ACC Begins F/A-22 Operations
Air Combat Command’s Air Warfare Center, Nellis AFB, Nev., received its first F/A-22 Raptor Jan. 14. (See photo this page.) The center will have 17 of the new stealth fighters by 2009.
Over the next year, the Air Force’s initial cadre of F/A-22 pilots, maintainers, and support personnel will receive their training at Nellis. The base has added additional operations space, a parts store, maintenance hangar, and, to handle the fighter’s stealth materials, a corrosion control/composite repair facility.
Additionally, Air Education and Training Command established an F/A-22 maintenance training facility on the base.
Seven F/A-22 Raptors, due in over this year and next and bound for Nellis, will go to the 53rd Wing’s 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, which will assist in operational testing and development of combat tactics. Another nine, due between 2008–09, will go to the 57th Wing for the USAF Weapons School. All F/A-22s at Nellis will be maintained by the 57th Wing.
USAF Deploys B-2 Shelters
The Air Force announced in early January that it had erected two of the B-2 stealth bomber transportable hangar systems overseas. It would not officially state the location.
The shelters enable the service to forward deploy its B-2 bombers, greatly reducing mission length. For Operation Enduring Freedom missions in Afghanistan, the B-2 crews flew missions as long as 44 hours from their home base at Whiteman AFB, Mo.
Twenty members of the 49th Materiel Maintenance Squadron, Holloman AFB, N.M., spent 70 days working 12-hour shifts to set up the B-2 shelters. The handpicked team finished about three weeks ahead of schedule, according to Lt. Col. Myron Majors, 49th MMS commander. Some of the team members had worked with the shelters during testing.
The shelters are about two football fields long, are climate controlled, and can withstand extremes in temperature and wind. They enable the service to maintain the stealth characteristics of the B-2.
Air Force officials said in late October that they were prepared to forward deploy the bombers. Plans announced then called for four shelters at the British–owned Indian Ocean island Diego Garcia and one at RAF Fairford, UK. The service had already established a special B-2 hangar at Andersen AFB, Guam.
Bush OKs Military Pay Raise
President Bush in early January rejected a proposal by the Office of Management and Budget to impose a military pay raise cap for the Fiscal 2004 budget. The raise to take effect in January 2004 will be an average of 4.1 percent, as proposed by Pentagon leaders, instead of the two percent OMB recommended.
Congress mandated a military pay raise formula beginning in 1999 and running through 2006 to provide a minimum raise that is greater by a 0.5 percentage point than the previous year’s average private sector salary increase.
Pentagon leaders proposed for the fourth year straight to target certain ranks for higher increases. Studies have shown that midgrade and senior enlisted troops are underpaid compared to the private sector, while junior enlisted and junior officer pay is actually somewhat better. Therefore, the raises will range from 3.2 percent to more than six percent, except for new recruits, who will get a two percent boost.
Congress still has to approve the pay raise as part of the 2004 Pentagon budget. Lawmakers approved an across-the-board 4.1 percent increase and more for certain ranks, in the Fiscal 2003 legislation passed late last year.
Stop-Loss Inflates Retention
USAF revealed in mid–December that the Fiscal 2002 enlisted retention numbers released last fall were inaccurate. The high numbers simply reflected the effects of Stop-Loss.
The Air Force implemented Stop-Loss, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to prevent service personnel from retiring or separating. The ban persisted throughout most of 2002 for many career fields.
The retention numbers showed rates higher than the service’s goals for first-term (72 percent vs. a goal of 55 percent) and second-term (78 percent vs. 75 percent) enlisted members. The retention rate for career airmen equaled the goal of 95 percent.
"On paper, the Air Force did meet its goals," said Maj. Gen. Peter U. Sutton, USAF’s director of learning and force development. However, he added, "The reality is that there is still a retention challenge."
The high numbers could send the wrong message to airmen and commanders, said Sutton.
Tanker Lease Still On Hold
Pentagon officials issued a statement Dec. 19 saying they had not reached a final decision on the controversial Air Force proposal to lease modified Boeing 767 aircraft to serve as aerial refuelers. They expected to make a decision early this year.
However, Air Force officials told lawmakers recently that USAF would retire 68 of the "oldest, most expensive, least able to fly" aerial refuelers, according to the Seattle Post–Intelligencer. Such a move will put even more stress on an already overworked fleet but could spur decision-makers.
Details of the retirement are to be revealed this month in the Fiscal 2004 Pentagon budget.
In mid–November the Air Force and Boeing reportedly had reached an agreement on the proposed lease cost—about $17 billion, some $9 billion less than the original estimate. The service would lease 100 aircraft for six years each and take delivery beginning in 2006. At the end of the lease, USAF would be able to purchase all the aircraft for an additional $4 billion.
