North Korea Missile Work Worries Neighbors
By openly developing a new long-range missile, North Korea is threatening to alter the military balance of power in a region of the world that is crucial to US security.
US officials were hopeful that Pyongyang would postpone a prospective test firing of the new weapon, an advanced version of the Taepo Dong rocket it launched last year. North Korea, for its part, remained ambiguous about its plans but said it was willing to discuss the issue with the "hostile nations" of Japan, South Korea, and the United States.
"We are always ready for negotiation if the hostile nations honestly ask for it," said a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman Aug. 18.
The updated Taepo Dong 2 has greater accuracy and range than the model that unexpectedly soared over Japanese heads in August 1998. Theoretically, it could reach Alaska or Hawaii.
In some ways the missile has already changed East Asia's strategic situation, whether it is ever tested or not. Japan, startled at the sudden threat, has explored ways to toughen a military stance long based on pacifism and US protection.
Japanese officials have agreed to take part in a theater missile defense system with the US and are pushing ahead with plans for their own satellite surveillance system. The Japanese self-defense forces may get air refueling and attack capabilities that would allow retaliatory strikes against the North Korean heartland.
South Korea, for its part, has indicated to Washington that it wants to improve its own ballistic missile capability. Under a 20-year-old agreement, Seoul needs to seek Washington's permission to build missiles with a range surpassing 112 miles.
US officials don't want to see a missile development arms race erupt on the Korean peninsula and have emphasized that it is in North Korea's best interests to lay down its boosters and cooperate with the rest of the world.
"Pyongyang can take advantage of the opportunities for new economic and political openings, or it can reject those opportunities by launching a missile and taking other actions that signal a preference for confrontation over cooperation and isolation over integration with the world," said Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen during a late July visit to South Korea.
F-22 Starts High-Alpha Tests
The F-22 Raptor has recently moved into a new testing phase by successfully completing a sortie in which the aircraft flew beyond 26 degrees angle of attack. The sortie marked the beginning of a rigorous new series of high-angle-of-attack flight profiles, said Air Force officials.
"The flight-test team has worked extremely hard to position the Raptor for this important next phase of testing," said Brig. Gen. Michael C. Mushala, F-22 program director.
Such tests-also called high-alpha tests-are meant to verify the F-22's predicted agility. The aircraft is the first fighter designed to maneuver at high angles of attack, said officials.
The F-15 can only fly at about 30 degrees angle of attack. The F-22, meanwhile, will be tested at more than 60 degrees angle of attack.
High-alpha testing entails controlled flight at very slow speeds. To ensure an extra measure of safety, maintenance crews from the F-22's Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB, Calif., have installed a stabilization recovery chute on the aircraft that will undertake the flights, Raptor 02.
USAF Wants B-2 Shelters for Overseas
The Air Force is moving to acquire a support structure for operating the B-2 bomber from overseas bases.
According to a recent notice to contractors, the Air Armament Center's Air Base Systems Program Office wants to buy a shelter system to accommodate maintenance on the B-2 aircraft when forward deployed.
The 20,000-square-foot shelter should have heating, air conditioning, and an electrical power unit that can be loaded onto a C-130 for relocation within a theater, said an Air Force spokesman. The service wants to buy six of the 100 foot-by-200 foot, PVC fabriccoated shelters, which it will pre-position at key spots around the globe.
The shelters are not meant to allow permanent overseas deployment of the stealth aircraft. They will simply facilitate forward-basing rotations at locations other than the B-2 home, Whiteman AFB, Mo.
For Boeing JSF, Power Is On
Boeing has taken a major jump toward flight testing its Joint Strike Fighter X-32A concept demonstrator by connecting electrical power to the aircraft, firm officials announced July 30. The X-32A is currently in final assembly and systems installation at Boeing's Palmdale, Calif., facility.
Cockpit interior lighting, multifunction displays, heaters, and several display panels were the first systems powered by an external source. Each was fully operational.
"Running power into the aircraft is important because we can now verify all of the systems being installed," said John Priday, X-32 assembly manager. "We're powering up systems as they come online and testing their functionality."
Boeing is competing against Lockheed Martin to build the JSF under a four-year concept demonstration phase contract.
Airborne Laser Taking Shape
On Aug. 10, a Boeingled industry team began major assembly operations on the first Airborne Laser flying platform, a 747-400 freighter, at Boeing's Everett, Wash., assembly plant.
Assembling the freighter main-deck floor grids was the first order of business. Major assembly of the wings, and then the body sections, was to come next.
The aircraft, with ID #00-0001, will be the first airplane of any kind purchased and accepted by the Air Force in the next century. It is currently scheduled to roll out at Everett in December 1999. It will then fly to Wichita, Kan., for an 18-month modification program.
The ABL's preliminary design and risk reduction phase is supposed to culminate with a planned attempt to destroy a Scudtype missile in 2003.
"I'm impressed with Team ABL's progress; the design is rock solid and the technology proven," said Lawrence J. Delaney, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.
