Heavy Bomber Study: No More B-2s
Based on the Institute for Defense Analyses cost-effectiveness analysis, the Defense Department concluded in its Fiscal 1995 Heavy Bomber Force Study that the planned bomber force can meet requirements for two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts.
On May 3, DoD officials said that the department would continue "development and production of twenty B-2 aircraft, the B-1B conventional mission upgrade program, and the B-52H conventional mission enhancement program." [See "Washington Watch: The Pentagon Declines More B-2s," p. 13, for a detailed discussion of the study.]
USAF Evaluation Systems Reviewed
Following months-long Air Force reviews, both the current enlisted and officer evaluation processes will continue with only modest revisions.
On the enlisted side, the major changes are that all enlisted ranks, not just technical sergeants and below, will now receive feedback on their evaluations. Also, supervisors can say "promote above peers" on an Enlisted Performance Report, according to personnel officials.
For officers, changes include considering "whole person" factors, such as professional military education and advanced academic degrees, in addition to performance-based data—a return to the pre-1988 format. Another change requires so-called "bullet" statements for the narrative portion of the promotion recommendation form. [See "A New Shot at the Promotion System," p. 70, for a fuller review of the promotion process.]
Acquisition Rules Streamlined
According to Paul Kaminski, under secretary of defense for Acquisition and Technology, the Defense Department has now embarked on "a whole new approach to defense acquisition, fundamentally changing the way we undertake our processes in acquisition." Defense Secretary William J. Perry signed a letter May 10 directing the change in acquisition oversight.
The change institutionalizes the Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD), using an integrated product team (IPT) approach. [See "AFMC Spotlights Acquisition Reform," May 1995 "Aerospace World," p. 23.]
Dr. Kaminski said, "In this new approach, the user, the program manager, the Program Executive Officer, the service component staff, the DoD staff and related decision-makers, and the contractor involved will all share ownership in their programs, and they'll have a stake in making the program successful."
In effect, the Defense Department expects IPPD and IPT to emulate commercial practices to reduce the government decision cycle times. Dr. Kaminski explained that in 1994, the average period between Defense Acquisition Board review of an acquisition decision memo and the date it was signed was twenty-three days. In 1995, under the new process, the average is two days.
Privatization May Ease Housing Dilemma
The Pentagon's proposed legislation to privatize housing initiatives will help the services build and renovate family housing faster and at less cost to taxpayers, according to a DoD statement.
The proposal recommends using modified and new private financing tools and commercial standards and practices to drive down the cost of quality housing while shortening the process of replacing and renovating housing from thirty to about ten years.
At a May 8 press conference, Secretary Perry noted that decent and affordable housing for military families is a key factor in retaining high-quality, experienced people, which has a direct impact on readiness. He said that housing quality has declined for more than thirty years because it has had low priority and because of "regulatory or legislative roadblocks."
Under the proposal, DoD could guarantee private-sector firms rentals or mortgages and make fixed-payment commitments, such as leases, or co-invest with developers to gain access to housing. The Defense Department has requested up to $1 billion in budget authority over the next five years to fund pilot programs and test approaches in a draft bill—the Military Family Housing Revitalization Act of 1995.
USAF Acquires Milestone F-16
Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems, Fort Worth, Tex., turned over the 3,500th F-16 fighter April 27 to pilots from the 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C., who flew it back to the base. General Dynamics, the original contractor, delivered the first production F-16 to the Air Force in 1978.
Aircraft No. 3,500 is a single-seat, Block 50D version of the F-16C, the newest fighter model in the USAF inventory. It comes equipped with the latest subsystem and cockpit upgrades developed for the F-16, including compatibility with Texas Instruments' High-Speed Antiradiation Missile Targeting System. F-16s have racked up sixty-nine aerial combat victories without any losses, according to Air Force officials.
Eighteen nations either operate F-16s or have placed orders for them, said Lockheed Martin representatives. F-16s have been assembled at Fort Worth and in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Turkey. A factory in South Korea will begin delivering F-16s later this year.
