Overcoming the Problem of Institutional Inertia


Statements from Lt. General (Retired) Deptula

07/19/2011 – In reviewing the Second Line of Defense interview with a retired USAF officer on the challenges and opportunities of leveraging the data on the 5th generation aircraft, Deptula highlighted several core points.


First, “The F-22 is not just an F-22—it’s an F-, A-, B-, E-, EA-, AWACS, RC-22.  It’s a flying ISR sensor that will allow us to conduct network warfare inside adversary battlespace from the first moments of any conflict in addition to its vast array of attack capabilities; and, the fact that it’s not opposed by like fighters means we can make use of those robust capabilities all the more.”

Second, “The biggest challenge that the DoD faces in capitalizing on the capabilities of 5th Generation aircraft is institutional inertia–the tendency to simply use new equipment in old ways.  5th Generation aircraft promise paradigm-breaking leverage but require adjusting concepts and processes for the manner in which we allocate, plan, and employ these systems.

The conventional DoD “requirements” process has ignored the potential of what it has created with 5th Generation aircraft and as a result has left much of the information that joint forces seek literally falling on the floor of their cockpits.  We need to capture and share that information in real-time.

Accordingly, we must invest in appropriate “off-boarding” capability soonest—any move otherwise is penny-wise and pound foolish.”

And finally, Deptula noted the decisive quality of the F-22 if used in Libya.  “Because of the high degree of stealth of the F-22, its supercruise and ISR capabilities, it could have handled all the air dominance requirements of the Libyan no-fly zone.  Inside Libyan airspace its inherent characteristics would have allowed it to operate with impunity.  Accordingly, F-22s would be free to either engage any Libyan aircraft that took-off, or they could destroy LAF aircraft and/or helicopters on the ground at will.”