Airpower Called Decisive in Kosovo
The Air Force general in charge of analyzing Operation Allied Force said his study showed NATO airpower dealt a decisive blow to Yugoslav forces.
Brig. Gen. John Corley, USAFE's director of studies and analysis, described NATO's action as "an unqualified success" and "clear victory." The 1999 Kosovo war was an exclusive airpower show. No NATO ground forces were required.
"This was a great victory," said Corley, "achieved in concert with our NATO allies. We were able to take on [President Slobodan] Milosevic and vanquish him ... through the hard leverage of aerospace power."
Corley was quoted Aug. 2 by USAFE News Service. The general was interviewed by the service's reporter, TSgt. Joe Bela, as Corley was wrapping up work on the classified 10,000-page "Air War Over Serbia." The Air Force had not determined when-or in what form-the report might be made public.
A key element of the study concerned the effectiveness of air strikes against mobile Serbian targets in Kosovo. Skeptics in the press and US Army claimed airpower had been ineffective against tanks, armored personnel carriers, and the like.
The facts showed otherwise. "We revealed in detail, category by category, the effectiveness of our airstrikes on tanks, [armored personnel carriers], self-propelled weapons, mortars, and artillery," said Corley.
The final report said NATO air had destroyed 93 tanks, a significant chunk of the Serb contingent deployed in Kosovo.
Corley said his 200-person assessment team had exploited every means available to gather relevant data, from U-2 film and pilot mission reports to evidence of burned out military vehicles on the ground and eyewitness interviews.
After the war, and with allied support, military and civilian experts combed Kosovo, searching for ground evidence of any allied airstrike.
DoD Slows Anthrax Program
On July 10, the Pentagon announced that it would significantly reduce the scope of its anthrax inoculation program due to a looming shortage of vaccine.
For now, only personnel who serve in the high threat areas of South Korea and the Persian Gulf will receive shots, said Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen.
The program will resume full operations when the Food and Drug Administration approves a new vaccine production facility. That action may not be forthcoming until the end of this year.
"As soon as a sufficient and safe supply of vaccine is available, we will expand the program, ultimately vaccinating all members of the active and reserve force," said Cohen.
In late 1997 Cohen ordered all 2.4 million active and reserve military personnel to be vaccinated against the biological agent anthrax by 2003. The rising threat of biowar and bioterrorism required the action, said Pentagon officials.
Since then 455,378 people have started the 18-month-long vaccination process, receiving a total of 1.8 million doses. Some 56,725 have received all six shots the process requires.
The program was running at a rate of about 75,000 vaccinations a month. The slowdown will reduce that rate to about 14,000 vaccinations a month.
At that rate "we have enough vaccine to last us from six to 10 months," said Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Randall L. West, senior advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Protection.
Pentagon officials disputed the notion that those who have received some anti-anthrax shots but have not yet completed the full program will now have to start over.
"You do not need to restart the whole series. Rather, you just pick up where you were," said Dr. J. Jarrett Clinton, first assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs).
Current records show that 163 personnel have missed at least one day of work due to adverse reactions from anthrax inoculations. For 38 people the reactions were severe enough to require hospitalization.
"We've had 351 people that have refused to take the shot and have remained adamant enough about that to receive disciplinary action or be discharged or released from service," said West.
New Vaccine Maker Is Sought
The struggles of BioPort Corp.-the sole US source of anthrax vaccine-were well-known and the vaccine shortage could have been foreseen months ago, said Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.).
The supply gap is simply the latest glitch in a problem-filled vaccination effort, said Jones, a long-standing critic of the Clinton Administration's inoculation program.
"Even if the vaccine is ultimately found to be safe and effective, these supply problems jeopardize whatever protective value the Department of Defense intended to provide our military personnel," he said.
BioPort's Lansing, Mich., plant was formerly owned by the state of Michigan. Last December its manufacture of the anthrax vaccine was halted after the FDA found 30 violations of safety, consistency, record-keeping, and sterility.
The Pentagon has pumped more than $100 million into BioPort in a so far futile attempt to regain FDA certification, admitted West. BioPort has now waived its patent rights to allow the Defense Department to advertise for a second vaccine source, he said.
The July 3 Commerce Business Daily contained an official request for prospective manufacturers to send in their proposals.
