The Air Force reached an important flight test hour goal for the F-22 prior to a critical Pentagon review of the program.
Through late November the two F-22s at Edwards AFB, Calif., had accumulated 160 flight test hours. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan had set 184 flight test hours-4 percent of the planned total-as a goal for the aircraft by Thanksgiving. Release of money for purchase of the first two production aircraft could not occur until the goal was reached.
The F-22s hit the mark with 184.4 hours Nov. 23, beating the Thanksgiving Day target and ensuring the program was ready for a Pentagon review scheduled to begin Dec. 1. The review will determine whether Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen approves purchase of the two production aircraft.
So far the test program has resulted in only a few minor changes to the aircraft, such as a new fuel pump design, said officials. The F-22 has gone supersonic (1.4 Mach), reached 40,000 feet, and flown at up to 26 degrees angle of attack, said officials.
Air Force satellites appear to have escaped the Leonid meteoroid shower unscathed, said service officials Nov. 17.
Space operations crews had not known what to expect during the height of the Leonid storm and had spent months preparing to limit possible shower damage through such techniques as powering down unnecessary onboard electronics and reducing a satellite’s cross-section.
“We prepared for the worst and were pleased the shower did not directly threaten our space assets,” said Maj. Gen. Gerald F. Perryman Jr., commander of 14th Air Force and Air Force ComponentSpace Operations of US Space Command.
The Leonid shower occurs every 32 to 33 years, when the Earth passes through the densest portion of the debris trail of the comet TempelTuttle. The last time around for the shower was 1966, when there were not as many satellites orbiting the planet.
Department of Defense leaders say that a quality pay and retirement package will be the top item on their legislative agenda in 1999.
In an Oct. 22 interview with Armed Forces Radio and Television, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen said he will ask for a 4.4 percent across-the-board wage hike. He indicated that DoD is also considering a targeted pay boost for mid-career officers and NCOs whose salaries lag particularly far behind those of their civilian counterparts.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Hugh Shelton, in the same interview, said that it is his intention that any change in retirement funding will cover everyone who has entered the military since 1986. “It’s too early to tell exactly how this will shape up, but that would be the intent,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congressional leaders are warning that the Pentagon needs to thoroughly analyze any pay or retirement proposals to determine their significant long term costs.
In an Oct. 8 letter to Cohen, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Strom Thurmond (R) of South Carolina and ranking minority member Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan said that any such proposals “must be fully supported by careful analyses justifying the costs and providing assurance of measurable increases in recruiting, retention, and military readiness.”
The 366th Wing at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, will become a permanent Air Expeditionary Force, according to service officials.
If deployed, it will be bolstered as needed by B-2s or other aircraft from units not directly under its control, Maj. Gen. Daniel M. Dick, vice commander of Air Combat Command’s 12th Air Force, said in late October.
The Air Force’s original plans had called for 10 AEFs, all made up of units from different bases. Now there will be nine such distributed AEFs, said the general. The 366th will be AEF No. 10.
He also said that the Expeditionary Force Experiment held by the Air Force last fall was a success, in everything from transmission of target data to en route aircraft to use of Special Operations Command air-delivered acoustic sensors.
C-17 Tries Dual-Row Airdrop Capability
Air Force testers recently tried out a new C-17 dual-row airdrop capability that could double the aircraft’s capacity to carry certain kinds of cargo.
When set up for airdrop delivery, current practice calls for C-17s to carry only one row of cargo-leaving wasted space on the sides. Certifying Globemasters to carry and drop two rows at a time could solve this problem and reduce the number of aircraft needed to support an Army strategic brigade drop by 20.
“The dual-row airdrop capability should result in a more efficient use of C-17s,” said Alec Dyatt, 418th Flight Test Squadron dual-row airdrop project engineer.
The recent testing took place at Edwards AFB, Calif., and focused on using gravity, instead of parachutes, to pull cargo from the plane.
One big step was determining the proper aircraft deck angle for gravity dropping of cargo. Too shallow, and the pallets are spread too far over the drop zone. Too steep, and locks that hold the pallets in place won’t retract properly.
Cargo dropped included mock-up Humvees and howitzers. Attempts to drop the rows simultaneously resulted in collisions between platforms forced into each other by the convergence of airflow off the back of the plane. Dropping rows one after the other proved more successful.
“Once we found the problem with simultaneous drops, we went back and perfected the sequential drop,” said Dyatt.
A first-of-its-kind field test at the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah gave Air Mobility Command a look at how to conduct airlift operations in a chemical warfare environment.
The autumn experiment involved a full-scale air mobility launch and recovery process, plus air bursts of a simulated chemical agent.
“The overall objective was to take existing contamination control procedures, refine them as necessary, and then test them so that we can provide a report containing valid information for the unified CINCs to make decisions,” said MSgt. Todd Herzog, test manager for AMC’s directorate of test and evaluation.