The Air Force proposed the arrangement more than a year ago as the fastest, and possibly the cheapest, way to revive its aging tanker fleet, which has seen greatly escalated use since the war on terror began. Lawmakers agreed to the plan. However, Administration officials have balked about the cost.
Bill To Link Fed Civ/Military Pay
On the heels of a lower than expected 2003 federal civilian pay raise, several lawmakers are proposing to restore pay parity between civil service and military personnel to head off a similar disparity for 2004. In 2003, the Administration set the military pay raise at 4.1 percent, while providing only 3.1 percent for civil service. (Congress hoped to boost the civil service increase to 4.1 percent as it worked to finish appropriations legislation last month.)
Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D–Md.) introduced legislation in early January to establish identical raises. His legislation initially had 18 sponsors, including Sen. John W. Warner (R–Va.).
According to Sarbanes, the Congressional Research Service found that there were only three times over the last 17 years when the pay increases were not identical.
President Bush cited the current state of national emergency as the reason for limiting the civil service pay raise. Administration officials noted that the 3.1 percent raise is greater than the inflation rate.
ROTC Gains and Loses
According to Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps officials, the number of college students participating in ROTC has grown by more than 30 percent over the past three years. However, they said 57 percent of that surge came at just 17 percent of ROTC detachments.
Some 20 percent of the service’s current ROTC detachments either simply maintained their enrollments or saw them decline.
Det. 434 at Mississippi Valley State University is one that has produced few officers over the past decade. Officials said they will close Det. 434 this summer and move the unit’s manpower authorizations to another school.
Other detachments have seen their staffing reduced or increased based on a review of the officer production at each unit. Officials said the adjustments are part of an ongoing effort to realign ROTC assets.
They also noted that the number of scholarship applications had jumped from 8,500 in 2001 to 16,900 for 2003, a clear indication of increased interest.
Thieves Steal Health Record Info
DOD Tricare officials revealed Dec. 23 that computer equipment and files were stolen Dec. 14 from the Central Region Tricare contractor. Officials said they learned on Dec. 20 that thieves had broken into the corporate offices of TriWest Healthcare Alliance in Phoenix.
The stolen data included beneficiary names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and some claims information with diagnoses.
TriWest was to contact individuals in the 16-state region whose information potentially was compromised. Some 500,000 Tricare beneficiaries were to receive letters informing them of the theft and providing suggestions on how to prevent identity theft.
Tricare officials said TriWest already has improved their physical security controls, but DOD sent a team to review procedures and make recommendations where needed. Further, DOD ordered all Tricare contractors to reassess their current physical and electronic security.
Central Region beneficiaries may call 1-800-339-9378 or e-mail questions to email@example.com.
USAF Changes HYT
Changes to the high year of tenure policy will enable enlisted members in most ranks to serve an additional two years on active duty, according to a Jan. 3 Air Force announcement. The change was effective Jan. 1.
Under the revised HYT policy, senior airmen can serve up to 12 years of total service; technical sergeants up to 24 years; master sergeants up to 26 years; and senior master sergeants up to 28 years. The tenure rules for staff sergeants remain at 20 years and for chief master sergeants at 30 years.
CMSAF Gerald R. Murray, USAF’s top enlisted member, said the new policy will increase the service’s ability to retain highly skilled enlisted members to offset shortages created by the drawdown in the early 1990s and several years of lower retention.
Personnel officials said no one will be forced to stay longer. They encourage troops to check with local personnel offices for program specifics.
The last change to the HYT policy was in 2001, when the Air Force increased the maximum years of service for technical sergeants from 20 to 22 years.
DOD To Detail Military Pay Plan
Congress has asked Pentagon leaders to submit by March 31 their long-range plans for military pay.
Under 1999 legislation that runs through 2006, military pay raises are tied to the Employment Cost Index, a measurement the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to gauge private sector salary growth.
The law was meant to close the pay gap many lawmakers and DOD officials believe exists between military and private sector pay. Last year the House Armed Services Committee indicated its support for continuing the ECI-plus-0.5-percent formula beyond the 2006 cutoff date. However, some Administration officials believe that any pay gap is limited to a few specialties. They have ordered a study that would take age, education level, and job specialty into consideration. The report is due in December.
USAF To Move CSAR Units
The Air Force plans to locate three combat search and rescue squadrons at the 355th Wing, Davis–Monthan AFB, Ariz., beginning this year. The moves would continue through 2007.
Most of the aircraft will come from Air Force Reserve Command’s 939th Rescue Wing at Portland, Ore.