"BioPort will cooperate with whoever gets that second-source contract, and the FDA tells us that they can probably have that company certified within two to four years," said West.
First CV-22 Tiltrotor Rolls Out
The Defense Department on July 25 rolled out the first Air Force CV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft, the special operations-modified version of the V-22 Osprey.
The unveiling took place in a ceremony at Bell Helicopter Textron's Fort Worth, Tex., plant. The CV-22 is the newest aircraft in the special operations inventory. The tilt-rotor aircraft can transition from conventional flight to hover and back to conventional flight.
The family of V-22 aircraft is jointly produced by the Bell-Boeing Textron consortium.
The Pentagon said the CV-22 fills a long-standing Special Operations Forces requirement to conduct long-range infiltration in darkness or adverse weather.
The special operations version differs from the Marine Corps MV-22 variant in its special avionics and communications equipment.
Plans call for procurement of 50 CV-22s at a projected cost of $43 million each. They will replace aging fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in use by both Army and Air Force Special Operations Forces.
All CV-22s will be operated by Air Force Special Operations Command, which will receive its first operational model in 2004.
F-22 Fires AIM-9 Sidewinder
The F-22 test program met a major test milestone July 25 when one of the new fighters successfully launched an AIM-9 air-to-air missile.
The test occurred over ranges at NAS China Lake, Calif. The F-22 flew at 20,000 feet.
The test was designed to evaluate the next-generation fighter's ability to successfully fire an air-to-air missile from an internal weapons bay.
The assessment is the partial completion of a major milestone the F-22 Combined Test Force is tasked with meeting this year. An AIM-120 missile firing is scheduled this fall.
The F-22 has flown approximately 650 hours and completed some 5,000 test points.
Congress Halts Space-Based Radar
The final Congressional defense money bill terminates the Pentagon's Discoverer II space-based radar program.
A statement issued by the Senate Appropriations Committee said House and Senate negotiators had approved "defunding" of the program, except for funding of sensor research.
Discover II, an effort to deploy Joint STARS-type radar on a spacecraft, had strong backing from uniformed and civilian defense officials but was opposed by the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
The House panel members believed the costs of the project could not be controlled short of cancellation, and they managed to persuade counterparts in the Senate to go along.
The Pentagon had sought $130 million in 2001 for the DII program. The House eliminated money for the program in its version of the bill, while the Senate fully funded it, making the program a major conference issue.
Congress acted despite a late rescue effort by the commander in chief of US Space Command, Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart.
F. Whitten Peters, Secretary of the Air Force, lamented the Congressional action, which he said was a setback to Air Force efforts to determine whether the service could build cheaper satellites.
"I'm disappointed," Peters told Defense Daily shortly after the vote. "I think the program made sense."
DoD Reaffirms Bronze Star Awards
The Air Force and Navy were not wrong to award Bronze Stars to service personnel who participated in last year's airstrikes on Yugoslavia-but from sites far removed from the combat zone.
That is the conclusion of Bernard D. Rostker, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, who reviewed the awards and found that they met regulations and followed historical precedents.
"We're obviously pleased and grateful to have such strong and definitive confirmation that our airmen deserve the medals they were awarded," said Secretary of the Air Force Peters.
The issue arose after the publication Stars and Stripes reviewed 185 Air Force Bronze Star citations for Operation Allied Force and determined that only 6 percent went to personnel who actually served in the combat zone.
Some awards went to officers who served as far away from the Balkans as Whiteman AFB, Mo., from which B-2 bombers were launched.
The regulations concerning the Bronze Star stipulate that it can be awarded to anyone engaged in nonflight operations involving conflict with an adversary foreign force. Beyond that, there are no geographic restrictions as to who can receive the medal, said Rostker in short memos to the Air Force and Navy Secretaries.
At least nine officers received Bronze Stars while serving on Okinawa and Guam during the Vietnam War. Two others received the award while serving on Guam during the Korean War.
"We have determined that there was a precedent set for the awarding of the Bronze Star Medal under similar conditions," wrote Rostker.
F-22 Testing On Track, for Now
It was a near-run thing, but Air Force officials now believe they will meet all Congressionally mandated F-22 test requirements for the year.