Sixty-eight airmen from McGuire AFB, N.J., Scott AFB, Ill., Andrews AFB, Md., and Grand Forks AFB, N.D., took part in the tests. During the trial, canisters containing a blue-dyed chemical simulant were launched from the ground. They exploded in the air, creating a mist that drifted down over personnel bunkers, cargo, equipment, and a C-141 from the 305th Air Mobility Wing at McGuire.
“When we came out of our shelters to examine the aircraft after the aerial burst, we could see puddles of the simulant in the engine intake and had to clean simulant from places you never thought it would get to,” said Capt. Timothy Bailey, a C-141 maintenance officer from the 305th.
Following ground contamination cleanup, the C-141 was loaded up with passengers and cargo and flown depressurized for two hours, as the crew vented the interior of the aircraft to purge it of simulated chemicals.
While the full results are not in yet, the test seemed to go well, said officials. “After the two-hour flight, our chemical agent monitors displayed a zero vapor level,” said Herzog.
A Global Hawk long-distance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle successfully completed its sixth test flight Oct. 29 at Edwards AFB, Calif.
The nine-hour, 33-minute mission reached an altitude of 60,000 feet and included a preplanned landing wave-off before touchdown on the desert runway.
The UAV covered roughly 3,100 nautical miles following its early morning takeoff as it flew a figure eight track above the Mojave Desert.
“This flight test was a big confidence-booster,” said Lt. Col. Pat Bolibrzuch, Global Hawk program manager. “All test objectives were exceeded, and no anomalies were found.”
A USAF Predator UAV is helping NATO commanders watch over the tinderbox Balkan area of Kosovo. The one-ton propeller-driven UAV from the 11th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron has flown several missions, making sure that the Yugoslav government lives up to its agreement to end police provocations against ethnic Albanians in the region.
In total, the Predator flew more than 100 missions in 1998 in the Balkans. A pilot and sensor operators work from a ground control station at Taszar AB, Hungary, to fly the 27-foot-long craft. NATO commanders see television-quality video from the Predator less than two seconds after it is recorded. The video is then transmitted to some 35 stations around the world.
The final redeployment of Air Force personnel who ran the original US counterdrug ground radars in South America occurred Nov. 9 at Howard AFB, Panama.
The Vietnamera radars used to track the flights of suspected cocaine aircraft remain. Their operators are now contractor personnel from Northrop Grumman, who replaced the old mix of active duty, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve forces.
The anti-drug emitter mission began as a 90-day requirement for National Guardsmen in 1993 and grew from there. Some Guardsmen went on annual orders and ended up returning regularly to South America over five years-averaging 200 days of deployment per year.
Air Force people will continue to support the on-the-scene contractors. “We have 12 people at the Regional Operation Center in Panama, a 10-person contingent at Dobbins ARB, Ga., … and five officers working with US Customs [Service at] the Domestic Interdiction Center at March ARB, Calif.,” said Lt. Col. Don Hamblett, National Guard Bureau chief of radar deployments.
Russian Engine Roars in Alabama
On Nov. 4, Lockheed Martin Astronautics successfully completed the third test firing of an entire launch vehicle stage with a Russian rocket engine at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
The Russian RD-180 engine will power Lockheed Martin’s new Atlas III rockets and the firm’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle family. The engine is both powerful and simple: It reduces from nine to two the number of engines needed to power an Atlas and cuts the number of engine parts by more than 15,000.
The first RD-180 test, July 29, lasted 10 seconds. The second, Oct. 14, was scheduled to run for 56 seconds but shut down after 2.7 seconds when a monitoring computer misread engine data.
November’s test run roared for the full 56 seconds. A fourth test, planned to last 70 seconds, is next on the schedule.
A micro air vehicle the length of a pencil, being developed by Lockheed Martin under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract, could carry a wide array of payloads-from day imaging sensors to radar jammers to a signals intelligence or communications relay system.
That is what company officials said at the annual Lockheed Martin Technology Symposium in Washington, at least. Current plans call for the tiny craft to carry the day imager, but “it’s very simple to put in other sensor technology,” said Jeffrey D. Harris, advanced program manager for Lockheed’s Sanders unit.
The design calls for a micro vehicle some six inches in length, that weighs about 85 grams, fully loaded. Its speed is predicted at 30 knots, with an initial endurance of 20 minutes and altitude ceiling of 300 feet.
Use of an electric motor will make the craft virtually undectable beyond 100 to 200 feet. Projected per-unit cost in a large procurement would run $3,000 to $5,000.
Wind represents one potential problem. Micro air vehicles may not be able to operate with wind speeds much above 30 knots, said Harris.
The Department of Defense has told the family of Air Force TSgt. Richard Bernard Fitzgibbon Jr. that his name will be added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.
