The Air Force expects to resume its standard 90-day Air and Space Expeditionary Force deployment cycles in March, but there will still be some airmen who serve on longer rotations. Officials predict that extended tours will affect less than 10 percent of the airmen in an AEF rotation cycle.
“Those folks who are on extended tours are in critical career fields,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony F. Przybyslawski, commander of the AEF Center at Langley AFB, Va. In that group, he said, are security forces, air traffic control specialists, and civil engineers.
Despite being over its authorized end strength by some 16,000 personnel, the Air Force has had a shortage of airmen in these and other critical career fields since the war on terrorism began in September 2001.
The Air Force must cut 16,600 airmen by the end of 2005, but service leaders have started what they term “force reshaping” efforts to address the shortages in critical career fields. (See “The New Drawdown,” p. 50.)
The Defense Department temporarily halted its anthrax vaccination program on Dec. 23, 2003, but resumed the shots Jan. 7 when a federal judge in Washington, D.C., stayed his preliminary injunction against mandatory shots.
Judge Emmett Sullivan on Dec. 22 said that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the vaccine only for use against skin exposure, not airborne exposure to anthrax, thereby labeling it an “investigational drug.”
For years, the FDA has maintained that the anthrax vaccine was effective “regardless of the route of exposure.” On Dec. 30, the FDA formalized that finding by issuing a “final rule and order” that was published in the Federal Register Jan. 5.
The injunction originally had been granted in response to a lawsuit filed by six unidentified individuals opposed to the vaccination program. The lawsuit, which did not dispute the safety of the vaccine but said the use of an investigational drug required consent, is still pending.
Pentagon officials halted the program temporarily but maintained that the anthrax vaccine has been around for 40 years and is safe and effective, as noted by the FDA and independent experts. Since 1998, about one million service members have been given the six-shot anthrax vaccination series.
Contrary to what some may believe, there are significant differences between USAF’s two strategic airlifters, said Gen. John W. Handy. After reading an article in a national news magazine, Handy felt compelled to declare: “The C-5 and C-17 aircraft are not interchangeable.”
The report discussed the controversial tanker deal between USAF and Boeing, asserting that USAF proposed to sacrifice upgrades on the Lockheed Martin C-5 to pay for the Boeing tankers. The article concluded that such a move would doubly favor Boeing because the service would have to “bulk up its cargo fleet with some other aircraft. … There’s only one choice: Boeing’s C-17.” The Air Force, according to the article, “clearly has a favorite”—the C-17 over the C-5.
Handy, the commander of US Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command, said the news report had “ignored the detailed airlift roadmap,” which includes a plan to modernize C-5 avionics and engines. He explained that the Air Force is “retiring the 14 worst-performing C-5s but only because they have been very difficult and costly to maintain.” What it gets down to, said Handy, is “operational trade-offs.”
The Pentagon on Jan. 6 instructed base commanders in the US and its territories to begin collecting data on their installations to prepare for the 2005 round of base realignments and closures.
That was the formal call for information, but, ever since Congress approved a new round of closures in the Fiscal 2002 defense authorization bill, communities near military facilities have been girding for action.
The public had one month to respond to the draft selection criteria that DOD posted in the Federal Register on Dec. 23. The final criteria were to be published in February. Congress must approve or disapprove the criteria this month. Plans call for the Pentagon to submit its facility recommendations by May 2005.
In the selection criteria, prime consideration is given to “military value.” That includes: mission capabilities; availability of land and airspace; ability to accommodate future force structure; and cost of operations.
Secondary BRAC considerations may include “extent and timing of potential costs and savings” of closing a facility; economic impact on local communities; ability for communities to support future DOD requirements; and environmental impact.
The first class of pilots in USAF’s new C-17 weapons instructor course capped off their training by inaugurating C-17 participation in a two-week mission employment exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev. Next, they train other C-17 pilots in their newly gained tactical expertise.
