The Air Force is committed to building a Joint Strike Fighter that stays within existing cost caps, according to Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The terms of the service’s participation in the JSF effort have become an issue in the wake of Congressional efforts to derail the F-22 program. If the air superiority Raptor were to be canceled or drastically scaled back, the Air Force might have to re-evaluate the JSF, USAF officials said this fall.
“I have not changed my position that the key to success for our Tacair modernization program is to build an affordable JSF,” Ralston told a Senate hearing Oct. 27.
Operational requirements for the aircraft are not etched in stone, however, Ralston pointed out.
“There is still a great deal of work to be done to determine the proper statement of requirements,” he told the hearing, which was held for the purpose of weighing his nomination to become commander in chief of US European Command.
Loss of the F-22 could affect the JSF because it is not currently configured to shine in the air superiority role for which the Raptor is intended.
Adding air-to-air capability to the JSF could be expensive, particularly as the Air Force intends to buy more than 1,700 of the aircraft. “We need both aircraft,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan told an Oct. 26 Congressional hearing.
Fiscal 1999 was one of the safest years on record for US military aviation, according to just-released statistics. The Class A accident rate for the year was 1.58 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. That represents a 4 percent reduction from 1998’s figure of 1.64, according to the Department of Defense.
In addition, the five-year Class A crash rate is 25 percent lower than the previous five-year rate.
The military lost 43 people and 55 airplanes to crashes during Fiscal 1999. The Air Force’s 12-month cumulative Class A rate was 1.40.
“Even one accident is one too many, and I continue to advocate continuous improvement until we reach a goal of zero accidents, occupational illnesses, and fires,” said Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen.
The most dangerous item of equipment for military personnel remains their own automobiles. Vehicle crashes accounted for 280 deaths in 1999, up from 249 in Fiscal 1998.
A DoD-proposed cut of $258 million in the Airborne Laser Program budget could end up costing the Air Force upward of $700 million in increased costs for the anti-missile weapon, say ABL proponents.
A letter to Secretary of Defense Cohen, signed by 20 senators, said it was likely that the move would both raise final costs and slip the program’s schedule by up to two years.
“While we understand the financial constraints under which you are operating, we oppose changing the ABL’s schedule for any reason other than unforeseen technological problems,” said the letter.
The Air Force Association urged Cohen to back away from the proposed cut. AFA said the ABL was “among the most promising” of the Defense Department’s ballistic missile defense efforts.
“ABL is the only boost-phase missile defense program,” AFA National President Thomas J. McKee said in a Nov. 9 letter to Cohen. “In comparison with other programs, the cost of ABL is extremely modest. But the effect of the proposed cut is not. It will disrupt a program that was just restructured last year and possibly delay deployment for up to two more years. Missile defense is an urgent national priority.”
A classified evaluation that became public in early November showed that two of the Army’s 10 combat divisions have been rated as unready for major theater war.
It marked the first time in at least seven years that an Army division had received such a C-4 readiness rating. The units in question are the 10th Mountain Division, Ft. Drum, N.Y., and the 1st Infantry Division, headquartered in Germany.
The main reason for the low rating is that both units have at least one brigade serving peacekeeping duty in the Balkans. Rating them unready may be something of a political statement by Army leaders looking for relief from the expense and strain on personnel of continual deployments.
“The commanders have lowered readiness assessments out of concern that they may be unable to disengage from the Balkans, retrain, and redeploy forces in time to meet their major theater war requirement deployment dates, as specified in current war plans,” said a senior Defense official at a Pentagon briefing Nov. 10.
None of the other divisions received the highest rating, C-1. All were rated C-2 in the monthly report, said an Army official.
The problem goes to the heart of a balancing act that all the services now undertake, said a Defense official. How do commanders weigh the need to maintain an edge for heavy combat vs. the demands of peacekeeping and humanitarian duty
“Clearly, we’ve got more complex issues of how we train to be ready for the high end as well as the low end, of which we’ve deployed about 45 times in the last nine years on the low end,” said the official.
Now that the first two Aerospace Expeditionary Forces have been assembled and deployed in part to Southwest Asia, Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters thinks it is a good time to promote the Expeditionary Aerospace Force gospel throughout the US military.
It is important to emphasize that “EAF is a journey, not an end state,” he said in a commentary released in early November.
By that, Peters means that the new way of organizing is not just one event. “It is a completely different way of looking at how we do our business,” his commentary said.
The establishment of new training courses for both young enlisted members and young officers shows the type of change in thinking Peters wants in the service in regards to EAFs. Warrior Week during basic military training at Lackland AFB, Texas, and the Aerospace Basic Course at Maxwell AFB, Ala., will both get new personnel thinking about the Air Force as an expeditionary force able to respond to crises around the globe.
By spreading around the responsibility for deployments, AEFs should make life better in the Air Force-Peters’ self-proclaimed No. 1 priority for 2000.
“The EAF will also lessen the high work levels at home stations by putting enough manning on our bases to do the work, even when units are deployed,” wrote Peters.
Implementation of the concept won’t be pretty at first, the Secretary admitted. But the experience of Operation Allied Force, in which the US Air Force deployed to 20 bases with seeming effortlessness, shows that it can succeed. In the Kosovo crisis USAF personnel transformed facilities with no US infrastructure into fully operational bases within hours or days.
“The initial AEFs include many men and women who have been involved in Kosovo and other operations this year,” wrote Peters. “It is not ideal to ask these men and women to leave again so quickly, but it is essential if we are to find a long-lasting solution for optempo and perstempo.”
The mind-set of the Air Force can’t be changed without the hard work and support and feedback of everyone in the organization, he noted.
“I need the help of all Air Force members to get the word out about EAF. I need them to take time to understand the vision and our goals,” wrote Peters.
The Pentagon’s effort to develop an anti-missile system remains at “high risk” of failure, according to a new report by a group of civilian experts and retired military personnel headed by former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Larry D. Welch.
Delays in testing and development have pushed the program hard up against politically imposed time deadlines, said the Welch report, which echoed earlier criticisms of the program made by the same group in early 1998.
While a prototype interceptor successfully hit an incoming re-entry vehicle over the Pacific in October, as yet no tests have attempted to integrate the entire anti-missile system, noted the report. Only two exercises that tie together the interceptors, radars, and controlling computer systems are scheduled before next summer, when President Clinton is supposed to decide whether to go ahead with deployment of something that will cost upward of $10 billion.
Furthermore, the program remains fragmented, with different parts of the military pursuing their own parts of the pie, noted the report. This has occurred despite some progress made since Boeing was hired to oversee development work.
“Instead of unusual clarity, there is unusual fragmentation and confusion about authority and responsibility,” said the study.
Defenders of the program admitted that some technological criticism was in order, but the context of a dangerous world means that the US needs to forge ahead.
“We don’t have the luxury of time,” said Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), an anti-missile system proponent. “Because of the threat, we have no choice but to accept a high-risk program.”
On Nov. 8, Secretary of Defense Cohen sent Congress a study of National Guard and Reserve health benefits and entitlements that recommends sweeping changes to ensure that America’s part-time military members get the care they need.
Reservists are an increasingly important part of the Total Force, and they are increasingly called upon to put themselves in harm’s way. Yet medical policies for the Guard and Reserve were established long before today’s era of regional scenarios and humanitarian aid airlifts.
“The findings of this report are compelling and important because the changed nature of today’s Total Force requires a new approach to providing medical care to our reservists,” said Cohen. “At the core of this new approach is the notion that performance of duty, not length of duty, establishes risk and exposure to harm.”
That means the military should change to make sure it will treat injury or illness sustained in the line of duty, regardless of the duty status in which the individual was serving at the time.
Among the report’s 14 recommendations:
Congress should vote into law or DoD should write into regulations specifically what constitutes “incurring” or “aggravating” an injury, illness, or disease in the “line of duty.”
DoD should be able to place a Guardsman or Reservist who is injured or becomes ill during inactive duty training on active duty for the period of treatment or recovery.
DoD should be able to waive or reduce Tricare annual deductibles for the dependents of reservists ordered to active duty for less than one year in support of a contingency operation.
The dental care options available to Guardsmen and Reservists should be expanded.
The report is part of a three-year effort to reassess reserve component health care issues. It was produced by the Offices of the Assistant Secretaries of Defense for Reserve Affairs and for Health Affairs.
The Air Force on Nov. 24 released a report of the investigation into the death of Amn. Micah J. Schindler, citing the cause of death as heatstroke complicated by overhydration.
At the same time, Air Force officials recommended changes of procedures in basic training.
Schindler died Sept. 12, two days after he became seriously ill near the end of a 5.8-mile field march during basic military training at Lackland AFB, Texas.
Air Force medical experts sought out recent studies on the subject of water intoxication and excessive water consumption. Water intoxication and the resulting low blood sodium levels lead to an increased tendency for internal organs, such as the brain and lungs, to rapidly absorb the excess water and swell. This phenomenon played a critical role in the death of Schindler, according to the investigation.
The investigating officer’s recommendation for procedural changes include:
- Increased instruction on heat-related illness symptoms and the risks of overhydration.
- Better procedures to help training instructors and medical personnel monitor the medical status of trainees.
- Increased efforts to encourage trainees to identify personal or fellow trainees’ problems and automatic removal from field exercises for trainees with certain medical symptoms.
In addition, the Air Force will move the 5.8-mile march to a time earlier in the day, part of scheduling changes for Warrior Week training.
The Department of Defense is currently revising its airlift requirements with an eye on the importance of mobility assets to future regional conflicts and humanitarian aid scenarios.
However, the commander of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Charles T. Robertson Jr., worries that new transport airplanes will not come fast enough and may not make up a big enough fleet to meet all the nation’s needs.
“I wonder when we get to the end of that road whether it will be enough?” Robertson said at a House Armed Services readiness subcommittee appearance on Oct. 26. Robertson also is commander in chief of US Transportation Command.
The planned purchase of 134 C-17s to replace 270 C-141s is all well and good, but tonnage capacity is not the same as airlift capability, he warned. While the new C-17s will be able to carry about the same weight of cargo as the C-141s they replace, the obvious fact that there are fewer of them will limit airlift flexibility.
“In other words, 134 C-17s can only be in half as many places as 270 C-141s,” he said.
The planned C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program could help. It will be a long time coming, however-if it comes at all.
“Even if we succeed, … we will not see [C-5 mission capable] rates rise significantly until 2005,” said the TRANSCOM chief.
The C-5’s current mission capable rate is about 58 percent, Robertson told lawmakers.
Now that Congress has raised the military’s pay, housing and health care loom as the two biggest issues for service members, according to the Secretary of Defense.
Improving these areas is important, because even with the raises provided by the FY 2000 defense authorization act “we can’t possibly pay what the private sector can pay and will pay,” said Secretary of Defense Cohen at a Nov. 2 conference in Washington.
Things are getting better, Cohen hastened to add. The new pay scales, plus changes in the retirement system, have already made a difference in attitudes.
“We’ve seen in the most recent weeks some change in the attitude and willingness to re-enlist,” he said. “Whether this will be enough to sustain that remains another question.”
In his travels to installations around the country, the biggest complaints Cohen now hears are about the Tricare health care system, he said. Many people are not satisfied with the system and its perceived inefficiencies and long lines.
“This is something we have to come to grips with,” he admitted.
Housing is second on the new complaint list. DoD is trying to leverage its housing money via a new program that attracts six or seven private dollars per DoD dollar for housing projects, said Cohen.
He praised the new Air Force Aerospace Expeditionary Force concept as a way to provide more stability in military life. But more than stability will be needed to attract recruits in today’s economy, he said.
DoD must change its recruiting message, said the Secretary.
“The mere fact that we say we’ll pay for your college education frankly is not a big seller today. … We need to have advertising appeal to young peoples’ patriotism, to show them what military life can and should be,” he said.
The NATO air campaign against Serbia began too slowly, and political considerations increased the risks run by US and allied pilots, a top USAF general told a Senate panel Oct. 21.
Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe and head of USAFE’s 16th Air Force, was particularly critical of France. Certain targets that French leaders did not want the alliance to strike were deemed off limits at the outset of the campaign, he said. To guard against collateral damage as much as possible, sensitive sites such as bridges could be bombed only at times of day when civilians were least likely to be near.
Yet France contributed only 8 percent of Operation Allied Force’s sorties, said Short, who acknowledged that he was being perhaps impolitic with his remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Allied Force should have more closely resembled Desert Storm, said Short, with a heavy punch aimed at the heart of the Serb regime in the first moments of conflict.
During a November sortie by Raptor 4002, the F-22 test program passed its 433rd flight hour. That accumulated time represents 10 percent of the program’s planned flight testing-an important milestone of development.
Historically, most major design or performance flaws in jet aircraft have surfaced by this point in the test regime. So far, the F-22 has suffered no such problems, say program officials.
Earlier in the fall, the F-22 contractor team successfully completed engine runs on Raptor 4003. The runs, which included generator checks and environmental control system flow checks, checked off one more of the nine major steps the F-22 had to take last year before the Pentagon will consider putting the airplane in low-rate production.
“Only one more [Defense Acquisition Board] criterion to go-delivery of the F-22’s Block 2 software to the program’s flying test bed-and we will have completed all DAB criteria for 1999,” F-22 program director Maj. Gen. Michael C. Mushala said Oct. 22.
DAB goals surpassed last year included flight at Mach 1.5 without use of afterburners, flight at greater than 60 degrees angle of attack, and initial radar cross section full-scale pole model testing.
The current effort to vaccinate all US military personnel against anthrax should not be equated with the Pentagon’s use of Pyridostigmine Bromide as an anti-nerve gas shot during the Gulf War, said Secretary of Defense Cohen on Oct. 20.
The Pentagon has released a Rand report that says there could be a connection between PB and unexplained Gulf War illnesses. Hot, stressful conditions might cause the brain to absorb damaging amounts of the substance, Rand researchers speculated. More study is needed, because current information is inconclusive, said the study.
Yet growing worry over the first vaccination effort should not be allowed to sow doubts about the current one, insisted the Defense Department chief at a press conference in the United Arab Emirates.
“What we have to do is make the best possible policy judgements,” said Cohen. “Given the potential for our forces to be exposed to an anthrax threat, which is one of the most deadly they could encounter, it would be irresponsible not to insist they be properly protected.”
At the time it was dispensed to some 250,000 US troops, PB was not fully licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. But it was the only available protection against soman, a deadly nerve gas that US intelligence suspected had been passed to Iraq by Soviet officials in previous years.
The anthrax vaccine, by contrast, has been in use by civilians since the 1970s, when the FDA approved its use. Its flu-like side effects are mostly mild and dissipate.
“In order to show that I believe absolutely in the safety, in the veracity, of the vaccine, I’ve had six of the vaccine injections to date,” said Cohen.
The jury remains out on PB as well, officials said.
“Given the deadliness of soman and the lack of other treatments available, we certainly cannot rule out using PB to protect our forces in the future,” Sue Bailey, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said Oct. 19 at the Pentagon.
Over the next eight months Tricare patients will get someone new to watch over their quality of care-beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinators.
These patient advocates will be added to the staffs of Tricare lead agent offices and military treatment facilities due to a push from the FY 2000 defense authorization act. The regional positions will likely be filled with full-time employees, while the clinic and hospital level slots will be filled with part-time workers, Dave Bartley of the Tricare Management Activity told a Tricare Communications and Customer Service conference Nov. 3.
The new offices will be a “buck stops here” locale, said Bartley. Once patients go there with a question or concern, they should not have to look any further for someone who can provide them with answers.
Patients with questions should continue to first contact their local health benefits advisors at clinics and hospitals.
The US will upgrade its air and army bases in Kuwait and establish a permanent land force headquarters in that strategic Gulf ally, a senior defense official said Oct. 23.
The official was accompanying Secretary of Defense Cohen on his fall swing through the Middle East region.
The official said Kuwait is supportive of the move, which is slated to get done over the next several years.
Ali al-Salim AB, just south of the border with Iraq, will be upgraded to support more aircraft and store more pre-positioned aviation equipment. Currently the facility there is dedicated mainly to 12 British Tornado strike aircraft and some US helicopters.
Al Jaber AB, south of Kuwait City, will become a logistics hub. Currently it is the main US Air Force installation for airplanes that patrol the no-fly zone in southern Iraq.
Meanwhile, Camp Doha, site of pre-positioned US ground force equipment, will be modernized to provide command-and-control capability for an Army headquarters.
Cost of the projects is an estimated $193 million.
The NASA/Lockheed Martin X-33 reusable launch vehicle prototype will likely not take to the skies in a test flight during 2000. Damage to a liquid hydrogen tank incurred during a recent exercise will likely push first flight into 2001, officials said in early November.
The composite tank structure apparently failed as it warmed, following a liquid hydrogen fill test Nov. 3. The test included both filling the tank and subjecting it to some of the stresses it would undergo prior to an actual test flight.