Fitzgibbon died in the line of duty in Vietnam June 8, 1956, while serving as a military advisor. Past Pentagon policy has held Jan. 1, 1961, as the starting date for inclusion of casualties in the Southeast Asia Casualty Database. A high-level review of the circumstances of Fitzgibbon’s death decided that he belonged on “The Wall,” however.
Eight other pre-1961 casualties have been similarly added in years past.
Fitzgibbon’s son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard Fitzgibbon III, was killed in action in Vietnam Sept. 7, 1965. They are thought to be the only father and son US service members to die in the Vietnam War.
The Department of Defense says that contrary to some published reports the B-2 stealth bomber can be recalled if sent over the North Pole toward its targets in a nuclear conflict.
The B-2 currently uses the Milstar UHF satellite communications systems as its primary means for receiving emergency action messages from National Command Authorities, said DoD spokesman Navy Capt. Mike Doubleday Nov. 5. “It is a nuclear survivable global capability that gives Air Force bombers the connectivity they need to conduct their worldwide business,” he said.
Published reports indicated that internal Pentagon budget documents hint that the B-2 needs to be outfitted with Extremely High Frequency capability to ensure communications in time of war. The Air Force must allocate $2.8 million to a B-2 EHF risk reduction study in 2000, according to the documents.
An EHF system for the B-2 is part of planned future stealth upgrades, said Doubleday. But the change would be aimed at maintaining current communication standards.
“The future requirement for EHF or other nuclear survivable communications is due to planned discontinuation of the current Milstar system in favor of a constellation of EHF [satellites],” said the Pentagon spokesman.
The Air Force hopes to offset a decline in the retention rate for enlisted security forces by signing up Reservists for extended active duty tours of 12 to 15 months.
Specifically, the Air Force is looking for Air Force Reserve Command security force members in grades E-2 through E-6, as well as a limited number of E-7s, for active duty service.
Qualifications necessary include a commander’s recommendation and a secret clearance. Reservists can apply for five stateside locations and can request overseas duty.
Both the Air Force and the Marine Corps achieved 100 percent of their numeric recruiting goals for Fiscal 1998, according to Defense Department officials.
The Army reached 99 percent of its numeric goal. The Navy achieved 88 percent, with a shortfall of 6,892 recruits.
Overall, the Department of Defense enrolled 186,131 recruits in Fiscal 1998-97 percent of the goal of 192,332 active duty accessions.
Recruitment for all services exceeded quality benchmarks. Department-wide, 94 percent of all recruits without prior military service had high school diplomas. Sixty-eight percent scored above average on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
The new accessions also showed diversity. Twenty percent were AfricanAmericans, a number unchanged from Fiscal 1997. Twelve percent were Hispanic, up from 10 percent in 1997.
Eighteen percent of recruits were women, the same as last year.
“Recruiting has been challenging for several years, but it was especially so this past year because of the robust economy, the lowest unemployment in 29 years, and increased interest among potential recruits in attending college immediately after high school rather than earning money for college through military service,” said acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy Frank Rush.
Looking toward next year, the Pentagon has put a number of incentives in place in an effort to guarantee continued recruiting success. They include higher enlistment bonuses, increased college tuition assistance for those enlisting in some critical job specialties, and more money for advertising.
Air Force Space Command officially grounded all USAF Titan launch vehicles in late October. The stand-down was a reaction to the failure of a Titan IVA launch vehicle Aug. 12. It was not issued earlier because no Titans were in line for launch, said an AFSC spokesman.
Until the cause of the August failure is determined all Titan IVB and Titan II launches are on indefinite hold. Among the shots possibly affected are Titan mission B-27 (a Defense Support Program payload), B-32 (a Milstar satellite), and B-12 (a National Reconnaissance Office payload).
NASA, out of reliability concerns, had already delayed a Titan launch that was to carry its QuikSCAT ocean scatterometer spacecraft.
The launch schedule will be re-evaluated once an accident board completes its work and recovery actions are identified, said AFSPC officials.
USAF Launches Commercial Space Study
The US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center wants input from commercial firms for a study that could lead to a greater service reliance on the private sector for space operations.
Top Air Force leaders have asked the center to weigh the utility of commercial space systems and develop an investment strategy before a meeting of four-star Air Force officers next June.
The Commercial Space Opportunities Study has five study areas: remote sensing, surveillance, and meteorology; launch services; navigation; communication; and range and satellite command and control. A Nov. 13 Commerce Business Daily notice asked interested firms to provide information for the effort.
The study is part of a “Doable Space” plan meant to improve how the Air Force handles both space operations and space-related acquisitions.
On Nov. 9, Department of Defense acquisition chief Jacques S. Gansler authorized the transition of Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile into the development phase of the program.