The entire complement of aircraft will include as many as 12 HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and 10 HC-130 refueling aircraft. The move will also bring 1,000 additional personnel to Davis–Monthan.
New Mail Order Pharmacy Opens
DOD on March 1 will switch more than 400,000 customers from the National Mail Order Pharmacy program to a new mail order program under Tricare.
According to Tricare officials, most customers who have refills remaining on prescriptions on March 1 should automatically be transferred to Express Scripts Inc., the new provider. Some prescriptions, such as those for narcotics or other controlled substances, cannot be transferred automatically. Officials said current customers should have received information about the switch in the mail last month.
The new program will save taxpayer dollars since it will purchase drug products at federal prices, some 24 percent below average commercial wholesale prices, according to Tricare officials.
USAF To Reduce OTS Numbers
Air Education and Training Command has cut the number of officers the service needs to commission through its Officer Training School. The reason: Growing numbers of officers are commissioned through ROTC.
During the past three years, the number entering the Air Force through ROTC has grown by about 30 percent, some 300 each year. ROTC has consistently been the top source of officers, while OTS helped round out service requirements as needed.
"OTS has acted as an accordion in balancing officer accessions," said Gen. Donald G. Cook, AETC commander. "When we needed more people commissioned, we could expand OTS production."
During the past few years, OTS ran at peak capacity, eliminating that flexibility. In 2002, the school commissioned 1,946 second lieutenants, while the service had projected a program load of almost 200 fewer.
Predator Goes Down
US Central Command would not confirm that Iraq had shot down a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle flying a reconnaissance mission over southern Iraq but did state that the UAV was missing on Dec. 23 after being fired upon by an Iraqi military aircraft.
The Predator was not the first UAV that Iraq has shot down, according to Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman.
He told reporters that Iraq has been trying to shoot down coalition aircraft—manned and unmanned—for several years.
DOD confirmed that at least twice, and perhaps three times, Iraq has downed Predators operating in the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq. Those UAVs were shot down by ground-based anti-aircraft fire. The December shootdown is the first known instance of an Iraqi airplane shooting down a coalition aircraft since the Gulf War.
Iraq shot down one—the F/A-18 fighter aircraft of Cmdr. Michael S. Speicher—on the first day of the Gulf War.
Seven-Day Rule Changes
The Air Force announced Jan. 7 that officers who are eligible to separate or retire instead of taking a projected assignment may now take more than the usual seven days to make a "potentially career ending decision."
Officers will not only get more decision time, but also a general officer will review the proposed assignment and their decision to leave the service rather than take a particular assignment. Maj. Gen. Thomas A. O’Riordan, Air Force Personnel Center commander, said the general officer will "ensure that it’s the right decision for the individual and for the Air Force."
However, he emphasized that the needs of the service come first. "We will not be able to please everyone," said O’Riordan, "but it’s worth the effort if we can find some common ground to retain a valuable officer."
Museum Showcases Aviation Art
The USAF Museum at Wright–Patterson AFB, Ohio, plans to feature more than 250 original aviation paintings this year as part of the service’s Centennial of Flight commemoration activities.
The art will be shown in five separate, consecutive exhibits. The first one, which opened Jan. 16 and runs to April, features 60 paintings by Keith Ferris. Its title is "A Century of Flight."
The remaining exhibits each feature works by a number of artists. One that begins on April 12 is titled "Air Power." Next up, on June 6, is "Aviation Art Worldwide," then, on Aug. 26, "Those Magnificient Flyers." The fifth exhibit, "Fly Me to the Future," begins on Oct. 9.
For more information, contact Denise Bollinger at 937-255-8046, ext. 492.
Air Force Restructures F/A-22, Full Buy Still Expected
The Air Force in late December moved to slow the F/A-22 Raptor fighter airplane project in a way that will shift program costs to the early airplanes and streamline the test program.
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche told Air Force Magazine last month that the service still expects to build all 339 of the planned F/A-22s and maybe more.
Service officials last November had revealed a potential cost overrun of about $690 million. In early December, following an investigation, the Air Force revised that number to between $700 million and $1 billion. (See “Aerospace World: F/A-22 Development Cost Issue Grows,” January, p. 9.) At the time, USAF leaders predicted they would need to cut the planned purchases by about six aircraft.
For bookkeeping purposes, however, the Air Force set a new goal of 276 airplanes. Roche said this figure will be revisited almost annually.
A new maximum rate of F/A-22 production was set at 36 per year, but that rate may not be reached until 2009.
Cost of early production aircraft shot up when Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last spring ordered an evaluation of the ramifications of reducing the F/A-22 fleet to 180 airplanes. (See “The F-22 On the Line,” September 2002, p. 36.) Although only an intellectual exercise to consider options, the study prompted F/A-22 subcontractors to demand faster paybacks on their investments in the program.
