339 Raptors Enough, Says Peters
Current plans call for the Air Force to buy 339 production F-22 Raptor fighters to equip 10 Aerospace Expeditionary Forces-and that seems to be fine with Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters.
"Three hundred thirty-nine is about the right number for 10 AEFs," the Air Force leader told reporter Frank Wolfe of Defense Daily, a defense newsletter in Washington, D.C.
Peters explained that each AEF will have 24 F-22s, for a total of 240 fighters. The extra 99 will be used for training, maintenance pipeline, and replacement.
Original plans called for procurement of 750 of the stealthy, supercruising aircraft. Various defense reviews during the 1990s have more than cut the program in half.
In recent months, contractor Lockheed Martin has been promoting an Air Force purchase of 572 production F-22s, with the additional 233 Raptors used to bulk up each AEF, according to Lockheed officials.
Peters admits that the Air Force is not planning to buy enough F-22s for a one-for-one replacement of front-line F-15s. "The counter-answer is the F-22 is a more competent airplane, and you'll be using AEFs, not wings," he said.
Fantasy Contest Winner To Fly in F-15
Dale E. Zimmerman, a 22-year-old customer service representative for United Airlines in Junction City, Ore., spent two days shadowing an F-15 pilot and flying in an F-15D, thanks to an innovative online contest sponsored by the Department of Defense.
The "Yahoo! Fantasy Careers in Today's Military Contest" was run in conjunction with Yahoo! Inc. and lasted from May 20 through July 4. Eligible US candidates were invited to register on Yahoo, submit a résumé, and write a short essay on their fantasy military career through the Career Track Web site.
Overall the Pentagon received more than 3,300 entries. Each service picked one winner.
Zimmerman will soon graduate from EmbryRiddle University with a bachelor's degree and hopes to go to Officer Training School. He has already been a private pilot for five years.
"This is going to show me what happens behind the scenes. It will keep inspiring me to pursue my dream of becoming an Air Force pilot," he said.
Other winners will train with an Apache helicopter crew, fly to an Atlantic Fleet carrier, and spend time at the Basic School of the Marine Corps. The Defense Department considered the contest a huge success and has launched a new Web site-todaysmilitary.com-as a follow-up.
The contest showed that the Internet is a viable recruiting medium, according to Cmdr. Yvette BrownWahler, Defense Department assistant director for recruiting plans.
"Forty percent of the contestants requested additional information from the respective service regarding career opportunities," said BrownWahler.
Air Force Wants More Minority Airmen
The Air Force will take its pitch to traditionally AfricanAmerican colleges and high schools in an effort to woo more minority recruits, Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy de Leon said in San Antonio on Aug. 11 during the annual meeting of the Tuskegee Airmen and the Organization of Black Airline Pilots.
More than 50 years after the famed Tuskegee Airmen broke the color barrier in the cockpit, minorities are still under-represented among Air Force pilots. Only 226 of the service's 12,000-plus pilots are AfricanAmerican. Only 200 are Hispanic.
"Our surveys have found that over a seven-year period from 1990 to 1997, there was an increase in the percentage of minorities moving into careers in aviation," said de Leon. "But overall, the numbers need much improvement."
The military has made more advances toward racial integration than private business at large, de Leon insisted. But it still has far to go, he admitted.
"We've got to find everybody who has the tools and the skills and give them the training and the opportunity to sit there in the cockpit and take that F-16 or that F-22 or that Joint Strike Fighter to the top of the pyramid," he said.
"The journey to opportunity does not have a finish line," de Leon added.
Anthrax Vaccine Works Well, DoD Insists
US troops vaccinated against anthrax would not sicken in large numbers in the wake of a bio-terror anthrax attack, Department of Defense medical experts insist.
The officials were responding to a series of recent media reports which indicated that vaccinated monkeys exposed to anthrax in an Army test became ill for up to two weeks.
The animals in question did not appear to be sick, said Col. Arthur Friedlander, senior military scientist for the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick, Md.
"Their activity appeared to be normal," said Friedlander.
