Six B-2 stealth bombers from the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo., flew combat sorties lasting more than 40 hours in the first days of the air strikes in Afghanistan. One of the B-2s flew 44-plus hours–the longest such flight in the history of aviation.
The B-2s flew six sorties in the first three days of US strikes against the Taliban and terrorists in Afghanistan.
“The B-2 performed as advertised,” said 509th Bomb Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Anthony F. Przybyslawski.
B-2 pilots are well-prepared for long-range missions, he said. They fly simulator sorties up to 50 hours in length.
After attacking targets in Afghanistan, the bomber crews landed at the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. With engines running, crews changed for the 30-hour flight home.
“The fact these aircraft never shut down their engines for more than 70 hours highlights the durability and reliability of this weapon system,” said Przybyslawski. “Every aircraft landed here [at Whiteman] ‘code one,’ which means they are mechanically ready to go again.”
The war on terrorism may be long and difficult, but in the end, the US military will be victorious, said Gen. John P. Jumper, Air Force Chief of Staff.
In recent remarks, Jumper said USAF will be successful in any missions it is called upon to perform.
“Although this next war may not be a 100-0 war like Kosovo, I know which team will come out on top,” said Jumper.
The demands of this new conflict make the Air Force’s ongoing transformation even more important, he said. The problems of retention of needed personnel, recapitalization of an aging aircraft fleet, and readiness of both man and machine must be addressed.
Retention, for example, may require “a new definition of quality of life,” he said. That means more than a higher material standard of living.
“The most important part of quality of life is how we feel about ourselves,” added the Chief. “[Those of us in uniform] symbolize the strength of the nation. When we have a crisis, the nation turns to us. We should feel good about that.”
Tools and training are also a necessary part of retention. Few personnel can stay upbeat for long without the tools they need to do the job.
The F-22 and Joint Strike Fighter will help counter the rising age of the aircraft fleet. But more needs to be done, said Jumper. He wants to plan now to replace the current Boeing 707-based fleet of tankers and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets.
An aging fleet has implications for more than just maintenance costs.
“In many ways, the superb technological edge that [we] have always enjoyed over our adversaries has eroded,” said Jumper. “Our experience shows that our pilots flying the [adversary’s] airplane beat our pilots flying our airplanes almost every time.”
“Our main edge today is our training,” said the Chief. “We will not relinquish one iota of the quality training that characterizes our Air Force.”
In Oct. 15 remarks at Ft. Myer, Va., President Bush promised that the United States military will have everything it needs to fight terrorism.
“I made a commitment to every serviceman and -woman: For the mission that lies ahead you will have everything you need–every resource, every weapon, every means to assure full victory for the United States, our allies, our friends, and the cause of freedom,” said Bush at a Full Honors Welcome Ceremony for the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, and the new vice chairman, Marine Gen. Peter Pace.
The US is now engaged in a war on many fronts, said Bush. All agencies of the federal government will be involved. But he said the military is playing an essential role.
“In the values and traditions of our military, you represent everything they hate,” said Bush. “You defend human freedom. You value life. Here and around the world, you keep the peace that they seek to destroy.”
Both Myers and Pace epitomize the code by which the US military lives, said the Commander in Chief, “a code of honor and a tradition of loyalty and decency.”
The US made no request to Saudi Arabia to launch air strikes against Afghanistan from Saudi bases, said a key Saudi official on Oct. 4.
Indeed the US did not ask the Saudis for anything at all of a military nature during Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s visit to the area prior to the beginning of air strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda forces.
“This matter was not a point of discussion between the two sides,” said Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz at a joint press conference with the US defense chief.
The prince denied that the Saudi government was resisting US calls to freeze the funds of organizations that support terrorism. “If we find them, we will take all the necessary measures,” he said, through a translator.
It could take more than three years and about $800 million to repair the damage to the Pentagon sustained in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The damaged sections of the building–Wedge 1 and Wedge 2–will have to be torn down, cleared, and rebuilt, said Walker Evey, Pentagon renovation project manager, at an Oct. 2 press briefing. That should take about 18 months.
Then utilities will have to be routed through the area and furniture, fixtures, carpeting, and other equipment installed. This phase of the project could take upward of two years.
“We’ll certainly try to do it faster than that, however,” said Evey.
The growth of mold and mildew caused by water used on fires is also a concern. Pentagon air is being tested “to ensure that it’s a healthy work environment,” said Evey.
Five NATO Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft have flown from Germany to help the US in its fight against terrorism.
The radar airplanes, which are based at Tinker AFB, Okla., are assisting in continental defense operations, freeing the US military’s own AWACS aircraft for operations elsewhere.
The switch marks the first time in the 52-year history of the North Atlantic alliance that NATO assets have been used to protect the United States. The airplanes will be flown by multinational crews and provide radar coverage for USAF combat air patrols.
The NATO aircraft will “be here as long as we need them,” said Capt. Ed Thomas, a spokesman for NORAD, headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colo.
President Bush released a list of the world’s “Most Wanted Terrorists” during an Oct. 10 ceremony at FBI headquarters in Washington.
The list has 22 names and faces, with Osama bin Laden at No. 1.
“Terrorism has a face, and today we expose it for the world to see,” said Bush.
Some of those on the list have already been indicted by US courts. There is a $5 million reward for information leading to the arrest of any of the terrorists. The Air Line Pilots Association and Air Transport Association have offered a further $2 million reward for bin Laden.
The full list can be viewed at www.fbi.gov.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced Oct. 2 that he has designated Secretary of the Army Thomas E. White as DOD’s executive agent for homeland security issues.
White is a retired Army brigadier general who has also served as vice chairman of Enron Energy Services.
“I look forward to working closely with Gov. Tom Ridge as he leads this vital effort,” said White.
On Oct. 4 Marine Corps leaders announced that they will stand up an anti-terrorism brigade, with full operational capability set for Dec. 1.
End strength of the new brigade will be 4,800 personnel. It will merge three existing anti-terrorism units: the Marine Security Force Battalion, the Marine Security Guard Battalion, and the Chemical, Biological Incident Response Force.
A fourth element, an anti-terrorism battalion, will evolve from the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, the unit terrorists hit in Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 US service members.
Establishment of the brigade may require the Marines to request an addition of 2,400 people to their authorized end strength. Its aim is to provide “vigilance with an attitude and the Marine Corps muscle to back it up,” said Brig. Gen. Douglas V. O’Dell Jr., who will command the unit.
At a White House ceremony Oct. 9, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Director of Homeland Security Thomas Ridge announced the creation of two new anti-terrorism posts: special advisor to the President for cyber-security and national director and deputy national security advisor for combating terrorism.
The cyber-security job will be filled by Richard A. Clarke, who is one of the nation’s leading experts on the subject, said Ridge. In a long career of government service Clarke served as deputy assistant secretary of state for intelligence and as assistant secretary of state for politico-military affairs. In 1998, he was appointed as the nation’s first national coordinator for security, infrastructure protection, and counterterrorism.
Retired Army Gen. Wayne A. Downing will be the anti-terrorism director. Downing spent 34 years in the US Army, retiring in 1996 from his last assignment–commander in chief, US Special Operations Command. Downing headed the commission that studied the 1996 terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia to make recommendations on how to protect US facilities around the world.
Clarke and Downing will report to both Rice and Ridge.
The Civil Air Patrol has established the EAGLE (Extending A Gift of Love and Empathy) Fund to receive charitable donations for the relief of victims of the terrorist attack upon the Pentagon and their families.
Specific goals of the fund will include support of long-term educational, heath, and rehabilitation needs, as well as grief counseling and general support. Checks may be mailed to: Civil Air Patrol EAGLE Fund, Department 3139, PO Box 2153, Birmingham, Ala. 35287-3139. Donors may also go online to www.capnhq.gov for credit card information.
The large American flag draped as a memorial near the hole blown in the side of the Pentagon by a hijacked airliner was lowered Oct. 11 and will be preserved for posterity.
The garrison flag is the largest size in the US military inventory. Prior to Sept. 11 it belonged to the US Army Band at nearby Ft. Myer, Va. When President Bush visited the Pentagon shortly after the terrorist attack, soldiers and firefighters unveiled the flag and hung it over the side of the building.
The flag was in place for nearly a month, illuminated at night with floodlights. It is now soot-stained and ripped in one spot where it rubbed against the building.
“This flag will never be flown again,” said Maj. Gen. James T. Jackson, commander of the Army Military District of Washington, following its ceremonial lowering by troops from A Company, 3rd Infantry, “The Old Guard.”
The families of most of the reservists called to active duty by the Pentagon in the wake of Sept. 11 are eligible for Tricare benefits, according to DOD health officials.
The type of coverage received depends on the length of activation orders. If reservists are called up for more than 30 days, families are covered under Tricare Extra or Standard from the day of mobilization onward.
While these programs make family members eligible for space-available care at military medical facilities, such space may be limited and should only be requested in an emergency.
Use of Tricare Extra network providers can minimize any cost sharing or deductibles called for under the program, suggested Col. Kathleen Woody, director of medical readiness and programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. “You want to have them in a program with some continuity with the providers.”
The families of reservists called up for 179 days or more have the option to enroll in Tricare Prime, the HMO-like option that requires an annual fee. They will receive care in a military medical treatment facility or be assigned to a local network provider with no cost shares or deductibles.
More information on Tricare is available at www.tricare.osd.mil.
Air Force medics are well-prepared to detect and track any outbreak of biological or chemical terrorism via the computerized Global Expeditionary Medical System.
GEMS was originally developed to electronically collect information on diseases and medical conditions among personnel deployed to Southwest Asia. Eventually it will be used in all Air Force medical installations.
