US combat troops are "needlessly" dying because culturally-biased US Air Force officers rejected readily available lighter-than-air technology four years ago, says Ed Herlik, a former Air Force Space Command officer.
Now the managing director of the Market Intelligence Group (MIG), Herlik has gone public on YouTube with his frustration about what he calls an "illegal" move by a former Space Command official to countermand a direct order by a former USAF chief of staff. I've excerpted the key passage from the video below:
"Why aren't we doing this?
Part of this is the cultural resistance to lighter than air vehicles. The air force for example has absolutely no interest in airships. It's just too far from what they choose to do. On top of that, there are technical issues having to do with the altitudes, the environment, radio frequency interference, the number of aircraft in the air.
But frankly the bottom line inhibitors are right here: Budgets and careers. As with any technical innovation the old technology will be replaced to some extent, and the losers always resist, especially those whose careers are based on whatever technology is going away.
As far as the history, air force space command was assigned to this task by a chief of staff named Jumper back in about 2003. Several years later the technology problems had been solved, to include survivability, which meant that the threat to satellite budgets was then crystal clear.
At that point, and just as that chief of staff retired, an air force general wrote a cease and desist order countermanding the chief of staff. Yes, that is illegal. But they did it anyway.
Shortly thereafter the space community jettisoned the entire idea of persistent UAVs, pushing it to the Air Combat Command, which again for cultural reasons rejected the lighter than air piece.
That again left the army space and missile defense command as the only military organization trying to fly these. To their credit the high sentinel has flown a number of times reaching 73,000 feet. It simply doesn't have the funding to be turned into something effective over the battlefield."