New program and test leadership has been assigned to focus on getting the F/A-22 fielded on time, beginning in late 2005.
—John A. Tirpak
Combat Controller Receives Posthumous Honor
The Air Force posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross to TSgt. John Chapman, a combat controller assigned to the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope AFB, N.C. The award ceremony took place at Pope on Jan. 10. Chapman was killed in Afghanistan on March 4, 2002, during a firefight with al Qaeda and Taliban forces as he helped save the lives of his team.
The Air Force Cross is USAF’s highest award for valor and, overall, is second only to the Medal of Honor, which Congress must approve.
Chapman was one of two Air Force members killed during Operation Anaconda. The other, SrA. Jason D. Cunningham, a pararescue jumper with the 38th Rescue Squadron, Moody AFB, Ga., also received an Air Force Cross posthumously at a ceremony last fall. (See “Aerospace World: Air Force Posthumously Honors Pararescueman,” October 2002, p. 11.)
As an Army helicopter inserted Chapman and his teammates into Afghanistan in the early hours of Anaconda, it came under heavy machine gun fire. It was directly hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, which caused one member, Navy SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts, to fall from the aircraft. The helicopter was severely damaged, and the pilot made an emergency landing about four miles from where Roberts fell.
Chapman called in an AC-130 gunship to provide close air support and cover the stranded team, then directed the gunship to search for Roberts. Next, Chapman called for an evacuation helicopter. He volunteered to rescue Roberts and engaged and killed two enemy personnel in the attempt.
The award citation said the following: “He continued to advance, reaching the enemy position, then engaged a second enemy position, a dug-in machine gun nest. At this time the rescue team came under effective enemy fire from three directions. From close range Sergeant Chapman exchanged fire with the enemy from minimum personal cover until he succumbed to multiple wounds.”
The citation continued: “His engagement and destruction of the first enemy position and advancement on the second enemy position enabled his team to move to cover and break enemy contact.”
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche said at the ceremony that Chapman was an “American’s American.”
Chapman left the University of Connecticut to join the Air Force in 1985. He first served in the information systems field, then, in 1989, began combat controller training at Lackland AFB, Tex. At Pope, Chapman was known for his skill as a radio communicator, aircraft landing zone controller, combat search and rescue specialist, air traffic controller, free-fall parachutist, and military scuba-diving instructor.
Gen. John P. Jumper, Chief of Staff, presented the Air Force Cross to Chapman’s widow, Valerie, and to his parents, Terry Giaccone and Gene Chapman.
SOCOM To Become a Major Warfighting Command
Senior defense officials announced in January that US Special Operations Command will receive substantial increases in manpower, money, and authority.
Perhaps most significant, SOCOM will no longer be just a supporting command that organizes, trains, and equips forces for regional warfighting commanders. Officials said the new SOCOM will become the lead command for certain operations such as the pursuit of small groups of terrorists scattered around the world.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Jan. 7 that DOD is “for the most part, still organized, trained, and equipped to fight armies, navies, and air forces, not to target small cells or even individual terrorists.”
Air Force Gen. Charles R. Holland, SOCOM commander, will have authority to plan missions worldwide and task regional commands, such as US Pacific Command or US Central Command, to support the special operators.
This is an outgrowth of the war on terrorism, in which special forces played a critical role in defeating al Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Given the global nature of the terrorist threat, officials decided SOCOM is the logical choice to lead such operations.
Along with the new focus, officials plan to boost the special operations forces by about 4,000 troops, to include staff increases at MacDill AFB, Fla., and at theater special operations commands, known as T-SOCs. The additional headquarters personnel will help prepare for new missions and enable SOCOM to “conduct a wider range of activities simultaneously,” said a senior defense official.
Officials declined to detail the proposed special operations budget increase. (It is included in the Pentagon’s Fiscal 2004 budget request.) However, according to the Washington Times, SOCOM’s budget will rise from $4.9 billion this fiscal year to $6 billion in 2004, with a total of $7 billion to be added through 2009.
In practical terms, theater special operations commands will now have access to air, naval, and land forces. These forces will support the T-SOC when necessary and “act in response to its direction and control.”
Rumsfeld said SOCOM will divest itself of some non-core missions, such as routine foreign military training and civil support. A senior official added that DOD also wants SOCOM to divest some of its combat search and rescue, support airlift, and counterdrug operations. Other DOD entities could handle these mission areas.
However, a second senior official cautioned that the cost of SOCOM’s new agenda will not be offset entirely by the proposed budget increases and divestiture of non-core missions. The Air Force and other services will foot part of the bill.