The system converts all paper-based patient medical records into electronic records. This digital database is easy to update and can collate data from multiple patients and locations to spot medical trends.
After all, medical professionals “can very much be the point of entry to an event like the anthrax cases. … All of those patients show up [in emergency rooms] with symptoms-fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, etc.,” said Brig. Gen. Klaus O. Schafer, assistant surgeon general for medical readiness, science, and technology at the Office of the Surgeon General, Bolling AFB, D.C.
GEMS will flag an increase in certain symptoms, enabling doctors to make earlier diagnoses.
An unmanned RQ-1B Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle supporting Operation Southern Watch on a routine mission over southern Iraq went missing on Oct. 10. The UAV may have crashed or been shot down.
Officials said they had no plans to try to recover the aircraft, as it contained no sensitive equipment that would be compromised by falling into Iraqi hands.
A Predator was also declared missing during a similar mission Sept. 11. That aircraft was subsequently declared a combat loss.
Since December 1998, Iraqi forces have fired anti-aircraft missiles or artillery against US and coalition aircraft more than 1,050 times. There have been more than 430 such attacks this year alone.
Iraqi aircraft have violated the southern no-fly zone some 160 times over the last three years.
The Senate approved an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would allow the family members of all service personnel killed in the line of duty to receive a portion of retirement benefits based on number of years of service.
Current law extends such benefits only to families of those who have served for 20 years or more and thus are vested for retirement.
“If we are going to ask these brave men and women to put their lives on the line for our country, we must pledge to help take care of their families by giving them the retirement benefits their service member earned,” said a sponsor of the measure, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.
The amendment is retroactive to Sept. 10, 2001, to include those who died in the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon.
MSgt. Evander Earl Andrews, 366th Civil Engineer Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, was killed in a heavy equipment accident Oct. 10 while deployed to Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia for Operation Enduring Freedom.
He thus became the first US casualty in the war against terrorists and their supporters in the nation of Afghanistan.
Andrews was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. A safety board will investigate the cause of the accident.
As Air Force units deployed in support of Enduring Freedom, the Electronic System Center’s Theater Deployable Communications program office at Hanscom AFB, Mass., was busy providing them with all the carry-along communications equipment they required.
The TDC program office offers everything from computers and telephone switches to satellite terminals and radios for deployed units. It buys off-the-shelf commercial equipment and keeps it upgraded as necessary.
Fifty units had taken advantage of TDC capability as of early October. The program office is planning to provide deployable communications to 122 units through 2005.
One of the office’s main goals is to help reduce airlift requirements by purchase of equipment that is lighter and takes up less space than older technology. Another is to ensure the equipment doesn’t require extra manpower.
The Pentagon announced Oct. 26 that Lockheed Martin has won a pitched battle with rival Boeing and will build the next-generation stealthy Joint Strike Fighter.
As currently envisioned, the JSF would be the largest procurement program in Pentagon history, with a total value that could surpass $200 billion.
Lockheed’s design was a clear winner, said Air Force officials. “I would not characterize it [the contract decision] as a squeaker,” said Secretary of the Air Force James Roche.
Lockheed, which is teamed with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, now has a $19 billion contract to build 14 developmental strike fighters.
Separately, the Pentagon awarded Pratt & Whitney a $4.8 billion contract to provide engines for the strike fighter’s engineering and manufacturing development phase. In the production phase, P&W will compete with a General Electric/Rolls Royce team.
Officials decided against splitting the work between the two JSF competitors, as some members of Congress advocated. Picking a single winner provides taxpayers with the best value for their defense dollar, said Roche.
Health teams from Columbus AFB, Miss., are working with state and federal health officials to help combat an outbreak of West Nile virus in the area near the base.
West Nile virus is spread through bites from infected mosquitoes. While no human cases of the disease have been reported in the Columbus area, the virus has been found in nine horses and a number of birds.
Health officials and civil engineers from the base are identifying potential local mosquito breeding sites and trapping and testing the insects, as well as surveying birds, pets, horses, and people.
“As this disease spreads, I think more and more Air Force bases will start to test for the virus,” said Capt. Jane Harris, public health chief, 14th Medical Operations Squadron at Columbus.
West Nile virus first appeared in the US in New York City in 1999. It has since spread, via mosquito, throughout the East. While it can be fatal to humans, most infections result only in mild symptoms, such as fever or body aches.
Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles AFB, Calif., became part of Air Force Space Command in a command realignment ceremony Oct. 1.
The move is just one of the changes brought about by the Air Force implementation of recommendations from the Commission to Assess US National Security Space Management and Organization. Moving SMC from Air Force Materiel Command to AFSPC consolidates the service’s space procurement and operations functions in one organization.
“We are creating an organization that has no counterpart anywhere–a cradle-to-grave powerhouse that’s exactly the right organization for the 21st century,” said Lt. Gen. Roger G. DeKok, AFSPC vice commander.
US fuels experts from Lajes Field, Portugal, recently combined with Portuguese military and local civilian counterparts for a full-scale exercise to practice response to a fuel spill in nearby Praia Bay.
The bay, less than 10 minutes from Lajes, is home to the Military Traffic Management Command port, where all maritime shipments for the base are received.
Lajes has the largest fuel-storage capacity in the Air Force, so spill-response training is a must, said Norm Guenther, 65th Environmental Flight chief. Tankers enter the bay and deliver between one million and nine million gallons of JP-8 jet fuel and diesel fuel several times a year.
The exercise involved deployment of a containment boom as well as classroom training and a tabletop briefing.
“In an actual spill, the basic strategy would be to contain the spill with booms, recover the petroleum product from the surface of the water with skimmers, [put the fuel in drums], and store the drums in the hazardous-waste warehouse for later shipment off island,” said Guenther.
On Sept. 21 an F-22 Raptor successfully “killed” a target drone with a radar-guided missile for the first time.
The launch of an AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missile was the final flight-test milestone of the fiscal year. In completing earlier milestones, the F-22 demonstrated its radar detection capabilities and its ability to release AIM-120 and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles at high angles of attack.
The Sept. 21 exercise involved Raptor 4005 of the Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB, Calif., flying subsonic at 40,000 feet. Test pilot Maj. Brian Ernisse launched a single AIM-120C at an unmanned target aircraft. The warhead-less missile passed within lethal range of the target.
The F-22 test program is scheduled to fire 60 AIM-120Cs over the next three years. Twenty of the tests will involve combat-realistic scenarios.
The Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center activated an F-22 detachment at Edwards AFB, Calif., on Oct. 1.
AFOTEC’s Det. 6 will conduct the Raptor operational test program, scheduled to begin in April 2003. It will build on the foundation of the test program carried out by the Combined Test Force at Edwards.
The Air Force is looking for as many good enlisted personnel as possible who are interested in the nine career enlisted aviator specialties.
A number of the posts are on the list of critical skills that are chronically short of personnel. Benefits include flight incentive pay starting at $150 a month and increasing to $400 per month.
The specialties include in-flight refueling specialist; rotary-wing flight engineer; fixed-wing flight engineer, performance qualified; loadmaster; airborne communications specialist; airborne battle management systems specialist; airborne mission systems specialist; flight attendant; aerial gunner; and airborne cryptologic linguist.
Nevada Civil Air Patrol personnel were about to embark on a recent training exercise when their day suddenly turned to a real rescue mission.
While the CAP personnel were studying exercise plans at North Las Vegas Airport, a novice pilot in an ultralight aircraft crashed in nearby mountainous terrain.
Despite suffering a broken leg, the pilot managed to broadcast a Mayday alert. CAP 1st Lt. Jim Montgomery, flying nearby, picked up the message and began circling the area. Nevada Wing Commander Matt Wallace then took over the cover mission, circling the crash site while comforting the downed pilot by radio. Montgomery flew higher to relay information back to base. A local fire department dispatched a ground rescue team, with Wallace guiding them via cell phone. It took the ground team more than an hour to travel 15 miles in the rugged terrain.
After their arrival, medical personnel ordered an emergency helicopter evacuation. “I can’t say enough good things about Civil Air Patrol,” said the injured pilot, Jim Brow.
The new Tricare for Life benefit began right on time on Oct. 1, adding 1.5 million new beneficiaries to the military’s health care system.
The program extends Tricare benefits to military retirees who are 65 or over and eligible for Medicare. It was mandated by the Fiscal 2001 defense authorization bill.
The only requirements for beneficiaries are that they ensure accuracy of enrollment information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and that they be enrolled in Medicare Part B.
Officials say they believe Tricare for Life will both help retirees and become an inducement to those currently thinking about joining the service.
“This is a magnificent benefit, and we believe it will do a great deal to both recruit and … retain those people who we so desperately need and rely upon to maintain this nation of democracy and freedom,” said J. Jarrett Clinton, then acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.
An accident report concludes that G-Induced Loss of Consciousness led to the crash of an F-16 from the 77th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, S.C., off the coast of South Carolina on July 6.
The pilot, Capt. Mitchell A. Bulmann, sustained fatal injuries while ejecting from the aircraft.
Clear and convincing evidence exists that Bulmann was affected by G-LOC, says the report. He regained consciousness long enough to try to eject, but the aircraft was at that point at a dangerous speed and position for ejection.
Bulmann was on a training mission at the time of the accident, conducting a series of basic flight maneuvers as the second F-16 in a formation of four.
Incidents of G-LOC typically incapacitate pilots for an average of 24 seconds, according to the report. During that period they may be completely unresponsive to external stimuli.
On Oct. 10 a team from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th Rescue Squadron helped save a 12-year-old boy’s life by flying a late-night medical evacuation mission from Valdez to Anchorage.
The mission began with a phone call from the boy’s doctor to the Air National Guard’s Rescue Coordination Center at Camp Denali on Ft. Richardson.
“Other would-be rescuers weren’t able to get through to help the boy due to poor weather conditions,” said ANG spokesman Maj. Mike Haller.
The 210th sent an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter, accompanied by an HC-130 Hercules to assist with refueling. The weather was so bad that a normally quick trip took more than four hours.
“It was very important that the rescuers didn’t jostle the young man, due to his medical condition,” said Haller. “In the weather they faced, the Pave Hawk was the right machine to do the job.”
The boy was delivered safely to an Anchorage hospital, in what was the 258th rescue mission for the Air National Guard RCC in 2001.
To fight and win wars, the Air Force must be sure that air and space operations complement each other, Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper said during a recent visit to Whiteman AFB, Mo.
“We need to realize that we must integrate our manned, unmanned, and space platforms,” said Jumper. “We shouldn’t be jealous about which platform or sensor is put to work in the air, on the ground, or in space.”
The goal of all should be to precisely locate, identify, and destroy targets, he said. Synthesizing time-critical information and quickly turning it into time-critical target destruction will be the determinant of future success.
The air and space operations center established last year at Nellis AFB, Nev., is a “weapons system” helping to accomplish this task.
“The primary job of these air and space operations centers … will be to put actionable, decision–quality information [about the battlespace] in front of the commander,” said Jumper.
Air Force officials are quick to acknowledge the bravery of those at the tip of the spear who put themselves in harm’s way. But they are not the service’s only warriors.
“Our warriors are no longer limited to the people who fly the airplanes,” said Jumper. “Our entire force is a warrior force.”
The role of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the Air Force will only get bigger in the years ahead, according to the Chief of Staff.
The service is looking to make that expansion go as smoothly as possible. Thus the new Global Hawk long-range UAV will initially operate out of Beale AFB, Calif., where the U-2 is stationed. That way the Global Hawk program can take advantage of lessons learned in strategic reconnaissance by those who have been in the field a long time.
“We want the Global Hawk [at Beale] so that the people who own the high-altitude reconnaissance mission today can resolve [any conflicts] during the shift from manned to unmanned operations,” said Jumper recently while en route to a troop visit.
The time when UAVs have the capabilities of today’s manned platforms is “down the road,” said the Chief of Staff. “Each have their own niche.”
In the future the trademark of UAVs will be their ability to shift from data collection to targeting.
Currently, the Air Force is testing the Predator UAV with the Hellfire missile. The intent is to have the ability to destroy a target of opportunity, such as a mobile missile launcher, before it has a chance to escape.
“We aren’t trying to stem an armored attack with a handful of Predators,” said Jumper.
The beginning of a new war on terrorism has only reinforced the need for the US military to transform itself to face the threats of the new century, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Oct. 4.
That means the recommendations of the just-completed Quadrennial Defense Review are even more important than they otherwise would have been, he said. The Pentagon is now even more likely to move quickly in the QDR’s direction and with more resources than planned.
“The Quadrennial Defense Review has set some very important directions, whose importance and accuracy [are] only confirmed by the events of Sept. 11,” said Wolfowitz.
In general the QDR urges an effort to confront threats themselves, as opposed to specific countries from which they are judged to emanate. One of its most important priorities is a new emphasis on homeland defense.
“One of the conclusions we reached in the review is that we’re just … at really a very early stage of figuring out what the role of the Department of Defense might be, for example, in responding to a major act of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction,” said Wolfowitz. “We’ve got to accelerate that work.”
A second emphasis is the need to deal with uncertainty and surprise.
US forces need to be flexible enough “to respond to the unexpected, not simply to preview and predict the unexpected,” said the Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian.
Traditional aspects of deterrence-such as the threat of nuclear retaliation-retain validity, according to the QDR. But the nation also needs to be able to deter other forms of violence-such as terrorist violence.
As to force size, the new QDR calls for US forces first to be able to defend America. Second, they must be able to engage and defeat two regional foes–one decisively-while continuing with smaller-scale operations.
The Space Operations School, Schriever AFB, Colo., recently graduated its first class. In doing so, the Air Force’s newest school has begun its role in helping to bridge any existing gap between Air Force air and space doctrine.
The school brings together personnel from career fields stretching from pilots to space and missile operators and acquisition experts. Its purpose is to help develop tactics, techniques, and procedures for space power doctrine and then teach officers how to put those to use.
Specifically, the school’s mission is divided among three branches: future concepts, theory and tactics, and training and education.
The future concepts branch evaluates new technologies and assesses space wargame scenarios, among other things. The theory and tactics flight has the lead in development of space power theory. Training and education concentrates on teaching space operators how they can bring space resources to bear on the battlefield.
Among classes offered are the senior leaders space course, which is intended to enhance general and flag officers’ knowledge of space integration.
Air Force Reserve Command has restructured communications units in four states.
The 94th Combat Communications Flight moved from Dobbins ARB, Ga., to Robins AFB, Ga., where it became the 55th Combat Communications Squadron and partners with Air Combat Command’s 5th Combat Communications Group.
The 707th Communications Flight at Tinker AFB, Okla., has reorganized to become the 35th Combat Communications Squadron and a partner with ACC’s Tinker-based 3rd Combat Communications Group.
These units will “provide technology bridging capability between Air Force systems and allied and non-Air Force communications systems,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Brown, chief of the readiness and combat support division in the directorate of communications and information at AFRC.
Almost 40 years ago, the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile was the United States’ “ace in the hole” during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, the Minuteman III remains the nation’s “ultimate space system,” said Gen. Ed Eberhart, head of NORAD, US Space Command, and Air Force Space Command.
“It’s a capability that warns other nations that there are certain things they can do and certain things they cannot do,” said Eberhart. “If they truly put our nation at risk, we have the capability to destroy them.”
ICBMs were designed to deter nations. That does not mean that in today’s era of response to terrorism they have lost their importance, according to Eberhart.
“It’s not the right weapon to use to counter terrorist activity,” he said. “But it remains a very relevant and capable tool to ensure no nation decides to attack our nation.” He added, “If they truly put our nation at risk, we have the capability to destroy them.”
Ongoing modernization will keep Minuteman III viable until 2020. The extensive service life extension program includes replacement of aging guidance and standby power systems, rebuilds of solid-propellant rocket motors, repair of launch facilities, and installation of new communications equipment and command-and-control consoles for combat missile crews.
After 2020 the nation will move to the next stage.
“I personally believe that will be a Minuteman IV,” said Eberhart.
The new missile could be dropped into current silos or require current silos to be revamped, he said.
On Nov. 5, the Air Force began its third year of paid television advertising with two new 30-second recruiting commercials. Another four TV commercials, as well as print ads, will air later as part of a national campaign named “Cross into the Blue.”
Originally set for release during the first week in October, USAF officials delayed the launch because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Instead, during Monday Night Football, the service ran a 30-second ad first shown last year. It aired without narration and depicted Americans watching as airmen perform their daily tasks, including those involved in deployments and humanitarian missions.
In closing, it featured the words “Freedom Forever.”
The new recruiting ads show some of the different specialties open to individuals in the Air Force. It’s not just airplanes and pilots.
USAF’s new Chief of Staff, Gen. John Jumper, who previewed the ads, said that every specialty “is critical to our success.” The campaign shows a number of specialties the public may not realize exist.
“It invites young men and women to join us in our very important mission,” he added.
The recruiting campaign is directed to a target audience of 16-to-24-year-old men and women. The ads employ high-tech imagery to capture the attention of that younger audience.
“We want them to see the commercials and immediately want to find out more about the Air Force,” said Donald Carpenter, USAF director of strategic marketing. The message: “When you cross into the blue, you enter a world of unimaginable possibilities.”
The White House has created a 15-member Presidential task force to study ways in which US veterans’ health care might be improved.
Heading the task force will be Gail R. Wilensky, who ran the Health Care Financing Administration under former President George H.W. Bush. Other members include health care experts, representatives of veterans and military service organizations, and officials with experience in the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense health systems.
“The task force’s goals are to improve access to veterans benefits and to strengthen VA and DOD partnerships for health care services,” said Wilensky. “Among the items that will be studied are the budgeting processes, billing, reimbursement, procurement of supplies and services, data sharing, and information technology.”
House Approves DOD Authorization
The full House of Representatives passed the Fiscal 2002 defense authorization act on Sept. 25 by a vote of 398 to 17.
The bill would authorize $343 billion in budget authority for next year, an increase of approximately $33 billion over Fiscal 2001 levels. Within this, almost $6 billion is allocated toward anti-terrorism programs, including force protection, intelligence, and related operations.
“I consider this to be merely a down payment on what must be a long-term commitment by our nation to defend against, seek out, and eliminate terrorism,” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Bob Stump.
NATO officials toured a Boeing 707-300 upgraded with four Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 engines, during a recent visit to the US.
The inspection of the aircraft at P&W’s East Hartford, Conn., facility is part of NATO’s AWACS upgrade evaluation. NATO could issue a formal request for proposal for the re-engining of the alliance’s current AWACS fleet next year.
“The JT8D-219 provides a significant increase in power and range for the 707 while cutting fuel burn, noise, emissions, operating, and maintenance costs,” said Jason Chamberlain, director of airlift, surveillance, and tanker engine programs for Pratt & Whitney.
On Nov. 1, married airmen who carry military life insurance should have seen a change in the amount deducted from their pay as their spouses were automatically enrolled in the Service members’ Group Life Insurance program.
Children of SGLI participants are now also automatically covered with $10,000 of life insurance, for free, under changes mandated by legislation signed into law June 5.
Participation for spouses is voluntary. However, enrollment is automatic. Those who don’t want the coverage will have to file disenrollment papers.
“This is a great deal for Air Force people-especially the free insurance for children,” said Maj. Jerry Couvillion, chief of the casualty services branch at the Air Force Personnel Center. “I don’t know of any better deal out there.”
On Oct. 1, US Air Forces in Europe stood up a new headquarters organization intended to make any future contingency operations in the European theater run more smoothly.
The new USAFE Theater Aerospace Operations Support Center merges the missions and resources of a number of units, including USAFE Air Operations Squadron, USAFE Air Mobility Operations Control Center, 1st Combat Communications, and 32nd Air Operations Group.
The “Air War Over Serbia” afteraction report on Kosovo operations was behind the push for the new overarching organization, said officials.
“It was clear that one of the most powerful things we could do was to review and restructure our warfighting organizations above the wing level,” said Gen. Gregory S. Martin, USAFE commander.
“With that in mind, USAFE set upon the path towards building a more viable warfighting organization that would maintain a constant watch on our day-to-day operational environment,” said Martin.
Rocky Mountain Blue, the military’s newest recreational program, officially opened for business Nov. 5 in the Colorado mountains.
The program is a joint venture between Air Force Space Command and the US Air Force Academy and Keystone Resorts, located in Keystone, Colo., 90 miles west of Denver. It is open to all military members, federal government employees, and military and federal retirees.
Keystone features six resort neighborhoods for year-round activities that include skiing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, and canoeing. Rates will be reduced under the Rocky Mountain Blue program.
To receive the RMB discounts, book rooms through USAFA Colorado R&R at the Rocky Mountain Blue Web site (www.rockymountainblue.com) or call toll free 877-517-3381.
|Civilian Airliners and the Rules of Engagement
Under new rules of engagement in force since Sept. 11, some US military commanders have the authority to authorize the destruction of hijacked airliners that threaten lives on the ground.
The Department of Defense had no explicit policy for such a scenario prior to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, said officials.
On that day, suicide-hijackers created mass destruction weapons out of four civil airliners, crashing them into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and-in an apparent misfire-into the Pennsylvania countryside.
If time permits, such a fateful decision to shoot down an airliner would be made by the nation’s Commander in Chief. President Bush gave such an order on Sept. 11, but it was after the terrorist attacks. The new rules eliminate any delay.
In the event there is insufficient time to check with the White House or Pentagon high command, shootdown authority would vest in Gen. Ed Eberhart, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
If impact were only seconds away and there was no time to seek guidance up the chain of command, responsibility and authority would devolve to Maj. Gen. Larry K. Arnold, two-star head of 1st Air Force in the continental US, and Lt. Gen. Norton A. Schwartz at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, for attacks in that state.
Adm. Dennis C. Blair, head of Pacific Command, would have authority for Hawaii.
|Guard Units Find Merit in Airport Patrol
SMSgt. Tim Hall, 150th Security Forces Squadron, New Mexico Air National Guard, says he has never seen anything like it. Deployed to Albuquerque Airport as part of a national effort to bolster airline security, he has been welcomed by passengers and air employees alike.
“The gratitude we’ve been receiving has been overwhelming,” said Hall, a 13-year veteran of civilian police forces.
In late September President Bush announced that National Guard troops will bolster security at 422 of the nation’s largest airports for four to six months. The FAA officially requested about 5,000 troops to carry out this historic mission.
State governors can decide what roles the Guard will actually fill. But duties can include monitoring and reinforcement of checkpoints, monitoring performance of civilian screeners, and assistance of civilian security as required.
In Albuquerque-as in most other venues-early returns are enthusiastic. The Guard members are offered food and drink and showered with compliments.
One woman in New Mexico offered a Guardsman $5 because her son is a soldier, too.
“This is nothing unusual for this squadron,” said Hall, who spent 17 years on active duty. “Half of the people are police officers, and we have performed flight line security and air base ground defense missions in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.”
|Afghan Food Drop Marks First Use of New System
When the US military began air-dropping food aid over Afghanistan on Oct. 7 (approximately 9:30 p.m. EDT), the move marked the first operational use of a new drop system intended to be both safer and easier to use than its predecessors.
The Air Force credits two loadmasters-SMSgt. Cliff Harmon and MSgt. Donny Brass-with developing the novel method.
Rather than rely on heavy food pallets hanging from parachutes, the tri-wall aerial delivery system uses refrigerator cardboard boxes with three-ply walls. Forty-two such boxes are carried on each C-17 Globemaster on each run. They are packed with a total of more than 17,000 humanitarian relief meals.
Flown at high altitude and at night, the missions are dangerous.
