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 airvehicles. The air force for example has absolutely no interest in airships. It’sjust too far from what they choose to do. On top of that, there are technicalissues having to do with the altitudes, the environment, radio frequencyinterference, the number of aircraft inthe air.
But frankly the bottom line inhibitors are right here: Budgetsand careers. As with any technical innovation the old technology will bereplaced to some extent, and the losers always resist, especially those whosecareers are based on whatever technology is going away.
As far as the history, air force space command was assignedto this task by a chief of staff named Jumper back in about 2003. Several yearslater the technology problems had been solved, to include survivability, whichmeant that the threat to satellite budgets was then crystal clear.
At that point, and just as that chief of staff retired, anair force general wrote a cease and desist order countermanding the chief ofstaff. Yes, that is illegal. But they did it anyway.
Shortly thereafter the space community jettisoned the entireidea of persistent UAVs, pushing it to the Air Combat Command, which again forcultural reasons rejected the lighter than air piece.
That again left the army space and missile defense commandas the only military organization trying to fly these. To their credit the highsentinel has flown a number of times reaching 73,000 feet. It simply doesn’thave the funding to be turned into something effective over the battlefield.”