Moves Seek to Ensure Equal Opportunity
A Pentagon task force found forty-eight areas where the services must improve their equal opportunity processes, although the group stated the current sexual harassment and discrimination prevention programs are "fundamentally healthy."
After a year-long study, the DoD Task Force on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment, co-chaired by Air Force Secretary Sheila E. Widnall and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Edwin Dorn, announced its findings on May 12. Secretary Widnall called the review the "most intensive" ever. She said many of the group's recommendations have already been adopted by the services.
Task force recommendations include:
¾ Ensuring accountability of leaders through such practices as conducting periodic work-climate assessments and noting commanders' commitment to equal opportunity and deviations from that commitment in their performance evaluations.
¾ Adopting standard definitions for key terms.
¾ Establishing and adhering to time lines for investigation and review.
¾ Establishing reprisal prevention programs.
¾ Adopting standards for investigation.
¾ Providing feedback to complainants.
Funds Sought for TSSAM Replacement
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman asked Congress for an additional $50 million in Fiscal 1996 to begin the replacement program for the canceled Triservice Standoff Attack Missile. The new program, dubbed "Son of TSSAM," is officially called the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and, as the name implies, will be a joint venture between the Air Force and Navy.
However, a major stumbling block is the Air Force's immediate need for the missile, which conflicts somewhat with the Navy's view that it does not need to field the system until around 2005. Both services have been working on a joint requirements document. It had been expected to be completed last month.
First B-1B Is History
The first production B-1B bomber, which rolled out of Rockwell International's Palmdale, Calif., assembly plant September 4, 1984, bearing a gold number one and the Strategic Air Command shield on its side, has not flown since August 22, 1988, when it arrived at Ellsworth AFB, S.D. It will never fly again once a Tinker AFB, Okla., depot maintenance team completes the process of "canning" the aircraft.
The first B-1B was a hand-built prototype made from major subassemblies originally intended for use in building a fifth B-1A, the program canceled by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. The Air Force further customized the bomber with special flight-test parameter monitoring equipment to serve as the primary test aircraft for aerodynamic and weapons release testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. It logged 617 hours in 138 test missions and achieved numerous firsts.
At Ellsworth, the aircraft became a ground and weapon load trainer. Its parts were used to sustain other B-1Bs. Because it would be "economically unfeasible" to upgrade it to current production standards, the Air Force finally declared the first B-1B "excess," according to an Air Force press release.
Although several museums expressed interest in the aircraft, USAF decided it could use even more of the parts of the original bomber to sustain the fleet and also to provide live-fire testing in which crews will repair damage to return aircraft to "combat" in minimum time.
Pentagon Names Top Contractors
McDonnell Douglas is once again the top defense contractor, according to an annual Pentagon report, with contract awards that totaled $9.3 billion during Fiscal 1994, compared to $7.5 billion in Fiscal 1993.
The top ten companies listed in the report are McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed, Northrop Grumman, Martin Marietta, General Motors, General Dynamics, Raytheon, General Electric, United Technologies, and Loral.
The Pentagon report also stated that the most significant change during Fiscal 1994 was Northrop's acquisition of Grumman. The gigantic merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta came too late to be included in this report.
Twenty-three companies that did not appear on the list in Fiscal 1993 are among the top 100 companies in Fiscal 1994. DoD prime contract awards of more than $25,000 totaled $118.1 billion during Fiscal 1994, $5.6 billion less than in Fiscal 1993.
Academy Turns Forty
From shortly after World War I, when Army Lt. Col. A. J. Hanlon proposed an "Aeronautical Academy," through the next thirty years, such notables as Billy Mitchell, "Hap" Arnold, Carl Spaatz, and others fought to establish an air academy. The initiative came closer to reality two years after the creation of the Air Force as a separate entity, when the first Secretary of Defense, James V. Forrestal, appointed an Academy board to study the matter in 1949.
The board recommended founding an Air Force Academy without delay, but the Korean War intervened. It was not until April 1954 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower actually signed the public law creating the Air Force Academy. In June 1954, following examination of some 350 possible sites, Harold E. Talbot, third Secretary of the Air Force, chose Colorado Springs, Colo., as the permanent site, with a temporary home at Lowry AFB, about seventy miles away in Denver.
