The Heritage Foundation Then and Now
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Since then, Heritage has come a long way in defense policy analysis, all of it downward. On December 26, 2012 the Director of Heritage’s Center for Foreign Policy Studies, Dr. James J. Carafano, published a commentary in the Washington Examiner, “What To Do about Obama’s Pound-Foolish Air Force.” Without saying so explicitly, he implied that the legendary Col. John R. Boyd, “a fighter pilot’s fighter pilot” in Dr. Carafano’s words, would favor what the good doctor wants: to reopen production of the $411 million F-22 and to buy more $154 million F-35s.
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Not only did Carafano miss the boat on the technical differences between the F-86 and MiG-15, he ignored the even more important Boydian idea that, to win wars, people come first, ideas (i.e., tactics and strategy) are second, and hardware is a distant third. It was perfectly obvious to Boyd why two hundred F-86s achieved air superiority over 1000 MiGs in Korea and shot down 5 to 10 enemies for every American loss. Our pilots were simply far more skilled than the Chinese and Russians by virtue of better selection, more rigorous and realistic training using better tactics and better exploitation of the skills of experienced pilots, and far more flying hours (the much more reliable F-86 flew 40 hours per month to the MiG’s 10 or 12 hours). Had we changed aircraft with the enemy, our lop-sided victory tally in Korea would have been the same—an insight repeated almost verbatim decades later by the Israeli Air Force commanders after the 1973 and 1982 wars, then again by the U.S commander of the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Despite John Boyd’s seminal role in designing the F-15 and F-16, he was always the first to point out that technical differences in friendly versus enemy aircraft are minor compared to differences in people skills—and that applied with equal force to ground and naval weapons.
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I love when I can find gems in posts.
Here is a “debunking” of the Heritage Foundation. The same Heritage Foundation that has been advertising on Rush and Hannity and pushing their Reagan connection.
And inside it is an excellent about why Boyd was a visionary. “People first. Ideas second. Technology third.”
A lot of businesses could use that insight.
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