Donley Cites Budget Vise
The Air Force budget is under attack from within, Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley said during a speech on Capitol Hill at the inaugural meeting of the Senate Aerospace Caucus May 6. Stated succinctly, the service’s topline isn’t keeping pace with the new missions USAF is required to take on, he said.
"Nearly every aspect of the Air Force budget is growing larger and faster than the Air Force budget," said Donley, carefully choosing his words for irony. While 63 percent of the service’s spending over the future years defense program is consumed by day-to-day operations, the remaining 37 percent is for investment.
He said one-quarter of the investment dollar goes to the combat air forces. (The F-35 alone consumes 60 percent of CAF investment funding.) Space projects get 19 percent, and big portions of investment spending go toward "joint enablers" such as airlift, tankers, and intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance, and for research and development.
Lorenz Retiring, Rice To AETC
The Air Force announced May 10 that Gen. Stephen R. Lorenz will be retiring after 37 years of uniformed service. He had led Air Education and Training Command since July 2008.
Lorenz is a US Air Force Academy graduate and a command pilot, with more than 3,500 hours in the cockpits of various transport and tanker aircraft. Replacing him at AETC is Lt. Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., whom the Senate on May 7 confirmed to receive a fourth star. Rice has led US Forces Japan and 5th Air Force since February 2008.
The AETC enlisted force plans to induct Lorenz into the Order of the Sword, its highest honor, during a July 16 ceremony at Lackland AFB, Tex.
Rescue Crew Takes Mackay Trophy
The four crew members of an HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter from the 33rd Rescue Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, have won the 2009 Mackay Trophy, Kadena officials announced May 19. The National Aeronautic Association award recognizes the year’s most meritorious flight.
The airmen—Capt. Robert Rosebrough, 1st Lt. Lucas Will, MSgt. Dustin Thomas, and SSgt. Tim Philpott—comprised Pedro 16 during a July 29, 2009 mission while operating with the 129th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
Pedro 16 directed rescue operations by Pedro 15, another HH-60 Pave Hawk crew, to retrieve wounded soldiers from an active firefight, kept in radio contact with the ground commander, and provided emergency close air support, returning fire themselves and acting as forward air controller for two Army OH-58 helicopters.
Cyber Command Starts Work
US Cyber Command on May 21 officially began initial operations at Ft. Meade, Md. It now leads the efforts to protect the US military’s cyber network and attack an adversary through that network, if necessary. It is a subunified command subordinate to US Strategic Command.
The nascent organization, led by Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, draws together existing cyber capabilities from across the Department of Defense, including 24th Air Force. The Senate on May 7 confirmed Alexander’s promotion to a four-star general for the position. He also remains at the helm of the National Security Agency at Ft. Meade.
"Given our increasing dependency on cyberspace, this new command will bring together the resources of the department to address vulnerabilities and meet the ever-growing array of cyber threats to our military systems," said Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates May 21 upon appointing Alexander to the top cyber post.
Newest GPS Satellite Launches
The Air Force and its industry partners on May 27 successfully launched the first Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite into space aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV expendable launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. This mission marked the first time that a Delta IV carried a GPS satellite into space.
The Boeing-built Block IIF satellite joined 30 other GPS spacecraft of earlier configurations already on orbit. The company said on May 28 the first signals had been acquired from the new satellite, paving the way for orbital maneuvers and operational testing. The satellite was expected to start operational service within 90 days of launch.
The Block IIF model features a more robust and higher power military signal—first included on GPS Block IIR-M satellites—and a new L5 civil signal for aviation safety of flight. Boeing is under contract to supply the Air Force with 12 Block IIFs.
X-51A Sets Scramjet Marks
The Air Force’s experimental X-51A WaveRider unmanned hypersonic air vehicle flew successfully on its maiden flight attempt on May 26, traveling under its own power for longer than any other supersonic combustion ramjet-powered vehicle in history, according to USAF and industry officials.
Released from a B-52 bomber over the Southern California coast, the X-51’s scramjet propelled the vehicle for more than three-and-a-half minutes over the Pacific Ocean after its host booster expired, they said. During this time, the X-51 accelerated to speeds of about Mach 5 and an altitude of about 70,000 feet.
After about 200 seconds of engine burn, a vehicle anomaly occurred and the flight was terminated. Nonetheless, Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager in the Air Force Research Laboratory, said his team of Air Force, DARPA, NASA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney engineers was "ecstatic" with the success of this maiden mission. Three more flights of expendable X-51As are planned.
ANG Units Get Newer F-16s
The Minnesota Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth on April 27 received the first of 20 F-16 Block 50 aircraft from Spangdahlem AB, Germany. That same day, the South Dakota ANG’s 114th FW in Sioux Falls took delivery of the first of 22 Block 40 F-16s from Hill AFB, Utah, which will replace its Block 30 models.