The new academy opened its doors officially at Lowry for its first class July 11, 1955, with 306 cadets. Out of those original cadets, 207 graduated four years later, June 3, 1959, after spending their last year at the newly completed Colorado Springs location.
Two graduates of that first class went on to become four-star generals, Gen. Michael P.C. Carns, former vice chief of staff, and Gen. H.T. Johnson, the last commander of Military Airlift Command. In all, the class produced another sixteen general officers.
More Bases Added to Closure List
The Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission has added eleven more Air Force bases to the current list of facilities under consideration for realignment or closure. In its May 10 hearing, the commission, composed of eight members appointed by the President and approved by Congress, added a total of twenty-nine installations to the list released February 28 by Defense Secretary Perry, bringing the total to 175.
The Air Force installations added to the list are: Columbus AFB, Miss., Vance AFB, Okla., Laughlin AFB, Tex., Hill AFB, Utah, Homestead ARB, Fla., O'Hare IAP/ARS, Ill., Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP/ARS, Minn., Niagara Falls IAP/ARS, N.Y., Youngstown/Warren Regional Airport/ARS, Ohio, Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Tex., and General Mitchell IAP/ARS, Wis.
Additionally, the commission will evaluate some facilities already on the DoD list for possible further realignment or closure action. They are McClellan AFB, Calif., Robins AFB, Ga., Grand Forks AFB, N.D., Tinker AFB, Okla., and Kelly AFB, Tex.
Russian Arsenal Breakup Continues
The US has agreed to provide a total of $579 million to Russia and $297 million to Ukraine so far under the Nunn-Lugar, or the DoD Cooperative Threat Reduction, program. As set up by Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in 1991, Congress authorized $400 million a year from the defense budget to help dismantle the Soviet nuclear weapons.
Throughout the former Soviet Union, the program has helped remove 2,600 warheads and missiles from bomber bases, taken 750 missiles from their launchers, and destroyed about 600 launchers and bombers, according to Defense Secretary Perry in a March 29 speech to the US/Russian Business Council. He also said that about twenty percent of the Nunn-Lugar funds are used to reorient the people and facilities formerly employed in nuclear weapons activities to nonmilitary work.
"Help Wanted" Budget Rises
To help attract the new recruits it must have despite continuing drawdown measures in the career force, the Air Force advertising budget rose in Fiscal 1995 from $7 million to $11 million. It will rise again in FY 1996 to $13 million.
USAF Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., said, "We have about 363 training seats that are going unfilled as of the end of April, and at this point, we're about 2,300 new contracts behind." Though the recruiting dollars are increasing, General Moorman also noted, "Traditionally, our advertising budget hasn't been as high as the other services' because we haven't felt the need for the increase."
However, the General added that the service will not give up its standards for new recruits: "The Air Force will not sacrifice quality for quantity. We continue to have a ninety-nine percent high school graduation rate" among new recruits.
C-17 Passes Army Test
In late April, the Army took the Air Force's newest airlifter through a series of tests over the Arizona desert with a full complement of 102 paratroopers to satisfy requirements for mass troop exits from the C-17 Globemaster III, according to Air Force program officials.
This was the final step before dedicated initial operational test and evaluation mass airdrops that were scheduled for May at Pope AFB, N.C.
These tests also resolved a problem encountered last year during development flight testing at Edwards AFB, Calif. In August 1994, parachutes of two paratroopers became entangled at high altitude, but both jumpers landed safely.
Although not unique, the incident prompted the Army and Air Force to form a joint review team that used water tunnel, wind tunnel, and computer simulation modeling to help develop an aircraft configuration to satisfy mass-drop requirements.
Tests resumed in March at the Army's Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., with a series of three, dual-door paratroop missions. During the final jump, each of the 102 jumpers carried a weapons container and rucksack, increasing their weight to up to 400 pounds. They all safely exited the aircraft.