USAF Ends Stop-Loss Order
Air Force Stop-Loss measures, implemented to stem the flow of crucial personnel out of the service during Operation Allied Force, were set to end Aug. 27, with the redeployment of the last affected active duty member, an intelligence officer.
The program began June 15. It suspended normal separations and retirements for airmen in career fields deemed important for preserving mission capability. Some 6,000 personnel were ultimately affected by the order.
"The Stop-Loss decision is the hardest I've had to make, and it certainly was one I made with General Ryan very, very carefully," said Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters. "One of the things we wanted to do was make sure people didn't think we were trying to use it simply to deal with a personnel shortage."
The move did have a small, positive effect on retention, however. Most of those affected by Stop-Loss were given the option of withdrawing separation or retirement papers. Officials say 47 retirement and five separation packages were withdrawn by officers under this program. Comparable figures for the enlisted ranks were unavailable.
DoD Modifies "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
On Aug. 13, Department of Defense officials announced that they were clarifying their "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuals in the military.
The move came in the wake of the July beating death of an Army private who was allegedly targeted because he was gay.
DoD officials say they want all harassment-of anyone, not just homosexuals-to stop. Under the new guidelines, recruits will receive training explaining that harassment of any service member is unacceptable.
"The bottom line is to treat all others with respect and dignity," said DoD spokesperson Army Lt. Col. Catherine Abbott.
The new policy also recommends that installation staff judge advocates consult with senior legal officers prior to the initiation of an investigation into alleged homosexual conduct. If commanders want to begin an investigation into whether a service member made a statement about his or her homosexuality just to get out of military service, they must get approval from higher headquarters.
The Department of Defense discharged 1,145 service members in 1998 under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Most were discharged because the individuals themselves came forward to declare their orientation.
USAF Mounts Turkey Relief Effort
The Air Force moved quickly to transport relief personnel to western Turkey in the wake of the killer earthquake that struck Aug. 19.
A team from Incirlik AB in the southeastern part of the country left Aug. 20 to survey the wreckage and recommend military aid that might be needed. Airmen trained in water assessment, structures assessment and construction, and radio communications were on the team. A USAF flight surgeon from RAF Lakenheath, UK, deployed as part of a joint medical assessment team to provide immediate care to casualties and scope out further needs.
A C-5 from the 436th Airlift Wing, based at Dover AFB, Del., ferried a 70-person team sponsored by the US Agency for International Development to the hard-hit region. The USAID team included five search and rescue dogs, 56,000 pounds of equipment, and three vehicles.
Turkish officials requested USAF firefighting airplanes to help contain oil refinery blazes that threatened to burn out of control in the days immediately following the temblor. The move was canceled, however, after Turkish firefighters brought the situation under control themselves.
THAAD Moves Forward
After an 0-for-6 slump, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense missile system is now 2-for-2. On Aug. 2, a THAAD interceptor streaked above the Earth's atmosphere and destroyed a Hera target missile.
THAAD had previously notched a successful interception June 10. Prior to that, it had failed six consecutive tests-each time for different technical reasons.
In some ways, the latest test was the most difficult one THAAD has yet attempted. It was exoatmospheric, while the previous hit had taken place within the atmosphere. The Hera target was mimicking an incoming Scud missile with a separating warhead. THAAD thus had to distinguish the warhead from the booster, to find the correct target-and do so against the cold background of space.
Initial indications were that not only did THAAD hit its target, it did so with a tip-to-tip intercept, said program officials. Yet closing velocities were so high, it was as if THAAD had traveled from New York to Washington in less than two minutes.
"Today was probably one of the watershed events in the technological history of our country," Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, told reporters.
The radar directing the THAAD interceptor is so powerful, said Kadish, "you can see a basketball over Washington National Airport from Huntsville, Ala."
Lockheed Martin was breathing easier after the success. If THAAD had missed, the company would have had to pay DoD a $20 million penalty, on top of a $15 million charge already levied for a missed test March 29.
In the wake of the Aug. 2 experiment, the Pentagon dropped its previous demand that the THAAD system complete three successful tests in a row before proceeding to the Engineering and Manufacturing Development stage of the acquisition cycle.
THAAD could now enter EMD as early as next year, officials said Aug. 20, though the program must face an independent cost analysis before it can proceed.
"This will ... accelerate the ultimate fielding of THAAD," said Pentagon acquisition chief Jacques S. Gansler in a letter to Congress announcing the change. A series of up to 40 flight tests would likely be part of any THAAD EMD effort. Rockets and other system components could be manufactured as tests progress.
"Last year ... we had stated that we had confidence in the basic design of the missile but that the failures were attributed to poor missile quality," Army Maj. Gen. Peter Franklin, BMDO deputy director, told reporters. "The contractor put considerable talent and effort into testing of these missiles, and their efforts have been proven successful by these recent tests."
