National Security

The crackdown in Egypt: more than 500 dead; American influence there waning; Say no more: Poppa Panda Sexy Pants; Saying “drones” will get you in trouble; Why the F-35 sucks; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

There is a mosque in Cairo where they are collecting bodies from the violence. Reuters: "The bodies of close to 250 people killed in Egypt's political violence are being held at a mosque in northeast Cairo, witnesses said, indicating the death toll may be higher than the official countrywide total of [525]. A Reuters reporter counted 228 bodies, though an exact count was difficult because some were being moved and loaded into coffins for removal from the Imam mosque. Medics at the scene said the bodies had been moved straight from a nearby protest camp broken up by the police on Wednesday to the mosque, said Heba Morayef, Egypt director at Human Rights Watch, adding that she had counted 235 bodies."

Human Rights Watch's Heba Morayef: "This indicates the toll will be higher." For more, click here.

Hagel and other administration officials continue to press Egypt's Gen. Abel Fattah Al-Sisi to better manage the situation. Hagel is said to have had a special channel to Egypt through al-Sisi, speaking with him as many as 15 times in recent weeks - in conversations that run as long as an hour or so and are described to Situation Report as being direct. "[Hagel] has been very candid with Gen. Al-Sisi what the U.S. position is on Egypt," a senior defense official told us this morning, saying Hagel is "disappointed" by the recent outbreak of violence. The two are expected to speak again as soon as today. They last spoke late last week. "From the U.S. perspective, what we're seeing is deeply troubling in Egypt right now," the official said. "It is important to maintain contact... we're going to continue to strongly voice our views through these various channels to the Egyptians to tell them what we think."

WSJ: U.S. influence in Egypt is waning. Jay Solomon and Carol Lee: "The relationship between the U.S. and Egypt's military government is breaking down, diminishing Washington's influence as the country's leadership violently routs its opposition and narrowing the Obama administration's options." More here.

Under the headline "Enough is Enough," Marc Lynch, writing on FP: "With blood in Egypt's streets and a return to a state of emergency, it's time for Washington to stop pretending. Its efforts to maintain its lines of communication with the Egyptian military, quietly mediate the crisis, and help lay the groundwork for some new, democratic political process have utterly failed. Egypt's new military regime, and a sizable and vocal portion of the Egyptian population, have made it very clear that they just want the United States to leave it alone. For once, Washington should give them their wish." Read the rest here.

FP Slideshow of Chaos in Cairo, here.

Welcome to Thursday's edition of Situation Report. Sign up for Situation Report here or just e-mail us. And as always, if you have a report, piece of news, or a tidbit you want teased, send it to us early for maximum tease. Please follow us @glubold. And remember, if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report.

Five times fast: "Poppa Panda Sexy Pants." That's what the Army captain liked to call Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, with whom she had an affair before it got ugly. The WaPo's Craig Whitlock, reporting from Fort Bragg, N.C.: "All the raw and sordid details are spilling out in an austere military courthouse here, where the Army is girding - for only the third time in half a century - to court-martial one of its generals. Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, an Army Ranger and paratrooper, stands accused of forcible sodomy, adultery and other charges that could land him in prison. Prosecutors say he abused his command authority by sleeping with a subordinate officer, a taboo in the armed forces and a violation of military law. They charge that the relationship turned violent on two occasions, when he allegedly forced her to perform oral sex. In addition, Sinclair faces charges that he had inappropriate communications with three other female officers. Sinclair has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Sexting: At Fort Bragg, some of the texts between the captain and Sinclair were read aloud. Here's one, from the captain to Sinclair in September 2011: "You are my heart and world you beautiful magnificent man... I need you and I mean really deeply profusely need you." But then, early last year, she wrote to him: "You are going to make me do something really stupid... How about I just [expletive] call [Sinclair's commander] and have him resolve this, Im sure he will take the time to keep me from being suicidal. I well not let [you] continue to screw me over." Read the rest of Whitlock's piece here.

Unlawful Command (er-in-chief) Influence: Hagel attempts to blunt Obama's alleged "command influence."  NYT's Jennifer Steinhauer: "In an effort to stop military lawyers from using comments by President Obama to prevent sexual assault prosecutions, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has sent out a directive ordering the military to exercise independent judgment in the cases and effectively ignore the president's remarks. ‘There are no expected or required dispositions, outcomes or sentences in any military justice case, other than what result from the individual facts and merits of a case and the application to the case of the fundamentals of due process of law,' Mr. Hagel wrote in a memorandum dated Aug. 6 that is to be disseminated throughout the military. Since May, when Mr. Obama said at the White House that sexual offenders in the military ought to be ‘prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,' lawyers in dozens of assault cases have argued that Mr. Obama's words as commander in chief amounted to ‘unlawful command influence," tainting trials and creating unfair circumstances for clients as a result.

Their motions have had some success. At Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina in June, a judge dismissed charges of sexual assault against an Army officer, noting the command influence issue. In Hawaii, a Navy judge ruled last month that two defendants in sexual assault cases, if found guilty, could not be punitively discharged because of Mr. Obama's remarks." Read the rest here.

Dempsey is headed back to D.C. After his stop in Israel and then Jordan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey is headed back to Washington today. Yesterday he visited with American and allied troops in Amman, met with Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard of the 1st Armored Division, who is leading the "planning element" in Jordan that consists of about 200 troops who are working with the Jordanians on refugee support and what we're told are "other planning issues."

The NYT's Thom Shanker, traveling with Dempsey, on Jordan's call for help: "With no end in sight to the violence in Syria, which has already sent a half-million refugees into Jordan, authorities here appealed to the United States on Wednesday for surveillance airplanes and intelligence help to secure a border that is favored by arms smugglers. In daylong meetings, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Gen. Mashal al-Zaben, the country's top military officer, also discussed the need to increase humanitarian assistance to help Jordan cope with a refugee population that is straining water and food supplies, as well as schools and hospitals. About 550,000 Syrians are officially registered as refugees in Jordan, with about 130,000 congregating in the Zaatari camp, making it the fourth-largest city in Jordan. Most of the refugees are women and children." The rest here.

First you couldn't call it an unmanned aerial vehicle. Now, drone makers don't want you to call it a drone. The people who fly and make and kill with, er, drones, are very sensitive. They used to hate it when folks would call them "unmanned aerial vehicles" - ‘cuz of course they're manned, silly! (they just don't have people flying on them, but plenty of people on the ground supporting them). Instead, Pentagon types liked to call them "remotely piloted aircraft," or RPAs.  Well the big show this week in D.C., the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems conference, is trying to get serious about getting reporters to stop calling them drones. From FP's John Reed, reporting from the show: "The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. has been invaded by drones this week. Only, don't call them drones, warns the United States' main robot-mongering group and convention host, the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). These machines are smarter, more agile -- and in some cases, deadlier -- than the relatively tame machines that now crowd battlefields around the planet. There were plenty of humans at the AUVSI show, too. In addition to a plethora of defense contractors, there were representatives from states urging drone makers to invest there, even companies marketing their drones for benign jobs like filmmaking and agricultural work. Still, the convention had the unmistakable feel of defense expo. (And it wasn't just the rockets, machine guns, infrared cameras, camouflage, and uniformed military officials from around the globe eyeing the latest in robo-weaponry.) There were also the usual coterie of overweight Pentagon contractors in boxy suits; show booths adorned with slogans like ‘Always Fight For Freedom'; and of course, plenty of drones designed to hunt and kill." More here.

John Nagl argues that the existence of drones probably prevented the U.S. from invading Pakistan. The COINista, now the head of a private school outside Philadelphia, spoke this week in Canberra. Click here to read more.