Newest Reserve Unit Refuels B-2
An all-Reserve crew flew the first mission for the 931st Air Refueling Group, the Air Force Reserve's newest unit, May 13 using an active-duty KC-135 to refuel a B-2 Stealth bomber. The 931st, based at McConnell AFB, Kan., is the Reserve's first KC-135 Associate unit.
During the historic mission, Col. Vik Malling, commander of the 931st, was the only crew member wearing a unit patch. The other crew members wore their old patches showing they had been with other Reserve and Air National Guard or active-duty units across the country. Colonel Malling said that there are plenty of 931st patches on order. "We officially opened the 931st at the end of January, and the response to our recruiting effort has been tremendous," he added. "Having an all-Reserve crew fly together this quickly is quite an accomplishment. We are definitely ahead of schedule."
Under the Associate program, the 931st shares the aircraft and equipment of the 22d Air Refueling Wing at McConnell. Colonel Malling said that the Associate program is "extremely cost effective." "With 460 personnel, we'll be about half the size of a unit-equipped Reserve wing, but we'll actually have twice the number of aircrews and be able to fly more missions." In Reserve wings with their own aircraft, a majority of wing personnel are in aircraft maintenance with a smaller number of aircrews.
Overseas Reductions Continue
The Department of Defense announced April 27 that it will end operations at three more military facilities overseas.
The facilities are the US Army-run General Walker Hotel in Berchtesgaden, Germany, and the Akinci and Balikesir Munition Storage Sites at Incirlik AB, Turkey, both operated by USAF.
This latest announcement brings the total to 952 overseas sites that will be returned or have operations reduced—a fifty-seven percent reduction in facility infrastructure overseas. In Europe alone, the total is 878 for a sixty-two percent reduction in infrastructure.
Since the drawdown began, DoD has eliminated 250,000 authorized positions overseas: 177,400 military, 23,300 US civilian, and 49,300 local national positions.
DoD also announced several adjustments to previous changes, including retention of the US Army's Chiemsee Recreation Area, Germany, and Crestview Housing Area, Wiesbaden, Germany. The Army will now fully return the Stangass Camp Area at Berchtesgaden to Germany.
Air Force Honors Security Policemen
SrA. Andrew P. Brown, now with the 15th Security Police Squadron, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, received the Col. Billy Jack Carter Award, the highest USAF Security Police award, for stopping a former airman's killing spree last year at Fairchild AFB, Wash. The twenty-five-year-old airman shot and killed former A1C Dean Mellberg, who went on a shooting rampage with an MAK-90 assault rifle June 20, 1994, killing five people and wounding twenty-three others at the base hospital.
"Looking back, I have to remind myself of what could have happened had I not been there," Airman Brown said. "A lot of other innocent people might have died." The annual Security Police award is named after the first career SP officer to become the Air Force chief of Security Police. Airman Brown had earlier received the Airman's Medal for heroism.
Nearly two years after a similarly tragic event, MSgt. James E. Pierpoint with the 305th Security Police Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J., received the Airman's Medal April 12 for heroism in killing a gunman who opened fire in the 21st Air Force headquarters building at McGuire on May 26, 1993. The gunman had killed an Air Force officer and threatened to kill other people in the building. Sergeant Pierpoint said the incident "opened my eyes," adding, "I've come to the conclusion that protecting the lives of family, friends, and other community members is important to me. It's just what I do. It's my job."
Seven Crashes Claim Twelve
April and May brought a series of unrelated Air Force aircraft crashes, including an Air National Guard F-16B and A-10, an Air Force Reserve C-130E, and four USAF aircraft, including an F-117A, two F-15s, and a T-38.
Capt. Dennis M. White, a weapon systems officer with the 336th Fighter Squadron, Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., was killed when the F-15E in which he was flying went down off the North Carolina coast April 18. The Coast Guard rescued the pilot, Capt. Brian J. Udell, shortly before 1:00 a.m. on April 19. It found Captain White's body about noon the same day.
Capt. Kenneth W. Levens, the pilot of an F-117A from the 9th FS, Holloman AFB, N.M., was killed when his plane crashed seven miles south of Zuni, N.M., May 10.
