Iraq Mounts Attacks on Patrols
Iraq continued to fire on US and coalition aircraft patrolling the UN no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq. On Dec. 1, US aircraft patrolling in the Operation Southern Watch zone responded with precision guided munitions against Iraqi air defense facilities.On Dec. 2, US and UK aircraft flying Operation Northern Watch missions used PGMs to strike an anti-aircraft artillery site.
On Dec. 14, coalition aircraft struck military sites in response to Iraqi military aircraft violating the no-fly zone. On Dec. 15, coalition aircraft delivered PGMs against cable repeater sites and a mobile radar. On Dec. 16, coalition aircraft used PGMs to strike an Iraqi communications site. Both these strikes were in response to Iraqi surface-to-air artillery attacks on coalition aircraft.
Since the UN Security Council approved new weapons inspections, Iraq fired on coalition aircraft on at least 17 days in the south and seven in the north.
Myers Says Iraq Endangers Civilians
DOD officials said retaliatory strikes were not always immediate because coalition pilots, in some case, were not able to pinpoint the source of an attack. One reason was that Iraq hides its mobile air defense units within civilian areas.
USAF Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs Chairman, in early December showed reporters a surveillance video that revealed a truck-mounted air defense radar being driven into an area of civilian buildings for cover from coalition aircraft.
“It’s a good example, I think, how the Iraqi regime places civilians at risk in a very conscious way,” said Myers. “We passed on hitting this target just to avoid putting the Iraqi civilians in harm’s way.”
Commando Solos Beam Into Iraq
USAF EC-130E Commando Solo aircraft began broadcasting various messages into Iraq on Dec. 12. The messages were directed at both Iraq’s military and its civilian population.
The aircraft did not fly in Iraqi airspace, said DOD officials. They broadcasted several messages at various times of the day. Leaflets dropped by other aircraft flying within the zones explain what broadcast frequencies are being used. The content of the broadcasts varied. One message explained the UN Security Council Resolution calling on Saddam Hussein to declare his weapons of mass destruction and to disarm. Another exhorted the military to become “a legitimate army of the people.” A message cited Saddam’s misuse of the UN Oil for Food program to buy and produce weapons.
The 193rd Special Operations Wing of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard fly the EC-130s.
B-52s, A-10s Aid Special Forces
On Dec. 1, USAF B-52 bombers dropped precision guided munitions in Afghanistan to support US special operations forces under attack in Herat Province near the Iranian border. Pentagon officials said the attackers–armed Afghans–stopped firing after the B-52s dropped seven 2,000-pound bombs on their positions.
On Dec. 2, the Pentagon said al Qaeda and Taliban sympathizers made two hit-and-run attacks on a US Army Special Forces unit. The unit called for a USAF A-10, which dropped flares in the area. There were no US casualties in either action. However, DOD officials noted that these and other similar incidents in recent weeks continue to highlight the danger faced by coalition forces in Afghanistan.
USAF To Realign Manpower
The Air Force, on Dec. 19, announced its plan to realign more than 13,000 active duty and civilian authorizations beginning this year and running through 2009. The plan will shift manpower to the service’s highest priority jobs, said officials.
USAF directed its eight active duty major commands to identify some 9,300 military and 3,900 civilian positions for realignment. It is not intended to reduce the service’s overall end strength, said Brig. Gen. W. P. Ard, USAF’s director of manpower and organization.
News reports last month indicated that the Air Force was poised to do just that by making personnel cuts in part to adjust its end strength, which was above authorized level for Fiscal 2002. The reports attracted the interest of lawmakers, several of whom contacted DOD and the Air Force to question personnel cuts at a time when the service has been straining to keep up with its long-running high operations tempo. Ard said realigning active duty positions will enable the Air Force to make more airmen available for expeditionary duties, relieving stress on the most critical career fields. The civilian job realignments are intended to help shape the workforce, he added. USAF plans to provide civilians whose jobs are affected with opportunities for priority placement, voluntary early retirement, or voluntary separation incentives.
Service officials noted that, in line with direction from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, they are continuing to examine USAF’s entire workforce to determine if the service can meet its requirements within its existing end strength.
DOD Gets OK on Missile Defense
The Defense Department, on Dec. 17, announced that the President had directed the Pentagon to field an initial missile defense capability in 2004-05.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, head of the Missile Defense Agency, told reporters that he is ready to proceed with a hit-to-kill capability, despite several misfires and continuing alterations to a ground-based booster system. “Some things will work and some things won’t,” said Kadish. “What we do know is that our fundamental technology of hit-to-kill works. A few years ago, I could not tell you that with confidence.” Kadish said he plans to ask Congress to appropriate another $1.5 billion over the next two years for the initial development capabilities. They include:
• Up to 20 ground-based interceptors capable of intercepting and destroying ICBMs in the midcourse phase of flight. Sixteen will be based at Ft. Greeley, Alaska, and four at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
• Up to 20 sea-based interceptors employed on existing Aegis ships to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in the midcourse phase of flight.
• Deployment of air-transportable Patriot Advanced Capability 3 systems to intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.
• Land, sea, and space-based sensors, including existing early warning satellites, an upgraded radar now located at Shemya, Alaska, a new sea-based X-band radar, upgraded existing early warning radars in the UK and Greenland, and use of radars and sensors now on Aegis ships.
“The system testing that we have done gives us the confidence that we have the ability to integrate these elements, as complex as they are, and to make them effective,” said Kadish. “We will build confidence over time as we invest in this program.”
DOD Starts Smallpox Effort
On Dec. 13, President Bush announced he had ordered smallpox vaccinations to begin for military personnel and recommended them for domestic medical personnel and first-responders. The Pentagon, which had begun the mandatory vaccinations the day before, plans to immunize personnel, initially totaling about 500,000, based on occupational specialties. The first to receive the smallpox vaccine will be smallpox response teams and hospital and clinic workers.
Smallpox vaccinations, which use a two-pronged needle to prick the skin several times, were routine in the US for everyone until 1972. The World Health Organization declared the disease eradicated worldwide in 1980. US military smallpox vaccinations continued until 1990. Reactions to the vaccine include swelling, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, pain, or chills. Some people may have rashes that last for days. There will be a red, itchy bump at the site of the vaccination if it’s successful. About 1,000 people for every one million vaccinated for the first time experience serious reactions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports that one or two people per million vaccinated may die.
Administration officials acknowledge there are risks in taking the vaccine. However, they said, the greater risk is to acquire and spread the disease, which is highly contagious. Smallpox kills about three out of 10 infected people, and there is no treatment or cure.
NORAD Scrambles Fighters
NORAD officials at Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo., directed USAF fighter aircraft on Nov. 28 from several bases to check out reports of a suspicious contrail running toward the US from the Caribbean.
According to the Pentagon, commercial airline pilots later reported the contrail over Florida and then over Indiana. No other sightings of aircraft or contrails were reported. The fighters made “no visual or confirmed radar contact” with the source of the contrail, said a Pentagon statement.
Army Guard To Aid USAF
On Dec. 16, the Pentagon announced the Army and the Air Force had signed a memorandum of agreement calling for the Army to mobilize 9,000 Army National Guard soldiers to augment security at 163 Air Force installations in the US. Under the agreement, Army Guardsmen will augment USAF security forces for up to two years while the Air Force phases in permanent solutions to address its shortage of security forces personnel. The increased optempo since 9/11 has forced Air Force officials to search for a variety of options to supplement its shorthanded security forces.
DOD’s head of reserve affairs, Thomas F. Hall, announced the agreement, saying, “Our intent is to reduce the burden on the Air Force security forces personnel, in particular those Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members who are serving into a second year of mobilization.”
Supertyphoon Hits Guam
A supertyphoon with winds of 150 mph struck Guam Dec. 8, leaving the island without power and water. No one at Andersen Air Force Base was injured, according to base officials.
The storm, called Typhoon Pongsona, caused major damage to some base facilities and downed 1,000 trees. Pacific Air Forces personnel from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and Yokota AB, Japan, were sent to help restore full base operations and provide medical and aircraft maintenance assistance. The Hawaii Air National Guard airlifted personnel and supplies.
Disaster relief officials estimated it would be weeks before the island had full power again.
A-10 Pilot Dies in Crash
Capt. Eric Palaro died Dec. 4 in a midair collision between two A-10 attack aircraft over the Nevada Test and Training Range, about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The other pilot, Maj. Scott Kneip, an instructor with the USAF Weapons School A-10 division, ejected from his aircraft. He was reported in good condition. Palaro was assigned to the 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, Germany. He was participating in a weapons school training exercise at the time of the accident.
USAF has appointed a board of officers to investigate.
ACC Takes No-Fly Day
Air Combat Command officials announced Dec. 5 that on the next day command aircraft would not be flying.
Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, ACC commander, said increases in optempo and in aircraft mishaps called for a flight leadership focus day. He directed flying unit commanders to conduct mandatory training that would focus on basic flight discipline, as well as flight and maintenance procedures.
“It’s understood that our people are stretched thin conducting the global war on terrorism, other contingency operations, and homeland security missions over the United States, while preparing for possible future conflicts,” said Hornburg. “However, focusing on the basics is every bit as vital in preparation for potential contingencies as it is for maintaining safe flying operations at home.”
AFIT To See Growth Spurt
The annual graduate education quota for the Air Force Institute of Technology will rise from 500 students to about 2,500 annually over the next six years, according to a new Air Force initiative. The initiative affects AFIT’s resident and civilian institution programs.
AFIT, located at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, has been under the gun in recent years and narrowly survived at least one attempt to close the institute.
Col. Michael Heil, AFIT commandant, said the resident program alone will increase from a 2002 quota of 265 students per year to about 500 in 2003. To keep up with the increase, AFIT plans to hire additional faculty members.
Shorter Enlistments Coming Up
Congress and the Bush Administration have given the green light to the Pentagon to work up a shorter enlistment program than the current standard three- and four-year tours. The tours might be only 15 months, after completing basic and technical training.
Recruits joining the Air Force and Marine Corps currently must enlist for four years. They also have a four-year inactive reserve commitment following that. The Navy currently offers some select personnel two-year options and has a three-year tour. The Army has options of two, three, four, and five years.
The program is part of the Fiscal 2003 defense authorization act that President Bush signed into law Dec. 2. The plan calls for 15 months of active duty followed by either an additional active-duty period or 24 months in an active reserve status or in a national service program, such as the Peace Corps. More time would be spent in inactive reserve status, for a total of eight years.
The services have to work out the details, including which military jobs would be open to the short-term enlistees.
Bush Orders Korea Medal
The Fiscal 2003 defense authorization bill, signed by President Bush in December, directs the Pentagon to issue a Korea Defense Service Medal.
The provision calls for DOD to award the medal to members of the armed forces who served in Korea after July 1954, when DOD stopped issuing the Korean Service Medal. About 40,000 US personnel have served in Korea on a steady-state basis since the armistice. Since 1953, there have been 40,000 reported breaches of the armistice.
Some 1,200 service members have died as a result of service in Korea since 1953. One champion of the provision, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), called Korea “among the more dangerous places to serve.”
Russia Plans Military Reforms
Russian Defense Minister Sergei B. Ivanov revealed several military reform proposals that will improve training and professionalism but probably will not bring about the extensive changes outlined previously by Russian President Vladmir Putin.
Ivanov told reporters that the Russian military would shift more quickly from draftees to professionals on contract. He said that, by 2007, troops in the most combat-ready units would be all professionals. The previous schedule called for such a transition to begin in 2011.
Ivanov said that under the new plan, 126,000 troops out of a total of 1.1 million would become professionals within the next four years. He said it’s “a very ambitious goal.”
The defense minister did not indicate whether Putin’s call for a drastic reduction in the size of the military force would be implemented nor whether the draft would be eliminated. Putin advocated reducing the size of the military by as much as one-third to pay for better equipment and training.
Ivanov said the decision over the size would be held until completion of a new strategy, requested by Putin, to deal with terrorism.
USAF Changes Captain Selection
The Air Force announced Dec. 6 that it planned to eliminate the central selection boards for promotion to captain, beginning this year. Promotion decisions about eligible first lieutenants are now to be made at the major command or equivalent level.
The change applies to active duty and reserve officers.
USAF officials said the new approach will save the Air Force time and money. Col. Dale Vande Hey, director of personnel programs at the Air Force Personnel Center, said it will also place the promotion decision-maker closer to the officer under consideration.
Vande Hey said the historical 99 percent selection rate to captain made the change a logical move. Potentially, the service can promote 100 percent of the fully qualified first lieutenants.
Kelly Shows Low Death Rate
A newly released study of the mortality rate for workers at the former Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio shows there are “significantly fewer deaths from all causes than would have been expected using either US or Texas reference rates for comparison,” said USAF officials in November.
The study, conducted by Applied Epidemiology Inc., of Amherst, Mass., covered 32,000 civilians who worked for one year or more at Kelly between 1981 and 2000. The Air Force commissioned the study after concerns rose over the number of former workers who had died from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. (See “Aerospace World: Link Between Kelly, Illness?” February 2001, p. 16.)
The study reviewed causes of death out of concern about ALS but found no higher rate for that disease. It did find the Kelly rate of death due to liver cancer, emphysema, and diabetes to be higher than the US rate, but it was not higher than the Texas rate for those diseases.
There is a separate study still under way to determine the occurrence of ALS among Kelly workers, living or dead, over the history of the base. Those results are expected this year, said officials.
Northrop Grumman, TRW Merge
Northrop Grumman officials announced, on Dec. 11, completion of a merger with TRW. The TRW name will stand, with the company becoming a wholly owned subsidiary.
With the merger, said Kent Kresa, Northrop Grumman chairman and chief executive officer, the Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman becomes the second largest defense company. It will have more than $25 billion in annual sales and nearly 120,000 employees.
DOD had given its OK to the merger on Nov. 21, passing the matter to the Justice Department. A last-minute sticking point for Justice was concern expressed by defense industry leader Lockheed Martin that the new Northrop Grumman might abuse a new-found monopoly in production of key satellite components.
Academy Flight Training Returns
The arrival of new DA20-C1 Falcon aircraft at the US Air Force Academy in late November marked the return of the Introductory Flight Training Program to the academy. Another 20 of the new aircraft are to arrive this month, said officials.
The aircraft, produced by Diamond Aircraft in Canada, are equipped with top-of-the-line avionics and a GPS navigation system. They are quieter and safer than aircraft the academy previously used, said Lt. Col. Kathy Doby, 557th Flying Training Squadron commander. The two-seat C1s are 23 feet long with a 35-foot wingspan.
The academy contracted Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to administer the IFT program, which is expected to train up to 300 students in the first year of operation. IFT, said Academy officials, reduces the attrition rate for graduates when they go through Air Force specialized undergraduate pilot training.
The academy did its own IFT until 1997 when the Air Force grounded the T-3A trainer, then in use, after a series of fatal accidents.
USAF Promotes CAP Leaders
On Dec. 3, the Air Force promoted Brig. Gen. Richard L. Bowling, Civil Air Patrol national commander, to major general and Col. Dwight Wheless, CAP national vice commander, to brigadier general. In announcing the changes in November, Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, cited CAP’s proud record of service and its coming role in homeland security as the deciding factors in ordering the promotions. The Air Force had recently moved CAP functionally from its operations directorate to its new homeland security directorate.
At the pinning ceremony, Bowling said the event was “an occasion never seen before in CAP.” He added, “General Wheless and I received the stars, but the entire organization received the promotion.”
PACAF To Support C-17, F/A-22
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche told troops at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, that they would be supporting C-17s, the service’s newest airlifter, and F/A-22s, when the stealth fighter enters operational service.
Roche said the C-17s need to be “pre-positioned and working out of Hawaii like they are forward deployed.” He added that such a move would include a full C-17 maintenance facility “at least at the unit level.”
He also said it will be important to forward deploy the new F/A-22 and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in PACAF. Roche was on a tour of PACAF bases in late November when he unveiled these plans.
|DOD Seeks Competition Among Airpower Elements
The Defense Department plans to conduct a “competition … between three buckets of capabilities” to enhance its combat air forces, said Stephen A. Cambone, the Pentagon’s director of program planning analysis and evaluation.
Cambone, who has been heading up DOD’s transformation effort, told reporters in late November that the three capabilities will derive from unmanned and manned aircraft and standoff weapons. Regarding manned aircraft, he said, “We clearly have to get into a stealth force as quickly as we can.”
For unmanned aircraft, Cambone said DOD must decide what kinds of vehicles to develop based on what roles and misisons they might handle. Once that determination is made, then DOD would balance the capabilities of unmanned vs. manned aircraft. He speculated that standoff weapons, including cruise missiles, perhaps with hypersonic capability, might be launched from ships, unmanned or manned aircraft, or from the ground.
By the end of this decade, said Cambone, “the department will have a handful of choices about how it might go forward for the kinds of missions that [DOD leaders] think are going to be associated with airpower.”
|F/A-22 Development Cost Issue Grows
The Air Force in December announced that the Red Team investigating problems in the F/A-22 program said the service must extend the fighter’s Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase by 18 months–escalating the cost further than predicted one month earlier.
The Air Force now estimates the EMD extension will cost between $700 million and $1 billion, according to Marvin R. Sambur, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, who briefed reporters Dec. 6. Sambur emphasized the additional cost will be absorbed within the high-priority Air Force fighter program.
The immediate impact of the EMD stretch, he said, likely will be five or six fewer Raptors built over the next three fiscal years. The long-term impact on the size of the program is difficult to determine.
However, Sambur said that the EMD extension will not affect plans for Initial Operational Capability, which is still scheduled for the end of 2005. He added, though, that the program remains event-driven and was not guided by a schedule. “We will not compromise just to make our IOC,” he said.
In early November, the Air Force had announced a potential $690 million cost overrun, but Sambur said the Red Team now places the “risk range up to $1 billion.” He said that figure does not count $200 million in management reserve funds already spent.
Shortly after announcing the EMD cost problem, Air Force leaders reassigned the two generals overseeing the program. (See “Aerospace World: USAF Changes F/A-22 Leaders,” December, p. 9.)
Sambur revealed that the cost overrun means the Air Force has to trim its purchase of F/A-22s by one or two in each of the next three fiscal years. Currently, the service is re-evaluating the Fiscal 2003 buy of 23 Raptors, but a final determination may not be made for months.
The Air Force acquisition chief did say that modernization work intended to boost the Raptor’s ground-attack capabilities will be slashed in Fiscal 2003. Sambur said that prime contractor Lockheed Martin “does not have the manpower to do modernization and EMD extension simultaneously.”
The Air Force does not plan to touch Fiscal 2004 or 2005 modernization accounts. Therefore, unless some new production efficiencies can be found, F/A-22 production funds must cover all new development expenses.
The service had been told it could “buy to the budget,” Sambur said. This arrangement was created to satisfy both the Air Force and the Defense Acquisition Board, which had differing opinions as to how much it would cost to build the airplane.
The DAB challenged the Air Force to build as many Raptors as possible for a total cost of $43 billion. USAF officials believed 339 would be possible, while the Office of the Secretary of Defense believed the service could build only 303 for the money.
“Now it looks like we are going off that 339,” Sambur admitted. “Obviously, because we are paying more, we’re probably going to be buying less.”
He said USAF would “have a zero-sum game on a year-by-year basis.” In Fiscal 2004 and 2005, “even though it may mean only two planes, it still has an effect on your ramp rate and your learning curve.”
Sambur listed four conclusions drawn by the Red Team:
“Finding 1: The cost increase is driven by schedule extensions that will push completion of development from March 2004 to approximately November 2005. As a result, some of the development and production work and testing will now be done concurrently.
“Finding 2: Schedule extensions were in large measure caused by the necessity to resolve development-related issues such as fin buffet and avionics stability. These kinds of development issues are not uncommon to any major aircraft development program.
“Finding 3: The cost increase is not driven by aircraft performance issues and subsequently does not entail an increased risk of production retrofits.
“Finding 4: The magnitude of the increase is estimated to be about $700 million with a risk range up to $1 billion. The range is driven by assumptions regarding future schedule efficiencies. However, it is important to note that the Red Team also recommended mitigation options that could reduce the numbers significantly below $700 million.”
Sambur went on to explain the main development issues. He said that the fin buffet issue is nearly resolved. For the avionics integration, F/A-22 requirements call for avionics software that averages 10 hours before a failure requires a component restart.
He said that current avionics failures occur “every three or four hours,” which, he explained, “is not atypical” at this stage of development. The Air Force expects to have the software corrected “within the next couple of months.”
At that time, Sambur said, the Air Force will go back before Pentagon acquisition chief Edward C. Aldridge to finalize the production number for Fiscal 2003.
The F/A-22’s integrated avionics package is one of the key capabilities not available on current fighters. Other Raptor selling points include stealth, supercruise, and lower support costs.
Sambur emphasized that the Air Force remains fully committed to its top acquisition priority, which “continues to perform superbly in flight tests and is demonstrating those revolutionary capabilities we expect it to deliver.”
However, he said the program is not untouchable, and the Air Force and Lockheed Martin must get it right.
“Lockheed Martin cannot be in the situation they are in right now [and] win,” Sambur said. “They can only lose in this “if the increase goes beyond a certain point,” because the Air Force and OSD will not tolerate it.
Sambur emphasized that DOD could “tell us to get off this train [and] we will.”
—Adam J. Hebert
|No Plan To Address SEAD Shortage, GAO Contends
Despite several years of looking at the problem, the Defense Department still doesn’t have a comprehensive plan to address a worsening shortage of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses capabilities, according to the General Accounting Office.
In a report released in late November, GAO said the Pentagon has made “some progress” in modernizing its SEAD capability but still faces a gap between what it has for the mission and what is needed.
It also said a much-vaunted two-year Analysis of Alternatives for meeting SEAD requirements has not led to a workable plan to protect US air forces.
The Pentagon’s AOA, said GAO, “only analyzed the airborne electronic attack portion of the mission and did not address needed improvements in aircraft self-protection systems or technical and funding challenges of other service programs, such as the Navy’s and Air Force’s air-launched decoy programs.” The Pentagon relied on the AOA to establish its SEAD requirements for the Fiscal 2004 budget process.
GAO recommended again–as this was its second review of SEAD shortages in two years–that the Pentagon come up with a comprehensive plan for protecting its aircraft. In response, DOD said it agreed and would create an integrated product team to solve the SEAD shortfall.
The Pentagon’s Analysis of Alternatives had identified 27 options for meeting SEAD requirements, almost all of which were considered too pricey to afford. (See “Next Steps in Electronic Attack,” June 2002, p. 48.)
GAO pointed out that the Navy EA-6B Prowler tactical jammer/SEAD platform, which is jointly used by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, is suffering from wing fatigue and engine problems–two crashed in 2002 and 50 were grounded–and is chronically in short supply. About 104 are needed at any given time, but only 91 of 122 are available for service. The Navy must replace it by 2009.
Pentagon acquisition chief Edward C. Aldridge approved a Navy plan to replace the Prowler with an electronic warfare version of the F/A-18F Super Hornet, but that airplane won’t be ready until 2011 at the earliest. The Air Force is considering using the production version of its X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle for the mission, but it won’t be ready, even in limited numbers, until 2009.
GAO noted that airborne self-protection systems, particularly on the F/A-18, are experiencing problems and mission failures. Moreover, air-launched decoy projects have suffered from restructuring and delays.
In addition to the EA-6B, the Air Force largely depends on High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile-equipped F-16 fighters, designated F-16CJs, as its principal SEAD platform since the retirement of the F-4G Wild Weasel in the early 1990s. The service acknowledges that the F-16CJ was not a complete replacement for the F-4G. It considered dedicating specially modified F-15 aircraft to the role but dropped the idea because of high cost.
USAF also counted on an increasingly stealthy force to reduce its need for SEAD assets, but the service’s fleet will not consist mostly of stealthy aircraft until the next decade.
GAO did cite the Air Force move to add 31 more F-16CJs to flesh out the SEAD capabilities of its Air Expeditionary Forces and the plan to upgrade the capabilities of 11 of its 13 EC-130 Compass Call communications jamming aircraft.
—John A. Tirpak
|P-38, Long Buried in Greenland Ice, Flies Again
A P-38 frozen under a Greenland glacier for 50 years flew again in October, culminating a 10-year recovery and restoration effort that honors World War II pilots and Arctic rescuers.
The aircraft, dubbed Glacier Girl, was one of six P-38s and two B-17s–all factory-fresh–that made forced landings in Greenland in July 1942. The US aircraft were en route to England when they went off course, possibly following bogus weather reports broadcast by Nazi submarines. As the aircraft ran out of fuel, they set down on the arctic ice. Except for one P-38 that flipped over, all the aircraft made controlled landings.
The warbirds were abandoned in place, but the 25 Army Air Forces crew members were rescued by five Army personnel who braved 15 miles of hazardous ice floes and crevasses to reach them. All the crewmen and their rescuers survived.
Entrepeneur and former Air Force pilot J. Roy Shoffner financed six expeditions to locate and subsequently raise one P-38 from this “Lost Squadron” which was resting nearly 270 feet beneath the arctic ice. The enterprise cost $638,000. Recovered in 1992, Glacier Girl–an F model P-38–was brought to the Lost Squadron Museum in Middlesboro, Ky., where it has been undergoing restoration for the past 10 years at a cost of more than $3 million.
Parts destroyed or made unusable from the long sleep in Greenland were manufactured from scratch or obtained through exhaustive detective work. The aircraft was brought to airworthy condition and flew Oct. 26 before a crowd of some 20,000 aviation fans and well-wishers, including some of the pilots and rescuers involved in the 1942 incident.
Glacier Girl is the only P-38F still in existence and one of only two dozen P-38s extant worldwide, out of the more than 10,000 produced. Only about six are flyable. The newly restored aircraft will travel the air show circuit and, between shows, serve as the centerpiece of the Lost Squadron Museum.
|Bush OKs New Homeland Security Department
President Bush plans formally to establish the new Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security on Jan. 24. Late last year, Bush signed legislation officially creating the department, which had become a top bipartisan priority after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks revealed flaws in the nation’s homeland defense structure.
The legislation approved perhaps the most significant governmental reorganization since the National Security Act of 1947 created the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, and a separate Air Force.
When Bush signed the legislation Nov. 25, he also nominated former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to lead the new cabinet-level department. Ridge has served as head of the interim Office of Homeland Security since shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The Administration expects to have the new department–which will comprise 170,000 employees who are currently spread across 22 different government agencies–up and running by March. The Administration already has submitted a governmental reorganization plan outlining the strategy for transfer of agencies and personnel.
Bush also nominated Navy Secretary Gordon R. England, a former General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin executive, to be Ridge’s deputy. Experts consider England’s experience in working mergers and acquisitions to be one of his assets for the new post.
Creating the new department will be a daunting task. It will combine the Customs Service, Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Secret Service, and many other units into a single entity. The Administration expects the consolidation to answer critics who claimed that homeland defense measures have been too fragmented to be effective. Formerly, each group with homeland security responsibilities operated in its own orbit, without sufficient coordination.
No one predicts the department will function as a homogeneous whole any time soon. Ridge will have to integrate diverse organizational cultures while simultaneously attempting to fix a long list of homeland security vulnerabilities. He will work with a $38 billion budget in Fiscal 2003.
|Military Hospitals Need Financial Improvement, Says Watchdog Agency
The financial management at some Defense Department medical treatment facilities is so poor that treatment may be given to imposters, insurance companies are not billed for patient care, and equipment is prone to theft, charged a recent General Accounting Office report.
According to the report, poor databases and lax oversight prevent military hospitals from knowing if health care is being obtained fraudulently.
At one facility, 41 patients allegedly treated in Fiscal 2001 had died before the year began. Although “this could be the result of clerical errors, someone may have fraudulently assumed the identity of a deceased person in order to receive free medical care,” the report noted.
Lax billing practices are another problem. The facilities frequently did not bill third-party insurers for patient care “even when they knew that such coverage existed, thereby losing opportunities to collect millions of dollars of reimbursements,” the report said.
Further, ineffective physical and financial controls led to more problems. Inventories were poorly controlled, creating the “risk that pilferable items or other types of assets can be converted to personal use,” the report cautioned. The treatment facilities are subject to the same problems with purchase card abuse as other DOD entities, according to GAO. Lack of control over purchases made on the government-issued cards creates the opportunity for fraud.
“At one location, a military cardholder defrauded the government of tens of thousands of dollars by purchasing items for personal use” on the government card, the report determined.
The Congressional auditors recommended that DOD strengthen the financial oversight at these facilities, a view the department concurred with.
William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, wrote in the Pentagon’s response to the report that DOD was “appreciative” of GAO bringing the problems to light.
The investigation focused on representative military treatment facilities in Georgia, Virginia, and Texas, including Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio. The GAO study was requested by Reps. Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio).
|CIA: North Korea Could Produce 50 Nukes a Year
The CIA has determined that North Korea could produce enough plutonium to build at least 50 nuclear weapons per year by the middle of the decade. These weapons would be in addition to the one or two nuclear weapons officials believe the Communist dictatorship already possesses.
In an unclassified intelligence summary sent to lawmakers late last year, the CIA wrote that North Korea “has continued its nuclear weapons program” despite the pledge to halt it as part of the 1994 Agreed Framework between the US and North Korea.
The Administration revealed in October that North Korea had defaulted on the agreement and was running a clandestine nuclear weapons program. When confronted with US evidence of the program, North Korea admitted it was violating the terms of the agreement. (See “Aerospace World: North Korea Stuns US With Nuke Claim,” November, p. 23.)
In a deal brokered by former President and 2002 Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter, Pyongyang agreed in 1994 to terminate its nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy assistance from Washington. Aid to North Korea was to include two light-water nuclear reactors that cannot easily produce weapons material.
The CIA assessment found that Pyongyang had halted its plutonium production program but had continued nuclear weapons development in other ways. North Korea reacted to the revelations by accusing the United States of being the party that actually abrogated the Agreed Framework. “It is well known to the world that the US has violated the framework and boycotted the implementation of its commitments,” a spokesman for North Korea said in November.