The starboard and port liquid hydrogen tanks will form an integral part of the X-33 structure. Their fill tests are one of the most demanding hurdles that the program will have to surmount before first test flight. Hot fire tests of the craft’s unique linear aerospike engine are also likely to be challenging, officials said.
USAF awarded Boeing a three-year, $40 million contract to add a penetrating warhead capability to 50 of Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles, the company said in a Nov. 29 statement.
Boeing is on contract to convert 322 nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles to non-nuclear CALCM AGM-86C Block 1 and Block 1A configurations. Under the latest deal, the last 50 conversions will be to the new AGM-86D hard-target penetrating warhead configuration.
Boeing’s statement said the Seattlebased firm will select either Lockheed Martin’s advanced unitary penetrator or the Britishdesigned multiple warhead system. Both warhead variants have undergone a series of tests at Eglin AFB, Fla.
The first Block 1 CALCMs were delivered to the Air Force in early November. The final AGM-86D missiles will be delivered by mid-2001.
The US Navy’s first F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadron-VFA-122, based at NAS Lemoore, Calif.-received its first seven aircraft Nov. 18.
VFA-122 is a fleet readiness squadron, meaning it is responsible for aircrew and maintenance training. The carrier-based aircraft is scheduled to become the workhorse of the fleet, replacing earlier model F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats. Later, it is to be complemented by the Joint Strike Fighter.
Until June, the Navy squadron will focus on verifying the Super Hornet syllabus and qualifying the first group of Super Hornet instructor pilots, instructor weapon system operators, and maintenance personnel.
The first graduates are destined for the first fleet squadron of operational Super Hornets. The first fleet deployment is scheduled for spring of 2002.
Retired Air Force Col. John Paul Stapp–once known as the fastest man on Earth-died at his home in Alamogordo, N.M., Nov. 13 at 89. Stapp, who entered the service during World War II, became one of USAF’s premier aeromedical researchers, pioneering work in deceleration effects on the human body. In all he made 29 runs himself on a rocket-driven sled, reaching a top speed of 632 miles per hour in 1954 at Hollomon AFB, N.M., where he headed an aeromedical field lab. His work led to improved helmets, stronger safety harnesses, and advances in aircraft and ejection seats, as well as additional efforts in space travel and automobile safety. Among many accolades, he received the Air Force Association’s Theodore von Karman Award in 1954.
Military analyst Harry G. Summers Jr., 67, a retired Army colonel, died Nov. 14 in Washington after a stroke. Summers, a noted writer and lecturer, was a recognized expert on the Vietnam War. His first book, On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, is used as a text at the US Army War College and several civilian universities. He was also a former editor of Vietnam magazine.
|Shinseki and the F-22 Letter
On July 28, with the F-22 under assault in the House, all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a letter to senior lawmakers expressing support for USAF’s new fighter.
Rumors have circulated-sometimes in print-that the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, signed only under duress, after prolonged “arm-twisting” by, among others, Gen. Michael E. Ryan, the Air Force Chief of Staff, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, the JCS Chairman, and William S. Cohen, the Secretary of Defense.
At a Nov. 10 session of the Defense Writers Group in Washington, Shinseki told this story:
Q: Were you politicized by having to sign the F-22 letter? … Were you forced into doing something that wouldn’t be natural because you are not in charge of threat assessments or the F-22 or other aircraft
Shinseki: First of all, the call was not initiated by Mike Ryan and certainly not by the Chairman or by the SecDef. There was some description of yelling or screaming or some indication that there was great disagreement. There wasn’t. The letter came down, asking for my support on F-22, and I called General Ryan and I said I don’t know enough about the F-22 to sign this letter; I am not going to sign it. No one has made the effort to come down and educate me, but I’d be happy to be educated.
I said I would call the Chairman and inform him that I had taken this position, and I did, and the Chairman encouraged me to take the briefing offered by the Air Force. I did, and it really was about technology and the technologies associated with the F-22 that the Air Force desired and felt was important for a joint contributor to the warfight, and then I agreed to sign the letter. I didn’t sign up necessarily to whatever numbers are involved here, but it was my agreement that the technology was important.
Q: Who did initiate asking you to sign the letter
Shinseki: I think it did come down, as I recall, from Mike Ryan’s office.
