Will Wright / The Kentucky Kernel – 2014-03-28 02:19:16
(March 21, 2014) — In his new book, “Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force,” a UK professor makes the case that the United States does not need an independent Air Force.
About 50 people came to the W.T. Young Library on Monday evening to hear UK professor Robert Farley of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce talk about why the United States should consolidate the powers and responsibilities of the Air Force within the other branches.
The United States Army, Navy, CIA and Coast Guard all currently have their own air forces, and Farley is arguing that these branches can function within their own borders. The main problem with an independent air force, Farley argued, is that it creates a bureaucratic wall between the different branches. This becomes especially problematic when they must work together on a mission.
The best way to ensure a clear line of communication and effective use of air power is to have the other forces commanding them directly, Farley said. “Airpower is magnificent,” he said, but an independent air force creates problems that could be avoided by moving air power into the other branches of the military.
The US Air Force was created in 1947 after a number of individuals argued that airpower must be separate from ground and Navy to truly reach its full potential.
People have argued that Farley is making dead arguments against dead men, that the discussion has already been had, but “I’m making a living argument,” Farley said. “There is no special thing about things that move in the air that means the other forces can’t do it,” said Max Lord, a UK alumnus who has worked with Farley.
Lord argued that there are problems within the Air Force itself that make the transition away from independency appealing. “The Air Force also has a history of letting costs get out of control,” he said. “When that happens, they have to cut how many things they can buy.”
Students of Farley’s airpower class and faculty from the Patterson School came to hear his talk.
“From studying the theory, his argument seems to make sense,” graduate student and member of the airpower class Jordon Johnson said. “His argument may create discussion among the air power community.” Discussion is often a person’s goal when writing a book, Farley said, and that is what he is hoping for with “Grounded.”
“There was some skepticism . . . but there was also a lot of interest,” Farley said. “There are a lot of people who see problems in how the military and Department of Defense function and many are willing to consider some pretty radical proposals.”
Will Wright is the Assistant News Editor of The Kentucky Kernel.
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