Digital Air Force Magazine
Deborah Lee James
Senate Armed Services
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
Senate Armed Services
Gen. Larry O. Spencer
Vice Chief of Staff
House Armed Services, Readiness
Defense Writers Group
Lt. Gen. John E. Wissler
Commander, III MEF and Marine Forces Japan
Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr.
Commandant, Coast Guard
Undersecretary of the Air Force
From the AIR FORCE Archive
10 Years Ago
25 Years Ago
The Myth of Overkill
An examination of the theories and proposals of Prof. Seymour Melman of Columbia University.
Last fall a B-58 and a SAC combat crew demonstrated the capabilities of a remarkable airplane and the versatility of our nuclear striking command by making the longest supersonic flight in aviation history.
Wednesday April 23, 2014
The Defense Department will send some 600 US
soldiers to “a series of expanded US land force training activities” in Poland,
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in response to recent Russian aggression in
Ukraine, said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby on Tuesday. “A
company-sized contingent of paratroopers from the US Army Europe’s 173rd
Infantry Brigade Combat team, Airborne, which is based in Vicenza, Italy, will
arrive in Poland [April 23] to begin exercises with Polish troops,” said Kirby.
He added, “Additional companies from the 173rd will move in the coming days to
Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for similar exercises.” The goal is to have a
“persistent, rotational” US presence in the region, with “fresh troops”
rotating in once these exercises conclude, said Kirby. Defense Secretary Chuck
Hagel made the decision to bolster US presence near Ukraine after consulting
with Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and Army
Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Kirby.
Breedlove recently cautioned that the “armed masked men” operating in Ukraine
are, in fact, Russian forces conducting a “well
planned and organized” military operation directed by Russia. Earlier
this month, he said Russia had built up enough forces along the Ukrainian
border to quickly and successfully carry out an “incursion.” (Kirby transcript.)
Six F-35 Lightning IIs are squaring off against
potential adversaries' air defense systems to test the fighter's real-world
sensing and penetrating capabilities at Edwards AFB, Calif., reported
Military.com. "The surface threat is a tough problem. … If the missile is
big enough it can shoot you from hundreds of miles away," said Thomas
Lawhead, F-35 integration office operational chief. Testers are specifically
probing the effectiveness of F-35's electro-optical targeting system and
distributed aperture situational awareness suite against Chinese, Iranian, and
Russian threat systems, according to the April 17 press report. Pitting the
F-35's sensors and systems against various surface-to-air systems allows
testers to develop a database of threat profiles "so that when the
aircraft sees something on radar … it can categorize what it is," added
Obama Administration is considering maintaining a force of less than 5,000 US
military members in Afghanistan after combat operations cease later this year,
far less than the 8,000-12,000 previously requested by US military leaders. Thanks to promisingly high voter turnout in a “surprisingly smooth
election,” US officials say they now believe Afghan forces may be in a stable enough
position to justify the smaller force, reported
Reuters Monday. The US forces that
will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 would focus on counter-terrorism and
training operations, reported Reuters.
"The discussion is very much alive," one
US official who asked not to be identified told the news organization.
"They're looking for additional options under 10,000" troops. In the absence
of a bilateral security agreement, however, the exact terms of the drawdown remain
unclear. Talks are expected to resume once Afghanistan’s new President is
announced. Troop numbers peaked around 100,000 in 2011. Some 33,000 US troops
operate in Afghanistan today.
Barack Obama is expected to leave on his fifth visit to the Asia-Pacific today.
The six-day trip includes stops in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, as well as a visit to Malaysia
to make up for an October 2013 trip that was cancelled due to the government
shutdown, announced the White House. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said America’s
top priorities are “tied to Asia,” whether in promoting trade agreements or
protecting security interests. All stops on the trip intersect with the
Administration’s priorities, which include modernizing security alliances,
advancing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and investing in institutions like the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel hosted
the ASEAN defense ministers in Hawaii earlier this month. The stop in the
Philippines comes on the heels of a recent breakthrough in negotiations between
State Department and Philippine officials to expand regular rotations of US
military forces, including USAF training and exercising. Obama is expected to
unveil a finalized agreement with the Philippines during the visit. (DOD release.)
(White House transcript.)