Q: But not Mike Ryan himself
Shinseki: No. The letter showed up. It was carried in, and I was asked to sign it, and I called him and, after reading the letter, said, “Look, I am not going to sign it, I am not prepared to sign it at this point,” and that started the follow-up to that.
Q: It wasn’t from Secretary Cohen or the White House
Shinseki: In fact, I had never talked to Secretary Cohen or anybody at the White House. That was one chief to another, and I responded, and, in deference to him, because I was disagreeing with another member of the Joint Chiefs, I told him I would call the Chairman and inform him that I had taken that position, as a courtesy to the Chairman.
Q: To follow up, for the historian, was there arm-twisting
Shinseki: In terms of, “Sign it,” no. No arm-twisting involved.
|Will the Real F-22s Please Stand Up
USAF will acquire six F-22 fighters with funds provided by Congress in the Fiscal 2000 budget. But what kind of fighters will they be: Test aircraft? Production aircraft
The answer isn’t clear, given the way Congress recast the program, delaying a production decision but continuing with the construction of air vehicles.
Note, for example, a Nov. 17 Air Force News story containing this statement by Maj. Gen. Claude M. Bolton Jr., program executive officer for fighter and bomber programs:
“These six airplanes will be operational test and evaluation airplanes, because they come from research and development funds, but they will be production airplanes. … You won’t be able to tell the difference between what that aircraft will look like in a year or two, vice what it was going to look like before we had to change the ‘color’ of money.”
|A Marine Takes the Helm at Air and Space
Gen. John R. Dailey, USMC (Ret.), former assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and recently an associate deputy administrator of NASA, was named Nov. 24 as director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
His appointment, announced by Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman, will take effect in January.
Dailey succeeds retired Vice Adm. Donald D. Engen, who was killed in a glider accident last July. Engen served as director of the museum for three years, coming in after the departure of Martin O. Harwit, who had embroiled NASM in a major controversy over its Enola Gay exhibition.
The new director came to NASA in 1992, following retirement after 36 years of service in the US Marine Corps.
Heyman said, “We selected Jack Dailey from a very strong field of candidates. He is a most impressive individual, and even more impressive is the confidence and admiration he has earned throughout the air and space community. The responses we received to our inquiries were simply astounding. He will continue the strong, dedicated leadership that we have come to expect at Air and Space. We look forward to an exciting future as the museum continues to grow and reach out to new audiences on The Mall and at the planned Dulles Center.”
Dailey is a pilot with more than 6,000 hours in aircraft and helicopter flight. During two tours in Vietnam, he flew 450 combat missions.
|Return of the Capitalist Insect
Maj. Gen. Vladimir Dvorkin, head of Russia’s strategic missile research institute, thinks he knows why the US has moved toward approving a limited National Missile Defense system. The impetus comes not from legitimate concern about a rogue or inadvertent missile strike, said the general, but from pressure put on by greedy Star Wars military contractors.
Dvorkin developed the Sovietstyle interpretation of events in the Dec. 1 issue of the military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda.
His words: “One can only assume the main reason [for the American effort] is not threats but satisfying the interests of militaryindustrial sectors connected to ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile systems] and of financial groups. … Since there has been a considerable blockage in implementing the Star Wars program, it is necessary to clear the blockage and secure profits.”
Plans call for President Clinton next summer to decide whether to order the Pentagon to push ahead with deployment of a thin NMD system capable of coping with a relative handful of incoming warheads.
|From McCain, Tough Words for Allies, Rivals
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Presidential candidate, had some unvarnished words for America’s premier military allies as well as the world’s two other major powers-Russia and China. In a Dec. 1 speech to the National Jewish Coalition in Washington, McCain made these points:
Europe: “Our allies are currently spending too little on their own defense. They are increasingly indifferent to serious problems inherent in developing a defense identity separate from NATO, and they persist in avoiding coming to terms with the necessity of forging a mutual defense against threats to our interests outside Europe. These failings require immediate improvement, and we must use the forms of persuasion necessary to do so.”
Russia: “The Russian people are now being told by many of their leaders that democracy and free markets have caused Russia’s descent into chaos. Nothing could be further from the truth. At fault in Russia is not the failure of free market and democratic principles but rather their corruption by weak leaders, militant nationals, and greedy profiteers. For too long, we have indulged systemic dishonesty in Russian politics and in our relationship in the false hope that time is all that’s needed for Russian leaders to change their country’s destiny.”
