Space Commission Kicks Off
An independent commission on June 5 officially embarked on a six-month examination of ways to enhance US military space power.
The new panel is called the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization. Its members are charged with proposing ways to increase space's contribution to US military power and with reviewing new ways to organize the military space effort.
"This commission will play an important role in ensuring that our forces are properly structured to gain maximum benefit from ... space operations," said Rep. Floyd Spence (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Chairing the Congressional commission will be Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense (1975-77). The members had the approval of Republicans and Democrats on defense committees.
The commission's retired military members:
A-10 Accident Report Blames Weather
Spatial disorientation--caused by flying at night in bad weather--contributed "substantially" to the Jan. 20 crash of an A-10A near Gowen ANGB, Boise Air Terminal, Idaho, according to an accident report released May 23 by Air Combat Command.
The pilot, Maj. Mark Moynihan of the 190th Fighter Squadron, 124th Wing (ANG), was killed in the crash.
Accident investigators were not able to pinpoint the cause of the crash to their complete satisfaction. Evidence did point to a number of factors, however.
Investigators reported that they suspect severe spatial disorientation, possibly aggravated "by cockpit distractions affecting Moynihan's navigation, lighting, and radio equipment," as the primary reason for the accident.
The probable display of incorrect data on the main attitude director indicator-due to possible malfunction or pilot distrust of the information-may also have made the disorientation worse.
New Nuclear Arms Review In Store?
The Senate Armed Services Committee wants DoD, in consultation with the Department of Energy, to conduct another comprehensive nuclear posture review, its first since the early days of the Clinton Administration.
Panel members inserted into the Fiscal 2001 defense authorization bill a provision ordering the assessment. The most recent review was conducted by then-Defense Secretary Les Aspin in 1993-94.
"The committee believes that a new nuclear posture review is overdue and should be completed in the near future," reads the committee report on the legislation.
The panel said review topics should include the role of nuclear forces in US military strategy; policy requirements for the US to maintain a safe, reliable, and credible nuclear deterrent; the relationship between nuclear policy and arms control objectives; the numbers of nuclear delivery systems needed to carry out the policy; and the number of warheads required.
The review's report is due in December 2001.
Hill Panel Wants Hard Look at Strategic Modernization
In its preparation of the defense bill, the Senate Armed Services Committee also included a provision that calls upon DoD, again in consultation with DoE, to produce a plan for the long-term sustainment and modernization of US strategic forces.
The most recent US programs to produce land-based missiles, sea-based missiles, and heavy bombers were authorized during the Reagan Administration. The US has produced no nuclear weapons since the early 1990s. Over the past decade, the Pentagon has focused on maintaining and upgrading existing forces.
This plan, to be delivered to Congress no later than April 15, 2001, should address the issue of follow-on replacements for the Minuteman III, Trident II, and B-2, said the committee.
"The committee expects that the plan would look beyond current efforts to modernize existing systems and lay out a comprehensive vision for the maintenance of deterrent forces," said the legislative report.
Ralston Assumes Post of SACEUR
Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston on May 3 took over as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, the head of all NATO forces, at a ceremony at NATO military headquarters in Mons, Belgium.
Ralston replaces Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the Army officer who led the alliance in Operation Allied Force, NATO's first war. Clark repeatedly clashed with his political superiors over the war's pacing and targets.
Clark said Ralston will need to plan for a tremendous alliance workload, which includes keeping the peace in Bosnia and Kosovo. Clark also told reporters April 27 that NATO needs a new strategy for the proper way to apply force in the post-Cold War environment.
The ascension to NATO's top military post represents something of a redemption for Ralston, who most recently served as deputy to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton.
Three years ago, Ralston was in line to become Chairman himself, but his nomination was thwarted by political fallout during the media-spotlighted case of Lt. Kelly Flinn, a female USAF pilot who faced a court-martial for improper fraternization, lying, and failure to obey a direct order. As Ralston became ensnared in charges about his own private life, he withdrew his name from consideration.
Ralston, instead, served a second term as the JCS vice chairman. Now, he becomes the first Air Force officer in nearly 40 years to serve in the SACEUR post. The last to do so was Gen. Lauris Norstad in the period 1956 to 1962.
