DOD Announces Shift in Tactics
On Sept. 16, senior DOD leaders confirmed that coalition aircraft were striking higher-value targets in response to repeated Iraqi attacks on those aircraft as they patrol the no-fly zones over Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld made the change within the past six months.
"I directed it, because it seemed right," Rumsfeld told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. "I don't like the idea of our planes being shot at. We're there implementing UN resolutions. ... The idea that our planes go out and get shot at with impunity bothers me."
The number of Iraqi provocations has remained about the same over the past two years, said Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Instead of responding by attacking a mobile radar, coalition pilots have been going after fixed air defense communications and command nodes, he explained.
The responses now, said Rumsfeld, provide a benefit that merits the risk coalition pilots are taking.
The strikes are degrading the Iraqi air defense systems, he said, but added, "Whether it is degrading it faster than it is being improved, no one not on the ground is in a position to respond to that."
Southern Watch Strikes Mount
The day before Rumsfeld's briefing, on Sept. 15, US Central Command officials announced coalition air strikes against an Iraqi air defense communications facility about 160 miles southeast of Baghdad. Since the first of the year, they said, coalition forces patrolling the southern Iraq no-fly zone have made more than 25 retaliatory air strikes.
Those strikes responded to more than 140 separate incidents of Iraqi surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery attacks on coalition aircraft this year, according to Central Command.
Command officials also reported that coalition forces conducted air strikes on four other dates last month. Following one strike on Sept. 5, the London Daily Telegraph reported that the coalition force involved some 100 aircraft--the largest force in four years.
That claim, picked up by various news outlets, was false, according to Maj. Gen. (sel.) John W. Rosa Jr., the Joint Staff's deputy director for current operations.
"There were 12 airplanes; [they] dropped 25 weapons," Rosa told reporters Sept. 6. He added that the strike might have involved more aircraft than in recent weeks, but it was not larger than many conducted during the last 10 years.
NORAD's "View" Shifts
North American Aerospace Defense Command now has the capability to look inward at aircraft crossing the US interior. At the time of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, NORAD's view was focused outward on aircraft coming toward US borders.
The expanded view results from a new computer software program, dubbed the NORAD Contingency Suite, which officials at Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom AFB, Mass., called "one of the most significant improvements" in NORAD's history.
ESC teamed with the Aerospace Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Center, Langley AFB, Va., to tackle the problem immediately after last year's terror attacks. ESC speeded the acquisition of the needed technology, enabling portions of the suite to be installed late last year. They were used for the Winter Olympics in February in Salt Lake City.
However, the system had to go through several months of testing before officials said it was stable. Air Force officials announced in late August that the suite was OK for interim initial operational capability.
"We have come from a Cold War capability to monitor 300 tracks per sector to the ability to view well over 15,000 radar tracks per sector--way more than would be airborne at any one time," said Maj. Eric Firkin, chief of ESC's battle management systems.
He added that the Tactical Display Framework, a key piece of software in the NCS, is under evaluation for use in USAF's Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft and other applications.
F-16 Pilot Dies in Crash
Capt. Benton Zettel, 26, died when his F-16C crashed about 50 miles west of Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, on Sept. 9 at approximately 8:30 p.m., according to USAF officials.
Zettel, who was with the 27th Fighter Wing at Cannon, was on a training mission at the time. He was a 1998 graduate of the Air Force Academy.
Officials said a board has been convened to investigate the accident.
USAF CV-22 Resumes Testing
Air Force officials announced that the USAF version of the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft--the CV-22--resumed flight testing Sept. 11 at Edwards AFB, Calif.
DOD had grounded all V-22 test aircraft after a December 2000 crash of a Marine Corps MV-22. It was the second fatal crash that year. An earlier fatal crash occurred in 1992.
The Pentagon conducted several military reviews, enlisted independent investigations, and convened a special V-22 blue ribbon review panel to study the program. The panel concluded that flaws in the aircraft could be overcome with design changes.
Last year, the Pentagon approved changes to the hydraulics lines, poorly designed engine nacelles, and defective flight software.
"Today, the CV-22 complies with every one of the blue ribbon panel recommendations," said Maj. Greg Weber, the CV-22 flight test director at Edwards. He added that the test force had worked out all mechanical, electrical, and software discrepancies.
The V-22 program is one of the defense programs under review as DOD finalizes its Fiscal 2004 budget.
New Rocket Charts New Era
The first Lockheed Martin Atlas V lifted off a launch pad at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., on Aug. 21. It marks the start of a new era in space launch capability, said Air Force officials.
The Atlas V is one of two new heavy-lift boosters in USAF's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. The other is Boeing's Delta IV, slated for its first launch this month.
USAF expects the EELV program to drive down the cost of lifting the government's critical payloads into space--perhaps by as much as 25 to 50 percent over current boosters such as Titan IV.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing are under contract to launch 28 national security payloads using the new family of EELV boosters. The boosters will also be used to launch commercial and other government space systems.
The first Atlas V launched a European television and radio communications satellite--the Hotbird-6.
CENTCOM Is Not Moving
According to US Central Command, recent news reports that the command was moving from its headquarters at MacDill AFB, Fla., to Qatar in Southwest Asia were wrong. Command officials stated on Sept. 11, "US Central Command is not moving to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar."
However, a large segment--some 600 personnel--will deploy to Qatar for an exercise called Internal Look '03 set for next month. The exercise, designed to test a "standing deployable headquarters" will last one week, but personnel will stay longer, said CENTCOM officials.
"You have to allow for the advance party, set-up time, and take-down time," said one CENTCOM spokesman.
In addition to the 600 CENTCOM staff members, another 400 personnel from subordinate commands will also deploy to Qatar.
Officials would not say who would command the exercise.
F-22 Fires Missile at Mach 1.2
The F-22 #4003 test aircraft successfully fired an AIM-120 radar-guided missile while flying faster than the speed of sound, Lockheed Martin officials announced Aug. 28.
Raptor 4003 launched the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile while flying at Mach 1.2 at 12,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean on Aug. 21. The test was conducted out of Edwards AFB, Calif.
There are seven F-22s undergoing developmental testing. Officials said #4009, the last Raptor slated for developmental test, is expected to join the flight test fleet at Edwards later this year.
USAF Announces Depot Strategy
The Air Force sent Congress a report on its three Air Logistics Centers spelling out the need for $150 million more per year from 2004 through 2009. In a statement released Sept. 10, the service said the additional funding would enable the depots to replace aging facilities and equipment.
The report consists of a "Depot Maintenance Strategy" and "Depot Maintenance Master Plan." According to the strategy, "Over the course of the last decade, the Air Force depot capability eroded." It cited three contributing factors:
"Exacerbating this situation was an increasing requirement for depot level maintenance and repair capability as a result of an aging fleet of weapon systems," according to the strategy.
In addition to increased funding to improve the in-house depot capability, the strategy also calls for increased public-private partnering. The service expects such partnering to reduce total life-cycle costs for weapons systems and overhead.
DOD Creates New Space Office
On Sept. 3, Peter B. Teets, in his role as head of national security space, announced creation of the Transformational Communications Office to coordinate military and intelligence communications requirements involving space assets.
Teets is undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office. The Air Force is the DOD executive agent for space.
The new office "will coordinate, synchronize, and direct execution of the Transformational Communications Architecture," said an official statement.
Rear Adm. Rand H. Fisher, head of the NRO Communications Directorate and commander of the Navy's space field activity, is the director of the new office. Christine Anderson, director of the Milsatcom Joint Program Office, was named TCO deputy director. Both individuals are also to retain their current positions.
Teets said development of the space communications architecture will be a joint effort, involving each military service, the Intelligence Community, and NASA.
He added that military operations in Afghanistan "once again highlighted the critical importance" of communications. "Increased communications connectivity and interoperability is an imperative," he said. "This new office is going to help make that communications transformation a reality."
Services Reach Recruiting Goals
DOD officials announced in late August that each military service would meet or exceed Fiscal 2002 recruiting goals.
The Air Force had stated in May that it had already made its goal for the year--signing on 37,283 recruits. USAF officials said that was the earliest the service had met its annual goal since 1986.
The Army met its 2002 goal nearly six weeks early. It signed the 79,500th soldier on Aug. 22. The Navy was well on its way toward a goal of 46,500 sailors, said Navy officials, although the sea service doesn't count a recruit until the recruit actually ships out to boot camp.
The Marine Corps goal was 38,642. Its recruiters reported running about three percent ahead of their monthly goals for several months.
USAF Sets Up New ABL Facility
The Air Force has built a new $18.5 million test facility at Edwards AFB, Calif., for the Airborne Laser aircraft. It will enable the test force to operate the weapons-class chemical laser on the ground.
The ABL's laser is designed to function at the lower air pressures found at altitudes of 40,000 feet. The new facility--called the Ground Pressure Recovery Assembly--will simulate that lower pressure, according to Ken Montoya, ABL project manager at Edwards.
The facility has a large, sphere-like top that acts as a negative pressure vessel. It sucks in the heat energy and water vapor generated by the chemical action of the laser. The venting process keeps the chemical reaction of the laser going.
The first ABL aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400F, was flight-tested this summer to demonstrate its airworthiness after extensive airframe modifications. This fall, it will arrive at Edwards, where the laser will be installed.
The laser is designed to shoot down a ballistic missile while it is still over an enemy's territory. The first in-flight test against a ballistic missile is scheduled for 2004.
Montoya said other DOD agencies or industry may be able to use the new recovery facility for other directed-energy tests. However, he said the current focus is on the 2004 ABL test.