Hate the F-35? Then read this piece to confirm everything you think. War is Boring's David Axe, writing under the headline: "F'd: How the U.S. and Its Allies Got Stuck with the World's Worst New Warplane: "From all the recent sounds of celebrating coming out of Washington, D.C., you might think the Pentagon's biggest, priciest and most controversial warplane development had accelerated right past all its problems. The price tag -currently an estimated $1 trillion to design, build and operate 2,400 copies-is steadily going down. Production of dozens of the planes a year for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps is getting easier. Daily flight tests increasingly are hitting all the right marks. Or so proponents would have you believe...But the chorus of praise is wrong. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?-?a do-it-all strike jet being designed by Lockheed Martin to evade enemy radars, bomb ground targets and shoot down rival fighters?-?is as troubled as ever. Any recent tidbits of apparent good news can't alter a fundamental flaw in the plane's design with roots going back decades." More here.

I am sorry: Bradley Manning apologizes. NBC's Courtney Kube, Matthew DeLuca and Erin McClam: "Private Bradley Manning, convicted of handing state secrets to WikiLeaks, on Wednesday told the sentencing part of his court martial that he was sorry for his actions and for hurting the United States.I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I 'm sorry that they hurt the United States,' he said. ‘I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people. The last few years have been a learning experience.' Manning says he understood what he was doing and the decisions he made. However, he says he did not believe at the time that leaking the information would cause harm. The 25-year-old former Army intelligence analyst faces up to 90 years in prison for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy site. He was convicted in July of espionage, releasing classified information, disobeying orders and leaking intelligence knowing that it would be accessible to the enemy." More here.

Want to know how the massacre at Fort Hood went down? Click here for the simulated video CNN's Ed Lavandera did for CNN's OutFront with Erin Burnett.

If you want to understand what the NSA really looks like, go to plumbing school. Defense One's Marc Ambinder:  "Want to understand how an organism really works?  Take a look at its plumbing. Figure out where the pipes fit together. That's the approach I take to national security and that's the spirit behind this look at the structure of one of the most important institutions in U.S. intelligence: the National Security Agency. Some intelligence organizations, such as the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, have declassified most of their organizational charts. The NRO develops, launches and controls spy satellites; the NGA analyzes and distribute imagery. For these agencies, the plumbing matters less than what flows through the pipes, which is highly classified... It has five operational directorates, several administrative directorates and three large operational centers.  Each is headed by an associate director, and each associate director has a technical director. They report to the executive director, who reports to the deputy director, who reports to the DIRNSA, which is NSA-speak for Director of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander. He's also the commander of the Defense Department's U.S. Cyber Command and the Central Security Service, the military signals and cyber intelligence units that contribute personnel to the NSA.  The CSS is essentially the NSA." Read the rest here.

A former Marine from Chicago got the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Chicago CBS affiliate's Jim Williams: "One by one, Marines shook the hand of the young man who once wore their uniform. Five months ago, Sergeant Luis Garcia of Lake Forest left the service a hero. He returned today to have his actions stamped with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Last year, Garcia displayed his bravery in the middle of a terrible mistake in Afghanistan. An American sniper team thought Garcia and other Marines were the enemy. Two Marines were hit. "Bodies just started dropping, you're going to get a little scared," said Garcia. Still, Garcia ran to their aid." More here.

All you need is a valid marriage certificate: The Pentagon extends benefits to same-sex couples stating Sept. 3. DOD yesterday announced its plan to extend bennies to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees after the recent ruling by the Supreme Court that found a section of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was unconstitutional. From the Pentagon:  "The Department of Defense remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs. Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing (BAH) and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court's decision.  Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted.  For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage." Read the implementation memo from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, here. Further guidance,here.



National Security

Stavridis: high time for the WH to make a decision on Afghanistan (the answer: 15k troops); Dempsey in Jordan; Egypt and Israel coordinate against terror; An IG report on the Osprey; Do we need an Air Force?; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

Stavridis to the White House: make a decision on Afghanistan already. The White House's inability thus far to publicly articulate a commitment of troops for Afghanistan after 2014 is wreaking unnecessary havoc, we're told by current and former administration officials. It's making it difficult for allies to plan ahead for their forces, and for the American military itself to prepare for next year. Meanwhile, informed observers say that the White House's apparent indecision or delay appears to have no political gain at home and only a political cost overseas. At home, the American public is increasingly wary of the war in Afghanistan  - only about 28 percent believe the war is worth fighting, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll. Yet Obama is thought to have enough political wriggle room to make a commitment to leave some number of troops in the country to help the Afghans maintain stability, arguiong that not doing so could squander the sacrifices of those who have come before. Those defense and administration officials, speaking privately, say they are scratching their heads over the lack of a decision, whatever it may be, or why the Obama administration would allow officials to float the idea of a "zero option" - no troops after 2014 as an apparent bluff in security negotiations - only to quickly acknowledge that no such option really exists. While the bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan remains a distinct sticking point, most government officials and national security experts quietly believe the White House is undermining its strategic objectives there by remaining mum on the matter.