US Had Secret ATO on Kosovo First Night
On the first night of the Kosovo air war, US aircraft flew under two Air Tasking Orders-a coalition ATO shared with allies, and a secret US-only ATO for stealthy F-117s and B-2s and other high-value warplanes.
The reason for the dual approach? Some US officials were worried about their allies' loose lips.
Said USAF Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, the NATO forces air commander in Allied Force: "We had some folks in the US military chain of command that were so concerned about our allies' ability to keep a secret that, on the first night of the war, we ran a US-only ATO and a coalition ATO." Short recalled the situation at an early May conference in Washington sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and reported by Inside the Pentagon. "It took us a while to convince senior leadership that we're all in this fight together."
The dual-ATO approach nearly came to grief, said Short, when a Turkish airborne early warning aircraft spotted unidentified aircraft departing Hungary and considered ordering an attack. The airplanes were US F-117s and their escorts.
Similarly, a British officer wanted to know why certain missile dumps were not being struck in the war's early hours. The air commander had to ask the officer to "trust him"-period.
"Certainly there are some issues of US technology that we need to protect, but these are flight-planning issues, these are employment, these have nothing to do with the ATO," he said.
Kolligian Trophy Goes to Allied Force Pilot
USAF Capt. Ripley E. Woodard, from Spangdahlem AB, Germany, has been named the 1999 winner of the Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy, which recognizes an aircrew member who exhibits extraordinary skill in minimizing or averting an aircraft accident.
Woodard, an A-10 pilot temporarily deployed to Aviano AB, Italy, was flying a combat mission in Operation Allied Force when his Warthog suffered a double engine failure.
The Air Force pilot, using only his turn and slip indicator to control bank angle, successfully restarted both engines after losing 23,000 feet in altitude. He then returned safely to base.
Joint Chiefs Reject 1,500-Warhead Limit
In May 23 Congressional testimony, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed opposition to Moscow's proposal to cut US and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,500 warheads each.
The US military is currently studying the effect on national security of dropping to a 2,500-to-2,000-warhead level. A smaller arsenal is, in analytic terms, uncharted territory, said the Chiefs.
"We would not feel comfortable [doing that], short of a comprehensive review of the strategy," Army Gen. Henry Shelton, JCS Chairman, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Under the 1993 START II treaty, the US and Russia have agreed to a deployed warhead limit of 3,000 to 3,500 by 2007. The Administration remains pledged to seek a START III pact that would reduce that number to between 2,000 to 2,500 or so.
Burdened by the costs of strategic weapons, Moscow would like to take arms control even further. Even START II levels will cost Russia's government $26 billion to maintain over the next 10 years, according to Alexei Arbatov, deputy chairman of the Russian parliament defense committee.
Russian leaders have said they want a START III with a 1,500-weapon limit. However, public opposition from the nation's military leaders now makes it difficult for President Clinton to pursue such a low figure, if he is so inclined.
That could make it harder to get Russians to agree to alter the 1972 ABM Treaty to allow for limited missile defenses. Some arms experts had foreseen a grand bargain whereby the US would agree to the Russians' preferred limits in exchange for greater freedom to pursue defensive options.
F-22 To Stay in Georgia
In early May Lockheed Martin reportedly stated that it will keep final assembly of the F-22 Raptor at its Marietta, Ga., plant, rather than move the work to Fort Worth, Tex.
The move had been possible, and an intriguing possibility, ever since the consolidation of the defense industry brought the Marietta and Fort Worth lines together under Lockheed in 1993.
Lockheed in Fort Worth builds the F-22 midfuselage. Subcontractor Boeing makes the tail and wings. Marietta makes noses and cockpits and then integrates the pieces.
Georgia politicians fought to keep the final assembly work in their state, and in the end a financial analysis showed that it would cost upward of $500 million to consolidate F-22 fabrication under one roof.
Vietnam-Era Fliers Buried in Arlington
A military honor guard on May 25 laid to rest the recently discovered remains of Maj. Thomas H. Amos, a USAF F-4 pilot, and Capt. Mason I. Burnham, his navigator, killed when their F-4 plunged into a Laotian forest near the Ho Chi Minh Trail on April 20, 1972.
Amos and Burnham were assigned to the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, based at Da Nang in South Vietnam. They were flying a night escort mission with an AC-130 gunship when they abruptly ceased radio contact. Witnesses saw a fireball, with no parachutes.
In 1989, two Vietnamese looking for incense wood stumbled on the wreckage in a remote part of Quang Nam-Da Nang province. The US Air Force interviewed the pair four years later and began recovery efforts at the crash site in 1994.
The difficult terrain made recovery work slow. The discovery of unexploded ordnance caused authorities to halt the search in June 1998. By then, however, searchers had recovered enough bone fragments and other items to positively identify Amos and Burnham.
They also recovered the men's dog tags. Burnham's tags were returned to his daughter, Kim Heddinger, last summer. She has worn them almost every day since, "because he wore them next to his heart when he was killed," she told an interviewer in her hometown of Eugene, Ore.
Era Ends at Kelly
Kelly AFB, Tex., marked the end of an era April 28 with the completion of its last depot workload.
Kelly first served as a government depot in 1921 and its workers have overhauled countless aircraft, engines, and other major items. The base was ordered shut in a 1995 Base Closure and Realignment Commission decision.
Since last fall only the Power Systems Division had been performing government maintenance operations at Kelly's San Antonio Air Logistics Center. The Power Systems workload, which includes secondary power systems, gas turbine engines, air turbine starters for propulsion engines, and auxiliary power units, will now be transferred to Hill AFB, Utah.
Kelly's C-5 workload had previously been moved to Robins AFB, Ga. Its propulsion workload has been handed to a public-private team of Tinker AFB, Okla., and Lockheed, which will continue to operate at what will now be known as Kelly USA.
USAF Rejects Boeing Offer for More C-17s
Air Force officials on May 2 said they have rejected Boeing's offer to build 60 more C-17s as too expensive. The terms of the unsolicited proposal were also somewhat unclear, said officials.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the details of the rejected offer.
Boeing insisted that the offer, with its guaranteed price of $149 million per aircraft, would save the service substantial sums. Company officials said that they would submit a new proposal if the Air Force is at least interested in proceeding.
"We're ready for the Air Force to sit down and talk," Boeing spokesman Larry Whitley told the Post-Dispatch.
Boeing is currently building 120 C-17s for the Air Force, with the last scheduled delivery date in 2004. The batch of 60 would have been in addition to this planned fleet.
Boeing made its new offer in March of last year. It included enhancements to the aircraft, including a 15 percent increase in range, in addition to the guaranteed $149 million price tag. Current C-17s are rolling off the production line at about $25 million more apiece.
Stronger C-5s? Or More C-17s?
An ongoing analysis of alternatives to proposed C-5 upgrades might end up recommending the purchase of additional C-17s, according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
"Right now, the intuition says that probably C-17s would be the right answer, but I defer on making a recommendation until we finish the analysis," Army Gen. Henry Shelton told a Senate hearing April 26.
Air Force active, Guard, and Reserve inventories contain about 125 of the giant Galaxys, which are based principally on 1960s technologies. The fleet was bought in two large batches, one (the C-5As) starting in the late 1960s and the other (the C-5Bs) in the mid-1980s.
The Air Force has planned C-5A modernizations as a way of improving the aircraft's reliability. Its current mission capability rate hovers at around 60 percent.
But the service has "some tremendous challenges with the C-5 Alpha right now," Shelton told the Senate Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee.
"I Love You" Bug Bit Classified Systems
Defense Department officials are rethinking computer security procedures in the wake of the May 4 attack of the infamous "Love Bug" virus.
Despite initial reports to the contrary, the virus infected four classified e-mail systems at several different defense agencies, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said May 5. Meanwhile, the bug romped through unclassified DoD systems. Bacon himself received 40 copies of the Love program.
"The good news is that it was quickly detected and quickly isolated, and the impact on the systems was very, very minimal," said Bacon. "The bad news is that it got in at all."
Responding to the virus was a tremendous task for Pentagon computer security officials. It took several days for them to get it under control.
"Some DoD machines required complete software reloads to overcome the extent of the damage," said a General Accounting Office statement submitted to Congress on May 10.
Some classified systems are connected to the Internet, which could explain how the virus found its way into secret networks. Security officials suspect that someone may also have transferred a disc from an unclassified computer to a classified one.
In subsequent weeks at least 13 variants of the virus have attacked DoD computers. Officials say that, if nothing else, the experience is teaching them valuable lessons in computer security coordination.
Airborne Laser Passes Critical Design Review
The Airborne Laser successfully passed a Critical Design Review in the last week in April, meaning the system can now proceed into integration, fabrication, and testing.
The three-day CDR was conducted in Seattle by Boeing, Lockheed Martin, TRW, and the Air Force. They examined whether the ABL program has been effective in meeting service mission requirements, has been on cost and schedule, and has been successful in reducing program risk, among other things.
"The CDR is a celebration of three-and-one-half years of high-intensity design and risk reduction," said Paul Shennum, Boeing vice president and ABL program director. "It represents a culmination of innovation and intuition. We have a design that is robust and one in which we're very confident."
The ABL effort is developing a high-energy chemical oxygen-iodine laser that will be carried on a 747-derivative aircraft and be capable of shooting down theater ballistic missiles hundreds of miles from their launch site.
As of mid-spring, the ABL team was still working on the assumption that the first live intercept test of the system will occur in 2003. Proposed reductions in the ABL budget, however, mean that date could well slip to 2005, or perhaps even later.
Lawmakers Tell USAF to Emphasize S&T
The Senate Armed Services Committee is disappointed with what it sees as Air Force inattention to Science and Technology-so it has asked the service to develop and submit for lawmaker approval an S&T master plan.
Both the Army and Navy have already produced formal Science and Technology outlines that attempt to link current investment to long-term goals, the panel noted in its report on the Fiscal 2001 defense authorization bill.
"The committee remains concerned that the Air Force has made deep cuts to some programs without undertaking a comprehensive planning process to ascertain its long-term technology needs," the committee report said.
The Air Force for 2001 requested a total of $1.3 billion, broken down as $206 million for basic research, $590 million for applied research, and $495 million for advanced research.
Both the Senate panel and its House counterpart were dissatisfied with the size of this request. The House panel, in its report, expressed concern that the lack of investment could lead to erosion in US air superiority.
"Air Force modernization investments still reflect a much higher priority on near-term modernization and sustainment of legacy systems than on sustaining adequate levels of investment in S&T," charged the House report.
The Air Force Research Laboratory reportedly has already produced a comprehensive service S&T plan that outlines Air Force investments and S&T intentions through 2005. However, at this point it has not been circulated to Congress.
JSF Faces Possible Slowdown
All the big defense bills working their way through the Congressional budget process in late spring called for slowing down the Joint Strike Fighter program to some degree.
The Senate's version of the Fiscal 2001 defense appropriations bill, for instance, would add $20 million to the JSF program to extend the airplane's demonstration and validation phase through June 2001.
The Senate defense authorization bill would shift funds from the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the JSF into a beefed-up dem/val effort.
House defense panels have made similar changes. Lawmakers say they are worried about the airplane's technology progress-and, in particular, problems in the JSF propulsion system
"We believe the schedule cannot be met, frankly, to get to EMD," said Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee's airland forces subcommittee, at a May 10 press conference.
The JSF's Pratt & Whitney F119 power plant is itself proceeding on schedule. Senators said they were concerned about the adaptation of the engine into the short-takeoff-and-landing version of the fighter that would power the Marine Corps and British Royal Navy variants.
Lawmakers are also worried about the prospects for the JSF's acquisition strategy. The Senate defense appropriations subcommittee has gone so far as to attach language to its annual legislation that would attempt to ensure that the JSF remains a "winner take all" competition.
In recent months defense officials have been studying whether restructuring the program to share work in some manner between Boeing and Lockheed Martin would better preserve the nation's fighter aircraft defense industrial base.
Funds for Old Fighters Still Flowing
Budget deals struck this spring ensure that the Air Force will still be buying F-15s and F-16s for some years to come.
On May 3, service officials agreed to a deal with Boeing that will provide for production of three F-15s for $70 million apiece, with an option to purchase two more, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Cash for the deal comes from $275 million Congress appropriated for the current fiscal year.
