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Testimony
  • Deborah Lee James
    SECAF
    Senate Armed Services
  • Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
    CSAF
    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
  • Eric Fanning
    Undersecretary of the Air Force
Data Points
Airpower Classics
From the AIR FORCE Archive

10 Years Ago

 

 

 

Editorial: The Dragon and the Snakes
The Cold War was long and expensive. The Global War on Terror will be no different.

 

 

The War Before the War
Long before the actual land invasion, Iraqi forces were taking a ferocious beating from the air.

 

 

A Plague of Accidents
Top leaders warn that USAF “cannot tolerate nor sustain” the recent level of loss.

 

 

A Line in the Ice
It has been a half-century since the “DEW Line” first started rising in the Arctic waste.

 

 

Trenchard at the Creation
The father of the RAF was one of the first to grasp that aviation would radically change warfare.

 

 

 

 

25 Years Ago

 

 

 

 

Editorial: The Doctrine of Tranquility

 

 

On Stealthy Wings
The B-2 is built for penetration. It will be a while before a Soviet long-range radar is good enough to detect it.

 

 

The Electronic Wind Tunnel
New regimes of flight become possible as supercomputers unlock the doors to their simulation and development.

 

Valor en Masse


 

 

 

 

50 Years Ago

 

 

 

The Myth of Overkill
An examination of the theories and proposals of Prof. Seymour Melman of Columbia University.

 

 

Greased Lightning
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.

 

 

 