The new C-17 course lasts 5.5 months and includes 300 hours of classroom study and 25 flights—covering advanced tactical maneuvering, direct delivery, joint operations, and mission employment.
For the exercise, the C-17 pilots faced “enemy” aircraft and sophisticated air defense systems as they flew troop insertions, cargo airdrops, and aeromedical evacuations. The C-17 pilots had to use newly learned defensive tactics and coordinate with friendly combat aircraft to avoid being shot down. Some of the scenarios were based on real-world C-17 operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Carrying out “full envelope maneuvers” at 500 feet above the ground is not normal for most C-17 aircrews, said Capt. Brian Wald, who has flown the C-17 for six years.
The need to be able to operate in that type of environment spurred Air Mobility Command to push for rapid development of the C-17 WIC. It would normally take almost two years to set up such a program; in this case, AMC had it operating in less than a year.
Wald credited the course with providing him with “tons and tons of detailed information” about C-17 tactical operations that he can pass on to other C-17 pilots in his unit.
Air Force Secretary James G. Roche in January unveiled a memorial to TSgt. John A. Chapman, a combat controller who was killed March 4, 2002, while trying to rescue a Navy SEAL during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. The memorial was unveiled at Arlington National Cemetery.
Chapman posthumously received the Air Force Cross for voluntarily putting himself in harm’s way to rescue the separated commando. (See “Aerospace World: Combat Controller Receives Posthumous Honor,” February 2003, p. 11.)
At the Jan. 8 ceremony, Roche said Chapman’s “personal bravery in the face of the enemy was emblematic of the warrior ethos. … He died fighting terrorism, and we continue to live free today because of his sacrifice.”
The memorial, a life-size model of a controller in full combat gear with photos of Chapman in Afghanistan, will remain at the Arlington visitor’s center until March 15. Then it will be on display for two weeks at Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Fla., after which it will be moved to its permanent location at the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Museum, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
A group of Southwestern ranchers have been rebuffed in an attempt to reverse an Air Force expansion of low-level training flights out of Holloman AFB, N.M. Military aircraft from the base fly over southern New Mexico and western Texas.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld a lower court’s decision that the expanded low-level flying was not “arbitrary, capricious, [or] without reasonable foundation.”
The ranchers initially filed their lawsuit in 1998, saying the training flights would threaten their livelihoods and property values. After losing the case, they appealed, claiming the Air Force failed to consider reasonable alternatives to the area selected.
USAF argued that no other base was reasonable. The 10th Circuit Court agreed.
Another group of ranchers has attempted to halt an expansion of low-level bomber training flights out of Dyess AFB, Tex. The Air Force also won that court case, but the ranchers have appealed.
In a first, a Navy pilot has become an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber pilot. Navy Lt. Michael Orr, an EA-6B Prowler pilot, took his first flight as a certified B-2 pilot in January, according to a spokeswoman at Whiteman AFB, Mo., the home of USAF’s B-2 operations.
After completing his B-2 pilot training, Orr became the electronic warfare officer for the 509th Operational Support Squadron at Whiteman. The Air Force is not losing any of its small cadre of B-2 pilots through this arrangement, said the spokeswoman, Capt. Kat Ohlmeyer.
USAF first brought EA-6B crews to Whiteman in 2000 to familiarize them with the B-2’s mission. The Prowlers provide jamming support for the B-2 and all other Defense Department aircraft.
On one of the subsequent familiarization tours, Orr inquired about how to become a B-2 pilot. The Air Force, to his surprise, took him up on his request, and the Navy deferred his assignment to become a Prowler instructor.
Ohlmeyer said Orr will serve a standard tour of duty at Whiteman before returning to Navy assignments.
Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, the commander of Air Combat Command, said ACC’s post-Iraq war reconstitution plans have largely gone according to schedule. However, he said, ACC did not vacate as many of the worldwide contingency bases as fast as it wanted, complicating some efforts.
