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Partial Text of Radford Statement
This is a partial text of Ad miral Arthur W. Radford's statement to the House Armed Services Committee today: At the outset, I should like to state my position as clearly and as forcefully as I can. The views which I will express are my own. * • • I testify as a citizen and as a pro fessional student of warfare—not merely as a naval officer whose career has been largely devoted to aviation. I am concerned with the future of the Navy and the future of naval aviation only as they ran contribute to the security of our Nation. • * * As an aviator of almost 30 years' experience I am a strong advocate of air power. The national air power of the United States is the sum of our land air power and < ur naval air power. That air power is unquestionably the dominant fac tor in our national security. Lest there be any doubt about my per sonal position in regard to the assignment of roles and missions as between land air power and naval air power, I invite attention to the fact that I was a party to the 1948 Key West Agreement on Roles and Missions of the Armed Forces. That agreement assigns strategic air war fare as a primary mission of the Air Forces. * * * In giving you my frank views, •ome criticism is inevitable. I regret that this is so, for I realize how necessary is the spirit of unity and co-operation in our Armed Forces. • • * Issue of Seurity. The fact that I have been called to testify before you requires me to be outspoken. I do so in the hope that it will help speed the time when a real meeting of minds on vital Issues may be achieved among all three services. Unifica tion, like proper habits of thought and morale, cannot be brought abut by legislation alone. * * * You had before you two distinct major issues. The first, concerning charges of political and financial intrigue in connection with the procurement of the B-36, has been disposed of by the committee. The second major issue of the in vestigation, which you are now con sidering and with which my testi mony is concerned, deals with the kind of war for which this- country should be prepared. I believe this Issue to be by far the more signifi cant, since the security of the United States in the immediate and fore seeable future is at stake. Committee Findings Important. Eventually the conclusions of the committee will have a marked, if not controlling influence upon the kind of war this country will fight, if we are forced to fight. Even more grave—your conclusions may well determine the kind of peace which would follow such a conflict. An aggressor nation can set the fim* and place for initial military operations, and hence may strongly affect early defense measures. However, if we are soundly organized, trained and equipped, an enemy cannot, in the final analysis, deter mine the type of war we choose to fight, to ultimate victory. Further more, the type of war we plan to fight must fit the kind of peace we want. * * * The testimony before this com mittee thus far has been concerned largely with the B-36 program. * * * The B-36 has become, in the minds of the American people, a symbol of a theory of warfare—the atomic blitz—which promises them a cheap and easy victory if war should come. Consequently, the American people, and indeed the whole world, will take your final action in this in vestigation to be the approval or disapproval of a theory of warfare which, I am confluent, is not gen erally accepted as sound by military men. Since the B-36 does symbolize this theory, this plane has attained an importance out of proportion to the real issues involved. It therefore cannot be ignored. B-36 Is Discussed. I regret that this is true for I ; would prefer that I and other wit nesses outline in a constructive man iner the broad and vital problems | affecting our national security be ! fore discussing the relative merits of the B-36 as a weapon. It is my intention to give you at this point my views on the B-36. * * * In considering whether the B-36 is a satisfactory weapon we must answer two basic questions: First, can the B-36 be intercepted and destroyed in unacceptable num bers on unescorted missions at all speeds and altitudes at which it can operate? Second, if the B-36 reaches a target, can it hit what needs to be hit from high altitude? Can Intercept B-36. The answer to the first question is: Yes. the B-36 can be intercepted and destroyed in unacceptable num bers if it is unescorted. Today, in | terms of the Air Force chart which ; was presented to this committee at an earlier session, American planes by day or night and at alU speed* and altitudes which the B4& can operate on military missions, can “locate the bomber, intercept the bomber, close on the bomber, and destroy the bomber.” Our -present ability to do this will increase greatly during the service life of the B-36. It is folly to assume that a potential enemy cannot do as well. T can sincerely