Curtis Bows Out
Former Deputy Secretary of Energy Charles B. Curtis, whom the White House had planned to tap as its next nominee to be Secretary of the Air Force, withdrew his name from consideration for the post.
Curtis had become concerned that his confirmation hearing in the Senate would focus on lax security at Energy Department labs, said Pentagon spokesman Kenneth H. Bacon on April 9. The result would be “a lengthy, protracted confirmation hearing” that would “deny the Air Force a permanent Secretary,” said Bacon. At least one DoE lab has allegedly been the source of leaks of sensitive nuclear weapons technology to the Chinese.
Curtis, a Washington lawyer, was a classmate of Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen’s at Boston University’s law school. He had been involved in security matters as a deputy secretary at the Energy Department and “has been cited for his zeal in dealing with [security] problems,” insisted Bacon, when asked about the withdrawal.
Lax security at DoE labs has become a controversial subject in Washington, with Republicans charging that the Clinton Administration did not react quickly enough to reports of Chinese espionage. Recent reports indicate that, among other things, the Chinese may have obtained data on the exact shape of the Trident II W88 nuclear warhead.
F-22 Back in the Skies
The F-22 is back in the skies after a planned three months of ground tests and system updates. On April 8, Lockheed Martin test pilot Jon Beesley flew Raptor 02 to an altitude of 50,000 feet and performed both flutter tests and flying quality maneuvers.
“The entire F-22 team is excited about moving into the next phase of test activity,” said Tom Burbage, president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems. “The tests and modifications performed on the F-22 over the past three months will pave the way for expanded flight activity the rest of this year.”
The flight hiatus started at the beginning of 1999. Technicians swarmed over the two F-22s assigned to the Combined Test Facility at Edwards AFB, Calif., trying out maintenance tasks and completing support equipment validations. Among the changes the ground tests produced were modifications to landing gear support equipment and reduced tool requirements.
“Testing a fighter aircraft today is really a combination of ground tests and flight tests,” said Maj. Gen. (sel.) Michael C. Mushala, director of the F-22 Systems Program Office. “The F-22 has performed extremely well in both areas, demonstrating 25 percent more flight test points and 20 percent more logistics, or ground test, points than originally planned.”
The ground team also carried out a number of planned modifications to the aircraft themselves. These included new brakes, new fuel pumps and fuel system probes, and new flight control actuators and horizontal tails to meet stiffness requirements.
Raptor 02 also received a spin recovery chute for use in upcoming high-angle-of-attack testing.
During the coming months, flight tests will attempt to push the F-22 past Mach 1.8 and demonstrate supercruise, or the ability to cruise faster than the speed of sound without use of afterburners. If all goes well the Department of Defense will likely award contracts for the first six production F-22s in November.
JSF Goes Back for Replanning
The Pentagon has asked the two contractors vying to build the Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to submit reworked plans to make sure they can finish the demonstration phase of the program without busting their $1.1 billion budgets.
The Pentagon requested both companies to submit their revised plans, detailing how they propose to remain on budget and on schedule through the concept demonstration phase to downselect in 2001, by the end of April.
The move came in response to a $100 million cost overrun by Lockheed and an aircraft redesign by Boeing, which might add cost in the future. The JSF concept demonstration program began in November 1996 and will end when a contractor is selected in 2001. Boeing announced April 7 that it has begun final assembly of its model, the X-32A, two weeks ahead of schedule.
DoD program officials had not set a date for completing a review of the revised plans.
An investigation looking at the causes of a series of crashes at Luke AFB, Ariz., has found significant engine cracks in 18 F-16 fighters, the Air Force stated in late April after completing inspections of the 190 F-16s located at Luke.
The cracks were found in relatively old Pratt & Whitney 220 engines. They were located in augmenter ducts, which help boost engine thrust by channeling exhaust from the engine’s nozzles. Some of the cracks were up to an inch long, said officials.
Luke has been bedeviled by accidents, with six base F-16s crashing since last October. Air Force officials temporarily halted flights at the base after a March crash near Phoenix. Flights were halted once again after the sixth crash, which occurred April 26 near the White Tank Mountain Range, northwest of the base.