Differences over the per-unit price slowed agreement on the Fiscal 2000 F-15s. Missouri legislators, who have long pushed to keep the St. Louis F-15 line open at least until the F-22 enters full-rate production, were instrumental in breaking the deadlock.
Meanwhile, the House Armed Services Committee added $150 million to the Administration's 2001 budget for two more F-15s. The F-16 also garnered HASC support: The panel increased the advanced procurement budget for the F-16 by $24 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, for its part, added $183 million to the budget for six new F-16s, and $69 million for Air National Guard F-16 engine upgrades.
Current Air Force plans include purchase of at least 19 more F-16s, beginning in Fiscal 2003.
USAF Resumes F-22 Flights
The Air Force on June 6 announced it had resumed F-22 flight testing with aircraft 4002. USAF had suspended test flights May 9 after it found tiny cracks in cockpit canopies.
The hairline cracks were less than an inch long and occurred in a lower area where 140 bolts attach a 190-pound transparency to the canopy frame, officials said. Preliminary findings indicate that there are two likely root causes. One is "higher than expected stresses induced during manufacturing, assembly, and installation operations of the transparency and canopy assembly." The second is "degraded material due to a chemical reaction in the transparency material, polycarbonate."
The grounding came at a time when the pace of the F-22 testing program is becoming important to the program's future. The Air Force and key lawmakers are already negotiating legislation that would allow service officials to release $2.5 billion in Raptor production funds even if some of the testing criteria previously established by Congress are not met, Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters said in early May.
"We are working with Congressional leaders to develop contingency plans in case all calendar year 2000 program criteria are not completed by December," Peters wrote in a statement released in response to an inquiry from Defense Week.
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee, already turned thumbs-down on this request, however. Lewis and others have warned the Air Force that there will be no relaxation of the test requirements.
However, in early June, the director of the F-22 test force, Col. C.D. Moore, stated that the canopy cracking would not impact completion of test objectives by year's end.
"This is no different than other developmental subsystem challenges that we have had in the past," Moore said.
Defense Department officials say that fewer members of the US military are on food stamps than they had previously thought-but that number might be going up if Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has his way.
Cohen is proposing to rectify a long-standing equity issue regarding housing allowances in a manner that would likely increase military eligibility for the US government's food assistance programs.
"We'd like to see a situation where no service members are on food stamps, but we also want to make sure that any benefit that is available to our citizens is also available to our service members," said Cohen on April 30.
DoD officials had been assuming that about 12,000 active duty service personnel use food stamps. A recent survey, however, has lowered that estimate to 6,300.
Systematically targeted pay raises might eventually lower this number further or even eliminate military personnel use of food stamps entirely, said Cohen.
But in the meantime, DoD officials would like to change food stamp eligibility rules by eliminating the counting of monthly cash housing allowances as income. Right now the value of on-base quarters is not counted as income-meaning that a service member living on base earns less than an off-base peer, as far as the food stamp program is concerned, and thus is more likely to qualify for assistance.
The change would make some military members "poorer" to the US government and thus could make more personnel eligible for the program. The alternative-putting a dollar value on base living-might deprive some families of a food stamp benefit they now use.
"We want to achieve equity with people who are living off base and those who are living on," said Cohen. "But we don't want to achieve equity by [going to] those who have a benefit and taking it away from them."
Ending military usage of food stamps would be a complex undertaking, notes a recent Congressional Research Service report.
For one thing, experts do not agree on the scope of the problem. While DoD now estimates that 6,300 military personnel use food stamps, a Congressional General Accounting Office study holds that 13,500 active duty members received food stamps at some point in the 12-month period ending in September 1999.
Conversely, the US Department of Agriculture estimated in 1997 that only 3,000 households with a military member received food stamps, notes CRS.
Neither do various agencies agree on a solution. Raising pay for food stamp eligible personnel in grades E-5 and below by $180 per month, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has proposed in legislation, might not solve the problem and could raise new military income equity issues, notes CRS.
It could also be expensive.
"Proposals to reduce or eliminate service member eligibility for the food stamp program remain controversial," concludes CRS. "The disagreement raises questions as to the purpose of military pay, the effects of the present situation on morale, and the financial costs of a policy response, among other things."
Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, commanding general of US Army Europe, appeared May 24 before the Defense Writers Group in Washington, D.C. The discussion at one point turned to Task Force Hawk, the deployment to Albania during Allied Force of Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, which were never used. Meigs provided a defense of the deployment, which was heavily criticized during and after the war.
"Task Force Hawk ... got a bum rap, quite frankly. ... [T]he bum rap was, 'It was 24 helicopters, and--isn't it a laugher?--it took three weeks to get there.'
"First of all, Task Force Hawk was a totally unprecedented operation. ... What the CINC [Army Gen. Wesley Clark, the NATO Commander in Chief] asked us to do was take out of a conventional corps this sort of deep-strike capability. A deep-strike capability is an aviation capability that goes over the front line of troops, deep into the enemy area, and attacks their second echelon. It's usually in the context of an entire corps on the ground, which is two or three divisions, like you saw in Desert Storm. ...
"[T]he corps was engaged in supporting the [Allied Force] effort. The corps intel cell was supporting Jim Ellis [Adm. James O. Ellis Jr., Allied Forces Southern Europe CINC] and doing a bunch of other things. We had people from gunnery. So what we had to do was pull this headquarters and fighting element out of the guts of the corps, reshape it, and move it in about two days. The movement took about two days to initiate.
"[W]hat we're talking about here is not 24 helicopters. What we're talking about here is a large headquarters element, which includes command and control, a very robust intelligence capability, and the headquarters that manages the aviation assets when they move around and go deep, and all of the links to the joint world.
"We're talking about a mechanized battalion. Remember, we were going to put this thing, naked, into Albania, 80 kilometers from a Yugoslavian army in Podgorica, which we had already bombed. So, you know, you were not going to just set those guys down there without any force protection. ...
"[W]hen you do a deep strike, you move fuel assets right out close to where you're going to go into the enemy sector, so you have max fuel. A FARP, we call it-a Forward Area Refueling Position. When you put a FARP up next to the Serb areas in the mountains, you aren't going to put them up there all by themselves. You have to secure them. And we had to invent a CSAR [Combat Search and Rescue] sort of as we went along.
"So you're talking about what is, in essence, about half a division's worth of stuff, you know? Forty-eight helicopters, because we were going to send the whole regiment; that's attack birds. Another 24 birds were arranged from medevac to command and control to the Chinooks for moving the FARPs around-because, you know, moving those fuel bladders around, you can't use a small helicopter for that.
"Then you had the corps CP [Command Post], the corps deep operations cell, the aviation brigade headquarters, the ACE [Analysis and Control Element]-which is a 250-man intelligence organization that had to go and do all of that kind of deep looking, figuring out where the enemy was moving around-and all the cooks and supply people. You're talking about 5,000 people. ...
"I was prohibited by law from spending one dollar of appropriated funds for anything [with respect to] Kosovo. I was prevented from leaning forward in the harness until the 2nd of April. On the 26th of April, that 5,000-man force was in Albania and ready to fight. Half a division's worth. All moved by air. All moved into an airfield that previously had a capability for one wide-body at a time, in daylight only. The Air Force moved heaven and earth to get us down there, and they should get some kudos for that. ...
"This was some really fine work. And, unfortunately, it just got lost in the shuffle. So, it's very frustrating to us. We had these people doing something that had never been done before-and meeting the CINC's standard. We met his 'be-ready-to-fight' timeline.
"No one understood that the Apache is a VFR [Visual Flight Rules] airplane. The Apache can't fly in bad weather. It's a two-day flight to the Balkans. They took off on Day 1, flew to France, flew to Italy, and couldn't get across 'the Boot' because of the weather. So they had to wait two to four days to get across the Boot.
"They flew to Brindisi, and the Italians said, 'You can't load up the missiles because, you know, there's a safety problem,' and we said, 'Look, we're not going into Albania without being uploaded.' Plus, the French took the place on the airfield where the Apaches were supposed to go, and they said, 'We're not leaving until Paris says so.' It took six days to get Paris to move them. So there was no way to get them in. ...
"I'm just telling you, this very 'clean' three-day flight was encumbered by a couple of things over which we had absolutely no control, but I don't want to beat that to death."