“In the main, reconstitution has gone the way we thought,” said the ACC commander, but “we had to leave some folks over there in larger numbers” than expected. That led to some equipment strains.
He said ACC was “right up against the ropes” in being able to provide enough tents for operations at contingency bases. And, while most aircraft recovery efforts went well, the A-10 community remained a notable exception. The Warthog was still deployed “in larger numbers than we anticipated,” Hornburg said in December.
Most weapons were reconstituted effectively, but, he said, inventories of Joint Direct Attack Munitions and GBU-12 Paveway laser guided bombs remained below desired levels.
The end probably is near for a three-year disagreement between the US and the European Union over competing navigation satellite systems. After positive negotiations in January, officials expected a deal to emerge quickly.
In January, a senior State Department official said the United States is willing to share space technology with Europe in exchange for a guarantee that the European Galileo navigation system would not interfere with Global Positioning System satellite signals. Galileo is slated to enter service in 2008.
Officials had determined that the proposed frequency for Galileo would impact the frequency DOD planned to use for the military-only M-code portion of GPS. To alleviate that problem, the US proposed an international standard for the US and European navigation systems.
Preserving the M-code capability is vital to US and allied security,” said Charles Ries, deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe, at a January press briefing.
At the briefing, USAF’s deputy director of space acquisition, Richard McKinney, said the US would be willing to provide help to harden the EU’s Galileo satellites and to resolve atomic clock problems, as well as to provide information on ground control operations and software updates. McKinney said that was based on Europe’s willingness to work with the US on the signal structure of the two systems.
Ries said the US would continue the negotiations until reaching a deal.
An EU statement issued Feb. 6 indicated that the common approach was received “positively,” but it said no agreement had been reached on the specific modulation.
Radiation-hardened computers developed by the Air Force Research Laboratories helped guide NASA’s Mars rovers to safe landings on the Red Planet in January.
Creigh Gordon, AFRL engineer, said that BAE Systems/Air Force Rad6000 32-bit microprocessors controlled the Mars vehicles on their flight from Earth. The processors also directed the two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, as they went about their exploration of Mars. The first rover touched down on Mars Jan. 4, the second on Jan. 25.
“NASA chose AFRL microprocessors because they are proven reliable, rugged, and fully compatible” with NASA systems, said Gordon.
The Air Force may send more of its navigator trainees to NAS Pensacola, Fla., if an effort to combine the services’ navigator training programs is approved. The Pensacola News Journal reported in January that the idea has been well received so far.
The air station currently trains about 350 navigators each year. Last year, 78 of those were from the Air Force.
Most USAF navigator trainees (349 in 2003) go through the service’s primary navigator school at Randolph AFB, Tex.
If approved, the consolidation plan could, in 10 years, double the number of navigators trained at Pensacola, said Navy Capt. Chaunce Mitchell, commodore of Training Air Wing 6. Mitchell added that such a consolidation should make navigator training more efficient and, ultimately, reduce the Air Force costs.
Retired Col. Travis Hoover, one of the Doolittle Raider pilots of World War II, died Jan. 17 in Webb City, Mo. He was 86.
Hoover was one of the pilots who dropped bombs on Japan in the first US strike after Japan’s Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Hawaii. The Doolittle Raiders—named after their leader, then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle—attacked Japan on April 18, 1942, inflicting modest damage but showing Japan that it was vulnerable to US bombers. Hoover flew the second B-25, just behind Doolittle.
Born in 1917, he joined the National Guard in 1938, transferring to the Army as a flying cadet the next year. After completing pilot training, he flew B-24s, B-25s, and P-38s in England, Italy, and North Africa. He retired from the Air Force in 1969 as commander of Keesler AFB, Miss.
|Hornburg and the B-1Bs
The Air Force may need to ask the Office of the Secretary of Defense “to forge a compromise” on the Congressional order to return to service 23 of the 31 B-1B bombers USAF just retired, said Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, the head of Air Combat Command.