Service officials announced three days later that faulty landing gear was the probable cause of the latest crash, involving an F-16D which had passed the engine inspection. It was the first instance of a landing gearrelated crash and prompted an inspection of 100 of the fighters with similar equipment.
However, with four of the six crashes engine-related, the Air Force has become increasingly concerned about the older F-16 power plants. The problems now stretch from cracks to bearings to compressors and turbines.
Many F-16s are now powered by a newer, updated Pratt & Whitney engine, the F100-PW-229.
“The Air Force has never lost an F-16 equipped with a 229 engine,” said company spokesman Tim Burris.
NMD Test Postponed
The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization has postponed the first scheduled intercept test in the National Missile Defense program from mid-June until mid-to-late August, officials said April 14.
The move is apparently precautionary, not the result of any specific problem. Officials do not want NMD-which would be the heart of any planned missile defense of the United States homeland-to suffer through the same growing pains as its troubled little brother, the Theater High Altitude Area Defense system.
The planned experiment will involve launch of a target missile from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and a prototype interceptor from Kwajalein atoll in the central Pacific. “Additional time is needed to complete detailed systems checks and inspections prior to the test,” said a Pentagon statement on the decision.
Even with the delay the NMD program may be rushing things somewhat, according to a report from DoD’s director of operational test and evaluation, Philip E. Coyle III.
Over the next six years NMD has scheduled an average of three intercept tests per year, Coyle said in a report to Congress. That does not leave enough time between shots to apply lessons learned, he said.
This spring both the House and Senate passed legislation calling for deployment of a National Missile Defense “as soon as technologically possible.”
NMD proponents say the bill ensures that deployment of such a system is now a matter of when, not if.
The Clinton Administration disputes that interpretation, saying that the legislation makes clear that NMD is still subject to the annual military appropriations process, and thus liable to cancellation, as are other proposed new weapons.
Acting Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters is defending the service’s decision to channel $1.4 billion into key modernization accounts rather than use the funds to keep the 2002 launch date for the Space Based Infrared System High.
SBIRS High would be a crucial set of eyes for any National Missile Defense effort and space-minded lawmakers have objected to past reductions in the program.
When the Air Force received an extra $1.4 billion in funds from the Clinton Administration this fall, Sen. Bob Smith (R) of New Hampshire questioned why part of the money was not used to prevent the first SBIRS High launch from slipping to 2004-a prospective delay first revealed in budget papers this year.
Such items as F-16 aircraft, precision air targeting pods, and an extra Joint STARS radar airplane were simply much higher priorities, said Peters in a letter to senators this April.
“If you will look at the Air Force’s unfunded priority list, you will see that there are many high-priority items that could not be funded,” Peters said. “Given these circumstances, we could just see no way to divert funds from other high-priority programs in order to restore the 2002 launch.”
Phoenix Aviator 20–the Air Force’s new pilot retention program–has been highly successful so far, say Air Force personnel officials.
Nearly 400 of the 1,500 service pilots eligible for the program have signed up since it began Oct. 1, says Lt. Col. Philip Barbee, head of the PA-20 program office at the Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas.
“This is a great program,” said Barbee. “It offers several benefits to pilots in turn for a commitment to stay on active duty past 20 years of service.”
The basic aim of PA-20 is to help retiring pilots make the transition to commercial airlines. Among other incentives, it promises enrollees a flying job their last two years in the Air Force and guarantees an interview with one of its participating airlines.
As of mid-April, 31 enrollees had gone through the interview process. Thirteen had received job offers.
“The biggest carrot of the program has turned out to be the interview. Interviews with a commercial airline are hard to come by,” said Barbee.
Lt. Col. John C. O’Donnell was one of the PA-20 participants offered airline employment. He recently finished his USAF career with an assignment as an advisor to an Air National Guard KC-135 unit. O’Donnell says that PA-20 will be an effective way for the service to try and entice pilots at the 15-to-16-year mark to stay.
“Many aircrew members just want to fly,” he said. “The opportunity to go from a staff job back to the cockpit for your last two years in the service certainly sweetens the pot.”
The first tour of duty for new missile combat crew officers has been extended from three to four years, Air Force Space Command officials said.
The move will provide the officers in the space and missile operations career field with more opportunities to gain experience, according to AFSPC.
“This is a winwin situation for everyone,” said Col. Perry N. Karraker, chief of the operations and training evaluation division for AFSPC.
“New officers in a four-year tour will get a chance to grow and take some of those desirable jobs, such as flight commander and assistant flight commander, that many of the officers in a three-year tour miss out on.”
The change took effect March 25 with Class 99-11 of Undergraduate Space and Missile Training, held at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Reaction seems positive so far.
“I’m excited about the change,” said 2d Lt. Timothy Koczur, a 99-11 student. “It will provide stability for my family and give me a chance to grow as an officer.”
On the downside, the change means an extra year at a northern-tier USAF base where winter can close around you like a clenched fist and large metropolitan areas are a long ways away. It is an experience that can be particularly hard on single officers.
But that is a problem that was pre-existing. The added year does not make it significantly worse, said some single students.
“I already considered this when I came to missiles,” said 2d Lt. John Bales, another 99-11 student. “I have my four-wheel-drive truck and plan to make the best of it.”
C-17 Becomes a Little Lighter
C-17s rolling off Boeing’s production line in Long Beach, Calif., will now have a new, lighter horizontal stabilizer, thanks to a joint militaryindustry improvement effort.
The new stabilizer is a hybrid composite/metal structure that is 20 percent lighter than the C-17’s existing all-metal tail.
The new stabilizer also uses 90 percent fewer parts and 81 percent fewer fasteners than its predecessor.
All C-17s from No. 51 onward will have the new structure, which was designed under the Military Products Using Best Commercial/Military Practices pilot program.
The pilot effort was a combined program funded by the Aeronautical Systems Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and C-17 contractors.
The program’s overall goal is to take the best acquisition and design practices it can find and extend their usage throughout the weapons building process. Specific goals for the tail redesign were to demonstrate a 20 percent weight saving and 50 percent cost saving over the metal tail baseline.
“The lessons learned from this program will benefit Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and many other aerospace companies as our industry continues to search for more efficient ways to design and produce structural components,” said Mark Wilson, chief engineer for ASC’s C-17 System Program Office.
The Joint Air to Surface Missile crashed on its first test flight April 8 at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. Flight Test Vehicle No. 1 struck the ground 40 seconds after separating cleanly from an F-15.
Air Force program officials said an electrical glitch caused the missile to go into safety mode after it was dropped. That means its wing and tail never deployed.
The JASSM program is supposed to deliver the first of its stealthy cruise missiles to the force beginning in 2002. The program remains on schedule, according to program officials.
Air Force officials say they have a pretty good idea what caused an F-117 stealth fighter to crash in Yugoslavia on March 27–but that they will not publicly disclose the causes while operations against the Belgrade regime of Slobodan Milosevic remain ongoing.
Officials did say they had ruled out an act of God or loss of consciousness on the part of the pilot. Mechanical failure has not been entirely eliminated as a cause, but indications are the aircraft was brought down by a Serbian surface-to-air missile.
“It’s not invisible,” said Maj. Gen. Bruce A. Carlson, USAF’s director of operational requirements, at a Pentagon briefing. “It never has been invisible. We know [there are] radars that can track our stealthy airplanes. They can sometimes find us. The key is that that zone of detectability or lethality is shrunk by orders of magnitude, but it’s still not invisible. For instance, the F-117’s radar signature increases when its bomb bay doors are open, said Carlson.
Operational changes have attempted to minimize the amount of time the doors are open during bomb runs.
Reports indicated that among the possible causes of the Serb’s unexpected anti-aircraft success were the undetected shifting of a surface-to-air missile battery, a predictable flight path by the F-117, and a US electronic jamming aircraft that was flying too far away.
Of 60 F-117s built, according to Carlson, seven have now been lost. Six were destroyed in accidents.
DoD Updates Funeral Commitment
Every US military veteran who has honorably served will be entitled to the presence of two armed services representatives, plus the playing of “Taps,” at his or her funeral, according to a Pentagon proposal announced April 21.
The Defense Department has been besieged by complaints about funerals from veterans’ families in recent years. Many say they have been unable to have Taps played at funeral ceremonies or have a military representative present the family with a flag.