Enter Jim Stavridis, the former SACEUR and now out of uniform and writing on FP this morning: "Instead of waiting for months, we should move now to decide and publically reveal the commitment. Articulating the number in the range of 15,000 total troops would break the Taliban narrative decisively, making a lie of their oft-repeated trope that 'the foreigners are leaving'; it would reassure the Afghans; it would demonstrate needed leadership to the large international coalition that is awaiting U.S. decisions. It would also encourage the conclusion of the strategic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan."

In conclusion: "Stating the level of U.S. and allied commitment is the right next step to ensure we optimize our chances for a positive outcome. The so-called 'zero option' is not an option, but rather the path to a probable mission failure. Now is the time to commit to a 15,000-troop U.S. and allied force."

Stavridis: four items on the to do list. "First, there must be an election to replace Hamid Karzai, demonstrating the consolidation of democracy in the governance of Afghanistan. This is scheduled for next spring, and it must remain on track. Second, allied troops -- hopefully about 15,000 -- must remain after 2014 as trainers and advisors. Third, we must fund the ANSF to the tune of about $4 billion a year, which is a bargain compared to the $100 billion or more we have been spending annually. This bill will be shared across the entire coalition, with the U.S. portion being around $2 billion. Finally, the United States and Afghanistan must quickly conclude a basic security agreement that establishes the structure and rules under which the post-2014 mission will unfold." Read his whole piece on FP, here.

Welcome to Wednesday's edition of Situation Report. Sign up for Situation Report here or just e-mail us. And as always, if you have a report, piece of news, or a tidbit you want teased, send it to us early for maximum tease. Please follow us @glubold. And remember, if you see something, say something -- to Situation Report.

Today at 10:30 am EST, Maj. Gen. James McConville, commander of RC-East, briefs reporters at the Pentagon. But you can watch here.

Dempsey is in Jordan. We're told that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey just left the Palace in Amman after a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan. Now he's off to meet the Jordanian chief of Defense and took meetings with the U.S. country and military team at the U.S. embassy there. Dempsey, in a statement: "We deeply value our long-standing history of cooperation and friendship with Jordan, since establishing ties almost a half century ago. Our partnership today is evidenced by our US service members flying F-16s, manning Patriot batteries and working with Jordanian forces to plan for the ongoing challenges in the region, to include the current refugee crisis."

It's getting worse in Egypt. The NYT: "Egyptian security forces moved on Wednesday to clear two camps in Cairo occupied by supporters of the ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, deploying armored vehicles, bulldozers, tear gas, snipers and helicopters in a sustained and bloody operation that seemed to surprise some protesters with its ferocity."

As turmoil in Egypt unfolds, an Israeli drone strike in the Sinai suggests greater cooperation between the two countries. WSJ's Adam Entous and Charles Levinson: "Israel and Egypt are quietly cooperating to quell Islamist militants along their border, Western officials say, a sensitive relationship illuminated by a deadly Israeli drone strike late last week inside Egyptian territory. Israel's intervention in the Sinai Peninsula-which Egyptian officials denied, and which Israeli officials neither confirmed nor denied-would be the clearest manifestation of the high-level interaction between Israeli and Egyptian military and intelligence chiefs, according to the Western officials. Such cooperation between the U.S. allies has increased since last month's ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, these officials say."