Top Coat Peeling Gets Worse
A minor maintenance problem the Air Force discovered in 1995 regarding its B-52 bombers has become much more widespread, and it might affect other aircraft as well. The problem is Fuel Tank Topcoat Peeling. The catalyst is a higher operations tempo.
Maintainers recently reported an increase in failures of B-52 boost pumps. As of September, 53 of the service's 94 B-52s have shown signs of topcoat wrinkling, peeling, and flaking in integral fuel tanks.
Other aging aircraft, such as the Air Force's KC-135 and the Navy's P-3 have shown signs of FTTP. The problem has been linked to the switch from JP-4 fuel to JP-8.
"If what we believe is true--that age, fuel, and fuel additives are playing a role in this problem--these factors are common to all aircraft types and, therefore, other aircraft have the potential for FTTP," said Rex Cash, B-52 fuels engineer at Tinker AFB, Okla.
The heavy use of B-52s has led to more fuel running through boost pumps in weeks than would normally be the case in a year's worth of flying. The increase in FTTP damage could lead to a greater corrosion problem, said Cash.
B-52 engineers are working on a $12 million study expected to last three years to positively identify the cause and devise a solution. Potentially, the long-term solution is to remove the old topcoat from the entire B-52 fleet. That could take 20,000 man-hours to complete.
"Of all the problems I've been involved in, I think this is going to be the most challenging," said Cash. "This could be a very expensive project."
USAF Faces Tough Personnel Decisions
The Air Force is searching for a means to establish a steady state for its personnel as the service continues running both a high ops tempo and high personnel tempo. Service leaders say they will have to make some decisions about how to get to that steady state.
The issue is not just how to deal with today's environment, said Gen. Robert H. Foglesong, USAF vice chief of staff, it's tied to future manpower ceilings, recruiting, training, and retention.
"It is imperative that we quickly come to closure with a comprehensive human capital plan," he said in an Aug. 7 memo. "Failure to gain control of this situation will ... result in both short- and long-term recruiting and training failures that are not recoverable."
Working the problem is the Human Capital Task Force. "Our goal is to reduce the extended tour lengths facing many of our [Aerospace Expeditionary Forces] and bring them back down to the 90 days that our force is familiar with," said Mike Aimone, task force director at the Pentagon.
He said there is no silver bullet.
So far, the service has identified some short-term fixes. USAF's Fiscal 2004 budget request will ask DOD to fund conversion of about 6,300 military positions to civilian. That move would free up manpower authorizations for some of the service's most stressed career fields.
DSB: US Should Narrow Missile Defense Options
The Pentagon's Defense Science Board has urged President Bush to focus the Administration's missile defense program on just two approaches. At present the program involves at least eight different options for knocking down ballistic missiles.
The recommendation was made in August, the Washington Post reported on Sept. 3.
There have been some successes in flight tests for one of the proposed systems, and the Administration plans to install initial ground-based elements for that system in Alaska by 2004. Other facets of the program face technical challenges and cost overruns.
The DSB panel believes that eliminating some experimental systems from the program now would enable DOD to deploy a workable system sooner.
The Post reported that the panel favors two approaches. The first is the land-based system of interceptors, which began testing in 1999 and is furthest along in development. It is designed to hit incoming warheads in their midcourse phase, while outside the atmosphere.
The second is a proposed ship-based interceptor system, which would intercept missiles in their boost and ascent phases. It reportedly has strong backing in Congress. However, unlike its supporters, the DSB panel does not believe this approach could be developed easily or quickly.
SBR Start Is a Year Away
The Air Force is at least a year away from starting work on a Space Based Radar program, according to Peter B. Teets, the Pentagon's point man for space. Development of the SBR will not be simple, he told reporters Sept. 5.
The problem, said Teets, is the need for technology development and industrial participation. Teets is undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office.
SBR is intended as a sensor system that will be able to track ground targets from space. The radar could replace manned or unmanned surveillance aircraft or work in combination with them. It would provide more continuous coverage and be able to view targets in mountainous terrain that might be hidden to the aircraft.
Teets said industry work on the technical challenges facing the system is slated to begin this fall.
Library Collects Vet Histories
Congress created the Veterans History Project to capture first-person accounts of individuals who served the US during wartime. The Library of Congress is overseeing the project through its American Folklife Center.
The goal, stated library officials, is to collect and preserve oral histories and documentary materials from veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf Wars. The project also wants to collect stories from the home front for those same time periods.
"More than 1,600 veterans are dying each day, so there is an urgent need to collect their stories and experiences," said James H. Billington, librarian of Congress. "This project will also allow the next generation to learn about and speak to those who have fought to sustain the freedom that we find challenged throughout the world today."
For more information about the project call 800-315-8300 or visit the LOC Web site at www.loc.gov/vets.