Under the new proposed rules, the military representatives would conduct a flag folding and presentation ceremony. Taps would be played by either a bugler or a “high-quality audio recording,” according to DoD.
“Our heartfelt, shared goal was to honor appropriately and consistently those veterans who have faithfully defended all Americans and our national interests,” said Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Rudy de Leon. “These proposals accomplish this important goal.”
Critics of DoD funeral practices may find the new rules–which must be approved by Congress–inadequate.
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D) of Maryland introduced legislation which would mandate a five-person military detail at veterans’ funerals, for instance.
But on this as on so many matters, the Pentagon is caught in a squeeze between increased demand and a shrinking active force.
Since 1989 the number of veteran deaths per year has increased 18 percent. Yet during that time the size of the military has shrunk about 35 percent. And demand for funeral honors is sure to increase further.
Currently, the Pentagon provides honors at about 37,000 funerals per year. Officials estimate that about 250,000 families per year could eventually request funeral honors in the coming years.
The rising demand will present geographical challenges, as well.
With the closing of more and more bases, “funeral honor guard details must often travel greater distances than in years past to provide support,” according to DoD.
The Defense Department also said that it will streamline the process for requesting honors, via a toll-free request number and a Web site for use by funeral directors.
The Tailwind affair has claimed its highest–profile journalist–Peter Arnett.
Cable News Network has parted ways with perhaps its most recognizable correspondent, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Arnett, at least in part because of his role in a CNN special report that falsely charged the US military with using nerve gas during the Vietnam War.
Arnett was chief correspondent for the so-called Tailwind report, broadcast last June 7. Following an internal CNN report last summer that found that the story was unsupported by the evidence, Arnett argued that his role in preparing the broadcast was in fact minimal. He was allowed to keep his job but was placed in limbo. He had appeared on air only once since last July.
Now CNN plans to exercise an exit clause in his contract, Arnett said April 18. The move effectively removes him with two years remaining on a five-year employment pact.
Arnett has long been one of the most recognizable faces on TV. He won a Pulitzer for Vietnam coverage in 1966, when he was a writer for the Associated Press. He broadcast live from Baghdad in 1991, when US airstrikes began the Gulf War. His future journalistic plans are uncertain.
In a reorganization that began May 1, Air Combat Command is aiming to reduce its current 4,849 headquarters job slots by 1,000.
Too-large headquarters staffs at Langley AFB, Va., are taking up money and personnel that could be put to better use in stressed frontline units, said ACC officials. A streamlining of headquarters organizations could also speed decisions on everything from training to parts resupply.
Col. Perry Lamy, director of a 35-person re-engineering team, said the effort will force specialists, such as logisticians, intelligence experts, and communicators, to work in multidisciplinary teams instead of their own specific specialities. Military jobs can be reassigned to squadrons and other field units. The first reductions will not begin to take hold until next year.
Readiness Challenge VII was supposed to start April 19 at Tyndall AFB, Fla. But the biennial, multinational combat support competition was canceled. Teams that had planned to take part were needed to augment NATO’s Operation Allied Force in the Balkans, said Air Force officials.
“It’s only prudent to free up our combat support resources in case they’re needed,” said Col. Bruce McConnell, contingency support director, Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency. “The competitors … and all involved with Readiness Challenge will now focus their attention on real-world contingency operations.”
Civil engineering, public affairs, and chaplain services are among the support groups that take part in Readiness Challenge competitions. Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, and Japan were all scheduled to send competitive teams.
Events test a range of skills from setting up tent cities with sanitary water supplies and electricity to pumping out press releases.
Canada was the first to cancel, when the Canadian team was placed on standby for deployment to the Kosovo area. The team from US Air Forces in Europe also withdrew-at which point officials decided that perhaps other challenges took precedence over their scheduled contest.
ABL’s Mirror Milestone
The Air Force’s Airborne Laser program passed another major milestone April 13 when its primary optical mirror was delivered to the contractor who will polish it to the needed optical quality.
The mirror–62 inches in diameter and 8 inches thick–was built by Corning Glass, N.Y. Design and fabrication took two years and included use of a unique water-jet machining technique to reduce the weight of the mirror core by over 90 percent.
