American Forces Commence Operations in Iraq March 20, 2003—President Bush told the nation at 10:16 p.m. on March 19 (5:16 a.m., March 20, Persian Gulf time) that US and coalition forces had gone into action against selected military targets in Iraq.
He said, “We will accept no outcome but victory.”
In the predawn strikes, US Air Force F-117 radar-evading fighters dropped GPS–guided 2,000-pound bombs, and US Navy ships fired cruise missiles on at least three targets in Baghdad where intelligence indicated senior Iraqi leaders were present.
The US called the action Operation Iraqi Freedom. Full coverage of the war will appear in next month’s issue.—the editors
USAF Triggers Stop-Loss
The Air Force on March 14 announced it had implemented Stop-Loss to retain personnel in certain career fields. The action is effective on May 2.
In this second use of Stop-Loss since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, USAF has listed 43 officer and 56 enlisted specialties “critical” to the service’s ability to conduct operations. The action affects active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command personnel.
US Beefs Up Bombers for Korean Crisis
Administration officials on March 5 said the US was sending USAF B-52s and B-1B bombers to Guam to be within easy striking distance of North Korea, should diplomacy fail.
The deployment order was not tied to a March 2 incident in which four North Korean fighter aircraft intercepted a USAF RC-135S Cobra Ball aircraft flying in international airspace. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had issued the order days earlier in what Administration officials said was a realignment of forces to offset the buildup in Southwest Asia.
The North Korean aircraft came within 50 feet of the unarmed USAF reconnaissance aircraft, but they did not “acquire” or lock on to the US aircraft, as early reports had indicated. It is the first such incident since the North Koreans shot down a Navy EC-121 surveillance aircraft, killing 31 Americans, in 1969.
President Bush has maintained that diplomacy will work to restrain North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The movement of the bombers, officials said, serves as insurance against opportunistic moves by North Korea.
Charleston Workload Soars
The amount of cargo passing through Charleston AFB, S.C., on its way to Southwest Asia skyrocketed after two cargo processing buildings at Dover AFB, Del., collapsed under heavy snow in late February. USAF estimated a 250 percent increase for some Charleston units.
The 437th Aerial Port Squadron members normally process five to seven truckloads each day. That grew to more than 70 trucks a day as Air Mobility Command shifted the flow from Delaware to South Carolina. With about 150 squadron members deployed overseas, the unit had to call for help from other active duty and reservist aerial port specialists around the country.
Officials said the work was also nonstop for other Charleston units—security forces to search the trucks, logistics readiness to unload them, and transportation to keep forklifts and other equipment running—as base personnel prepared the cargo for commercial airlift to a forward operating location.
USAF Tests 21K Bomb
The Air Force on March 11 announced it had tested a 21,500-pound precision guided munition at the Air Armament Center’s western test range in Florida. A C-130 dropped the bomb, called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast weapon.
USAF said it is the largest conventional bomb in existence. It outstrips the 15,000-pound “Daisy Cutter,” or BLU-82 bomb, used in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and Taliban forces hiding in caves. The Daisy Cutter, which can obliterate anything within hundreds of yards, serves as a tremendous psychological weapon, as well.
The Air Force Research Lab began the MOAB project in Fiscal 2002 and is expected to complete the program this year.
Aircrews Hit No-Fly Zone Threats
Coalition aircrews enforcing the no-fly zones in Iraq on March 14 struck a mobile radar system that Iraq forces had moved into the southern no-fly zone in violation of UN resolutions, said US Central Command.
It was the second such movement by Iraq in two days. CENTCOM officials said that Iraqi mobile anti-aircraft systems remain a threat to coalition aircraft. Iraq has targeted air patrols in both the southern and northern no-fly zones.
When Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery fired on coalition aircraft on March 10, CENTCOM directed strikes against three unmanned, underground military communications sites.
Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on March 11 told reporters that patrols had been stepped up to keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein. “We are now flying several hundred sorties a day, with 200 or 300 over the southern no-fly zone,” said Myers.
Leaflet Drop Reaches 12 Million
US Central Command on March 17 reported that coalition aircraft had dropped more than 1.4 million informational leaflets into western and southern Iraq that day, raising the year’s total to 12 million.
The leaflets have a variety of messages directed at Iraqi military members and civilians. One of the March 17 messages told Iraqi civilians that they could be the victims if Saddam Hussein uses chemical weapons. Another encouraged Iraqi military members not to use weapons of mass destruction. Some leaflets provide information on how to tune into coalition radio broadcasts.
Iraqi Forces Defecting?
US intelligence sources in northern Iraq said in late February that dozens of Iraqi military members had defected since the first of the year. Many more are preparing and hiding white flags of surrender.
The Washington Times reported that two of the defectors revealed that morale was low and much of their equipment defective. One said his division was “at about 25 percent effectiveness and most soldiers were hiding their white flags,” according to the Times.
USAF Expands Deployment Force
The Air Force has increased the number of personnel in its deployment pool to 75 percent of the force. That represents a growth of nearly 100,000 people in just the past year, according to Maj. Gen. Timothy A. Peppe, special assistant for air and space expeditionary forces.
Although this means the service has identified 269,000 deployment positions, said Peppe, there still are not enough individuals in certain specialties.
“ Most of this increased deployment capability is in associate unit type codes, so they’re not primary deployers,” said Peppe. The increase came largely from staffs at USAF, major commands, direct reporting units, and field operating agencies. Their inclusion in the deployment pool, he said, does help spread the “pain.” The Air Force now exempts from deployment only select career fields and positions, such as ROTC staff members, many instructors, recruiters, space operators, missile crews, and missile security professionals.