China: “They [China’s communist leaders] are determined, indeed ruthless, defenders of their regime, who will do whatever is necessary, no matter how inhumane or offensive to us, to pursue their own interest. … I would not accept a forced reunification with a democratic Taiwan. I do not think it useful to publicly identify the means by which we would oppose such aggression, but China must be made to understand that the use of force would be a very serious mistake in judgment, a serious mistake with grave consequences.”
|A Fresh Look at Race and the Military
US armed forces have made good progress in fighting discrimination in their ranks in recent decades, but both white and minority service personnel continue to differ widely in their views about the current state of race relations in the ranks.
That is the bottom line of two large equal-opportunity studies released by the Pentagon on Nov. 23.
Defense officials and others have long portrayed the US military as a model of integration for US society at large. Thus, they were disappointed by the mixed picture presented by the surveys, but they vowed that they would try to act on the less positive aspects of the survey results.
“There is no place for racism in our society,” said Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen at a Pentagon news conference. “There is certainly no place for it within the military.”
The two studies-one a survey of active duty members of the services, the other an examination of the career progression of minority and female active duty officers-did find that large majorities of service members believe racial and ethnic relations in the military are better today than they were even five years ago.
All of the surveyed groups of service members agreed that the military handled race relations better than civilian society and that opportunities were more numerous in the armed services.
Eighty-two percent of white members of the military who responded to the survey said they had a close friend who is of a different race/ethnicity. A comparable figure for white civilians is around 60 percent, according to a 1997 Gallup survey.
However, the surveys pointed up sharp disagreement about the importance of remaining race problems. Some 17 percent of white respondents felt that the military has not paid enough attention to racial discrimination and harassment in the past several years. The corresponding figure for black personnel was 62 percent. For Hispanics, it was 38 percent.
Minority respondents were more likely to perceive that they had been punished unfairly due to their race than whites. They also felt that racial hostility continues to snake throughout the services. Some 71 percent of black officers reported an offensive encounter with another service member, as opposed to 46 percent of white officers.
In the overall force, 75 percent of blacks and 78 percent of Hispanics said they had had a racially offensive encounter within DoD in the year prior to the survey. Surprisingly, 62 percent of whites said they had had a similar experience.
|Credit Where Due
Our November 1999 “Aerospace World” carried an item (p. 16) on USAF optempo, quoting Lt. Gen. Frederick McCorkle, Marine Corps deputy chief of staff for aviation. He said: “I don’t think the Marine Corps right now can take care of the Air Force. … We’ve got our own problems.” We thought that statement (which we found in DoD’s “Current News” clipping service) came at a public think tank session on Capitol Hill. In fact, McCorkle made his comments to a reporter for Inside the Air Force, a defense newsletter, which printed them. Credit ITAF for bringing the general’s words to public attention.- THE EDITORS
- The Navy honored USAF’s first Vietnamera Medal of Honor recipient by naming a newly chartered pre-positioning ship the MV Maj. Bernard F. Fisher. It did so at an Oct. 15 ceremony at the Military Ocean Terminal, Sunny Point, N.C. The nation bestowed its highest military honor on Fisher for his bravery in saving a fellow downed airman in 1966 at a remote special forces camp near the Vietnam-Laos border.
- The first operational EGBU-15-an upgraded version of the TV and IRguided glide bomb-has been delivered to the Air Force, according to system contractor Raytheon. The weapon features Global Positioning System guidance for all-weather capabilities. It was developed, tested, and delivered in 44 days following the stellar performance of the GBU-15 in Operation Allied Force.
- The fifth production E-8C Joint STARS radar aircraft was delivered to the 93rd Air Control Wing, Robins AFB, Ga., on Oct. 21. The wing is scheduled to receive three more of the airplanes by the end of Fiscal 2000-doubling the size of the fleet of this important national asset.
- On Oct. 29, Air Force Lt. Col. John J. Gomez made history by taking command of the newly established Training Squadron 35 at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. The ceremony marked the first time a Navy unit has stood up under the leadership of an Air Force officer, according to a USAF release. VT-35 will prepare Navy and Air Force aviators to fly C-130s, P-3s, and other multi-engine aircraft.