All six crew members were killed May 13 when their Reserve C-130E from the 302d Airlift Wing, Peterson AFB, Colo., crashed near Bliss, Idaho. The crew included: Capt. Geoffrey Boyd, navigator; Lt. Col. Robert R. Buckhout, wing safety director and the command pilot; MSgt. Jay Kemp, loadmaster instructor; 2d Lt. Lance Dougherty, copilot; SSgt. Michael L. Scheideman, loadmaster; and CMSgt. Jimmie D. Vail, chief flight engineer.
Both pilots ejected safely from an ANG F-16B that crashed May 15 about twenty-five miles east of Lordsburg, N.M. The pilots were Lt. Col. Carl J. Thomae, 148th FS, Tucson IAP, Ariz., and student pilot 1st Lt. Abdulla Al-Khalifa from Bahrain.
Maj. Clarence T. Marsh III, the pilot of an A-10 from the 172d FS, W.K. Kellogg Airport, Mich., was killed when his plane crashed in New Mexico, north of Fort Bliss, Tex., May 19.
Maj. Donald G. Lowry, Jr., assigned to US Air Forces in Europe's operations directorate, Ramstein AB, Germany, was killed when the F-15C he was piloting crashed just after takeoff from Spangdahlem AB on May 30. The aircraft belonged to the 53d FS at Spangdahlem.
A T-38 Talon from the 80th Flying Training Wing, Sheppard AFB, Tex., crashed into a 120-unit apartment complex on May 31, killing two people outside the complex and injuring twenty. A Dutch instructor and American student pilot ejected safely after reporting that an engine caught fire, base officials said.
Air Force officials are investigating the accidents.
The 8th Wins "Long Shot"
Team 2 from 8th Air Force claimed the title of "Top Long Shot Team" after the annual Air Combat Command competition held April 27 at Nellis AFB, Nev. The 8th Air Force team included Air Education and Training Command F-15s from Tyndall AFB, Fla., and F-16s from Luke AFB, Ariz.; AFRES F-16s from Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth and Bergstrom ARS, Tex.; ACC B-1s from Dyess AFB, Tex.; and an ACC F-117 from Holloman AFB, N.M.
Six similar composite teams participated in the 1995 Long Shot. Each team formed a conventional combat strike force to conduct a short-notice, long-range bombing mission. They took off from their home stations, joined up somewhere over the United States, and refueled in the air on the way to their targets.
Team 1 and Team 2 from 9th Air Force, Shaw AFB, S.C., finished second and third, respectively. Other competition aircraft included A-10s, F-111Es, and B-52s. US Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18s and USAF F-4s acted as adversaries.
"Long Shot is the Super Bowl of force projection and composite force competitions," said Lt. Col. Greg Milan, 12th Air Force Long Shot director. He added that it is "very realistic because the aircrews involved have minimum warning time to accomplish mission planning."
Competition Combines ICBMs and Space
Five Air Force Space Command teams from Nebraska, Texas, Montana, Florida, and Scotland won honors as "best of the best" during the annual Guardian Challenge competition for space and missile operations crews held May 1-5 at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Two winning teams featured all-enlisted crews.
The enlisted team from the 6th Space Operations Squadron, Offutt AFB, Neb., won the Aldridge Trophy for best satellite operations, achieving a 96.54 percent score for "flying" military weather satellites. A second all-enlisted team from the 17th Space Surveillance Squadron, RAF Edzell, Scotland, achieved 99.4 percent to win the Arnold Trophy for space surveillance and the best space operations crew award. The 17th identifies and tracks objects in orbit around the Earth using groundbased radar.
Winner of the Blanchard Trophy for best missile operations squadron was the 10th Missile Squadron, from Malmstrom AFB, Mont. The 10th MS operations, helicopter, maintenance, communication, and Security Police competitors accumulated a total team score of 93.39 percent. Its two-man missile operations crew also won first place in its category with a 96.5 percent score. The 1995 Guardian Challenge marks the first year helicopter crews from ICBM units have competed with their teams.