Now Contraves Brashear Systems of Pittsburgh, Pa., will take another year to polish the mirror to the optical quality necessary to direct a high-energy laser beam to a target hundreds of miles away.
“This event represents another successful milestone in the effort to develop and demonstrate this revolutionary weapon system,” said Col. Michael W. Booen, director of the ABL System Program Office at Kirtland AFB, N.M.
On April 9, the Department of Defense announced that Gen. Richard E. Hawley, commander of Air Combat Command, will retire July 1. His replacement will be the current Air Force vice chief of staff, Gen. Ralph E. Eberhart.
A change of command ceremony was tentatively scheduled for June 11. Hawley has headed ACC since April 1996. He first entered the service in 1964 after graduating from the Air Force Academy and has more than 3,000 flying hours, including more than 430 combat missions in the O-2A, A-10, F-4, and F-15.
Prior to his assuming the ACC post, Hawley was the commander of US Air Forces in Europe and Allied Air Forces Central Europe at Ramstein AB, Germany.
Eberhart is a fellow graduate of the academy and received his commission in 1968. He has accumulated more than 4,000 hours in a variety of Air Force aircraft and flew 300 combat missions as a forward air controller in Vietnam.
On April 7, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Eric W. Benken announced that he will retire from the service after wearing his nation’s uniform for more than 29 years. His formal retirement ceremony will be July 30 at Bolling AFB, D.C. Benken admitted that part of him still wanted to stay on the job. He likely could have remained on until the end of Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan’s term.
But at three years-plus Benken’s time in the top NCO job has already been longer than most. And he has strong feelings about extending past the 30-year mark.
“There are many Vietnam-era chiefs like myself who would like to stay beyond 30 years,” he said. “I have asked them not to do that, so we can make room for the younger troops to move up. It would be inappropriate for me to do something I have asked my fellow chiefs not to do.”
The chief began his career in 1970 after noticing a recruiting poster emblazoned with what he now jokes he thought was a direct order: Join the Air Force. He began as an administrative specialist, now known as an information manager.
Besides Vietnam, his overseas postings included Taiwan, Korea, Belgium, and Germany. He assumed the post of Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force in November 1996, after serving as USAFE senior enlisted advisor.
“Knowing he was my advisor on enlisted issues has meant peace of mind for me,” said Ryan. “He tackled many tough issues in particularly tough times for our Air Force.”
|US Mobilizes Guard, Reserve for Balkan Duty
President Clinton authorized Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen to call up members of the National Guard and the Reserve to active duty to provide support for NATO operations in and around Kosovo, the Defense Department reported.
The Pentagon declared April 27 that roughly 2,000 Guardsmen and Reservists will be called up initially for support of air-refueling operations, and others may be called in the future as required.
Clinton approved a Presidential Selected Reserve Call-up, or PSRC, to support NATO operations. It authorizes Cohen to call up 33,102 members of the Selected Reserve to active duty.
Announcing the move, Cohen said, “Until now, we have been able to meet many of our military requirements for operations in the Balkans using volunteers from the National Guard and Reserve who have been serving side by side with the active forces.” He added, “Ongoing operations now require more support from the reserve forces. The PSRC is designed to help us meet those expanding needs.”
Guard and Reserve forces are thoroughly integrated into the Total Air Force. For example, more than half of USAF’s aerial refueling capability and airlift capacity resides in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command.
US law permits a President to call to active duty up to 200,000 members of the Selected Reserve and the Individual Ready Reserve for up to 270 days.
|Shining Hope Aids Expelled Kosovars
Responding to the tidal wave of ethnic Albanians fleeing “ethnic cleansing” operations in Kosovo, the Air Force generated the largest humanitarian airlift in Europe in 50 years.
Not since the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49 have Europeans seen such a massive movement of food, medicine, tents, and supplies.
The airlift, part of NATO’s Operation Shining Hope, delivered to Kosovar refugees in the first month alone more than 3,150 tons of emergency supplies–2,000 tons of food, 400 tons of shelter gear, 520 tons of support equipment, 140 tons of bedding, 30 tons of medical supplies, and 60 tons of vehicles.
