Two Airmen Among Eight Killed
Two Air Force members were among eight Americans killed in the early action of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.
They were: TSgt. John A. Chapman, 36, of Waco, Tex., a combat controller assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron at Pope AFB, N.C.; and SrA. Jason D. Cunningham, 26, of Camarillo, Calif., a pararescue jumper with the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody AFB, Ga.
The airmen were working with US Army Special Forces that were being inserted into the fight March 4 by MH-47 helicopters on two separate missions. A Navy petty officer was killed as the first MH-47 was hit by ground fire. He fell off the helicopter.
Four Special Forces troops were killed, in addition to Chapman and Cunningham, on the second MH-47. Officials said it was hit by ground fire and either crashed or made a hard landing. The personnel on board were killed during a firefight with the enemy. Another Special Forces member was killed by enemy fire March 2.
Coalition forces launched Anaconda, which is part of the ongoing Enduring Freedom action in Afghanistan, on March 1 against several pockets of Taliban and al Qaeda forces in the mountains south of Gardez.
The coalition ground forces included about 200 special operations troops from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, France, and Norway.
USAF Engaged in Philippines
Air Force personnel, both ground and air, are participating in a new front in the war against terrorism as the US military aids the Philippine armed forces against Abu Sayyaf, a group with ties to al Qaeda.
USAF special tactics personnel accompanied US Army Special Forces sent to the Philippines to help train the Philippine military. Additionally, airmen were sent to establish expanded communications hookups.
A Pentagon official also acknowledged to the Washington Post in late February that USAF and Navy aircraft had begun surveillance flights to support ground forces.
Philippine Op Claims Two Airmen
The crash of a US Army MH-47 helicopter in the Philippines Feb. 22 claimed 10 US military troops, including two USAF personnel.
The helicopter crashed into the sea as it flew from Basilan Island to Mactan air base. Pentagon officials said there was no sign of hostile fire.
The airmen were MSgt. William L. McDaniel II and SSgt. Juan M. Ridout, both pararescuemen from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron, Kadena AB, Japan. Eight Army personnel were killed.
McDaniel and Ridout were working with US Army Special Forces members as part of Joint Task Force 510 to train and advise Philippine armed forces.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Rumsfeld Leans Toward More Strip Alerts
Should the Air Force continue to fly Combat Air Patrols over selected US cities or switch to more strip alert locations? That question is under review said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Air Force leaders in the past few months have made it clear that Operation Noble Eagle is exacting a high cost in dollars but more importantly in stress on personnel and equipment.
The Air Force, principally the Air National Guard, has been flying CAPs over several US cities since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. In addition, the service has maintained strip alert--personnel and aircraft standing ready at a few minute's notice--at more than two dozen locations around the country. In all, some 265 aircraft--fighters, tankers, airlift, and radar aircraft--and about 12,000 airmen are involved.
Rumsfeld, speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Feb. 24, said there is no question "the stress and the cost is substantial." However, he added the US "has to balance the use of those assets for that purpose against the threat."
He indicated that the number of aircraft actually airborne might be reduced if, as he hoped, the threat level was sufficiently lower. "What we need to do is what we have always done historically," said Rumsfeld, "and that's to have different threat levels."
Services To Cut Jammer Options
The Air Force and Navy must pare down the 27 options proposed in an electronic warfare study. The goal is to put new jamming capabilities in the air within two years and a new joint aircraft to replace the aging EA-6B Prowler by 2009.
Pentagon acquisition chief Edward C. Aldridge directed the two services to develop a three-phase plan. He wants the new proposals by June 3.
For Phase 1, which would run from 2004 to 2009, Aldridge suggested replacement equipment such as a jammer-equipped Mini Air-Launched Decoy.
Phase 2 would begin in 2009, when the Pentagon is slated to phase out the Prowler. Aldridge told the services, in a memo obtained by Defense News, to consider a "joint core component aircraft" that would be comparable to a new electronic attack A-6 or F/A-18.
In Phase 3, with no dates attached, Aldridge said the services should look to a joint program for a jamming version of the new Joint Strike Fighter or a new high-altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
Rumsfeld: Stop Using NCA
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld directed DOD to stop using the term National Command Authority. Instead, he wants Pentagon instructions and documents to specifically identify either the President or the Secretary of Defense or both, as necessary.
The directive, established in a Joint Staff memo obtained by Inside the Navy, was sent to Joint Staff, unified commanders, and the military services.
One Pentagon official told ITN the change was purely administrative. Another said the NCA term was a Cold War relic that needed to be replaced.
Northrop Grumman Files Offer for TRW
Northrop Grumman said March 3 it had formally filed its offer to buy TRW. If successful, the buyout could lead fourth-ranked Northrop to the top of the defense contractor ladder.
TRW had not responded, according to Northrop officials, to an unsolicited proposal Northrop submitted to TRW in a Feb. 21 letter. Northrop asked TRW officials to enter negotiations to combine the two companies in hopes of boosting its defense space and electronics business.
In the past seven years, Northrop has acquired 14 companies. During 2001 alone, the Los Angeles-based company bought Litton Industries, Newport News Shipbuilding, and the electronics systems group of Aerojet General.
Those major acquisitions have raised concerns among defense officials and Wall Street analysts as to whether the company could absorb another large purchase.
However, Northrop Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kent Kresa said Feb. 27, "We view this as quite an easy integration job, compared with ones that we've already demonstrated we can do."
TRW had until March 29 to reply to Northrop's offer.
However, Northrop may not be the only bidder. Other defense companies, including Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, are reportedly considering making offers.
Bill Would Place New Command Outside DC Area
The Administration's tentative plans to locate the Pentagon's new homeland security command in the Washington, D.C., area may not fly, according to legislation drafted by Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.).