And: "Relations with Egypt, a source of stability for Israel before the Arab Spring, have warmed significantly in recent weeks. Israeli officials have made no secret they welcomed last month's ouster of Mr. Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood movement has long-standing ties to Hamas, the Palestinian movement that controls the Gaza Strip. A senior American official described military cooperation between Israel and Egypt as ‘better than ever,' building on ties that started improving last fall." Read the rest here.

The appointment of 19 generals as provincial governors in Egypt is getting people concerned. The NYT:  "...Of the 25 provincial governors named, 19 are generals: 17 from the military and 2 from the police. One police general has become well known for his openly insubordinate refusal to protect supporters of Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist whose candidacy was advanced by the Muslim Brotherhood. An omen? "A military general appointee, Gov. Mahmoud Othman Ateeq of Sohag, a former deputy governor in Alexandria, was filmed in 2011 raising a gun at a demonstration of teachers, who can be heard begging for their lives." Read more of the NYT story here.

The Committee to Protect Journalists just released this report today on press freedoms in Egypt. Click here.

The Pentagon's Inspector General is going to release a classified report on how much time the V-22 Osprey spends with the mechanic. Defense News' James K. Sanborn: "The Defense Department inspector general's audit will determine whether the Osprey's performance "meets mission capability rate requirements, as well as how the frequency of repairs and the replacement of supply parts" affects its mission readiness, officials with the IG's office wrote in their August newsletter. It is not clear who requested the audit, but its results will be classified, according to Bridget Ann Serchak, the IG's chief of public affairs. She declined to provide further details. However, the process did encompass several years' worth of data. A memorandum from the IG, dated January 2012, indicates the audit was to include V-22 operations from Oct. 1 2008 through Sept. 30, 2011." Read more here.

Swarms of tiny bug drones: the Air Force's idea for spying on China. FP's John Reed, at the big drone show in DC this week: "Forget the slow, noisy drones that go after today's terrorists. Instead, picture swarms of tiny drones infiltrating heavily defended skies at will. That's how the United States Air Force's drone shop sees it. The air service wants drone-makers to invent tiny aircraft -- nano-drones -- that can fly vast distances to spy on an enemy. These bug-like surveillance bots will be particularly useful in the Pacific, an Air Force official told a Washington conference on Tuesday. Because that represents the toughest challenge for American spy planes: snooping on say, a China equipped with increasingly advanced air defenses. Remember, from China to Iran, the nations that the U.S.'s famous Air Sea Battle concept appears tailor made to fight, are equipping themselves with advanced Russian-designed radars and surface to air missiles that threaten to shoot down all but the most advanced stealth aircraft. These countries are also investing in anti ship and ballistic missiles that are designed to keep an adversaries ships and especially aircraft carriers far from their shores. One of the traditional responses to overcoming such weapons is to build fast, long-range, high-flying, stealthy aircraft capable of evading these threats. Today, at the massive drone conference going on in Washington, we heard a new, wilder idea." Read more here. (to be posted this morning.)

Meanwhile, answering questions about drones is easy when the only one with questions is Code Pink. At the big Aerial Unmanned Vehicles Systems Integrated Annual Summit, or AUVSI conference, yesterday in Washington, Lt. Gen. James Barclay, the Army's G-8, got a taste of Code Pink's views on drones. Barclay was speaking about drone autonomy and had promised to take questions but then was interrupted by Code Pink protester Alli McCracken, the group's national coordinator, who unfurled a "Stop Killer Drones" banner and then demanded to know if Barclay would talk about "the innocent people who have been killed by drones." She continued, "Shame on you, AUVSI. You have the blood of innocent children on your hands. Time to ground the killer drones!" She was quickly quieted and escorted from the room. Barclay then finished his remarks and quipped that the only one who had a question had left the room (meaning McCracken) and then he left the room himself. Conference officials made him available for interviews later on.

Submariner gets home from deployment and proposes to his boyfriend. The Day of New London: "After six months aboard the USS New Mexico (SSN 779), MM2 2nd class Jerrel Revels stepped onto Pier 31 at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton Monday afternoon, took to one knee, and proposed to his partner, Dylan Kirchner. The proposal comes two years after the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" - the U.S. military's ban on openly gay service members passed in 1993. Revels, originally from Texas, met Kirchner, of Plainfield, through mutual friends last September. ‘It kind of tickled my mind every now and then that (he would propose) but I never expected this,' Kirchner said. ‘I didn't really care everybody was around. It felt just like the two of us.' Read the rest at The Day, here.