The 8th Space Warning Squadron, Eldorado AS, Tex., won the O'Malley Trophy with a 96.4 percent score. The squadron operates a Pave Paws phased-array radar site to provide warning of submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Winning the Schriever Trophy for best spacelift operations was the 1st Space Launch Squadron, Patrick AFB, Fla., with 81.92 percent. Its eleven-man team was named best spacelift crew, scoring 85.6 percent for launching Delta II rockets.
Delta Clipper Resumes Tests
The DC-X (Delta Clipper-Experimental), a single-stage-to-orbit reusable launch vehicle built by McDonnell Douglas, began flight tests again May 16, about one year after undergoing repairs to its outer skin, which suffered damage when a hydrogen cloud outside the vehicle detonated. The Air Force's Phillips Laboratory, Kirtland AFB, N.M., is overseeing this latest series of tests for NASA.
Commenting on the earlier flight test made on June 27, 1994, Lt. Col. Jess Sponable, Advanced Spacelift Technology Program manager for Phillips Lab, said that despite the fifteen-foot by four-foot hole in the outer skin, the DC-X lifted off and began its programmed flight profile. The crew then issued an "autoland" command, and the vehicle successfully landed.
For the recent test, the vertical takeoff and landing DC-X climbed at a constant 15-degree angle of attack to 4,350 feet, out to 1,150 feet downrange, then traveled laterally back about 800 feet and corrected itself during descent to land on the flight pad after two minutes and five seconds of flight. Following this series of tests, NASA will modify the vehicle with advanced technologies, changing the designation to DC-XA. Phillips will continue to work with NASA, managing the final DC-XA flight tests in mid-1996.
Delta Family Gains New ELV
McDonnell Douglas plans to enhance its space transportation program by doubling the capacity of its Delta II expendable launch vehicle through development of a next-generation ELV, the Delta III. Featuring a new single-engine, cryogenically propelled upper stage, and a larger fairing to house the payload, the Delta III will be able to launch an 8,400-pound payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
A company spokesman said the Delta II and new Delta III will provide both commercial and government users long-needed launch options. McDonnell Douglas will build the new intermediate-class rocket with its own funds and plans a first launch in 1998. It already has a contract with Hughes Space and Communications International, Inc., for ten launches, plus options for more through 2005.
Pentagon Features Clinton Exhibit
Charles Duncan, a junior aide to the Secretary of Defense, initiated a $7,889 display, now residing in a third-floor Pentagon corridor, that includes twenty-seven framed, color photographs of President Clinton. The photos show Mr. Clinton in various settings with sailors, soldiers, and airmen.
The exhibit caught the attention of the New York Times, which indicated in a May 19 article that many military members view the "Our Commander in Chief" display as a public relations ploy. According to some critics, a Commander in Chief corridor already exists. They also noted that some of the photos are duplicates and one is of the First Lady, not the President.
Mr. Duncan, who was a Clinton campaign worker, said, according to the Times, that there is "nothing political going on." He added that the exhibit is intended to be permanent and would feature future presidents, as well.
Navy Tests New Parachute System
A new emergency bailout parachute system, called the Lightweight Environmentally Sealed Parachute Assembly, under evaluation by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, NAS China Lake, Calif., may reduce in-flight safety limitations for aircrews during high-threat missions. LESPA features an innovative environmental-sealing process that surrounds and protects the parachute canopy from external hazards, presenting a clean, snag-free external profile. It also has a new, one-size-fits-all personal harness assembly.
The seventeen-pound, low-profile LESPA may offer more comfort for crews on long flights, compared to existing parachute assemblies, which are larger and weigh as much as twenty-five pounds. Navy program officials also believe that the system will increase crew maneuverability, improving the potential for survival in emergency situations.
Additionally, LESPA could save time and money by reducing maintenance and repacking cycles. The Navy spends more than $6.5 million per year to inspect, maintain, repack, and replace its ejection seats and emergency egress parachute assemblies. The preliminary cost savings estimated from using the new system, which begins full-scale qualification testing in late Fiscal 1995, is $2.5 million per year. Simula, Inc., of Phoenix, Ariz., developed LESPA under a Small Business Innovation Research contract.