Bond and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the bill's co-sponsor, favor establishing the headquarters for the new unified command in the central US and away from any major population center. Bond has publicly cited Ft. Leonard Wood in his home state as an ideal location.
The legislation also calls for the deputy commander to be drawn from either the Army National Guard or Air National Guard.
Additionally, it would ensure that the Pentagon establishes the new command from existing resources.
The bill was referred to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Two Die in Trainer Jet Crash
An instructor and student pilot from Laughlin AFB, Tex., were killed when their T-37 jet training aircraft crashed near Spofford, Tex., Jan. 31.
1st Lt. Chad B. Carlson, an instructor pilot from Lewiston, Tex., and student pilot 2nd Lt. Nicholas J. Jabara of Colbert, Wash., were flying a training mission near an auxiliary airfield about 25 miles east of Laughlin when their jet crashed.
Jabara, who graduated from the US Air Force Academy last year, was the grandson of the late Col. James Jabara, the first ace of the Korean War.
Air Force officials said they were pronounced dead at the scene. A board of officers will investigate the accident.
Strategic Influence Office Closed
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced that the Pentagon planned to close the Office of Strategic Influence, created last November, following severe media criticism that its mission was to plant false press releases with foreign media to manipulate public opinion.
Defense officials denied the allegations that the office's mission was disinformation. They said that although its charter had not been completed, its purpose was to coordinate the release of information overseas.
DOD released a statement Feb. 20 saying, "Under no circumstances will the office or its contractors knowingly or deliberately disseminate false information to the American or foreign media or publics."
In announcing the shutdown, Rumsfeld told reporters Feb. 26 that the disinformation claims were "off the mark," but despite that he said the office has "clearly been so damaged that ... it's pretty clear to me that it could not function effectively, so it's being closed down."
He added that DOD would continue to target information operations as it did with the Afghan people. "We told people where they could get humanitarian assistance, we told people the difference between cluster bomb packages and food packages," he said, adding that the Pentagon also had to counter the lies that the food packages were poison.
"We did a whole series of things that are characterized as influence or strategic influence or information operations," said Rumsfeld.
"So there are lots of things that we have to do, and we will do those things," he added. "We'll just do them in a different office."
Foundation Competes New Air Force Memorial Design
The Air Force Memorial Foundation announced March 12 that five architectural teams would compete to design a new Air Force Memorial.
The new design must fit the memorial's new planned location, which is near a promontory point of land overlooking the Pentagon.
AFMF officials decided late last year to relocate the memorial, ending a long-running controversy about the previous site on Arlington Ridge. Although two attempts to block the use of that site were overturned in federal court, the repeated challenges and delays slowed the project down. Several members of Congress moved to make an attractive alternative location available.
The location overlooking the Pentagon had been considered earlier, said Ross Perot Jr., foundation chairman. It was discounted because, at the time, "it was not going to be available for a number of years," he said.
Legislation passed last year, and signed by President Bush Dec. 28, made the new location available sooner. The foundation plans to build on the new site unless faced with a major environmental issue that could not be mitigated in a reasonable amount of time.
Preliminary design concepts from the five architectural teams were due to the foundation's board of trustees early this month.
Lease To Feature Smart Tanker?
Air Force leaders have spoken recently about transforming aerial refuelers into more than flying gas stations. They want to endow tankers with the capability to conduct Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance missions in addition to their refueling duties.
According to the Seattle Times, Boeing officials are considering offering that capability as part of a controversial tanker lease proposal.
Congress authorized the Air Force to lease commercial aircraft as tankers to offset its aging fleet of KC-135s, which are seeing even greater use as a result of Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle. USAF doesn't think the tankers will last until the end of this decade, as previously expected.
House and Senate appropriators approved a provision in the Fiscal 2002 defense bill that authorizes USAF to lease 100 Boeing 767s for 90 percent of their market purchase price, modify them for tanker use, fly them for 10 years, remove the modifications, and return them to Boeing.
Critics have called the plan a corporate bailout.
However, Air Force Secretary James G. Roche has stated the service is considering all reasonable options. That includes a projected proposal from Boeing's European competitor, Airbus.
To go with another contractor, the Air Force would have to ask for a change to last year's legislation. Roche told a Congressional committee that would be done "if somebody like Airbus came along and made a deal that was so good, an offer that was so good, that we felt that we would prefer it."
Roche told reporters after testifying at a March 6 House Armed Services Committee that the service plans to analyze, over the next few months, technical information provided by both companies. He said the goal was to come up with an answer sometime this summer.
Roche Cites Plan A for Tankers
In his testimony March 6 before the HASC, Air Force Secretary Roche said that Plan A for replacing the service's old KC-135s is to move procurement up.
Plan B is the tanker lease. Roche said that leasing some aircraft to use as replacement refuelers was "a way of doing something quickly."
Of course, he added, "the only way it works is if the cost of the lease was less than the cost we were avoiding."
Roche said that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Air Force recognized that it was now going to be using these aging aircraft "far more than we ever had before. ... We became very concerned."
Plan A is to try to procure new aircraft earlier than the service originally planned, which would have been around 2008. "We're going to work on it in the '04 budget," he said.
USAF Raises Risk Bar
Air Force leaders decided to accept greater operational risk, as hundreds of F-16 aircraft retire, rather than buy new aircraft.
"If you don't have a continuous stream of investment, you'll pay the piper at some point," said Air Force Secretary Roche at a House Armed Services Committee hearing March 6 on the Fiscal 2003 budget.
Roche explained that the service is hurting because older systems, like fighters, were not replaced and "they're just going to wear out."
"We're going to face what's called a bathtub in our fighters," he said. "We're willing to take that risk if we can introduce some new systems."
To compensate for the fighter deficit--the bathtub--in coming years, Lt. Gen. Joseph H. Wehrle Jr., USAF's deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, told Inside the Pentagon that the service plans to rely on the greater capabilities of the F-22 as it comes into service. The service faces a 100-aircraft shortfall around 2010.
