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.
Friday April 25, 2014
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.
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
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.
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
recognized by the Department of Justice for its work with military sexual
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.