The Best Defense

The never-ending fight over aircraft supporting ground forces in combat: Close air support vs. interdiction

There seems to me to be a never-ending fight between close air support (that is, against the enemy's frontline forces) and interdiction (that is, on the lines of supply to those forces). Why do the twain never meet?

I suspect the answer is that both sides are totally right -- from their own perspectives. Air commanders want to be able to boast that they blew up 90 percent of the mortar shells that were being shipped to the enemy's front. But if you are on the receiving end of the remaining 10 percent, that means nothing. What you wanted stopped is the 100 percent of the shells aiming to kill you at that moment.    

How to resolve this? I suspect it is to drop the other shoe and give the Army its own fixed-wing close air support aircraft, to go along with the helicopters. Back when the Army Air Corps failed to provide enough spotting aircraft, the Army's artillery branch bought its own aircraft, Edgar Raines tells us (via the estimable Eugenia Kiesling).  If I were sec def, I'd say to the Air Force, "Dudes, it's like drones: By handling the mission so poorly, you've forfeited the right to sole ownership."  


The Best Defense

Things that undermine people's faith in the workings of the military justice system

A Navy lieutenant was found by social workers in the city of Virginia Beach to have committed child abuse, and signed a decree admitting to Level 2 abuse, according to a report by Bill Sizemore of the Virginian Pilot. Yet the officer remains in the Navy -- which never investigated the case at the time.   

Skeptical? Try this: "In a tearful interview with a social worker, the daughter said her father took her into a bedroom, locked the door, pinned her down by her wrists and raped her, city records obtained by The Pilot show. She said the assault followed two years of inappropriate touching by her father."

U.S. Navy