Plans call for the F-22 to reach Initial Operational Capability in 2006. The F-35 strike fighter, the replacement aircraft for the F-16, is not slated for IOC for the Air Force until 2010 or, possibly, 2011.
Wehrle said he presented three major options to USAF leadership to handle the F-16 shortfalls: buying old-model aircraft; accelerating new aircraft; or essentially riding out the shortage, thereby accepting greater risk.
He said the service does not want to buy more older, nonstealthy aircraft just to cover a four-year period. "It just didn't make sense to us."
Pentagon Plans To Speed Test Tempo
DOD's top tester told Congress that increasing test tempo will enable the Pentagon to field weapon systems faster. He also said that test and evaluation needs more money.
Thomas P. Christie, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation, said his office is reviewing several programs "where testing could be accelerated."
Writing in the annual DOT&E report to Congress released in late February, Christie said that DOT&E was working with Pentagon acquisition "to accelerate the testing and fielding of systems that might be especially relevant to the campaign against global terrorism."
The report also noted that the DOD testing process needs funding increases to play catch-up with a $12 billion backlog in infrastructure modernization requirements and "to adequately test future weapon systems incorporating emerging technologies."
It Was All Over in 15 Minutes
According to the first air boss for Operation Enduring Freedom, US airpower devastated Taliban air defenses in Afghanistan in just 15 minutes.
Lt. Gen. Charles F. Wald, now USAF deputy chief of staff for air and space operations, said March 7 at a defense symposium in Washington, D.C., that it was true the Taliban anti-aircraft force was not highly sophisticated. However, he said they did possess an integrated air defense system, including radars, surface-to-air missiles, and fighter aircraft.
It was not the fact that Taliban air defenses were "rudimentary" that enabled US forces to dominate the skies quickly, said Wald. It was the high confidence of US weapon systems.
Looking at the first day of Enduring Freedom and the 1991 Desert Storm campaign, Wald said US airpower struck the same number of targets. What changed, he said, was the number of sorties. For the Afghanistan operation, the number was 200; for the Iraq operation, it was 2,500.
The difference was in the use of precision guided munitions by USAF and USN strike aircraft and in the large loads that could be carried by USAF B-1 and B-2 bombers, said Wald.
TFL Seeks "Expired" Eligibles
Tricare officials announced in February that claims will automatically be paid for Tricare for Life beneficiaries with "expired" eligibility until Aug. 1, 2002.
Tricare for Life is the new health care program for military retirees and their dependents who are 65 or older and Medicare eligible. Officials said that claims submitted since the start up of the program Oct. 1, 2001, but denied for expired eligibility, will be automatically reprocessed.
Those whose claims were denied must reverify their eligibility with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Records System by Aug. 1. For more information see "Tricare for Life Hits and Misses," p. 62.
US, UK Conduct Subcritical Nuclear Experiment
The US and United Kingdom conducted their first joint nuclear experiment Feb. 14, some 960 feet below the Nevada desert, without a nuclear blast.
The experiment, performed under provisions of the global Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, was designed to help maintain the safety and reliability of US and UK atomic weapons. Officials said the subcritical nuclear experiment enables them to analyze materials, such as plutonium, without actually exploding a nuclear warhead.
The event took place at the Nevada Test Site, about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Military, Industry Share Blame
Peter B. Teets, the undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, said that some space acquisition programs have "serious problems."
Teets, who is, in effect, the new Pentagon space czar, told a National Defense Industrial Association symposium Feb. 26 that he is intent on getting to the bottom of the deficiencies and that "it's absolutely true that there's plenty of blame to spread around."
He indicated that the problems stemmed from unclear requirements and inadequate funding, as well as poor program management.
A major change at the Pentagon, giving him milestone decision authority for all military space programs, is imminent, said Teets.
Other changes Teets has announced include creation of a Defense Space Acquisition Board and creation of two new positions for space: Deputy for Military Space and Directorate of National Security Space Integration. (See "Aerospace World: Teets Announces Two New Positions for Space," March, p. 13.)
The space czar said these moves will help the Air Force, which was named DOD executive agent for space in May 2001, to streamline oversight of space acquisition programs.
Another thing Teets said he wants to do is attempt to apply NRO program management practices--a cradle-to-grave approach--to Air Force acquisition. A step in that direction came last October when the Air Force transferred the Space and Missile Systems Center from Air Force Materiel Command to Air Force Space Command.
USAF Is Short of Scientists and Engineers
Air Force officials sounded a new alarm about the growing shortage of military and civilian scientists and engineers. The problem has been looming for several years.
Air Force Materiel Command head Gen. Lester L. Lyles said the service faces a dire crisis by 2005 when 30 percent of its scientists and engineers are eligible to retire.
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche told Congress that recruitment fell far short in this area last year. He said the service has begun an "all-out effort to plus-up recruitment and target retention of these critical specialties."
Congress has authorized bonuses, funding adjustments to create retention allowances, and the possibility of special salary rates for the most difficult to fill specialties.
However, Roche said that funding levels were cut during the appropriations process.
Lyles said the "dire situation" in the civilian ranks stems from downsizing and hiring freezes, "so we did not bring anyone in through the front door to prime the pump." That left the Air Force with an aging workforce, he added.
One thing Lyles said he wants to do is clear up some misconceptions. For instance, he said that while the service has focused on bringing in new engineers fresh from school, "there are opportunities for experienced engineers from industry."
Pentagon Needs Another Funds Boost for War on Terrorism
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told a Congressional subcommittee that the military will require an additional $12.6 billion supplemental in Fiscal 2002 to cover the cost of the war against terrorism.