It is true that extrapolation from animal studies to humans is not foolproof when it comes to determining vaccination efficacy, said the Army scientist. But the danger of anthrax rules out studies with human volunteers.
There is no way of running a human anthrax vaccine test "unless a cloud appears over Washington, D.C., and the people in the Pentagon survive and others don't," said Friedlander.
Army records obtained by Mark Zaid, an attorney representing several service members who oppose the vaccination program, hinted that the military's anthrax vaccine might not provide complete immunity. Lab notes, obtained by Zaid, from one 1991 test on 10 rhesus monkeys reportedly stated that although all the vaccinated animals survived they appeared to be sick over the course of two weeks.
Friedlander disputed the claim. He stated that more careful notes were kept in more recent tests and stressed that none of the monkeys were incapacitated in either test.
Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon stated that the monkeys were also exposed to levels of anthrax several hundred times higher than what troops might expect to face on a battlefield. He said that "everything about this study confirms the effectiveness of the anthrax vaccine."
"The central element here is whether the vaccine protects people from death if they've been exposed to anthrax," he emphasized. "It does protect them."
He added, though, that they "should not get sick, but can I tell you beyond a matter of question that somebody wouldn't get sick? No."
What If Anthrax Shots Are Interrupted?
Will interruptions in the prescribed six-shot anthrax vaccination regimen lessen its effectiveness?
That is a question some critics of the program are asking in the wake of the Pentagon's recent decision to slow its mandatory immunization program because of a vaccine shortage.
More than 455,000 members of the military have received one vaccine shot but have not completed the program, according to Pentagon officials.
"Does the military view that they have a right to ignore medical protocol on their soldiers?" asked Rep. Christopher Shays (RConn.) at a July 13 Congressional hearing on the subject.
Delays in receiving additional shots will not affect the health of service personnel, insisted Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Randall West, senior advisor to the deputy secretary of defense for chemical and biological defense.
Instead, delays will simply "defer the additional protection," West told the hearing.
Department of Defense policy statements issued in 1998 hold that someone who had received the first shot would have to restart the series only if more than two years had elapsed since the administration of the initial dose.
At a Pentagon briefing July 11 announcing the slowdown, West said the program is about a year behind schedule.
Meanwhile, the civilian federal agency charged with overseeing the nation's food and drug safety attempted to distance itself from the Pentagon's anthrax vaccination program. Deviation from the six-shot regimen would not be consistent with FDA recommendations for the vaccine, Kathryn Zoon, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, told a Senate hearing July 12.
But given the surrounding circumstances the FDA "would not object to that plan," she added.
Pentagon Establishes New Health Position
One of the significant lessons learned from the US military's experience in the Gulf War is that the Department of Defense has not been well structured to deal with any unusual issues-particularly health issues-that arise after deployment. As a result, on Aug. 8 the Pentagon announced the establishment of a new position: special assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Gulf War illnesses, medical readiness, and military deployments.
The new job is an expansion of the special assistant for Gulf War illnesses post. Its first occupant will be the current holder of the Gulf War position, Bernard Rostker.
"We need to remain vigilant, to make sure the mistakes DoD made in the Gulf War aren't repeated," said Rostker.
Among the specific lessons learned in the Gulf were the need to maintain current medical records on all service members, the need to properly train troops in simple safety precautions when using depleted uranium munitions, and the need to keep personnel informed about the vaccines they receive.
"We want to always be ready to respond to individuals who have concerns about potential force health related issues," said Rostker.
The office is not going to abandon its Gulf Warrelated work, he noted.
Since 1994 the US has committed more than $160 million to more than 150 research projects in an attempt to understand more about the group of illnesses among veterans that is popularly known as "Gulf War Syndrome."
Ten years after the war it is becoming clear that no one solution to the puzzle of these ailments will be found, according to the Pentagon. Defense officials had initially hoped to identify patterns of Gulfrelated illnesses. They say they have not found any.
Following one sick veteran who had served in a company of 200, for instance, investigators found none of the other 199 reported the same illness.
"It's very difficult to pin it to an environmental exposure when you have so many people who shared environments who are not coming up with the same concerns," said Rostker.
National Missile Defense: Delayed and Deferred
The Pentagon's target date for deploying an initial National Missile Defense system-2005-will slip a year or two at least. There are two primary reasons. First, continuing problems with a key system component have put it behind, and second, the President pulled the plug.
President Clinton announced Sept. 1 that he would leave the decision to deploy the NMD system to his successor.
Less than a month earlier, Pentagon officials briefed reporters on the growing delay with scheduling the next test and the problems with development of a three-stage rocket that carries the system's "kill vehicle." The new booster has proved more difficult to develop than anticipated.
"The gap is getting longer," said Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon Aug. 8, referring to schedule delays in development and subsequent testing of the new booster. "It has slipped. The question is: Has it slipped by so much that it changes the schedule of the program? That question has not been answered."
Despite those delays, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen recommended proceeding with the NMD system when he met with the President Aug. 29.
When Clinton announced his decision three days later, he stated that if the US committed "today to construct the system it most likely would be operational about 2006 or 2007. If the next President decides to move forward next year, the system could still be ready in the same time frame."
GOP Presidential candidate George W. Bush had already begun campaigning on a promise to quickly move forward with a more ambitious defense system.
However, central to any decision is the new booster rocket, which has yet to be used in a missile defense flight test. Its initial testing was to have started this spring with a static firing at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. But integration problems mean that test has already been put off until sometime next spring.
The first stage of the new rocket is built by Alliant Techsystems. Stages 2 and 3 are manufactured by United Technologies. The rocket motors involved are already in commercial use, but the missile defense mission means they must be married with new technology. That has proved difficult.
The new rocket will be steered by electronic impulses from its kill-vehicle warhead, for instance. The boosters have their own guidance mechanisms in commercial use.
Total Air Force Fights Fires
Active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command aircrews all pitched in to help battle the wildfires that charred 6.2 million acres in the West this summer. More than 4,600 airmen, Marines, and soldiers were committed to fighting the blazes, DoD announced Aug. 24.
Aircrews had flown more than 615 hours with 567 sorties and 561 airdrops totaling more than 13 million pounds of fire retardent chemicals, stated Pentagon officials.
The Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command had provided eight C-130 aircrews and aircraft, equipped with the modular airborne firefighting system. AFRC C-141 crews had transported more than 1,300 military and civilian firefighters and equipment to afflicted areas.
Air Mobility Command aircraft flew about 12 fire-related airlift missions and were scheduled for more.
Additional ANG personnel had also been providing law enforcement and aviation support, as well as shelter, meals, and ground transportation.
Guard flying units that had participated include the 145th Airlift Wing, Charlotte/Douglas IAP, N.C., 146th AW, Channel Islands ANGB, Calif.; and 153rd AW, Cheyenne MAP, Wyo.
AFRC flying units included the 302nd AW, Peterson AFB, Colo.; 445th AW, WrightPatterson AFB, Ohio; 446th AW, McChord AFB, Wash.; 452nd Air Mobility Wing, March ARB, Calif.; 459th AW, Andrews AFB, Md.; and 514th AMW, McGuire AFB, N.J.
The active duty 62nd AW, McChord AFB, provided two C-141 aircraft and crews in August.
Uniform Changes Announced
On Aug. 10 Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan approved 19 uniform changes recommended by the 95th Air Force Uniform Board.
Among the changes approved were the development of a new, athletic cut uniform for bodybuilders and the development of an optional polyester uniform for service personnel who are sensitive to wool.
When current supplies run out, the women's handbag will no longer be issued in basic training. Camel pack water containers may now be worn as part of the standard hot weather uniform.
Proposed changes sent back for further staff study include allowing inconspicuous brand names to be displayed on the temple of eyeglasses and sunglasses.
ABL Receives Key Titanium Components
Team ABL has taken delivery of panels that will eventually be fastened together to form the largest one-piece titanium aircraft component in the world.
The two 25-foot-by-5.5-foot complex contour panels were manufactured by AHF Ducommun, Gardena, Calif. They will make up the belly skin on the underside of the Airborne Laser aircraft, at the mid-section where the ABL chemicals are situated.
ABL program officials picked titanium for the critical section because of thermal, strength, and chemical compatibility issues. Each panel has 18 14.75-inch holes, which will be used for the laser exhaust system.
The ABL's chemical-oxygen-iodine laser produces steam as a by-product. The steam will be ejected through holes in the laser exhaust fairing, under the belly skin.
The steam will quickly evaporate and will cause no harm to the environment, according to officials.
Installation of the titanium belly is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2000.
Bush Pledges Defense Spending Hike
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican candidate for President, told a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on Aug. 21 that he would allocate $1.3 billion for more pay raises for military personnel and improvements in schools for military dependents.
The $1 billion pay pledge would amount to about a $750 annual increase for each active duty service member, over and above the pay raise signed into law by President Clinton this year. The $310 million extra that Bush said he would spend on education for military dependents would pay for eliminating the backlog of repair and construction for public schools located on or near military bases.
Bush repeated his pledge to review overseas troop deployments and asserted the morale in the military ranks is "dangerously low."
Addressing the same audience the next day, Vice President Al Gore retorted that military spending had fallen steadily since 1986, when Ronald Reagan was President, until the Clinton Administration proposed an increase in 1998. He neglected to say, however, that the Clinton Administration, during its first five years in office, took spending to levels far below those contemplated by the Bush Administration.
Gore-a Vietnam veteran-said that this year the Clinton Administration had won the largest pay increase for the military in 20 years and that overall military budgets would continue to go up under a Gore Administration. "We need to do more; we've made some progress," he told the VFW.
The Pentagon on Aug. 8 announced that overall active duty recruiting trends are beginning to take a favorable turn.
The Army exceeded its July recruitment target by 2,382, said officials. The Air Force beat its goal by 767. Counting recruits in the Delayed Entry Program, the Air Force already had enough sign-ups to meet its goal for the fiscal year.
The Navy and Marine Corps are also on target for their year-to-date goals.
Officials credited the improvement to such moves as increased incentives-the Air Force enlistment bonus is now $12,000-and full recruiter staffing.
"Today, there is a war for talent. The department continues to explore smart and innovative ways to capture the interest of youth while boosting recruiter productivity," said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy Alphonso Maldon Jr.
Auto Chaff Dispenser For A-10
Twenty-five people and two A-10 aircraft from the 917th Wing (AFRC), Barksdale AFB, La., spent a month of late summer in Europe to gather data for a new automated A-10 chaff and flare system.
They flew 28 missions over test ranges in France and Germany to help determine how much aluminized, fiberglass strip chaff, released at what intervals, is needed to successfully hide an A-10 from adversary radar.
"This data will assist computer programmers in developing software that is designed to prolong the life expectancy of the pilot during wartime," said Col. Gerald Werth, the 917th's Operations Group commander.
The 917th's 47th Fighter Squadron took part in the experiment because the unit has permanently loaned an A-10 to the Air National Guard/Air Force Reserve Command Test Center in Tucson, Ariz., for work on this important defensive system.
The July tests were the final phase of a three-part test series. All Air Force A-10s, active duty and reserve, are expected to be outfitted with the automatic chaff and flare system by 2005.
"There were instances in Bosnia and Kosovo where A-10s were shot at with infrared missiles and hit. This is bad, and we don't want it to happen again," said Lt. Col. Herman Brunke, A-10 test manager in Tucson.
Tyndall Training Goes to F-22
On Aug. 18 the Air Force approved shifting some of its F-15 Eagle training effort at Tyndall AFB, Fla., to a new mission: the F-22.
At the end of the five-year conversion effort, which is slated to begin in 2003, Tyndall will have two F-22 squadrons and one F-15 squadron supporting training operations. The move will result in a gradual replacement of 60 F-15s and an increase of 400 personnel at the base.
Flight patterns will stay the same. Training operations over the Gulf of Mexico will increase by 7 percent.
