Why are we fighting to save the A10's? Let's consider a few things.
BRAC doesn't matter. The military will change missions and technology to fit their needs. Manned fighters are becoming obsolete. The A10 is approaching 40 years old. It's brilliant technology for its day, but its day is passing. When the military is satisfied they can provide close air support with drones and smart bombs, do you really believe they'll continue to put men in harm's way?
I think we're making the biggest mistake the river valley has made in decades by not fighting to get every scrap of drone technology we can located here. We should be building for the future instead of fighting to hold onto the past. We have the workforce for these new jobs. We have a terrific university with an outstanding technology center. We have a couple of great big empty factory buildings in a right-to-work state, which the aerospace industry has recently discovered makes a lot of sense.
The only real argument I've heard is that there's no guarantee we'd even get the drone program. How about we consider this from another angle? We know we have a fight on our hands. We've already begun to fight. While there are no guarantees on the other side -would we get a drone program, how much could we get, could we attract ancillary industries, etc.- I believe I can give you one rock solid guarantee. There won't be any A10's flying a decade from now. We're fighting to hold onto something that is most definitely going away.
Living as I do in this place, and having seen what our leadership does time and again here, I again find myself citing Danny DeVito from "Other People's Money":
"It's too late for prayers. For even if the prayers were answered, and a miracle occurred, and the yen did this, and the dollar did that, and the infrastructure did the other thing, we would still be dead. You know why?... New technologies. Obsolescence. We're dead alright. We're just not broke. And you know the surest way to go broke? Keep getting an increasing share of a shrinking market. Down the tubes. Slow but sure. You know, at one time there must've been dozens of companies making buggy whips. And I'll bet the last company around was the one that made the best (expletive) buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you have liked to have been a stockholder in that company?"
Please don't misconstrue this as an attack on the 188th. I have nothing but the highest respect for those men and women. They've virtually taken A10 operation and maintenance from science to art. They've also demonstrated they are not one trick ponies. As the nation's best, they can adapt to change. Our present course seemingly guarantees they'll be out of work in the foreseeable future. Why don't we get behind their future and ours and pitch our fight for the newest technology?