More than 1 million ethnic Albanians-more than half of Kosovo’s former total population-have been displaced as a result of the fighting that began to escalate in March 1998 and went into high gear with the start of Operation Allied Force March 24. The NATO offensive campaign sought to compel Yugoslav forces to halt operations in Kosovo and withdraw.
Of the total refugees, more than 500,000 have crossed the border from Kosovo into Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro, where they are concentrated in spartan refugee camps. The rest are displaced within the war-wracked Yugoslav province itself.
Joint Task Force Shining Hope provided a lifeline of sorts for Kosovars outside of their homeland. The US effort comprises airmen, soldiers, sailors, and Marines, who are at work in the Albanian capital of Tirana and Skopje, Macedonia, supporting the United Nations’ plan for distributing humanitarian supplies to the refugees.
Leading JTF Shining Hope is Maj. Gen. William S. Hinton Jr., commander of USAFE’s 3d Air Force. He directs the mission from a communications facility in Germany.
The operation began April 5. Forty airmen from the 86th Contingency Response Group, Ramstein AB, Germany, arrived in Tirana, established a base camp at a local airfield, and made preparations for a relief force to follow. The US presence grew to about 400.
C-5s, C-17s, and C-130s have hauled many tons of supplies, including a loader and forklifts. The airlifters have brought in thousands of prepackaged humanitarian daily rations, as well as support equipment. A contract 747 carried tons of rations, or about 68,000 meals, in one early flight. Relief supplies include tents, cots, sleeping bags, blankets, and 700,000 daily rations.
Flights have originated not only in Europe but also from points in the United States. Supplies have been offloaded not only in Albania and Macedonia but also in Italy, where they were transferred to ships for transport.
Other US services and NATO countries, including France and England, are also providing humanitarian assistance.
Allied Force’s “Amazing” Achievement
A May 3, 1999, analysis of the USAF-led Balkan War by Anthony Cordesman, senior fellow for strategic assessment at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, contained this statement:
“As of April 27, NATO had flown over 11,574 sorties with only one loss–an F-117–in combat and with no accidents costing the life of a pilot or destroying an aircraft. It had flown over 4,423 attack sorties under some of the most difficult weather and terrain conditions that can be encountered in modern warfare and under extremely demanding rules of engagement designed to limit collateral damage. Since that time, NATO has flown over 14,000 sorties, although it has lost an F-16C/D to engine failure and one AV-8B in an accident. …
“NATO has had few incidents involving collateral damage and only two involving Kosovar Muslim civilians. There were four to five strikes on Serbian and Kosovar civlians during some 4,423 attack sorties. This was a maximum ‘mistake rate’ of about 0.11 percent per attack sortie flown. By [May 3], there have been seven to eight incidents involving serious collateral damage in Serbia. This is still a mistake rate of under 0.2 percent per attack sortie flown. This is an amazing tactical and technical achievement.”
NATO Embraces Broad New Security View
At their late April gathering in Washington, NATO officials formally adopted a new Allied strategic concept, one that greatly expands the scope of Alliance security plans to encompass nontraditional–even nonmilitary–dangers.
The document, released April 24, was viewed as being as significant as any since NATO’s founding in April 1949.
In its first 50 years, NATO functioned strictly as a defensive military Alliance based on collective security. Soviet-led Warsaw Pact forces were the adversary. Each ally pledged to treat an attack on one as an attack on all. “Out-of-area” operations–that is, those that would unfold beyond the actual territory of NATO nations–were virtually nonexistent.
Now, NATO’s new 18-page concept document takes official note of “the evolving strategic environment” and the new security challenges posed by regional instability–such as the wars in the Balkans–terrorism, and the spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The document reaffirms NATO’s determination to counter direct armed attack on NATO soil. However, in the key passage, the Alliance contends, “Alliance security interests can be affected by other risks of a wider nature, including acts of terrorism, sabotage, and organized crime, and by the disruption of the flow of vital resources.” Further, said the document, “The uncontrolled movement of large numbers of people, particularly as a consequence of armed conflicts, can also pose problems for security and stability.”