The two toughest criteria to meet were the requirement that Block 3.0 of the F-22's avionics fly aboard Raptor 4004, and that Raptor 4006 make its first flight. Both these events are now scheduled to occur in December, Air Force acquisition executive Lawrence J. Delaney said June 28 at a media event hosted by F-22 subcontractor Northrop Grumman.
The Air Force believes it will get in by the deadline, said Delaney, but it is looking at what kind of a transition or bridge might be required should it not make the December deadline. Skipping Raptor 4006's final finishing-a largely cosmetic step-might get it in the air sooner, for instance.
Longer-term test challenges remain. The current schedule is about 100 hours short of getting in enough flying time by November 2002 to meet Defense Acquisition Board requirements.
Meeting the DAB goal is crucial to entry into low-rate initial production.
Delaney said that the Air Force is "working very closely" with Pentagon testing director Philip E. Coyle III to overcome this hurdle and recover from a test-hour deficit induced by such delays as cracked canopies.
The Air Force acquisition chief also repeated his assertion that the F-22 program is on track to meet both engineering and manufacturing development and production cost caps established by Congress. Some critics outside the Pentagon, such as the GAO, are skeptical that the aircraft will come in on budget.
Cohen: NMD Test Not Fatal
Failure of a key July 8 National Missile Defense test was a disappointment but not a catastrophic setback, according to Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. Cohen said he could still urge President Clinton to proceed with NMD deployment, despite the fact that he had hoped the Pentagon would be able to achieve two missile intercepts before making his recommendation.
So far, the NMD program has hit its target once in three tries. The next test is not scheduled until October.
"It would have been helpful to have this test succeed," Cohen admitted to reporters July 10.
The frustration among Pentagon officials was palpable.
"The failure here [was] not the failure of the most sophisticated elements of it," said Cohen. "That's something that is not fatal to the program."
If nothing else, the test failure may give the Clinton Administration the political cover it needs to simply hand off a deployment decision to the next President.
Lawmakers from both parties have begun urging such a move. They point out that any decision now would be preliminary, at best.
"I've always thought the major decisions ought to be made by the next Administration," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Defense Daily July 10.
The failure may also boost the stock of sea-based NMD, which would rely on upgraded Aegis destroyers and cruisers. "We ought to continue to let a thousand flowers bloom in sea-based systems," said McCain.
Why Did NMD System Fail?
The latest $100 million NMD experiment went awry only seconds after the launch at 12:40 a.m. on July 8 of an interceptor missile from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific.
When the interceptor's booster began a corkscrew movement designed to cut speed and keep the rocket within the test range, the "kill vehicle" did not separate from the second stage, as planned.
Still encased in its payload capsule atop the booster, the kill vehicle interceptor splashed harmlessly into the ocean. It never received an electronic "go" signal that tells it to separate from the booster.
The target warhead, launched 20 minutes earlier from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., streaked untouched across the Pacific night sky.
Such payload separation is basic rocket science. The kill vehicle's ability to steer itself toward its intended target-a crucial aspect of NMD capability-never even became a test issue.
Other parts of the NMD system worked perfectly during the test. A prototype of the high-powered X-band radar that will help steer the kill vehicle, and the communications link that feeds the kill vehicle targeting information, both operated fine.
In fact, the X-band radar was able to determine that a decoy balloon accompanying the target warhead failed to inflate as planned.
"Others have said how easy it is to put up decoys, by the way. This is the proof that one decoy we were trying to put up didn't go up," said Jacques S. Gansler, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics, at an after-action appearance with reporters.
The booster that failed was not even the type planned for the operational NMD system, pointed out Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. It was a surrogate, a second stage culled from an old Minuteman booster.
The planned booster, which is being manufactured by Alliant Techsystems and United Technologies, is now running about eight months behind schedule. Its first use is not expected to occur until the third quarter of next year, according to Gansler and Kadish.
Defense Money Bill Advances
On July 13 House and Senate conferees approved a final $288 billion spending bill to fund the Department of Defense for Fiscal 2001.
The bill represents a nearly $20 billion increase over the Fiscal 2000 defense appropriation and is about $4 billion larger than the Clinton Administration's budget request.
"It is a good bill that shows strong support for our military and provides the necessary funding to address the severe strains the Department of Defense is facing, regarding maintenance and quality-of-life issues," said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The legislation includes a nearly $1 billion increase for military health care, noted lawmakers.