Congress directed the reactivation of the B-1Bs in the Fiscal 2004 defense authorization bill, but, said Hornburg, lawmakers did not provide the funding necessary to modernize or operate the aircraft. (See “Aerospace World: Three Committees Favor B-1B Reconstitution,” September 2003, p. 23.)
By ordering the airplanes back into service without providing for future expenses, Congress has essentially left the Air Force with an unfunded $2 billion bill over the future years defense program, Hornburg told Air Force Magazine.
The available funding will probably only “get eight back into flying status,” he said, because of the modifications and upgrades needed for the retired bombers.
The ACC boss said he does not want to end up with a split fleet, with some airplanes essentially better than others. “My desire would not be to have airplanes that we can’t operate or that we can’t afford to modernize,” Hornburg said.
Asked if USAF should raid other accounts to fund a fully restored fleet of 83 B-1Bs, Hornburg responded: “I’m not looking at that. I believe in managing the [given] budget.” He said robbing other programs would damage combat capability in other areas.
There’s another problem—manpower. Hornburg said that restoring all 23 bombers to operational use would mean the command must add more than 700 airmen. ACC would need another 710 maintainers, and, if it returns more than eight aircraft to service, it would also need more aircrew members.
These positions are “not in our program and, right now, not affordable,” Hornburg said.
The Air Force’s 2001 plan to shrink to a fleet of 60 modernized and upgraded B-1Bs, consolidated at two locations, was “a raging success,” Hornburg asserted.
The B-1B was a key weapons system in Operation Iraqi Freedom, because of its large payload, improved reliability, and ability to be dynamically retasked in flight to attack emerging targets.
|The Need for “Battle Effects Assessment”
The Pentagon is clinging to an antiquated mode of assessing battle results, according to Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, Air Combat Command chief. He said the current linear battle damage assessment process should be more dynamic.
The Air Force needs to “get away from the arcane [BDA] we are doing now [and] start looking at what might be best described as ‘battle effectiveness assessment,’ ” said Hornburg. Faster assessment can be a force multiplier, he added.
Damage assessment, explained Hornburg in an Air Force Magazine interview, has “become a hindrance to the extent that, unless targets can be seen and counted as dead, they may have to be restruck time and time again.” The Air Force has to “look at this differently, because I think we are wasting resources and wasting time,” he said.
“Right now, the bean-counters in the BDA world think a tank is not dead unless the turret is laying beside it on the ground—or it’s a smoking hulk,” Hornburg said. “We know that if that tank is not opposing our advancing armor, it may be ineffective. If our tank platoon leader says, ‘I face no resistance and I’m pressing forward,’ that’s battle effects assessment,” Hornburg said.
Progress on this front could involve new ways of thinking about existing assets. For instance, Hornburg said fighters can play a major role.
He said he could “envision a day” when, after a target has been struck, coordinates are sent to an F-15E returning from a mission. That Strike Eagle, equipped with a targeting pod, could snap a “collection” picture of the targeting area. Through data links, the Air Force would have near-instantaneous BDA from the fighter. That would eliminate the need to wait for a specialized intelligence-collection system to assess the damage.
|Moseley Wants USAF “Overhead,” With “Persistence, Precision”
The Air Force has made great strides in shortening the kill chain—the sequence of steps for finding and destroying a target—through use of precision weapons and data links to permit dynamic tasking of aircraft waiting to strike. The limiting factor now is the time required to get authority to kill a target, said Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force vice chief of staff.
“The difficulty in this is getting approval through all the wickets,” Moseley said at a January conference sponsored by the Precision Strike Association. “That’s not because they’re bad decision-makers; that’s because there are [targeting] questions that should be answered up front,” he said.
Moseley said it is not practical to “stand off and think” about hitting a time critical target. Nor is it always practical to lob a cruise missile at that target. “You have an extended time of flight with those missiles, and the time critical target may no longer be critical by the time the missile gets there,” he noted.