The United States cut off oil shipments to North Korea about a month after Pyongyang confirmed its clandestine nuclear program. The North Korean spokesman called the end of the oil shipments a “wanton violation” of the mutual agreement.
In late December, Pyongyang began dismantling equipment monitoring a plutonium facility and appeared ready to restart plutonium production. The CIA’s assessment determined that if North Korea fully abandoned the agreement, it could quickly resume plutonium production, generating enough material for “several more weapons” almost immediately.
If the framework collapses, almost all plutonium capacity would come from the Yongbyon and Taechon reactors, the assessment continued. Work on these heavy-water reactors was halted with the 1994 agreement, and the CIA noted that “it would take several years to complete construction.”
Although “clear evidence” did not surface until recently, the intelligence community had suspected North Korea had a uranium enrichment program in place for several years. The CIA said, “North Korea embarked on the effort to develop a centrifuge-based uranium enrichment program about two years ago.” Last year, North Korea began to seek out large quantities of centrifuge materials. More recently, the Intelligence Community learned North Korea had a weapons-processing plant under development, large enough to deliver enough uranium for two or more nuclear weapons per year by the middle of the decade.
The CIA continues to monitor the North Korean nuclear effort. The assessment conceded that “given the North’s closed society and the obvious covert nature of the program,” intelligence gathering will be difficult.
—Adam J. Hebert
|NATO OKs Expansion, SACEUR Post Realigned
The NATO countries invited seven more nations to join the alliance. These included, for the first time, former republics of the now-defunct Soviet Union. The organization also began streamlining its military structure.
The seven newly invited nations are Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the three former Soviet states: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. If the new members accept membership, the new NATO will stretch from the United States in the west to the Black Sea in the east and encompass 26 nations. Legislatures of the invitees must ratify a decision to join the alliance.
At a November NATO meeting, French President Jacques Chirac said the invitation eliminates the last vestiges of the old Cold War dividing lines in Europe. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said this round of invitations “will not be the last,” and NATO leaders generally urged nonmembers–such as Russia–not to view the expansion as a threat.
“Russia is not the enemy,” Robertson said, noting instead a “deadly cocktail of threats” from terrorists and rogue nations as now posing the greatest danger to the alliance.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said NATO’s military arm will be transformed into a lighter, more agile force that will be better suited to taking on unconventional and out-of-area threats.
To be relevant in the 21st century, Rumsfeld said, NATO must transform, itself “from being a Cold War institution organized and trained and equipped to deter and dissuade and defend against a Soviet Union tank battle across the West German plain into an organization that’s capable of responding quickly to trouble spots in the world.”
Toward that end, NATO plans to reshape its top two military elements into two strategic commands, one focused on operations and one on transformation. The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, or SHAPE, headquartered in Mons, Belgium, will become the Allied Command Operations. The Allied Command Atlantic, or ACLANT, headquartered in Norfolk, Va., will become Allied Command Transformation.
In addition, the alliance decided to form eight specialty headquarters, each headed by a different country. NATO voting members also endorsed a US initiative–creation of a rapid-reaction, brigade-sized NATO Response Force.
Current alliance leaders encouraged new members and member candidates to focus what few defense dollars they have on specialty niches that they can fill, rather than attempting to build fully capable independent militaries. The Czech Republic, for example, has invested in equipment and personnel that can detect radiological, biological, and chemical attacks and defend against them, while Slovakia has troops specializing in mountain warfare. Slovenia is focusing on well-trained special operations forces.
European member nations also agreed to commit funding to areas of military capability where they lag behind the United States. Specifically, nations promised to invest in secure communications, precision guided munitions, electronic warfare gear, and nuclear, biological, and chemical protective clothing.
Two nations–Germany and the United Kingdom–pledged to expand their outsize cargo airlift capability. The UK would continue leasing C-17s from Boeing, while Germany is considering the C-17 or the Russian AN-124.
—John A. Tirpak
|Air and Space Annex Is “Go” for 2003 Opening
Smithsonian officials expect to meet the target December 2003 opening of the National Air and Space Museum annex at Dulles Airport in Virginia, near Washington, D.C.
Construction on the facility is about 75 percent complete, NASM director Gen. J.R. Dailey (USMC, Ret.) announced in November. The opening date was chosen to coincide with the centennial anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight, in December 1903.
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center–named after the principal donor to the annex, which is being built without federal funds–will house some 200 aircraft and 135 large space artifacts in a facility comprising, initially, 523,000 square feet. The objects represent the 80 percent of the NASM collection for which there is insufficient room at its flagship building on the National Mall in Washington. Currently, the objects are located in warehouses at the Smithsonian’s Paul E. Garber restoration facility in Suitland, Md., and on loan to other museums around the country.
At the opening of the new Dulles facility, 70 of the 200 aircraft will be on display. Two main hangars will house the collection, which includes oversized objects such as the Enola Gay B-29, space shuttle Enterprise, a speed-record-setting SR-71, and Dash 80, the prototype Boeing 707.
Officials have begun fund-raising for an expansion of the center to 760,000 square feet, to include a restoration hangar, archives, conservation lab, collections processing facilities, and a study collections storage unit.
Other aspects of the center include the 164-foot-tall Donald D. Engen Observation Tower, named after the museum’s late director, from which visitors can view flight operations at Dulles Airport, and the Claude Moore Education Center, named after a Virginia philanthropist. The facility will also offer an IMAX format theater and a food court.
The downtown Washington NASM building is the most popular museum in the world, drawing nine million visitors annually. Museum officials expect the Dulles annex to draw at least half that many each year. The Smithsonian has already received applications from more than 400 persons wishing to be volunteer docents, or tour guides, at the Udvar-Hazy Center. The facility is being built by the Hensel Phelps Construction Co. of Greeley, Colo., which won the contract in April 2001. The Commonwealth of Virginia is providing infrastructure for the site.
|John McLucas, Former Air Force Secretary, Dies
John L. McLucas–engineer, government official in four administrations, businessman, and former Air Force Secretary–died Dec. 1 in Alexandria, Va. He was 82 and had suffered from heart problems for several years.
When he became Secretary of the Air Force in July 1973, McLucas had already flown in almost every type aircraft the Air Force had in its fleet, including the U-2 high-flying reconnaissance aircraft. He was also the holder of 10 US patents, a tribute to his technical abilities.
During World War II, he served as a Naval officer. After the war, he earned a doctorate in physics from Pennsylvania State University, and then was vice president and technical director of an electronics firm in Pennsylvania for seven years. In 1962, he became the Pentagon’s deputy director of defense research and engineering for tactical warfare programs.
Two years later, he became assistant secretary general for scientific affairs at NATO. From 1966 until 1969, he was president of Mitre Corp., a non-profit systems analysis and research organization, headquartered in Massachusetts. McLucas then served as Air Force undersecretary and as director of the National Reconnaissance Office from March 1969 until July 1973.
He served as Air Force Secretary until November 1975. McLucas was then named head of the Federal Aviation Administration. Two years later, he became president of Comsat General, a subsidiary of the Communications Satellite Corp. He retired from Comsat in 1985 but continued to work in various private industry positions.
|Jimmy Carter and the Axis of Danger
North Korean Danger Solved. “The crisis is over. … I don’t think that they are an outlaw nation.” –Carter, June 18, 1994, returning from self-assigned mission to talk North Korea out of developing nuclear weapons.
North Korean Danger Returns. “If true, this is a gross violation of previous agreements and a threat to peace in the region. It is not clear if the North Koreans are bluffing, actually have a nuclear program, or have yet produced any nuclear explosives. It is clear that the world community cannot permit North Korea to develop a nuclear weapons capability.”–Carter, New York Times op-ed, Oct. 27, 2002, on North Korea’s revelation that it had been secretly developing nuclear weapons for years.