DoD Restructures Anthrax Vaccine Contract
On Aug. 5, the Department of Defense announced that it is restructuring its contract with BioPort Corp., the sole US manufacturer of the anthrax vaccine. Under the restructuring, the Pentagon has agreed to double the price it pays for the vaccine and advance funds to the cash-strapped Michigan firm, in an effort to keep it from going out of business.
BioPort had requested some sort of financial relief in June after it determined that it did not have enough money to keep operating after Aug. 1 and that it would not be able to borrow funds in private capital markets. A Pentagon review board looked at BioPort's books and decided they were right.
"That board concurred and believed that BioPort was in fact in financial distress," said an Army official who spoke to reporters about the move on condition his name not be used. "It also made a decision at that time [that] what we needed to do was go back and renegotiate the contract."
The recent business history of the anthrax vaccine facility is a convoluted one. It was a state-owned institution called Michigan Biologic Products Institute. Its price for a dose of anthrax vaccine was $4.36.
In September 1998, Michigan sold MBPI to BioPort Corp. for $25 million. BioPort officials negotiated a contract with the Pentagon to provide enough vaccine to protect the total force against anthrax-all at the previous price of $4.36 a shot.
Six months into that contract BioPort discovered that its costs were much higher than it thought, said Pentagon officials. They found that Michigan state employees had provided such services as grounds and janitorial maintenance. Those costs had been on the state's payroll, not that of MBPI.
The restructuring will ensure that the facility does not cease production at a time when the Pentagon is in the midst of vaccinating the entire force, said officials. Under the move, the price-per-shot has been increased to $10.64. The Defense Department has advanced BioPort $18.7 million against the costs of future production. To protect its investment, the US government will have liens on all of BioPort's assets, as well as on-site auditors, said the Pentagon. "The Defense Contract Audit Agency will do a follow-up audit in six to nine months to ensure that BioPort is working as we expected," said the official.
Cleaning--Not Whale--Harmed C-17
A design flaw and metal fatigue caused by grit blast cleaning were the causes of a C-17 landing gear failure at an Iceland airport Sept. 10, 1998, according to a recently released Air Force accident board report.
The Charleston, S.C.based Globemaster was touching down at Vestmannaeyjar Airport, Iceland, as part of a mission that transported the killer whale Keiko from Oregon to a new Iceland home. No humans or marine mammals were injured in the incident, but damage to the right main landing gear was extensive.
The Air Force and contractor Boeing have known for years that the part which broke, the trunnion collar spud, was inadequately designed. The spud is a bolt-like component that helps hold together the trunnion, a circular steel part that allows the main landing gear post to rotate when wheels are being raised or lowered.
A short-term fix has already been applied to affected C-17s. But Air Force officials did not know that grit blast cleaning could leave microscopic flaws in the steel and weaken the fix, concluded the accident report.
New Law Mandates Funeral Support
Under just-passed Congressional legislation, the Department of Defense must provide military funeral honors-including two uniformed service members-for all eligible retirees or veterans, beginning Jan. 1, 2000.
Both members of the honor guard must come from either the active or reserve component of a uniformed service. At least one must represent the service branch of the deceased.
The new law, which was part of Fiscal Year 2000 defense authorization legislation, also directs DoD to provide, at a minimum, a ceremonial flag-folding, presentation of the flag to next of kin, and the playing of taps at military funerals.
If a bugler is unavailable, a recording of taps will meet requirements, according to the law.
Veterans' organizations said they would keep a close eye on the new funeral mandates.
"We view the new legislation as a positive step," said Mike Wiswell, Ohio American Legion internal affairs director. "Like many mandates from Congress, we will watch the implementation process and how it works."
Currently, about 89,000 Air Force veterans die every year. That works out to about 240 USAF veterans a day eligible for service military funeral honors.
Last year, Air Force base honor guards were present at more than 6,000 funerals. But veterans' deaths are projected to increase 25 percent annually. By 2002 honor guard requests will reach 48,000, according to Air Force projections.
DoD Names Pharmacy Test Sites
On Aug. 5, the Department of Defense announced that Okeechobee County, Fla., and Fleming County, Ky., are the sites that have been selected for a Tricare pharmacy benefit pilot study.
The study was mandated by the Fiscal 1999 National Defense Authorization Act. It is intended to make retail and mail-order pharmacy benefits available to DoD beneficiaries in the demonstration areas who are Medicareeligible, age 65 and older, and who have Medicare Part B.
"This new pharmacy demonstration program helps solve the problem of high out-of-pocket health care costs for our age-65-and-older beneficiaries who do not have access to a [Military Treatment Facility] and who do not have a prescription benefit through other health insurance," said Dr. Sue Bailey, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
Okeechobee and Fleming were randomly chosen from counties that lacked an established MTF. In addition, under the legislation establishing the program, one test had to have a major Health Maintenance Organization presence, while the other required a low prevalence of HMO membership.