CAP Names New Director
The Civil Air Patrol announced Sept. 3 that retired Air Force Col. Albert A. Allenback is the new executive director for the CAP, headquartered at Maxwell AFB, Ala. CAP is the all-volunteer civilian auxiliary of the Air Force.
Allenback, a former A-10 pilot, will oversee a headquarters staff of 175 that support more than 61,000 senior and cadet CAP members nationwide.
At the Civil Air Patrol's national conference in mid-August, the organization announced several award winners. Among them was CAP Lt. Col. Diane Wojtowicz, who was named senior member of the year. Cadet Col. Jennifer Neville, who is now attending the Air Force Academy, was named cadet of the year. Both are from New York CAP squadrons.
Officials at the conference also recounted CAP contributions following last year's terror attacks. New York's governor asked the Civil Air Patrol to take aerial images of the scene at the World Trade Center for the New York State Emergency Management Office. The New York CAP Wing also transported federal and state personnel and materials to New Jersey, where they were flown by helicopter to the WTC site.
The CAP Pennsylvania Wing provided manpower and communications support to federal and local emergency managements agencies. Wings in Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island delivered blood and other medical supplies. Virginia members manned the state emergency operations center.
USAF Names "Pay Czar"
The Air Force announced Sept. 6 that it had appointed Dave Ashton to be the service's personnel "pay czar." His job is to fix and prevent pay problems for Air Force personnel.
Ashton, who returned to work for the Air Force as a civilian after a 30-year active duty career, is the Air Force Personnel Center's liaison to the Air Staff, base personnel and finance offices, and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Air Force officials said they began seeing an "unacceptable" number of pay problems last year. Naming a pay czar is one more step, they said, in their drive to prevent errors before they happen.
"As a result of newly focused teamwork at all levels, the problems are becoming narrower in scope and easier to identify and fix," said Bruce Lemkin, co-chair of USAF's Personnel and Pay Council. He said one of the council's visions is to develop one-stop customer service so individuals don't have to shuttle back and forth between personnel and finance to get problems resolved.
"It's not their fault their pay record is not correct," said Ashton. "We shouldn't make it their burden to find the person who can fix it."
Space Pioneers Honored
Five men who worked on Air Force space and missile programs more than 30 years ago were recognized publicly by induction into the Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame on Aug. 29.
The inductees were: retired Lt. Gen. Forrest McCartney, Cols. Lee Battle and Frank Buzard, Maj. James Coolbaugh, and James Baker.
These men join a small fraternity of 18 individuals who can wear the official emblem of the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers, said an Air Force Space Command statement.
Baker, Buzard, and Coolbaugh worked in the sensitive area of photoreconnaissance, the precursor of today's space surveillance systems. Battle developed the Discoverer/Corona satellite imaging program. McCartney was a central figure in ballistic missile programs.
Gen. Lance W. Lord, AFSPC commander, said at the ceremony that much of the work of these men was done in secrecy because it was groundbreaking research and development.
"We are standing on the shoulders of these pioneers," said Lord.
USAF Starts New Ad Campaign
The Air Force unveiled its new TV recruiting campaign Sept. 18 under the title "We've Been Waiting for You." The new campaign appeals to recruits on two levels, according to Col. Frederick Roggero, director of the Air Force Integrated Marketing Division. The first is that the Air Force offers more than just jobs, while the second is that recruits will have a chance to work with the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology in the world.
There are four 30-second TV spots, scheduled to run primarily on networks that young adults watch--MTV, Comedy Central, ESPN, and BET. Each commercial tells the story of a teenager with a particular skill or interest who later applies that talent to a career field in the Air Force.
The Air Force expects its recruiting goal for 2003 to remain the same as this year--about 37,000 people.
Once Just F-22, Raptor Now Is the "F/A-22"
Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force Chief of Staff, announced Sept. 17 a change in designation for the service's new fighter. The F-22 is now the F/A-22.
The new designation, Jumper told an audience at the Air Force Association's National Convention in Washington, D.C., more accurately describes the fighter's true role. "Secretary [of the Air Force James G.] Roche and I have decided to adopt the name F/A-22, using the A [attack] prefix to emphasize the multiple roles and many dimensions of the Raptor," he said.
In a written statement, Jumper said, "Advances in technology and emerging Air Force doctrine make today's Raptor very different from the fighter envisioned when the F-22 program was first planned."
He went on, "The Raptor's most significant contributions over the next 30 years will be its attack role, particularly against the most lethal next two generations of surface-to-air missiles."
Air Force Posthumously Honors Pararescueman
The Air Force awarded the Air Force Cross, the service's highest award, to SrA. Jason D. Cunningham, who was killed in Afghanistan on March 4 while treating wounded troops under sniper and mortar fire during Operation Anaconda. He was a pararescue jumper--PJ--assigned to the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody AFB, Ga.