The move included the award of a $132.8 million contract increase to Lockheed Martin for JASSM’s engineering and manufacturing development phase. Production is currently set to begin in January 2001.
JASSM is an autonomous long-range cruise missile designed to destroy high-value and well-defended targets. The stealthy weapon will be carried on a variety of USAF and Navy fighters and bombers.
“We’re very pleased to move forward into the heart of this important development effort,” said Dick Caime, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of strike weapon systems.
US armed services-still reeling from earlier cuts in force structure-now face additional reductions. The reasons: Windfalls from budget reforms have not materialized, and unexpected, high-cost personnel requirements have.
So says Robert G. Bell, a presidential assistant and the senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council.
Noted specifically as vulnerable items in a new squeeze: The Navy’s 12 aircraft carriers; 100,000-strong troop deployments in Europe and Asia; and forces needed to cover the second conflict in the nation’s two-Major Theater War strategy.
In its 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review, DoD said it would harvest savings from reforms and divert the funds to vital needs, financing an otherwise underfunded program. Bell, however, laid that idea to rest in a November speech in Cambridge, Mass.
He blamed Congress, saying it had not, as asked, closed bases, stopped diverting money to unwanted and unneeded projects, or properly funded contingencies. Failure to execute the reforms drained money for readiness and modernization, Bell said.
Also, DoD confronts unanticipated costs. The services, worried about recruiting and retention, want to close a military-civilian pay gap and provide more lucrative retired pay. Bell said doing this could cost $30 billion over six years.
All told, these problems have blown a $86 billion hole in the program, said Bell, raising the question: How to fix it
The White House official said the Administration would go after force structure “if at the end of the day we cannot assume that we’re not going to have much more success … on the Hill … and a topline increase is not available.”
DoD has decided to cut readiness of “lower priority forces,” and more readiness cuts would be “a sure prescription for a … crisis,” said Bell. Yet he said “stretching out” modernization would have a grave impact on future capabilities.
“My sense is that … your only choice is to come back to force structure: Downsize the force to save dollars that you can’t otherwise capture,” Bell said, “It means revisiting 100,000 troops in Asia and Europe, … revisiting carrier levels, … revisiting the second [MTW] requirement.”
Skeptics noted that, even at the time, the QDR’s savings projection was considered fantasy, and virtually no one took it seriously. Moreover, some asked, why doesn’t the White House simply propose a bigger DoD budget
Bell left the impression that defense was just another claimant for federal money. Defense, he said, must be considered “alongside other national issues.” He declared, for example, “the President has a very clear priority for fixing the Social Security system and for doing that first.”
Arlington, Va., Nov. 25–In the waning hours of the 105th Congress, Rep. Gerald B.H. Solomon (R-N.Y.) and others mounted a legislative power play, ultimately unsuccessful, to stop the construction of an Air Force Memorial on Arlington Ridge, overlooking the Potomac River.
Solomon-a former Marine and until recently, chairman of the House Rules Committee-holds that the Air Force Memorial would encroach on the “hallowed ground” of the Iwo Jima Memorial, which occupies eight of the 25 acres on Arlington Ridge.
His proposal would have moved the Air Force Memorial off Arlington Ridge and given it tentative claim on a hill south of Arlington Cemetery, with a sweeping view of the Pentagon and the nation’s capital. At present, however, the US Navy Annex is located there, and federal plans for use of this land are uncertain. Other members of Congress have also taken an interest in the idea of moving the Air Force Memorial there. Among them is Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), chairman-designate of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
There were unofficial suggestions that it might be possible for the Navy Annex buildings to “come down” in the reasonably near future, but other sources said the Department of Defense might require use of the buildings for another 10 years. A related proposal would extend Arlington Cemetery south-perhaps wrapping it around the proposed new site for the Air Force Memorial-but that is not for certain either.
In a parallel move to delay the Air Force Memorial, Solomon introduced a bill that would have required the project to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement, rather than an Environmental Assessment, which is about 90 percent complete.
Solomon’s tactic was to submit his site-switch proposal as a late addition to the 1999 Omnibus Spending Bill. Congress does not consider such measures individually. The Appropriations Committee chairmen decide administratively which of the dozens of add-ons to keep in the House-Senate conference bill, which then goes to Congress for a yes or no vote. The tactic failed when Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, did not include Solomon’s gambit in the final bill. The Environmental Impact Statement also fell out.
Some of Solomon’s aides and colleagues took their dissatisfaction to the Washington Times newspaper (“Air Force Memorial Left Grounded After Lone Senator’s Veto”), which depicted Stevens as having killed a “compromise” and said that his action “means the dispute [between the Marines and the Air Force] may never be settled.”