Test participants will be charged an enrollment fee and co-payments for drugs purchased. Enrollment is expected to begin next spring. Those interested in participating may call their Tricare Service Center to see if their ZIP code falls within the area of the pilot program.
Tape Caused Titan IV Failure
A bit of thermal wrap and some tape caused the April 9 failure of a Titan IVB rocket, according to an Air Force Space Command accident investigation report released Aug. 17.
Following a successful takeoff, the rocket's Inertial Upper Stage 1 separated incompletely from IUS Stage 2, because an interstage electrical connector plug failed to release, said the report. The plug had been wrapped in thermal material and tape, per detailed instructions included in the rocket's design documents. However, the documents, which dated from 1978, omitted "unique requirements for the separation function," according to Space Command, and the tape prevented proper plug disconnection. The sticky plug resulted in a cascading series of events that left a $250 million Defense Support Program satellite in a useless orbit.
TRW, Spectrum Astro Win SBIRS Low Contracts
On Aug. 16, the Air Force announced that TRW and Spectrum Astro won $275 million contracts for the program definition and risk reduction phase of the Space Based Infrared System Low program.
During their 38-month efforts the contractors will define affordable requirements, produce preliminary system designs, and carry out ground demonstrations of critical systems, said the Air Force officials.
The SBIRS program is meant to provide precision tracking for national and theater missile defense, following possible incoming ballistic weapons throughout their trajectory. It is split into high orbit and low orbit satellite elements.
A-OK for Y2K?
DoD is just about ready to face the Y2K computer problem, said Secretary of Defense Cohen on July 22.
Military officials have made an enormous effort-their largest series of tests ever-to make sure that critical computer systems don't malfunction when Jan. 1, 2000, rolls around. More than 92 percent of DoD's 2,107 mission critical systems have now been certified as Y2K compliant. Ninety-four percent of its 4,749 nonmission-critical systems have been similarly checked. Over 99 percent of the Department of Defense's 637 installations have been swept and checked for the coming of the new data year.
Among the few systems that have not yet been tested are the U-2 and RC-135 spy airplanes, which were deployed overseas in support of Operation Allied Force. They will be scrubbed upon their return from Europe, said officials.
As a final measure, the Air Force is preparing to carry out what officials call "Guam Watch," by tracking the progress of computer results as the Jan. 1, 2000, date line sweeps across the world.
With the victory of Operation Allied Force behind it, Air Mobility Command is moving toward a new phase of activity-reconstitution.
AMC aircraft and crews took part in more than 1,800 airlift and 900 air refueling missions during the Allied air war over Yugoslavia. Now command planners are moving to relax their forces and repair the fraying of capabilities that such demands inevitably cause.
"We can't come home and sit down because there are still other customers out there," said Col. Edward McPhillips, Tanker Airlift Control Center vice commander. "We have to pace ourselves so we can recover the training that we lost, give people some time off, and still keep the rest of the airlift running globally."
Reconstitution is a three-part process, according to McPhillips. It involves resting the troops, retraining units, and maintaining aircraft.
Though it may seem counterintuitive that crews need training after months of hard operational activity, there are a number of training requirements involving simulators, air refueling, and airdrops that many missed.
"Now it's going to take us three or four months to get all those crews back up to speed," said McPhillips.
Day-to-day operational commitments will be reduced by 10 percent for three months to facilitate this process, said AMC officials. After that, the commitment rate will be ratcheted up by 5 percent, putting the command at a 95 percent operational rate for all forces.
"We'll operate at that rate for one more month to make sure reconstitution is complete," said Col. Robert Owen, chief of policy and doctrine for the plans and programs directorate.
Better Times on Way, Says Engine Boss
The 1990s have been a difficult period for the aircraft logistics and maintenance community, but better times are on the way, said the commander of the San Antonio Air Logistics Center at a recent meeting of senior commanders at Luke AFB, Ariz.
Recent years have been marked by significant budget cuts, base closures, and a high operations tempo with aging aircraft. This has led to parts shortages, increased aircraft cannibalizations, and long working hours for maintainers, said Maj. Gen. Paul L. Bielowicz.
"This is not business as usual," he said. "We are faced with a situation now where the combination of ops tempo and funding shortfalls have created a bow wave of requirements for aircraft engines."
The good news is that money is on the way, said Bielowicz, who directs the acquisition and sustainment of all Air Force engines. The Air Force leadership is working aggressively to get the funds needed, particularly for F-16 power plants.
"The Secretary and the Chief know this is not just a parts issue-it is a quality-of-life issue," said Bielowicz.
The maintainers of Luke AFB were a receptive audience for the engine chief's words. More than 200 F-16s call Luke home, and six Fighting Falcon crashes since last October have put their maintainers under a microscope. Four of the Luke crashes stemmed from material failures on different parts of the aircraft's Pratt & Whitney engine, according to accident reports.
In total, 16 Air Force F-16s have crashed this fiscal year.
"We know where we need to go-replacement parts," said Brig. Gen. John L. Barry, 56th Fighter Wing commander. "Until then, we must continue to manage risk by a more intrusive and frequent regimen of inspections."