The Block 50s are replacing Duluth’s current F-16 Block 25s, which are being retired. The 148th FW becomes the second Air Guard wing to fly Block 50s. Sioux Falls’ 175th Fighter Squadron will operate the Block 40s in place of the Block 30s it has flown since 1991.
Duluth received its 20th and final Block 50 on May 29, while Sioux Falls is expected to receive all of its the newer F-16s by September. Spangdahlem is shedding about half of its F-16s as part of USAF’s 2010 drawdown of some 250 legacy fighters; Hill is losing about one-third of its F-16s under this reduction.
Schwartz: Airmen Are the Key
The case for maximizing the potential and performance of every airman has never been more compelling, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz told attendees May 4 at the 2010 senior enlisted leaders summit at Maxwell AFB, Ala.
"Today, more than ever, tactical effects can have strategic consequences," he said. "In many instances, mission success hinges on airmen outside the wire, making split-second decisions in a highly dynamic environment in which black and white choices are rare, and the many shades of gray can challenge even the most brilliant and competent among us."
Schwartz said it is imperative that airmen have "the right experience, training, and education at the right time" so the service can perform its assigned missions, given the challenges of constrained resources and a historically low total end strength.
Stockpile Details Revealed
The Obama Administration on May 3 took the unprecedented step of disclosing the number of nuclear weapons in the nation’s stockpile—5,113 warheads, as of Sept. 30, 2009.
Officials said the move was intended to encourage similar disclosure by the world’s nuclear powers and strengthen nuclear nonproliferation efforts.
For details, see "Chart Page" on p. 24.
Guard OK With C-27J Fleet
A fleet of 38 C-27J twin-engine transport aircraft will be enough to meet the Army’s needs for direct support at austere forward locations, when augmented by some C-130 airlifters, Air Force Gen. Craig R. McKinley, National Guard Bureau chief, told reporters May 4 in Washington, D.C.
The Pentagon decided to procure 38 C-27s, even though the standing requirement is for 78. But McKinley said, "With 38 C-27s and however-many [C-130s] we need, we can do the direct-support mission." He added, "We’ve done tests recently in Iraq that show the -130 can deliver the last tactical mile."
The C-130, the comparatively larger airframe, has "significant capacity" for direct support when the proper techniques, processes, and procedures are used, said McKinley. Air Force officials told House lawmakers in April that the service is making available 40 C-130s for this role.
Schwartz Clarifies LAAR Use
The Air Force wants a Light Attack Armed Reconnaissance aircraft primarily to help build the air capacity of allied air forces and other partners, said Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, USAF Chief of Staff.
The Air Force would not need this LAAR to carry out its close air support mission, Schwartz added. It has identified "a limited need" for a light platform to serve in that role, he said.
Schwartz made his somewhat surprising remarks on May 6 at a Center for National Policy-sponsored event in Washington, D.C.
The Chief of Staff said the presence of LAAR in USAF’s combat units will give the service the ability to transfer the skills for operating light attack airplanes to the airmen of maturing air forces in partner nations.
The Air Force plans to buy 15 LAAR airframes in Fiscal 2012. For the basic CAS mission, Air Combat Command is pursuing a concept called OA-X.
NORAD Boss Cites Concerns
Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr. on May 13 said NORAD’s "aging systems"—namely radars and air defense fighters—have become "a concern" to planners.
Renuart spoke at his final press conference as commander of both North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command.
He acknowledged that there is "a modernization plan in place" for air defense-related fighters, but the Pentagon has in place only "temporary" fixes for current ground-based radars.
Renuart asserted that DOD must have "investment in place" in the 2017-19 period, when those radars "begin to age out."
On May 19, Vice Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. replaced Renuart, who officially retired on July 1.
ANG Wing Gets New Missions
The Air Force announced May 11 that the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Fighter Wing at Springfield-Beckley Airport will gain three missions over the next several years as it loses its F-16 training role per BRAC 2005.
Springfield, located northeast of Dayton, not far from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, will host a ground control station for operating MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft in combat zones and will serve as an interim site for F-16 bulkhead repair.
The wing’s Air Guardsmen will also support the operations of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson. According to local press reports, the new missions will retain more than 860 jobs at the Air Guard base.
Wyatt Cites New ASA Study
Lt. Gen. Harry M. Wyatt III, Air National Guard director, told members of the House Armed Services Committee readiness subcommittee on April 27 that US Northern Command officials are studying the requirements for the air sovereignty alert mission, currently met by 18 alert sites, 16 of them covered by the Air Guard.