Westover Surges for Gulf Buildup
Within hours of receiving word that C-5 aircraft loaded with troops and equipment bound for the Persian Gulf were on their way, Air Force Reserve Command’s 439th Airlift Wing at Westover ARB, Mass., set up 24-hour operations to gas and inspect the aircraft and feed the troops—normally a four-hour job per aircraft.
As it did for the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Westover serves as a key air bridge for US forces deploying to Southwest Asia. AFRC officials said that since Westover started its 24-hour operations Feb. 2, the base had processed 375 aircraft, primarily C-5s and C-130s, and pumped more than 3.3 million gallons of JP-8 fuel. It has also handled 2,571 passengers and more than 8.5 million pounds of cargo.
AFRC Extends Air Bridge
More than half of the 10,000 Air Force Reserve Command personnel who have been mobilized serve as a major span in the US air bridge moving troops, equipment, and cargo to Southwest Asia.
Air Mobility Command planners began staging C-5 and C-130 aircraft through Westover ARB, Mass., in early February. (See “Westover Surges for Gulf Buildup,” above.) AFRC’s 445th Airlift Wing, Wright–Patterson AFB, Ohio, serves as the staging point for AFRC C-141 missions.
In addition, other AFRC units support the air bridge. They include C-5 crews from the 512th AW, Dover AFB, Del.; 433rd AW, Lackland AFB, Tex.; and 349th Air Mobility Wing, Travis AFB, Calif. They also include C-17 crews from the 315th AW, Charleston AFB, S.C., and 446th AW, McChord AFB, Wash. AFRC tanker units help the airlifters cross the Atlantic: KC-135 crews from the 434th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom ARB, Ind., and 452nd AMW, March ARB, Calif.; KC-10 crews from the 514th AMW, McGuire AFB, N.J., and 349th AMW, Travis.
“Light Benches” Wins
DOD announced on March 3 the winning design for the Pentagon memorial to honor the 184 people killed by the terrorists who flew American Airlines Flight #77 into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The design is titled “Light Benches.”
Submitted by Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman of New York, the design includes 184 benches, each with the name of a victim. The benches will be set according to age, from the youngest at age 3 to the oldest at 71.
“ Basically, the memorial unit itself is a cast aluminum sculptural element that does several things,” said Kaseman. “It’s a reflecting pool that glows at night with light. It’s a slender cantilevered bench surface that grows out of the ground and hovers over the ... glowing light pool.” He added that it would include trees throughout, forming “a canopy of light and shade and shadow.”Beckman said they wanted to create a place that is welcoming to family and friends of the victims but also a place for the nation. “It is a place where two people can be or thousands of people can be,” she said.
The memorial will be built on 1.93 acres on Pentagon land near where the aircraft struck the building. Officials estimate the cost could go up to about $7 million. They said the money would not come from “taxpayers funds.”
Although located on Pentagon property, officials said it will be open to the public. Mike Sullivan, manager of the Pentagon renovation program, said there is commercial parking at the Pentagon City Mall with a breezeway under Interstate 395, and there’s Metro.
DIA Follows Speicher Leads
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress that the agency was pursuing leads as if missing Navy pilot Capt. Michael S. Speicher is “alive and being held by the Iraqis.” The Iraqis know of his fate, said Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby.
“ They are not forthcoming with the information that they have available,” he added.
Speicher was shot down during the 1991 Gulf War and listed as killed in action. The Navy changed that classification to “missing/captured” in October 2002, based on new intelligence information.
On Feb. 11, Jacoby told the Senate Intelligence Committee that DIA had “a number of leads” that it was pursuing “very aggressively.”
DOD Wants Own Civilian System
Pentagon officials want to take over the personnel system that governs DOD’s more than 600,000 civilian personnel. This, they say, would help ease the bureaucracy.
“ Right now our military system is governed by us,” said Dov S. Zakheim, DOD comptroller. “Our civilian personnel system, on the other hand, is governed by everybody’s rules.”
He continued, “We believe we are in a unique situation. ... We need to have a much more different, much more responsive civilian personnel management system.”
The plan, said Zakheim, is to “go even beyond” what Homeland Security got when Congress allowed the new department to set up its own personnel rules. DOD wants the same fast-track approach, instead of having to come in “every year with bits and pieces changes.”
He said DOD was finalizing proposals to go to Congress. Among possible changes is removal of some positions that require Congressional confirmation and development of a system that would give managers more flexibility in hiring and firing and a means to reward performance rather than longevity.
The performance-reward approach falls in with the Bush Administration’s 2004 budget proposal to establish a special fund to boost the base pay for the best workers. (See “Bush Pushes ‘Best Worker’ Pay,” March, p. 14.)
Court Hears Agent Orange Case
The US Supreme Court on Feb. 26 began hearing arguments to decide whether two veterans can sue the chemical companies that made Agent Orange years after the companies settled a 1984 class action suit.
Neither Joseph Isaacson, an Air Force veteran, or Daniel Stephenson, a retired Army helicopter pilot, was ill in 1984 or up to the deadline of 1994, so they could not be party to the class action agreement. Since then, each has been diagnosed with diseases believed to stem from Agent Orange exposure.
The 1984 agreement stipulated that no one who showed disease symptoms after 1994 would receive cash payments. Once all claims had been filed against the $180 million fund, the remaining money went to research, counseling, and other services to benefit veterans exposed to Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant used extensively during the Vietnam War.
Supporters of the original agreement say overturning it could affect all past class action judgments. However, veterans groups maintain the negotiated agreement was legally flawed because it did not leave open a window for those not yet manifesting illness. They also claim the lawyers for the chemical companies knew a good deal when they saw it.
USAF, Navy Weather Join Forces
A shortage of personnel prompted the merger of an Air Force weather unit and its Navy counterpart—both supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Officials said the move has greatly improved morale, as well as operations.
It took only three weeks to develop training programs and complete the merger. The weather community was concerned about how the two services would operate together, given their different responsibilities, said 1st Lt.
Richard Stegronsky, the USAF weather flight commander. “So far, it’s been extremely smooth,” he added.
His navy counterpart, Lt. Charlotte Welsch, said the joint operation also aids continuity. “There are more people here to keep the knowledge base strong and steady,” she said.
Concurrent Receipt Rises Again
Lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to provide military retirees with full concurrent receipt rather than the limited compensation plan reached as a compromise when Administration officials threatened a Presidential veto if the full measure remained in the Fiscal 2003 defense bill.
Full concurrent receipt would enable all military retirees to receive both retired pay and any disability pay they are due. Under the old rules, most retirees have their pay offset by disability pay.
The 2003 defense bill authorized full restoration for certain categories of retirees, such as those awarded Purple Hearts and those with combat-related disability ratings of 60 percent or higher. Those eligible under the new provisions could number about 30,000.
Regan Guilty, No Death Penalty
A federal jury in late February found Brian P. Regan, a retired Air Force master sergeant, guilty of two counts of attempted espionage and one count of gathering national defense information. The jury decided against imposing the death penalty.
Regan, who had worked with the National Reconnaissance Office while on active duty and later as a contractor, was arrested in August 2001 as he tried to board a flight to Europe. He was charged with spying for China, Iraq, and Libya. (See “Retired Airman Faces Death Penalty in Espionage Case,” June 2002, p. 18.)
Among the evidence against Regan was a letter to Saddam Hussein asking for $13 million for secret information about US reconnaissance satellites. The FBI found that letter and a similar one to Muammar Qaddafi on Regan’s computer.
Regan now faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced in May.
Smallpox Reactions Called Rare
A DOD official said reactions among military members to smallpox vaccinations have been rare—and all personnel have been treated and returned to work.
According to Col. John Grabenstein, deputy director for military vaccines in the Office of the Army Surgeon General, there have been three serious reactions and seven minor out of more than 100,000 military personnel who have received the smallpox shots. He was speaking to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Smallpox Vaccination Program Implementation on Feb. 13.
Grabenstein said two men contracted encephalitis—a serious inflammation of the brain—and had to be hospitalized but had returned to duty. Another man, an airman, had developed myocarditis—inflammation of the heart. He was discharged from the hospital within two days. He also reported that seven individuals developed serious rashes with pustules, but they were treated as outpatients and returned to duty.
One of the men who had encephalitis had never received a smallpox shot before, noted Grabenstein, while the other had been vaccinated previously. About 63 percent of those vaccinated in the military were receiving their first smallpox shot.
Pentagon officials had previously reported that about three percent of those vaccinated missed an average of 1.5 days of work because of common side effects, such as fever, flat rashes, malaise, or swollen lymph nodes.
First DOD Web Survey Results In
Pentagon officials on Feb. 25 announced the results of DOD’s first active duty status of forces survey (SOFS) via the Internet. DOD’s general conclusion: Things are looking up.
Some 38,000 service members were surveyed last summer to assess their attitudes toward a variety of personnel and policy issues. The response rate was 32 percent.
David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, initiated the Web–based SOFS, which will also be used to poll reservists and DOD civilians.
According to the survey, 83 percent of active duty members were satisfied with job security; 68 percent were satisfied with military values, lifestyle, and tradition; and 67 percent with exchange and commissary availability. Although respondents were less satisfied with housing (29 percent), pay (38 percent), and family support programs (41 percent), officials said those numbers were higher than in a 1999 survey.
Attitudes toward staying in the military were also higher than in 1999. The percent of those who intend to remain in the service increased eight percentage points and were even slightly higher for more junior members.
Day Petitions Supreme Court
Retired Col. George E. “Bud” Day’s petition on behalf of World War II and Korean War era military retirees was placed on the US Supreme Court docket Feb. 24. The court gave the government until March 26 to file briefs, after which the court will decide if it will hear the case.
Specifically the case is William O. Schism and Robert L. Reinlie vs. United States and involves government promises of lifetime health care for military retirees. The government has not denied that promises were made, just that they were not legally binding. (See “Editorial: Ghosts in the Machine,” January, p. 2.)
Attorney Day, who is a Medal of Honor recipient, turned to the Supreme Court when the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., last November overturned a decision— that favored the retirees—made by a three-judge panel of the appellate court in February 2001.
Day hopes to move the case to class action status, pending a favorable decision by the Supreme Court.
Tricare Offers Provider Bonuses
This summer, DOD’s Tricare Management Activity plans to offer a 10 percent bonus to providers in medically underserved areas. However, TMA must negotiate this arrangement with its managed care contractors.
Supplementing basic reimbursement rates has been a standard practice for Medicare in what it terms health professional shortage areas. Tricare will use Medicare’s HPSA criteria to determine which providers may receive bonuses.
Low reimbursement rates are one reason some physicians have opted out of Tricare. (See “Are There Enough Doctors in the House?” March, p. 46.)
EELV Boosts First DOD Payload
The Air Force on March 10 launched the first military satellite using an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle—a Boeing Delta IV booster. The payload was a Defense Satellite Communications System satellite.
The EELV program features two families of rockets developed jointly by the Air Force and two contractors, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, that will be used for commercial, as well as military launches. Both the Boeing Delta IV and Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V flew their maiden missions with commercial payloads last year.
USAF expects the EELVs to reduce the cost of spacelift operations.
School Funds Cut in Budget
President Bush’s Fiscal 2004 budget includes elimination of federal impact aid—the money provided to local school districts to educate children of military parents. The school districts lose tax revenue because of the presence of the bases, which are tax-exempt federal properties.
The Administration proposal is to eliminate those children who do not live on a military base from the impact aid calculations—saving about $125 million annually.