He said that, by the end of January, Operations Enduring Freedom, the war in Afghanistan, and Noble Eagle, the homeland security effort, cost $10.3 billion, more than DOD had estimated. Included in that total is about $2.9 billion in nonrecurring expenses involving, Wolfowitz said, "immediate security improvements" set up after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Pentagon expects the cost of the war to exceed $30 billion by the end of this fiscal year.
DOD To Transfer Peacekeeper Warhead to Minuteman III
With the Nuclear Posture Review behind it, the Administration will start deactivating Peacekeeper ICBMs this year and placing its relatively new re-entry vehicles into the older Minuteman IIIs.
The nuclear review set the stage for reducing the number of strategic warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 by 2012. (See "Bush's Nuclear Blueprint," March, p. 26.)
DOD had already planned to transfer the Peacekeeper Mark 21 re-entry vehicle to the Minuteman, according to Aerospace Daily. The timing was uncertain since the START II treaty, which called for the decommission of Peacekeepers, was never ratified.
Now, a TRW official told the Daily, the company that has managed the ICBM upgrade and modernization program can move forward. The Minutemen will be converted from three- to single-warhead capability, featuring the "newest and safest" re-entry vehicle, said TRW.
DACOWITS Gets New Role
The Pentagon announced March 6 that the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Service would continue but under a revised charter.
The group's original charter--some 53 years old--focused largely on attracting women to military service. The group was the center of the effort for women to gain entry to combat specialties.
There had been a drive by some conservative groups to abolish the group.
Instead, the Pentagon said in its announcement that DACOWITS was to be "revitalized" to make it more relevant to today's force.
The revised charter calls for the group to provide advice and recommendations on "recruitment and retention, treatment, employment, integration, and well-being of highly qualified professional women." It will also now focus on improving conditions for military families.
AFRC Tests the Snow and Ice
An Air Force Reserve Command C-141 crew took a new approach to landing in Antarctica for the command's first Operation Deep Freeze mission of 2002.
While transport aircraft have landed on the hard ice runway near McMurdo Station for years, this time the runway had a new topping. "They put about six inches of dry snow and supercompacted it so it becomes bonded with the ice," said Lt. Col. Kelly Curtis, overall mission commander from the 452nd Airlift Mobility Wing, March ARB, Calif.
"This provides a two- to three-inch insulation cover for the ice when the sun angle gets significant so they don't have any melting that will degrade the continuity of the ice surface," he added. Curtis explained that C-141s and other large aircraft have restrictions on how much loose snow and ice can be on a runway. The flying snow can cause structural damage.
He said they were concerned about potential damage, but the compacted snow held. "The first crew that went in had nothing but good things to say about the runway," said Curtis. "They said it was actually a smoother, better surface to operate on, and the braking was good, so everyone was thrilled with the test."
Wilford Hall Team Rescues Baby
A highly specialized medical team from Wilford Hall Medical Center in Texas flew to Okinawa to bring back a three-day-old baby boy. The boy would have died without their expertise.
The baby, the son of a Marine stationed on Okinawa, was born without part of his diaphragm. As a result, some of his intestines were putting pressure on his lungs and other organs. His lungs were failing. He had only a few days to live. He needed to be put on a special heart-lung bypass machine that would stabilize his condition, allowing his lungs to heal. Surgeons could then correct the defect.
The problem: The only long-range-transport heart-lung bypass capability in the world is at Wilford Hall. Once alerted, a 16-member team and the equipment were in the air within 12 hours and, traveling on a series of aircraft, reached Okinawa 25 hours later. They had the infant on the portable equipment within three hours and headed back to Texas, where he was to undergo surgery.
OPM Offers Long-Term Care Insurance
The Office of Personnel Management began a new program last month that offers long-term health care insurance to military and civilian federal employees and their families.
OPM contracted with John Hancock and MetLife insurance companies for the new benefit. It's designed to cover expenses associated with long-term medical care in a nursing home or in the patient's home.
Federal employees may purchase the insurance for themselves or their families, including parents. Federal retirees may enroll only themselves and their spouses.
Early enrollment continues through May 15, followed by an open-enrollment season beginning July 1.
More information is available on the OPM Web site (www.opm.gov). Officials said they would also post a rate calculator on the Web site.
They noted that the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, Medicare, and Tricare are not designed to cover long-term care. They also said the government does not plan to pay any part of the long-term care premiums.
USAF Starts Executive Job Swaps
It probably went largely unnoticed, but the Air Force recently merged two offices--one that managed assignments for general officers and one that handled assignments for senior executive service civilians.
The new single office is called the Air Force Senior Leader Management Office.
Its primary mission is to fill executive posts, period. It doesn't matter if the position once was held only by a military member or only by a civilian. The office will equally consider generals and senior civilians for most executive vacancies.
There are some exceptions. For instance, a civilian will not be selected to fill an aircraft wing commander billet.
GAO Cites Peacekeeping Expenses
According to a General Accounting Office report released in mid-February, the US directly contributed about $3.45 billion to support UN peacekeeping from Fiscal 1996 to Fiscal 2001.
GAO estimated that the indirect contribution to UN peacekeeping was $24.2 billion for the same period.
GAO defined indirect contributions as US programs and activities that:
"The largest indirect contribution (about $21.8 billion) stemmed from US military operations and services that helped provide a secure environment for UN operations," said the report.
Both the State Department and the Pentagon took exception to GAO's inclusion of indirect contributions. They said US operations are undertaken in the US interest and thus there should be no implied connection between US operations and UN peacekeeping efforts.
Saxton Bill Would Lower Reserve Retirement Age
New Jersey Rep. Jim Saxton announced Feb. 28 that he was submitting legislation to allow reservists to receive military retirement pay at age 55 rather than age 60, after they have served at least 20 years.
"With the reliance on the Reserves and National Guard system since the end of the Cold War, it is proper that they be treated appropriately," said the Republican Congressman.