Two of the accidents at Luke were caused by the separation of the engine augmenter from the aircraft. In late March, the 56th Wing commander ordered Luke jets grounded until every PW-220 engine augmenter could be removed, cleaned, and inspected for cracks-a 15-hour process.
Base maintainers checked 218 augmenters, in the end. Twenty-four had cracks that required repair or replacement. "That is an incredible feat," said Bielowicz.
Hart Probe Investigator Exonerated
A veteran Department of Defense investigator won't be suspended for asking about ex-Sen. Gary Hart's sex life during a routine security clearance check. David Kerno of the Defense Security Service was notified Aug. 20 that proposed disciplinary action had been withdrawn, said his lawyer, Daniel Minahan.
Last September, Kerno was assigned to check out Hart for a security clearance. The former Colorado lawmaker needed to read secret documents for his role in the National Security Study Group, which is reviewing US defense needs.
As part of his investigation, Kerno asked Hart's partners at a Denver law firm about the former senator's private life. Within hours, Hart spoke to Cohen's chief of staff and complained. Kerno lost his badge, was assigned to a desk job, and faced a 30-day suspension without pay.
House Republicans charged that Kerno was being railroaded for asking appropriate questions and that Hart was receiving favorable treatment simply because of his long-standing ties to the defense chief, himself a former senator from Maine.
DoD spokesmen gave no explanation for the abrupt dropping of charges. "The bottom line is nothing will happen to Dave Kerno," said department spokesman Glenn Flood.
Retired Air Force Gen. James E. "Jim" Hill, a pioneer figure who pushed the service to look toward space for its future, died of cancer May 20 in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 78.
Hill had served as commander of 8th Air Force, Barksdale AFB, La., and commander in chief of NORAD in Colorado. He was a driving force behind the subsequent organization of Air Force Space Command. He retired in 1980.
Jumper: NATO Lucky Serbs Didn't Have Better Equipment
If Serbia's fighters and air defenses had been only a bit more advanced, Operation Allied Force probably wouldn't have been the NATO walkover that it turned out to be.
That is the view of Gen. John P. Jumper, commander of US Air Forces in Europe and NATO's Allied Air Forces Central Europe.
Jumper contended that even a relative handful of more powerful systems--such as the Russian-built Su-35 fighter or SA-10 Surface-to-Air Missile system--might have posed a formidable challenge to NATO forces. Congress might now be criticizing the Air Force for not having already fielded the F-22 fighter rather than questioning its worth, Jumper told Air Force Magazine.
He also discussed the impact of Allied Force on his command and some of his own "lessons learned" from the conflict.
"It [Serb deployment of better systems] would have vastly complicated our ability to roam the skies of Serbia at will, as we were able to do," Jumper asserted, adding that the course of the war would have been "greatly skewed" if NATO had faced "those sort of weapon systems to counter."
He pointed out that it was only a matter of "political decisions" and "resource constraints" that prevented Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic from obtaining the advanced hardware, in that all these systems were available "before this conflict started."
The most advanced Russian fighters now available for export "are very, very capable aircraft," Jumper said, adding, "in many cases, [the frontline Russian aircraft are] certainly more capable than the best thing that we have."
Cause for Concern
Jumper said that US pilots have had the opportunity to fly advanced Russian types in simulated combat against the most modern deployed US types and came away impressed and concerned.
"We have seen, through firsthand experience, that our guys flying their airplanes can beat our guys flying our airplanes," said Jumper. The general declined to be more specific except to say that the airplanes evaluated were more advanced than the MiG-29s that Germany inherited from the former East Germany.
Given the export availability, "someone like Saddam Hussein is only an embargo decision away from him having these kinds of weapons," he said.
Had Serbia possessed advanced equipment, "we would have put ourselves in a position where the debate may well have been, 'Why didn't we have the F-22 sooner?' " Jumper remarked, adding that the Raptor is "the system we are counting on to be able to deal with that level of sophistication."
The USAFE commander noted Serbia launched some 700 SAMs at NATO warplanes during the war. "We were incredibly fortunate" that no NATO aircrew members were lost to such enemy fire, said Jumper. He also said that NATO was never "completely comfortable" that Serbia didn't have more-advanced SAMs; there was suspicion that Milosevic may have been hiding them for later use.
Jumper argued that getting the F-22 is key to maintaining American aerospace leadership of NATO. "The next generation of fighters that will show up, that will be flown by many of our [allies], will have the sort of integrated capabilities that will be more sophisticated than what we have on the street today," he said. Jumper confessed that he worries "about the vision of 10 years from now-roughly the distance between Desert Storm and Kosovo-having to send our people into combat against these next-generation systems, with the same things we fought with in Kosovo."
USAFE was "absolutely maxed out" by Allied Force, Jumper said. "From an asset point of view, we had up to 80 percent of our people and more than 70 percent of our hardware deployed from their normal bases to other bases." He said the bases vacated were quickly "reoccupied by those who were deployed in from the States."