The cut is justifiable, according to Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Amy Call, because the school districts do get property taxes from those children who live in private homes off base. She said the bases themselves also generate revenue for the community.
The counter argument is that the bases themselves, which occupy, in many cases, a large portion of some school districts, do not pay property taxes. That potential revenue is lost.
The federal impact aid program was established during the Truman Administration. Several Administrations since have proposed cuts to the program.
DOD Seeks Missile System Waiver
Included in the Administration’s 2004 defense budget is a request to exempt the new missile defense system from operational testing required for all new weapon systems. According to DOD, the waiver is needed so the system can be fielded by 2004.
Sen. Carl Levin (D–Mich.), the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, on March 6 told the Defense Writers Group, the request “is going to be a very contentious issue.”
Lawmakers criticized the Administration last year when the Pentagon imposed new secrecy rules on the missile defense system program. The Missile Defense Agency maintained Congress would have the data it needs to keep watch on the program. (See “MDA Secrecy Rule Under Fire,” July 2002, p. 16.) If enacted, the testing waiver would mark the first time such leeway has been granted for a major weapon system.
At a Feb. 13 Senate hearing, Levin asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld how he could justify the move. Rumsfeld replied, “I would justify it very easily.”
He compared it to the use of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle during Operation Allied Force in 1999, before the UAV had completed testing. It was advantageous to use it, he said, and it led to improvements.
He added that he did not think something has to be perfect before it’s deployed if “reasonable people look at the situation” and conclude it can be deployed. “In the case of missle defense, we need to get something out there, in the ground, at sea, and in a way that we can test it, ... we can evolve it.”Levin’s response: “If it works.”
Guard Gains National Museum
The first museum dedicated to the National Guard, the oldest military organization in the country, opened in Washington, D.C., on March 17.
The National Guard Memorial Museum is located at One Massachusetts Ave., N.W., one block west of Union Station. It occupies 5,600 square feet of the lower level of the National Guard Association building. Admission is free.
The museum explores Guard history from its militia roots in 1607 to its support to the war on terror today, according to a release from the National Guard Educational Foundation, which operates the museum.
Bush Authorizes New Medals
President Bush signed an executive order March 12 authorizing DOD to create two new medals to cover service in the global war on terrorism.
One is the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, which recognizes service members who participate in an expedition to combat terrorism on or after Sept. 11, 2001. Pentagon officials said this medal is limited to those who deploy as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. They said personnel assigned to operations in Afghanistan and the Philippines are examples of those who may receive the award.
The second, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, recognizes service in military operations to combat terrorism on or after Sept. 11, 2001. It applies to those who participate in Operation Noble Eagle and who support Enduring Freedom from outside the area of eligibility designated for the first medal.
These awards do not replace the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, established Dec. 4, 1961, or the Armed Forces Service Medal, created Jan. 11, 1996. “Any member who qualified for those medals by reason of service in operations to combat terrorism between Sept. 11, 2001, and a terminal date to be determined by the Secretary of Defense, shall remain qualified for those medals,” states the executive order.
However, no one may be awarded more than one of the four medals for service in the same approved expedition or operation, said officials, nor can individuals receive more than one award of the two new medals.
Officials said it could take 12 months to produce and stock the medal.
Belated DFC Awarded to Flier
The Air Force earlier this year awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously to B-24 pilot 2nd Lt. Lawrence Berkoff—59 years after his act of heroism and sacrifice.
On Sept. 8, 1944, as Berkoff and his crew took off from Harrington Field in England, on a mission across the English Channel. They didn’t get far before they noticed that flames coming from engine No. 1 would make them perfect targets. Berkhoff turned back to the field as No. 1 went out and engine No. 2 began to run rough and send out flames.
The B-24 began to lose altitude quickly. Berkhoff and his copilot struggled to keep the aircraft level, but Berkoff soon realized it was impossible with power on one side only. He ordered his crew to bail out. All made it, as could have Berkoff. However, he remained with the rapidly descending, and now burning, aircraft to guide it beyond an English village. The B-24 crashed just 200 yards past Lambourn.
Senate Backs Nuclear Pact
The Senate on March 6 unanimously approved the nuclear arms treaty signed by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin in May 2002. The Treaty of Moscow calls upon the two countries to reduce their nuclear arsenals by nearly two-thirds.
The Russian parliament still has to approve the agreement.
The pact requires each nation to reduce its arsenals to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by Dec. 13, 2012. This will be the lowest level in decades. Each side gets to determine the composition of its strategic nuclear force.
The US plans to retire all 50 of its 10 warhead Peacekeeper ICBMs and convert four Trident submarines from strategic to conventional service. Some of the excess warheads will become spares and some will be destroyed, according to Administration officials.
USAF Outlines $4 Billion in Unfunded Priorities
The Air Force in February identified $4 billion worth of programs the service would like to fund, if lawmakers make additional money available during the Fiscal 2004 budget process.
The 66-item Unfunded Priority List “in no sense is an alternative to the fundamental priorities of our President’s budget,” wrote Air Force Secretary James G. Roche in the list’s cover letter. The list was sent to the House Armed Services Committee at the committee’s request.
The “wish list” highlights already planned programs that could be accelerated or expanded if additional dollars become available. The two top items alone total nearly $1 billion and highlight the service’s growing need for additional money for depot-purchased equipment maintenance and aircraft spares.
According to the supporting documentation, USAF’s top unfunded requirements are:
1. DPEM. The service noted that depot-purchased equipment maintenance funding is the lowest in 10 years, at 79 percent of requirements. An additional $516 million would bring this program back to historically effective levels and avoid “depot maintenance backlogs on our critical weapon systems.”
2. Flying Hour Spares. The Air Force “faces an extraordinary degree of uncertainty” about the actual operational profile it will fly in Fiscal 2004, the list explains. The service “took some risk” with its spares funding for the year, risk that could be alleviated with $412 million.
3. Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection. USAF explained that $140.7 million would improve the ability to mitigate force protection concerns and begin “minimal investment” in transformational technologies needed for long-term improvements.
4. Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources. An additional $149 million could be used to purchase equipment needed to support beddown of deployed forces in austere locations where infrastructure is lacking or destroyed or to augment existing sites.
5. Aircrew Life Support. The service could use $50.6 million for additional panoramic night vision goggles, ejection seat improvements, better parachutes, and new survival vests and radios.
The Air Force then listed two options—lease and accelerated buy—to handle its need to replace aging aerial refueling aircraft. The lease option would give the service more new tankers sooner and, according to USAF, for less money.
6A. Lease 100 KC-767A. This option seeks $132 million to support a lease-to-buy arrangement for 67 KC-767A tankers by Fiscal 2009 and a full complement of 100 new tankers by Fiscal 2011.
6B. Accelerate KC-135 Replacement. If the lease arrangement is not approved, this option seeks $154 million to accelerate an existing KC-135 replacement program by two years. This “potentially delivers 16 aircraft” by Fiscal 2009 and the complete fleet of 100 tankers by Fiscal 2014.
7. Distributed Ground Station Block 20. The legacy intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance architecture needs to be replaced, and $123.3 million would help “provide decision quality information within time lines to impact the ‘kill chain’ ” and transform the ground station infrastructure.
8. Rivet Joint Signals Intelligence Modernization. Existing systems are reaching maximum capacity, and $5.5 million would correct a signals intelligence collection gap by providing for a host of new components and equipment upgrades.
9. Common Configuration Block 35. Currently, three of USAF’s 14 Compass Call aircraft lack funding for the Block 35 upgrade. The $15 million delta “exacerbates already critical availability shortfalls” for the low-density, high-demand aircraft.
10. Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System Production Shutdown. When the original 13-aircraft Joint STARS program was increased in piecemeal fashion to 17 aircraft, $20 million in production shutdown funding was not set aside. The Air Force must pay this bill.In his letter, Roche noted the Air Force has been careful to limit the unfunded list to items that “can be executed in a timely manner and that will not disrupt the program” laid out in the President’s budget request.
— Adam J. Hebert
Despite Complaints, USAF Declared Saudi–based CAOC “ Fully Capable”
The Air Force continued to improve its combined air operations center at Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia, despite claims that the center was unready to mount a major theater war.
A USAF Tiger Team issued a critical report last summer, but its conclusions first surfaced in February in a Washington Times article.
In response to questions from Air Force Magazine, USAF said, “The PSAB CAOC is fully capable of effectively coordinating and directing combat operations” and “is far more capable than the operations centers used in Operations Desert Storm  and Allied Force .”
The Tiger Team’s report stated that the CAOC “is not currently poised to smoothly transition to an MTW.” It identified 75 actions the service should take to enhance the center.
The service acknowledged in mid–March that so far it had implemented 27 of the 75 changes the team recommended.
Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, dispatched the team to Prince Sultan in May 2002 to “examine the manpower, processes, and equipment required” to support air operations for US Central Command. The team spent two weeks at 9th Air Force headquarters at Shaw AFB, S.C., and PSAB and forwarded its findings to Jumper on July 8.
A USAF spokeswoman said the team has met “on multiple occasions since that time to update the status and close action items generated” by the report.
Among the items noted by the team was “confusion about roles, responsibilities, and chain of command.” It said the CAOC operators were not sure who they should take direction from or who they should consult to get things done. The different dynamics of various operations (Northern Watch and Southern Watch in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan) “led to a somewhat ad hoc organization optimized for none and not well suited to an MTW–sized conflict,” the Tiger Team reported.
It also noted that intelligence reports were too widely distributed within the CAOC, hindering coordination “and unity of effort during execution.”
It pointed out that there was a sharp upturn in the learning curve when many of the CAOC’s personnel rotated back to other jobs all at once, forcing the center to constantly relearn lessons. There was also mention of a cap on the number of people who could be detailed to the CAOC—a limit imposed by host nation Saudi Arabia—which hindered proper staffing.
The Air Force said it has implemented many of the easier to fix items, such as changing schedules for CAOC personnel so that outgoing people had time to “exchange information” with their replacements.
Among “the most significant” changes USAF said it first put into effect was a compilation “by name” of all personnel who would staff the CAOC “to prosecute an air campaign in Southwest Asia.” The listing includes personnel from the rotational air and space expeditionary forces, the headquarters of Central Command Air Forces and 9th Air Force, Air National Guard augmentees, and joint and coalition liaison teams, “along with interagency analysts to round out the warfighting team.”
USAF also took immediate steps to improve operator orientation and theater training to help operators more clearly understand roles and responsibilities. Personnel assigned to the CAOC also must now complete the Joint Air Command and Control Course.
At the time of the team’s report, the Prince Sultan CAOC was barely a year old. USAF said the report “highlighted many organizational, process, and system improvements to sustain, stabilize, and to institutionalize the CAOC and all air operations centers.”
— John A. Tirpak
CMSAF Thomas Barnes, 1930–2003
Retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Thomas N. Barnes died March 17 in Sherman, Tex., from cancer. He was 72.
Barnes was the fourth person to be named to USAF’s top enlisted post and the first black to hold such a position in any of the military services. He served in that post from 1973 to 1977, when he retired.
Born in Chester, Pa., in 1930, Barnes entered the Air Force in 1949, training at the Chanute AFB, Ill., aircraft engine and hydraulics specialist school. He served as a hydraulics specialist at McChord AFB, Wash., then was sent to Japan in 1952. Shortly after arriving in Japan, he completed on-the-job training as a flight engineer and served in both specialties because of a manning shortage.