AMC Wins Safety Award
Air Mobility Command received the 1994 Maj. Gen. Benjamin D. Foulois Memorial Award, given by the Daedalian Foundation for the most effective aircraft mishap-prevention program in the Air Force.
During the last fiscal year, AMC moved almost 237,000 tons of cargo and more than 850,000 passengers. It participated in more than eighty Joint Chiefs of Staff exercises. An AMC crew made the first landing of a C-141 on a glacial Antarctic "blue ice" runway. An AMC C-17 made its maiden voyage across the Atlantic en route to Europe and on the way back set an endurance record of 9.6 hours without air refueling. AMC conducted its 1994 Rodeo flawlessly, involving twenty-two nations, 2,200 competitors, and sixty-nine aircraft. The command's C-141s also deployed to Germany to participate in the first joint US-Russian training exercise.
Praising AMC's "superb team effort" by active-duty, Guard, and Reserve personnel, Gen. Robert L. Rutherford, AMC commander, said the command had accumulated more than 300,000 mishap-free flying hours. "The scope and variety of your missions have been phenomenal. You were tasked to the limit and produced."
Robins Named "Best in USAF"
Robins AFB, Ga., won the Air Force's 1994 Commander in Chief's Installation Excellence Award, finishing ahead of the other three finalists: Dover AFB, Del., Luke AFB, Ariz., and Misawa AB, Japan. The award recognizes people who have done the best with their resources to support the mission, Air Force officials said.
"Winning this award underscores what we've known all along," said Maj. Gen. William P. Hallin, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander. "We have outstanding people doing their jobs better than anyone else. We are a cohesive team focused on our mission and dedicated to our customers."
Supporting their customers included tackling Coral Weep, in which the base repaired 216 C-141s, returning 169 to service ahead of schedule to help avert an airlift capability crisis. Other Robins initiatives during the past year included breaking ground for a $56.7 million electrical generating facility in partnership with the Georgia Power Co. at no cost to the Air Force and taking a fast-track approach to the cleanup of twenty-two of thirty-three former disposal sites.
DoD Expands Mail-Order Pharmacy
A congressionally mandated test to determine if mailing prescriptions can help control costs and improve services to CHAMPUS and Medicare beneficiaries will now include ten additional Air Force bases and two Army posts, according to Air Force officials.
The original test, which began last November, covered Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The additions are areas formerly covered by the following closed or realigned bases: Pease ANGB, N.H., Griffiss AFB, N.Y., Plattsburgh AFB, N.Y., Chanute AFB, Ill., K.I. Sawyer AFB, Mich., Wurtsmith AFB, Mich., Williams AFB, Ariz., Grissom ARB, Ind., Loring AFB, Me., Eaker AFB, Ark., Fort Benjamin Harrison, Ind., and Fort Devens, Mass. DoD also plans to expand the test to New Mexico and Kentucky as well as to all base realignment and closure sites not covered by a fixed-priced, managed-care contract under the military's new medical program, Tricare, officials said.
Exhibit Blunders Force Smithsonian Probe
Shock over a "revisionist interpretation" of the use of atomic weapons to speed the end of World War II has led a Senate committee to review the management practices of the nation's premier museum.
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has oversight responsibility for the Smithsonian Institution, held two public hearings, May 11 and May 18, following national controversy over a planned display of the historic bomber Enola Gay at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman, established the framework for each hearing in his introductory remarks. He said that the Enola Gay controversy was not the first incident that has generated public concern about the museum and that the issues "raised serious management questions." He also said that the hearings were not being held to tear down the Smithsonian and that it is the duty of Congress to help preserve the Smithsonian as the central depository of the artifacts of our nation's history.
He added, "Those artifacts, together with facts proven at the time of decisions, permit judgments of history to be fair and unbiased."
Some of the committee members had served in uniform during World War II. A recurring issue for them—particularly those who served in the Pacific theater—was the museum's failure to consult individuals who had actually been there and seen the war firsthand. Responding to a question at the May 11 hearing, Maj. Gen. Charles W. Sweeney, USAF (Ret.), the World War II pilot who flew on both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing missions, said that historians from the Smithsonian had never contacted him. In fact, Smithsonian officials even stated that they had "not exactly" consulted the NASM's advisory committee, which includes top military officers.