say to you that I hope that enemy bombers which may attack our country in any future conflict will be no better than the B-36. The second question concerns the ability of the B-36 to hit what needs to be hit from high altitude. There are no significant develop ments which have improved bomb ing accuracy at 40,000 feet—under battle conditions and without local control of the air—over that which obtained in the last war for bomb ing at 20,000 feet. It was then found that, to be effective, bombing often had to be done at much lower altitudes. It could be done effec tively at any altitude only with reasonable local control of the air in the target area. Bombing at very high altitude can be effective only on targets of great area. B-36 Claims Not Valid. I am aware that you have been given testimony calculated to show: 1. That the B-36 can, with ac ceptable losses, perform unescorted missions by day or by night: 2. That inadequate radar per formances makes it difficult to inter cept by day or by night at altitudes over 40.000 feet; 3. That during the neat five-year* there will be no night fighter capable of giving the B-36 serious trouble; and 4. That in time of war the B-36 from altitudes greater than 40,000 faet will be able to perform effective and precise bombing by day and by night. These assertions are not valid The unescorted B-36 is unacceptably vulnerable. The B-36 cannot hit precision targets from very high altitudes under battle conditions. The facts on which I base my conclusions cannot all be given to you in open session. (Admiral Radford interrupted his testimony to introduce to the com mittee several naval officers and aeronautical engineers who will testify later on technical matters.) Role of Bomber in War. We do not quibble over minor differences of opinion as to the range, speed and altitude of the B-36. * * • Has the plane a reason able chance to attack successfully without sustaining unacceptable losses? If it has not, the B-36 is a billion dollar .blunder. Before leaving the B-36 I shall ask you to consider the broader subject of the role of the slow, long range, very heavy bomber in future war. • • • Are we as a Nation to have “bomber generals” fighting to pre serve the obsolete heavy bomber— the battleship of the air? Like its surface counterpart, its day is largely past. A logical question is: What, then,, should we have in its place? I have stated that the B-36 is a symbol of a theory of warfare gen erally considered unsound by mili tary men. If we do not accept that theory of war, then a need for the B-36 in quantity does not exist. I feel that your committee must have had these considerations in mind when it sought to determine whether the Air Force in concen trating upon strategic bombing to stjch an extent as to be injurious to tactical aviation and the develop ment of adequate fighter aircraft and fighter techniques. Tactical Planes Retarded. The British and the United States Navy today have jet fighters with excellent high altitude performance. Prom the testimony given to you in this investigation and from state ments which have appeared in the public press it must be inferred that the United States Air Force does not have such fighters. If this be the case, then emphasis in Air Force thought on the heavy bomber as the over-all answer to our military problems has handi capped fighter development in that service. The retarded development of flghtfers not only has distorted evaluation of the vulnerability of the high-level bombers; it also may have grave implications in the de fense of our own military bases and in the defense of our own home lan<4. Summarizing the problem of over emphasis on the heavy bomber at the expense fo other types, it is my opinion that the Air Force is con centrating on slow, expensive, very vulnerable, single-purpose, heavy atomic bombers at the expense of small fast bombers and extremely high performance fighters for which we now have such an urgent need in great numbers. • • * Air Force witnesses have given you a detailed story of the ups-and downs and crosscurrents which have characterized the B-36 program within the Air Force. As a naval aviator interested- in. ail Important aeronautic developments, I have taken a professional interest in the B-36 since, I first learned of it on my return from the Pacific at the close of the war. During all of 1948 and the first part of 1949, the period during which the conflicts about the B-36 were being resolved within the “I Saw Your Ad For These Gabardine Topcoats \ 1 • OMIY $3485 ALL-WOOL WORSTED PACIFIC MILLS GABARDINE TOPCOAT % v FABRIC VALUE ELSEWHERE UP TO $50 . . but 1 didn't believe it" * » , - It was a woman speaking, and quite frankly, we’d say. She came in with her husband to look at our Styleplus Pacific Mills All-Wool Worsted Gab ardine Topcoats at $34.85. v. : V V, t She not only lodked*--she tested the topcoat in every way possible for fabric—for tailoring, and for all the finer points only a woman knows. Then they bought. It was thereupon she made the remark, “I saw your ad for these Gabardine Topcoats at $34.85—but I didn’t believe it.’’ .y .y y ~ ■- :r V ,£ • f A lot of people don’t belidve the Style plus story until they come in and see the real quality df Styleplus Clothes. It is only then that our low factory prices become important. Why don’t you come in and make us prove it. . ■■■ ■ > ^ W ■ ,s.~ *■'? Styleplus Clothes , SOLD RIGHT A T TH*E FACTORY SALES ROOM 1315 G STREET N.W. Air Force. I was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations—the No. 2 military man in the Navy Department. My duties required intimate knowledge of our over-all plans for national security. Air Force Action Criticized. Through the entire year of 1948 the Secretary of Defense and the Navy Department were given the impression in all official presenta tions of which I was aware, that the Air Force considered the B-36 to be an unsatisfactory weapon. On the morning of 12 January 1949, the Chief of Naval Operations and I did not know that the Air Force had any plans for the B-36 other than to cut-back its procurement. We learned about the Air Force plan for adltional procurement by read ing the morning newspapers of that date. * • * However, several months prior to this surprise announcement by the Air Force, serious misgivings had arisen within the armed services in regard to the increasing accept ance in some military circles, and generally by the American public, of the concept that we could, in the event of war, buy a quick, easy, cheap victory based on a bombing blitz. It was apparent that complete evaluation of all aspects of this problem had to be undertaken in order to reach sound conslusions on its purely military factors. Ac cordingly, in the fall of 1948 joint studies were initiated to obtain such evalutions. With the knowledge that studies of this nature were in progress, the Air Force on two occasions— the previously mentioned one in early January, 1949, and again in April, 1949—and as a matter of urgency, requested approval of pro grams involving large expenditures of funds for more of the B-36s—a plane whose employment in combat is part and parcel of these atomic blitz studies. * * • The precipitate action by the Air Force in January, 1949, placed Mr. Forrestal and the chief of naval operations, as a member of the joint chiefs of staff, in the difficult and anomalous position of cither going along with the Air Force plans or of repudiating them after they had been announced to the public and to the aircraft industry. The testimony presented to you shows that the B-36 was chosen by the Air Force almost exclusive ly in the basis that it is the only “intercontinental” bomber now available. This is a significant point, and your committee should explore it thoroughly. Under what circumstances and by whom has it been determined that a major slice of the limited funds appropri ated for national security be al located to an “intercontinental” bomber? Was this a joint deter mination of all services? * * * Summarizing the history of the B-36, I believe that the Air Force has based the need for large num bers of this plane on unilaterally determined military requirements. They have done so without pro|>er co-ordination with the other serv ices and agencies which are equally Interested in and responsible for national security. • * * I believe that this history of the procurement of the B-36 in quan tity in the military establishment as a whole demonstrates the need for careful procedures and appropri ate safeguards for weapon develop ment and procurement within the Department of Defense. Superimposed upon the services in resolving these issues are the Sec retary of Defense, the procedures for budget formulation and review and finally the Congress. It is my firm belief that these processes are essen tially sound and that they will accomplish the necessary co-ordina tion if carefully followed. A clear statement of this principle was written into the memorandum for the record which Mr. Forrestal made a part of the Key West agree ment. This memorandum, still in effect, states in part: “Nothing in the foregoing shall, in itself, be construed as placing arbi* trary restrictions on those material development programs and projects of an individual service which are considered essential by that service * • * it is intended that an individual1 service is to be permitted to carry through the development stage any material improvement program or new weapon development program considered by that service to be essential in the. interest of Increased effectivness of its weapons, mate rial, or equipment. The ultimate application and utilization of the product of such a development pro gram shall, of course, be subject to the examination and recommenda tion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the basis of its contribution to the over-all wa/ effort.” I not only subscriDe to that state ment, but