Deterrence - A Simple Equation

  • Published
  • By Col. James Dawkins
  • 509th Operations Group
Team Whiteman's mission is simple: Deter America's enemies and always be prepared to employ combat power in overwhelming force if deterrence fails. 

Each one of us at Whiteman plays a major role in determining whether deterrence will be successful or whether it will fail. For deterrence to be successful, however, the adversary must be convinced that the U.S. has both the Will and Capability to follow through and take decisive action. 

For purpose of illustration, it is useful to look at deterrence in equation form where Deterrence = Will x Capability. A strong Deterrence posture is possible only when both Will and Capability are maximized. Lack of Will with great Capabilities or great Will with poor Capabilities will result in weak Deterrence. Therefore, our nation's ability to deter is maximized when both Will and Capability are at high levels. 

Our political leaders determine the Will side of the equation. If they do not have the Will to back up a deterrent threat, our country's ability to deter is reduced. You and I, of course, have little control over this side of the equation. However, each group in the 509th Bomb Wing greatly influences the Capability side of the equation. 

From crew chiefs to back shop personnel, 509th Maintenance Group members must continually strive to keep the B-2s ready for combat at a moment's notice. This requires each one of you in the 509th MXG to know your technical order data and procedures backwards and forwards, exercising great attention to detail in all that you do. It also requires you to identify issues that affect these aircraft and push hard to fix any and all discrepancies. If you run into roadblocks, it is your responsibility to push the issue up the chain. Never forget that one person's lack of attention or passive attitude can severely reduce Team Whiteman's capability to put bombs on target. 

The health of our team is also of prime importance. Every 509th Medical Group member plays a vital role in determining the 509th's combat capability. For instance, lack of quality and timely health care can quickly take a team member out of the fight. Likewise, a team member's concern about the health of their family can distract an individual from performing their duties to the best of their ability. Finally, lack of attention to detail during a records review for Personal Reliability Program eligibility could result in mistakenly granting a person access to critical components. 

Members of the 509th Operations Group must constantly hone their combat skills. If pilots don't maintain their qualifications or currencies they won't be the first ones to go "downtown" on Night One. 

If intelligence specialists don't correctly plot enemy threat systems on a map, a B-2 could get shot down. Lack of attention during inspection of aircrew life support gear might result in the loss of a pilot in an emergency situation. And an inappropriate clearance by air traffic control could result in two aircraft running into each other. Each person in the 509th OG plays a decisive role in determining the combat capability of the 509th BW. 

Our 509th Mission Support Group also plays an active role in assuring the team's combat capability. Two billion dollar B-2s can't go anywhere without gas. We can't bomb without communications. Maintainers can't fix aircraft without spare parts. A well-fed and fit force can work longer and with more intensity than one that is unfit and hungry. Finally, our Security Forces team members must protect our people and assets from terrorists that seek to impede our ability to hunt down and destroy our enemies. 

Our nation relies on each and every one of you to maximize the Capability side of the Deterrence equation. Keep this in mind as you pass through the gate having just finished a 12 hour shift in 105 degree weather. Keep this in mind as you comb through your 20th medical record of the day. Keep this in mind as you make the umpteenth call to the parts supplier asking when that critical component will arrive that is keeping the B-2 on the ground. Keep this in mind as you read and re-read your T.O. and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures manuals in order to keep you prepared for Night One. And do not ever forget that we are only as strong as the weakest member of our team.