No Danger From Iraq. “As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and by responsible leaders of former administrations and incumbent officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad.”–Carter, Washington Post op-ed, Sept. 5, 2002, on threat from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
Danger of Pre-emption. “For powerful countries to adopt a principle of preventive war may well set an example that can have catastrophic consequences.”–Carter, accepting Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Dec. 10, 2002.
Root Cause of Danger. “Citizens of the 10 wealthiest countries are now 75 times richer than those who live in the 10 poorest ones, and the separation is increasing every year, not only between nations but also within them. The results of this disparity are root causes of most of the world’s unresolved problems.”–Carter in Oslo, Dec. 10.
It’s the Thought That Counts. “He [Carter] fails constantly. But by talking peace and setting himself up for failure, he shows unbelievable courage. The effort shames other politicians.”–Douglas Brinkley, history professor and Carter biographer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dec. 7, 2002.
|Leaf Says USAF To Enhance Its Seven Warfighting-Concept Task Forces
The Air Force is bolstering the seven task forces charged with defining and developing future warfighting requirements, according to Maj. Gen. Daniel P. Leaf, whose title changed in December to director of operational capability requirements.
The changes recognize the task forces’ growing role in Air Force planning and the emphasis Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, places on capabilities vs. systems. (See “Seven Pillars of Airpower,” June 2002, p. 42.) In 2001, Jumper directed that the service develop seven Concepts of Operation, each the domain of a task force, that would focus on the capabilities needed to achieve effects rather than particular weapon systems.
In a Dec. 10 briefing, Leaf told reporters that seven “high powered” colonels will head each task force as its champion. Their jobs will be to oversee the seven CONOPS.
The CONOPS are: Global Strike; Global Response; Air and Space Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance; Homeland Security; Nuclear Response; Global Mobility; and Expeditionary Forces.
The Air Force evaluates these CONOPS in periodic, high-level, Capability Review and Risk Assessments. Leaf said the CRRAs attempt to look across the Air Force for the capabilities needed to perform key missions, instead of being “anchored” to a single concept.
Previously, the Air Force held Quarterly Acquisition Program Reviews, each conducted largely in isolation, to weigh costs and benefits of individual systems. That process was “not good for assessing risk,” Leaf said.
Leaf stressed that the task forces “are not all inclusive, and they’re not intended to be all inclusive.” However, he added, “There’s a danger that every “program advocate may feel the need to hang their hat on a CONOPS and a task force and a champion.”
The Air Staff wants to dissuade that kind of thinking, said Leaf.
He emphasized that just because a capability or system is not included in a task force CONOPS, that does not mean it is being dismissed. Rather, it means it doesn’t “fit into this Concept of Operation task force champion methodology,” he explained. “Frankly we struggle with that.”
In other changes, Leaf’s office will gain a one-star general as deputy director and some electronic combat requirements staff members who formerly worked in the intelligence operations office.
|Commission Says National Security Needs a Strong Aerospace Industry
The US needs a comprehensive plan to strengthen and support its military aerospace industry, according to the final report of the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry.
The commission’s report, released Nov. 18, highlighted concerns about Science and Technology funding, space launch, and the deteriorating defense industry technical talent pool. However, several of its 12 members said the report did not go far enough in its recommendations because they were hindered by the need to form consensus opinions.
The commission was mandated by Congress in Fiscal 2001. Its mission was “to develop and recommend a series of public policy reforms which will permit the US aerospace industry to create superior technology, excel in the global marketplace, profit from investment in human and financial capital, benefit from coordinated and integrated government decision-making, assure our national security, access modern infrastructure, and give the United States a capacity throughout the 21st century to reach for the stars.”
There were several issues cited in the report that commissioners said, if left unaddressed, could damage national security. They included:
• Inadequate S&T Funding. The report acknowledged the US has an asymmetric advantage in aerospace power because of advanced technology, but it said the long-term health of this technological edge is now in danger. Consequently, the commissioners recommended S&T funding be kept at three percent of DOD’s total obligation authority. They also said the Pentagon must protect S&T from budget cuts.
DOD’s stated goal for S&T funding is three percent, but the report noted that the Pentagon had raided S&T accounts to pay for other obligations in recent years, jeopardizing future technological breakthroughs.
• Space Launch in Jeopardy. According to the report, there is danger in DOD’s reliance on private industry for public needs, such as in the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. USAF’s decision to help fund two EELV contractors–Boeing and Lockheed Martin–depended on a robust commercial space launch demand to offset government launch requirements. The two efforts were to help fuel competition and give DOD the opportunity to buy lower-cost launches.
“Today, however, worldwide demand for commercial satellite launch has dropped essentially to nothing–and is not expected to rise for a decade or more,” the report noted. (See “The Chart Page: Challenges Facing the US Launch Industry, p. 7.) The nation’s space industry needs government attention, the report continued, because critical segments are “not likely to be sustained by the commercial sector.”
Commissioner Robert J. Stevens, Lockheed Martin chief operating officer, said the problem may be even worse than portrayed in the report. He said that Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V has already met EELV program goals for lowering launch costs, yet “there is no evidence” that lower launch costs will reverse the deterioration in commercial demand.
Without a sound commercial business base, the two-contractor EELV approach is no longer viable, said the commissioners. The report recommended DOD pursue a new strategy for assured access to space.
• Dwindling technical pool. Another problem facing DOD and the defense industry is the growing inability to sustain and recruit skilled technicians and engineers.
For example, the report noted that when design work on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter ends around 2008, there may be a gap of 20 or more years before work begins on another manned fighter aircraft. The fighter industry’s highly skilled workforce will have evaporated in that time. As a remedy, the report recommended a greater use of prototyping, spiral development, and “other techniques which allow the continuous exercise of design and production skills.”
Defense industry also has trouble engaging the “best and brightest” engineering minds, the report said, because of a lack of stable funding. Cyclical military needs are “difficult for businesses to sustain during periods of government inactivity.” Without the ability to draw top new talent, the issue of a rapidly aging engineering workforce becomes more acute, noted the report.
Several commissioners included additional views to address what they saw as the final report’s shortcomings.
R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, lamented the lack of a strategy to protect US aerospace workers. The report’s “failure to sufficiently recognize and provide meaningful solutions for the aerospace employment crisis is a serious and glaring omission.”
Buffenbarger went on to say that industrial policies that include technology sharing and joint ventures with international aerospace companies are “shortsighted.” He said international offsets and outsourcing “threaten the US workforce and our nation’s economy and national security by, among other things, transferring production and technology to other countries.”
John W. Douglass, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, said post-9/11 air travel security demands have become a financial burden to struggling airlines. The government controls “virtually all of the means available to counteract the threat of aviation terrorism,” he noted, and defending against such attacks is a government responsibility.
Unfortunately, he said, “well-intentioned policies have resulted in billions in post-9/11 costs and lost revenues and account for a great majority of the projected $9 billion in 2002 industry losses.” Security measures must be effective and encourage air travel, but “the government must reject the false premise that the airlines and their customers can or should bear this national defense burden.”
John J. Hamre, a former deputy defense secretary, succinctly summed up a common concern. The commission’s report “is too general and diffuse to have the impact I believe is needed,” he said, adding, “This report offers a starting point.”
|Bush, Congress Complete Large DOD Budget Boost
President Bush on Dec. 2 signed the policy-setting National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2003, completing action on the largest defense boost in 20 years. Earlier, Bush signed the companion appropriations bill, which provided the actual funds for DOD’s various programs and tasks.