feel strongly that it is one of the pillars of unification. It was disregarded by the Air Force in the recent prosecution of the B-36 procurement program. You have asked whether the de cision to cancel the construction of the aircraft carried United States was sound. * * * In testifying on this decision I am aware that my personal opin ions are well known and may be misconstrued at this time as hav ing a direct relationship to the B-36. I must state emphatically, therefore, that my views concern ing the B-36 are not influenced in any way by the decision to halt construction of the carrier. * * * Land and naval air power will each have a vital job to do in any future war. Each weapon system must be carefully weighed on its own merits in the light of its Intended con tribution to the successful prose cution of tasks assigned in our joint plans for military emer gencies. I believe the decision to halt construction of this carrier was made with a lack of appreciation of two factors. The first is the role of mobile air power In future war, The second is that the carrier United States, as a prototype, was a logical step in further develop ment of an essential naval weapon system. An understanding of its value could only come through con scientious and objective study, or through experience. Whether or not the Navy is at| fault for this lack of understanding, the fact is that we failed in our efforts to bring to our sister services —and to the American public at large—an effective clear picture showing how further development of the aircraft carrier as a type, as well as the Improved aircraft associ ated with it, would add to the future offensive power, not only of the Navy, but of *11 the armed services as a team. * * * For myself, l am most deeply concerned that a precedent has been set to stop the logical development of a valuable weapon system. It is comparable to telling any large in dustrial corporation that they shall make no further efforts to improve the quality of their product. It is not in accord with our American tradition of exploiting to the maxi- i mum our capacity for ingenuity, progress, and vision. It stultifies that enterprise and flexibility which have contributed so much to the attainment of our present position of leadership in the world. No Meeting of Minds. Before concluding my testimony, I should like to discuss a subject touched upon earlier: the nature of a future war in relation to our present problems. This is the heart of the matters which you are in vestigating. It is the subject which other naval witnesses who will fol low me can develop for you in detail. One fact stands out from (he developments of the past two years In the B-36 program and from the testimony presented to you here by officials of the Air Force. One member of the defense team in one branch of the Government! asserts that the best guarantee for I America’s security lies first in pre- , venting war by the threat of atomic , annihilation, and second in prose cuting such a war of annihilation ] If we have to fight. ). The testimony that has been pre-i ‘ sented to you gives the over-all j" impression that there is s meeting j1 of minds as to these theories ini] the Department of Defense. This i impression is wrong. * * * 1 Atlantic Pact Nations Set Up 3-Man Group For Defense Planning By th* Associated Press An important move toward set ting up unified defense plans for the North Atlantic area was taken yesterday as a three-man stand ing group was created by the new North Atlantic Military Commit tee. The three men, who will be working executives for the 12 na tions in the North Atlantic Se curity Pact, are: For the United States—Gen. Omar N. Bradley. For the United Kingdom—Gen. Sir William Morgan. For France—Lt. Gen. Hall Ely. Group to Meet Monday. This standing group will hold its first meeting in the Pentagon. In a communique, the Military Committee said this standing group will act as an executive body for the Military Committee. It is to be organized so as to function continuously with its permanent site in Washington. Ten military commanders of the North Atlantic pact countries at tended the first meeting of the Military Committee to begin the spadework on unified defense plans. Bradley Acts As Chairman. Gen. Bradley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served as chairman of the meeting. The Military Committee was set up Wednesday at the initial meet ing of the North Atlantic Defense Committee of which Defense Sec retary Johnson is chairman. The next turn in getting the ball roll ing is organization of its work by the standing group. This FALL... As in the Past 52 Years at D. J. KAUFMAN'S. . s ,*■". ' ' ■■ Vast value . . . vast variety . . . are in the spotlight at both D. J. Kaufman stores. Fifty-two years of value and style leadership leave no question as to what Washington men want. We knew. Our Fall '49 selections prove our point. 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