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche and Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper presented the medal to Cunningham's widow, Theresa, in a ceremony at Kirtland AFB, N.M., on Sept. 13.
The Air Force Cross is presented for extraordinary heroism.
Cunningham was the primary USAF combat search-and-rescue medic assigned to a quick reaction force sent to rescue two US servicemen trying to evade capture by al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. A rocket-propelled grenade and small-arms fire hit his MH-47E Chinook helicopter, forcing it to crash-land. Crew members formed a hasty defense but immediately suffered three fatalities and five critical casualties.
The citation for Cunningham's Air Force Cross reads:
"Despite effective enemy fire, and at great risk to his own life, Airman Cunningham remained in the burning fuselage of the aircraft in order to treat the wounds. As he moved his patients to a more secure location, mortar rounds began to impact within 50 feet of his position.
"Disregarding this extreme danger, he continued the movement and exposed himself to enemy fire on seven separate occasions. When the second casualty collection point was also compromised, in a display of uncommon valor and gallantry, Airman Cunningham brave an intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade attack while repositioning the critically wounded to a third collection point.
"Even after he was mortally wounded and quickly deteriorating, he continued to direct patient movement and transferred care to another medic," the citation continues. "In the end, his distinct efforts led to the successful delivery of 10 gravely wounded Americans to life-saving medical treatment."
Cunningham was a former Navy petty officer, who, according to CMSAF Gerald R. Murray, considered joining the Navy SEALS. Instead, he became an Air Force PJ. Murray said his reason was that "while other special operators search and destroy, PJs search and save."
In a key Sept. 12 speech at the United Nations, President George W. Bush laid the groundwork for dealing with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. These are excerpts of his remarks.
"We meet one year and one day after a terrorist attack brought grief to my country and brought grief to many citizens of our world. Yesterday, we remembered the innocent lives taken that terrible morning. Today, we turn to the urgent duty of protecting other lives, without illusion and without fear.
"We've accomplished much in the last year--in Afghanistan and beyond. We have much left to do. ...
"The United Nations was born in the hope that survived a world war. ... The founding members resolved that the peace of the world must never again be destroyed by the will and wickedness of any man. ...
"Today, these standards, and this security, are challenged ... by persistent poverty and raging disease. ... Our common security is challenged by regional conflicts--ethnic and religious strife that is ancient but not inevitable. ...
"Above all, our principles and our security are challenged by outlaw groups and regimes that accept no law of morality and have no limit to their violent ambitions. ... In cells and camps, terrorists are plotting further destruction and building new bases for their war against civilization. And our greatest fear is that terrorists will find a shortcut to their mad ambitions when an outlaw regime supplies them with the technologies to kill on a massive scale.
"In one place--in one regime--we find all these dangers, in their most lethal and aggressive forms, exactly the kind of aggressive threat the United Nations was born to confront.
"Twelve years ago, Iraq invaded Kuwait without provocation. And the regime's forces were poised to continue their march to seize other countries. ... Had Saddam Hussein been appeased instead of stopped, he would have endangered the peace and stability of the world. ...
"To suspend hostilities, to spare himself, Iraq's dictator accepted a series of commitments. ...
"He has proven instead only his contempt for the United Nations. ... By breaking every pledge--by his deceptions, by his cruelty--Saddam Hussein has made the case against himself. ...
"In 1991, the UN ... demanded that Iraq return all prisoners from Kuwait and other lands. Iraq's regime agreed. It broke its promise. ... Last year, the [UN] reported that ... nationals remain unaccounted for--more than 600 people. One American pilot is among them.
"In 1991, the UN ... demanded that Iraq renounce all involvement with terrorism. ... Iraq's regime agreed. It broke this promise. ...
"In 1993, Iraq attempted to assassinate the Emir of Kuwait and a former American President.
"In 1991, the Iraqi regime agreed to destroy and stop developing all Weapons of Mass Destruction and long-range missiles and to prove to the world that it has done so by complying with rigorous inspections. Iraq has broken every aspect of this fundamental pledge.
"From 1991 to 1995, the Iraqi regime said it had no biological weapons. After a senior official in its weapons program defected and exposed this lie, the regime admitted to producing tens of thousands of liters of anthrax and other deadly biological agents for use with Scud warheads, aerial bombs, and aircraft spray tanks. UN inspectors believe Iraq has produced two to four times the amount of biological agents it declared. ... Right now Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons. ...
"In 1995, after four years of deception, Iraq finally admitted it had a crash nuclear weapons program prior to the Gulf War. Were it not for that war, the regime in Iraq would likely have possessed a nuclear weapon no later than 1993. ...
It has been almost four years since the last UN inspectors set foot in Iraq, four years for the Iraqi regime to plan, and to build, and to test behind the cloak of secrecy. ...
"Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger. To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence. To assume this regime's good faith is to bet the lives of millions and the peace of the world in a reckless gamble. And this is a risk we must not take. ...
"We have been more than patient. We've tried sanctions. We've tried the carrot of oil for food and the stick of coalition military strikes. But Saddam Hussein has defied all these efforts and continues to develop Weapons of Mass Destruction. The first time we may be completely certain he has nuclear weapons is when, God forbids, he uses one. ...
"The conduct of the Iraqi regime is a threat to the authority of the United Nations and a threat to peace. Iraq has answered a decade of UN demands with a decade of defiance. All the world now faces a test and the United Nations a difficult and defining moment. Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced, or cast aside without consequence? ...
"We want the United Nations to be effective, and respectful, and successful. We want the resolutions of the worlds' most important multilateral body to be enforced. ... Our partnership of nations can meet the test before us, by making clear what we now expect of the Iraqi regime.
"If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all Weapons of Mass Destruction, long-range missiles, and all related materials.
"If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all states are required to do by UN Security Council resolutions.
"If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian population, ... again as required by Security Council resolutions. ...
"If these steps are taken, it will signal a new openness and accountability in Iraq. ...
"The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. ...
"We can harbor no illusions. ... Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. He's fired ballistic missiles at Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians, and 40 Iraqi villages.
"My nation will work with the UN Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. ...
"The purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced--the just demands of peace and security will be met--or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power. ...
"We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather."
Harvard Law School, in late August, lifted its prohibition against military recruiting on its campus. The school had banned military recruiters since 1979 in protest of the DOD policy against homosexuals serving in the armed forces.
If the ban had continued, Harvard University would have lost federal money totaling some $328 million annually--16 percent of Harvard's operating budget. A 1996 law, known as the Solomon Amendment, links federal research grants to colleges and universities with an institution's openness to military recruiting. (See "The Recruiters and the Schools," October 2001, p. 62.)
Until this year, Harvard had evaded the law on a technicality. A student organization--the Harvard Law School Veterans Association--did invite military recruiters to the campus. In 1998, when the Air Force pressed Harvard for information about its compliance with the Solomon Amendment, USAF accepted the HLSVA invitation as compliance.
However, on May 29, the Air Force notified the law school that it no longer considered Harvard in compliance with the law. The service said it would recommend that DOD deny the funding if the law school did not reverse its position.
Robert C. Clark, the Harvard Law School dean, said in a memo, "As a citizen, I am convinced that military service is both honorable and essential to the well-being of our country. ... The law school will welcome the military to recruit through OCS [Office of Career Services]. Our hospitality, however, does not imply that we endorse all of the military's personnel policies."
An associate dean at the university was more pragmatic. According to the Wall Street Journal, he said that the decision had less to do with warm feelings toward people who defend our freedom than with cold, hard cash.
The threat to US airpower in a confrontation with Iraq will come not from the Iraqi air force but from its redundant surface-to-air missile system, including a modern command-and-control element. So stated Anthony H. Cordesman, a senior defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in remarks Sept. 12 in Washington, D.C.
Cordesman, who spoke upon release of his new report, "Iraq's Military Capabilities in 2002," said that, in many ways, the Iraqi air force is a cipher. It has some 316 combat aircraft, according to the report, although only about 50 to 60 percent are serviceable.
"Air force air-to-air and air-to-ground training is limited and unrealistic," states the report. "The two no-fly zones [of Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch] have further limited air training and combat experience."
However, the report states, "The heavy surface-to-air missile forces of the Air Defense Command are still organized into one of the densest defensive networks in the world." (See "DOD Announces Shift in Tactics," p. 10.)
Cordesman's report lists Iraq's SAMs: 6,500 SA-7s, 400 SA-9s, and 192 SA-13s. Additionally it lists a total of between 81 and 135 SA-2, SA-3, and SA-6 SAM batteries.
The Iraqi air force, while largely ineffective, has practiced penetration raids by single low-flying aircraft that could carry Weapons of Mass Destruction.
In introductory remarks, Cordesman noted that Iraq "is not a strong or unified military or nation." He continued, "An operation could prove to be relatively easy and blood free. It is not likely that Iraq will be highly effective."
His next statement, though, was unequivocal: "One does not go to war based on best or the most probably case. ... There are grave uncertainties about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction."
US Central Command on Sept. 6 released its report concerning action by a USAF AC-130 gunship in Afghanistan in July that resulted in civilian deaths. It found no fault with the actions of the AC-130 crew.
Instead, the report said that area of Afghanistan is considered the "home" of the Taliban. "Coalition aircraft have regularly been the target of hostile fire from the Deh Rawod area," stated the report.
The day of the incident, July 1, local villagers claimed that 250 civilians had been killed and 600 injured. They said they were members of a wedding party. The report said that a village elder later admitted that those numbers were overstated by 75 percent. A coalition investigation team could only confirm 34 dead and about 50 wounded.