USAF Road Tests Its New Symbol
The Air Force's new angular winged symbol will soon be prominently displayed at a number of high-visibility test sites.
First up was McChord AFB, Wash. The base had the new logo painted on its water tower in late August.
Other base water towers and entrance gates will sport the design as the service moves into the second phase of testing personnel reaction. Phase 1 included printing the symbol on low-cost perishable items such as T-shirts and caps.
"This test will allow us to gauge recognition of the symbol in public and high-visibility situations," said Brig. Gen. Ronald Rand, Air Force director of public affairs. "It will also give us the opportunity to learn the design and technical challenges of applying the symbol to a variety of structures."
Others in line for the water tower test are Lackland AFB, Tex., Langley AFB, Va., McConnell AFB, Kans., and Patrick AFB, Fla. Bases that are slated to test the symbol on their entrance gates are Andrews AFB, Md., Bolling AFB, D.C., Lackland, Maxwell AFB, Ala., Ramstein AB, Germany, Yokota AB, Japan, and the US Air Force Academy, Colo. Also included is Buckley ANGB, Colo., which becomes Buckley AFB this month when it is redesignated an active installation.
DoD To Survey Reservists
Between August and November 2000 the Department of Defense will conduct its first comprehensive survey in eight years of the satisfaction levels of military reserve force personnel and their spouses.
A questionnaire will be mailed to 75,000 National Guard and Reserve members. A different questionnaire will be sent to 43,000 spouses.
The survey will gather data on a wide array of programs, policies, and issues. Officials hope it will provide a comprehensive look at morale, civilian employment, training levels, benefits, and continuation plans in the part-time warrior force.
Appropriation Clears Way for 3.7 Percent Pay Raise
President Clinton in late August signed the Fiscal 2001 Defense Appropriations Act, one result of which will be a new 3.7 percent pay raise for service members, starting Jan. 1.
The legislation also funds an initiative that will allow the Pentagon to begin eliminating out-of-pocket housing costs. Currently, the basic allowance for housing covers only about 81 percent of service members' housing costs if they live off base. DoD seeks to cut this 19 percent out-of-pocket expense to 15 percent in Fiscal 2001 and to zero by 2005.
The defense health program is funded at $12.1 billion, including money Congress added to support changes to the military pharmacy benefit. Members of Congress said the legislation also would provide a blueprint for implementing permanent health care for retirees.
USAF Changes Base of Preference Plan
The Air Force has adopted new criteria that increase the eligibility of first-term airman to participate in the Base of Preference program. The service is also enhancing the program for career airmen.
The changes to BOP, as it is known, are designed to improve retention of first-term and career airmen-which translates into stability for the force.
"This initiative speaks volumes for Air Force leadership's commitment to improve retention for our enlisted force, said Gen. Michael E. Ryan, Air Force Chief of Staff. "We're extremely hopeful we can get more of our people assignments to locations of their choosing and these folks will respond by staying with us."
The Career BOP program will attempt to let career airmen apply for reassignment at the 3.5-year point, as opposed to the current 5.5 years.
The current first-term airman BOP program is very small and applies only to those desiring to remain in place or retrain.
"We are expanding the program dramatically to allow almost every first-termer re-enlisting the opportunity to participate," said Lt. Col. Michael Gamble, chief of Assignment Programs and Procedures Division. "If you're at Seymour Johnson AFB [N.C.], wanting to get to Holloman AFB [N.M.], and you're willing to re-enlist, then you make an application. If manning supports, we'll work it."
However, Gamble cautions, there are no guarantees that wishes will be granted.
New Won't Become 33rd FW Commander
Col. Larry D. New, tapped to be the next boss of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., will not take command of the F-15 fighter unit after all, Air Combat Command announced.
New, who was slated to take charge in April 2001, was done in by a review of an accident that took place in Nevada under his command.
In 1998, New was commander of the 57th Operations Group at Nellis AFB, Nev., when two helicopters in his unit crashed, killing all 12 people aboard. The Accident Investigation Board concluded New failed to mitigate known safety hazards in the unit prior to the accident. A recent independent review, commissioned by the Air Combat Command commander, Gen. John P. Jumper, examined what actions New took prior to the mishap. Jumper then made the decision to withdraw the wing commandership.