Virtually all of USAFE headquarters staff were deployed to the Combined Air Operations Center in Italy, he said, adding that they worked seven days a week "almost a year" from the time planning began for Allied Force in May 1998.
"It will take us fully six months to recover, ... to get families reacquainted, get equipment back in shape, and get training back up to speed, so that we can get back to our normal readiness rate," Jumper said.
He declined to speculate on how long it will take the Allies' forces to recover, though he observed it will "vary from country to country" because "some were stretched more than others in this air campaign." However, he continued, "What I can say about the Allies is, the training and interoperability of the past 40 years paid off in a big way."
A Little Would Go a Long Way
He has heard comments-especially by Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, the joint forces air component commander in the conflict-that some European Allies that failed to invest in more state-of-the-art equipment might be relegated to a backseat in a future conflict. Jumper maintained that those Allies can quickly get up to par by investing in secure voice communications, identification, friend or foe systems, and a "modest" precision-strike capability, all of which, he said, are "not sexy or new" but can be acquired at a modest cost.
"I think it's within the reach of our Alliance members to do those fundamental things, at least as a start," said Jumper.
New members of NATO contributed-or at least offered-airspace, airfields, and beddown of Alliance aircraft. "Every Alliance member who participated was able to give something of significance," he said. It was, however, "not always airplanes or things that go 'boom.' "
Jumper said Allied Force dispelled a few myths, the "most important" one being that airpower could not put enemy airfields out of commission. Jumper said NATO's forces clearly demonstrated that they could bottle up Serbian airfields, destroy everything of value on them, and then carry out restrikes so often as to make it pointless to try to repair them.
Jumper said Allied Force also exploded the myth that a force needs 72 hours to plan and execute an air tasking order.
"We can turn in near real time," Jumper asserted. "It's not 72 hours; it's minutes for changing a target, down to hours for changing weapons."
Also dispelled, in Jumper's estimation, was a myth that "bombers are not flexible." The general said, "We proved with our B-1 that that's simply not true, and we're going to take steps with our B-52 to put significantly more flexibility into the CALCM [Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile] system."
Jumper pointed out that B-1 bombers, already airborne, were shifted to new targets and, "if they were loaded with a mix of weapons," would attack different types of targets. Some B-1s were loaded with a mix of iron bombs and cluster bombs for this purpose. Bombers showed "incredible flexibility," said Jumper.
Jumper said one myth that was "probably reinforced" among those not directly involved in the operation was that an altitude of 15,000 feet conferred some sort of immunity from enemy fire or that it was "no risk" to operate from there.
"There was nothing safe about 15,000 feet," he said. "Nor was 15,000 feet the altitude in all cases. In many cases, it was much lower than that in order to do the job."
It was reported that the A-10 couldn't use its huge 30 mm cannon at such an altitude, but Jumper said, "The A-10 used the 30 mm extensively, and with great effect."
"The other profound lessons are going to have to do with the tying together of our ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] and communications platforms, so that the product of those transcends the stovepipes that they're in today," Jumper said.
Already under way is an effort to get into the cockpit targeting and bomb damage assessment information that has been automatically selected from the product of available sensors. The goal: Provide a pilot the most complete, up-to-date, and accurate data without regard to source.
The Life Span Issue
Jumper said that US airplanes performed very well, considering the stress of operating over such a prolonged period without respite. "Due to the marvelous efforts of the people on the flight lines, [the aircraft] held up very well," he noted. "But you do have to worry about the life span ... issue."
He referred specifically to the F-16s with the LANTIRN [Low-Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night] pod, which, "by their nature," fly with very heavy loads and in the war flew more than 2,500 sorties. "It's a great stress on the airframe and we do have to worry about it," said Jumper.
While there are no immediate signs that airplanes were broken or worn out, Jumper noted that "some of these airplanes are 10 or 15 years old, and it has to be a going concern" as to how much they have aged.
It would have been very difficult deciding what units to pull out of Allied Force and re-deploy elsewhere to another Major Theater War, should one have erupted, Jumper said.
"Everything we had in there was critical to the need," he said. He argued that pulling out half the F-15E force, for example, "would have had a severe impact on our ability to deal with, say, the SAM threat, because our F-15Es were largely dealing with that threat."
If the choice had been made to pull out of the Balkans and go to a more urgent contingency, "it would have been no more difficult than pulling yourself together for a deployment to go back home. ... With airpower, redirecting assets is something we do."
Jumper said he'd have wished for more Joint Direct Attack Munitions and would have suggested they be put on other JDAM-capable airplanes besides the B-2 bomber, if they were available. He clearly understood, though, that the acquisition phase of the program was still in its infancy, and only a limited number of the GPS-aided bombs were available. More JDAMs are now being rapidly acquired.
