General Deptula on the Challenges to US Air Superiority

10/08/2010 – The recently retired USAF chief intelligence officer recently warned of the impending loss of US air superiority.

In a presentation to the recently completed Air Force Association annual conference, the General outlined how he viewed the various challenges to US air superiority and how these challenges interacted to create a significant reduction in air power capability.  These slides are presented here in the slide show below.


A video was also presented at the conference, which underscored some of General Deptula’s points. An excerpted version is presented below.

Credit: Air Force Association, September 2010

The challenges are real and we have discussed these in various ways on the website:  Ambassador Glassman provided an overview on the challenges posed by new air defenses, while Richard Weitz has discussed the new Russian aircraft as well.

The USAF is becoming more like the US Coast Guard: the USCG surges its assets against a problem and the surge leaves significant gaps.  The USAF is increasingly unable to provide for global air superiority capabilities:  it is moving towards the surge paradigm, with gaps left in the wake of the surge. The addition of new aircraft will require a significant investment in changing the culture to facilitate distribute operations, and in the systems that make the continuous engagement capabilities of the new aircraft a paradigm changer.  Buying F-22s and F-35s is a beginning, but just that.

"If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking."

—General George Patton Jr.

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