"My first obligation is to the 33rd Fighter Wing, its people, and its mission," said Jumper. "While New's career-long record of performance demonstrates he is a highly capable officer, his association with this accident, and the continuing news media scrutiny it draws, will detract from his ability to effectively lead the wing. I owe it to the men and women of the 33rd to give them a commander who can focus exclusively on them and their mission."
Meanwhile, a US senator wants the Air Force to take a look into why no disciplinary action was taken in the case, even after investigators found safety, training, and morale problems contributed to the helicopter accident.
"I respect the judgment of our military professionals, but this case needs another look," said Sen. Christopher Bond (RMo.). "I understand that our military professionals have been ordered to do more with less, but was this squadron pushed too far?"
World War II AAF Crew Comes Home
Six of 10 crew members of an Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator were buried in August at Arlington National Cemetery, nearly 56 years after they were lost on a World War II mission.
The aircraft on Aug. 31, 1944, took off from an airfield in Liuchow, China, on a mission to bomb Japanese ships. According to a military report, "the aircraft never returned to a friendly base."
Initially, the Army classified the crew as missing in action. In 1948, it changed the crew status to killed in action, remains not recoverable. No evidence of the aircraft was found during or for more than 50 years after the war.
In the fall of 1996, two Chinese farmers discovered the site where the Liberator had crashed in a remote mountain ravine. Their discovery was followed by more than three years of search and recovery efforts, which brought to light dog tags, personal effects, and pieces of the aircraft. The Air Force flew human remains from China to the Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii in January 1997.
The pilots of the aircraft were 2nd Lts. George H. Pierpont and Franklin A. Tomenendale. Also on the crew were 2nd Lts. Robert Deming and George A. Ward; SSgts. Anthony W. DeLucia and William A. Drager; Sgts. Robert L. Kearsey and Ellsworth V. Kelley; and Pvts. Fred P. Buckley and Vincent J. Netherwood. Pierpont was promoted to first lieutenant Sept. 1, 1944, the day after he was reported missing.
Six of the airmen immediately were interred at Arlington. A seventh vault was consecrated to represent and memorialize the entire crew.
CRS Report Notes Electronic Warfare Issues
The Congressional Research Service warns that the EA-6B Prowler electronic jamming aircraft is running into problems and that Congress will soon be confronted with major decisions.
The study, titled "Electronic Warfare: EA-6B Aircraft Modernization and Related Issues for Congress," said lawmakers will have to decide how to maintain and modernize DoD's current active and passive electronic warfare force structure.
The Prowler became the nation's lone tactical jammer after the Pentagon decided to retire USAF's EF-111s in the mid-1990s.
The CRS report listed a number of options, including a speedup of the planned EA-6B upgrade program, development of new, smart radar decoys, resurrecting some number of retired EF-111 radar jamming aircraft, and retroactively putting EW capabilities on aircraft other than the EA-6B.
Also on tap: selection of a Prowler replacement. This could turn out to be a variant of the F-22, the Navy F/A-18E/F, a new unmanned aerial vehicle, or a combination.
Millennium Challenge 2000 Starts
US Joint Forces Command conducted the armed forces' first joint field experiment Aug. 14Sept. 13. Millennium Challenge 2000 featured elements of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as other government agencies.
The Pentagon described MC 2000 as a unique, collaborative effort between US Joint Forces Command and the services, aimed at helping to provide "an overarching joint context" for major service warfighting experiments.
"The primary objective for the joint warfighters is to develop different ways to improve access to critical information future commanders will need to make fast, accurate decisions while in battle," said a Pentagon news release on the subject. "An important part of that goal is the ability to share the right information at the right levels at the right time. This objective will build upon the experimentation goals established by each service."
Three different joint experiments occurred during MC 2000. Each experiment explored operational warfighting deficiencies.
The experiments focused on precision engagement, joint deployment process improvement, and information superiority/command and control.