Tightening the timeline, therefore, requires airpower to be “overhead with persistence and precision,” he said, though getting the process down to seconds “is a more complex problem than just parking the B-2 over the target.” The order to attack needs to be made quickly.
In Operation Iraqi Freedom, Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of US Central Command, delegated to Moseley targeting authority for most air strikes. Moseley served as the combined force air component commander. Moseley, in turn, delegated authority whenever possible to the officials working in the combined air operations center.
However, much of the approval process still was being done after a target was identified. Planners had to “look at battle damage mitigation” for noncombatants and for the desired effects, Moseley said. “I don’t have a problem with penetrating a high threat area—that’s what we do for a living,” he said. “To get that timeline down, though, you have to deal with the process of approvals.”
|Another 2,000 Airmen To Beef Up AEF Silver
Air Force officials said in January that nearly 2,000 airmen not originally deployed as part of Air and Space Expeditionary Force Silver would in fact be going overseas to meet personnel demands.
The airmen come primarily from the combat support fields, said Col. Michael Scott, USAF chief of war plans organization. Affected fields include air traffic control, communications, engineering, firefighting, medical, security, and transportation.
Air Force officials said some airmen could be deployed up to 179 days. Plans remain on track, however, for most career fields to resume regular 90-day AEF rotations, beginning in March.
AEF Silver is the second of two 120-day AEFs the Air Force used to help its airmen recover from the demands of Operation Iraqi Freedom. AEFs Silver and Blue deployed forces that, for the most part, had not already been sent overseas in support of OIF.
|The Iraq Story Continues|
|“ Iron Grip” Tightens Around Iraqi Resistance
The Air Force increased its presence over Baghdad in late December while supporting Operation Iron Grip, a major campaign to capture Iraqi insurgents and seize weapons and explosives.
Stars and Stripes reported that Air Force units provided constant cover for Iron Grip ground units. Aircraft supporting the operation included A-10s, F-15Es, and F-16Cs, according to Capt. Bryan Bellamy, an air liaison officer.
Attacks Wax and Wane
Attacks on coalition forces in Iraq dropped by about 70 percent from the middle of September to the end of December.
Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt told reporters that attacks numbered around 50 per day in September. That number dropped to an average of 15 per day as of Dec. 27, said Kimmitt, who is deputy director of operations for the Combined Joint Task Force 7 in Iraq.
Kimmitt cautioned that the drop might not be “a good prediction of what will happen tomorrow.”
Indeed, the number of daily attacks began to rise slightly, ranging between an average of 16 daily during the week prior to Jan. 27 up to 24 per day during the week before Feb. 5.
“We should not be surprised if there is continued violence,” Dan Senor, senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority, told reporters Jan. 27. “We think that the trend will ultimately go down, but the violence will continue as … we are getting closer and closer to handing over a sovereign, democratic Iraq to the Iraqi people.”
More Wanted Iraqis Captured
Coalition forces in Iraq continued to make progress in rounding up wanted Iraqi insurgents after the December capture of Saddam Hussein. Captured on Jan. 11 was Khamis S. al Muhammad, who was No. 54 on the coalition’s list of the 55 most-wanted Iraqis, and, on Feb. 15, Muhammad Zimam abd al Razzaq al Sadun, No. 41.
Captured on Jan. 14 were two nephews of former Iraqi vice president Izzat I. al Douri—No. 6 on the coalition’s most wanted list.
Also in mid-January, coalition forces captured two former Iraqi generals who were believed to be actively participating in anti-coalition attacks. According to a DOD release, the generals were captured Jan. 14 and 15.
As of Feb. 15, 19 out of the 55 individuals on the most-wanted list remained at large.
By Jan. 23, a total of 505 US troops had died supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom—349 of them due to enemy action and 156 killed in nonhostile events, such as accidents.
Out of the 349 deaths attributed to enemy action, 234 have occurred since May 1, 2002—the date that marked the end of major combat operations in Iraq.
|Pentagon Panel Calls for Cruise Missile Plan
The Defense Science Board believes that DOD should put together a roadmap for defense against cruise missiles. Ships, low-flying aircraft, and cruise missiles are “credible delivery systems available to adversaries,” the DSB warned.
The report said DOD must “take steps to counter these threats as a complement to ongoing initiatives to defend against ballistic missiles.”
Lack of a counter-cruise missile plan had drawn the attention of several top military officials, including Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart, head of NORAD and US Northern Command.
In comments to the Defense Writers Group last fall, Eberhart said, “Cruise missiles concern me,” and DOD “needs to come to grips with what we are going to do” to counter the threat. (See “Homeland Air Force,” January 2004, p. 36.)
The board noted that NORAD began work on a cruise missile defense master plan just as a DSB report, “DOD Roles and Missions in Homeland Security,” was being completed last year.
According to the board, DOD also should consider expanding NORAD’s mandate and transform the binational command into one tasked with defending North America against land and sea threats in addition to the current air defense mission.
Noting the general lack of protection against inconspicuous ships, the report said that military assets could help “provide the nation with a robust capability to identify, track, and … intercept suspicious cargo and vessels as far from US shores as possible.”
|Casualties and Confusion and Afghanistan
Over the winter, a series of high-profile air strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan generated considerable confusion. There were questions about whether American aircraft had killed Afghan children on several occasions.
The events in question began last Dec. 5, when six children died after a wall fell on them following a US attack against a terrorist complex. US Central Command officials confirmed that US ground forces and warplanes attacked the compound but said it was unclear what caused the wall to collapse.
“There were secondary and tertiary explosions,” noted CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty. An Afghan spokesman for the local provincial governor said the US forces were not to blame for the children’s deaths. “This house [where the wall collapsed] was not bombed by US planes,” he said, adding, “I think there were many other weapons in that house.”
A second incident occurred the next day, Dec. 6, when an A-10 attack aircraft targeted an al Qaeda terrorist. The attack evidently killed nine Afghan children, who were found dead in the field at the site of the attack.
“We accept blame” for the Dec. 6 incident, Hilferty said. However, he noted, “I will tell you the surveillance video shows no children there.”
Finally, US officials said claims that 11 civilians were killed in an AC-130 strike on Jan. 18 were incorrect.
Another provincial governor had said the Jan. 18 US attack killed four men, four women, and three children. Hilferty contradicted this account. He described the incident as an attack against five armed men leaving a “known terrorist compound.”
Hilferty said there were “no indications that civilians were killed in that incident.”
|Schwarzenegger to Rumsfeld: Don’t Terminate Bases
In one of his first acts as California governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld about the upcoming round of base closures. He asked the Defense Secretary not to forget the “unparalleled opportunities which exist in California.”
The department’s 2005 base closure round is expected to be the largest ever—leading to a roughly 25 percent reduction in infrastructure.
Schwarzenegger, star of the “Terminator” action movie series, informed Rumsfeld Jan. 12 that he will “ensure that California’s current military sites and the resulting resident intellectual capital and logistic infrastructure around each base, remain and prosper in California.”
|Key’s Conclusions and the Question of WMD
Did They Exist
“What happened to the stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons that everyone expected to be there?”—Question from Reuters to David Kay after his resignation as chief US weapons inspector in Iraq, Jan. 23.
“I don’t think they existed.”—Kay.
Basis of Decision
“You have to make decisions based on the intelligence you have, not on the intelligence you can discover later.”—Paul D. Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, visiting troops in Germany, New York Times, Feb. 1.
Almost All Wrong
“We were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.”—Kay to Senate Armed Services Committee, Jan. 28.
Rumsfeld: Zero WMD Unlikely
“There are several alternative views that are currently being postulated. First is the theory that WMD [weapons of mass destruction] may not have existed at the start of a war. I suppose that’s possible, but not likely. … It took us 10 months to find Saddam Hussein. The reality is that the hole he was hiding in was large enough to hold enough biological weapons to kill thousands of human beings. … The [Iraq Survey Group’s] work is some distance from completion. There are some 1,300 people in the ISG in Iraq working hard to find ground truth. When that work is complete, we will know more.”—Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 4.
“Analysts differed on several important aspects of these programs, and those debates were spelled out in the estimate. They never said there was an ‘imminent threat.’ … My provisional bottom line today [on chemical weapons]: Saddam had the intent and the capability to quickly convert civilian industry to chemical weapons production. However, we have not yet found the weapons we expected.”—CIA Director George J. Tenet, speech at Georgetown University, Feb. 5.
Saddam Had a Record
“We know that Saddam Hussein had the intent to arm his regime with weapons of mass destruction. And Saddam Hussein had something else —he had a record of using weapons of mass destruction against his enemies and against his own people.”—Vice President Dick Cheney, Washington Post, Feb. 8.
War President’s Decision
“This is a dangerous world. I wish it wasn’t. I’m a war President. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind. … I expected to find the weapons. I’m sitting behind this desk, making a very difficult decision of war and peace, and I based my decision on the best intelligence possible. … David Kay has found [in Iraq] the capacity to produce weapons. [Such weapons] could have been destroyed during the war. Saddam and his henchmen could have destroyed them as we entered into Iraq. They could be hidden. They could have been transported to another country. … But what I want to share with you is my sentiment at the time. There was no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein was a danger to America. No doubt.”—President Bush, NBC’s “” Feb. 8.
Selling a Product
“”—Hans Blix, former UN chief weapons inspector, BBC television, quoted by Reuters, Feb. 9.
The Pre-9/11 Theory
“He betrayed this country! He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place.”—Former Vice President Albert Gore, New York Times, Feb. 9.
“It wasn’t just an American intelligence failure. It was German, it was French, it was British, it was Israeli. It was all intelligence failures, and we need to find out what happened. It’s clear to me that the weapons of mass destruction were not there.”—Sen. John McCain (R–Ariz.), member of panel investigating intelligence on Iraq, New York Daily News, Feb. 8.
By Tamar A. Mehuron
- A new GPS satellite launched into orbit aboard a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in December became operational in mid-January. USAF expects the GPS IIR-10 to provide greater positioning and timing accuracy during its 10-year lifetime than the older satellite it replaced. The older GPS had been running low on power.
- The Missile Defense Agency launched a Lockheed Martin three-stage booster for a verification test Jan. 9 at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., as part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System. The booster is one of two to be used for the program. MDA tested the Orbital Sciences booster in August at Vandenberg.
- In January, MDA awarded an eight-year, $768 million contract to Lockheed Martin to develop and demonstrate a miniature kill vehicle system. Early work will concentrate on the design and demonstration of the kill vehicle. The MKV system is to deploy multiple small kill vehicles from a single carrier vehicle. Attached to existing and planned interceptor boosters, the system would be able to engage several midcourse targets from a single launcher.
- Two private contractors are supplying eight personnel for one year to replace stressed Air Force airfield radar maintainers at Baghdad Airport in Iraq, a USAF news release said in December. The service also contracted with SYTEX, Inc., and ITT Industries to provide radar maintenance at Tallil and Kirkuk Air Bases in Iraq.
- To offset a shortage of 1,100 noncommissioned officers, the Air Force conducted a voluntary sign up period in January and February for staff, technical, and master sergeants in surplus career fields to retrain into undermanned specialties. If necessary, said officials, USAF will conduct an involuntary selection process during March and April.
- USAF in January awarded Lockheed Martin a $48.7 million contract to install avionics modernization kits on 112 C-5Bs. The upgrades will replace old analog instruments with digital cockpit displays and equipment. New communications and navigation avionics will meet the standards of the Global Air Traffic Management system. Contract work will begin in June 2004 and conclude in 2007.
