With budget walls closing in, the Army has been forced to forgo upgrading its aging Kiowa scout helicopters or developing a replacement. However, the armed reconnaissance mission that Kiowa performs is still crucial to warfighting plans, so service leaders have come up with a cheaper solution. They want to take 192 Apache tank-killers out of the National Guard and team them with unmanned drones for the recon mission. There’s only one problem: the Guard doesn’t want to give them up, and its friends are working Congress furiously to block the plan. If that effort succeeds, thousands of soldiers’ lives could be placed at risk in future conflicts due to lack of timely reconnaissance, because the Kiowas will all be gone from the force by 2018. This is a prime example of politics interfering with sound military planning, and it does not bode well for U.S. performance in future wars. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
Find Archived Articles: