The Air Force’s Chief of Staff, Gen. John P. Jumper, told reporters last month that the US military must have 339 F-22 air superiority fighters.
“That is the number that we agreed on. … There are others in the Pentagon who think we cannot get to that number with the budget, but we’ve agreed to go with the budget and see how high we can get,” said Jumper. “We think we can get to 339 with that amount of money.”
In April Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had asked the Air Force to look at reducing that number. The issue is whether the Pentagon can afford the planned buys of three fighters as the services begin working the Fiscal 2004 budget.
Unlike last year, when speculation ran high that the new Bush Administration intended to cut one or more of the fighter programs, Pentagon officials have only expressed doubts about the numbers involved.
When asked about the F-22, Rumsfeld told US troops in Kyrgyzstan, “The big debate is not whether, but how many.”
Each of the three fighters–F-22, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and F/A-18 Super Hornet–are designed for different roles. Of the three, the F-22 is the only one that will be capable of the air superiority mission.
The original mark for F-22s was set at 750. Vice President Dick Cheney trimmed that to 648 when he was Secretary of Defense. The planned production buy was cut twice–to 438, then 339–during the Clinton Administration.
“Further cuts would be the moral equivalent of a third Clinton Administration, complete with the historical myopia about future threats that President Bush has so frequently assailed,” said Loren B. Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute.
Operation Eagle Assist, the historic event that brought seven Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft from Europe to the US to help patrol US skies after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, ended May 16.
The operation marked the first time NATO forces were deployed in the US for operational support.
Beginning Oct. 9, 2001, the NATO AWACS crews–830 members from 13 NATO nations–flew more than 360 sorties.
After the September attacks, NATO invoked Article 5 of its charter, which states that an attack on one of the alliance’s 19 members is an attack on all. Five aircraft initially were sent, followed by another two, all of which operated out of Tinker AFB, Okla., during Eagle Assist.
NATO Secretary General George Robertson said the decision to conclude the NATO portion of Operation Noble Eagle was based on several factors. He cited “materiel upgrades to the US air defense posture and enhanced cooperation between civil and military authorities, and a recent US evaluation of homeland security requirements.”
The House Armed Services Committee acted on calls from military leaders for additional personnel and increased active duty troop levels by more than 12,500 for Fiscal 2003.
The increase is barely one percent overall, but it represents the largest single-year rise since 1986. It exceeded the Bush Administration personnel request by more than 10,000 troops.
The committee approved a $550 million increase in military personnel accounts to pay for a total of 12,652 additional personnel. The breakdown by service is:
- 1,795 for the Air Force,
- 4,800 for the Army,
- 3,757 for the Navy, and
- 2,400 for the Marine Corps.
In its report on the Fiscal 2003 defense bill, the House panel stated, “Each of the military services entered the war on terrorism with personnel shortages–a situation that has been aggravated by the operational requirements of the war.”
It went on to say that the committee’s recommended troop increase would “partially address manning shortfalls,” thus setting the stage for further increases in next year’s budget.
HASC chairman Bob Stump (R-Ariz.) said the Fiscal 2003 defense budget places the nation’s defense “on the road to recovery,” but he specifically called for an even stronger Fiscal 2004 defense program, to include “further increases to manpower levels.”
However, troop increases are not high on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s agenda. He told a military audience in Illinois in mid-April, “I am very reluctant to increase end strength, if I can avoid it.”
He said that such a move is “enormously expensive.” He added, “The question is, would we be better off increasing manpower or increasing capability and lethality? … The United States [needs] to stop using military people for nonmilitary functions.”
Neither increasing capability nor shedding nonmilitary functions is a quick fix. The Pentagon’s short-term solution to handling commitments in the post-Sept. 11 era was to put more than 80,000 reserve troops on active duty. That situation, increasingly, has many congressmen worried.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in April, senators warned Pentagon personnel officials that unlimited duty for such a large number of reserves raises several concerns, not the least of which are employer and retention considerations.
Recent press reports highlighted what they termed a new problem–tail buffet stress–identified in testing the F-22 fighter. Gen. John Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, said the problem is not new and, what’s more, it’s not a “showstopper.”
Jumper told reporters last month that the F-22 Raptor, like many twin tail aircraft, can experience stress from turbulent airflow and pressure fluctuations. He said the F-22’s problem was identified in May 2001, and the Air Force notified DOD.
Although Jumper said the problem is not serious, other service officials said it might have an impact on the test schedule.
A team of engineers, including some from the Navy, which had a similar problem with the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, was assembled to work on potential fixes.
Jumper said a “range of solutions was in hand.”
Pentagon acquisition chief Edward C. Aldridge signed a letter to Congress May 2 certifying six programs, including the Space Based Infrared System High, for continuation even though they had exceeded cost limits.
Each of the six programs had at least a 25 percent cost increase.
Under the Nunn-McCurdy Law, Aldridge had to certify that each program was necessary for national security and could be kept within cost controls. Without those assurances, Congress requires program cancellation.
SBIRS High is the replacement for the Defense Support Program satellites used for ballistic missile early warning. It has additional requirements for technical intelligence and missile defense.
“The alternatives were much more expensive, given the state of the current program,” said Aldridge. He also said he was confident in the program’s new management structure at Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
The other five certified programs are: the H-1 and CH-47 helicopters, LPD-17 amphibious transport dock ship, chemical demilitarization program, and multiple launch rocket system upgrades.
Aldridge was forced in December to cancel the Navy’s Area Terminal Defense System when it could not pass the Nunn-McCurdy test.
Under the new wing structure, all wing mission support groups will merge their logistics, supply, and transportation units into a logistics readiness squadron.
Another CLR initiative prompted the service to combine the logistics plans, supply, and transportation officer career fields into a single logistics readiness officer career field. That change took effect in April as the service began training new officer accessions in the three disciplines, rather than just one.
In describing the role of the mission support group, Jumper said that the Air Force will develop a career path for commanders who understand the full scope of not only home-station employment and sustainment but also contingency deployment, beddown, and sustainment. To do this he said the mission support group commander’s role must encompass crisis actions, force protection, unit type code preparation, load planning, contracting actions, bare base and tent city preparation, munitions site planning, personnel readiness expeditionary combat support, and more.
For the operational groups, Jumper said, the service recognizes “the emerging necessity to more closely integrate tactical skills with execution at the operational level of war. Commanders of operational groups will be increasingly involved in planning and training for the operational level of war.”
He also said that he understands the magnitude of these changes and added, “The goal is to achieve a more capable Air Force with professionals who understand and are capable of meeting our ever-increasing, complex mission.”
The two last Titan IVBs to be launched arrived at USAF’s East and West Coast launch facilities in May.
One arrived at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., on May 1, and another at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., on May 2.
An Air Force C-5 airlifter delivered to each facility the first and second stages of these last two Titan IVBs. Lockheed Martin and USAF personnel rolled the sections off the airlifters onto large trailer trucks bound for the assembly facilities at the Cape and Vandenberg.
The Titan IV, first launched in 1989, is the largest US expendable launch vehicle. It is capable of carrying payloads weighing up to 10,000 pounds into synchronous orbit.
The last Titan mission from the Cape is slated to launch a Defense Support Program satellite in 2003. Vandenberg has two other Titans awaiting launch, as well.
After the final Titan IVB launch, scheduled for 2005 from Vandenberg, payloads in this class will launch aboard Lockheed Martin’s new Atlas V or Boeing’s Delta IV.
TRW announced that the Missile Defense Agency named the California-based contractor as lead for an industry team that will pursue development of DOD’s missile tracking Space Based Infrared System Low satellite program.
The teaming concept is part of a restructuring plan MDA provided to Congress last month.
The team, which features former competitors on the program, will combine TRW with Spectrum Astro as subcontractor to work on the spacecraft and Raytheon and Northrop Grumman to develop sensor payloads under competitive contracts.
Before the restructuring, TRW and Raytheon were pitted against Spectrum Astro and Northrop Grumman in the requirements definition and conceptual design phases of the program.
Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, MDA director, told reporters that the plan keeps the key contractors involved and provides competition for the payload.
In Congressional testimony April 17, Kadish said the restructured program “will support numerous risk reduction activities, including technology maturation, ground simulations, and hardware-in-the-loop demonstrations.”
The month before, Pentagon acquisition chief Edward C. Aldridge told Congress that the increase in costs for the SBIRS Low program was so significant DOD had called for a restructuring.
In addition to the teaming, the restructure, Kadish said, will require additional funds in Fiscal 2002 and possibly in 2003.
Lockheed Martin delivered the first U-2S high-flying reconnaissance aircraft with new state-of-the-art cockpit displays and controls to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif., in mid-April.
The U-2S Reconnaissance Avionics Maintainability Program will upgrade the 1960s-era cockpit with new equipment, including three multifunction displays, an up-front control and display unit, and an independent secondary flight display system.
USAF’s fleet of 31 U-2S aircraft and four two-cockpit trainers is scheduled to receive the modifications by 2007.
Formal upgrade training for pilots began last month. The new cockpit greatly eases the pilot’s workload, said Col. Alan Vogel, 9th Operations Group commander.
He explained that the current cockpit layout has navigational equipment low to the right of the pilot with communications equipment low to the left. “Operating that equipment adds physical demands to an aircraft which already tests a pilot’s endurance on a lengthy flight.”
U-2 pilots wear a full pressure suit and helmet, which, although it’s fairly light, doesn’t turn all the way to the side as a pilot’s head turns. Because of the location of some equipment, said Lt. Col. Garry Baccus, with the 9th, “You physically had to grab the metal bar–the bailer bar–that locks the helmet faceplate and use it for leverage to turn the helmet to see and operate these controls.”
The Air Force’s top uniformed leader called integration “the buzzword for this decade,” in late April when he addressed the first C2ISR Summit.
“Many of you have heard me talk about integration many times before; all I can say to you is, you’re going to hear me talk about it again and again,” said Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff.
Jumper told attendees at the Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Summit held at Danvers, Mass., that the time has come to stop concentrating on individual systems and to start focusing on the information they provide. He wants the Air Force to automate processing, so information can be displayed intuitively.
In doing that, said Jumper, operators can make better decisions, more quickly. “The sum of the wisdom is a cursor over the target.”
He said he wants to see machine-to-machine interfaces that deliver decision-quality data, culled from various sensors on various systems, directly to decision-makers.
Jumper called integration of this sort the ultimate example of new thinking. He said the Pentagon budgeting process needs to change to foster that kind of thinking.
The Air Force declared Maj. James A. Duricy dead following the crash of his F-15 fighter in the Gulf of Mexico about 60 miles south of Panama City, Fla., on April 30.
USAF officials said the search for his body was officially suspended May 1 at 11:30 a.m.
Duricy, who was with the 40th Flight Test Squadron at Eglin AFB, Fla., was conducting a flight test for a new air-to-air missile when his aircraft went down. He was flying with an F-16 fighter and a KC-135 tanker.
The F-16 pilot tried to raise Duricy on his radio several times unsuccessfully and then spotted debris on the water.
Duricy was a 1989 Air Force Academy graduate.
A board of officers will investigate.
The Air Force reached its Fiscal 2002 recruiting goal of 37,283 five months early.
Air Force Recruiting Service signed No. 37,283 on May 2.
Officials said this was the earliest USAF had met its goal since 1986.
This was not an easy task. Recruiters from each of the services told Congress earlier this year that although there was an initial surge of interest in military service after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, an expected surge in enlistments did not follow.
“We increased the number of Air Force recruiters, offered enlistment bonuses, and continued to aggressively market and advertise the Air Force to the youth of America,” said the new AFRS commander, Brig. Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr. “But the real key to success has been hard work.”
This is also the third consecutive year the Air Force has attained its goal earlier than the previous year.
“Historically, the months of February through May have proven to be the toughest accession months,” said Col. James Holaday, chief of the AFRS operations division. “Our 1,605 front-line recruiters responded to the challenge, despite two mid-year goal increases to put more security forces in place for the war on terrorism.”
At his assumption of command ceremony at Peterson AFB, Colo., Gen. Lance W. Lord, the new head of Air Force Space Command, said his first priority is to ensure AFSPC fully flexes its muscles as an independent major command.
Lord is the first to lead the command following the Pentagon’s overall reorganization of space functions last year. Command of AFSPC had been assigned to the commander in chief of US Space Command since 1992.
His second priority, Lord said, is for the command to provide space capabilities to the warfighter in an integrated manner. Third, he said, AFSPC must work hard to make Peter B. Teets, the undersecretary of the Air Force, successful as DOD’s executive agent for space.
The Air Force honored 28 of its personnel for their heroic actions on Sept. 11.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper on April 15 presented MSgt. Noel Sepulveda an Airman’s Medal and a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained during the terrorist attack on the Pentagon.
Sepulveda, who had gone to the Pentagon for a meeting, saw the airliner as it crashed into the Pentagon. He was knocked into a light pole by the resulting explosion. After regaining his balance, he went inside and put his 26 years of active and Reserve service as a medical technician to work. He helped carry wounded out, then set up a triage area to prioritize their care.
Nine others received Airman’s Medals: Lt. Gen. Paul K. Carlton Jr.; Lt. Col. Gary W. Holland; Maj. Joseph A. Milner; CMSgts. Ricky L. Arnold, Paul D. Miller, and John K. Monaccio; SMSgt. Kevin M. Andrews; MSgt. Paul R. Lirette; and SSgt. Gregory D. Fechner.
Eight individuals received Meritorious Service Medals: Col. John S. Baxter; Lt. Cols. Janet Deltuva, Maureen E. Massey, and Terry P. Kane; Maj. Michael Moore; CMSgts. Troy J. McIntosh and Robert Walko; and TSgt. Randall B. Federspill.
Eight received the Air Force Commendation Medal: Lt. Col. Matthew D. Swanson; Majs. James G. Cusic and Andrew H. Weaver; SMSgt. Anthony J. Twitty; TSgt. Bernard Kimbrough; SSgts. Lisa A. Ducharme and Charles V. Hawkins; and A1C Evandra D. Spruell.
Lt. Col. William Mitchell received an Army Commendation Medal. Blair Bozek received an Air Force Scroll.
Retired MSgt. Brian P. Regan, who was to stand trial this month for allegedly spying for China, Iraq, and Libya, has a reprieve until possibly January 2003, but he now could receive the death penalty if found guilty.
The Justice Department filed notice in late April that it planned to seek the death penalty. As a result of that move, defense lawyers asked for a delay.
Justice officials agreed with the delay, saying it would take time for the defense to obtain the necessary security clearances to view classified documents.
Regan, who was arrested in August 2001 as he tried to board an airliner bound for Europe, was originally indicted on one count of attempted espionage. That indictment was amended in February to include three counts of attempted espionage and one count of gathering national defense information.
He worked at the National Reconnaissance Office while in the Air Force and later, briefly, as a defense contractor.
“The defendant intended to give to Iraq, a hostile country that has regularly attempted to shoot down US and allied aircraft flying in the no-fly zone, detailed and comprehensive information concerning US reconnaissance satellites,” said US attorney Paul J. McNulty in a statement. “The disclosure of this information would make it more difficult to protect the lives of our servicemen.”
The Air Force on April 29 formally set up its new office that will integrate Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance assets with Command and Control, and communications and computer capabilities.
The service had previously named Lt. Gen. Leslie F. Kenne as the new Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration (AF/XI).
“Successful operations depend on modernized air and space capabilities to quickly find, fix, track, and attack targets,” said Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, in announcing the new office. “I have explicitly charged the new AF/XI to close the seams in this kill chain by integrating manned, unmanned, and space systems, thereby enabling commanders to create desired effects in the battlespace.”
The Air Force disestablished the DCS for Communications and Information, moving its responsibilities and resources to XI, as well as the Directorate of Command and Control, transferring its key responsibilities to XI.
Additionally, the service realigned the Air Force C2ISR Center at Langley AFB, Va., from Air Combat Command to XI.
The Navy announced April 29 it selected the Northrop Grumman-led Gold Team, which includes Raytheon, as the lead design agent for the DD(X) ship program.
The DD(X) contract award “signals the start of a revolution for the Navy’s surface combatant fleets,” said a DOD statement. It will be the foundation for a family of surface combatants, including a future cruiser and littoral combat ship, that will herald “significant combat advantage” while reducing crew size.
Defense acquisition chief Edward Aldridge called the DD(X) “the Joint Strike Fighter equivalent for shipbuilding.”
Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, said, “These great ships and other members of the family of surface combatants will transform the Navy fleet, multiply our combat effectiveness, and play a crucial role in dominating the future battlespace.”
General Dynamics lodged a protest on the DD(X) decision with the General Accounting Office.
Pentagon officials told Congress that DOD planned to create a new Defense Spectrum Office to better address spectrum management issues.
A key function of the new office will be to help DOD address the “imbalances and asymmetric risks” created by the current national spectrum management process, Steven Price told a House panel April 23. Price is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for spectrum and command, control, and communications policy, a position that was created just last year to deal with the increasing challenges facing the military in maintaining sufficient spectrum capability for its weapon systems.
Price said the new office would subsume the Office of Spectrum Analysis and Management, created in 1998.
“Spectrum enables almost every function that DOD performs,” said Price. “It is vital to national security.”
Over the past 10 years, DOD and the Air Force have lost access to more than 240 megahertz of spectrum, said Lt. Gen. John L. Woodward Jr., then deputy chief of staff for communications and information. He said a succession of actions and decisions led to the loss of bands that were at the most desirable frequencies for key warfighter functions. Those same frequencies are coveted by commercial entities.
“While each of these actions, taken in isolation, might have appeared manageable, the cumulative effect on the Air Force has been significant,” said Woodward.
Some critics claim the Pentagon does not handle its spectrum use efficiently. Price argued that some spectrum use labeled as “inefficient” is actually “designed for anti-jam systems, low probability of intercept, and other counter-countermeasures.”
He added, “The commercial standards that allow a certain percentage of built-in busy signals or dropped calls cannot be tolerated.” For the military, “the call must get through.”
Air Force firefighters from Travis AFB, Calif., secured a try at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge to be held in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in October.
The Travis team took first place in the 2002 Firefighter Combat Challenge, held at Woodbridge, Va., in April. Individual team members also took first, third, fourth, and fifth places in the individual relay category.
The team comprised three active duty members from the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron and one Reservist with the 349th CES. The three from the 60th are: SSgt. A.J. Eversley, SrA. Mike Romano, and A1C Harry Myers. From the 349th is SSgt. Mike Melon.
The annual challenge began in 1991 and is open to civil and military firefighters.
The competitors wear full firefighting gear, including breathing apparatus, and must complete five separate tasks that demonstrate the profession’s physical demands.
In one task, the competitors climb to the top of a five-story tower carrying a 44-pound high-rise hose pack. At the top, they must hoist a 45-pound hose roll up the full height of the tower. After that, they race back down the stairs, touching each step.
In another event, they must hit a 160-pound steel beam with a nine-pound shot mallet, moving the beam a specified distance. Other tasks follow, including dragging a life-size 185-pound dummy a distance of 100 feet.
The Travis firefighters spend three months training for the challenge, in addition to handling their normal duties.
An experimental version of USAF’s new Multimission Command and Control Aircraft concept flew for the first time in mid-April. It is designated MC2A-X,.
Electronic Systems Center conducted the systems and communications check flight of the aircraft, dubbed Paul Revere, at Hanscom AFB, Mass.
The Air Force introduced the MC2A concept last year as a replacement for its current reconnaissance aircraft. The ultimate airframe for the MC2A will likely be the same type as the one the service selects to replace its tanker fleet.
Congress endorsed the plan, providing funds in the Fiscal 2002 defense budget to begin development of the MC2A.
The House Intelligence Committee suggested, too, that the Air Force and Navy should develop a single manned reconnaissance fleet. It would be owned by one service but operated by both, similar to the current arrangement with the EA-6B for electronic attack.
The Air Force announced the annual Air Force Association Team of the Year, naming five security forces enlisted personnel for the 2002 honor.
Those selected were: MSgts. Vicki L. Jones, 11th Security Forces Squadron, Bolling AFB, D.C., and Todd A. Weinberger, 115th SFS (ANG), Madison, Wis.; SSgts. Travis D. Hartzell, 823rd SFS, Moody AFB, Ga., and Brandon E. Sprague, 55th SFS, Offutt AFB, Neb.; and SrA. Andres E. Salazar, 310th SFS, Schriever AFB, Colo.
Each year AFA and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force select a specific career field for recognition. The security forces career field team members for the 2002 presentation were honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., last month.
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) announced in mid-April that the Air Force would form a new associate Air Force Reserve Command squadron in his home state.
Elements of the squadron will fly C-17s out of Elmendorf Air Force Base and C-130Xs from Kulis Air National Guard Base.
He said the aircraft changes at the two facilities will create about 179 new manpower positions. They will also bring an estimated $247 million in military construction to the bases.
“The AFRC presence in Alaska will enhance capability for deployment and force protection that ensures Alaska-based forces will play an instrumental role in the Pacific as well as globally in the years ahead,” said Stevens in a press statement.
The third and final phase in a program designed to improve the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System is slated to begin next year, according to Air Force officials.
The new DEERS will consolidate information from more than 120 databases into a single database.
The program’s first phase, implemented in July 2001, consolidated enrollment information on Tricare recipients. The second, which began in October 2001, incorporated information on Tricare for Life enrollees–those age 65 and older and others eligible for Medicare. The final phase will bring on board the remaining information, such as claims, other health insurance, and additional administrative data.
The new DEERS “improves the way we can deliver health care,” said Maj. Paul Friedrichs, with the USAF Surgeon General office.
Among the claimed advantages of the new single-database DEERS: no confusion over Tricare eligibility when a recipient is traveling and elimination of the need for providers to check duplicate records to find a patient’s lab results.
The Air Force Communication and Information Hall of Fame inducted three new members in mid-April, designating them as Foundation Setters. They were Lt. Gen. Richard P. Klocko and, posthumously, Lt. Gen. Gordon T. Gould Jr. and Maj. Gen. Paul R. Stoney.
The inductees join a growing list of public and private sector members recognized for helping deliver world-class communications and information capabilities to the Air Force, said a USAF statement. The Hall of Fame, which began in 1999, was officially dedicated last year at the Air Force Communications Agency at Scott AFB, Ill.
|Pentagon Establishes New Combatant Command
DOD’s top leaders unveiled several changes in announcing the 2002 Unified Command Plan. Chief among them is creation of a new combatant command, called US Northern Command, for defense of US territory.
The new UCP also re-assigns geographic responsibility to each of the combatant commands. (See map below.)
Both of these changes are to be implemented Oct. 1.
By law, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must review the UCP at least every two years. It was last revised in September 1999.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called the 2002 changes “the most significant reform of our nation’s military command structure since the first command plan was issued shortly after World War II.”
The Pentagon proposes to house the new command in Colorado Springs, Colo., alongside North American Aerospace Defense Command.
USAF Gen. Richard B. Myers, JCS Chairman, told reporters April 17 that no new roles or missions are being created for the command. Instead Northern Command will take responsibility for missions that had been assigned to various other commands.
Specifically, those missions were land, aerospace, and sea defense of the US and command of US forces that lend support to US civil authorities. NORTHCOM will also assume some of the geographic responsibility formerly held by US Joint Forces Command.
JFCOM will now become a purely functional, rather than a geographic, command. It will focus on military transformation, joint experimentation, and joint training. However, officials said it will retain its role in generating forces for the geographic commands.
The other functional combatant commands are: US Special Operations Command, US Strategic Command, US Space Command, and US Transportation Command.
In addition to NORTHCOM, there are four geographic combatant commands: US Central Command, US European Command, US Pacific Command, and US Southern Command. The map below displays their new geographic areas of responsibility.
The Commander in Chief of NORTHCOM will also head NORAD, the US-Canada binational command. In addition to the new command’s geographic responsibility, it will oversee security cooperation and military coordination with Canada and Mexico.
Myers also revealed that DOD is considering merging the functions of SPACECOM with those of STRATCOM, which is headquartered at Offutt AFB, Neb.
|Attempt To Stop New Base Closures Fails
The House Armed Services Committee signaled its support May 1 for the new round of military facility closings approved last year by Congress, despite an appeal by some lawmakers that, with the nation at war, it’s no time to be closing facilities.
A move to repeal last year’s legislation, which provides authority for a new round of closures in 2005, failed in a committee vote, 38-19.
Pentagon officials, who had asked for approval to start closure actions in 2003, were upset at the delay until 2005. They maintain the war on terror provides one more reason to proceed with the elimination of excess infrastructure.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pointed out late last year that any delay in the base closure program will waste money and assets. “We will be providing force protection on bases that we do not need,” he said.
|US Renounces World Court Treaty
The Bush Administration on May 6 formally announced its decision not to become a party to the International Criminal Court Treaty, maintaining it still has significant flaws.
Despite the US withdrawal, the United Nations received notices of ratification from 66 countries, more than enough to allow the treaty to enter into force, now set for July 1.
President Clinton signed the treaty Dec. 31, 2000, but said he would not send it to the Senate for ratification unless the flaws could be fixed. Some changes were made, but neither the Clinton nor Bush Administrations considered them sufficient.
In a May 6 statement, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld listed a number of serious objections to the treaty in its current form:
“These flaws would be of concern at any time, but they are particularly troubling in the midst of a difficult, dangerous war on terrorism,” said Rumsfeld. “There is the risk that the ICC could attempt to assert jurisdiction over US service members, as well as civilians, involved in counterterrorist and other military operations–something we cannot allow.”
The treaty was adopted in 1998 by representatives from 160 countries at a UN conference in Rome. The treaty, known as the Rome Statute, creates a permanent international court to try cases involving charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. Previously, according to the State Department, temporary tribunals were created for special situations, such as the genocide committed in 1994 in Rwanda and war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.
Pierre-Richard Prosper, ambassador at-large for war crimes issues, said the US wants to put responsibility for accountability “back to where it belongs, and that is with the states.”
He said the US action is not unprecedented, and it “will give us the flexibility to protect our interests and the flexibility to pursue alternative approaches.”
|Air Force Implements New Standard Wing Structure
The Air Force announced April 22 that it will change its current wing organization to a new across-the-service standard structure. The new wing structure will contain four groups–operations, maintenance, mission support, and medical. (See chart below.)
The change will apply to all active duty units, as well as the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command. It takes effect Oct. 1.
The service’s current “objective” wing structure, which was established in 1992, also included four groups: operations, logistics, support, and medical. It was not a consistent structure Air Force-wide, however.
The new standard wing basically returns to a pre-1992 makeup, with the reintroduction of the maintenance group. In effect, the new plan returns maintenance to maintenance professionals.
In the current objective wing arrangement, some maintenance personnel within one wing are assigned to the operations group, while others are assigned to the logistics group. In the future, all wing maintenance functions will fall under the maintenance group.
Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, said the reorganization emphasizes “three core competencies.” They are: to operate air and space weapons systems, to maintain these complex weapons systems, and enhance direct mission support of our expeditionary, rapid reaction, contingency-based Air Force.”
Jumper emphasized that maintenance of air and space weapons systems is a core competency. He said, “Aging fleets and years of resource shortfalls require increased attention to the balance of sortie production and health of our fleets. This requires career maintenance professionals.”
Other changes in the new structure move wing supply, transportation, contracting, and aerial port functions under the mission support group.
Last year USAF began testing a new arrangement for its logistics functions, merging transportation and supply squadrons, along with logistics plans, into a single logistics readiness squadron. Several units at USAF bases around the world were involved in the test, which was the result of a 1999 Chief of Staff Logistics Review looking for ways to reduce redundant logistics operations.
|GAO Says Military, Private Benefits Comparable
The military offers all the core benefits–retirement, health care, life insurance, and paid time off–provided by private-sector employers and then some, according to Derek B. Stewart of the General Accounting Office.
Stewart identified a variety of military benefits that he said exceed those found in the private sector. He said these include free health care, free housing or housing allowances, and discount shopping at commissaries and exchanges.
He also noted that recent changes by Congress had restored retirement benefits and expanded health benefits for retirees.
Stewart told the Senate Armed Service Committee’s personnel panel April 11 that GAO “did not identify significant gaps” in the overall benefit package offered to active duty service members. However, he also said GAO had not made direct comparisons.
“We have not made direct analytical comparisons” because of difficulties that entails, said Stewart. Namely, he said, any comparison must consider the demands of military service, such as involuntary relocation, frequent and lengthy separations from family, and liability for combat. He also cited the inequity in hiring practices, for example the military hires at the entry level and demands up-or-out promotions, unlike private-sector employers.
Comparisons are also difficult, he said, because the military and private sector may structure their benefits differently. For instance, the military retirement system requires 20 years of service to be vested, while private sector employers typically have much shorter vesting periods or no vesting periods at all.
Stewart also said the change from a largely single force to one in which members have more family obligations is one of the most significant demographic changes since implementation of the all-volunteer force in 1973. While the rise of members with families prompted DOD to establish a variety of family support services, Stewart said that DOD needs to improve some of those benefits. He specifically cited the need to expand child care and spousal employment assistance.
In 2000, more than 600,000 active duty members had children. Of those with children, about 85,000 were single parents. There were 1.23 million military children, nearly 75 percent of which were 11 years old or younger.
According to Stewart, “DOD hopes to meet 80 percent of its members’ child care needs by 2005.”
As one way to assist working spouses, DOD is attempting to establish partnerships with private-sector employers who can offer jobs with portable tenure to enable a spouse who must relocate to stay with the same employer. Other initiatives include working with the Labor Department to overcome recertification barriers for jobs such as teaching, nursing, and child care.
Stewart offered his comments as preliminary findings on a study the SASC panel requested to determine if military benefits have kept pace with force demographic changes and whether the benefits provided make the military competitive with the private sector. The GAO plans a full report later this summer.
|Rumsfeld Takes Aim at Army’s Crusader
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld formally announced May 8 his intention to terminate the Army’s Crusader artillery system–the first major weapon system to get the ax under the Pentagon’s new push for transformation.
Even before his announcement, battle lines were drawn between Crusader’s supporters and opponents.
As soon as word leaked out that the $11 billion Crusader was on the chopping block, several congressmen vowed to fight to ensure full funding for the program in the Fiscal 2003 defense budget. Army officials were ready to fight for the program.
At one point, media reports had Army Secretary Thomas E. White, who was a staunch Crusader supporter, being given the boot along with the program. Army staffers supposedly had gone directly to Congress, lobbying to save the program.
Instead, Rumsfeld expressed his confidence in White. White launched an investigation into possible inappropriate behavior within his staff. Within days, the investigation identified a civilian in the Army’s Office of Legislation Liaison as the culprit in the leak to Congress of a pro-Crusader talking points paper. White, it turns out, had not requested the paper.
The talking points took direct aim at the Air Force’s new F-22 fighter as the reason that Rumsfeld wanted to eliminate the Crusader. According to the Washington Post, the paper said Rumsfeld’s office wanted a “quick kill” to free money for the F-22 and went on to say soldiers would die in combat if the Pentagon canceled the Crusader.
“I am personally and professionally disturbed by the preparation of these so-called talking points that I find–frankly–offensive and insulting to the Department of the Army and the Department of Defense,” said White in a statement May 10.
The battle was not over. Some lawmakers vowed to continue the fight.
Just the day before, the Bush Administration had warned Congress not to restrict Rumsfeld’s ability to cancel the program. The veto word was used.
On May 10, the House passed its version of the Fiscal 2003 defense spending bill with funding for the Crusader intact. However, the language did not rule out program cancellation.
Likewise, the Senate Armed Services Committee had voted funds for the program but stopped short of imposing guaranteed protection.
Termination of the Crusader will mark the first major weapon system cancellation since then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney killed the Navy’s A-12 fighter program in 1991.
|CIA: “Stealing More Secrets”
“Today, the year 2002, I have more spies stealing more secrets than at any time in the history of the CIA,” James Pavitt, CIA’s deputy director of operations, told a conference at Duke University.
Along with that, the veteran operations officer said that a global coalition of intelligence services is sharing information. “We plan operations together, and together in many instances we take terrorists off the streets.”
“Now for the hard truth,” Pavitt said. “Despite the best efforts of so much of the world, the next terrorist attack–it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.”
Pavitt described another truth which he said the entire world came face to face with on Sept. 11: “The forces of terror are highly resourceful, they have a level of compartmentation seldom seen, they are extremely determined, and they are utterly ruthless.”
“To those who preach hate and hopelessness, the murder of innocents is no crime at all,” said Pavitt. He continued, “With so many possible targets and an enemy more than willing to die, the perfect defense isn’t possible.”
He did note that the CIA is rebuilding, training more than 10 times as many operations officers as just five or six years ago. And he emphasized that the volunteers who came forward after the Sept. 11 attacks are “people with qualifications that we need today and tomorrow.”
“They have the education, they have the background, they have the languages, and they have the experience in this country and overseas to get this job done,” said Pavitt.
|Transition at Air Force Magazine
This month marks the first time since November 1984 that the masthead does not list John T. Correll as Editor in Chief. Correll, who presided over 211 issues and set the standard for defense journalists in Washington, D.C., retired on April 30 after nearly 20 years on the staff. Correll is widely regarded as the most skillful and influential editor in this magazine’s 60-year history, by a wide margin.