He also would have liked to have seen more self-protection mechanisms available for the C-130, AC-130, and C-17 and would have been happier if all NATO crews could have had night vision goggles along with the training and cockpit lighting necessary to use them.
Asked what was most needed that wasn't readily available in Allied Force, Jumper replied, "Patience."
"We needed patience to get this job done," said Jumper. "As an airman, I had every confidence that we would get the job done, but I knew it would take a while. What we needed less of was, after the fifth day of the war, people asking us why we hadn't won yet. ... We lacked the patience to give this thing the time needed to take effect, because we were in a very difficult situation with regard to the weather and the threat of collateral damage. It took time to get around these things."
-John A. Tirpak
Experts called it a preview of the Y2K transition, and it went smoothly-at least, smoothly enough. The synchronized clocks of Global Positioning System satellites rolled back to zero at approximately 8 p.m. on Aug. 21, and the system stayed up and functioning.
Some older GPS navigation equipment was affected by the rollover, however. In Japan, hundreds of onboard car navigation systems went blank. Fourteen Australian Navy patrol boats lost their directional equipment. The US Coast Guard reported a few instances of civilian boaters who were unprepared for the changeover and lost their way.
For its part, the US military had no problems. "Military and civilian GPS users worldwide can continue to depend on accurate information from the GPS satellites," said Air Force Space Command, in a statement.
The rollover was necessary because of memory space limitations on GPS satellites. The system was designed to count up to 1,024 weeks, from a Jan. 6, 1980, start, and then reset itself to zero.Counting would then commence anew, as the odometer of a car would continue to count miles after rolling over from 100,000 to zero.
The looming Y2K problem stems from similar date-specific computer memory problems, noted experts.
"To the extent we see organizations meeting the GPS challenge, it bodes well for their ability to meet the Y2K challenge," said Jack Gribben, a spokesman for the White House's Council on Year 2000 conversion.
New Man at the NSC
Hans Binnendijk, who has served in many positions in government and academia, is the National Security Council's new point man for defense matters.
Samuel R. Berger, President Clinton's national security advisor, announced Aug. 13 that he had appointed Binnendijk to the post of special assistant to the President and senior director for defense policy and arms control. The appointment became effective Aug. 15.
Binnendijk replaces Robert G. Bell, a former Air Force officer who left the White House post a day earlier to take a new NATO job in Brussels.
During the Clinton Administration, the holder of the post has tended to focus mostly on arms control, proliferation, and military space matters.
Since 1994, Binnendijk has served as the director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Prior to that he was principal deputy director of the State Department's policy planning staff (1993-94). He also served as deputy staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1980-85).
In academia, he was director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and director of studies at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies.
The following is a condensed version of an article that appeared in the July 1999 issue of Proceedings, journal of the US Naval Institute in Annapolis, Md. It was written by Cmdr. Glenn Tierney, a retired US Navy fighter pilot.It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in Hawaii on 5 June 1964. ... I was the assistant current air operations (Navy, J-3116) on the staff of the commander in chief, Pacific (CinCPac), Adm. Harry D. Felt. ... My four-digit designator put me well down on the totem pole. As one of the few Navy pilots on the staff with any recent fleet experience, however, I wound up in the middle of things when the air war in Southeast Asia expanded. ...After many months of indecision, on 23 May 1964 the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) finally authorized the Navy to conduct low-altitude photographic reconnaissance flights over the Plaine des Jarres [in Laos].Within days, Photographic Squadron (VFP)-63 pilots began flying missions from the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), which was operating from Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. Along with the authorization came orders that the RF-8 Crusader photo planes were to operate without armed escorts-even though the practice had been standard operating procedure since World War II. ...The major potential problems with the flights were their frequency and Times Over Target (TOTs), which were specified by the Secretary of Defense. For these missions, the TOTs were specified as every other day at 1 p.m. (Laotian time). Anyone could see that such a pattern created a built-in opportunity for the Pathet Lao to spring an ambush. ...The telephone in my quarters rang late on that Sunday afternoon: "You asked me to call you whenever we had a problem with one of your projects [meaning overt and covert aerial reconnaissance]. We have a bad one," said Army Master Sergeant Duncan, in charge of communications in the CinCPac Command Center. ...I automatically assumed that we had lost a Navy photo plane and pilot in the Plaine des Jarres; that day's TOT had been about an hour earlier. Duncan confirmed my fears: The pilot had been shot down and the escort pilot had seen him moving about. The Rescue Combat Air Patrol (ResCAP) from the ship had launched, he added quickly, but had been recalled because the "word" had come down that there was to be "no round-eye" [American] effort to rescue the pilot.I could not believe it. We had two Air America helicopters stationed on a hill about 20 miles away, on alert for just this purpose. ... The ridiculous aspect of the order was that there were no other forces available. ... For all practical purposes, at this point the photo pilot had been abandoned by the government that had sent him in harm's way.I called the JCS on the secure telephone and spoke with the Army brigadier general who was the duty flag officer. He confirmed the order. When I literally demanded to know who