“They are the ones who are supplying the people and in some cases are underwriting some of the equipment,” the senior official said. “There is a transfer that takes place there.”
The SOCOM changes, though driven in part by current events are part of the Pentagon’s overall restructuring of its unified commands—the latest move to align the commands with future responsibilities. Under last year’s update of the Unified Command Plan, DOD created US Northern Command, headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colo., and merged US Space Command with US Strategic Command into a new STRATCOM, at Offutt AFB, Neb.
To accompany its enhanced mission, SOCOM will also receive some additional equipment and replacements for “equipment losses in Afghanistan and elsewhere,” Rumsfeld said.
DOD plans to increase the number of special operations aircraft, including USAF AC-130s and MC-130s, to provide an attrition reserve as a hedge against future losses and to provide a “step-up in overall capability” over the next few years, an official said.
Further, DOD wants to accelerate the CV-22 program to replace aging helicopters in Air Force Special Operations Command but only if the redesigned tilt-rotor aircraft proves it is safe and effective in flight tests this spring. The V-22 is designed to hover and land like a helicopter but cruise with the speed and range of a fixed-wing airplane. The aircraft was redesigned after a pair of deadly crashes in 2000 and is currently undergoing a new round of flight tests.
Once the V-22 gets past testing, the follow-on question will be “is there some way ... to accelerate use of those aircraft,” said a senior DOD official.
Currently, the Marine Corps MV-22, which is not slated for special operations, is scheduled for delivery first, so Marine pilots will be first in the training pipeline. AFSOC would follow with the CV-22, which will have mission-specific equipment, such as terrain-following radars, and additional fuel capacity and is intended to be much more capable than existing special ops helicopters.
One way to accelerate special ops use of the V-22, said the senior official, would be to change the sequence of deliveries. Another option would be to certify some Marine pilots for special ops missions. (In a separate move, DOD already has tapped the Marine Corps to contribute ground forces to SOCOM this year, for the first time in the service’s history.) A third option would be to advance USAF CV-22 pilots in the training pipeline.
—Adam J. Hebert
USAF To Exceed AEF Rotations
The Air Force announced Jan. 3 that it would deploy some units and personnel outside their normal Air and Space Expeditionary Force rotation schedule to meet new requirements issued by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The forces will support ongoing operations and possibly take part in future contingencies, said officials.
USAF organized itself into 10 AEFs in 1999. An AEF rotation cycle is 15 months, during which time elements of two AEFs normally are vulnerable to 90-day deployments. Currently, the service has deployed nearly all the forces assigned to AEF 7 and AEF 8 to support Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch, covering no-fly zones in Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and to operate more than 12 expeditionary bases.
A single AEF includes about six squadrons of fighter and bomber aircraft, as well as enabling forces, such as C-130 and air refueling aircraft, search and rescue forces, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, and necessary support personnel to operate expeditionary bases.
The new deployments will round out AEF 7 and 8 and add almost another full AEF. Maj. Gen. Timothy A. Peppe, AEF special assistant to the Chief of Staff, predicted that “expeditionary combat support, such as services, combat communications, intelligence, security forces, civil engineers and others, will be tasked at a level beyond three AEFs of capability.”
To round out AEF 7 and 8, USAF has called up B-1B bombers from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and HC-130 aircraft from Moody AFB, Ga. From AEF 9 and 10, the service identified F-15C fighters from Langley AFB, Va.; F-16 fighters from Spangdahlem AB, Germany; HC-130s from Moody AFB, Ga.; HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles from Nellis AFB, Nev.
Additional forces include F-15Es from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; E-8C Joint STARS radar aircraft from Robins AFB, Ga.; and AC-130 gunships, MC-130 Combat Talons, and MH-53 Pave Low helicopters from Hurlburt Field, Fla. Other aircraft and personnel were included in the deployment order, but USAF had not yet identified specific units.
Last year, the service announced plans for AEF structure changes, set to begin in June, to relieve some pressure points in the system. The new arrangement, said Peppe last September, will enable the service to handle both steady-state requirements and surge support for contingencies. USAF plans to distribute elements of two on-call wings among its basic 10 AEFs, equalize the draw of combat support forces from throughout the service, and realign some Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command forces.
War Hero Joe Foss Dies at 87
Joseph Jacob Foss, a Medal of Honor recipient and a Marine Corps fighter pilot with 26 aerial victories in World War II, died Jan. 1 at a hospital in Arizona following a long illness.
Foss served as an Air Force Association National Director Emeritus and was a former AFA President and Chairman of the Board.
He was the first American pilot to equal the World War I record of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, “the ace of aces.”