Dr. I. Michael Heyman, Smithsonian Institution secretary, said, "Our first script was deficient." He testified that the Smithsonian is incorporating a procedure "so exhibitions are quite well reviewed," adding that they will consult groups early enough to affect design and will include "explicit conversation at the outset" on a story line for exhibits.
However, Dr. Heyman and other Smithsonian officials maintained that they felt "the fundamental flaw [of the Enola Gay exhibit] was attempting to couple an historic dialogue of the use of atomic weapons with the fiftieth commemoration of the end of the war."
Throughout the second hearing, discussion centered on the attempts of some historians to "interpret" events. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) noted that there was a difference between what is acceptable for a public institution, such as the NASM, supported largely by taxpayer dollars, and a private one. She also took exception to what she termed the current theme of history books that "interpret" events rather than simply present facts that permit readers to reach their own conclusions.
Senator Stevens read aloud a section of the statute (Title 20 of US Code), dating from 1961, that provides guidance for the National Air and Space Museum. He then stated, "I don't think you have any authority to display an exhibit questioning US use of the atomic bomb under this statute." Museum officials stated that this was not their intent.
In his testimony, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Tex.), who recently joined the Smithsonian Board of Regents, said that while the Enola Gay "was not the only exhibit that had been overcome by political correctness and revisionism, I do want to stress that the majority of exhibits at the Smithsonian are very impressive and historically accurate."
Dr. Heyman, who became secretary in September 1994, said that the Smithsonian should be "historically accurate and balanced in all of its exhibitions." He added, "We have an obligation to consider the opinions of the interested public in the framing of the exhibitions." Among other corrective measures, he also noted that guidelines the Smithsonian is developing would include "the extent to which historical exhibitions should speak within the context of time."
Noting that private funding had been decreasing steadily since the 1950s, from thirty-one percent to fifteen percent of the Smithsonian's budget, Senator Stevens said that with the country facing "severe budget cuts," the Smithsonian would need to increase its private donations. He added, "Eroding public support will threaten the ability of the Smithsonian to continue to be the central depository of our nation's artifacts.
Les Aspin (1938-1995)
Former Defense Secretary Les Aspin died May 21 at Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C., after suffering a stroke the day before. He was fifty-six. While he spent only eleven months as Defense Secretary, he worked a lifetime in and around national security and defense issues.
From his days as a Pentagon "whiz kid" to his twenty-two years as a Wisconsin congressman serving on the House Armed Services Committee, he seemed a knowledgeable and experienced choice for Defense Secretary. Yet, shortly after he made the move from politician to cabinet official, things went wrong. His academic training and congressional experience fostered his ability, as one Washington Post reporter phrased it, to "awe a listener while ruminating aloud, masterfully examining arcane issues with a kind of brilliant dispassion." That did not serve him well in the Pentagon. He knew the capital scene from players to policy to media, but he had never managed an organization larger than the eighty-person staff of the Armed Services Committee, which he chaired from 1985 to 1993.
Mr. Aspin was a constant critic of the Pentagon, but he genuinely liked and respected the military. During his last year in Congress, he devised a series of force "options," one of which later evolved into the "Bottom-Up Review" force in the Clinton Administration. Mr. Aspin's problems with the Administration centered on the mismatch of this force with available funding levels. This led to a rift with the White House and Mr. Aspin's departure from government in December 1993.
Born in Milwaukee, Wis., on July 21, 1938, he graduated summa cum laude from Yale University, majoring in history. He earned a master's degree for a combined major in economics, politics, and philosophy from Oxford University, England, and a Ph.D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As an Army officer at the Pentagon from 1966 to 1968, he employed systems analysis—the use of logic and mathematical and computer models—to help find solutions to military and national security problems. That service helped form his view of the Vietnam War, victory in which, as he termed it, was not worth the resources necessary to win it.
Daily Report: The day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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