- Pursuant to the terms of the 1977 Panama Canal Treaty, Howard AFB, Panama, has been officially handed over to the Panamanian government, the Air Force announced Nov. 2. The transfer occurred with the passing of a ceremonial key from US Ambassador Simon Ferro to Panama President Mireya Moscoso. It ends a legacy of 82 years of US airpower in Panama.
- The 126th Air Refueling Wing raised the US flag over its new home, Scott AFB, Ill., in a special ceremony Oct. 23. The unit moved from Chicago’s O’Hare IAP/ARS to Scott, as recommended by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The cross-state transfer resulted in $80 million in new construction at Scott.
- The Defense Department has created a new Web site that explains the military pay changes taking place Jan. 1. The “Military Pay and Benefits 2000” site details the 4.8 percent pay raise scheduled to take effect in 2000 and covers new retirement options and housing allowance rules, among other things. Later this year the site should become interactive, allowing service personnel to calculate and compare retirement choices. The Web address is http://pay2000.dtic.mil.
- The US Air Force returned to Vietnam on Nov. 11 when the 353rd Special Operations Group, Kadena AB, Japan, flew 19 tons of disaster relief aid across the Pacific to help ease the suffering caused by the worst Vietnamese flooding in a century. Nearly 22,000 pounds of plastic sheeting, 3,600 blankets, and 5,000 water containers were among the items that made up the cargo of two Kadenabased C-130s. Crew members relied heavily on facial expressions and hand motions to communicate with the Vietnamese. “It was a challenge, but once they understood how to untie cargo straps or stack the pallets, it went pretty smoothly,” said SSgt. Bobby Casey, a 353rd loadmaster.
- An Aug. 11 F-16 accident at Kunsan AB, South Korea, was caused by pilot error, according to an accident report released in November. Pilot 1st Lt. Marco Parzych became so focused on flying his aircraft that he did not hear radio calls of other airplanes and did not notice that he was about to strike another aircraft.
- The Air Force selected 502 of 2,855 eligible master sergeants for promotion to chief master sergeant, officials announced Nov. 8. That would come out to a 17.58 percent selection rate for the 99E9 cycle, well above the TOPCAP (Total Objective Plan for Career Airmen Personnel) minimum of 13 percent set for chief master sergeant during the force drawdown.
- On Nov. 2, Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert J. Courter Jr. was selected to be the next director of the Defense Commissary Agency. He is currently director of plans and programs for Air Force Materiel Command.
- The Supply and Transportation Re-engineering Concept Team from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw AFB, S.C., recently was selected as a winner of the 1999 Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award. The prize recognizes outstanding performance of teams that use a systematic approach to improve performance.
- Names of the four winners of the Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award were announced Nov. 1. They are Col. Paul G. Schafer, formerly assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, Al Jaber AB, Kuwait; Capt. Mark T. Daley, 21st Special Operations Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, UK; SMSgt. Gordon H. Scott, formerly of the 7th SOS, RAF Mildenhall; and SSgt. Thomas B. Mazzone, 3rd Aerial Port Squadron, Pope AFB, N.C. The Sijan prize was created in 1981 to recognize personnel who demonstrated outstanding leadership while assigned to wing level and below organizations.
- The 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Neb., received its 15th RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft on Oct. 14. The addition should ease some of the workload on the eavesdropping Rivet Joint fleet-one of the highest-demand assets in the service.
- Almost 66,000 troops from the US and 10 other nations gathered in Egypt in late October for the biennial Bright Star live-fire training exercise. They peppered a desert area outside Cairo with mortar and rocket fire in a mock war designed to promote interoperability between the militaries of NATO members and friendly Mideast states.
- Steve Pecinovsky, an Air Force judge advocate general who works in the US attorney’s office in Dayton, Ohio, and in the Fraud Directorate of the Air Force Materiel Command Law Office, may be the first colonel in US history to compete in the US Olympic Trials in track and field. Pecinovsky, one of the top racewalkers in the country, will vie for an Olympic slot in the 50-kilometer racewalk event in February.
- Mark W. Gaddis, an electrical engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Semiconductor Laser Branch at Kirtland AFB, N.M, has been named the Air Force recipient of the DoD Outstanding Federal Employees With Disabilities Award for 1999. Gaddis, born with osteogenesis imperfecta, is one of the most respected engineers in his field.