The House on May 18 passed a $309 billion Fiscal 2001 defense authorization bill. The legislation would approve $4.6 billion more in military spending than the Clinton Administration had requested.
Members of the armed services would receive a 3.7 percent across-the-board pay raise, under terms of the House legislation. It would also accelerate the Administration's plan to increase military housing allowances and allow uniformed personnel to participate in the government's 401(k)-style retirement savings plan.
The House also adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) that would allow military retirees age 65 and over to obtain health care in military hospitals and clinics and have Medicare reimburse the Pentagon for 95 percent of the cost. In essence, the amendment would take the current Medicare Subvention pilot program and expand it nationwide.
Much of the $4.6 billion added to the Fiscal 2001 authorization bill by the House would increase military procurement budgets.
Air combat programs, however, would see relatively minor changes. The bill authorizes $3.9 billion for the F-22 program, though restrictions placed on the airplane's proceeding into production that Congress approved last year would remain in place. It earmarks $872 million--$15 million more than requested--for the Joint Strike Fighter. It includes $2.6 billion for 39 F/A-18 Super Hornets, a reduction of three aircraft.
Plans called for the full Senate in June to take up its own version of the authorization bill. As reported out of the Senate Armed Services Committee on May 10, the legislation closely mirrors the dollar figures of its House counterpart.
It, too, would add over $4 billion to the Administration's budget request, with much of the money spread out over existing procurement programs.
At a press conference following markup, members of the Senate panel focused on their plan to slow down the development of the Joint Strike Fighter. Their bill would cut $600 million from the aircraft's Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase and add $424 million to the demonstration/validation phase.
"Very briefly, we're not going to have a TFX program on my watch," said Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), the chairman of the committee. Warner was referring to the troubled Vietnam-era program in which versions of a single aircraft were to serve both the Air Force and Navy. The Navy dropped the TFX as soon as it was permitted to do so, but the Air Force version eventually matured into the F-111, one of the hardiest and most effective fighter-bombers ever.
Following a decade of steadily declining compliance with draft registration laws, nearly 20 percent of young American men now are failing to properly sign up, as required by law. (See "The Chart Page," p. 10.)
Those who do not register are risking everything from ineligibility for student loans and government jobs to fines and jail time. Yet few of the scofflaws are even aware that the requirement exists, noted the Selective Service Administration in its May release of its first state-by-state registration scorecard.
"Our research has consistently shown that the biggest barrier to young men's compliance is a simple lack of awareness," said Selective Service Director Gil Coronado. "It's tragic to see young men potentially missing out on future opportunities because they just do not know they are required to register."
The military draft itself was abolished in 1973 and has never been revived. Draft registration, however, was brought back in 1980 by President Carter, partially as a political response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Federal law now requires all young men living in the United States, whether citizens, immigrants, or noncitizen residents, to register with the government within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Failure to do so is a felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of $250,000--although since 1985 no one has been prosecuted for registration violations.
Registration is a prerequisite for many government benefits. Yet fewer and fewer young men are signing up these days. For men born in 1980 who are now 19 or 20 years old, the compliance rate is about 83 percent, according to Selective Service officials.
Compliance has been falling about 1 percent per year, they note.
"To make sure that any draft is as fair and as equitable as possible, we've got to make sure we reach everyone," said Lewis C. Brodsky, Selective Service director of public and Congressional affairs. "And it's difficult to know who you're not reaching."
Officials say that they suspect high school dropouts and immigrants are not registering in large numbers. Two states with large immigrant populations, Texas and California, are among the states with the lowest registration percentage, at 77 and 79 percent, respectively.
Northern states with few immigrants are among those with the highest registration penetration. In New Hampshire, 95 percent of young men comply with registration requirements. In Maine the number is 93 percent.
But others point out that some states with high immigrant percentages in their population, such as Florida, do relatively well in the registration ratings. The Selective Service's biggest problem, they say, is that fewer and fewer young Americans are even aware that their military has not always been all-volunteer.
"The idea of registering for the draft, I suppose, is lost . . . with increased distance from the actual use of the draft," said Jerry Bachman, a social psychologist at the University of Michigan who has studied registration issues.