The plan submitted last Feb. 4 sought $379.3 billion–a one-year jump of $41.4 billion. It included a $10 billion contingency account to fund the war on terror. Congress nixed the contingency account (preferring a later supplemental request) but approved almost everything else.
The final defense appropriation (counting a separate military construction bill) came to about $366 billion, $3 billion less than Bush had requested, exclusive of the contingency fund.
The measure funded most of the Administration’s major aircraft programs, including the Air Force’s F/A-22 fighter, F-35 fighter, and C-17 transport. It added funds for a few smaller aircraft programs such as communications upgrades for F-15s and upgrades for the Navy’s EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft, which are jointly operated by the Air Force.
The bill approved:
· $4 billion to procure 23 F/A-22s, the number requested.
· $3.5 billion to develop the multi-service F-35.
· $3.3 billion–$586 more than sought–to buy 15 C-17s.
· $3.2 billion to procure 46 Navy F/A-18E/F fighters, two more than requested.
· $270 million for 19 Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
The additional funding for the C-17 program simply restored full funding to planned purchases. The Air Force had attempted to fund the new strategic airlifter incrementally–an approach that is “technically at odds with long-standing DOD policy,” according to the Congressional Research Service.
It would, said CRS, undermine DOD policies designed to promote long-term fiscal discipline. Congress rejected the USAF approach and warned DOD against using it in any future budget requests.
In other appropriations, Congress:
· Added $2.6 billion to the Administration request of $56 billion for Research & Development—a $9.9 billion increase over Fiscal 2002.
· Approved a multiyear request for future procurement of 40 C-130J transports for the Air Force.
· Provided $131 million–$26 million more than the request–for USAF procurement of 22 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
· Approved $129 million for USAF’s Global Hawk UAV procurement and $42 million to accelerate development of a Navy Global Hawk variant.
· Authorized $388 million for USAF’s Multi-sensor Command and Control Constellation (MC2C) aircraft development program.
Congress went along with the Bush Administration decision to do without an increase in active-duty end strength. It fully funded a 4.1 percent pay raise.
For Operations and Maintenance, the appropriations bill funded the request of $ 114.8 million–$9.7 billion more than in Fiscal 2002. O&M funding included $3 million for the Air Force’s proposed tanker leasing program. (DOD is expected to make a decision this spring on whether to let the Air Force proceed with lease of Boeing commercial 767 aircraft modified for aerial refueling.)
The President received all but $14 million of the $7.4 billion requested for national missile defense programs, paving the way for deployment of ground-launched interceptors. (See “DOD Gets OK on Missile Defense,” p. 9.)
In the $10.5 billion Military Construction Appropriations Act, Congress provided $4.21 billion to maintain and improve existing family housing units and to build new ones. It also included $1.2 billion for dormitories, $18 million for child development centers, and $151 million for hospitals and other medical facilities.
|DOD Fends Off “Big Brother” Charge
DOD officials are defending the fledgling Total Information Awareness System against a torrent of media criticism. Press accounts labeled the information-gathering system as a means for the government to spy on its own people–the embodiment of George Orwell’s “Big Brother.”
According to DOD officials, a prototype system will “determine the feasibility of searching vast quantitites of data to determine links and patterns indicative of terrorist activities.” The man in charge of the project is retired vice admiral and prominent Iran-Contra figure John M. Poindexter.
Poindexter, who now serves as head of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Information Assurance Office, was convicted of lying to Congress during the Iran-Contra hearings. The conviction was overturned on appeal.
Responding to questions on the subject late last year, Pentagon acquisition chief Edward C. Aldridge said Poindexter is the right man for the job because of his physics background and “passion for this project.” In fact, Aldridge said that Poindexter broached the idea to DARPA in the first place.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was critical of those condemning the project. He told reporters the hype and alarm being generated by the research project are “a disservice to the public.”
Rumsfeld noted that DARPA also invented the Internet. “When that work began, the people doing it had no idea that what would evolve would be what we see today as the Internet,” he said.
Aldridge told reporters the system would be subject to the same Privacy Act restrictions that govern other domestic security efforts.
Despite reports to the contrary, officials said, DARPA’s role is to develop and assess the technology, not to run a spying system akin to Big Brother of Orwell’s dark novel 1984.
“What John Poindexter is doing is developing a tool,” Aldridge said. “He’s not exercising that tool; he will not exercise that tool. That tool will be exercised by the intelligence, counterintelligence, and law enforcement agencies.”
Nonetheless, Poindexter may be serving as a lightning rod for criticism of the sort that led the Pentagon to disband its short-lived Office of Strategic Influence last year. Rumsfeld decided to close down the office after various media reported its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests. The negative publicity made it impossible for the office to do its job, said Rumsfeld.
By Tamar A. Mehuron
· On Nov. 22, Lt. Col. Michael Brill of the 419th Fighter Wing, Hill AFB, Utah, became the first pilot to log 5,000 flying hours in the F-16 fighter. That is the equivalent of circling the Earth 70 times.
· On Nov. 19, Lockheed Martin named Ralph Heath to replace Bob Rearden as the F/A-22 program manager. The change came a day after the Air Force replaced its top two F/A-22 officials. (See “Aerospace World: USAF Changes F/A-22 Leaders,” December 2002, p. 9.)
· Air Force acquisition chief Marvin R. Sambur told Defense Daily the Lockheed Martin and Air Force personnel changes were a joint plan and were not related to aircraft performance issues. (See “Aerospace World: F/A-22 Development Cost Issue Grows,” p. 9.)
· An F/A-22 Raptor successfully fired an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile at Mach speed over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico on Nov. 22. The F/A-22 was flying at Mach 1.4 and 24,000 feet, while the target, an unmanned QF-4 Phantom II aircraft, was traveling at Mach 1 at 14,000 feet. The test completes the 2002 flight-test criteria, said officials.
· Boeing’s Delta IV made a flawless launch debut Nov. 20 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and placed a European commercial satellite into orbit. The Delta IV is the second booster of the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. Lockheed Martin successfully launched its Atlas V on Aug. 21, 2002.
· A prototype Eurofighter crashed Nov. 21 near Toledo, Spain, after suffering engine failure. The two pilots ejected safely. A Eurofighter consortium spokesman said the four production models already produced might have to be grounded if officials determine the problem might affect the fleet. The RAF plans to buy 232 Eurofighters to replace its aging Tornado F3 air defense and Jaguar ground-attack aircraft.
· DOD announced Dec. 2 that military officials had identified the remains of an Air Force serviceman from the Vietnam War as those of Capt. Francis W. Townsend, of Rusk, Tex. Townsend’s RF-4C Phantom was struck down Aug. 13, 1972, while he was on a photoreconnaissance mission over Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. His remains had been discovered by a Joint Task Force-Full Accounting team during excavations conducted from July 1998 through May 1999.
· In November, China tested a new cruise missile apparently having twice the range that US intelligence officials previously thought possible. The YJ-83 anti-ship missile, also known as the C-803, was fired from a JH-7A fighter-bomber over Bohai Bay off northern China. The test revealed a range of about 155 miles, vs. the previous estimate of 75 miles.
· On Nov. 14 at Lackland AFB, Tex., John D. Goolsbee Sr., a retired senior master sergeant, received a Distinguished Flying Cross for his part in a sensitive RB-50 reconnaissance mission over the Soviet Union 50 years earlier.
· The prospective retirement this spring of Gen. Lester L. Lyles, Air Force Materiel Command commander, is already prompting chatter about his potential successors. Among those mentioned is Gen. Gregory S. Martin, commander of US Air Forces in Europe. Such a move would trigger other personnel changes. Inside the Pentagon reported that Martin’s replacement at USAFE might be Gen. Robert H. Foglesong, the current Air Force vice chief of staff.