The incident revolved around Operation Full Throttle, which was intended to deny Deh Rawod as an enemy sanctuary. According to the CENTCOM report, two weeks prior to OFT, covert reconnaissance of the area revealed gunfire, including mortars and anti-aircraft artillery. The area appeared to be used for enemy training.
Two days before OFT, coalition helicopters inserting additional recon teams came under fire, forcing one helicopter to land at an alternate site. Every time a coalition aircraft appeared over the area, it came under attack. "From the nature and characteristics of the fires, it was clear that these were AAA and not small arms," stated the report.
Over the two day period, coalition forces identified several compounds as the sources of repeated AAA fire. The coalition forces directed an AC-130 to the targets. It struck six.
The report also noted that immediately following the incident, village elders admitted to coalition forces that villagers "regularly fired at aircraft."
"While the coalition regrets the loss of innocent lives, the responsibility for that loss rests with those that knowingly directed hostile fire at coalition forces," stated the report.
It is "not an unusual tactic" for terrorists to use civilians as cover, USAF Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told ABC's Sam Donaldson, on Sept. 8, when questioned about the incident.
"They have hidden behind civilians before," said Myers. "And they will do it in the future."
The Pentagon announced Sept. 13 that the Air Force had filed criminal charges two F-16 pilots for the April 17 attack that left four Canadian soldiers dead and eight others injured.
A DOD statement said, "These charges are only accusations. Both officers are presumed innocent." The accidental attack occured near Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The two pilots are from the 170th Fighter Squadron, based at Springfield, Ill. The unit is part of the Air National Guard's 183rd Fighter Wing.
Maj. Harry Schmidt was charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and eight counts of assault. He was also charged with failing to exercise appropriate flight discipline and not complying with the Rules of Engagement
Maj. William Umbach was charged with the same counts. As flight commander, he also was charged with having negligently failed to exercise appropriate flight command and control and to ensure compliance with the ROE.
Preliminary results from a coalition investigation board, released June 28, had found both F-16 pilots were at fault. It also determined that failings within the pilots' immediate command structures were contributing factors.
The coalition board was co-chaired by Canadian Brig. Gen. Marc Dumais and USAF Brig. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant, a veteran F-16 pilot.
A separate Canadian board also blamed the two pilots. In findings it also released June 28, the Canadian board said the two pilots were not aware of a planned coalition live-fire exercise. However, it also said that the weapons used by the Canadian soldiers that day were personal side arms up to and including shoulder-fired anti-tank munitions. "Though visible from the air, the armament being employed was of no threat to the aircraft at their transit altitude," the board claimed.
US Central Command released a public version of its final investigation report on Sept. 13. According to its sequence of events, the Canadian soldiers on April 17 were at the Tarnak Farms Range for nighttime live-fire training. The F-16 pilots, who were northeast of the range to rendezvous with an aerial refueling aircraft after completing their mission, reported seeing surface-to-air fire (SAFIRE) off to the right. Umbach asked for permission from an Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft to pinpoint the exact coordinates.
Schmidt made a turn away from Umbach and began a descent. Schmidt reported he could see the source of the SAFIRE and requested permission to lay down some 20 mm cannon fire. The AWACS contacted the Combined Air Operations Center, whose chief "immediately" told the controller to deny the request. The CAOC asked for more information. Schmidt reported that he saw men on a road "and it looks like a piece of artillery firing at us. I am rolling in self-defense." About five seconds later, Schmidt called bombs away and released a 500-pound laser-guided munition. Thirty-eight seconds after Schmidt's self-defense call, this came over the radio: "Be advised Kandahar has friendlies; you are to get ... out of there as soon as possible."
The 65-page report concluded, from numerous interviews, that other F-16 pilots faced with a similar situation would have climbed to altitude and left the area to avoid the threat. Neither of these two pilots, said the report, "aggressively maneuvered their aircraft in the face of what they presumably believed was a surface-to-air threat."
Under a heading titled "Proportionality," the report stated that, although Schmidt released a 500-pound bomb, he had requested use of a lesser amount of force, the 20 mm cannon. He "did not engage in any nonlethal means of self-defense (i.e. maneuvering away from the threat) before making the decision to use lethal force."
The CENTCOM investigation report also appeared to support findings by both the coalition board and the Canadian board about problems in the pilots' command structure. According to the CENTCOM report, "The presence of the wing's entire chain of command in the OEF [Operation Enduring Freedom] deployment was unusual, and it appeared from witness testimony that there was confusion as to exactly who was in charge in the deployed squadron environment and who had the ultimate responsibility to ensure that standards were met."
