More Talk Needed

The new head of US Strategic Command thinks the Air Force’s arguments to be executive agent for unmanned aerial vehicles are pretty persuasive, since he’s all for acquiring intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems “as efficiently as possible.” Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton dismisses the arguments that one service can’t manage all the disparate aircraft of a UAV force. “The Air Force knows how to command and control air assets … that’s what the Air Force does,” he told reporters late last week at AFA’s National Symposium on Space in Los Angeles. He said that the Army knows how to command and control numerous ground assets; likewise the Navy for many vessels at sea, and USAF should be given credit for knowing how to manage “the air domain.” He added that USAF has managed air operations in Afghanistan and Iraq very well, all in support of ground operations, so there’s no reason to think it would stop doing so if given executive agent status over higher flying UAVs. Chilton shakes his head at the controversy, saying “everyone seems to be hung up on the term.” He suspects, though, that ” a lot more talk is necessary” to explain the efficiencies that would seem to attend such a change.