September 1, 2012  

In this issue: September 2012

We kick off this issue with some great news: AFJ has been recognized for general excellence as a Top 10 Magazine of the Year by The Association of Business Publication Editors. AFJ earned the distinction, in the small publications category, for criteria that included quality of writing, reporting and editing; layout and design; and — of critical importance to us — interaction with readers.

Now, why should the Air Force build its next bomber so it can be flown without a crew?

It’s pay a little now or pay a lot later, argues Lt. Col. Peter Garretson, a transformational strategist at Air Force headquarters. For aircraft of a certain size, adding or omitting a cockpit has surprisingly little effect on performance or price tag. But should the service fail to build in the potential to allow the aircraft to fly on its own, it will also fail to harness the advances in autonomy that are sure to come — perhaps not by first flight, but certainly within the plane’s decades-long service life.

Meanwhile, the argument over Air-Sea Battle continues, with contributors all but lining up to criticize various aspects of the still largely classified concept. J. Noel Williams, among others, cautions that the very name misleads by inviting inapt comparison to the tightly focused AirLand Battle, but his greater concern is that ASB, widely viewed as part of the pivot to the Pacific, will actually impede efforts there.

AFJ contributing editor Joseph Collins, a former deputy assistant defense secretary for stability operations, draws on two trips to Afghanistan to warn that the NATO effort there, while winding down, must not become blind flight. The transition to Afghani security leadership requires as much creativity and discipline as major combat operations ever did.

Speaking of allies, Cmdr. Michael Hannan argues that the U.S. has too long viewed its security partners as helpers rather than leaders in their own right. He points out four small European navies that, given the right kind of assistance, might take over several roles and missions the U.S. fleet will be hard-pressed to cover on its own.

Finally, a full year has passed since gay men and women were first permitted to serve openly in uniform, and almost entirely without incident. James Parco and David Levy compare past predictions to the reality of the present.

— Bradley Peniston (bradp@armedforcesjournal.com), Editor, Armed Forces Journal