The Air Force Memorial project, begun in 1992, has carefully followed all of the rules prescribed by Congress. The site is two acres, 500 feet down a hill and screened from the Iwo Jima Memorial by a stand of mature trees. The commandant of the Marine Corps was informed of the plans in 1994 and did not state any objections. Opposition did not arise until 1997 when a neighborhood group became concerned about an increase of automobile traffic and visitors to the area. Within a few months, Marine veterans and the Marine Corps had joined in the opposition.
Last July, a federal judge dismissed “with prejudice” a lawsuit by Solomon and his colleagues to stop the Air Force Memorial. In a summary judgment, the court ruled that there was “no genuine issue for trial.” Solomon introduced a number of bills in Congress to block the project, but none of them was successful.
The newspaper account of the omnibus bill maneuver reported, erroneously, that “backers” of the site switch included “a reluctant Air Force [Memorial] Foundation.” Retired USAF Maj. Gen. Charles D. Link, president of the Air Force Memorial Foundation, said that he had provided Solomon and Warner language that would have moderated the legislation, making the switch an option rather than a directive. The foundation had in no way “backed” the legislation. Its actions were an attempt to modify the effects of the bill, should enactment of it become inevitable.
Solomon, who did not seek re-election to Congress last year, has said he will remain in the Washington metropolitan area and will no doubt continue in his efforts to move the Air Force off Arlington Ridge.
Link said that the site on the south side of Arlington Cemetery had not been available when locations for the memorial were originally considered. While it is a potentially attractive site, it does not appear to be available in an attractive configuration within a reasonable time frame. The foundation remains well pleased with the presently approved location on Arlington Ridge.
Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, warned Nov. 18 that if the Air Force does not “truly step up to the space power mission,” Congress may create a new military service for space.
Smith recognized that “the Air Force has played the dominant role in military space matters for decades” and that “a significant portion of its budget has gone toward developing and operating the nation’s military space systems.”
However, he made his opinion clear that the Department of Defense and the Air Force are shortchanging space power and that “America’s future security and prosperity depend on our constant supremacy in space.”
“The Air Force’s space budget is dedicated almost entirely to the maintenance and improvement of information systems, as a means of increasing the effectiveness of existing forces here on Earth,” he said. “If we limit our approach to space to just information superiority, we will not have fully utilized space power.”
He chided the Air Force for not moving out on such initiatives as a military spaceplane. “Does the Air Force really want to stand idle while NASA develops a follow-on to the space shuttle that may contribute only marginally to meeting the requirements of military space power?” he asked.
He also recalled the Air Force’s “New World Vistas” report in 1995, which cited the coming need “to project power from space directly to the Earth’s surface or to airborne targets with kinetic or directed energy weapons.”
Reviewing the way the Air Force is organized, trained, and equipped, Smith does “not see the Air Force building the material, cultural, and organizational foundations of a service dedicated to space power. Indeed, in some respects, we are moving backward. Three years ago the Air Force published Global Engagement, which spoke of a transition ‘from an air force to an air and space force on an evolutionary path to a space and air force,’ ” but last year “the Air Force uniformed leadership replaced the vision laid out in Global Engagement with the concept of an ‘aerospace force.’ “
Smith said the Air Force has reached a fork in the road. “The Air Force must truly step up to the space power mission or cede it to another organization.” Embracing space power, he said, “will mean shedding big chunks of today’s Air Force to pay for tomorrow’s and it will be very painful. … But if such a change proves impossible, then we in Congress will have no choice but to consider another alternative.”
One choice might be to follow the model of US Special Operations Command, vested by Congress with some control over development, acquisition, promotions, and assignments, in its mission area.
“Ultimately–if the Air Force cannot or will not embrace space power and if the SOCOM model does not translate–we in Congress will have to establish an entirely new service,” Smith said.
“Creating a new military service to exploit a new medium is not without precedent,” he added. “Indeed, if any of our services should understand this point of transition, it should be the Army Air Corps. … I mean the Air Force.”
Smith also recognized tacitly that while the demand for support from space has grown, the Air Force has been left to fund nearly all military space programs without financial contributions from the other services or an increase in its share of the defense budget.
“A separate service would allow space power to compete for funding within the entire defense budget, lessening the somewhat unfair pressure on the Air Force to make [the] most of the trade-offs and protecting space power from being raided by more popular and well-established programs,” Smith said.
“Space dominance is simply too important to allow any bureaucracy, military department, service mafia, or parochial concern to stand in the way,” he declared.
The fall 1998 issue of The National Interest contained “Raise the Anchor or Lower the Ship,” an article written by James R. Schlesinger, one of the foremost US strategic thinkers. In his government career, Schlesinger served as Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Energy, and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, working for both Republican and Democratic presidents. He is now chairman of MITRE Corp. What follows are brief excerpts from his essay.
