WASHINGTON (AP) –said Monday the Air Force is not doing enough to help in the and , complaining that some military leaders are “stuck in old ways of doing business.”
Gates said in a speech at, Ala., that getting the Air Force to send more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to Iraq and has been “like pulling teeth.”
Addressing officer students at the Air Force’s, the Pentagon chief praised the Air Force for its overall contributions but made a point of urging it to do more and to undertake new and creative ways of thinking about helping the war effort instead of focusing mainly on future threats.
“In my view we can do and we should do more to meet the needs of men and women fighting in the current conflicts while their outcome may still be in doubt,” he said. “My concern is that our services are still not moving aggressively in wartime to provide resources needed now on the battlefield.”
He cited the example of drone aircraft that can watch, hunt and sometimes kill insurgents without risking the life of a pilot. He said the number of such aircraft has grown 25-fold since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
He said he has been trying for months to get the Air Force to send more surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, like the Predator drone that provides real-time surveillance video, to the battlefield.