Original co-sponsors on the bill are House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) and Reps. Robert E. Andrews (D-N.J.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R-N.J.), William J. Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.).
Saxton said the bill would help with retention of Guardsmen and Reservists. "It puts them on equal footing with the active duty military, which can already draw retirement pay after 20 years of service," Saxton said. "We as a nation ask a lot of our reserves. They are not asking a lot from us."
DOD Works On New Personnel, Pay System
DOD is in the midst of dumping hundreds of 20- to 30-year-old personnel and pay systems and fashioning a new all-service system--Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System. The Army will be the first to start testing the new system, beginning in 2003.
The Navy, which is executive agent for the program, will follow in 2004; the Marine Corps in 2005; then the Air Force.
A key piece of DIMHRS, said officials, is commercial computer software called PeopleSoft 8. It will allow personnel to access personnel information via the Internet at any time from anywhere.
The new system is also expected to improve the Pentagon's ability to keep track of active duty and reserve personnel during deployments and mobilizations.
USAF Expands Junior ROTC
The Air Force is expanding its Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program this year by 57 new units and needs additional USAF retirees to fill instructor slots in those units.
Service officials said potential instructors must be either retired active duty officers or enlisted personnel who served a minimum of 20 years or who retired under the temporary early retirement authority with at least 15 years.
Individuals from any career field are eligible, and they do not need an instructor background.
"It doesn't matter what profession the person had in the Air Force," said Col. Brian King, JROTC director. "The leadership skills, customs and courtesies, academic background, and professional military education are all excellent preparation for taking a role as a leader in the JROTC classroom."
Instructors will wear uniforms and must meet weight requirements. They will receive a salary equal to the difference between their retired pay and their active duty pay and allowances, excluding incentive pay.
For more information, call the Air Force JROTC Division at 800-522-0033, ext. 5275 or 5300; or write to HQ AFOATS/JRI, 551 E. Maxwell Blvd., Maxwell AFB, Ala., 36112-6106; or visit the Air Force JROTC Web site.
Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force Chief of Staff, plans to develop key task forces that mirror USAF capabilities, with each led by a champion.
The idea, he said, is to base "what we do on Concepts of Operations." Jumper added that he included planning and programming in the equation.
The Air Force must be "able to describe how we go to war and how we interface with the other services before we start talking about what we are going to buy," Jumper said at the annual Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in February.
Task force champions would prioritize programs based on how many of the task forces a particular program would support, said Jumper.
Jumper mentioned six task forces:
Global Response--centered on those capabilities that provide quick reaction forces, especially for the war against terrorism.
Global Strike--focused on the capabilities used to gain initial access into a theater of operation.
Space/Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance--focused on space and ISR capabilities and what they bring to the mission.
Mobility/Humanitarian--focused on capabilities needed to provide humanitarian aid, whether food, medical, or other relief, including evacuation.
Expeditionary--directed at the process used to rotate units for day-to-day contingency operations.
Strategic--focused on capabilities that handle USAF nuclear obligations.
There could be additional task forces, as the service more fully develops the concept.
Jumper sees the task force approach as key to USAF's continuing transformation. He asked the symposium audience, if the Air Force describes itself by these capabilities--the task forces--and they capture what the service does, "then why don't we plan and program that way, too?"
"We are going to transform ourselves in this way [in the] planning and programming business and see if we can make this work--a capabilities orientation to the way we do our business," said Jumper.
The Senate confirmed Lt. Gen. Lance W. Lord to fill the new Air Force general officer position at Air Force Space Command. The position was made possible by a change included in the Fiscal 2002 defense authorization.
Lord was serving as the Air Force assistant vice chief of staff. He had previously been vice commander at AFSPC, which is headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colo.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld decided last year to follow a recommendation of the Space Commission to split the job of AFSPC commander from that of commander in chief for US Space Command.
Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart is currently serving as commander in chief of SPACECOM, as well as NORAD, and commander of AFSPC.
Congress late last year repealed the law that limited the number of four-star general officer positions available to DOD to make room for the new position.
The Space Commission, which was chaired by Rumsfeld before he was nominated to become Defense Secretary, suggested both the split and that the Pentagon name the Air Force as DOD executive agent for space.
Rumsfeld named the Air Force executive agent in May 2001. He also instructed the Air Force to nominate an officer to head AFSPC. However, the service had to wait for Congress to complete the Fiscal 2002 legislation.
The move creating a four-star commander for AFSPC also opens the commander in chief position at SPACECOM to other services. It had been limited to Air Force four stars.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld veered from his earlier stance that he would not reveal specifics about contributions by other nations to the war against terrorism. He told reporters Feb. 26 that many dozens of countries have joined the US--"not just its traditional allies."
He emphasized that he was revealing only a partial list of countries and activities but that all "deserve credit for their substantial and valuable contributions." Some have helped openly, while others have been less open, the Secretary said.
Rumsfeld noted, "In the Afghanistan effort alone, coalition partners are contributing something in the neighborhood of 6,000 troops to Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force." He added, "By comparison, US forces in Afghanistan now total under 5,000."
He went on, "For example, 12 countries have contributed more than 2,800 personnel to ground operations in the campaign. Eight countries contributed more than 1,500 people to air operations. Eight countries contributed more than 13,000 people to naval operations, and some eight countries contributed 350-plus to civil operations in Afghanistan."
Rumsfeld then listed some specific assistance:
Australia: Special operations forces in Afghanistan.
Bahrain: A frigate and associated personnel supporting Enduring Freedom.
Canada: More than 2,200 personnel--land, air, and naval--in the region and a light infantry battle group with 700 personnel and 12 armored reconnaissance vehicles in Kandahar for security and combat operations.
Czech Republic: More than 250 personnel in Kuwait performing local training and management support in the region.
