No Fly Zones Begin At Home

Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the former head of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance on the Air Staff, penned a blistering op ed in the Wall Street Journal taking US officials to task for calling for military options in Syria while ignoring the steady toll of sequestration. “There has been much talk lately in Washington about establishing a no-fly zone in Syria,” wrote Deptula, who once commanded the no-fly zone over Iraq. “You don’t hear about the no-fly zones that are already up and running—over the United States,” added. Deptula made note of US bases that have stood down as DOD looks to shave costs and spare limited flying hours. He said flying and maintaining proficiency in combat aircraft is not like riding a bike, it requires preparation and training to maintain superior combat capabilities. However, this superiority is waning now that large numbers of airmen are no longer flying. The hollow force carved out by sequestration means the US now faces a growing strategy resource mismatch. “Now that (sequestration) has been implemented, the danger is that Washington begins to think the military cuts are tolerable,” he said. Deptula notes that earlier this month Congress approved legislation to prohibit another round of base closures—even though it could generate significant savings. “Combat readiness doesn’t have a constituency—except for the entire nation, when fighting needs to be accomplished,” Deptula notes. (Wall Street Journal article; Note, must have subscription to access)(House Armed Services Committee summary of the article)