The “Burden” of US Defense
“Currently, the United States spends barely more than 3 percent of its Gross Domestic Product on defense. There is no way that the United States can sustain over time the forces that the Clinton Administration states to be essential-or the foreign policy that those forces support-on 3 percent of the GDP. That is not a matter of analysis; it is simple arithmetic. To continue to fulfill our present commitments and to re-equip the approved force levels for the more challenging years of the next century would require roughly 4 percent of the GDP. That should not appear as a surprising figure for a nation that aspires to be the sole universal power. Even before Pearl Harbor, in Fiscal Year 1941, the United States spent 4.1 percent of its GDP on defense.”
The Procurement Shortfall
“The United States now spends just over $40 billion a year on procurement. Yet depreciation on our military equipment (at replacement cost) runs to over $100 billion per year. Moreover, there is the additional cost of building an appropriate inventory of sophisticated munitions and, in the longer run, the need to maintain, and ultimately update and replace, hardware-related facilities for development and testing.”
“Contamination” of Warriors
“There is a fundamental disparity between ‘operations other than war’-notably peacekeeping-and the qualities and readiness essential for warfighting. In peacekeeping operations, one must hesitate before using force, one should not be quick on the trigger. In combat a belated response means casualties or an overrun position. Officers who show the restraint and sensitivity desirable in peacekeeping operations-and thereby gain promotions-may be the very ones who lack the capacity for command in combat. Troops who have been trained for restraint in peacekeeping operations are likely to be unready for warfighting. Therein lies the potential for trouble, and yet, given our dual responsibilities, there is no way wholly to avoid such trouble. All that one can do is to be aware of the dilemma-and never to forget that peacekeeping and warfighting are in some sense in conflict. Since the ultimate mission and the ultimate test for the armed forces is warfighting, we must strive to reduce the penalties imposed on our warfighting capacity by peacekeeping. Ideally we should keep the forces designated for these distinct missions separated and thereby minimize the contamination of our forces’ warfighting readiness by peacekeeping operations. Still, as the force structure shrinks, such separation becomes increasingly difficult.”
Pre-eminence of Airpower
“The lessons drawn from the  Gulf War have not been absorbed into military strategy and doctrine. I find it curious, if not ironical, that the United States, which developed and then exploited these new military technologies in the Gulf War, has failed fully to grasp one of the principal lessons from that war. I refer to the immense success of the air offensive prior to and during the 100-hour ground war. The six weeks of coordinated air attacks prior to the launching of the counteroffensive on the ground significantly reduced the combat power of Iraq’s forces-and continued to do so during the four days of the ground war. Nonetheless, to date the US military establishment has yet to absorb the lessons of the immense success of the air war into either doctrine or war plans. The potential of the air campaign in most if not all military campaigns is central to adjustments of strategy. Airpower is not just ancillary to the ground counteroffensive. When we have air superiority, it too can systematically destroy enemy ground forces. And it can do so at a far lower cost in American blood. And that may be essential for retaining public support for America’s expanded international role.”
Limits (So Far) of Jointness
“Despite all our current talk of ‘jointness,’ the services have yet to formulate a sufficiently shared vision of our military future. In part, the Air Force itself has been remiss. Thanks to so many years of treating ‘strategic’ and ‘nuclear’ as synonymous, it has failed to analyze and articulate the strategic role that [tactical aircraft] can play. The Army, too, has been resistant. In part, it is correct in pointing out that the success of airpower in the Gulf is not necessarily repeatable, or repeatable to the same extent, under different conditions. To be sure, it is also in part in the service’s interest. Still, the Army has been slow to accept the enormous potential of airpower in grinding down enemy ground forces-thereby reducing Army casualties and easing the Army’s task. It remains true that airpower ‘cannot do the job alone.’ That is right-but irrelevant. In most military operations, it can do a substantial job in obtaining a quick victory with low casualties. While that is crucial to America’s international mission, some Army officers have been reluctant to accept the altered role that airpower can play.”
“Congress in this new era has repeatedly sought alternative strategies from the Pentagon. Its motive may have been to achieve greater military effectiveness without providing additional resources. To be sure, the hope that we can preserve our present military preponderance without a substantial increase in defense spending is unsustainable. … There is no strategic gimmick that will permit us to maintain military dominance in the absence of superior forces.”
Need to Fund Airpower
“The effectiveness of airpower has increased so much in degree that it has almost become a difference in kind. In a sense it has finally achieved the attributes that airpower enthusiasts prematurely claimed over the years. So long as the United States retains air dominance, we can damage or destroy the enemy’s combat power at a low cost in casualties. The altered strategic role that airpower can play must, however, be understood and appreciated. It is ironic that those who comment-and regularly complain-that roughly 40 percent of the future procurement budgets would go to [tactical airpower forces] have not fully grasped the potential advantages that airpower confers. It is also true that, if we are to exploit those advantages, airpower needs to be amply funded. If airpower is to play a crucial role in American strategy, it is doubtful whether we should allow our inventories of precision guided munitions to remain as low as they are. It is a simple fact … that, in so far as inventories are constrained, and are expected to remain constrained, an alteration of military plans will be required-and of a kind that will make such plans less effective. … In a sense, the size of the inventories is, in itself, a strategic choice.”
