As it currently stands, the United States is the world Superpower boasting of the largest and best equipped military. However, this situation is slowly changing as rival nations gain more military might therefore posing a threat to the US. In the present time, the US faces multiple wars and increasing threats from hostile nations. The technological edge that the United States military has over the other nations remains to be the defining attribute for the United States.
In particular, the United State boasts of the most advanced Air Force in the world. Sweetman asserts that “a fighter aircraft fleet today is a nation’s most expensive and crucial military asset, with reach, firepower, accuracy, and flexibility that no other weapon system can match” (7). This being the case, it is very important that the US maintain its supremacy in the air at all costs.
This paper will argue that maintaining an edge on military technology and in particular the air force is crucial for the United States. The paper shall reinforce this assertion by giving various reasons why it is important for the US military to have stealth aircrafts.
A case for a Technologically Advanced Air force
As it currently stands, the United States is the global super power and part of the nation’s responsibility is to maintain global balance. This is mostly through acting as a deterrence to any nation that might wish to offset the current global status. Kagan and O’Hanlon go on to assert that a powerful US is necessary for the good of the entire world (1). The authors note that key strategic allies to the US, most notably of who is Europe, have dramatically reduced their military forces following the end of the cold war.
This has resulted in a situation whereby the US military is increasingly under pressure to provide security on a global level almost entirely on her own. Since it would be very expensive to raise a ground army for this task, a strong air force is the best option.
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which is under production by Lockheed Martin presents an epic leap by the US military helping the country maintain superiority and hence global balance. This design is projected to replace the F-15, F-16 and F-117 as the ultimate stealth fighter for the United States Air Force (King 4). This fighter aircraft is said to possess more reliability and efficiency therefore reinforcing the United States aerial supremacy.
While the US has enjoyed the position of global superpower since the end of the Second World War with little likelihood of a challenger, recent events suggest that this may not always be the case. Hoge asserts that the ongoing transfer of power from West to East will gather in momentum and according to history, major shifts of power are rarely peaceful in nature (2). As such, it can be expected that there will be conflicts between the East (mostly represented by China) and the West in future.
These conflicts may take on a military form and as Hoge notes “Asia’s growing economic power is translating into greater political and military power” (2). While the East may have been dismissed in the past as an unworthy opponent, technological gains by China and India have reversed this. As such, the proposition that a confrontation may arise between the East and the West is not an idle one as is evident from Chinese military ambitions.
The Washington Post reported that in January 2011, China’s military undertook a much publicized test of its stealth fighter jet in a gross display of power (Pomfret). The US would therefore run the risk of lagging behind her rivals if she did not continue to upgrade her Stealth aircraft to make them the best fighter planes in the world.
It would be ideal for a battle to end quickly rather than have it stretch for months or even years as was the case in the First and Second World War. By having a military that uses advanced technology and advanced Fighter jets, the United States can ensure that wars need not stretch for years. Bandow asserts that although air attacks alone cannot be used to completely subdue an enemy or occupy a defeated country, they can ensure the quick defeat of opposing military forces (2).
This was best illustrated in the recent wars against terror that the US has waged in Iraq and Afghanistan. For example, the 2003 invasion of Iraq proved just how effective an air strike is against an enemy. Kellogg documents that in March 2003, the US together with Britain launched massive air strikes against Iraq which resulted in a quick military victory (423). These attacks made use of stealth bombers which evaded radar and were able to inflict maximum damage to the enemy targets.
Without the superior air force, it is highly likely that it would have taken more time for the war to be won. This would have resulted in higher casualties from the United States and her allies as well as more money being used to sustain the war efforts. However, because of the military might of the US, the war was decisively won by the US and her allies with minimum casualties suffered by the US. In addition to this, the cost of the initial invasion were less than they would have been had there not been a powerful air force.
The US has since the Second World War styled herself as the defender of the free world and Her foreign policies have reflected this philosophy. As such, the US has been involved in a number of major wars to help maintain global order. To fulfill this, the US boasts of the largest and best equipped military force in the world. However, as various war avenues emerge, the US military is stretched to the limit and more recruits are needed to continue war efforts.
An advanced air force presents a solution to this since only a small number of advanced war crafts are needed to win a war. Sweetman notes that the air force and in particular stealth bombers are used for quick offenses against the enemy target (2). These attacks are mostly used to target enemy military bases and transportation routes therefore ensuring the disabling of the enemy or at the least, reducing their capacity to carry out attacks. As such, the US needs a strong Air Force to enable her to defend her foreign interests more effectively.
This paper set out to argue that the US needs to maintain an edge on military technology and in particular the air force. To reinforce this assertion, this paper has discussed the benefits that a strong air force presents to the US. From the arguments advanced in this paper, it is clear that the United States position as a global superpower is mostly as a result of her superior air force.
However, this paper has shown that there is competition especially from China and if the US hopes to maintain her supremacy, more technological advances should be made in military technology. A more technologically advanced air force would strengthen the US military might which would be desirable not only to the US but also for global balance to be preserved.
Bandow, D. “Fighting the war against terrorism: Elite forces, yes; conscripts, no”. Policy Analysis, No. 430, 2002.
Hoge, J. “A global power shift in the making”. Foreign Affairs Vol. 83, No. 4 (2004), pp. 2-7
Kellogg, W. E-Z American History. Barron’s Educational Series, 2010. Print.
King, D. The American Aircraft Industrial Base: On the Brink. Management Faculty Research and Publications, 2006. Print.
Pomfret, J. “China tests stealth aircraft before Gates, Hu meet”. Washington Post. 2011. Web.
Sweetman, B. Ultimate Fighter: Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Zenith Imprint, 2004.