Great Britain: A naval task force, aircraft, and leadership of the 16-nation ISAF.
Italy: A carrier battle group--more than 13 percent of their naval force--to support Enduring Freedom combat operations.
Jordan: A hospital in Mazar-e Sharif.
Spain: A hospital in Bagram.
South Korea: Airlift for humanitarian relief supplies and a $45 million pledge for reconstruction aid in Afghanistan.
United Arab Emirates: Airlift of humanitarian supplies.
"This is simply an illustrative example of the broad effort from dozens and dozens of countries," Rumsfeld concluded. "I did, however, think it would be helpful to pass out this detailed information, so that more people can become aware that this is not simply a US operation, but it is truly a broadly based multinational effort."
A fact sheet released Feb. 28 listed contributions by 27 nations. Those not listed above were: Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
The Sept. 11 series of terrorist attacks in the US "was an attack on the world," said Rumsfeld. "Citizens from more than 80 countries died that day, innocent men, women, and children of every race, religion, and region."
"Many countries were attacked by terrorists before September 11th," he added. "Some have been attacked or endangered since September 11th. And any could be attacked tomorrow. In short, the war on terrorism is truly a global struggle, and it affects all nations."
Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston told Congress that permanent working conditions at some bases in Europe are far less suitable than temporary facilities in the Balkans. Housing, he said, has fared only somewhat better.
Ralston, who is commander in chief of European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, testified that improving the command's "failing and antiquated infrastructure" is the No. 1 investment priority for the European theater.
He told members of the House appropriations military construction subcommittee Feb. 14 that EUCOM's infrastructure funding following the fall of the Berlin Wall was virtually nonexistent for nearly a decade. "We simply did not know in 1989 what the size of our commitment to Europe would be, nor did we know where those forces would be assigned."
Over the last decade, he said, EUCOM has closed 563 installations. Ralston also assured the Congressmen that the command had used every available funding source to improve the conditions in which service members live and work.
He said that, since 1990, alternative funding sources, such as the NATO Security Investment Program, Residual Value, Payment-in-Kind, and Quid Pro Quo initiatives, have generated more than $2 billion for construction projects. The service components (US Air Forces in Europe, US Army Europe, and US Naval Forces Europe) have also consolidated, privatized, and outsourced to reduce the infrastructure requirements backlog.
Nonetheless, Ralston said, "We have reached the limits of our ability to do more for less." These alternative sources alone are simply inadequate to significantly impact current funding shortfalls, he stated.
He did note that increased funding over the past two years, to include $251 million in Fiscal 2002, has helped. "However, a great deal of our infrastructure remains inadequate, and our service members continue to live and work in dilapidated facilities."
Ralston said family housing had received more emphasis than work facilities in recent years, so EUCOM service components were on schedule to meet last year's DOD requirement to eliminate substandard family housing by 2010. Now, Ralston said, they are currently working on plans to complete the task for new DOD guidelines that mandate completion by 2007.
He said that although the command has made progress as a whole, family housing throughout Europe remains old and in need of extensive repair and modernization. For example, Ralston said that 73 percent of USAREUR family housing is not up to DOD standards.
"Similarly, 57 percent of US Air Forces in Europe family housing is not to standard, and more than 80 percent of family housing units were constructed before 1960," he added. "Sustaining this aging inventory is costly."
Those standards, he said, are not overstated by American standards. "We've said, if a family qualifies for a three-bedroom apartment, we think they ought to have two bathrooms," said Ralston. "We think they ought to have a stove, a refrigerator, a washer, and a dryer. I don't believe that's gold plated in any way."
He showed the Congressmen a photo of brown water flowing from rusted water pipes at Ramstein AB, Germany. Ralston said this has been one of those things that people have put off. The attitude has been that the problem could wait till next year. "Well, next year comes and it's put off and it's put off and it's put off, and ultimately that is what results," he said.
DOD has programmed full funding for family housing through Fiscal 2009 at $2.3 billion.
Housing for single members has fared about the same--improvements have not come fast enough.
Ralston said one of the worst situations exists on the island of San Stephano, part of the La Maddalena Naval Support Activity in Italy. He said there were 50 sailors on shore duty who live there on one of the last berthing barges in the Navy, instead of in permanent quarters.
"It's small with only a locker for clothes and valuables," said Ralston, showing pictures of the facility.
"We're working hard to address conditions like that, but as you can see, that's pretty sad," he added, noting that it will be 2009 before the command gets its barracks upgrade program in shape.
The Work Place
Worse yet are the working conditions in EUCOM, according to Ralston. The average age of facilities is now 32 years old, with the oldest facilities 90 years old.
This situation now impacts readiness.
"Over 87 percent of the installations in USEUCOM are assessed as C-3, meaning that there are significant facility deficiencies that prevent performing some missions," he said.
Yet, Ralston noted that efforts to revitalize and modernize USAREUR and USNAVEUR installations are currently underfunded by $1.3 billion over the Fiscal 2004-09 Future Years Defense Program. He added that the Air Force recently committed to fully fund sustainment for USAFE through 2007 and to start funding restoration and modernization to meet the DOD goal by 2010.
"From runways and repair docks to billeting and housing areas, the infrastructure that supports our operations and people has been underfunded for many years," said Ralston.
"It is not uncommon for a unit to deploy from its permanent installation in the heart of Europe for a tour of duty in the Balkans and have better working conditions in the temporary facilities," explained the EUCOM chief. "This dichotomy is unacceptable."
In closing, Ralston said that the Fiscal 2003 budget includes approximately $575 million for the total military construction in the European Theater.
"That's a 60 percent increase over what was appropriated last year," he stated. "I ask for your favorable considerations of this increase."