Foss, who was born April 17, 1915, in South Dakota, was twice governor of that state, among other civilian accomplishments.
Foss joined the Marines and won his pilot’s wings in March 1941. On Guadalcanal in the Pacific, he and a group of fliers, known as Foss’s Flying Circus for their aerobatic maneuvers, were a major force in defending the island.
In one day, Foss shot down five enemy aircraft, bringing his total to 14 in just 13 days. He went on to claim 12 more aerial victories. However, in one of his most impressive actions, he didn’t fire a single round.
On Jan. 25, 1943, Foss and his eight Marine F-4F and four Army P-38 pilots went up to meet 60 Japanese bombers and fighters bent on wiping out the airfield. Foss ordered his flight to stay high instead of attacking the fighters, realizing that the bombers could slip through if the US aircraft engaged the fighters. As the Americans kept maneuvering nearby, the enemy aircraft began to run out of fuel. The Japanese pilots did not attack the smaller US group, thinking they were decoys for a larger force hidden in the clouds. Meanwhile a few more American fighters arrived, shooting down four Japanese fighters before the enemy aircraft got away. Japan never attempted another sustained aerial attack on Guadalcanal.
Foss returned to the States a few months later to be decorated and give pep talks around the country.
His Medal of Honor citation noted that Foss’s “remarkable flying skill, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighter spirit were distinctive factors in the defense of strategic American positions on Guadalcanal.”
After the war, Foss took a commission in the South Dakota Air National Guard, which he helped organize. Then he moved into politics and was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives. During the Korean War, he returned to active duty, this time as an Air Force colonel. Later he became chief of staff of the South Dakota ANG as a brigadier general.
In 1954, South Dakotans overwhelmingly elected him governor and sent him back for a second term. Following his time as governor, Foss became the first commissioner of the American Football League, serving in that capacity until 1966. At the same time, he served as AFA President and then AFA Chairman of the Board.
USAF Kills Troubled B-1 Defensive System Upgrade
The Air Force on Dec. 19 announced cancellation of its B-1B bomber Defensive Systems Upgrade Program after years of repeated delays and cost growth. USAF acquisition executive Marvin R. Sambur said in a statement that the service “can no longer afford to invest precious resources in problematic programs.”
Instead, the Air Force will spend the $600 million intended for DSUP on other B-1 improvements.
The upgrade program, which started in 1997, had not progressed beyond engineering and manufacturing development. USAF twice reported to Congress that the program had breached the Nunn–McCurdy law governing excessive cost growth. The service restructured the program three times trying to get it on track.
Officials said the program faced yet another restructuring that would have added an additional 17 months and $175 million to its cost.
The upgrade program was to have replaced most of the existing ALQ-161 electronic countermeasures system with updated defensive systems, including a fiber-optic towed decoy. However, the ALE-55 decoy system proved problematic. The Air Force stated that 11 test sorties had been flown with “mixed results and limited success.”
However, according to BAE Systems, maker of the ALE-55 system, problems with the decoy were resolved through redesign. The Navy is purchasing the decoy for use on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
Nonetheless, Air Force officials said in December that an independent review team recently characterized the B-1 upgrade program as “high risk” because of the decoy system’s performance with the B-1 bomber.
In lieu of the DSUP improvements, the Air Force now will fund other B-1 modernization efforts, such as:
nUpgrade of the ALQ-161 ECM system.
nDevelopment, procurement, and integration of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile–Extended Range to provide increased standoff strike capability.
nAdditional sustaining engineering efforts.
nImproved Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser and chaff dispenser capabilities.
A growing backlog in funding for important upgrades was one of the factors in USAF’s 2001 decision to retire about one-third of the Lancer fleet and consolidate B-1 operations at two bases. Money saved through that move was to be reinvested in the remaining B-1Bs.
Are There “Holes” in Bio-War Defenses?
The Pentagon does not possess vaccines to protect troops against some biological agents because of a lack of funds and commercial interest, one of the military’s top bio-defense scientists told reporters Jan. 8.
One day later, the Pentagon issued a statement declaring that DOD is prepared to protect its personnel against biological weapons.
“In addition to the vaccines against the most likely biological threats—anthrax and smallpox—DOD has other countermeasures to protect against biological threat agents,” said William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
Col. Erik A. Henchal, head of the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Ft. Detrick, Md., told reporters that his lab has developed 20 vaccines for various agents, but most are simply on the shelf awaiting production. Under the current process, military researchers develop a vaccine then license it to a company for production. However, the Pentagon has been unable to attract interest from pharmaceutical companies to produce some vaccines because they see little commercial value.