The three joint experiments overlapped and took place simultaneously with individual service experiments at 11 different sites. Those sites included Ft. Bragg, N.C.; Ft. Polk, La.; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Gulfport, Miss.; Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Langley AFB, Va.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; the Joint Training Analysis and Simulation Center, Suffolk, Va.; Norfolk, Va.; the Atlantic Ocean; and the Gulf of Mexico.
US Arms Sales Near $12 Billion
US foreign military sales hit $11.8 billion in 1999, according to a new Congressional Research Service report. The US accounted for more than one-third of a world total, solidifying its longstanding position as No. 1 supplier of arms.
CRS said international arms sales increased to more than $30 billion, the most since 1996. That figure-in inflation-adjusted terms-is far below the peaks of the Cold War years, when both superpowers and large European nations sold enormous quantities of weapons.
In recent years, US sales have increased. In 1997, sales hit only $7.7 billion, said CRS. The US position has been consolidated as the leading weapons supplier, according to the author, Richard F. Grimmett.
In two-thirds of all arms sales, the customer was a developing nation. The report predicted intensifying competition among arms suppliers in the years ahead.
The Air Force, for the first time, is paying for advertising on prime-time TV, presenting a series of commercial spots designed to appeal to a potential recruit's patriotism and sense of service rather than financial self-interest.
USAF also unveiled a new recruiting slogan: "No One Comes Close." The recruiting slogan for the past 30 years-"Aim High"-simply "wasn't doing it for anybody anymore," said Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters.
The service's previous TV ads were "too ... 'me' oriented," said Gen. Michael E. Ryan, the Air Force Chief of Staff, at an Aug. 23 press briefing, where he unveiled the six spots that began airing in September.
Ryan said the Air Force is trying to attract people who want to belong to something "larger than themselves" and to perform service for the nation, and has left the financial incentives, such as money for college and enlistment bonuses, to be explained by recruiters.
The six ads cost $4.4 million to produce, and USAF has purchased $28 million of air time at movie theaters and on popular TV shows and sporting events, about 70 percent of which are geared to viewers in the 1824 years of age category. The remainder of the time slots selected are aimed at older viewers the Air Force deems to be "influencers" such as parents, clergy, and teachers-the people likely to be asked by potential recruits for advice about careers.
The Air Force has never needed to advertise in prime-time before, relying for nearly 50 years on donated public service announcements that often ran "right next to the national anthem" at the close of the broadcast day, Ryan said.
However, steady shrinkage in the cohort of American teenagers and the emergence of a hot economy has made recruiting tougher for USAF. The service fell short of its recruiting goals for the first time in 1999. The 2000 recruiting goal will be met. However, USAF has dipped into its pool of "wait" recruits who sign up as much as a year in advance of actually putting on a uniform, Peters said.
The one 60-second and five 30-second spots emphasize the things that marketing focus groups said held the most appeal to the target audience, according to Peters. They are: a sense of teamwork, a "fast-paced, mission-oriented lifestyle," and room to have families and "a life."
He added that he didn't think it was useful to engage in a "bidding war" with the other services on bonuses and financial inducements.
One commercial shows aerial tankers refueling the stealthy F-117 and B-2, with the tag line: "People are the fuel we run on." Another spot shows an exciting practice dogfight with "How's my driving?" and a toll-free recruiting number on one jet's tail. The F-22 is showcased in a third commercial, which highlights its cutting-edge technology. Two ads showing a broad range of missions and people gearing up for a day's work are designed to spotlight the sense of teamwork and contribution to an overall goal. One ad meant to tug at the heartstrings shows a woman and happy children getting ready for bed as a lullaby plays; the scene freezes and, as the camera pulls back, is revealed as a snapshot clipped by a pilot to the inside canopy of his F-117 flying through the night.
All the spots, save the last, have a voice-over with the line "America's Air Force. Join us," or "America's Air Force. No one else comes close."
Air Force public affairs chief Brig. Gen. Ronald Rand said the slogan is meant to convey that no other career opportunity offers as much satisfaction or excitement but that it is also meant to convey that the Air Force keeps America's enemies at bay and that no other country can match US aerospace capabilities.