The two pilots are to be tried by military court-martial convened by Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of 8th Air Force at Barksdale AFB, La
After months of bureaucratic wrangling, the Defense Department has officially settled on F-35 as the designation of the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps verions of the Joint Strike Fighter. The shared designator reflects the commonality that is the program's hallmark. To distinguish between service types, however, the Air Force's model will be the F-35A, while the Marine Corps and Navy will fly the F-35B and F-35C, respectively.
Pentagon acquisition, technology and logistics chief Edward C. Aldridge last October had said the aircraft would be the F-35. However, official adoption of the designation was not as simple as it would seem.
Defense Department guidelines stipulate that design numbers generally run sequentially within an aircraft category; for example, the F-15 was followed by F-16; the B-1 was followed by the B-2.
The Air Force's next-up fighter number was F-24 (following the fighter competition between the YF-22 and the YF-23). The Navy's next designation would have been F-19, while the Marines would have followed their AV-8B with the AV-9.
"To keep the commonality thread in the program [the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office] officially requested the F-35 designation be given to all variants, with A, B, C added for the services," explained a program spokeswoman.
The "35" derived from Lockheed Martin's successful JSF concept demonstrator aircraft, the X-35. But F designations usually don't follow X designations; the latter refers to experimental types of which typically only one or two are built. The F-15 fighter, for example, is nothing like the high-flying X-15 research rocketplane of the 1960s.
Moreover, the new JSF designation would dispense with the V that normally would have applied for the vertical takeoff/landing variant.
In May, the JSF office asked the Air Force, which is the keeper of aircraft nomenclature, to waive normal procedures and permit the blanket F-35 label for the new family of fighters.
USAF officials wrote in a June memo, "We have reviewed your request for approval of F-35 as the official Mission Design Series (MDS) for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). ... Your request is approved. This MDS will be included in the next update to DOD 4120.15L." That publication, titled "Model Designation of Military Aerospace Vehicles," is the official directory of aircraft designations.
The JSF program spokeswoman said the office has not yet considered how it will designate subsequent models of each variant. One likely possibility is the use of block numbers, such as those used on the F-16C.
No nickname has been picked for the fighter, and once again, service and corporate traditions are in conflict. Lockheed Martin traditionally prefers nicknames with astronomical connotations, such as Starfighter. The Air Force has selected for its most current fighters birds of prey such as Eagle, Falcon, and Raptor, while Navy and Marine fighters have been a mixed bag of cats, birds, insects, and pirates.
The Pentagon is expected to bestow an official nickname on the F-35 shortly before first flight in 2005, and the program office is collecting suggestions. Names proposed so far include Bumblebee, Defender, Gryphon, and Butterfly.
-Adam J. Hebert
The Defense Department set up air defenses armed with live missiles around Washington, D.C., the week of Sept. 11, as a safeguard against possible terrorist actions. The defenses were a temporary measure taken as an additional safeguard against any possible airborne attacks around the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, said DOD officials.
"This is not a response to any specific threat but is a prudent precaution to increase the radar and air defense posture in the National Capital Region," DOD said in a Sept. 10 statement.
The department had air defense equipment around the capital to participate in Exercise Clear Skies II, which was to run from Sept. 10 through Sept. 14; however as an exercise, the equipment was not to involve live weapons.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in a written statement on the first day of the exercise that air defense assets from Clear Skies were being transitioned to Operation Noble Eagle--DOD's homeland defense operation. "This transition involves the movement of missiles from storage in the local area to the deployed systems," the statement explained.
That same day, President Bush's homeland security director Tom Ridge announced the government had "specific intelligence on specific attacks on US interests overseas" and elevated the threat level to the United States to orange on the homeland security advisory system. "We are now at high risk of a terrorist attack," Ridge said.
Clear Skies is a NORAD exercise that was first run in July 2001. This year's version, a DOD spokesman said, was expanded to test how NORAD, along with other federal services, could put up and command a multilayered air defense system--including both ground and air assets.
The ground troops involved were issued Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, both portable and on Avengers, a special Army Humvee armed with an eight-missile launch system. Aircraft that were to participate included USAF F-16 fighters and Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft.
A DOD spokesman noted this was not the first time missiles had been deployed in the capital area. An anti-aircraft missile battery sat atop the Treasury Building during World War II and anti-aircraft missile batteries ringed the Washington area from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s.
The National Education Association's advice to teachers on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks took a blame-America approach, citing American intolerance as a reason for the attacks, reported the Washington Times, Aug. 19.
The NEA, the country's largest teachers union, placed lesson plans on its Web site under the title "Remember September 11th." The crux of their message: Help the American public avoid repeating terrible mistakes by discussing historical instances of American intolerance.
As one critic of the NEA said, "It's an ultimate sin to now defend Western culture."
Luckily teachers nationwide took their own stand--they ignored the NEA, which came under fire from educators, other teachers unions, and psychologists. According to the Times, educators and psychologists said the worst thing teachers could do was "sugarcoat" the terror attacks.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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