Six French Mirage 2000 multirole fighter aircraft landed at Manas airfield in Kyrgyzstan on Feb. 27. They are the first aircraft assigned to the new coalition military facility recently set up there and will be flying fighter and reconnaissance missions for Enduring Freedom.
"Our job is to participate in air military operations in Afghanistan and help in the international fight against terrorism," said French air force Lt. Col. Bertrand Bon. "We are proud and honored to be a participant in this mission."
Earlier, the French air force had sent in a team of engineers and technicians to set up communications, buildings, hangars, and warehouses and to restore parts of the flight line surface.
"The logistics here are difficult because we must get our equipment from Europe," said French Maj. Loick Renard, one of the officers overseeing the buildup. "However, with the cooperation between all the forces, we have been able to overcome [problems] and get the Mirage here."
For example, French forces worked alongside 13 USAF personnel from the 823rd RED HORSE out of Hurlburt Field, Fla., to construct the foundation for a new aircraft maintenance pad. The 420,000-square-foot facility is slated to handle aircraft from the US, France, and Spain.
Air Force officials said the arrival of the Mirages is the first step for the Manas facility.
"Having the French here is vitally important," said Brig. Gen. Christopher A. Kelly, 376th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. "From the first day, they have been key members of this coalition. It is a grand day today watching these planes come in and prepare to fly missions."
The 24-year-old US pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states was reaffirmed Feb. 22 by State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher.
Reporters asked Boucher to explain statements made by Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John R. Bolton in an interview with the Washington Times that appeared to indicate a change in policy.
Among other comments, Bolton said, "We would do whatever is necessary to defend America's innocent civilian population." However, Boucher said, "Those kinds of statements have been made repeatedly since the 1970s."
Boucher repeated a 1995 "formulation" of the 1978 commitment: "The United States reaffirms that it will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon state parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an invasion or any other attack on the United States, its territories, its armed forces or other troops, its allies, or on a state toward which it has a security commitment, carried out or sustained by such a non-nuclear weapon state in association or alliance with a nuclear weapon state."
He then qualified the pledge in the same way that Bolton had. "The policy says that we will do whatever is necessary to deter the use of weapons of mass destruction against the United States, its allies, and its interests," he said. "If a weapon of mass destruction is used against the United States or its allies, we will not rule out any specific type of military response."
Boucher said this has been the policy for 20 or 30 years. "That is what Secretary Bolton was talking about, and there is no change," he added.
In Bolton's words: "The idea that fine theories of deterrence work against everybody, which is implicit in the negative security assurances, has just been disproven by September 11," he said. "What we are attempting to do is create a situation where nobody uses weapons of mass destruction of any kind."
The Air Force, like the nation, is facing a shortage of registered nurses. Officials said the service was short 215 nurses in Fiscal 2001. They project the shortage to grow to 400 by the end of this fiscal year.
The nation as a whole has 126,000 vacant full-time nursing positions. The shortage is driven by several factors, among them an increasing need as baby boomers age, while at the same time, nursing school enrollments and graduation rates have dropped.
For the Air Force, the most critical shortages currently occur in six specialties: clinical (medical and surgical), mental health, neonatal, and obstetrical nursing, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and women's health nurse practitioners.
"Nursing is fighting its own war on the home front, a war to provide enough nursing support to care for all the patients in our country," said Brig. Gen. Barbara C. Brannon, USAF's assistant surgeon general for nursing services.
Last year, the service failed to meet its nurse recruiting goal for the third consecutive year. Brannon said USAF was developing new strategies and changing policies to enable more nurses to qualify for a commission.
For instance, new nurses do not need a bachelor of science degree in nursing. Now candidates may have an associate's degree in nursing with a bachelor's in a health-related specialty, plus one year of nursing experience.
The Air Force is also accepting nurses for critical wartime specialties--nurse anesthetists and medical-surgical, mental health, and critical care nurses--up to age 47, rather than age 40.
Other initiatives include bonuses and more ROTC scholarships.
At least one early bonus program, though, provided only short-lived relief, said officials. The $5,000 bonus came with a four-year service commitment. They said most new nurses opt for no bonus and only a three-year commitment.
Brannon said the Air Force is also concerned about its nurse retention rate. At the four-year point, the rate is 70 percent; at eight, it's 40 percent; at 10, it's just 31 percent.
Last year, Brannon said interviews of nurses who left voluntarily revealed a Catch-22. The nurses were leaving because there were too few nurses.
To improve retention of nurses in at least one critically short field--registered nurse anesthetists--the service plans to offer what started as a recruiting tool in Fiscal 2001. They will offer those already serving grants that reimburse education costs up to $24,000.
It may not be enough. "The nationwide nursing shortage shows no signs of abating," said Brannon.
The National Aviation Hall of Fame will induct four "outstanding pioneers of aviation" to its roll of 174 men and women previously honored. The new members, who will be honored at a ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, on July 20, are:
Col. Hubert "Hub" Zemke. Known as one of the pre-eminent World War II European Theater fighter commanders, Zemke led his 56th Fighter Group to 665 air-to-air victories. The "Wolfpack" led all fighter groups in the theater. Zemke had 17.75 confirmed victories in 154 combat missions, putting him among the top 25 of all Army Air Forces World War II fighter pilots. He originated the Zemke Fan, which drastically changed Eighth Air Force policy, and other tactical innovations. The Fan allowed some fighters escorting bombers to fan out well ahead to take on enemy fighters as they formed up to attack--US bomber losses significantly declined. On his last mission in late 1944, he was forced to bail out of his P-51 when it lost a wing from turbulence. He was taken prisoner and served as senior officer in command of more than 7,000 Allied prisoners at Stalag Luft 1. He retired from the Air Force in 1966 and died in 1994.
Retired Air Force fighter pilot Lt. Col. Dick Rutan. He flew 325 combat missions during the Vietnam War. Following retirement from the Air Force, Rutan flight-tested development aircraft, setting several speed and distance records. In 1986, he and copilot Jeana L. Yeager set an absolute aviation world record for speed around the world, nonstop, nonrefueled. They flew an average of 115.65 mph in the Voyager experimental aircraft over Edwards AFB, Calif.
Retired Vice Adm. James Stockdale. Perhaps best remembered for his heroism as a prisoner of war, Stockdale was a highly decorated US Navy aviator, who served two combat tours flying fighters during the Vietnam War. He was shot down during his second tour in 1965 and held in the "Hanoi Hilton" until February 1973. He set a standard of courage and provided hope to other prisoners during his nearly eight years of captivity. He retired from the Navy in 1979.
Frank Piasecki. Founder and head of the PV-Engineering Forum, Piasecki built the world's first tandem rotor helicopter, known as the "flying banana," for the Navy. By 1946, the Piasecki Helicopter Corp. was producing and designing helicopters for the Navy, Army, and Air Force, as well as the Canadian and French navies. He continues to work on improving the Apache and Super Cobra helicopters.
Gallup polls conducted in nine Muslim countries and Gallup/USA Today/CNN polls taken in the US reveal strong negative feelings between Muslims abroad and Americans.
There were some exceptions. Americans indicated favorable views of three countries--Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey--while individuals in Lebanon and Turkey expressed favorable views of the US. The US polls were conducted March 1-3. The foreign polls were taken in December and January.
Despite the negative feelings held in general by Muslim countries, USA Today reported that 67 percent of the individuals polled said the Sept. 11 terror attacks were morally unjustifiable. However, only 18 percent of those polled in six of the countries said they believed that Arabs conducted the attacks, in direct contradiction of US evidence that indicates all 19 hijackers were Arab.
When questioned about the Gallup poll of Muslim countries, President Bush said, "There is no question that we must do a better job of telling the compassionate side of the American story." He added, "We've got work to do."
Col. Charles H. "Mac" MacDonald, one of the highest ranking aces in World War II, died March 4 at his home in DeFuniak Springs, Fla. He was 87.
MacDonald initially flew P-36s out of Hawaii, then P-47s out of New Guinea on transport escort duty. He was recruited for the new P-38 group in Fifth Air Force, the 475th Fighter Group. In an October 1943 air battle, during which MacDonald got his first two aerial victories, the group shot down 36 enemy aircraft without a single loss. MacDonald soon became group commander and scored two more victories in October, then a fifth in November to become an ace. By war's end, MacDonald had racked up 27 aerial victories.
He returned to the States in July 1945 and served in a variety of command and staff assignments, including commander of the 33rd Fighter Group and 23rd Fighter Wing. He retired from the Air Force in 1961.
John Erickson, who was considered for most of the Cold War to be the West's leading authority on the Soviet military, died Feb. 10. He was 72.
During World War II, Erickson served as a sergeant in the British army. Afterward he attended Cambridge and Oxford, where he worked on his book The Soviet High Command: A Military-Political History, 1918-1941, a standard on the formation of the Red army. He was a scholar respected by the Soviet Academy of Sciences and gained unusual access to Soviet archives and high-ranking officers.
In 1967, Erickson founded the Center for Defense Studies at the University of Edinburgh where he was a professor of politics (defense studies). Through the center, he developed what became known as the Edinburgh conversations, a forum for US and Soviet admirals and generals. The conversations grew from informal exchanges to in-depth discussions on arms control and other security issues.
Erickson also was a visiting professor at the University of Indiana, Texas A&M University, and Yale. His other publications include Barbarossa: the Axis and the Allies; Soviet Ground Forces: an Operational Assessment; The Road to Stalingrad and The Road to Berlin on Stalin's war with Germany; and The Expansion of Soviet Air Power.
Many would argue that the most controversial military retirement issue that is currently the object of intense Congressional interest involves concurrent receipt of military retired pay and Veterans Affairs disability compensation, stated a Congressional Research Service issue brief, released Feb 15.
Military associations and retirees have raised the issue with Congress for the past 10 years, at least. They have tried to get Congress to change the law that prevents military retirees from receiving the two benefits simultaneously.
It is a complex issue with heated arguments on both sides. Opponents, of course, want to know how it would be financed if approved. Proponents, who say it is owed regardless, have recently said there's a surplus in the Military Retirement Fund that could cover it.
The CRS said that is not the case. "Recent assertions that there is a 'windfall' or 'surplus' in the Military Retirement Fund ... are incorrect. They are based on an invalid assumption about how the amount of money in the fund is determined." The brief explained that the government uses "complicated calculations" to compute the amount of money that must be transferred from DOD to the MRF to pay for future retirement costs. "The idea of the 'windfall' assumed that the calculations did not take the VA compensation offset into account," said the CRS.
According to the CRS, the Bush Administration, like the Clinton Administration, has been consistently opposed to granting concurrent receipt. The Administration sent a letter to Congress last October in which it stated that both military retired pay and VA compensation were intended to adequately compensate for the recipient's military service and that both were not required to do so.
However, CRS noted there might be a softening. A senior Pentagon official said earlier this year that DOD intended to study the issue to see if disabled military retirees were receiving adequate levels of support. The Pentagon commissioned an independent study that was due last month; it was then scheduled for an in-depth review before being forwarded to Congress.
That may be too late, as Congress was poised to consider the issue again last month for the Fiscal 2003 budget.
Whether or not Congress includes a reprieve from the concurrent receipt rule for the new budget, the Air Force Association and the Military Coalition pledge to continue the fight.
"For the last 10 years, AFA has been working to repeal restrictions on concurrent receipt believing that monies earned for a service-connected disability and retirement are separate entitlements and should not be linked," said Ken Goss, AFA government relations director. "We will continue to work this issue until full concurrent receipt is achieved."
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Tweets by @AirForceMag