Report: Air Force Should 'Recommit' to Total Force
In order to better accomplish its core missions, the Air Force needs to recommit to the Total Force, according to a special report issued last week by the Heritage Foundation, a pro-defense think tank in Washington, D.C.
The recommendation is part of "Full-Spectrum Air Power: Building the Air Force America Needs" by Robert P. Haffa, a retired Air Force pilot and Air Force Academy professor who now heads Haffa Defense Consulting in Naples, Fla.
He argues for rebuilding the Air Force to support a joint force capable of meeting current and future threats "without regard to arbitrary fiscal guidelines and ceilings."
Haffa says budgetary decisions and more than 20 years of continuous asymmetric operations have the Air Force ill-equipped to carry out its roles and missions in the new national military strategy, including air superiority and long-range strike.
To reverse this trend, he offers several recommendations, including reopening the F-22 assembly line, building a new long-range bomber, acquiring new F-15s and F-16s from active production lines, reversing the C-27J decision and recommitting to the Total Force.
"Modernization of the Guard and Reserve is essential to enhance recruitment and retention and to keep ready the expertise generated during constant rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan," he wrote.
Among other recommendations, he says the Air Force should expand its "associate relationship" with National Guard fighter units to capitalize on their flying and maintenance experience.
Haffa cites a RAND study that found Air Guard maintenance organizations "constantly outperformed" active-component squadrons in generating more "peacetime flying hours per person."