On Nov. 17, the Department of Defense made public a list of locations in Alaska and North Dakota where it intends to conduct environmental impact studies, as a precursor to possible deployment of a National Missile Defense system.
The list does not mean the Pentagon has decided to deploy such a system, officials stressed. Use of some of the sites, particularly those in Alaska, would likely constitute a violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, as it now stands.
But the announcement does give an indication of where NMD assets might be posted and could help prepare the way for a go or no go decision by US political leaders in 2000.
“The purpose of the environmental scoping is to solicit inputs from the public, interest groups, and federal, state, and local government agencies with regard to specific environmental concerns,” a DoD statement said.
Candidate locations are:
US forces were only hours-perhaps only minutes-away from striking Iraq when President Clinton ordered them to stand down Nov. 15, following an Iraqi diplomatic initiative, defense officials said.
Few held out hope that an armed confrontation with Saddam Hussein had been permanently averted, despite his agreement to allow UN weapons inspectors back into his country. The next time Saddam interferes with the UN’s free and unfettered access, an attack could come without advance notice, they warned.
“Iraq has backed down, but that is not enough,” President Clinton told the nation Nov. 15. “Now, Iraq must live up to its obligations.”
White House advisors were reportedly split on the decision to call off planned massive airstrikes. Some, such as Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, favored proceeding with the attack. They argued that the time for hitting could hardly be better, as US allies had issued assurances of support. Standing down, they said, could damage US military morale and further drain readiness.
Others-including, in the end, the President-felt that to proceed with bombing runs in the face of an apparent Iraqi cave-in, however deceptive it may prove to be, would appear overly provocative and perhaps finally shatter the postGulf War world consensus on containing Saddam’s ambitions.
Meanwhile, Western government assertions about the state of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capability are only becoming more dire.
According to a recent report from the British Ministry of Defense:
“Saddam has proved that he is ready and willing to use [weapons of mass destruction],” said the report, “and is the only leader in world history to have authorized the use of nerve agents.”
The German nuclear allergy is back, fueling tensions between NATO’s two biggest nations. When the last outbreak occurred, the White House was occupied by Ronald Reagan, Germany was divided into a democratic West and communist East, and the Soviet Union was a world power.
It was in the early 1980s that German anti-nuclear opposition nearly derailed NATO’s decision to deploy US Pershing 2 missiles on German soil to counter Soviet SS-20 weapons. The government in Bonn solidly backed the plan and the missiles went in on schedule, but years of street protests and acrimony caused severe strains in the Alliance.
Now, the United States and Germany may be headed for a struggle over a more basic issue-NATO’s central strategic belief that it has the right, under certain circumstances and in self-defense, to initiate use of nuclear weapons. This time, the German government itself is questioning NATO’s doctrine. In a surprise, Germany’s new left-wing government has suggested NATO adopt a “no-first-use” policy-pledging never to be the first to go nuclear.
German officials contended that, with the Soviet Union gone and the Cold War a distant memory, change in NATO nuclear doctrine is overdue. They say initiatives such as a no-first-use pledge will help deter non-nuclear nations from acquiring atomic arms.
The mid-November German initiative shocked and angered the Clinton Administration. The government of Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats and the Green Party evidently had given Washington assurances that, on major issues of defense policy, Germany would maintain continuity with the past and not seek change.
German officials were themselves taken aback by the vehemence of Washington’s reaction. Senior US officials warned bluntly, publicly, and often that such a shift in deterrence strategy-one that has kept the nuclear peace for more than 50 years-could gravely undermine NATO’s military credibility.
Said Defense Secretary William S. Cohen: “We think that the ambiguity involved in the issue of the use of nuclear weapons contributes to our own security, keeping any potential adversary who might use either chemical or biological [weapons] unsure of what our response would be. We think that it is a sound doctrine. … It is an integral part of our strategic concept, and we think it should remain exactly as it is.”
State Department spokesmen said that Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright relayed the same message. The Washington Post quoted a US official as accusing Germany of using “flawed logic and phony arguments” to reach its conclusions.
Faced with such US displeasure, Schroeder’s government backed away somewhat from its earlier threats to press the matter in NATO councils. After a Nov. 24 meeting with Cohen at the Pentagon, Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping said, “There is no intention in my government to question any core element of NATO strategy, including the fact that nuclear forces play a fundamental political role.”