The commercials will run during the Olympics, NBA basketball and NFL football games, as well as a variety of shows on network and cable and in syndication. Some will run on MTV.
The ads are not strictly targeted at recruiting, Peters said. They are also meant to tell the American people about the Air Force. This is an important aspect, Peters said, since most of the American people "have not served and have no contact" with the US military.
The spots are also intended to help with retention, Peters noted.
"Our people have never seen themselves in prime-time before," he said, adding that the commercials should help crystallize for USAF personnel the reasons they joined and why they should stay.
The commercials refer to the "three-quarters of a million Americans" of the Air Force. The figure includes 360,000 active troops, 200,000 Guard and Reservists, and 170,000 civilians who work for the service.
Job satisfaction and the sense of making a contribution were ranked as the highest motivators among personnel who re-enlisted, Peters said. Second-term and career re-enlistment rates, after a five-year slide, have leveled off. First-term re-enlistment rates have actually ticked up from 49 percent to 52 percent. However, the goal is 55 percent.
Officer retention rates, after a long decline, have also leveled off in the navigator and mission support fields. However, a decline in retention continues in the pilot and non-rated mission support categories.
"It's getting hard to hold onto people who are well-versed in computers" in an information-driven economy, Peters said.
Ryan showed reporters a list of 20 initiatives, such as bonuses, college loans, retirement reform, a base pay raise, new types of career assistance, and greater use of prior-service personnel as other aspects of the Air Force's "attack" on the recruiting and retention issue.
One of the difficulties in competition with the private sector, Ryan said, is that the airlines are retiring their Vietnamera trained pilots and maintainers in large numbers and need skilled replacements.
"It's not just pilots," he said. "Anyone with the maintenance skills, ... they'll snap 'em up."
Rand said that the new slogan tested better than any other developed by the Air Force's ad agency, Siegel & Gale, Inc. One that didn't make the final cut, but which got rave reviews from within the service, was "America's Air Force: Don't make us come down there."
-John A. Tirpak
The Air Force on Aug. 24 announced appointment of Brig. Gen. William J. Jabour as the new F-22 program office director.
Jabour, now the vice commander of Aeronautical Systems Center at WrightPatterson AFB, Ohio, replaces Maj. Gen. Michael C. Mushala, who moves up to become program executive officer for fighter and bomber programs.
The Defense Department announced the moves in a news release.
Jabour will be in charge of the F-22 System Program Office under the Air Force Program Executive Office, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. The new air superiority fighter is USAF's highest acquisition priority.
Air Force workers at McClellan AFB, Calif., have refurbished their last aircraft.
The freshly repaired KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft that roared off into the sky on Aug. 18 represented the final job at Sacramento Air Logistics Center at McClellan. ALC workers had put more than 30,000 hours of labor into the task.
Both Sacramento ALC and San Antonio ALC at Kelly AFB, Tex., were marked for disestablishment by the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure commission.
Air Force plans call for July 13, 2001, closure of McClellan. The ALC has been in continuous operation there for nearly 60 years.
"We've worked on about 44 different kinds of airplanes," said Gerry Hampton, director of the Aircraft Management Division at Sacramento ALC.
Three In a Row
Even as recruiting improves, USAF remains apprehensive about a continuing exodus of skilled personnel in the enlisted force.
Latest figures indicate Fiscal 2000 will be the third straight year in which USAF has failed to meet goals in all three major re-enlistment categories. The Air Force may have stopped the bleeding, but it is still in serious trouble.
As the chart shows, career-airmen retention remains unchanged at 91 percent (goal is 95 percent). The same is true of second-term retention, which remains unchanged at 69 percent (goal is 75 percent).
First-term retention showed a slight uptick from 49 percent to 52, which is still below the goal of 55 percent.
The Air Force has not met its goal in all three areas since 1995. USAF officials worry about declining experience levels in the force because it is constantly replacing experienced airmen with inexperienced troops.
Daily Report: Read the day's 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.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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