"This legislation will pay for a roadmap for future implementation of permanent health care for retirees and restores pharmacy access for most of those former service members," said Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.
The bill fully funds the F-22 program and accepts House language requiring the Air Force to meet Congressional testing requirements next year before beginning Raptor production.
The legislation cuts funds for the Joint Strike Fighter program by $150 million-a move that will effectively delay the program's entry into the engineering, manufacturing, and development phase by three months.
It includes money for five F-15s and four F-16s.
It creates a National Defense Airlift Fund, pays for 12 C-17s, and expands future airlift procurement.
Is USAF Shortchanging Depots?
The Air Force is struggling to comply with a Congressional mandate that at least 50 percent of its maintenance work be performed in-house at Pentagon-owned depots.
Earlier this year Air Force Secretary Peters promised legislators that the service would do its utmost to comply with the so-called 50/50 rule this year-despite the fact that he had waived Air Force compliance with the law in January.
But meeting the 50 percent guideline would require the transfer of roughly $115 million in Fiscal 2000 maintenance work from private contractors to Air Force or other public depots, according to a service memo obtained by Inside the Air Force. That is a difficult-some would say near-impossible-task.
To meet the guidelines next year would require movement of $145 million in work.
"We do not believe it is feasible to meet the 50/50 requirement in FY00 and FY01 through the movement of numerous small dollar workloads," wrote Air Force acquisition chief Lawrence J. Delaney and Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Lester L. Lyles earlier this year in an undated memo reviewing the problem. "As a result, we request each organization review their programs and identify one or more large volume/high dollar workloads to shift from contract to organic."
Congress passed the 50/50 law in the first place to protect jobs at big public military depots. Critics call the requirement classic pork-barreling, while lawmakers retort that it was a necessary move to counter the desire of services to outsource more and more of their maintenance work.
When Peters waived the requirement, as he is allowed to do under the law, he cited the stresses of Operation Allied Force and a rough transfer of work from two closing depots to open counterparts as reasons why the Air Force would outsource more than half of its maintenance work.
But lawmakers feel that the Air Force should have left itself room to maneuver in case of such emergencies. They complain that Pentagon procurement czar Jacques Gansler is encouraging outsourcing, regardless of its effect on depot management laws.
"We have seen no movement toward resolving this [Air Force] matter," said Rep. James V. Hansen (R-Utah) at a June 27 hearing on the issue.
Congress Says "No" to Base Closures
The Senate in early June killed an amendment to the Fiscal 2001 defense authorization bill that would have authorized two new rounds of base closures in 2003 and 2005.
Senators voted 63-35 against the provision, despite pleas from sponsors Sens. John McCain and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) that the Pentagon needs to save money for modernization and quality-of-life initiatives.
Savings from past base closure rounds will grow to $7 billion annually by next year, said McCain.
"That is an important statistic because so many of the opponents of a base-closing round argue that money is not only saved but spent because of the cleanup costs that are associated with base closings," he said.
Opponents said they did not want to foreclose options for future administrations, which may have different priorities.
"Certainly, I would be willing to talk about this after the next Administration comes in. It wouldn't make any difference anyway because the first round wouldn't be until 2003," said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who voted against the provision. He noted that savings from a new round wouldn't start to kick in until 2008 at the earliest.
Should DoD and VA Buy Drugs Together?
The US government could save up to $300 million a year if the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs merged their massive prescription drug buying programs, according to a new audit by the Congressional General Accounting Office.
Last year DoD and the VA spent a total of $2.4 billion to fill 140 million prescriptions. Those figures add up to a lot of leverage with drug companies, figure GAO auditors.
DoD and the VA have cooperated on individual drug purchases in the past, and when they did, the savings were substantial, according to GAO. Combined, they were able to buy the blood-pressure medicine Capoten at $1.17 for 100 tablets, as opposed to the average wholesale price of $90.84. For the ulcer-fighting drug Ranitidine, the negotiated price was $13.57 per 500 tablets, as opposed to the standard wholesale of $740.
But only 2 percent of their purchases were joint. For the most part the agencies' "differing missions and cultures have created rivalries that make it difficult for them to act together."
Agency health officials disputed GAO's findings, saying that prospective savings were overstated.