The new approach appears to place major emphasis on “political, economic, social, and environmental factors” as well as the “indispensable defense dimension.” Moreover, the new NATO concept appears to view out-of-area operations, such as that now under way in Kosovo–as a foregone conclusion. “As NATO forces may be called upon to operate beyond NATO’s borders,” it said
|The Archaeology of Stealth
The following statement about stealth technology came from Maj. Gen. Bruce A. Carlson, director of operational requirements at USAF, in an April 20, 1999, briefing for reporters:
“We started out a long time ago building airplanes that had low observable technology incorporated into their design. The SR-71 was an example of where we took the aerodynamic design and then added some radar absorbing material to the airplane to make it slightly stealthy. …
“We went to the second generation of airplanes and … we designed that airplane, the F-117, essentially from the bottom up to be stealthy. It was crude technology. It was developed at a time when we didn’t have the modeling and computer power we needed to make the kind of aerodynamic design that we would have liked, but we built one that we thought was very stealthy. …
“Then we came to the third generation of stealth airplanes–we built the B-2. And of course, by that time, we had the modeling tools and the design tools and the computing power to make an aerodynamic design that was optimum. And this airplane is [a] much higher altitude, much better performing airplane than the F-117. We were able to eliminate a lot of the radar absorbing material from the structure.
“By the time we got to the fourth generation [the F-22], we were able to add supersonic speed, the agility of an F-15-, F-16-class airplane, and do that with no degradation to the stealth. In addition to that, we were able to add a number of apertures–in other words, openings–in the airplane’s surface for antennas, radars, and other sensors. And in the F-22, as an example, there are over a hundred of those apertures on the airplane, where if we jump back a couple of generations to the F-117, there are essentially a couple of aperture openings and the rest of them we hide when we go into combat.”
|Called On–and Under–the Carpet
Gen. Klaus Naumann, then chairman of the NATO Military Committee, met April 26 with the Defense Writers Group in Washington, where he was asked why Germany was reluctant to consider providing ground forces for a NATO land campaign in Kosovo. His reply:
“You should never forget the psychological situation of Germany. It was, after all, among others, you who told us, ‘You Germans behave properly. March underneath the carpet, but in an upright position, and never dare again to come on the carpet. You stay down there.’ … Then suddenly, when unification [of West and East Germany in 1990] came about, you told us, ‘Now you Germans are on the carpet, and you are not only 6 feet tall, you are 10 feet tall.’ You cannot get consensus for things like this overnight. That we achieved this in more or less the incredible short period of eight years is something which I believe is quite remarkable. I am not so familiar with all the details of American history, but I know that it took some 30 years for you to think about the use of military power outside the United States of America after the Civil War. … The Germans are not doing too badly at this time. If I look at the NATO council, they [the Germans] are definitely not the ones who are delaying decision. There are a few others that are wobbling.”
|USAF Raises Space Budget
Senior Air Force officials disclosed April 26 that the service plans a five-year buildup of space funding that will come at the expense of air funding.
“Each program is important,” said F. Whitten Peters, the acting Air Force Secretary, “but you must remember that we are trying to create a seamless [aerospace] system of systems.”
He said that the service’s space Science and Technology account will rise from somewhat under $500 million today to $712 million by 2005. At the same time, air S&T funding will drop from $749 million to $541 million.
Peters and the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Michael E. Ryan, talked of other space topics as well.
USAF space assets supported the Balkan War effort with GPS, surveillance, communications, combat search and rescue, and weather.
The Air Force is interested in shifting the moving target indicator role from Joint STARS aircraft to space. This is “a mission naturally suited to migrate to space,” said Ryan.
New GPS satellites will have two jam–resistant channels for military–only use, as well as two new civilian-only channels.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency and DoD will merge their weather satellite operations.
“Space negation” studies are under way now. They are being undertaken pursuant to the “right of self-protection under international law.”
The Air Force hopes to launch a space-based laser in 2010 rather than 2012.
Gary Hart, in the Spotlight Again
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen announced April 2 the selection of Gary W. Hart to serve as the co-chair of the Senior Advisory Board on National Security.
The former Democratic senator and failed Presidential candidate will replace former Sen. David Boren, who stepped down as a result of responsibilities as the president of the University of Oklahoma.
The Pentagon announcement said that Cohen, an old Senate colleague of Hart’s, “highlighted Hart’s vast experience, keen intellect, and many important contributions to the nation’s security.” Cohen added, “Gary Hart stands out as one of our nation’s best thinkers and most skilled practitioners on matters dealing with America’s security.”