· April 15 is the date for the next undergraduate flying training board, to be held at Randolph AFB, Tex. It will fill 50 pilot, 10 navigator, and five air battle manager training slots. Applications must be postmarked by Feb. 28. Applicants must have been born after Oct. 1, 1973, and have a total active federal commissioned service date after Oct. 1, 1998. Applicants should send their completed package to: HQ AFPC/DPAOT3, 550 C Street West, Suite 31, Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4733.
· The Air Force Institute of Technology conferred its highest honor, the title of Distinguished Alumnus on four members: retired Maj. Gen. Donald L. Lamberson, retired Brig. Gen. Daniel H. Daley, retired Col. Guion S. Bluford, and George W.S. Abbey. Lamberson was a pioneer in high energy laser weapons. Daley helped develop the strong academic curricula that led, in 1956, to AFIT’s ability to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Bluford was the first black astronaut in space. Abbey worked on the Apollo space program as an Air Force captain and received the Medal of Freedom for his role on the Apollo 13 mission operations team.
· The latest Officer Training School selection board tapped 55 enlisted members for officer training. The board considered 814 total applications, accepting 250 for a 30.7 selection rate.
· Pilot error caused a UH-1N Huey accident Aug. 8 near Kirtland AFB, N.M., according to Air Force investigating officials. A student pilot applied too much throttle to engine No. 1, causing its power to exceed that of automatically controlled engine No. 2–triggering a rapid descent. The instructor pilot managed to bring the chopper to level flight before it crashed, and all five people aboard escaped injury.
· The Air Force established four basic military training flights at Lackland AFB, Tex., primarily for the Air National Guard. The goal is to help ANG overcome a basic training shortfall among its new recruits. Since 9/11, the Guard has seen a rise in the number of new personnel with no prior service. It had projected a need to train 4,500 raw recruits but realized it needed an additional 1,000 training slots. The first ANG recruits in the new flights graduated in a special ceremony last month.
· An Air Force investigation found that the April 30, 2002, crash of an F-15 into the Gulf of Mexico was caused by structural failure. Maj. James A. Duricy from the 46th Test Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., died in the crash. The accident occurred during a captive carry flight test for the AIM-9X, an improved version of the air-to-air Sidewinder missile. (See “Aerospace World: F-15 Pilot Killed in Crash,” June 2002, p. 18.)
· Air Force health officials want to align the service’s weight management program and the cycle ergometry (bicycle) test to produce a more comprehensive picture of an airman’s health. The change was incorporated into a test program, called “WarFit,” that Air Force Space Command will implement commandwide this month. WarFit underwent limited testing at two AFSPC bases, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and Los Angeles AFB, Calif., last year.
· DOD’s Military Traffic Management Command now offers a free long-term privately owned vehicle storage option to qualified service personnel. Personnel deploying to locations such as South Korea and Japan, which have restrictive policies, may be able to put their cars in long-term storage, where they will receive basic upkeep. Service members should contact their local traffic management office for details.
· In December, the Air Force Personnel Center expanded the hours of its contact center to run from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. CST to make it easier for airmen stationed overseas to talk with a customer service representative. Airmen may call 1-866-229-7074 toll free with questions about assignments, pay, benefits, etc. Online services, including a chat feature, are at the AFPC Web site (www.afpc.randolph.af.mil) via the “Contact Center” button.
· A Web-based program developed by US Transportation Command’s Joint Intelligence Center makes it possible for analysts to get comprehensive transportation information to users quickly. The Transportation Intelligence Digital Environment enables analysts to combine text, graphic, photo, video, and audio files, including live feeds, into reports, briefings, and other intelligence products. Since the program is database-driven, each time those databases are updated, the posted information in TIDE is also automatically updated. Command officials said the ground-breaking nature of the program has caught the attention of other DOD intelligence agencies that have long sought faster, more efficient delivery of contantly updated information. Further tests are being scheduled for this year.
· An annual report on ballistic and cruise missiles, prepared by the National Air Intelligence Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, has been held up indefinitely in the Pentagon, reported the Washington Times. The report, finished last spring, is the definitive public document focusing on the growing missile threat. No reason was given for the delay.
· TSgt. Jason Anderson, a nondestructive inspection technician at Luke AFB, Ariz., discovered two cracks on an F-16 wing attachment, which led to a rewrite of technical orders Air Force-wide. His discovery, and the subsequent maintenance requirements, affected 1,200 Block 30 F-16s throughout USAF.
· The Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service has become the sole advertiser on the “Smoke-N-Thunder” jet dragster. The dragster is slated to perform at 15 air shows nationwide during 2003 and should increase public awareness and recruiting interest in AFRC.
· In late November, Boeing delivered to Northrop Grumman the first B-2 bomb racks for Joint Direct Attack Munitions. The racks will enable the B-2 to carry and launch up to 20 GPS-guided Mk 82 JDAMs from each of its four racks. The first B-52 with the four racks will undergo a six-month test program on a B-2 at Edwards AFB, Calif.
· Capt. John R. Fleming Jr., flight commander of the 352nd Maintenance Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, UK, and SMSgt. Eric Truhn, sortie generation superintendent of the 78th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C., were named the 2002 Gen. Lew Allen Jr. Trophy aircraft generation award winners.
· On Nov. 22, an Air Force civilian and two Air Force units received DOD 2002 Value Engineering Achievement Awards. They were: Bruce Lehr, lead engineer for the command, control, communications, and intelligence and integration engineering section at Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, Utah; Electronic Systems Center’s Space and Nuclear Deterrence Command and Control Office at Hanscom AFB, Mass., and its contractor, the Titan-JAYCOR Logistics Support Facility; and 46th Test Group’s 746th Test Squadron at Holloman AFB, N.M.
· The KC-135 Pacer CRAG modification program closed under budget and ahead of schedule Oct. 1, according to Air Force Materiel Command and Air Mobility Command officials. The six-year upgrade program included installation of a new compass, radar, and GPS, a traffic alert and collision avoidance system, and new digital multifunction cockpit displays on more than 560 aircraft. The program cost $700 million. The improvements eliminated the navigator’s position, saving the Air Force a projected $31 million per year. The service should save another $10 million per year in maintenance costs.
· Roadeo, the Air Force supply and fuels readiness competition, drew 36 competing teams at Eglin AFB, Fla. The Dyess AFB, Tex., team garnered the most points in the three-day contest. The team from Eglin was the top supply winner, and the team from Shepherd AFB, Tex., was the fuels winner. More than 295 people participated. Competitions included changing tires on a refueler, backing up a 600-gallon refueling truck, and driving a forklift around a slalom course.
· A five-member firefighter team from Travis AFB, Calif., took second place in the 2002 Fighter Combat Challenge World Championship at Deerfield Beach, Fla. Representing Travis were: SSgt. Mike Melton, 349th Air Mobility Wing (AFRC), SSgt. A.J. Eversley, SrA. Mike Romano, SrA. Harry Myers, and civilian Vince Clark, all with the 60th AMW.
· Airmen from Maxwell AFB, Ala., are the driving force behind the Meals on Wheels volunteer program in Montgomery, Ala. Of 350 volunteers, 203 are from Maxwell. Volunteers deliver hot lunches five days a week to more than 300 homebound senior citizens unable to make their own meals.
· On Nov. 18, Jordan’s Ambassador Karim Kawar awarded the Jordanian Military Order of Merit 2nd Class to Col. Stephen R. Schwalbe, the US air attache to Jordan.
· North Korea sent 15 gunboats to Iran in December, according to the Washington Times. The gunboats arrived at about the same time that US and Spanish warships stopped delivery of a shipment of North Korean Scud missiles. The Scuds were bound for Yemen.