- Air Force investigators found that pilot lack of situational awareness caused an F-16 to crash Sept. 9 into the Yellow Sea. While on a two-ship training mission, neither Capt. Kevin Dydyk, the flight lead, nor Capt. Todd Houchins, instructor pilot, realized early enough that their altitude was too low for the planned training maneuvers. Dydyk called to terminate the training and attempted to recover, but he was forced to eject from his aircraft. He was rescued 90 minutes later. Investigators said Houchins failed to recognize the low altitude but managed to recover his F-16 about 450 feet above the sea. Both pilots are assigned to Kunsan AB, South Korea.
- USAF recognized four airmen in 2003 with the Lance P. Sijan Air Force Leadership Award. They are: Lt. Col. Robert E. Moriarty, 314th Civil Engineer Squadron, Little Rock AFB, Ark.; Capt. Christopher P. Larkin, 321st Special Tactics Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, UK; MSgt. Michael V. Lamonica, 24th Special Tactics Squadron, Pope AFB, N.C.; and MSgt. Christopher R. May, 305th Civil Engineer Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J. The award is named for the first Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor.
- DOD plans to establish 11 more civil support teams trained to help local authorities deal with weapons of mass destruction attacks. Congress approved $88 million to fund the increase. There are 32 teams, comprised of 22 Army and Air National Guard members. Eventually DOD will have 55 teams.
- An F-16C turbine engine blade failed due to fatigue during a training flight and caused the aircraft to crash Sept. 22 in woods near Rosepine, La., according to an Air Combat Command accident report released in January. The pilot ejected, suffering minor cuts. Both pilot and aircraft were assigned to the Air National Guard’s 147th Fighter Wing, Ellington Field, Tex. Loss of the aircraft is estimated at $23.3 million. There were no other injuries or property damage.
- The remains of two B-52 crew members formerly missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and sent to their families for burial. Maj. Richard W. Cooper Jr., of Salisbury, Md., and CMSgt. Charlie S. Poole of Gibsland, La., were returning from a bombing mission Dec. 19, 1972, for Operation Linebacker II when their B-52D was hit by an enemy surface-to-air missile. The aircraft crashed southwest of Hanoi. Four crew members who survived the crash were among POWs released in 1973.
- Iran’s defense minister announced plans to launch an Iranian-made satellite within 18 months, reported the official Islamic Republic News Agency. That would mark the debut of an Islamic nation in space.
- USAF’s 2003 Athletes of the Year are race walker Capt. Kevin Eastler, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and rugby player 1st Lt. Laura McDonald, Randolph AFB, Tex. Eastler is the first American to be accepted for the Olympic “A” standard time. McDonald was chosen for the US Women’s National Sevens Rugby Team and the USA Eagle Women’s National Team.
- USAF awarded a sole-source contract to Lockheed Martin International Launch Services in December for an Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle to carry a National Reconnaissance Office payload into orbit in 2006.
- Gen. T. Michael Moseley, Air Force vice chief of staff, was honored with the United Arab Emirates Military Order First Class during the Dubai Air Show in December. Moseley served as combined force air component commander for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operations Iraqi Freedom and, earlier, Southern Watch over Iraq.
- The Airborne Laser Test Force team at Edwards AFB, Calif., took delivery Dec. 4 of thousands of gallons of the chemical needed to create the laser beam. The hydrogen peroxide was to be mixed this winter with sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, and lithium hydroxide to make the laser fuel. When mixed with chlorine gas, the energy from the combination creates the laser beam.
- Afghanistan’s provincial reconstruction team at Konduz on Jan. 6 became the first to come under NATO control in a transfer of authority from the coalition. Coalition forces run six other teams in Afghanistan. The teams are a key part of the strategy to speed development and reconstruction and thus bolster prospects for permanent stability in Afghanistan.