Hart represented Colorado in the United States Senate from 1976 to 1984. Before that, he had worked as campaign manager for Sen. George McGovern in the latter’s unsuccessful 1972 bid for the Presidency.
Hart was himself twice a Presidential candidate. He was forced to abandon his 1988 quest for the White House when he was caught in an adulterous affair. He is the author of several books, the latest of which, The Minuteman, was published in 1998.
Hart and co-chair Warren Rudman will lead the national security study group, a two-and-one-half-year effort that will focus on three areas:
The group will complete its work in February 2001.
The US military will soon have two new chiefs: On April 21, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen nominated Gen. Eric K. Shinseki for appointment as chief of staff of the Army and Lt. Gen. James L. Jones Jr. for appointment as commandant of the Marine Corps.
On April 9 the Department of Defense announced that Lt. Gen. Lester L. Lyles has been picked for appointment to the grade of general and the position of USAF vice chief of staff.
On April 12, President Clinton announced that he will issue an executive order designating the Kosovo area of operations as a “combat zone” for tax relief benefits. Those serving within the zone will be largely exempt from income tax on their military pay, among other benefits.
The nation’s 20th B-2 stealth bomber was named Spirit of Indiana at a ceremony at Grissom ARB, Ind., May 22.
On April 21, Secretary Cohen asked Congress for the authority to transfer former military base property to local communities at no cost if they use it for job-generating economic development. The new policy of no-cost economic development conveyances would minimize the need for time-consuming property appraisals and negotiations, officials said.
The best food service programs in the Air Force are at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and Kirtland AFB, N.M. That is what the Air Force Services Agency Food Branch decided in designating them the 1999 Hennessy award winners for multiple and single dining facilities, respectively.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems formally turned over the first C-130J Hercules to the US Air Force Reserve in a March 31 ceremony at Keesler AFB, Miss. The airplane is the first of two training aircraft and will be used by the 403d Wing at Keesler.
The first brand-new F-15E to roll off the production line since 1994 took to the skies over St. Louis for its initial flight April 1. Boeing is slated to deliver 17 new Strike Eagles by early 2000, bringing the total delivered to the Air Force up to 226.
Boeing has been picked to proceed into the second phase of the Uninhabited Combat Air Vehicle program, Pentagon officials announced March 25. The UCAV is a demonstrator effort aimed at producing an unmanned craft capable of carrying out suppression of enemy air defenses against anticipated threats of 2010.
The AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missile completed its first air launch at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, Calif., March 18. The AIM-9X is a joint Navy and USAF program currently in engineering and manufacturing development that aims to update the famous Sidewinder short-range weapon now used by more than 40 nations around the world.
ANG Maj. Suellen Overton, a legal officer assigned to the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132d Fighter Wing in Des Moines, has been selected as the 1999 American businesswoman of the year by the American Business Women’s Association. In private life, Overton has her own law practice in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
An aircrew from the 40th Helicopter Flight, Malmstrom AFB, Mont., rescued two injured snowboarders from a mountainside near Augusta, Mont., April 19. The crew hoisted the men nearly 60 feet to the safety of a UH-1N Huey, bringing the unit’s total number of saves to 318.
Four pararescuemen from the New York ANG’s 106th Rescue Wing, Francis S. Gabreski IAP, N.Y., parachuted to the aid of the unconscious captain of a freighter near Bermuda on April 4. The seaman, who had suffered a brain aneurysm, represented the unit’s 276th rescue.
On April 5 the Department of Defense announced the formation of an advisory panel, headed by Virginia Gov. James Gilmore (R), to assess domestic response capabilities for terrorism involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. The WMD Advisory Panel will be a three-year effort and will report its findings, conclusions, and recommendations to the President and Congress.
Secretary of Defense Cohen announced the winners of the 1999 Commander in Chief’s Award for Installation Excellence on April 2. The winners-Ft. Benning, Ga.; MCAS Cherry Point, N.C.; Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; and Defense National Stockpile Center, Alexandria, Va., are being recognized for providing excellent working, housing, and recreational conditions.