Force Col. Robert Spalding, a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign
Relations, recently penned a defense of the service’s proposal to divest the A-10 fleet,
charging critics with “missing the point” behind the retirement. “The US Air
Force is the best in the world at close air support in a permissive environment
like Afghanistan,” wrote
Spalding, a former vice commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB,
Mo., for Defense One. In the future,
the US will be able to rapidly respond to requests for CAS in similar
environments using a range of aircraft, from B-1s to F-15Es and F-16s, all of
which have demonstrated the ability to respond quickly, strafe, and put bombs
on target, said Spalding. Calls for CAS are answered faster than at “any time
in the history of air warfare.” Even if the A-10 is excluded, troops can get
support when and where it's needed. Congress, however, is increasingly
skeptical of the Air Force’s plan. In response to such arguments, Spalding notes that sequestration has given USAF a jigsaw puzzle,
and retiring the A-10 is a big piece of how to solve it. The
other services are faced with similar issues, he adds. Still, the US needs to modernize
its aircraft to ensure it can maintain air superiority in a future fight. Keeping $3.7 billion worth of A-10s “is not the answer,” he wrote.
O’Neill is kissed by his service dog, Kai, April 9, 2014, during the cycling
portion of the Air Force Trials at Nellis AFB, Nev. O’Neill, an Air Force
wounded warrior, competed in the six-mile men’s handcycle heat with four
others. (Air Force photo by SrA. Jette Carr)
(Click on image above to reach wallpaper
Secretary Chuck Hagel reiterated his commitment to “stopping sexual assaults in
the military,” during a recent visit to the Rape, Abuse, Incest National
Network. During the visit, Hagel praised RAINN workers for raising awareness of
sexual assaults and for providing victims a strong support network, states an
April 21 release. "You are changing the world for
the better," he told RAINN employees. More than 300,000 people have used
the “military-centric” Safe Helpline for information regarding sexual assaults,
since it was launched three years ago. More than 22,000 people have sought
anonymous one-on-one assistance and crisis support during the same time period through online chat, telephone,
and texting helplines, states the release. “The connections we’ve seen on [Safe
Helpline] are pretty powerful,” said Jennifer Marsh, the network's vice
president for victim services. “People leave feeling like they’re not alone and
like they’ve helped somebody else, which we know is a big part of the military.”
Navy issued a classified draft request for proposal for a carrier-borne stealth
remotely piloted aircraft last week. The service solicited Boeing, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Lockheed
Martin, and Northrop Grumman to bid on building its Unmanned Carrier Launched
Airborne Surveillance and Strike platform, reported Flight Global.
Northrop Grumman built the Navy's X-47B demonstrator, which successfully launched
from a carrier for the first time in trials last year, and all four
companies are currently under contract to draft preliminary designs. The Navy requested $403 million for UCLASS
development in Fiscal 2015 and plans to spend roughly $2.67 billion to field
the aircraft over the next five years, according to Flight Global.
Military handed over the first A400M Atlas airlifter to the Turkish air force
in a ceremony at its production facility earlier in the month, the company announced.
Turkey's A400M is the third Atlas off the assembly line, following delivery of
the first two operational airlifters to the French air force last year. The
first A400M bound for Britain's Royal Air Force is currently in final assembly
along with another two Atlases for the RAF, according to a service release.
"Our people, including aircrew, engineers, and support crew, are currently
preparing at the International Training Center to operate the aircraft,"
said RAF Air Vice Marshal Sean Reynolds during a visit to the production line
in Seville, Spain, according to an RAF release.
Meanwhile, Airbus launched work on Germany's first example early this year,
which is slated for delivery in November, the company announced. The company has firm orders for a total of
174 A400Ms thus far.
In More Depth
Fifteen years ago, the space launch business needed to overcome costly failures and setbacks. What followed was an unprecedented string of successes.
Lt. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center, is trying to “develop a cost-conscious culture” through an initiative dubbed the “Road to a Billion and Beyond.”
In his book, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates describes the Air Force as “one of my biggest headaches”—a perception USAF leaders were never able to turn around during his tenure.
The Document File
Aircraft Accident Reports
10 Years Ago
Editorial: The Thirty Years’ War
The volunteer military has had its problems, but a conscript force would have even more.
Compressing the Kill Chain
The goal is to put weapons on time sensitive targets in “single-digit” minutes.
The Guard and Reserve Stand Fast
Guardsmen, Reservists, employers, and family members have stepped up to a bigger mission, but it has not been easy.
25 Years Ago
Editorial: Discriminate Deterrence
Russia's defense leaders are willing to take short-term risks in the hope that Gorbachev's economic reforms will sustain Soviet military power over the long term.
50 Years Ago
The Future of Manned Aircraft
In the debate over our strategic deterrent, manned aircraft are getting much the worse of the suppositions. Yet the new technology can be used to strengthen rather than weaken the arguments for manned aircraft.
The Great Deterrent Dialogue
Missiles, bombers, space weapons, arms control are all advanced as essential to deter general war. Many participants engaging in this debate are long on words, short on knowledge.