Through 1965, Barnes served as a crew chief, flight engineer, and senior controller on various aircraft, including the B-25, B-52, C-45, and C-47.
In October 1966, he entered F-4 field training, and, in December, he went to Southeast Asia, serving with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing until December 1967. He next served at the pilot training base at Laughlin AFB, Tex., and, in 1971, Air Training Command selected him as the command’s senior enlisted advisor.
After his retirement, he remained active in Air Force matters and was often sought as a speaker at military functions.
Barnes once responded to a question in an interview: “I’d like to be remembered as a role model for people who believe they can’t get there.” He added that it was an honor to be chosen as the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force “on the basis of my qualifications, as opposed to my race or my gender.”
End Strength Issue Flares in Congress
In Congressional testimony on the Fiscal 2004 defense budget, each of the service Chiefs described the increasing stress that the high operations tempo is having on their personnel, especially those in a few critical skills.
Yet, lawmakers pointed out that the Pentagon had failed to include any significant end strength increases in the budget request.
Asked to explain the disparity, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper said, “It’s not just a matter of adding end strength.”
Jumper continued, “It’s a matter of making efficiencies out of what you’ve got.” He said the Air Force had identified more than 12,000 billets that do not require a military member to fill them. These individuals will be reassigned and, in some cases, retrained to critical career fields in need of additional personnel. Those fields include force protection, combat search and rescue, and special operations forces.
Jumper maintained that if the efficiencies the Air Force is working “don’t do the job, I will be the first to go back to the Secretary of Defense and ask for the relief that we need.”
Lawmakers Fear Reserve Forces Are Overused
A Congressional delegation’s recent visit to US European Command facilities has added new focus to concerns that the use of Guard and Reserve forces has reached a critical level.
In a Feb. 12 trip report, three Republicans and one Democrat told Duncan Hunter (R–Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, that reserve forces are being overused. They said the situation could lead to problems for both active duty and reserve units in the future.
“ The Total Force policy is being implemented in ways never anticipated,” according to the report, signed by delegation leader Rep. John M. McHugh (R–N.Y.) and Reps. Robin Hayes (R–N.C.), Mike McIntyre (D–N.C.), and Jeff Miller (R–Fla.). They cited anecdotal evidence that the high operating tempo may drive some reservists out of the military.
Reservists serving in EUCOM told the lawmakers during their 10-day trip that “leaving the reserves is an increasingly attractive option” and that some employers are beginning to see reserve status as a liability in employees.
More than 188,000 reservists are on active duty (as of March 12) to support the war on terrorism. Some have been serving for longer than a year.
The lawmakers said they were impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the EUCOM forces and heard “no explicit statements” that the reservists would be unable to do what is asked of them.
They noted that “missions being performed by reservists today are above a rate that is sustainable simply through the reserve component volunteers.”
McHugh told the publication Congress Daily that EUCOM commanders could not do their jobs without Guard and Reserve support. “We need more men and women in uniform,” he said.
USAF Leaders Blast Anonymous Critics of War Strategy
Top Air Force officials condemned unnamed critics who complained, in a Washington Times front page article, about a draft Iraq air war plan.
The Feb. 13 article asserted that some senior military officials, who said they were briefed informally on the target lists, were concerned the Iraq war plan was too timid. They said it “would largely spare infrastructure targets, such as bridges, and most, if not all, telephone communications” from air attack, to limit devastation for Iraqi citizens.
This restraint would leave ground forces facing tougher defenses than necessary, they claimed. One official was quoted as saying there were too many “political restrictions” being placed on the air war plan.
USAF leaders quickly took aim at the critics.
“ People who make that comment are either ones who were in on the planning and didn’t have the courage to speak up at the time or those who are content not to know about the plan in detail but take potshots from the shadows,” said Gen. John P. Jumper, Chief of Staff, Feb. 13 at the Air Force Association’s symposium in Orlando, Fla.
“ I have great concern about the professionalism of officers who would comment in this way,” Jumper added. Officials who would complain to the press are a “small minority of the officers in our Air Force.”
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche echoed that sentiment in remarks in Orlando Feb. 14. He said, “There is no such thing as an informal war plan briefing ... and no such thing as an anonymous Air Force officer.” If officials lack the courage to express concerns through the chain of command, “they are not living up to the standards of our Air Force.”
In a letter Jumper fired off to the newspaper, he noted that the criticisms were “based on the musings of a single anonymous source about classified contingency planning.” Jumper added that in his 37 years of military service, he had never seen “an environment of such joint cooperation and interservice communication.”
He continued: “The very best minds of each service are working to maximize the combined effects of all our forces in pursuit of victory. On that point—and unlike the shadow critic who violates his or her oath even while presuming to represent other airmen—I am willing to put my name and reputation on record.”
USAF: Jamming GPS Signals Won’t Work
Global Positioning System signals, which guide newer US munitions to their targets, can be jammed, but not easily, and not for long.
Efforts are under way both to make the signal broadcast by GPS satellites more jam-resistant and to reduce interference with GPS–guided munitions when they reach the target area, according to Lt. Col. John Carter, USAF chief of space requirements.
Carter said the service has been working “from the day we built GPS” on ways to frustrate would-be jammers.
“ We’re very confident we can do that,” he said.
An enemy hoping to use a GPS jamming signal to fool weapons like the Joint Direct Attack Munition shouldn’t count on success, Carter said.
For one thing, JDAMs also have inertial navigation systems that helpthem guide their way to a target, so jamming the GPS signal being received by JDAM is no gurantee the weapon will go off course. Other weapons use laser or optical guidance, with GPS signals as simply a backup.
