Image credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.

January 10, 2022

Spiking the Problem: Developing a Resilient Posture in the Indo-Pacific With Passive Defenses

By Stacie Pettyjohn

This article originally appeared in War on the Rocks.

In the late 1960s, U.S. Air Force Gen. Glenn Kent found a unique but effective way to overcome persistent resistance from Defense Department colleagues to building base defenses in Europe. During heated budget battles, Air Force officers habitually prioritized new aircraft and missiles over purely defensive measures. Gen. William “Spike” Wallace Momyer, commander of U.S. Tactical Air Forces, had written on a piece of paper that his top priority was to build hardened aircraft shelters to protect American fighter aircraft based in Europe from Soviet attack. Kent then obtained the Air Force chief of staff’s concurrence, which was captured by his signature under the phrase “I’m with Spike.” Kent or a colonel attended every meeting as the Air Force built its budget and each time eliminating funding for the shelters was proposed, he pulled out that piece of paper and said, “I’m with Spike.”

America’s military posture, which is comprised of forces, bases, and agreements, is a critical issue that needs a senior champion

This level of senior leader guidance and continuous engagement was needed to ensure that short-range American airpower — a key U.S. advantage — could have been effectively employed to stop a Soviet invasion, thereby strengthening deterrence.

Today, America’s military posture, which is comprised of forces, bases, and agreements, is a critical issue that needs a senior champion. China has a formidable arsenal of conventionally armed long-range missiles that are significantly more accurate than the ones that the Soviet Union had during the Cold War and plans to fire them in a first strike to destroy U.S. forces on the land and at sea. The Defense Department should ensure that American forces in the Indo-Pacific can survive this blow and generate combat power while under attack, which requires taking steps to increase the resiliency of U.S. military posture.

Read the full article from War on the Rocks.

  • Podcast
    • March 27, 2023
    AUKUS, deterrence and US foreign policy with Becca Wasser

    Becca Wasser joins Justin Bassi for a conversation on AUKUS, integrated deterrence and US foreign policy. Becca details some of the strategic challenges Australia and the Unit...

    By Becca Wasser

  • Commentary
    • Foreign Affairs
    • March 17, 2023
    The Surprising Success of U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine

    Ukraine’s military has defied expectations in its war with Russia, and many analysts attribute its success to U.S. help. But the mere fact of receiving aid is no guarantee of ...

    By Polina Beliakova & Rachel Tecott Metz

  • Podcast
    • February 23, 2023
    Defense & Aerospace Air Power Podcast with Stacie Pettyjohn and Becca Wasser

    On this week’s episode of the Defense & Aerospace Report Air Power podcast, co-hosts Vago Muradian and JJ Gertler review the air war in Ukraine one year into the conflict with...

    By Stacie Pettyjohn & Becca Wasser

  • Reports
    • February 22, 2023
    Avoiding the Brink

    The United States is entering an unprecedented multipolar nuclear era that is far more complex and challenging than that of the Cold War. This report examines potential trigge...

    By Stacie Pettyjohn & Hannah Dennis

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia