The Fiscal 2003 defense budget unveiled Feb. 4 calls for a $48 billion boost over last year, with a sustained five-year increase of $120 billion.
President Bush called it the largest increase since the 1980s.
He announced his intention during the State of the Union address Jan. 29, saying, “While the price of freedom and security is high, it is never too high. Whatever it costs to defend our country, we will pay.”
Bush stated that it cost more than a billion dollars a month to fund operations in Afghanistan. He added, “Afghanistan proved that expensive precision weapons defeat the enemy and spare innocent lives, and we need more of them.”
He also said that the US military must replace aging aircraft and become more agile.
“Our men and women in uniform deserve the best weapons, the best equipment, the best training, and they also deserve another pay raise,” the President emphasized.
Bush has asked for a 4.1 percent increase in military pay for Fiscal 2003.
Other details of the budget proposal will appear in the April issue.
After almost two months of relative quiet, Iraq again began firing on coalition aircraft enforcing United Nations resolutions in the no-fly zones. In a late January attack, Iraqi forces directed gunfire and radar targeting on coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.
In retaliation, US fighter airplanes dropped precision guided munitions on Iraqi anti-aircraft artillery and missile sites on Jan. 21, 23, and 24.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that it was basically what Iraq had been doing for some time in both the southern and northern no-fly zones.
“Sometimes it’s triple-A and sometimes it’s missiles,” he said. “Any time we can ascertain where it’s coming from, we’ll react to those threats to our patrolling aircraft.”
CIA chief George J. Tenet told a Congressional committee Feb. 5 that Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network still pose “the most immediate and serious threat” to the US.
Despite the progress in Afghanistan, where some al Qaeda leaders have been killed, bin Laden’s terrorist network has not been destroyed.
“Al Qaeda leaders still at large are working to reconstitute the organization and to resume its terrorist operations,” Tenet emphasized to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
He said newly discovered documents from al Qaeda facilities in Afghanistan “show that bin Laden was pursuing a sophisticated biological weapons research program.”
In addition, Tenet said, intelligence pointing to bin Laden’s efforts to acquire or develop a nuclear device revealed that “al Qaeda may be pursuing a radioactive dispersal device–what some call a ‘dirty bomb.'”
The coalition war on terrorism has crippled the terrorist network by choking off funds and arresting nearly 1,000 al Qaeda members. “The group has been denied its safe haven and strategic command center in Afghanistan,” stated Tenet. “We are uncovering terrorists’ plans and breaking up their cells.”
However, he said that al Qaeda may have cells or infrastructure in more than 60 nations.
Tenet said bin Laden underestimated the US, believing it would not invade his sanctuary. The US must not underestimate bin Laden, he added.
“I must repeat that al Qaeda has not yet been destroyed,” Tenet cautioned the Senators. “It and other like-minded groups remain willing and able to strike us.”
“We must be prepared for a long war, and we must not falter,” he maintained.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper plans to create several new task forces to handle counterterrorism and other missions.
Jumper revealed his concept during an interview with Inside the Pentagon and Inside the Air Force on Jan. 29.
The first new task force Jumper plans to create is a Global Response Task Force. It would probably include strike aircraft on alert at deployed locations to respond to events as they emerge and could go beyond a regional commander’s boundary to deal with terrorist situations.
Another task force would feature command, control, intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance assets–essential to any operation.
The Air Force is still developing the concept and plans possibly up to 10 task forces, including one for humanitarian relief operations.
Jumper said he also intends to marry the concept to weapons development and acquisition.
The Pentagon’s new top space leader, Peter B. Teets, took his first official steps toward a new look for space Feb. 7 when he announced creation of two new offices.
The offices are a Deputy for Military Space and a Directorate of National Security Space Integration.
Teets, whose official title is undersecretary of the Air Force and director of the National Reconnaissance Office, was just confirmed last December. He has the lead for the entire military space program since Defense Secretary Rumsfeld named the Air Force as executive agent for space.
Teets declined to name the individual who would be the military space deputy, saying, though, that he had “in mind an extremely qualified and competent individual.” He did say the person would be a civilian.
For the NSSI position, Teets named Maj. Gen. (sel.) Michael A. Hamel.
Questioned about why he needed a deputy for military space, Teets replied that he needed two individuals who could focus on day-to-day operations, leaving him free to focus on the big picture.
“Frankly I’m doing this in an effort to allocate time better,” said Teets. “I find I’m pretty busy these days, and I would like to have time to reflect on the overall issue of national security space.”
Teets explained that he already has an NRO deputy director, Dennis Fitzgerald, to help oversee daily operations for the “large constellation of vitally important national security assets in space right now.”
It is important, he said, to have a similar role for military space. And what that individual will be doing “frankly, [is] fighting acquisition fires.”
Air National Guard officials are working with the Air Force to get a boost in the Guard’s end strength. The number they would like to see is an additional 6,400–raising the level to 113,000.
The reason for the increase, the Guard’s deputy director, Brig. Gen. David Brubaker, told Inside the Air Force, is the Guard’s operations since Sept. 11.
USAF’s Long-Haul Task Force is reviewing the situation. (See “Airpower for the Long Haul,” p. 54.)
The Guard has carried the brunt of duty for Combat Air Patrols over US cities, taxing both aircrews and maintenance personnel. It has also called up 5,000 Guardsmen to serve as security forces.
Although no funds for additional personnel are included in the Fiscal 2003 budget request, officials said funds could be added to either the Fiscal 2004 request or as a supplemental to Fiscal 2002.
The Air Force and Navy study into a replacement for the aging EA-6B Prowler, currently DOD’s sole tactical electronic jamming aircraft, identified 27 options. The costs range from $21 billion to $82 billion.
USAF has been sharing jammer crews with the Navy and Marine Corps using Prowler aircraft. The Air Force retired the last of its EF-111 Raven electronic warfare aircraft in 1998.
As noted here last month, one option the Air Force had been considering was whether to pursue a replacement of its own.
The results of the joint study, a copy of which was obtained by Defense News, do not appear to preclude that option. Among the solutions under consideration is buying a fleet of business jets at a cost of $26 billion. Another approach would be to equip a force of Navy F/A-18s and USAF B-52s and F-22s with jammers–the $82 billion approach.
Pentagon officials briefed members of Congress in mid-January on the report. More work, though, is to be done by an oversight group, according to Defense News, that will brief Pentagon acquisition head Edward C. Aldridge early this summer.
According to a new CIA report, the likelihood of a terrorist attack using Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear weapons has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks here in the US.
“Several of the 30 designated foreign terrorist organizations and other nonstate actors worldwide have expressed interest in CBRN,” states the report, which was made public Jan. 30.
However, it added that terrorists “probably will continue to favor proven conventional tactics such as bombings and shootings.”
The report also outlined Osama bin Laden’s pursuit of CBRN materials and his interest in staging unconventional attacks.
The report stated that a senior bin Laden associate on trial in Egypt in 1999 claimed his group had chemical and biological weapons.
That claim has gained credence with more recent discoveries in Afghanistan that have “confirmed our worst fears,” as President Bush said in the State of the Union address.
“We have found diagrams of American nuclear power plants and public water facilities, detailed instructions for making chemical weapons, surveillance maps of American cities, and thorough descriptions of landmarks in America and throughout the world,” stated Bush.
The Bush Administration urged the international community, through the Conference on Disarmament, to approve tighter restrictions on the spread of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
“Almost every state that actively sponsors terror is known to be seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction and the missiles to deliver them at longer and longer ranges,” stated John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, before the 66-nation conference in Geneva on Jan. 24.
“Their hope is to blackmail the civilized world into abandoning the war on terror,” he emphasized.
Bolton urged the conference to focus on the new threats–terrorists and their drive to gain mass destruction weapons. He said the conference must reinforce the international inspection system and forge additional restraints against the spread of mass weapons.
He specifically cited Iraq and North Korea for their violations of the nonproliferation treaty. He said the US believes, with few exceptions, that terrorists need the support of nation states to gain WMD.
“The September 11th terrorist attacks … taught [the US] not to underestimate the intentions and capabilities of rogue states and terrorist groups,” Bolton stated.
The F-22, USAF’s stealthy new air superiority fighter, is not yet operational, but it could be just what the Pentagon is looking for in a new bomber.
DOD acquisition chief Aldridge, reports Defense Daily International, believes a medium bomber version of the F-22 could provide a relatively quick solution for development of a high speed strike aircraft that could carry a sufficient load to take out highly mobile targets.
The so-called FB-22 would fill a void confirmed by recent operations in Afghanistan.
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche said last year that the service needs a stealthy, supersonic bomber for mobile targets.
One reason the F-22 would make an ideal basis for a new bomber is it has performance to spare. To produce an FB-22, the basic F-22 would need airframe modifications for a larger weapons payload and greater fuel capacity.
Even at that an FB-22 would have greater speed than the B-1B, the fastest US bomber.
Although Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other DOD officials reportedly are still considering an offer to reopen the B-2 bomber line, Aldridge and Roche have said that’s not the answer.
They maintain the B-2 is too slow and too expensive for this mission.
The US does not have enough Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and Surveillance assets. And many ISR resources available today are not interoperable, limiting their usefulness.
That message came from Gen. Gregory S. Martin, US Air Forces in Europe commander.
Martin, speaking at an air and space power seminar on Capitol Hill in early January, called the nation’s current ISR situation “woefully short” of requirements.
He said US ISR capabilities outstrip those of other countries, but they still cannot support the needs of US regional commanders.
Defense acquisition leaders for the US and Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding Feb. 7 for the Joint Strike Fighter program.
Canada will provide $150 million over the next 10 years for the system development and demonstration phase of the program.
The MOU also partners Canadian industry with US and British industries on the program, said a Pentagon statement.
The United Kingdom signed the first JSF memorandum last year.
Canada has not decided which of the three JSF variants they will need. It currently flies the CF-18 and plans to keep them through 2017.
The USAF variant is a conventional takeoff and landing fighter designed to replace the F-16 and A-10 aircraft. The US Navy is purchasing a carrier-based variant to complement the F/A-18E/F and replace earlier versions of the F/A-18 and an aircraft that has already retired, the A-6. The US Marine Corps has requested a Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing aircraft to replace the AV-8B and F/A-18.
The British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force plan to purchase the STOVL variant.
Air Force officials announced in February the need to increase the Fiscal 2002 enlisted recruiting goal by an additional 833–all destined for security forces positions.
This marks the second recruiting increase for this fiscal year. The new goal is 37,283.
The original goal was 36,000, but officials raised the bar by 450 last October.
Air Force personnel officials said Fiscal 2002 was already on the road to be the best on record.
“We know our recruiting force will rise to the challenge,” said Brig. Gen. Duane W. Deal, commander of Air Force Recruiting Service.
All 28 recruiting squadrons worldwide met their contract goals in January–the best shipping record for January in 25 years, stated officials.
President Bush traveled to the Pentagon to sign the Fiscal 2002 defense appropriations act, which allocates $317.2 billion in defense spending and another $20.1 billion as an emergency supplemental.
At the Jan. 10 signing, Bush stated that the bill provides nearly $30 billion more than in Fiscal 2001.
It includes an average 6.9 percent increase for military pay, as well as increases in Operations and Maintenance, Research and Development, and other areas. The amounts and increases include:
- O&M–$105.1 billion, an increase of $8.2 billion over 2001.
- R&D–$49 billion, $7.6 billion over 2001.
- Procurement–$60.9 billion, $1.7 billion over 2001.
- Defense health program–$18.4 billion, $6.1 billion over 2001.
The R&D increase also includes about $8 billion for missile defense programs.
The health care increase includes funding for the Tricare for Life program established last year for military retirees and family members who are 65 and older and eligible for Medicare.
The Air Force could include an option for more than the 60 additional C-17s airlifters authorized by Congress in the Fiscal 2002 defense bill when it cuts its deal with Boeing next month, according to Inside the Air Force.
The service may not decide on a final number of aircraft for at least a couple of years Col. Thomas Owen told IAF.
USAF’s decision on how many additional C-17s it needs hinges to a large degree on the re-engining and reliability upgrade program for C-5s. If that works well, the service might need fewer C-17s.
Currently C-5Bs and one C-5A will get the upgrades. At issue is whether it makes sense to do more A models. Congress stipulated in the 2002 bill that at least one C-5A was to be re-fitted.
Both Boeing and Lockheed Martin are asking for government funds to bolster their space booster programs.
National security officials, reported the Wall Street Journal, believe the help is warranted.
In the 1990s the Air Force developed a joint government-industry strategy to produce two new launch systems–the Boeing Delta IV and Lockheed Martin Atlas V–that would provide more reliable and lower cost launches. Both new boosters are set to launch their first government payloads this fiscal year.
The problem is that each new launch vehicle will likely need years to demonstrate reliability and require continuing investment for quality-control and engineering improvements.
Under USAF’s original strategy for the evolved expendable launch vehicle program, commercial launches would provide much of the capital for those ongoing improvements.
That strategy is on shaky ground because of the significant downturn in commercial satellite launches.
Details of an aid package would have to be worked out, but the goal, officials say, would be to keep each rocket program healthy.
Two USAF A-10 aircraft collided Jan. 17 about 18.5 miles east of Douglas, Ariz. One pilot was killed and the other ejected successfully.
Lt. Col. Lance A. Donnelly, an A-10 pilot with the 355th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., was killed.
The other pilot, Capt. Patrick Boland, was treated for minor injuries.
The two single-seat A-10 fighters and one other, not involved in the accident, were on a training mission near the New Mexico and Mexico borders.
USAF officials said a board of officers appointed by Air Combat Command are investigating the accident.
Capt. Brian D. Rizzoli and 1st Lt. William B. Satterly were killed when a C-21, a small transport jet, crashed Feb. 2 near Ellsworth AFB, S.D.
The two were the only occupants of the aircraft, which is a military version of the Learjet 35A.
Witnesses said the airplane was taking off from Ellsworth when it turned, slowed, and went upside down before hitting the ground, according to the Dayton Daily News.
The two airmen and the aircraft belonged to the 47th Airlift Flight at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
Air Force officials said the cause of the crash is under investigation.
Air Force personnel officials announced that an exit plan for the current Stop-Loss program would free some personnel in 24 officer and 40 enlisted career fields to retire or leave the service beginning this month.
Officials decided to release some specialties based on a 90-day review of the program. Stop-Loss measures were instituted Oct. 2 to ensure the service could retain the right personnel to conduct Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.
In announcing the decision, USAF Chief of Staff Jumper said, “Because this is a very dynamic situation, we will continue to review the Stop-Loss program every 60 days, and if world events change significantly, we will re-evaluate Stop-Loss decisions immediately.”
Officials said that a number of factors went into the decision as to which career fields to release. One major factor was the balance between active and reserve forces, and another was the evolving mission of homeland defense.
“Clearly, we still need experienced people, and we want all active duty, Reserve, Air National Guard, and civilians to considerremaining in the Air Force to help our nation wage the war against terrorism,” said Jumper.
Local personnel flights have information about the specific career fields released from Stop-Loss.
US Air Force Maj. William Thomas received the Flying Cross from Dutch Minister of Defense Frank de Grave at a ceremony at The Hague, Netherlands, on Jan. 23.
It is the first time the medal has been awarded since World War II.
Thomas was assigned as an exchange pilot with the Netherlands air force during Operation Allied Force. During a mission on June 7, 1999, Thomas flew his F-16 into an anti-aircraft artillery zone and dispensed flares to draw artillery barrages toward his aircraft when he realized his flight lead, Dutch Maj. Marcel Duivelsteijn, had been temporarily blinded by the plume from a surface-to-air missile and was in trouble.
The ploy worked and both pilots escaped.
Thomas is currently the weapons and tactics chief with the 52nd Operations Support Squadron at Spangdahlem AB, Germany.
The Troops to Teachers program got a big boost from the Fiscal 2002 federal budget–$18 million.
In addition, said DOD officials, the Fiscal 2002 defense budget opened the program to service members who separate from the military after six years or more of service. Previously, the program had only been open to those personnel who retired from military service.
The program will pay service members up to a $5,000 stipend to help defray the costs of completing a teacher certification program.
Some participants, said officials, would receive a $10,000 bonus in lieu of the stipend if they accept a job in a “high needs” school district. A high needs district is defined as one in which 50 percent of the students come from low-income families.
Troops who take advantage of the program must teach for at least three years. Additional information about the program is available at local Air Force base education offices.
Air Force Materiel Command announced Jan. 24 completion of the first retrofit of an F-16 Block 50 fighter aircraft in the Common Configuration Implementation Program.
Over the next 10 years, all USAF Block 40 and Block 50 F-16s will receive the modification–giving them identical cockpits and improving their communications capabilities.
“This is the biggest electrical modification ever performed on the F-16,” said Rick Merrill, F-16 CCIP production chief. And, it’s going smoother than expected, with all work either on or ahead of schedule, he added.
Technicians at AFMC’s Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah, work around the clock in three shifts, said Merrill. The technicians went through nearly a year of classroom and hands-on training to prepare for the work.
USAF is sending entire squadrons of F-16s to Hill for the retrofit. That, said Merrill, makes it important to work smarter and faster.
“Daily, technicians are finding ways to reduce flow time,” he noted.
For the pilots, having identical cockpits in all F-16s will mean they will only need to learn one configuration–a significant boon to training.
USAF officials announced the successful launch of a Milstar II communications satellite via a Titan IVB booster Jan. 15 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and successful deployment about 6.5 hours later on Jan. 16.
The deployment, officials said, means the Milstar constellation will be able to provide worldwide, secure jam-resistant communications for warfighters.
This satellite, they said, should be fully operational some time next month after undergoing on-orbit testing.
To ensure the safety of the launch, the Air Force had ANG F-15s from the 125th Fighter Wing at Jacksonville, Fla., fly Combat Air Patrol missions over the Cape for several days before and during the launch. There was also enhanced ground security.
USAF provided the same type of security for the shuttle launch last December. “The Air Force will take all reasonable measures to protect America’s national space assets and missions,” said Maj. Mike Rein, with the 45th Space Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla.
“And we plan on doing it for all future launches as well,” he added.
Veterans Affairs announced that monthly educational reimbursement payments under the Montgomery GI Bill will rise over the next two years.
For full-time students, the rate has increased from $672 to $800 per month. This fall it will jump again, to $900, and in October 2003 will rise to $985.
Additionally, VA educational payments will extend to high-technology courses not necessarily provided at traditional two- and four-year colleges. Veterans may receive a lump sum for certain expensive courses such as those leading to certification of computer network professionals.
VA will cover up to 60 percent of the cost of such high-tech courses beginning in October.
For enlisted personnel, the Basic Allowance for Subsistence changed to an entitlement, just as it has been for officers.
The current monthly BAS rate for enlisted members is $241.50.
The new year also brought a BAS change for officers. The Pentagon lifted the old one percent growth cap on officer BAS.
Now BAS will increase by the same percentage for officer and enlisted members. It increases each January, based on the annual percentage increase of US Agriculture Department food costs.
Another change for enlisted members is that those in pay grades E-1 through E-6 who are assigned to single-type government quarters are entitled to BAS and may also receive essential station messing. That means those personnel will be charged the discount meal rate for all meals made available by a government dining facility, said officials.
The result is that they will be getting a slightly greater amount than when they were receiving partial-rate BAS.
Before any USAF pilot touched down on an “unknown” airfield in Southwest and Central Asia, the pavement engineers were there to ensure it could handle the load.
A pavement evaluation team from the Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency at Tyndall AFB, Fla., was sent to check out potential airfields for use during Enduring Freedom. USAF said they arrived Oct. 21 and were still there in late January.
The team determines pavement thickness and the strength of underlying soil, then analyzes the gross allowable load for each of USAF’s 14 classes of aircraft.
“What the airfield operator needs to know is, ‘Can 5,000 C-17s take off at full weight at this location, and will I still have a viable airfield at the end of that?'” said Capt. Anthony Davit, chief of the pavement evaluation section.
The team has been conducting pavement evaluations in 10 countries in the region.
“Most airfields can support a few passes of an aircraft,” said Davitt. It’s the team’s job to determine any limitations that may be necessary for longer-term operations.
Davitt said they quickly realized that evaluating Soviet-built airfields would pose unique problems because of differences in Western and Soviet construction techniques.
He said the Soviets used reinforcing steel and put it down in slabs, unlike most European and American airfields. “That presents different challenges, assumptions, things to look for.”
Maj. Timothy Baldwin, an Air Force Reserve Command C-141 and Delta airlines pilot, rescued nine-year-old Ashlee Ball and her dog from an icy pond Dec. 27 in Bright, Ind.
Ball had gone out onto the thin ice of the pond in her family’s backyard to try to save her dog, which had fallen through into the freezing water, and fell through herself.
Baldwin was driving by and stopped along with other motorists. He was the first to jump in.
Both the girl, after treatment at a hospital in Cincinnati, and her dog recovered.
Baldwin flies with the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced Jan. 31 its final approval for BioPort, the Michigan-based anthrax vaccine producer and the sole supplier in the US, to begin routine distribution of licensed vaccine from its renovated facility.
Beginning in December 1999, the Pentagon sharply curtailed its program to vaccinate all US military personnel when BioPort failed to pass FDA inspections of its facility. DOD officials worried that they would run out of the vaccine, so they began inoculating only those in the most high-risk areas.
DOD began working with BioPort to get the program back on line.
With the FDA announcement, Pentagon officials said they were reviewing all factors relating to future use of the vaccine. They expected to make an announcement about its policy soon.
An Electronic Systems Command office went into high gear after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to add e-mail capability to the portion of the Airborne Warning and Control System E-3 fleet working homeland defense.
ESC officials announced in mid-January that the AWACS program office at Hanscom AFB, Mass., was able to deliver six units nearly a year ahead of their planned schedule.
The systems, produced by Rockwell Collins, allow the transfer of secure data between the AWACS command center located at Tinker AFB, Okla., and the E-3s via e-mail rather than voice.
“Having the message in writing really reduces the likelihood of error,” said 2nd Lt. Bill Hargrove, the program office’s high frequency e-mail program manager.
The six units include two portable ground station kits, which have a laptop computer and a high frequency radio, and four airborne kits. The airborne kits consist of a customized laptop computer and printer the size of a large briefcase.
It provides high-speed data transfer, air-to-air and air-to-ground connectivity, and can be used for either classified or unclassified transmissions.
The AWACS unit, the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker, began using the new units in early January. The wing had been using two test kits immediately after Sept. 11. Those were sent to support Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan when that operation started.
Program officials said they plan to purchase 32 airborne kits, one for each E-3 in the fleet, plus spares.
Eventually the system will work without ground kits. The airborne units will connect directly to the secure Internet network known as SIPRNET, at 14 fixed ground stations worldwide.
Any aircraft with a high frequency radio and an automatic link establishment capability could potentially use this system, said Hargrove.
Rumsfeld: Now Is Time to Transform
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld believes that now-in the midst of “a difficult and dangerous war on terrorism”-is exactly the time to transform the US military.
“The impetus and urgency added by the events of September 11th powerfully make the case for action,” Rumsfeld told an audience at the National Defense University at Ft. McNair, D.C.
He said that every day the Pentagon faces “urgent near-term requirements that create pressure to push the future off the table. … Our challenge is to make certain that, as time passes and the shock of what befell us that day wears off, we do not simply go back to doing things the way we did them before.”
The challenges of the new century are not as predictable as those of the Cold War, stated the defense chief.
“An ability to adapt will be critical in a world where surprise and uncertainty are the defining characteristics of the new security environment,” he said.
As the events of Sept. 11 emphasized, the challenge is “to prepare to defend our nation against the unknown, the uncertain, the unseen, and the unexpected,” added Rumsfeld.
“And, let there be no doubt: In the years ahead, it is likely that we will be surprised again-by new adversaries-who may also strike in unexpected ways,” he cautioned. “And as they gain access to weapons of increasing power, these attacks could grow vastly more deadly than those we suffered September 11th.”
Potential adversaries know that “challenging our armed forces head-on is foolhardy,” he said, “so, they will challenge the US asymmetrically, looking for vulnerabilities and building capabilities to exploit them.
“Our job is to close off as many of those avenues of potential attack as possible,” said Rumsfeld.
DOD must prepare for new forms of terrorism, attacks on US space assets, cyber-attacks, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. At the same time, he said, the Pentagon must build up its areas of advantage-the ability to project military power, precision strike weapons, and space, intelligence, and undersea warfare capabilities.
Transformation is not just about developing new capabilities; it includes rethinking and rebalancing existing forces and capabilities, stated Rumsfeld. For example, the Pentagon must add more low-density, high-demand assets, which he explained is a euphemism that in plain English means “our priorities were wrong and we didn’t buy enough of the things we now find we need.”
Ramsey Clark and Friends Bring Suit on Behalf of al Qaeda Prisoners
Amid the uproar created when a London newspaper labeled the treatment of Taliban and al Qaeda detainees brought to Guantanamo Bay as “torture,” a group of academics, clergy, and lawyers filed a lawsuit to have the detainees tried in civil court.
The group is led by longtime US foreign policy critic Ramsey Clark, who served as US attorney general from 1967 to 1969 under President Johnson.
Their petition, which was filed in Los Angeles Jan. 19, charges that the captives are being held in violation of the Geneva Convention and the US Constitution. It demands that they be brought to court and the charges against them defined.
At a preliminary hearing Jan. 22, a federal judge said he had “grave doubts” about his jurisdiction in the matter but set a Feb. 14 hearing to consider it further.
There are about 200 Taliban and al Qaeda detainees at the US Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay (called Gitmo), Cuba. They are being held in a portion of the naval facility now known as Camp X-ray.
US officials have maintained from the beginning that the captives are not Prisoners of War and thus not entitled to be governed by the convention’s rules on POWs.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters traveling with him to Gitmo on Jan. 28, “There is no ambiguity in this case.” He emphasized, “They are not POWs.”
Despite that, senior Administration officials have noted on several occasions that the captives’ treatment has been humane and appropriate under convention rules.
In early February, though, President Bush decided that convention status would apply to Taliban detainees but not al Qaeda. The reason: Afghanistan is a party to the convention treaty, but al Qaeda is an international terrorist group not a party to the treaty.
He did not change his stand on the POW issue. Thus the detainees may still be subject to military tribunals and will continue to be questioned.
“These are bad people,” said Vice President Dick Cheney on CNN in late January. “They may well have information about future terrorist attacks against the United States. We need that information.”
“These are the worst of a very bad lot,” Cheney told Fox News Jan. 27. “They are very dangerous. They are devoted to killing millions of Americans, innocent Americans, if they can, and they are perfectly prepared to die in the effort.”
Part of the cries of “torture” and “inhumane treatment” stemmed from a photograph released by US forces. It showed a captive hooded and shackled and on his knees.
Asked about that in midJanuary, Rumsfeld replied, “When they are being moved from place to place, will they be restrained in a way so that they are less likely to be able to kill an American soldier? You bet. Is it inhumane to do that? No. Would it be stupid to do anything less? Yes.”
Nonetheless, the furor created by claims of inhumane treatment prompted visits by the International Red Cross, British officials, and US Senators.
The result was positive by all accounts, with just a few recommendations from the Red Cross, such as keeping only one detainee per eight-by-eight-foot cage.
Comments from some of the US Senators who visited Camp X-ray:
Sen. Daniel Inouye (DHawaii): “I assure you they ate better and continue to eat better than what they ate in Afghanistan.”
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (RTex.): “The medical care is the same as the men and women of the military who serve on the base.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (DCalif.): “If I were faced with lockdown in San Quentin or Folsom, … I would rather be in Guantanamo Bay.”
Laying aside the hysterical and groundless claims of mistreatment, the primary issue for Clark’s group is the order President Bush issued last November that gives him the option to try the detainees by military tribunal.
Clark and friends are adamantly opposed to that option. And they want immediate prosecution, preferably in a civil court. If that were to happen, US officials would lose any hope of further interrogation.
Clark has long espoused the “underdog.” For instance, among his more recent endeavors, he has been helping former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who is being tried for war crimes.
In the 1990s when he was protesting the US role in the Persian Gulf-saving Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from takeover by Iraq-Clark called the senior Bush’s Administration “an imperial Presidency as unrestrained as any military dictatorship that ever lived.”
Pentagon Seeks New Homeland Defense Command
Defense chief Donald Rumsfeld plans to ask President Bush and Congress for approval to create a new unified command to handle the homeland security mission.
The proposal apparently has the support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, although details have yet to be worked out. The command would have a new four-star flag officer.
As first reported by Inside the Pentagon, it would draw some of the capabilities from existing unified commands and the USCanadian North American Aerospace Defense Command. For instance, it would take over direction of USAF jets patrolling over US cities, Navy ships providing coastal security, and national guard troops securing airports and borders.
Initially, according to the Washington Post, the military chiefs argued for assigning the mission to one of two commands already headquartered in the States-NORAD, in Colorado Springs, Colo., or Joint Forces Command, in Norfolk, Va.
The Commander in Chief of NORAD is already dual-hatted as the CINC of US Space Command. The Commander in Chief of JFCOM not only has the full responsibility for developing new ways the services can fight together and the training to go with it but is also dual-hatted as head of NATO’s North Atlantic Region.
Rumsfeld decided that adding new responsibilities to either of those CINCs would be too burdensome.
Already one Senator put in a bid to house the new command at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. Sen. Christopher S. Bond (RMo.) introduced a bill Jan. 29 to create the new unified command with a four-star CINC as head and an Army National Guard or Air National Guard officer as deputy CINC.
At least one Democrat from Missouri, Rep. Ike Skelton, wants more details before he buys into the plan.
As for a name for the new command, Rumsfeld appears to be leaning toward US Northern Command, reports ITP. The name would reflect its area of responsibility, the continental US, Canada, and Mexico, much as Southern Command covers Latin America and the Caribbean.
All of this is contained in a forthcoming revision to the Unified Command Plan.
It Is Not About Being an Ugly American
Some seven years ago, a top Air Force female fighter pilot stood up and said the rule forcing US servicewomen in Saudi Arabia to wear the black head-to-toe garment, known as an abaya, is wrong. That rule was changed Jan. 22 by the Commander in Chief of Central Command.
The rub is that it was not entirely eliminated.
The abaya rule was instituted in the early 1990s, when US forces were invited into Saudi Arabia to battle Iraq. Pentagon officials have offered at least two reasons for its adoption. One is that it protects American personnel, and the other is that it was done out of respect for Islamic law and Saudi custom.
In issuing a new order, Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks sent an e-mail to commanders in the theater. They were to revise policies to indicate that “wear of the abaya in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged and to remove any requirement to wear civilian clothing to cover the uniform.”
The old rule forced US military women to wear the abaya, which covers everything except the eyes, hands, and feet and is worn by Saudi women as part of their Islamic religion. The American women had to wear the garment whenever they were away from their US military facility.
It was supposedly not a rule required by the Saudis, yet recent public pronouncements by Saudi officials would indicate otherwise. In fact, the rule was not applied to US State Department female personnel. They, like other foreign women, were simply told to wear conservative clothing.
When Lt. Col. Martha McSally was assigned to Saudi Arabia, she had to leave the US facility on occasion for official business. Then a major, McSally flew some 100 hours patrolling the no-fly zone over Iraq in an A-10 aircraft.
For nearly six years she tried to get the rule changed through official channels. When that failed to generate any interest, McSally finally took her case to the public early last year. She talked with news media and with Congressmen. Five Republican Senators sent a letter in midyear asking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to review the policy.
Late last year McSally filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department. A Central Command spokesman said that the lawsuit did not influence the recent rule change because the policy was already under review.
An attorney with the Rutherford Institute, a religious freedom group that is aiding McSally with the suit, said the policy change doesn’t go far enough. “What it says to us is that it has not been rescinded,” he said.
In fact, the Washington Times reports that US commanders in Saudi Arabia are interpreting Franks’s order as saying the rule is no longer set down by CENTCOM but is instead their decision to make.
McSally’s lawsuit has not been withdrawn.
Although some Americans have referred to McSally’s grievance as an “ugly American” issue, logically it cannot be when only one segment of US female personnel is targeted.
This was an issue about a supposed ally trying to enforce, directly or indirectly, its own religious practices upon US military personnel, simply because they are female- second-class citizens in Saudi minds-and because they were wearing a US military uniform.
US military personnel were invited to Saudi Arabia and without their presence Saddam Hussein would no doubt be sitting in Riyadh.
Some Saudi officials are now saying the abaya religious custom applies to all foreign women within Saudi Arabia not just US female military personnel.
“It’s Time To Get Serious”
While some international leaders have decried President Bush for going too far in his comments about Iran, Iraq, and North Korea-labeling them the “axis of evil”-in his State of the Union address, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said his remarks were a call to our allies “to do what all of us must do.”
Speaking on Fox News on Feb. 3, Rice said these three countries pose a serious threat and “it’s time to get serious about it.”
“You don’t get anywhere by pulling punches about the nature of regimes like the Iraqi regime or the North Korean regime,” she emphasized. “It’s not as if anybody really believes that these are good regimes that are just engaging in a little bad policy.”
Rice went on to explain that in the war on terrorism “speaking plainly is the way to rally people, not the other way around.”
These countries “are a clear and present threat to us and to all of the responsible and civilized world,” she said. “The Iranians who spread and support terror around the world, the North Koreans who proliferate these weapons [of mass destruction], the Iraqis who make a region of great importance to us unstable, clearly are a clear and present threat to America, America’s interests, and America’s allies.”
Rice also noted that the focus on these three countries is not a change in US policy. She said they have been on notice for some time, adding that Bush’s words were “a call to the international community, to our friends and our allies, to do what all of us must do in terms of nonproliferation, in terms of cutting off the vehicles for these regimes to get these weapons.”
“I would say to everyone, ‘Let’s step back here,’ and instead of worrying so much about what the President said on Tuesday night [Jan. 29], let’s put equal energy into working to make sure that these regimes don’t get these weapons of mass destruction,” declared Rice.
Guard and Reserve Get More Re-employment Protection
The Secretary of the Air Force James Roche issued a determination that reservists who voluntarily return to active duty to support Operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle will be eligible for the broadest application of re-employment rights.
By law, those rights are normally only extended to reservists who are involuntarily called to active duty.
USAF officials announced in late January that Roche had decided to include volunteers for broader protection under the law.
However, they cautioned, not every Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve Command individual on active duty will get the exemption. For example, those already performing annual tours or on active duty for training would not qualify.
Basically the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 provides re-employment rights for a cumulative period of up to five years of active duty service away from a civilian employer, said Col. Ray Knapp, a personnel reserve advisor at the Pentagon.
“When you are involuntarily recalled, the [five-year] clock stops ticking,” he said. “It does not automatically stop for those who volunteer for duty, even during a national emergency.”
The individual service Secretaries may declare an exemption to the clock for some volunteers for periods of active duty during a war or national emergency declared by the President or Congress, Knapp stated.
“It’s limited to those who are ordered to active duty, or retained on active duty beyond their stated separation date due to Stop-Loss, in direct or indirect support of the national emergency,” he said.
Those who were already on an Active Guard and Reserve tour before the national emergency was declared will not automatically be covered, even if their duties now relate to the current national emergency, explained Knapp.
To address all the individual situations at the lowest level, the Air Force has directed that the orders-issuing official, usually the unit commander, be the determining authority. “They will be the stewards of this benefit,” Knapp said.
“However, there may be situations where the Secretary of the Air Force will make the determination,” he added.
Knapp also noted that the difference regarding nonvolunteer and volunteer status in the law was basically designed with the employer in mind.
“It’s a two-way street,” he said. “When reservists enter onto military duty even for short periods of time, it places an additional burden on the member’s civilian employer and coworkers who must either hire extra people or pick up the workload to fill the void.”
Under normal peacetime conditions, stated Knapp, the law limits how much time volunteers can be away from their civilian employers.
In unusual times, there is the exemption rule.
ANG and AFRC personnel eligible for the exemption will have a specific statement on their active duty orders, said officials. For those who received orders before the Secretary’s determination, the statement will appear on their separation orders.
CAF Becomes “Commemorative Air Force”
The members of the Confederate Air Force voted to change the name of the volunteer, nonprofit World War II heritage organization to the Commemorative Air Force-retaining the group’s acronym identification.
The CAF dates its origin to 1951, when Lloyd Nolen purchased a surplus Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. Several World War IIvintage aircraft were purchased over the next few years, including a P-51. Someone painted Confederate Air Force on that P-51’s fuselage as a joke, but the name stuck when the group was officially chartered in Texas in 1961.
Since then the membership has grown to more than 10,000 in 27 states and four foreign countries. About two years ago, the group started discussing a new name because an overwhelming number of members felt it did not really reflect the primary objectives of the organization, CAF officials said.
Among the 1,000 names proposed were Ghost Squadron, Heritage Air Force, and Heritage Flying Museum. The name Ghost Squadron received the second highest number of votes.
Over the years the CAF has purchased more than 140 World War II military aircraft-60 different types. If they are not in flying condition, the CAF restores them.
CAF members take a number of the aircraft out for US air shows each year, performing before an estimated 10 million people.
In addition to preserving military history through its vintage aircraft, the CAF began to collect World War II artifacts and built its first museum building in 1965. In 1989 the American Airpower Heritage Museum was set up as a separate non-profit organization. The museum’s oral history program has collected more than 2,000 taped interviews of firsthand accounts of World War II veterans.
In 1991 the CAF and its museum moved from south Texas, where they had been for 34 years, to Midland, Tex.
Medal of Honor Recipient “Red” Erwin Dies
MSgt. Henry Eugene “Red” Erwin Sr., a World War II B-29 radio operator, died Jan. 16 at age 80.
In April 1945 Erwin, as a staff sergeant, was radio operator aboard a B-29 on a low-level attack on a chemical plant at Koriyama, Japan. One of his additional duties was to drop a phosphorus smoke bomb through a chute in the B-29’s floor when the lead bomber reached the assembly area over Japan.
He pulled the pin and released the bomb into the chute, but the fuse malfunctioned, igniting the phosphorus-burning at a temperature of 1,300 degrees. The canister blew back up the chute into Erwin’s face, blinding him and searing off his nose. The heavy smoke obscured the pilot’s instrument panel.
Erwin knew the bomb would burn through the metal floor into the bomb bay and the crew and aircraft would be lost. Though completely blinded, he located the burning bomb on the floor, picked it up, and stumbled forward. He reached the cockpit and threw the bomb out the copilot’s window but was by then a walking torch.
As the smoke cleared, the pilot pulled the bomber out of a dive at 300 feet above the water and turned toward Iwo Jima, the nearest location to get medical treatment for Erwin.
At Iwo, the medics did not think the young radio operator could survive. Army Air Forces officials cut through red tape to get a Medal of Honor approved within hours so they could present it to him while he was still living.
They presented the MOH to Erwin, but he surprised them all by surviving.
After 30 months and numerous reconstructive surgeries in the States, Erwin regained his eyesight and the use of one arm. He received a disability discharge at the rank of master sergeant.
The Air Force honored Erwin again in 1995 by creating the Henry E. Erwin Outstanding Enlisted Aircrew Member of the Year Award.
AAF Commanding General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold wrote to Erwin while he was at Iwo Jima: “I regard your act as one of the bravest in the records of this war.”
Two-War Ace Gabreski Dies
Retired Col. Francis S. “Gabby” Gabreski died of an apparent heart attack Jan. 31 at Huntington Hospital on Long Island, N.Y. He was 83.
Gabreski was a leading Army Air Forces ace in World War II, with 28 aerial victories. He was set to return to the States after completing 193 missions, had his bags packed, but wangled just one more mission. His airplane was damaged and he had to belly-in. He eluded the Germans for five days but was finally captured and remained a prisoner of war for eight months, until the war ended.
His aerial victories didn’t end there. Gabreski racked up another 6.5 victories in the Korean War. He was one of only seven USAF pilots who were aces in both World War II and Korea.
Gabreski went on to command several tactical and air defense wings. He was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame and was a president of the Air Force Association’s Iron Gate Chapter in New York.
Ace Watson Dies
Retired Col. Ralph J. “Doc” Watson, 85, died at his home at Hilton Head, S.C., Dec. 14. Watson earned five aerial victories during World War II in the European and North African theaters.
After the war, he helped establish air bases in Turkey and went on to fly supersonic and experimental airplanes. He was featured in a film “Fighter Ace: The True Aces.” He also served as president and chairman of the board of the American Fighter Aces Association.
Former Academy Superintendent Dies
Retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Stein died Jan. 10 at his home in Basye, Va., after a 14-month struggle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 57.
Stein had last served as the superintendent of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He graduated from the academy in 1966. Among his assignments, he served as commander of Keesler Technical Training Center and chief of staff at Tactical Air Command.
Public Supports Higher Defense Spending
A Gallup poll conducted days before the President’s State of the Union address showed that more than half (58 percent) of Americans said they supported giving defense spending a dominant place in the budget. Just 38 percent favored other programs.
After the speech, the support for increased defense spending soared to 76 percent, according to a Los Angeles Times poll conducted Jan. 31Feb. 3. The support for spending on homeland defense was even higher-84 percent.
What is perhaps even more remarkable is that more than half of all Americans would support the increase even at the risk of having to cut back on spending for domestic programs.
However, both polls revealed differences when viewed along party lines. In the LAT poll, seven in 10 Democrats approved of higher military spending, but the level of support dropped to only 36 percent if domestic programs had to face cutbacks.
In the Gallup poll, which was conducted Jan. 2527, nearly 80 percent of Republicans said military spending is most important. That compares to less than half of Independents and Democrats.
- On Jan. 25, the Missile Defense Agency, formerly the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, and the Navy successfully flight-tested a developmental Standard Missile 3, part of the Sea-Based Midcourse program. This was the fourth in nine planned developmental test flights. Though not part of the test, the kinetic warhead did impact the target.
- A 22nd Airlift Squadron C-5 crew from Travis AFB, Calif., faced an unusual challenge when it loaded and transported a bottom-mapping twin hull Navy boat to support Operation Enduring Freedom. The one-of-a-kind boat was designed to be hauled by the C-5, but it had only been test loaded once and never flown, stated loadmaster SrA. Michael Turner. Loadmaster SSgt. Tracey Heller said there was only about five inches of clearance on each side.
- USAF officials announced Jan. 17 their basing decision for the first operational wing of F-22 Raptors–Langley AFB, Va. The first F-22s are scheduled to arrive in September 2004.
- The US and Russia agreed in mid-January to set up several working groups to discuss defense-related issues prior to President Bush’s planned visit to Moscow later this year. Russian Gen. Col. Yuri Baluyevskiy said his country would like the groups to reach a solid agreement on strategic nuclear weapons that Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin could sign during Bush’s visit.
- Looking for a way to teach engineers how to test and evaluate electronic warfare systems–a discipline not found in engineering schools–the 412th Test Wing’s Electronic Warfare Directorate set up a new program, called Electronic Warfare Test and Evaluation University, at Edwards AFB, Calif.
- L-3 Communications announced Jan. 29 that its Link Simulation and Training division received a $26 million contract to build two full mission trainers and four weapon tactics trainers for the F-22 program. They are to be delivered to Tyndall AFB, Fla. in February 2003.
- On Jan. 30 officials at Ramstein AB, Germany, celebrated the opening of the base’s new passenger terminal–three times the size of the old facility. Ramstein is slated to be the European theater airlift hub as Rhein-Main AB continues toward closure in 2005. The new terminal, which took three years to build, is expected to be operational this month.
- Congress approved, in the Fiscal 2002 defense authorization act, a Pentagon plan to create a deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. In exchange DOD must eliminate an assistant secretary position, probably the assistant secretary of defense for force management position held by Charles S. Abell, reported Defense News. Abell would then become the new deputy undersecretary.
- AFRC opened a new C-141 schoolhouse Jan. 7 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. It is a one-of-a kind facility since the active force schoolhouse closed last year. Only AFRC and ANG units now fly C-141s, the last of which are slated for retirement in 2006.
- In mid-January, the Marine Corps brought out the first of its new camouflage uniforms. The pattern is so new, the Corps has actually applied for patents. The colors are basically similar to those in use now by the Air Force, Army, and Marines, but the pattern is a collection of tiny squares, like pixels in a computer photograph. Other changes include shoulder pockets, pockets for knee and elbow pads, and easy-care fabric. They’ll be phased in by 2006.
- The Air Force Research Laboratory announced in January an award to Northrop Grumman of a $22.9 million contract to develop technologies for long-range precision engagement of moving surface threats. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is serving as agent for the Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement program. The contract is scheduled for completion in November.
- NATO is sending two more Airborne Warning and Control aircraft to the US. It already has five AWACS, operating out of Tinker AFB, Okla., assisting with US Combat Air Patrols.
- An armed F-15C fighter on its way to perform a CAP over Washington, D.C., skidded and burst into flames Jan. 17 when its front landing gear collapsed during takeoff at Langley. The pilot was able to exit the aircraft without injury. The flames went out quickly, and the weapons were removed without incident. The pilot and aircraft were from the 60th Fighter Squadron at Eglin AFB, Fla.
- Lt. Gen. Paul V. Hester assumed command of Air Force Special Operations Command, headquartered at Hurlburt Field, Fla., Jan. 16.
- Minnesota ANG C-130s transported members of the Minnesota Guard’s 55th Civil Support Team to Minot, N.D., Jan. 18 to help with a train derailment and accompanying spill of anhydrous ammonia, a chemical used in fertilizer. The CST received its federal certification last November. Its area includes Minnesota, part of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
- Fire department and hazardous material team personnel from the 5th Civil Engineer Squadron at Minot AFB also responded to the train derailment as the ammonia fumes spread over the city of Minot. Base medical personnel set up an urgent treatment center and treated several local residents suffering from exposure to the fumes.
- India successfully test fired a nuclear-capable missile, the Agni, Jan. 25 from its eastern coast. A few days later it test fired a naval version of a short-range surface-to-air missile from its western coast.
- On Jan. 28, the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said there would be no war between India and Pakistan, saying all issues would be resolved peacefully. Each nation had put one million troops on standby. Even with that declaration, border clashes continued.
- Northrop Grumman announced Jan. 18 that it now owns 100 percent of Newport News Shipbuilding.
- USAF announced Jan. 14 that R. Russell Butts and Jacqueline R. Henningsen received Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Awards, the highest DOD award for civilians. Butts is a research physicist with AFRL’s directed energy directorate at Kirtland AFB, N.M. Henningsen is the associate director of the Air Force’s modeling simulation and analysis office at the Pentagon.
- The Civil Air Patrol was part of the security force enlisted for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. CAP provided more than 150 members for air and ground support. CAP members also planned to assist with the Paralympics in Salt Lake City this month
- A USAF RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle supporting Enduring Freedom crash-landed Jan. 25 while returning to its base in the theater of operations. Officials said the crash was not the result of hostile fire. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
- DOD notified Congress Jan. 28 that the Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams from the Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Virginia National Guard are certified. Congress has authorized a total of 32 teams. All 10 teams authorized in Fiscal 1999 are certified. These seven new teams were part of the 17 authorized in Fiscal 2000. Another five being formed now, said officials, were authorized in Fiscal 2001.
- F-22 Combined Test Force officials at Edwards AFB, Calif., certified the F-22 for hot pit refueling operations Jan. 25. That means the Raptor can be refueled on the ground while the engines are running–shortening the time needed for turnaround during testing. Officials said hot refueling was not scheduled until after April 2003, but they moved ahead to ensure they have the ability to fly multiple sorties per test mission even if air refueling support is unavailable because of real-world operations.