Even so, Scharping noted that Germany “is following the vision of a nuclear-weapons free world,” virtually assuring that the German proposal would provoke acrimonious trans-Atlantic debate for months to come.
- The US Air Force and Army have together delivered more than 2.5 million pounds of relief supplies to Hondurans whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Mitch. Reserve C-130 crews on two-week annual training with the 171st Airlift Squadron, Selfridge ANGB, Mich., have been among the Air Force personnel helping in the effort.
- Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems recently made an on-schedule delivery of the first major production component for Japan’s F-2 fighter. The part, an aft fuselage section, was accepted by officials of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor for the F-2, at Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas, plant Nov. 10.
- On Nov. 10, Vice President Al Gore announced the creation of a new virtual Vietnam Wall-a web site that will allow computer users to call up names from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and hear audio remembrances from family members or friends.
- On Oct. 22, an Air Force B-1B bomber made a precautionary landing at the Colorado Springs Airport, Colo., due to a partial electrical system malfunction. Five tires blew out upon landing. There were no injuries or interruption in normal airport activities due to the incident.
- On Oct. 22, a single-seat F-16 from Luke AFB, Ariz., crashed approximately 10 miles north of the base. The pilot, Lt. Col. Mike L. Bartley, ejected safely. He was on a routine training mission at the time of the accident.
- Amn. Marcus A. Zaharko of Helena, Mont., died in an explosion at the White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Oct. 19. Zaharko, who had been a seismic analyst with the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Fla., was part of a group preparing for field tests when unexploded ammunition accidentally detonated.
- Sens. John McCain (RAriz.) and Max Cleland (DGa.) and Reps. Sam Johnson (RTexas) and Jack Murtha (DPa.) have sponsored a new bill that would establish a national memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor disabled veterans. The memorial would be the first such national monument dedicated to disabled vets who are still living and would be paid for by private contributions.
- Retired Army Air Corps SSgt. Edward Barton, of Camarillo, Calif., received a long-overdue Purple Heart medal at a Vandenberg AFB, Calif., ceremony Nov. 4. Barton’s daughter Jacqueline, herself an Air Force veteran, researched and gained the belated award for her father. Barton, a flight engineer on a B-24 Liberator based in England during World War II, had his part in the war ended by a shell burst from an anti-aircraft gun.
- Airmen who are residents of Minnesota and served in the Persian Gulf War may be eligible for a bonus. The state legislature has passed a law calling for special stipends for Minnesotans who were on active US duty from Aug. 2, 1990, to July 31, 1991, and participated in the effort to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
- USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan presented the 1997 Koren Kolligian Jr. Trophy to Capt. Jeffrey B. Samuel of the 493d Fighter Squadron, RAF Lakenheath, UK, in a Pentagon ceremony in October. Samuel earned the award, which is given every year to the member of the Air Force who best manages an in-flight emergency, by landing his F-15C despite two explosions caused by an AIM missile breaking apart immediately after launch and a massive fuel leak.
- Boeing’s Airlift and Tanker Programs component has won a 1998 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for manufacturing from the Department of Commerce. President Clinton and Commerce Secretary William M. Daley will present the award to David Spong, vice president and general manager of airlift and tankers programs, at a Washington ceremony early this year.
- The Tunner, the Air Force’s newest cargo loader, reached initial operational capability Nov. 6, according to Air Force officials. The loader, named after Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner who was a commander of the Berlin Airlift, has a total loading capacity of 60,000 pounds. It will replace older, 40,000-pound capacity loaders in the Air Force inventory.
- The 99th Airlift Squadron at Andrews AFB, Md., recently received its first C-37A in a formal arrival ceremony. The C-37A, based on the Gulfstream V business jet, will replace aging 707-based C-137s.
- The 44th Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was delivered to USAF in a short ceremony in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 9. It was the 32d consecutive C-17 delivered ahead of schedule.
- North Dakota’s only Air National Guard unit set a safety record Nov. 3 by surpassing 40,000 flight hours in F-16 fighter aircraft without accident. The unit’s last accident occurred 25 years ago, when it was flying the F-101B Voodoo fighter.
- The Air Force will stop maintaining 150 Minuteman launch silos at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., due to the service’s decision to select off-the-shelf commercial boosters instead of Minutemen for the national missile defense ground-based interceptor role. The silos will be destroyed in accordance with arms treaty and base closure requirements.
- On Nov. 12, acting Secretary of the Air Force F. Whitten Peters opened the door of a new Air Force Outreach Program Office at Brooks AFB, Texas. The office, the first of its kind, is intended to improve service liaison with small businesses.
- Air Combat Command has released an accident report on a March 23 incident in which the landing gear of an F-16C collapsed on the runway at Hill AFB, Utah. The report concluded that the accident was caused by the pilot, Lt. Col. John Burgess Jr., failing to properly control his descent rate during landing.