?” asked Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, during the Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast recorded March 31, reported Defense News. The Mitchell Institute is the Air Force Association’s in-house think tank. “I’ve had a few congressmen ask me. And you know what? Honestly I think it’s stupid,” he said. “I just think it’s a stupid idea to go and invest that kind of money that recreates something that the service has mastered and that we’re doing already right now. Why in the world would you try that? I try to make sure that my language isn’t a little more colorful than it is, but give me a break.”
Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville claims that by developing such capabilities, the Army will be able to clear away China’s so-called anti-access/area denial measures and clear the way for the Air Force and the Navy. Air power advocates see two problems, however. One is that both of the other services can already do what the Army says it is seeking to do, and the second problem is that numerous other countries would have to agree to host those Army missiles, an unlikely prospect in most cases. “I could see some of them probably agreeing in the European theater, maybe in the Central Asian theater, but I don’t see it coming together with any credibility in the Pacific any time real soon,” Ray said. Besides, the Air Force already has the ability to hold such targets at risk with its bombers that regularly fly all over the world without needing bases close to potential targets.