had issued such an order, he said he was not sure. I respectfully suggested that he find out as soon as possible and we would be calling him back, also ASAP. As I dropped the secure phone, I called my immediate boss, Marine Brig. Gen. George Bowman, our J-3/operations officer, but he was not at home.To hell with this, I said to myself, and I called Admiral Felt on his private line at his quarters in Makalapa, just down the hill; I was bypassing at least three other senior flag officers. The line was not secure, so I told him briefly that we had a serious problem in the PDJ. ... "I'm on the way," he replied.Less than 10 minutes later, the JCS brigadier general was telling the admiral that the order had come from the Secretary of Defense himself. (Before he called the JCS, Admiral Felt had instructed me to pick up a second secure phone and admonished me: "You listen; you do not speak.") ... Admiral Felt spoke quietly: "General, get me the Secretary of Defense on this line immediately." ...Several minutes later, sounding very wide awake, and almost jovial, Robert McNamara came on the line and asked Admiral Felt the reason for the call. Admiral Felt was never one to mince words. "Mr. Secretary, I have been told that you are aware that we just had a Navy photo pilot shot down in the Plaine des Jarres and that an order had been issued by your office that there was to be no 'round-eye' effort to rescue the pilot. Is that correct?""That is correct, Admiral," McNamara answered. At this point Admiral Felt interrupted him: "May I ask by whose authority this order was issued?""The recommendation came from State," McNamara replied, "and the Secretary of State and I discussed it and agreed that this is the best course of action." ...Admiral Felt turned slightly to look at me. ... He spoke again, very quietly but in a short clipped tone that I had never heard him use before."Mr. Secretary, that is not a decision that can be made by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Defense. The decision to rescue this pilot or not to rescue him can be made only by the Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces, and I am asking you to put me through to the Commander in Chief-now, sir." ...After a few seconds, McNamara started almost mumbling; he didn't argue the point, or refuse the request, but he made a big point that it was very late and that the President had just retired after a long evening. ...Again, Admiral Felt quietly repeated his previous statement word for word. ... McNamara, without another word on the subject, said, "All right, I will ring the President." Within 30 seconds President Johnson came on the line. ..."Good morning, Admiral Felt, what can I do for you?""Mr. President, we just had a Navy photo pilot shot down over the Plain des Jarres in northern Laos, but the Navy and Air America rescue effort has been called off by the Secretary of Defense as recommended by the Secretary of State. I just spoke to the Secretary of Defense and told him that this is a critical military decision that cannot be made by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State, but one that can be made only by the Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces, and I am asking your permission to go in and rescue this pilot."Without hesitation, President Johnson came back, "Well, I'll be damned. Of course, go in and get him-and let me know how it comes out."Note: The unfortunate Navy photo pilot was Lt. Charles F. Klusmann. He was not rescued but was captured. It was several hours before Air America helicopter crews reached the scene. Heavy ground fire drove off the lead aircraft; Klusmann waved off the second helo because it, too, was flying into an ambush.The Kitty Hawk's ResCAP never did show up; they had been recalled. The author writes that, in all probability, they would have neutralized the area by the time the helicopters arrived and the Air America crews would have been able to make the pickup.Klusmann, captured on June 6, escaped from his captors on Aug. 31. He is now a retired US Navy captain living in Pensacola, Fla.
The CIA announced on Aug. 20 that it has stripped former Director John M. Deutch of his security clearance after concluding that he had mishandled classified information. Before he moved to the CIA, Deutch had served as deputy secretary of defense, the Pentagon's No. 2 post.The suspension--which was for actions that occurred during Deutch's tenure as the nation's spy chief--was the first such action the CIA has ever taken.Even though an investigation by the agency's inspector general "found no evidence that national security information was lost," it did find "the potential for damage to US security ... as a result of [Deutch's] actions," said a statement issued by current Director George J. Tenet.The charges against Deutch arose in the days after he stepped down as director in 1996. Federal government technicians reviewing equipment at his Maryland home found highly classified data on a computer.Although the computer was CIA-issue, it was not equipped with the level of security necessary to safely hold the data in question.According to published reports, the files included documents relating to Iraq and the 1996 terrorist bombing of the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 US troops.Deutch will now be unable to continue his current role of unpaid consultant to the agency. Such a post requires access to classified material.Deutch, for his part, expressed remorse at the incident."I want to make it clear that I never considered the information to be at risk or intended to violate security procedures," he said in a statement. "But good intentions are simply not good enough. Strict compliance is the standard."For the CIA, the Deutch situation has uncomfortable echoes of the Wen Ho Lee case, in which a Los Alamos National Lab physicist transferred classified computer files to his personal computer.Lee has been a prime suspect in the suspected leak of nuclear secrets to China. Though it now appears unlikely that he will be charged with espionage, his infraction was such that Deutch's action could not be ignored.Now a chemistry professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Deutch served for nearly 40 years in a variety of national security positions.
Daily Report: Read the days top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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