Wyatt said this study is be the first one conducted since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and would "determine if 18 is the required number" or perhaps "more or a little bit less." If the answer is less, that might solve a big problem for the Air Guard, which expects to have a significant portion of its fighter fleet reach retirement age by 2017, if not sooner.
However, whichever way the NORTHCOM study comes down, Wyatt said the Air Force Chief of Staff has "pledged adequate resources to make sure that [ASA] mission is covered."
Reservists Aid Gulf Clean-up
Air Force Reservists from the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown ARS, Ohio, on May 1 began operating two specially modified C-130H aircraft from Stennis Airport at Bay St. Louis, Miss., to spray a dispersing agent on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
They were part of the US government’s response following the April 20 explosion and sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig about 130 miles southeast of New Orleans. By their return home on June 4, these airmen had flown 92 sorties, spraying 30,000 acres of Gulf waters with 149,000 gallons of dispersant.
The Youngstown unit has the US military’s only full-time large-area fixed-wing aerial spray capability. While its C-130s normally provide larvicide and insect eradication and vegetation control at training ranges, they are also used to help disperse oil slicks by spraying a chemical that helps break it down for natural assimilation by the ocean.
USAFE C-130Js Branching Out
Two of the new C-130J transports assigned to the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein AB, Germany, participated in Flintlock 10, a US Africa Command-sponsored multinational capacity-building exercise that ran May 1 to May 23 throughout western Africa. They operated out of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
While Ramstein’s C-130Js began flying in-and-out missions to Africa last December, Flintlock 10 marked the first time that they deployed to "an austere environment for significant durations," as well as their first involvement in an exercise on the African continent, said Maj. Mark Oberson, 37th AS assistant director of operations.
"The -130s are making this exercise happen," said Maj. Randle Tankersley who works plans and operations for 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa). With them, exercise planners were able to bring the participants together at multiple exercise locations. Ramstein is building a force of 14 C-130Js.
SBIRS Sensor Gets Intel Nod
HEO-2, the second Space Based Infrared System sensor payload already on orbit, has been approved to provide technical intelligence (TI) in support of the US military and the intelligence community, the Air Force announced May 7.
This operational acceptance came after the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency validated that HEO-2’s sophisticated IR sensor provides accurate, timely, reliable, and unambiguous TI data for use in intelligence production.
HEO-2 has resided on a classified intelligence satellite in highly elliptical orbit since 2008. US Strategic Command certified it for operations in mid-2009. Its predecessor, HEO-1, was cleared for operations in late 2008. The main mission of both payloads is to provide warning of ballistic missile launches worldwide.
Shaw Drops A-10 Engine Work
Airmen at Shaw AFB, S.C., on May 11 loaded their last TF34 turbofan engine for an A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack aircraft on a truck for shipment to Moody AFB, Ga., marking the end of Shaw’s 18 years of major repair work on A-10 engines.
Over that span, Shaw airmen produced more than 654 serviceable TF34 engines in support of A-10 units at Pope AFB, N.C. (later Moody), Spangdahlem AB, Germany, and Eglin AFB, Fla.
Originally, the Shaw mechanics operated under the 20th Component Maintenance Squadron’s Propulsion Flight. It later became the TF34 Engine Regional Repair Center. As part of BRAC 2005, the Air Force is relocating A-10 engine work at two Centralized Intermediate Repair Facilities, one at Moody and one at Bradley Arpt., Conn.
USAF Rejects RPA Leasing
The Air Force is not looking to lease remotely piloted aircraft, not even temporarily, the service leadership said May 12 on Capitol Hill. These comments came in response to the question by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) on whether leasing RPAs would make them available more quickly to warfighters outside of Southwest Asia.
"We intend to keep this capability over a longer term," so it makes more sense—and is probably ultimately less expensive—to buy and own RPAs, answered Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley.
Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz added that the Air Force is already doing all it can from a resource and manpower standpoint to increase its RPA ranks, including "maximizing" MQ-9 Reaper production. Accordingly, he said, USAF is already on "the max performance glide path" to satisfy combatant commander needs around the globe.
Sheppard Hosts NCO Academy
Sheppard AFB, Tex., will host a noncommissioned officer academy that is expected to open its doors to technical sergeants in early 2011 and initially graduate about 1,300 airmen annually, Air Force officials announced May 7.
The new academy will train active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve airmen. It will give the Air Force a total of 11 NCO academies—including one each in Alaska, Hawaii, Germany, and Japan—that will graduate a combined estimated 11,800 students each year.
The Sheppard academy will be housed in a facility on the base grounds previously used for enlisted medical training. That training mission is moving to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, courtesy of BRAC 2005.
New Intel Center Starts Up
After more than seven years of planning and preparations, the new consolidated operating facilities for the 497th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group at JB Langley, Va., in late April became fully operational.
This $75 million construction project brought together more than 700 personnel and their equipment into two new buildings at the north end of the base. Previously, they operated out of six different facilities around Langley.
The group runs DGS-1, a main hub in the Distributed Common Ground System, the Air Force’s global enterprise for processing overhead imagery and signals intelligence from airborne ISR assets. With the new setup, the group’s daily capacity to analyze still imagery has increased by 50 percent, its full-motion video capacity by 300 percent.
Stenner Wants Speedier Training
Lt. Gen Charles E. Stenner Jr., Air Force Reserve commander, said May 4 if he had more funds, he would put them toward "seasoning" new recruits to make them deployable faster.
Stenner, speaking at an Air Force Association-sponsored presentation in Arlington, Va., said Reservists graduate basic schools "at a three-level" of competence, but need to be at a five-level to deploy. Recruits who do not get to deploy soon after they complete training are frustrated.
In fact, many, after spending months working up to a deployable skill level, wind up not staying in the Air Force. "It’s a morale killer," he said. By contrast, "retention goes up tremendously" for nonpriors who get to deploy soon after completing their training. He would keep the new Reservists in training until they get their five-level certification.
Puerto Rico Unit Gets Reprieve
Senior Air Force officials told House lawmakers April 28 during an oversight hearing that USAF would hold off temporarily on a plan to retire the C-130s of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard’s 156th Airlift Wing next year that was proposed as part of the service’s Fiscal 2011 budget.
Under the original plan, the wing would have lost its six C-130s. But this idea met with Congressional resistance. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, said March 25 the plan would "eliminate the only flying unit in the Puerto Rican Air Guard" despite this unit excelling during the recent Haiti earthquake relief.
Accordingly, Lt. Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, said the service is discussing with the Air Guard, the Puerto Rico ANG’s 156th AW, and Office of the Secretary of Defense delaying the retirements "to allow time to determine a suitable follow-on mission for the unit."
Chinese Near Fifth Gen Fighter
If a senior US foreign intelligence analyst is correct, China will have a fifth generation fighter, rivaling the Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, operational by 2018, Reuters news service reported May 20.
"It’s yet to be seen exactly how [the next generation Chinese fighter] will compare one-on-one with, say, an F-22, but it’ll certainly be in that ballpark," Wayne Ulman, China issues manager at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, told the Congressionally chartered US-China Economic and Security Review Commission that day.
Ulman’s estimated timeline is at least two years and possibly seven years earlier than what Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates told Congress in 2009 during the heated debate over Pentagon plans to cap F-22 production at just 187 aircraft.
Bronze Stars for Valor Awarded
MSgt. Jeffrey Guilmain, SSgt. Simon Malson, SSgt. Christopher Martin, and SSgt. Jeffrey Reiss on April 29 each received a Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz during a ceremony at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. All are combat controllers with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron there.
Guilmain was honored for his actions in Afghanistan in mid-2006, during which he conducted 20 mounted and dismounted patrols and controlled more than 50 strike aircraft.
Malson was recognized for his efforts in Afghanistan from mid- to late 2008, including controlling more than 100 aircraft flights that led to more than 125 enemies killed in action.
Martin received his award for directing 22 air attacks, five strafing runs, and the release of 8,000 pounds of ordnance during two days of fighting in mid-2008 in Afghanistan.
Reiss got his medal for conducting more than 50 combat missions and delivering airpower in five direct-fire engagements, which led to 60 enemies killed during his tour in Afghanistan in mid- to late 2008.
WWII Remains Identified
The Department of Defense on April 28 announced that its forensic specialists had identified the remains of eight airmen missing in action since their B-24J Liberator bomber was shot down Sept. 1, 1944, during a mission over the Republic of Palau.
The recovered airmen are: 2nd Lt. Frank J. Arhar of Lloydell, Pa.; 2nd Lt. Jack S. M. Arnett, Charleston, W.Va.; Flight Officer William B. Simpson, Winston-Salem, N.C.; TSgt. Charles T. Goulding, Marlboro, N.Y.; TSgt. Robert J. Stinson, San Bernardino, Calif.; SSgt. Jimmie Doyle, Lamesa, Tex.; SSgt. Leland D. Price, Oakwood, Ohio; and SSgt. Earl E. Yoh, Scott, Ohio.
They were part of the 11-member B-24 aircrew. Excavations in 2005, 2007, and 2008 of an underwater site uncovered the remains.
Walker M. Mahurin, 1918-2010
Retired Col. Walker M. Mahurin, who achieved a combined 24.25 aerial kills during World War II and the Korean War, died May 11 at age 91 in Newport Beach, Calif. He died from complications from an earlier stroke, according to his Washington Post obituary.
During World War II, Mahurin served first in Europe, but after being shot down and working with the French underground for several months, he was sent to the Pacific, where he scored his last victory of the war in January 1945. In F-86s in Korea, he shot down 3.5 MiG-15s. On May 13, 1952, his aircraft was taken down by enemy ground fire.
He was captured by the North Koreans and held as a prisoner for 16 months. After his release, he left active duty in 1956, working in the aerospace industry, and later retiring from the Air Force Reserve.
Air Force Unveils Fiscal 2011 Force Structure Changes
The Air Force leadership on May 11 issued the service’s proposed force structure, realignment, and management actions in support of President Obama’s Fiscal 2011 budget submission.
On the personnel side, these changes involve more than 13,000 active duty, reserve, and civilian positions—some 2,450 active duty, 1,300 Air Force Reserve, 220 Air National Guard, and 9,200 civilian slots.
They include: contractor-to-civilian conversions (about 34 percent of the total positions) to bolster the acquisition workforce, executing joint basing actions (16 percent), increasing Air Force Reserve end strength (12 percent) by adding security forces and civil engineers, and boosting intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance manpower (11 percent) for purposes such as building 50 remotely piloted aircraft combat air patrols by the end of next fiscal year.
"The Air Force continues to support new and emerging missions, while making every effort to remedy the stress experienced by critically manned career fields," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, in explaining these moves.
In terms of equipment, the Air Force intends to retire 59 aircraft next fiscal year and add 137 new airframes to its inventory.
The list of aircraft to be phased out includes: 28 C-130Es, seven C-21As, three C-9Cs, 17 C-5As, two MC-130Es, and two T-43s.
The aircraft slated to join the force are: eight C-130Js, 10 C-17s, six C-27Js, one C-37B, three CV-22s, 19 F-22As, 11 F-35As, four MC-130Js, 16 MQ-1s, 29 MQ-9s, five RQ-4Bs, and 25 T-41Ds (for the US Air Force Academy).
Some of the planned retirements, such as the 17 C-5As, are contingent on Congressional approval stemming from language in Fiscal 2010 defense legislation.
Among the proposed activities, the Air Force would also continue to strengthen the nuclear enterprise, grow cyberspace capabilities, and establish an Air Reserve Command association at Little Rock AFB, Ark., to train C-130H operators.
These force structure changes do not reflect pending actions such as the beddown of MC-12s. Nor do they factor in future actions on programs such as the KC-X tanker.
Administration Announces New Nuclear Force Structure
The United States will reduce its deployed force of 450 Minuteman III ICBMs by at least 30 missiles and convert at least 34 of its 94 nuclear-capable B-2A and B-52H bombers to conventional-only roles under a new baseline nuclear force structure announced May 13.
The Obama Administration disclosed this plan when it submitted the New START Treaty to the Senate for ratification. The agreement, signed April 8 by the US and Russia, would limit each nation to no more than 1,550 deployed strategic nuclear warheads and 800 launchers, 700 of which are in deployed status. Obama is hoping for the Senate’s approval by year’s end.
Along with retaining "up to 420 deployed ICBMs, all with a single warhead" and "up to 60 nuclear-capable bombers," the US will maintain 14 strategic nuclear submarines, the White House said in a fact sheet outlining these changes.
However, the Navy will reduce the number of launch tubes on each sub from 24 to 20, deploying only 240 nuclear ballistic missiles at any one time.
The Administration said the new baseline "fully supports US security requirements and conforms to the New START limits." Further, this mix could be modified at a later point, while staying within the treaty’s limits, it noted.
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, while making the case for New START ratification before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 18, said the US will retain "all 18" operational B-2As—there are a total of 20 B-2s in the inventory—but convert some B-52Hs to a conventional-only role.
He said the new force structure does not require changes to current or planned basing arrangements. For example, Minuteman IIIs will remain at the Air Force’s three current missile bases in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
Gates said New START allows the US "complete flexibility" to deploy, maintain, and modernize its strategic nuclear forces. This includes the Air Force incorporating a long-range strike replacement at some point, he added.
Air Force Materiel Command Reorganizes
Air Force Materiel Command announced May 12 that it would adopt a new organizational construct built on directorates, divisions, and branches to acquire and sustain the service’s weapon systems.
Under the plan, most AFMC units were expected to shed by June 30 their current command structures based on wings, groups, and squadrons that have been in place since 2004.
These moves are intended to establish more clear lines of authority and accountability within the command, which is headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
This goal is one of the pillars of the Air Force-wide acquisition improvement plan that was launched in May 2009 to address shortcomings in the service’s acquisition community.
Air Force headquarters approved the AFMC conversion plan on May 11. AFMC officials said all of the command’s centers would see some changes, but the realignment would be manpower-neutral, meaning no jobs lost or gained.
AFMC officials said these changes are not a simple reversion to the directorate-based structure that was in place prior to 2004, but rather, represent a more significant overhaul.
Along with changing to directorates, several new program executive officer positions have been created to lead many of the directorates at the product centers.
AFMC organizations switching to the directorate-based model are: Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC) at Wright-Patterson; Air Armament Center (excluding the 46th Test Wing) at Eglin AFB, Fla.; Air Force Security Assistance Center at Wright-Patterson; Arnold Engineering and Development Center at Arnold AFB, Tenn.; and Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass.
For example, ASC is building five directorates: agile combat support, fighters/bombers, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance/special operations forces, mobility, and tanker.
ASC Commander Lt. Gen. Thomas J. Owen, who will also serve as PEO for aircraft, overseeing those five directorates, said May 12 these adjustments would "significantly improve communication and oversight of programs."
These changes also apply to AFMC’s three air logistics centers at Hill AFB, Utah, Robins AFB, Ga., and Tinker AFB, Okla.
The War on Terrorism
Operation Enduring Freedom—Afghanistan
By June 18, a total of 1,108 Americans had died in Operation Enduring Freedom. The total includes 1,106 troops and two Department of Defense civilians. Of these deaths, 817 were killed in action with the enemy while 291 died in noncombat incidents.
There have been 6,355 troops wounded in action during OEF. This number includes 2,856 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 3,499 who were unable to return to duty quickly.
Bagram Comes Under Attack
Just before dawn on May 19, a Taliban force of an estimated 30 to 40 militants, employing suicide bombers, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms, attacked the outer perimeter of Bagram Airfield, killing one contractor and wounding several service members, US military officials announced.
A building on the base also received minor damages during the attack.
The coalition and Afghan National Police killed 16 insurgents, including four intended suicide bombers before they could detonate themselves.
Following the attack, coalition and police forces detained five suspected militants in a nearby village.
During the attack, the coalition forces and Afghan National Police blocked the insurgents before they could completely breach the perimeter of the base.
Army helicopters, responsible for providing aerial security during the attack, engaged multiple insurgents outside the airfield. Additionally, an enemy mortar pit set up outside the perimeter was destroyed.
Army Lt. Col. Clarence Count Jr., spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-82 at Bagram, said the Taliban clearly "intended a spectacular event."
He added, "The quick defensive reaction by the Bagram security forces likely saved a lot of lives."
HC-130P Rescue Force Activated
The Air Force officially activated the 79th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at Camp Bastion on April 22, returning an HC-130P King rescue aircraft unit to the Afghanistan theater for the first time in five years.
"Helmand province is the busiest spot right now in Afghanistan; being here puts us right where they need us," said Lt. Col. Michael Hinsch, 79th ERQS commander.
At Bastion, the squadron is on 30-minute alert status.
The unit comprises some 86 airmen—aircrews, maintainers, and pararescue jumpers—deployed from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. They actually set up alert operations April 8 and flew their first alert sortie April 9.
The PJs can care for wounded troops in transit or airdrop from the fixed-wing HC-130Ps into a combat zone to help injured personnel.
Operation Iraqi Freedom—Iraq
By June 18, a total of 4,410 Americans had died in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The total includes 4,397 troops and 13 Department of Defense civilians. Of these deaths, 3,488 were killed in action with the enemy while 922 died in noncombat incidents.
There have been 31,860 troops wounded in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This number includes 17,896 who were wounded and returned to duty within 72 hours and 13,964 who were unable to return to duty quickly.
Security Forces Unit Gears for Drawdown
The 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at JB Balad on May 13 held its final expected change-of-command ceremony before the unit’s withdrawal from Iraq in September.
At the time of the ceremony, the squadron had completed 3,000 mounted and 140 dismounted outside-the-wire missions over some 79,000 miles of what is considered some of the most contested operating environments in Baghdad.
The unit had also managed to train 7,000 Iraqi policemen and build up 148 police stations.
During action since 2006, the 500-person unit has seen five airmen killed and several injured. It’s been called the "largest and bloodiest" Air Force squadron in Iraq.
"The 732nd has a rich history here," said Lt. Col. Dustin G. Sutton, the unit’s new commander. He added, "We provide law and order and are essential in police mentoring missions that are dynamic and dangerous."
Two Combat Controllers Receive Silver Stars
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz on April 29 presented SSgt. Sean Harvell, a combat controller with the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., two Silver Stars for his actions during multiple firefights in Afghanistan in 2007.
During the same ceremony at Lewis-McChord, Schwartz presented SSgt. Evan Jones, a combat controller in the same unit, with the Silver Star and the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device for his actions during two separate events while deployed to Afghanistan in 2008.
According to Lewis-McChord officials, Harvell deliberately exposed his position during one engagement so that he could coordinate close air support during an intense 23-hour firefight.
In another, when Taliban forces attacked his team as they responded to a US helicopter crash, Harvell was wounded and knocked unconscious, but he recovered, returning fire and directing danger-close CAS.
In a third incident, following a rolling, three-day engagement, Harvell repeatedly exposed his position during an eight-hour firefight, provided covering fire as his team withdrew, and then coordinated CAS for their replacements.
Jones received his Silver Star for his actions during an engagement in which the coalition special forces team that he was supporting came under fire from two directions.
Jones coordinated CAS, returning fire and exposing his position repeatedly, and even after being wounded, continued to direct the air support as his team fought through an area covered by 20 enemy combat positions.
The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., reported April 30 that Jones received his Bronze Star Medal for saving five soldiers and aiding in the deaths of 14 Taliban forces as he called in F-16 strafing runs, F/A-18 strikes, and helicopter evacuation of wounded team members.
Members of the Senate on May 6 formally launched the new Senate Aerospace Caucus to promote the health of the aerospace industrial base. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) lead the caucus.
Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz on April 21 approved the Air Force’s new cyberspace badge and set eligibility requirements for officers working in this domain. Guidelines for enlisted airmen would follow "in a future message," AFSPC officials said.
CMSgt. Antonio D. Travis, chief enlisted manager of the Air Force Special Operations Training Center at Hurlburt Field, Fla., made Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people for 2010 for leading post-earthquake airfield relief operations in Haiti.
AF-1 and AF-2, two F-35A test aircraft, flew nonstop on May 17 from Lockheed Martin’s aircraft plant in Fort Worth, Tex., to Edwards AFB, Calif., completing the historic first multiship, long-range flight in the F-35’s history, according to the company.
Lt. Col. Joseph Santucci, 99th Reconnaissance Squadron commander at Beale AFB, Calif., is the 2009 recipient of USAF’s Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy for safely landing his U-2 aircraft following an in-flight emergency during a February 2009 flight.
The Air Force in early May began its first class of combat systems officers to undergo training at new facilities at NAS Pensacola, Fla., under the supervision of the 479th Flying Training Group, instead of training at Randolph AFB, Tex.
B-1 bomber aircrews with the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Tex., set three unofficial time-to-climb world records during separate flights April 29-May 1 at the Texas base, eclipsing previous records set by C-17 transports, said Dyess officials.
The Department of Defense’s 2010 Commander in Chief’s installation excellence awards, announced April 9, recognized Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, as the top Air Force installation.
A group comprising 15 Medal of Honor recipients and 120 former POWs have partnered to return an F-105 to airworthy status, making it part of the Collings Foundation’s Vietnam Memorial Flight, according to an April 27 foundation release.
A team from the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Center for Cyberspace Research at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, received the best score in this year’s National Security Agency-sponsored cyber defense exercise, Air Force officials said May 12.
Senior Staff Changes
NOMINATIONS: Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., Brig. Gen. David B. Warner.
NOMINATIONS: To be General: Edward A. Rice Jr. To be Lieutentant General: Burton M. Field, Frank J. Kisner. To be Brigadier General: David W. Allvin, Balan R. Ayyar, Thomas W. Bergeson, Jack L. Briggs II, James S. Browne, Arnold W. Bunch Jr., Theresa C. Carter, Scott L. Dennis, John W. Doucette, Sandra E. Finan, Donald S. George, Jeffrey L. Harrigian, Jerry D. Harris Jr., Kevin J. Jacobsen, Scott W. Jansson, Richard A. Klumpp Jr., Leslie A. Kodlick, Gregory J. Lengyel, James F. Martin Jr., Robert D. McMurry Jr., Edward M. Minahan, Kenneth J. Moran, John F. Newell III, Jon A. Norman, Mark C. Nowland, James N. Post III, Steven M. Shepro, Jay B. Silveria, Robert D. Thomas, David D. Thompson, William J. Thornton, Kenneth E. Todorov, Linda R. Urrutia-Varhall, Burke E. Wilson.
CHANGES: Brig. Gen. Bryan J. Benson, from Cmdr., 380th Air Expeditionary Wg., ACC, Al Dhafra AB, UAE, to Vice Cmdr., 18th AF, AMC, Scott AFB, Ill. ... Maj. Gen. William A. Chambers, from Vice Cmdr., USAFE, Ramstein AB, Germany, to Asst. C/S, Strat. Deterrence & Nuclear Integration, USAF, Pentagon ... Brig. Gen. Richard M. Clark, from Vice Cmdr., 8th AF, AFGSC, Barksdale AFB, La., to Commandant of Cadets, USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. ... Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Cox, from Commandant of Cadets, USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., to Cmdr., 618th Tanker Airlift Control Ctr., AMC, Scott AFB, Ill. ... Brig. Gen. Steven J. DePalmer, from Vice Cmdr., 14th AF, AFSPC, Vandenberg AFB, Calif., to C/S, Jt. Warfare Ctr., Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, NATO, Stavanger, Norway ... Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Feest, from Cmdr., 19th AF, AETC, Randolph AFB, Tex., to AF Chief of Safety, USAF, Pentagon ... Lt. Gen. (sel.) Burton M. Field, from Sr. Mil. Advisor to the US Spec. Rep. for Afghanistan/Pakistan, Pentagon, to Cmdr., 5th AF, Yokota AB, Japan ... Maj. Gen. (sel.) Craig A. Franklin, from Cmdr., 332nd Air Expeditionary Wg., ACC, JB Balad, Iraq, to Dir., Ops., DCS, Ops., P&R, USAF, Pentagon ... Brig. Gen. (sel.) Donald S. George, from Cmdr., Natl. Air & Space Intel. Ctr., AF ISR Agency, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, to Dir., Intel., STRATCOM, Offutt AFB, Neb. ... Brig. Gen. (sel.) Jerry D. Harris Jr., from Asst. Dir., Ops., Plans, Rqmts., & Prgms., PACAF, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, to Cmdr., 56th FW, AETC, Luke AFB, Ariz. ... Brig. Gen. Bart O. Iddins, from Command Surgeon, AFSOC, Hurlburt Field, Fla., to Command Surgeon, AMC, Scott AFB, Ill. ... Lt. Gen. (sel.) Frank J. Kisner, from Cmdr., SOCOM Europe, EUCOM, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, to Cmdr., NATO Spec. Ops., SHAPE, Belgium ... Brig. Gen. (sel.) Gregory J. Lengyel, from Cmdr., 1st SOW, AFSOC, Hurlburt Field, Fla., to Exec. Asst. to Supreme Allied Cmdr. Europe, SHAPE, NATO, Mons, Belgium ... Brig. Gen. (sel.) James F. Martin Jr., from Dir., AF Budget Prgms., Office of the Asst. SECAF, Financial Mgmt. & Comptroller, Pentagon, to Dir., Financial Mgmt., AFMC, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio ... Brig. Gen. (sel.) Edward M. Minahan, from Exec. Officer to the Dep. Cmdr., EUCOM, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany, to Cmdr., 380th Air Expeditionary Wg., ACC, Al Dhafra AB, UAE ... Brig. Gen. Kurt F. Neubauer, from Cmdr., 56th FW, AETC, Luke AFB, Ariz., to Cmdr., 332nd Air Expeditionary Wg., ACC, JB Balad, Iraq ... Brig. Gen. (sel.) Jon A. Norman, from Spec. Asst. to the Cmdr., 12th AF, ACC, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., to Vice Cmdr., 12th AF, ACC, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. ... Gen. (sel.) Edward A. Rice Jr., from Cmdr., US Forces Japan, Yokota AB, Japan, to Cmdr., AETC, Randolph AFB, Tex. ... Maj. Gen. Douglas J. Robb, from Command Surgeon, AMC, Scott AFB, Ill., to Jt. Staff Surgeon, Pentagon ... Maj. Gen. Mark S. Solo, from Cmdr., 618th Tanker Airlift Control Ctr., AMC, Scott AFB, Ill., to Cmdr., 19th AF, AETC, Randolph AFB, Tex. ... Brig. Gen. (sel.) Linda R. Urrutia-Varhall, from Sr. Mil. Asst. to the Undersecretary of Defense for Intel., Pentagon, to Dep., DCS, Intel., ISAF, Kabul, Afghanistan ... Brig. Gen. Joseph S. Ward Jr., from Dir., Financial Mgmt., AFMC, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, to Dir., Budget Ops., & Personnel, Office of the Asst. SECAF, Financial Mgmt. & Comptroller, Pentagon ... Brig. Gen. Scott D. West, from C/S, Jt. Warfare Ctr., Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, NATO, Stavanger, Norway, to Vice Cmdr., 13th AF, PACAF, Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICE CHANGES: Brian P. Burns, to Dep. Dir., Warfighter Sys. Integration, Office of Info. Dominance & Chief Info. Officer, OSAF, Pentagon ... Lloyd W. Brasure, to Exec. Dir., AF Nuclear Weapons Ctr., AFMC, Kirtland AFB, N.M. ... Carolyn M. Gleason, to Dir., Financial Mgmt. & Comptroller, ASC, AFMC, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio ... Paul A. Parker, to Dir., Comm., Instl., & Mission Spt., AFMC, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
Daily Report: Read the day's top news on the US Air Force, airpower, and national security issues.
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