Moreover, anyone transmitting a GPS–jamming signal “can be found, and anyone who can be found can be targeted,” Carter pointed out. He advised “bad guys” not to be the one picked to jam a GPS signal. Reportedly, Iraq has obtained a number of Russian–made transmitters that can spoof GPS signals.
The current generation of GPS IIR satellites already have a measure of jam resistance, by which they can broadcast with greater power if their signal is being jammed, according to Air Force Undersecretary Peter B. Teets. He called this tactic “flexible power.”
Teets added that “real improvement” will come with GPS III, about 10 years from now. It will be “much more jam-resistant on the satellite side, on the control-element side, and on the user-equipment side.” The Air Force, he said, “is doing the necessary smart things to enable GPS to serve us well.”
Little Belgium, Doing Its Level Best
The Belgian minister of defense rushed to support his nation after the Wall Street Journal highlighted Belgium as a case study in European military inefficiencies.
“ We refuse to squander our public funds for the sole purpose of national glory, since we prefer to spend them on social affairs, health care, and pensions for our fellow citizens,” Andre Flahaut, Belgium’s defense chief, wrote in a Feb. 26 rebuttal.
The Feb. 13 Wall Street Journal article (“How Europe’s Armies Let Their Guard Down”) noted that many of NATO’s forces “are poorly equipped, in part because so much money is spent on pay and benefits.” It went on to say, “Belgium, for example, employs hundreds of military barbers, musicians, and other personnel who aren’t likely to be called into battle.
Yet Belgium doesn’t have the money to replace aging helicopters or conduct regular combat training exercises.”
In his response, Flahaut said, “The primary mission of our armed forces is to maintain the peace and to help the civilian population (Belgian or foreign).”
Belgium does this “without being belligerent or being convinced of having been elected by a higher authority to keep watch over the world order,” he added.
Flahaut also objected to the Wall Street Journal’s numbers. The newspaper said Belgium spends “some 67 percent of its annual defense budget” on personnel and “only about 5.4 percent” on equipment.
Flahaut said Belgium spends 62 percent on personnel and 11 percent on equipment.
USAF Leaders Vow To Make Changes at Academy
The Air Force has been under fire from lawmakers, news media, and parents of cadets since multiple allegations of rape, cover-up, and retaliation against victims surfaced earlier this year concerning the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
According to Sen. Wayne Allard (R–Colo.), as of March 5, 25 female cadets—15 former and 10 current—had complained to his office that they had been raped or sexually assaulted at the academy. Some said they were ignored, punished, or shunned for reporting the incidents, and some did not make reports for fear of being ostracized or kicked out.
Allard was joined by Sen. John Warner (R–Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and several other lawmakers in asking for investigations of the situation at the academy.
A working group, appointed by Air Force Secretary James G. Roche and headed by USAF general counsel Mary L. Walker, began gathering information at the academy Feb. 19. Walker’s group is one of three elements in the investigation, Roche told members of the House Armed Services Committee on Feb. 27. The second is a review of each case by the DOD inspector general. The third is oversight by the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
Roche also told the lawmakers that Air Force leaders had first become “aware that something was grossly wrong when we received an e-mail back in mid–December.” Before that, he said, a Congressman had sent them a letter on a single case. The e-mail signaled something “broader,” said Roche.
The Secretary then said that he and USAF Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper have a simple logic: “We must not commission any criminal. We must not allow any cadet to take violence on another cadet. ... We are also committed to ridding the academy of any cadet who would knowingly harbor some cadet who has done this. ... We want to rid the academy of any cadets who would shun any victim. ... We will not tolerate this.”
Both Roche and Jumper have since visited the academy and talked with cadets and staff. Amid some calls for removal of the current academy leadership, both senior service leaders said the problem did not start with the current leadership. Instead, they pointed to budget and manpower restrictions that led the service to make cutbacks in counseling training for staff officers. Roche called the problems “a corporate responsibility.”
The service plans to implement major policy changes before the arrival of the new class of cadets in June.
Roche and Jumper jointly sent letters March 13 to the parents of incoming cadets, saying, “We’ve made it clear to the cadets that all perpetrators, those who fail to act to prevent assaults, those who knowingly protect perpetrators after the fact, and those who would shun or harass anyone with the courage to come forward and report these criminals, will be brought to justice.”
The service has set up a phone line for cadet victims of sexual assault to report their assault directly to the Air Force inspector general. Current and former cadets may call 703-588-1541 from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. (EST), Monday–Friday.
Proposals on Joint Chiefs Hit Wall of Opposition
The Defense Department has canned draft proposals that would have cut the terms of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and eliminated Joint Staff autonomy. When lawmakers queried top Pentagon officials about it in February, all asserted they had not seen the proposed plan.
According to Sen. Carl Levin (D–Mich.), a draft of proposed legislation that circulated the Pentagon last fall called for reducing the terms of the Joint Chiefs from four years to two, with the option of a two-year renewal. That proposal was requested in a memo signed by David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
The other proposal cited by Levin would have required the Joint Staff to report to the Defense Secretary instead of to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Approval for selections to the Joint Staff would also have been shifted to the Secretary. And the draft legislation, said Levin, “would strike the statutory requirement that the Joint Staff be, quote, ‘independently organized and operated.’ ”
When Levin asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and JCS Chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers about the proposals at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Feb. 13, both said they had not yet seen the draft proposals. However, Rumsfeld noted that he and Myers had “talked about” the way OSD and the JCS operate and that they saw some duplications.
“ There might be a way to merge some of those pieces in a way that did not in any way inhibit the Chairman’s responsibility under law” to provide independent military advice to the national command authority, Rumsfeld said.
At a Feb. 25 committee hearing, Levin asked each of the service chiefs about the proposals. Each said they had not seen the draft proposals but defended their four-year terms.
“ For a service chief, a longer-term perspective is helpful,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Erik K. Shinseki.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark agreed, saying, “There’s a great learning curve in these assignments.