Named by AFA to be Correll’s successor was Robert S. Dudney, the magazine’s second-highest-ranking editor since 1989. Dudney has been deeply involved in all aspects of magazine editorial and financial affairs for more than a decade. Dudney announced several interrelated changes in staff organization as well as promotions.
The post of Managing Editor has acquired new editorial and financial duties and becomes the magazine’s No. 2 position. Suzann Chapman, who came to the magazine in 1995 and has been Managing Editor since 1997, was promoted to the “new” Managing Editor post on May 1.
John A. Tirpak, who joined the magazine staff as Senior Editor in 1994, has been promoted to the position of Executive Editor, where he will continue to report and write most of the magazine’s lead articles and also handle new editorial duties, Dudney said. This change also became effective May 1.
Dudney announced the creation of a second Assistant Managing Editor post. Named to this new position was Juliette Kelsey Chagnon. Dudney said Chagnon had been promoted after four years in the position of Staff Editor and Administrative Assistant.
- President Bush nominated Air Force Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart as Commander in Chief of the new Northern Command. (See “Pentagon Establishes New Combatant Command,” p. 13.) Eberhart is currently CINC, NORAD and US Space Command.
- The Air Force named civilian Richard Bleau as new head of the Joint STARS program office for Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass. Bleau had served as deputy director of the radar aircraft program since August 2000.
- President Bush nominated Army Lt. Gen. James T. Hill as commander of US Southern Command with promotion to four stars.
- Congressman Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) announced May 2 committee passage of his legislation to change the name of the Secretary of the Navy to the Secretary of the Navy and Marine Corps. The measure is included in the Fiscal 2003 defense authorization bill.
- USAF awarded BAE Systems $53 million for upgrades to EC-130H Compass Call aircraft used for tactical command, control, and communications countermeasures.
- Bruce W. Suter, founder and current director of the Center for Transmission and Exploitation at the Air Force Research Lab Rome Research Site, was named one of four recipients of the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Scientific Achievement.
- Navy Secretary Gordon R. England told reporters May 9 that he wants to integrate Navy aviation with Marine Corps aviation to form one integrated air force within the Department of the Navy.
- DOD reported to Congress that the 103rd Civil Support Team of the Alaska National Guard and the 93rd CST of the Hawaii National Guard were certified. With those two teams, the Pentagon now has only five more to organize and certify to reach the full complement of 32 authorized by Congress.
- Northrop Grumman agreed in early May to halt its bid for a hostile takeover of TRW until Sept. 30. TRW had sought up to a three-year delay.
- DOD announced May 1 that service members on active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible to receive the National Defense Service Medal. The medal may also be awarded to select Guard and Reserve personnel who were ordered to federal active duty, regardless of duration.
- Air Force Space Command announced winners at its annual Guardian Challenge: the 341st Space Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont., won the Blanchard Trophy for best ICBM wing; 30th SPW, Vandenberg AFB, Calif., took the Schriever Trophy as the best space launch wing; and 50th SPW, Schriever AFB, Colo., won the Aldridge Trophy for best space operations wing.
- Army Air Forces pilot 2nd Lt. Rusty Bales received his Bronze Star, 58 years after his World War II heroic action. His grandson, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Andrew Weisel, pinned on the long-overdue medal at a ceremony at Luke AFB, Ariz.
- DOD announced May 9 the establishment of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. It will include functions performed by the Defense Protective Service, as well as expanded force protection, security, and law enforcement functions.
- Remains of a World War II B-17 pilot, Lt. Col. Earle Aber, shot down accidentally by British guns firing at enemy aircraft in March 1945 as he flew over the east coast of England, were buried at the American War Cemetery, near Cambridge May 10. Aber and his co-pilot, 2nd Lt. Maurice Harper, managed to keep the bomber airborne long enough for nine crew members to bail out. He and Harper were killed as the aircraft crashed and exploded. Harper’s remains were bured at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Raytheon delivered the first production AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile to the Air Force May 1, marking the start of an 18-year production plan, said a company release.
- DOD announced five winners of the 2002 CINC’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence. One was Lajes Field, Azores, Portugal, for the Air Force,
- The first British series production Eurofighter made a successful maiden flight April 15 from a BAE Systems facility in Lancashire, UK.
- Northrop Grumman delivered the 13th E-8C Joint STARS radar aircraft to the Air Force April 25, more than five weeks ahead of schedule.
- Rockwell Collins announced April 15 the first flight of a USAF KC-135 with the first full application of the Global Air Traffic Management avionics. The company will be modifying more than 544 aircraft under the GATM program.
- USAF pararescueman SSgt. Tracy Barnett, now stationed at Pope AFB, N.C., received the Noncommissioned Officers Association Vanguard Award for his heroic action in Germany in July 2001, when he rendered immediate medical aid to a civilian parachutist who had broken his jaw upon making a hard landing at a local parachute drop zone.
- The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman for the first phase in a small launch vehicle study, called Responsive Access, Small Cargo and Affordable Launch (RASCAL).