In addition, they said it would be difficult to merge the two drug-buying systems, considering such differences as the VA's relatively limited choice of drugs and the Defense Department's greater emphasis on choice.
Officer Faces Charges in Fatal Accident
Capt. Darron A. Haughn of the 463rd Airlift Group, Little Rock AFB, Ark., faces charges of dereliction of duty and negligent homicide for his role in the C-130E accident that killed three airmen at Ahmed Al Jaber AB, Kuwait, last Dec. 10.
Brig. Gen. Richard J. Casey, 43rd Airlift Wing commander, brought the charges against Haughn following his review of the investigation results from the mishap. An accident board determined that the cause of the incident was crew complacency and failure to follow governing directives.
The Air Force announced July 24 that a special court-martial convening authority, Brig. Gen. Paul J. Fletcher, 314th Airlift Wing commander, has decided that an Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury, and investigation are warranted. A specific date for the hearing has not been set.
F-16 Air Show Accident Report Released
Insufficient altitude and excessive airspeed led to the March 19 fatal F-16 crash during an air show at NAS Kingsville, Tex., according to a recently released Air Force accident report.
Investigators concluded that the pilot of the F-16, Maj. Brison B. Phillips of the 78th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C., focused too much on ground references just prior to the crash. He then began a split-S maneuver too close to the ground. Phillips was killed in the accident, which occurred six minutes into the demonstration.
Strong winds and an unfamiliar ground environment likely contributed to the accident, concluded the board. The show line at Kingsville, which has multiple and crossing runways, may have been difficult for Phillips to determine, leading him to begin the split-S from an unsafe altitude.
Phillips was a highly experienced pilot with more than 1,800 F-16 flying hours and 339 hours of combat time.
Air Force, CAP Sign Pact
The relationship between the Air Force and the Civil Air Patrol entered a new era July 12 with the signing of a cooperative agreement providing the service with more control over its volunteer civilian auxiliary.
Months of negotiations led up to the pact.
"The big winners should be CAP cadets and leaders in the field," said Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters.
The agreement covers, among other things, enforcement and termination procedures; program management; financial responsibilities; claims resolution procedures; performance reporting; and certifications and assurances.
In February, CAP's national board approved the creation of a new board of governors that will include representatives from the Air Force, Congress, industry, and CAP.
The new board and the new agreement will result in a closer working relationship, according to Brig. Gen. James C. Bobick, CAP national commander.
"We look forward to a long future of carrying out noncombat missions of our nation's foremost military service," said Bobick.
AFIT Service Commitments In Error
The discovery of widespread errors is leading the Air Force to review the active duty service commitments of officers who are attending or have attended the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, since 1991.
Everyone who enrolled at a degree program though AFIT will have their record scrutinized. That includes officers whose course work was done through civilian colleges and universities.
So far, a review of the records of 1,200 officers has found a variety of errors. They include active duty service commitments that are too long, commitments that are too short, and commitments that have not been written down in any official record.
All affected officers will have a chance to appeal the correction of their records to the Air Force Personnel Center, Randolph AFB, Tex. AFPC commander Maj. Gen. Richard E. Brown III will personally review each correction.
"We, the Air Force, made these mistakes and it's up to us to get this fixed. ... The first step in this process is to send personal letters to each of the more than 1,200 officers with missing, inaccurate, or otherwise flawed active duty service commitments to explain how AFPC will rectify the situation," said Brown.
Brown has the power to grant relief in cases where the Air Force made a mistake and enforcing the correct active duty service commitment would create an injustice.
"It's unfortunate that we made so many mistakes in active duty service commitments under the old regulation and enforcement system," said Air Force Secretary Peters.
The Air Force Instruction that was in force when the affected officers attended AFIT was confusing and difficult to interpret, according to Peters. It has since been simplified, he said.
Gen. James Ferguson, who was commander of Air Force Systems Command at his retirement in 1970 died July 13 in Venice, Fla. He was 86.
Retired Maj. Gen. Edwin R. Chess, 87, died June 13 in San Antonio. He was chief of the Air Force Chaplain Service, 1966-70.