Are acid attacks becoming more common in East Africa? Two men in a remote area of Zanzibar rode up on a scooter, smiled, and then poured acid on two British teenager volunteers there, severely burning their faces, chests and hands, and then rode away. The NYT: "No suspects had been arrested by Tuesday afternoon, and the motive for the attack remained a mystery, Musa Ali Musa, Zanzibar's regional police commissioner, said in a telephone interview. But the ordeal raised questions about religious tension that has bubbled up in unexpected pockets of East Africa, and about whether acid attacks - a particularly nasty type of assault that can leave victims disfigured for life - may be spreading to places where there is no history of them... Conservative Muslims and Western visitors have long coexisted peacefully on Zanzibar. But in recent months, there have been several violent episodes with religious overtones, mostly targeting Christians. In February, a Roman Catholic priest was shot to death, and a church was burned. Last year, another priest was shot and wounded, and several churches were burned, Mr. Musa said. "It's a very sensitive issue," he said." NYT story here.

Click bait! FP's Twitterati 100 - who to follow in the foreign policy (small f, small p) as well as Foreign Policy (big f, big p) Twitterverse. Click right here.

The Air Force is trying to figure out why Global Strike Command failed its inspection. The Air Force is scrambling to determine just why an internal inspection of a Montana base found errors that resulted in a failing grade for the nuclear missile unit - another in a string of problems with the service's management of nuclear weapons. Reuters reported that "the failed inspection at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana does not pose any safety risks to the U.S. nuclear, Air Force Global Strike Command Commander Lieutenant General Jim Kowalski said in a statement. The August 5-13 evaluation of the 341st Missile Wing covered operations, maintenance, security, safety and support activities and received unsatisfactory rating after making ‘tactical-level errors during one of several exercises,' the statement said."

Meanwhile, acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning got on a plane immediately we're told. Fanning, the Air Force's No. 2 civilian who is currently acting as Air Force Secretary until the Obama administration's nominee can be confirmed, jumped on a plane within 24 hours to head to Montana to meet with Global Strike commanders in person to better understand what's going on out there. It's in contrast to years past, where the Air Force was seen as too slow to respond to problems with its management of nuclear weapons - and ultimately contributed to then Defense Secretary Robert Gates removing its leadership at the time. On Fanning, one Pentagon official told us: "He knows that it's about grabbing an issue, taking responsibility, and quickly fixing problems.  Let's hope his example rubs off on the cadre of Air Force general officers who have taken some knocks in recent years for sluggishness in confronting some major lapses." For the Reuters story, click here.

Speaking of which: Does America even need an Air Force? Michael Auslin, writing on Breaking Defense yesterday, says absolutely. Auslin: As sequestration forces the Pentagon to consider truly transformative cuts to the U.S. military, the knives are coming out even more readily than usual in a town known for fierce infighting. Today's budget environment has created an open season on traditional concepts of roles and missions. Service leaders have become far more vocal in warning about the potential of a 1970s-style hollowed out force, or the potential need to shed certain capabilities in order to protect core functions.

"In part, the services are working in a vacuum created by the lack of strategic direction coming from the White House. The January 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance was not strategic and failed to provide any practical guidance for responding to the key challenges facing U.S. core interests. As a result, a growing sense of ‘anything goes' is pervading an increasingly hyperbolic defense discussion. An extreme example of that is a piece by Robert Farley, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky. Entitling his piece "America Does Not Need the Air Force," Farley asserts that the U.S. Air Force was unnecessarily separated from the Army in 1947, that its core functions can be handled by both the Navy and the Army, and that its existence is an example of the worst form of redundancy in U.S. defense organization. Instead, it should be disbanded and rolled back into the ground forces, while letting the Navy keep its air arm."

Read Why America does not need an Air Force, here. Read Why America does need an Air Force, here.