Thanks to Julian for the link!
Check out the above graphic and focus in on two items that currently are or will be in the USMC's inventory. For the unaware I'm talking about the MV-22 and the F-35 (the infographic is from an "Atlantic" article).
The USMC Air Wing has become a monster that can no longer be contained...a pig that needs to be put on a diet...
Marines. We instinctively defend not only our institutions, but also the decisions made by leadership. Its part of the ethos...its carefully instilled into every member...its part of being a member of the tribe.
Unfortunately reality has arrived and its time to have a come to Jesus moment with the Marine Air Wing.
Flashback to the 1980's. Marine Corps planners tried to look into the future and figure out the threats that we would be facing. The answers were the Marine Corps holy triad. The EFV, the F-35 and the V-22. Now, its 2015 and the Marine Corps futurist mostly got it right, but budget reality has struck. The EFV was killed, the V-22 limped into service and on the horizon is the F-35.
But look at that chart again. Even if you ignore the CRAZY procurement cost of the V-22 and the F-35, the flight hour cost is back breaking. We can swallow the cost of operating those aircraft but we're putting a solid cap on the cost of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle and shedding Battalions from the Ground Combat Element like its cool?
I've reflexively defended the Air Wing, but we can't avoid the truth any longer. The Air Wing is becoming a luxury that we can't afford. The reality is stark. The USMC is not an air force. Its a combined arms team...a COMPLETE combined arms team. Tilting it toward becoming a sea going 101st Airborne is not only unwise...its unaffordable.