After several years of reverses, the Air Force has begun to win the recruiting war, the Pentagon announced.A July 27 DoD statement said USAF's recruiters already had met their numerical goal of 34,000 new enlistments in Fiscal 2000, which does not end until Sept. 30. And they are now hard at work identifying prospects for next year.The Air Force fell short of enlistment goals in Fiscal 1999, the first time the service had experienced this problem since the Carter presidency two decades ago. The Air Force was much larger then-with about 570,000 officers and airmen, compared to today's force of about 360,000."We made recruiting a top priority this year," said Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters, "and are pleased to see the initial fruits of our labor."Spurred by its recent difficulties, the Air Force deployed more recruiters, made liberal use of targeted enlistment bonuses, and launched its first paid television advertising campaign. All contributed to this year's success, claimed DoD.The Pentagon noted specifically that the number of "on-the-street" USAF recruiters had risen in one year from less than 900 to 1,300.For their part, the new recruits cite the opportunity to further their education as the top reason for enlisting, reports a recent survey. All new recruits are automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force.Even with 34,000 sign-ups in hand, recruiters aren't slacking off. They have to fill roughly the same number over the next 12 months. "We really don't yet have the time to stop and celebrate," said Brig. Gen. Duane Deal, Air Force Recruiting Service commander. "This is an indicator of how hard our recruiters are working, but we still have a daunting challenge ahead of us."
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen on July 26 announced the nomination of Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles R. Holland to be commander in chief, US Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Fla.He would be the first Air Force officer to command all US Special Operations Forces.Holland's most recent assignment was as vice commander, US Air Forces in Europe, Ramstein AB, Germany. He has commanded two Air Force wings and Special Operations Command Pacific and served as deputy commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command. Prior to his USAFE assignment, he was commander of the Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla.Holland flew 79 combat missions in an AC-130 gunship in Southeast Asia.The nomination, subject to Senate confirmation, includes promotion to four-star general. Until now, the SOF job had been the exclusive property of Army officers.
Iran's successful July 15 test of its Shahab-3 missile raised Pentagon fears that the Iranian military will press ahead and develop intercontinental-range weapons."We're worried about more than just this missile," said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon in the wake of the test of the Shahab, a medium-range system. "We're worried about longer-range missiles that they apparently have on their drawing books right now. That would be the Shahab-4 and Shahab-5."The Shahab-3 has range of upward of 800 miles. It would be theoretically capable of striking US forces and other targets in the Middle East.The missile's first test, two years ago, ended in failure, according to US analysts.US intelligence officials have told Congress that a North Korean sale of 12 missile engines to Iran could bolster the Shahab capability. Some analysts believe that Iran might be able to test a missile capable of hitting US territory by sometime later this decade."There isn't any conceivable reason why Iran needs a missile of intercontinental range if it's worried about regional security issues," said Bacon.
Pentagon chief William Cohen told Congress on July 25 that a limited National Missile Defense system would prevent nuclear blackmail against the United States and could "enhance deterrence and improve stability."In remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Cohen said the US faces a rising challenge from proliferation of long-range ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction."Our goal," he said, "is to provide protection to the American people against irresponsible nations, to prevent them from putting the United States in a position of being blackmailed and precluding us from taking action to defend our own national security interests."He said Iran, Iraq, and Libya are working on building a long-range capability.
The Pentagon unveiled a new set of anti-harassment guidelines July 21. Officials said the aim of the 13-point action plan is to eliminate all forms of harassment in the military, including the harassment of those perceived as homosexual."Treatment of all individuals with dignity and respect is essential to good order and discipline," said Undersecretary of the Air Force Carol DiBattiste, chairman of the working group that produced the guidelines. The action plan further states, "Mistreatment, harassment, and inappropriate comments or gestures undermine this principle and have no place in our armed forces."The central feature of the new plan is its point that military leaders should be told that information regarding sexual orientation is never necessary for a harassment complaint to be taken seriously. Persons who receive such complaints must not ask about sexual orientation and persons who report harassment ought not disclose such information, according to the new guidelines.Other main thrusts of the plan call for improved training to clear up misconceptions about the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy; improved ways to measure the effectiveness of that training; and for making sure commanders know they are responsible for correct implementation of the policy.The group that drew up the new policy was originally created by Defense Secretary William S. Cohen to review the Defense Department Inspector General's report on the harassment of perceived homosexuals. That report concluded that such harassment is widespread, and widely tolerated, in the US military.Eighty percent of respondents to the IG survey said they had heard offensive speech or remarks about homosexuals within the last year. Eighty-five percent said they believed such remarks were, to a certain extent, tolerated. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they had witnessed an action toward a service member that they believed to be harassment due to perceived sexual orientation. Ninety-seven percent of respondents to the IG office said they believed they had at least some understanding of the homosexual conduct policy. However, 57 percent said they had had no training on the policy.