USAF Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper said that although the Chiefs had not been briefed on the proposals, they did recently discuss the issue with Rumsfeld. Jumper emphasized, “I would think the Secretary would want his service chiefs in position long enough to be able to make a difference and to establish rapport with one another to be able to deal with the joint issues that we deal with every day.”
A Feb. 27 InsideDefense.com article reported that the proposals on the Joint Chiefs had been dropped.
Will USAF Get 150 FB-22 Bombers?
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche told lawmakers he would like to have at least 150 FB-22s (a proposed bomber version of the F/A-22) in addition to 381 F/A-22s.
At a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Feb. 27, committee chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R–Calif.) exclaimed that the “extremely small present day bomber force of 21 B-2s, 76 B-52s, and 63 B-1s ... is a tragedy.” He then asked Roche, “If you had your druthers and you had the money, what size bomber force would you like to have today?”
The Air Force leader’s initial response was to discuss types and numbers of targets. Hunter interrupted, saying, “I’m not going to let you make the answer complex. ... You’ve got a lot of deep strike requirements that may percolate real quickly. How many bombers would you like to have?”
Roche said: “My definition of bombers, strike systems: I would like to have the 21 B-2s we currently have. I would like to have 60 of the B-1s with the [Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile] extended range on board.
I would like to have the chance to build the FB-22, which has dramatic range, almost as much as the B-2 and that also can defend itself, that has advances in stealth. I would like to have 381 minimum F/A-22s, minimum of 150 FB-22s, and then I would like to go to the next generation.”
DOD, Army Officials Joust Over Iraq Numbers
The price of unseating the current Iraqi regime, setting up a new government, occupying the country, and rebuilding its infrastructure could cost as little as $10 billion and as much as $100 billion, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told Congress on Feb. 26.
“ We have no idea what we will need until we get there,” Wolfowitz told the House Budget Committee. He said a major cost factor would be how many troops would be needed for postwar occupation and how long they would stay.
The $100 billion figure he cited was a notional, in-house Pentagon guess that assumed the very worst case scenarios, Wolfowitz noted. But he specifically cited a figure of $95 billion as being too high. He also said all such estimates ignored Iraq’s oil revenues of up to $20 billion a year and discounted the contributions that could be made by other countries.
Wolfowitz made his remarks as estimates of Iraqi reconstruction as high as $300 billion swirled around Washington. (A senior Pentagon official, briefing reporters on the Fiscal 2004 defense budget, said DOD is notionally using a figure of about $20 billion a month for combat and $10 billion a month for postwar occupation.)
While he insisted it is too early to guess how much a regime change in Iraq would cost, Wolfowitz did contradict the estimate of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki on how many troops would be required for the postwar occupation.
During a Senate Armed Services Committee several days earlier, when lawmakers pressed Shinseki to provide an estimate, he said it would take “on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” to do the job. His answer carried some credibility since he had been a commander of peacekeeping troops in the Balkans.
Wolfowitz, however, called Shinseki’s number “wildly off the mark” and “highly suspect.” He argued that a force for Iraq could be smaller and not stay as long. There is no history of ethnic warfare in Iraq as there was in the Balkans, Wolfowitz contended, despite the fact that the Iraqi government has violently repressed both Kurds in the north and Shiite Muslims in the south. Wolfowitz said Iraqi civilians will welcome American troops, “provided they leave as soon as possible.”
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, at a press conference the next day, said that the answer to the question posed to Shinseki by the committee “is not knowable.”
“ We have no idea how long the war will last,” Rumsfeld said. “We don’t know to what extent there may or may not be weapons of mass destruction used. We don’t ... have any idea whether or not there would be ethnic strife. We don’t know exactly how long it would take to find weapons of mass destruction and destroy them. ... There are so many variables that it is not knowable.”
He went on to say, though, that he, too, thought Shinseki’s number was “off the mark” and “simply not the case.”
It’s “not logical to me that it would take as many forces ... following the conflict, as it would to win the war,” Rumsfeld asserted. He also said several countries have volunteered forces for “stabilization activities,” which would reduce the number of US troops needed.
DOD Intel Chief Says He Will Stay in His Lane
Stephen A. Cambone, the Pentagon’s newly minted Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, assured lawmakers he will not be a rival to the Director of Central Intelligence.
Sen. Carl Levin (D–Mich.), ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, supported creation of the position, but he noted that critics claim the job is evidence of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s “contest” with DCI George H. Tenet “for dominance over American intelligence operations.”
At the nomination hearing on Feb. 27, Levin asked Cambone to answer those critics who have said it is Rumsfeld’s bid to create “another Director of Central Intelligence, for all practical purposes.”
Cambone insisted that the new undersecretary post—which oversees the National Security Agency, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and others—is not intended as a “substitute” for the DCI. Instead, he said, it will give the DCI a single point of contact at the Pentagon.
The office will focus on getting “customer” questions answered and needs addressed in the collection and analysis process, said Cambone.
He noted that a key customer question, one that Rumsfeld has raised, concerns how the Pentagon agencies and other intelligence agencies arrived at their conclusions and what their sources of information were.
These are the kinds of questions the Secretary of Defense tends to ask about “finished intelligence,” said Cambone, and the answers are necessary to help Pentagon leadership act on the information they receive.
Cambone emphasized, though, that his office “is not being structured to do analysis.”
His job, he said, is to provide single-point leadership to disparate intelligence organizations within the Defense Department. The impetus behind creation of the office is to streamline DOD’s approach to intelligence matters, such that his office will be able to respond to any DCI “needs that can be satisfied by the Department of Defense ... with alacrity.”
He added, “There have been occasions in the past—which I am sorry to say—when that has not always been the case.”
By Tamar A. Mehuron, Associate Editor
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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