For example, Henchal said, the US currently has no supplies of vaccine to counter one of the most deadly substances on Earth—botulinum toxin. Iraq supposedly has destroyed more than 2,000 gallons of the toxin since 1991 but is thought still to have large stocks.
Henchal admitted that there are holes in US defenses against chemical and biological threats that agencies such as his are trying to fill. He recommended new financing methods or production facilities dedicated to military use to get the necessary vaccines into production.
The Pentagon statement noted that DOD uses a “range of measures to protect service members from biological threats, including combinations of protective clothing and equipment, detectors, vaccines, antibiotics, and training.”
Henchal had emphasized in his remarks to reporters that the US military could detect most chemical and biological threats on the battlefield and could operate in protective gear. However, he said a chem–bio attack would slow operations by about 30 percent. It could have a paralyzing effect.
When asked which are the most serious chem–bio threats to US troops, Henchal said anthrax and smallpox. Since the Pentagon already has taken steps to vaccinate troops against those two threats, he said it’s more likely Iraq or other foes would produce other agents.
The Case of the ANG Pilots: Blame, Support, and Conflicting Testimony
The Air Force on Jan. 14 began an Article 32 hearing against two Illinois Air National Guard pilots charged in the April 17, 2002, bombing incident that left four Canadian soldiers dead and eight others wounded. The Article 32 hearing—similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding—determines whether the pilots must face a court-martial.
Maj. Harry Schmidt and Maj. William Umbach were charged last year with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and eight counts of assault. (See “Aerospace World: Air Force Charges Two Pilots in Deaths of Canadians,” October 2002, p. 19.)
Those who blame Schmidt and Umbach say the pilots failed to follow proper flight procedures and acted recklessly. Supporters maintain the pilots responded appropriately to a perceived attack and blame superiors for a general lack of communication.Following are some of the comments and witness testimony surrounding the case.
On Combat Airmanship
Brig. Gen. Stephen T. Sargent, the general who filed the charges, testified: The pilots broke the most basic rules of combat flying and showed “reckless disregard” for orders intended to prevent such accidents. They violated the rules of engagement for coalition aircraft by descending and slowing down before dropping a 500-pound bomb on what they mistook for hostile forces, rather than ascending and speeding away to identify those forces from a position of safety.—New York Times, Jan. 22.
Lt. Col. Ralph Viets, ANG pilot, when asked by the prosecution if the pilots’ actions flew in the face of standard protocol, responded: “It’s not all that unusual.”—St. Louis Post–Dispatch, Jan. 18.
Lt. Col. Craig Fisher, an F-16 pilot who was a key officer in the coalition air operations center on April 17, testified: “A prudent person would remain outside the threat envelope.” —St. Louis Post–Dispatch, Jan. 18.
Col. Lawrence Stutzriem, a senior officer in the CAOC on April 17, testified that Schmidt’s request to strafe from a high angle in the black of night was “extremely unusual. ... It’s just something you wouldn’t expect, something that wouldn’t occur.”—New York Times, Jan. 16.
Capt. Joseph M. Jasper, Canadian soldier at Tarnak Farms, testified that fire from Canadian troops could reach only a few thousand feet into the air before burning out. (The pilots were flying at about 20,000 feet.) Upon cross-examination, he admitted he was observing a drill some distance away from where the bomb fell, so did not see how high his men were firing.—New York Times, Jan. 15.
On Lack of Communication
Capt. Evan Cozadd, an Air Force intelligence officer, testified that the pilots had been warned before the mission that friendly forces might be on the ground. “We couldn’t speak with any degree of certainty who they were looking at.” Upon cross-examination, Cozadd admitted he did not know of a Canadian live-fire exercise at Tarnak Farms.—Washington Post, Jan. 21.
Stutzriem, in further testimony, said that air combat orders Air Force pilots were required to read included information that coalition ground forces would intermittently use live ammunition. “I would assume every pilot who read [the orders] knew that Tarnak Farm was there. ... It was well-known. Kandahar is a location of friendlies.”—New York Times, Jan. 17.
Maj. Marshall S. Woodson III, an officer on the ground who relayed instructions via radio to the two pilots, testified upon cross-examination that he had never heard of Tarnak Farms.—Washington Post, Jan. 21.
Jasper, upon cross-examination, said that there were breakdowns in communication and noted that his regiment had nearly been strafed by friendly aircraft a month before the bombing.—New York Times, Jan. 15.
Col. David C. Nichols, the pilots’ commander: “The problem I see with this is we have friendly aircraft in a war zone that is unknown as to where the bad guys are and where the good guys are. ... A stated, ongoing problem from the beginning [has been] not knowing where the friendly locations are.”—In taped comments following the incident, Washington Times, Jan. 9.