ARTICLE COLLECTIONS

Daily Report

Friday April 25, 2014
  • Northrop Grumman has completed a major review of its new software upgrade for the B-2 stealth bomber fleet, company officials announced April 24. The upgrade, part of the Air Force’s “flexible strike” phase 1 program, is designed to increase the bombers’ capabilities while driving down maintenance costs. Northrop Grumman is simplifying the software used by the B-2 to manage and dispense its weapons, said Dave Mazur, vice president and B-2 program manager with Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "Today we have several standalone programs that each manage a specific type of mission. We're replacing that software with a single program that can manage all of those mission types," he said. The software’s preliminary design review showed that Northrop understands the interactions between the aircraft and its weapon systems, and the new software will manage these processes correctly. The PDR was completed in February at Northrop’s Oklahoma City, Okla., facility. The flexible strike program is the first B-2 modernization effort to take advantage of the communications tools provided by the first increment of the B-2’s EHF satellite communications program, which includes faster processing and increased data storage.
  • Technicians completed the digital upgrades to the first B-52 bomber modernized under the Combat Network Communications Technology program at Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker AFB, Okla. CONECT takes "the B-52 from a rotary-dial phone to a smartphone," Air Force Global Strike Command overseer Alan Williams said in a release. The new datalinks, systems, and software allows real time intelligence and targeting data transmission "so that they can get the most current data" to adapt flight planning en route, added Williams. OCALC began work on the first B-52 last July under a $76 million low-rate initial production contract with Boeing. AFGSC currently has funding in place to upgrade a total of 30 B-52Hs, with eventual plans to install upgrades on the entire fleet, according to the release. Tinker's 10th Flight Test Squadron redelivered the first B-52 to Barksdale AFB, La., on April 21.
  • After Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and her supporters pushed to reform the way the military prosecutes sexual assault cases, Air Force officials pulled every USAF court-martial case for a three-year period to see exactly how often a command authority overturned a conviction, said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. The answer is not very often, said Welsh during a speech in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. USAF convened approximately 2,411 courts-martial during that time period. Of those, there were 25 instances where the commander did not agree with the judge advocate general in the case’s disposition. In 13 of those 25 cases, the JAG asked a higher-level commander for review, and the higher-level commander accepted the JAG’s recommendation, Welsh said. Disagreement remained between the commander and the JAG in 12 of the 2,411 cases, and only one of those cases was a “sexually-related case,” he said. “The idea that the commander is not trained and therefore does not take the right action is an interesting discussion, but it’s not true. It just doesn’t happen,” Welsh said. Although he disagreed with the Gillibrand on this point, Welsh said USAF is working with Congress on possible changes to the military justice system. He also credited Congress with coming up with the idea of the special victims counsel, which was recently recognized by the Department of Justice for its work with military sexual assault victims.
  • A new bomber, the KC-46 tanker, F-35 strike fighters, and a replacement for the Joint STARS are all accommodated in the fiscally-constrained spending plan the Air Force has sent to Congress without magical “money from heaven” appearing in the out-years, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Wednesday. Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Welsh said the daunting list of items in the modernization category requires no “new money ... we’re not trying to raise the budget to get it; it’s in the plan, even at these reduced (budgetary) levels.” The fact that these things are in the plan—offset by things like removing the U-2 and A-10 fleets—indicates that “in our military judgment, those are the things we need to be successful ... 10 years from now, against the threat as we see it,” Welsh said. “What we can’t do,” he added, “is maintain everything else that we would like to keep going and still ... make that transition.” The choice the Air Force had to make with the FY ’15 budget—is “do you want a ready force today, or a ready and modern force tomorrow?” (For more coverage of Welsh's speech, see The Necessity of a Shrinking Air Force; Pulling on a Thread; and A-10: Been There, Considered That.)
    —John A. Tirpak
  • President Barack Obama will award former Army Sgt. Kyle White the Medal of Honor on May 13 for disregarding his own life while trying to save his comrades in Afghanistan in 2007. White says he will accept the Medal in honor of those who died that day. "I will tell their stories and preserve their memories ... they will not be forgotten," said White of the five soldiers and one marine who died after insurgents ambushed White’s unit on Nov. 9, 2007. "Their sacrifice and the sacrifices of so many others are what motivate me to wake up each and every day to be the best I can. Everything I do in my life is done to make them proud," he said. White will become the seventh living Iraq or Afghanistan veteran to receive the nation’s highest honor for valor in combat, according to a DOD release.
  • A pair of C-130J airlifters deployed the first wave of Army paratroopers to Poland on Wednesday as part of NATO's commitment to increase forces in Eastern Europe following recent Russian aggression in Ukraine, officials announced. Airlifters from Ramstein AB, Germany, ferried roughly 150 members of the Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade from Aviano AB, Italy, to Swidwin AB, Poland, for exercises with their Polish counterparts on April 23, US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa announced via Facebook. "The soldiers will conduct joint NATO training, the first in a series of expanded US land force training activities in Poland and the Baltic region scheduled for the next few months," USAFE-AFAFRICA officials said. Several additional company-sized elements of 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team will deploy over the next few days and weeks for exercises with NATO partners Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, officials added. Ramstein C-130s just returned from exercises with the Polish air force, including air drop and paratroop insertion, earlier this month, according to a release.
  • The 345th Airlift Squadron was symbolically inactivated Friday at Keesler AFB, Miss. The unit and its associate, the Air Force Reserve's 815th Airlift Squadron, are being inactivated “as a result of broader force structure initiatives announced in 2013,” according to an April 23 AFRC release. "Throughout history, our squadron has provided a lot of combat support for our nation, doing exactly what our country needed for its national defense," said Lt. Col. Michael J. Ramirez, 345th AS commander. "Whenever our nation needed that excess capability, the 345th was there and stood up to fulfill that need, and we've written another chapter in the unit's history in the past three-and-a-half years that everyone in this room has contributed to." Col. Frank L. Amodeo, commander of the 403rd Wing, said, “The 345th and 815th are an impressive team. In January 2011, the two squadrons deployed to Afghanistan and smashed the world record for airdrop missions in a month—81 missions moving 5.6 million pounds of cargo.” An inactivation ceremony for the 815th AS will be held in June, but many of the Active Duty members will no longer be present, so the unit held its "symbolic ceremony early,” states the release.
  • The 317th Airlift Group this week dedicated a C-130J simulator making Dyess AFB, Texas, the first USAF installation with a Vital-10 technology-powered C-130J simulator. "One great aspect about the simulator is that we can alter the location, weather, variables, altitude, and threats on the spot," said Maj. Seth Schwesinger, 317th Operations Support Squadron chief of group training. "It gives us the flexibility to pause at a certain point to provide instruction, rewind the scenario, and try it again. We also have the ability to compound elements into a training scenario in a safe environment that mimics the aircraft.” The simulator, which boasts advanced visual displays, higher resolution, and more memory, will cost some $850 per hour to operate, a savings of $1,500 compared to the estimated $2,300 per hour cost of flying the actual aircraft, states a base release. That equates to $3 million annually, plus an additional $400,000 annual savings in personnel and travel costs.
  • Military members, veterans, and their spouses now have an easier way to find employment, announced First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden on Wednesday at Fort Campbell, Ky. The Veterans Employment Center is “the first online one-stop shopping tool for veterans,” according to an April 23 release. “Starting today, every single service member, every veteran, and every military family will have access to a new online tool that will revolutionize how you find jobs in both the public and private sectors,” said Obama. The website allows businesses to search and find résumés of veterans, service members, and spouses all in one location, states the release. Those who upload their résumés to the site just need an active LinkedIn or Google profile account. Joining Forces is a White House initiative intended to ensure that “no veteran has to fight for a job at home” after they return from service, according to the White House website.

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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.
  • On the Record



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