Maj. Thomas B. McGuire Jr. and Col. Buzz Aldrin-both former Air Force pilots-were enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame at a July 15 ceremony in Dayton, Ohio.The hall of fame was made a national entity by an act of Congress in 1964. Its previous inductees include such pioneers of flight as Orville and Wilbur Wright, Jimmy Doolittle, Billy Mitchell, Curtis LeMay, Charles Lindbergh, and Chuck Yeager.McGuire, a native of Ridgewood, N.J., ranks second on the list of leading Air Force combat aces of all wars. While flying P-38s for the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific during World War II, McGuire downed 38 enemy aircraft. That number was exceeded only by fellow 475th pilot Maj. Richard I. Bong, with 40 victories.McGuire was killed in combat in January 1945. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. McGuire AFB, N.J., was named after him in 1949.Aldrin is a native of Montclair, N.J. After graduating from West Point, he entered the Air Force and earned his pilot wings in 1952. As an F-86 Sabre pilot in Korea, he flew 66 combat missions and destroyed two MiG-15 aircraft. He later served as an aerial gunner instructor at Nellis AFB, Nev., and with an F-100 squadron in Germany.Though he had a distinguished Air Force career, Aldrin is best known for his contributions to the US space program.He was named an astronaut in 1963. In 1966, he performed a record 5.5-hour space walk outside his Gemini 12 spacecraft. He also flew on Apollo 11 with Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins. He was the second man to set foot on the moon.Aldrin returned to active Air Force duty in 1971 and was assigned to Edwards AFB, Calif., as commander of the Test Pilot School. He retired as a colonel in 1972.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Floyd Spence (RS.C.) declared July 19 that China is undertaking an "impressive" modernization of its armed forces.The Chinese military has deployed hundreds of short-range ballistic missiles at sites opposite Taiwan, according to a recent HASC report. China is also developing two new intercontinental ballistic missiles, the DF-31 and the DF-41."China's military threats against Taiwan-and its buildup of ballistic missiles arrayed against Taiwan-should be taken seriously," said Spence.China is also obtaining new fighter aircraft and missiles from Russia, noted the report. Russia is
The Navy on July 12 announced it is sweetening its Aviation Career Continuation Pay program for Fiscal 2000 to increase pilot and flight officer retention.Such a mid-year adjustment in incentives is proof that the service is eager to do all it can to convince separation-eligible aviators to stay in uniform, said officials."Senior naval and civilian leadership have recognized the very real retention challenges facing naval aviation today and for the foreseeable future by unanimously endorsing this robust bonus plan," said Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., chief of naval personnel.The new plan allows eligible naval aviators to earn up to $245,000 in bonuses for serving 25 years.Under the plan, aviators who are bonus-eligible for the first time this year can sign a five-year contract that provides $25,000 a year for pilots and $15,000 a year for flight officers. Signees can opt for half the total bonus in a lump sum at time of agreement.Shorter-term contracts that pay up to $15,000 a year are also available.The Navy moved now in part because there are more than 100 junior aviators who are either awaiting separation or have not yet declared their intentions for the year."This program is designed to help these aviators, in [whom] the Navy has invested so much, to decide to stay Navy," said Ryan.
Missile defense is not a burning issue in the minds of US voters, according to the results of a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll.Fifty-six percent of survey respondents said they have not closely followed the issue whether to develop a nationwide shield against limited nuclear missile attack.Only 11 percent said they have followed the issue closely.As to whether such a defense should be built, the answer was yes, by a narrow majority. Fifty-three percent supported construction of a ground-based interceptor system such as called for in current Pentagon plans.Forty-eight percent of respondents said they had more confidence in Texas Gov. George W. Bush to decide the plan's fate. Thirty-seven percent said they trusted Vice President Al Gore more on the missile defense issue.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Daily Report: Read the top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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