Pentagon Leaders Say “No” to Military Draft
Two lawmakers proposed that the US reinstitute the military draft after nearly 30 years of operating with an all-volunteer force. They claim the present system unfairly places undue burden and risk on minorities.
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D–N.Y.) and Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D–Mich.) introduced legislation last month to require military or alternative national service for men and women, ages 18 to 26.
Top leaders at the Pentagon insist there is no need for a draft because the all-volunteer force works.
“The disadvantages of using compulsion ... are notable,” Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Jan. 7. “The disadvantages to the individuals ... are notable.”
Rumsfeld added that those drafted created tremendous “churning.” They required an “enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone.”
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed. “The all-volunteer force is working extremely well; it’s efficient; it’s effective; it’s given the United States of America ... a military that is second to none,” he said.
Rangel, Conyers, and others point out that minority representation as a percentage of the entire US military force is far higher than minority representation in society. Consequently, they believe, minorities would suffer a disproportionate share of combat casualties in any war.
A Pentagon report issued Jan. 13 gives a different perspective on the subject because it draws a distinction between the total US force and that fraction making up the combat arms.
Blacks (14 percent of the general population) make up 21 percent of the total military but 15 percent of the combat arms positions. The majority serve in administration, health, and other support positions.
Some additional comments about the military draft made by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld at the Jan. 7 press briefing received wide circulation from columnists around the country. The columnists suggested that Rumsfeld had demeaned the service of those who had been drafted.
This is the portion of Rumsfeld’s Jan. 7 comments that ignited the firestorm: “If you think back to when we had the draft, people were brought in, they were paid some fraction of what they could make in the civilian manpower market, because they were without choices. Big categories [of people] were exempted—people that were in college, people that were teaching, people that were married. It varied from time to time but those were all kinds of exemptions. And what was left [those who were not exempted] were sucked into the intake, trained for a period of months, and then went out, adding no value, no advantage really, to the United States armed services over any sustained period of time—because [of] the churning that took place. It took an enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone.”
On Jan. 21, Rumsfeld issued a statement in which he said his earlier words were misinterpreted by the press and were “not eloquent.”
The statement reads: “I did not say [draftees] added no value while they were serving. They added great value. I was commenting on the loss of that value when they left the service. I certainly had no intention of saying what has been reported or of leaving that impression. Hundreds of thousands of military draftees served over years with great distinction and valor—many being wounded and still others being killed.
“The last thing I would want to do is disparage the service of those draftees. I always have had the highest respect for their service, and I offer my full apology to any veteran who misinterpreted my remarks when I said them, or who may have read any of the articles or columns that have attempted to take my words and suggest they were disparaging. ...
“It is particularly troubling for me that there are truly outstanding men and women in uniform or their families—past and present—who may believe that the Secretary of Defense would say or mean what some have written. I did not. I would not.”
Navy Offers New, Improved Vision for Sea Power
The top naval leadership last October approved a document detailing the Navy’s transformation goals for the next century. The paper largely reaffirms existing plans but is consistent with several of the Air Force’s warfighting priorities.
The vision statement notes that adaptation and transformation have been a “hallmark of the Navy/Marine Corps team.”
“Naval Power 21 ... A Naval Vision” was signed by Navy Secretary Gordon R. England, Gen. James L. Jones Jr., then Marine Corps Commandant, now Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Vernon Clark.
The document lays out nine future capabilities for the Navy and Marine Corps to pursue. These will keep the services “transformational by design.” The Navy wants to:
nImprove intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability “to acquire moving targets and deliver an increasingly persistent and decisive volume of timely fire.”
nIntegrate Navy and Marine Corps tactical aviation assets “for the optimum balance of efficiency and warfighting effectiveness.”
nUse unmanned air, land, and sea vehicles for both combat and reconnaissance missions.
nDevelop and project defenses against enemy ballistic and cruise missile attack, “extended to include over the shore.”
nBuild networks of ISR and command, control, communications, and computer systems “to enable integrated, forward deployed naval forces to deliver decisive effects.”
nImprove information warfare planning and execution, reachback intelligence, and planning support.
One of the Navy’s declared warfighting strategies, “Sea Strike,” seeks to improve the offensive firepower the Navy can bring into combat from the seas. This will be accomplished by leveraging “enhanced C4ISR, precision, stealth, and endurance to increase operational tempo, reach, and effectiveness.”
The Navy/Marine Corps team promises to dissuade, deter, and defeat adversaries, together with the Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard, by ushering in “order of magnitude increases in warfighting effectiveness.”
News NotesBy Tamar A. Mehuron, Associate Editor
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Tweets by @AirForceMag