In general, registration compliance rates were highest in the New England and the upper Midwest. Hawaii was last, with a 73 percent registration rate.
Six Southern states also earned only a C from Selective Service officials--somewhat surprising in light of the propensity of Southerners to enlist in the armed forces.
Whatever the reasons, the falling registration rate risks "inadvertently creating a permanent underclass of men" ineligible by law from many government benefits, noted Selective Service director Coronado.
USAF's leaders were said to be looking for alternatives to "World Ready," a proposed "identity" tag line USAF has considered using to replace "Aim High" as a recruiting slogan. World Ready had not generated much enthusiasm. However, reports Elaine Grossman in the May 18 edition of Inside the Pentagon, other tag lines were considered, and most were rejected. They included:
The Justice Department and the FBI in early May reopened a criminal investigation into the question of whether John Deutch, the former CIA director, mishandled classified material by keeping it on unsecured computers in his home.
Attorney General Janet Reno had earlier declined to press a case against Deutch. She ordered an internal review of that decision in February, following criticism that the former CIA head had received lenient treatment, while former national lab scientist Wen Ho Lee was prosecuted for similar infractions.
The resumption of the criminal investigation is a result of that Justice Department internal review.
A separate report by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board was sharply critical of senior CIA officials who declined to pursue Deutch aggressively following the discovery of his security infractions.
Among the officials who came in for criticism in the PFIAB report, which was sent to President Clinton in early May, are former CIA Executive Director Nora Slatkin and former General Counsel Michael O'Neil. Both had been brought to the CIA by Deutch in the first place and had worked closely with him.
Deutch has apologized for his security lapses. Among the material kept on computers at his home were journals detailing his own activities and memos he wrote and meant for the eyes of the President.
Eugene M. Zuckert, who served as Secretary of the Air Force from January 1961 to September 1965, died of pneumonia June 5 in Washington, D.C. He was 88.
His association with the air arm actually began in the early 1940s when Gen. H.H. "Hap" Arnold recruited him at Harvard Business School to develop statistical controls and train Army Air Forces officers. He instructed more than 3,000 officers.
After World War II, Zuckert was tapped by fellow Yale alumnus Stuart Symington, then assistant secretary of war for air, to be his special assistant. When the Air Force became a separate service, Zuckert was named assistant secretary for management. In that role he helped craft the first joint budget in 1950 and helped develop the fiscal control system used by all three services.
In an interview for Air Force Magazine published in June 1998, Zuckert recalled his greatest accomplishment as Air Force Secretary was "setting up Project Forecast, the study of the technology that was coming up." But when asked what he did best, he said, "I hung in there. I blunted the effect of [Secretary of Defense Robert] McNamara on the Air Force as much as I could."
He served in numerous other government positions, including two years on the Atomic Energy Commission, on corporate boards, and helped found a law practice in Washington, D.C.
The Army on May 15 announced that it would not reopen an investigation of the circumstances surrounding an attack launched at the end of the Gulf War by forces under the command of Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, despite new allegations of malfeasance lodged in a magazine report.
An article in The New Yorker, written by reporter Seymour M. Hersh, quoted some Army officers who questioned whether McCaffrey provoked the battle and then pressed it to the limit, despite a lack of effective or organized resistance. Hersh also alleged that units of the 24th Infantry Division under McCaffrey's command fired into a group of unarmed Iraqi prisoners in the waning days of the war.
The Battle of Rumaila, which occurred near the southern Iraqi town of that name on March 2, two days after a cease-fire went into effect, has long been controversial. With the publication of the Hersh article, the Army confirmed that, after the war, the battle had been the subject of comprehensive investigations by the Army Criminal Investigation Division and the service Inspector General.
The probes were launched in the immediate postwar months, following an anonymous complaint from within McCaffrey's command, said the Army. In the end, investigators exonerated McCaffrey, who is now the Clinton Administration's top drug-fighting official.
Two retired Army generals, quoted in the article to have made critical comments about McCaffrey and the Rumaila battle, have since issued statements saying that they were quoted out of context and expressing dismay over the tone and thrust of the piece. New Yorker editor David Remnick, in reply, has noted that the officers' comments were double-checked with them prior to publication.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Daily Report: Read the days top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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