“The fact that you’re flying into a combat zone cannot be ignored,” said Col. Kip Self, director for mobility forces in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
As they approach drop zones, the crews depressurize the aircraft and open the rear cargo door. At a precise moment, pilots raise the C-17 nose slightly, allowing loadmasters to slide the boxes out the back.
The boxes are tied to a static line that tightens and flips them over once they are free of the airplane. The boxes themselves disintegrate and food packs spill free and disperse over the zone.
“We determined our drop zones, taking into account where the people who needed the aid are located, potential threats in the area, and existing wind conditions to maximize accuracy to the best of our ability,” said Col. Bob Allardice, overall mission commander of the initial C-17 runs.
Heavy wooden crates parachuted down by previous methods were not always safe for those on the ground. The new scattering method also packs many more meals on airlifters.
“We’ve tripled the size of the payload that we deliver now, and that means a lot when you’re feeding three times as many people as you used to,” said co-developer Harmon.
Each of the plastic food packs contains 2,200 ready-to-eat food rations specially designed for moderately malnourished refugees.
The special humanitarian meals were developed following the US experience in providing aid to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq following the Gulf War. Many military rations contain pork, which Muslims cannot eat.
The packs provide an entire day’s nutritional requirements. Each contains two vegetarian meals, most based heavily on lentils. Typical entrees are beans with tomatoes, beans and rice, and bean salad.
Complementary items include bread, a fruit bar, a fortified biscuit, peanut butter, and spices. The packets are marked with illustrations showing how to eat the food, a US flag, and the words, “A Food Gift From the People of the United States of America.”
The packs cost about $4 each and have a shelf life of upward of two years. At the beginning of the airdrops, officials said the US had about two million of the “culturally neutral” humanitarian meals in stock. As of Nov. 2, USAF crews had dropped 1,062,000.
|Roche Discusses Terror, USAF’s Mission
Recent events mean that the Air Force is now facing a fundamentally changed world, Air Force Secretary James G. Roche said Oct. 5 during a visit to Lackland AFB, Tex.
“We are now entering an era in which we need to anticipate and prepare for asymmetric attacks, including but not limited to terrorism,” Roche said.
The Air Force role in defending the US in this new era will involve, above all, use of global reconnaissance and strike assets when called upon, according to the service’s top civilian leader. In this context the reorganization of Air Force assets into Aerospace Expeditionary Forces was prescient.
“The contingency world we live in now dominates our activity,” said Roche. “As we embark on yet another contingency, we have configured ourselves for this sort of thing.”
The Air Force will continue to perform its traditional role in the air defense of the nation. The new Office of Homeland Security will fit that role into a coordinated, comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism, said the service Secretary. He noted that in the Department of Defense the Army will have the lead in the homeland defense mission.
Looking to the future, Roche said he had four priorities for Fiscal 2002. The first is people-recruitment and retention of “the very best individuals.” The second is strategy. The third is efficiency. The fourth is innovation and the industrial base.
The Air Force needs “to reform, in a constructive manner, [its] acquisition policies and processes so as to ensure innovation and competitive vibrancy within the defense industrial base,” said Roche.
|Taking Out Bin Laden Not No. 1 Goal
The Administration in recent weeks has emphasized that finding Osama bin Laden is not the primary goal in the War on Terror. The primary goal is to stop terrorists and stop countries from harboring them, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reminded reporters Oct. 25.
That message appears to have reached the American public. In late October a Gallup poll revealed that a majority of Americans believe destroying terrorist operations in Afghanistan and removing the Taliban from power are more important than capturing or killing bin Laden.
|Support for Military Action Remains High
More than a month after the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans still overwhelmingly favored military retaliation against the terrorists and nations that support them.
A new Gallup poll taken in late October showed a similar high level of support as one taken shortly after the attacks. In late September a poll revealed that 89 percent of Americans favored military retaliation. In October, 88 percent of Americans voiced their approval of the current US military action in Afghanistan.
That same strong feeling carried over to the use of US ground troops. In the October poll, Americans were asked a series of questions relating to levels of use of ground forces or whether they opposed their use entirely. The answer: Eight out of 10 Americans support the use of ground troops.
Of the 80 percent that advocated their use, half said the role of ground troops should be more expanded, while slightly less than half favored limited missions. Three percent had no preference.
- On Oct. 11, more than 20,000 people attended a United in Memory ceremony at the Pentagon parade ground for those killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon a month earlier.
- Air Force Reserve Command exceeded its recruitment goal for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. AFRC signed up more than 10,500 recruits, almost 105 percent of its 10,037 requirement.
- The newest wing in the Air Force, the 460th Air Base Wing was activated at Buckley AFB, Colo., and its predecessor, the 821st Space Group, was deactivated Oct. 1.
- President Bush has nominated Air National Guard Maj. Gen. Daniel James III for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general and for assignment as director of the Air National Guard. Previously James served as adjutant general of Texas.
- Maj. Ted Fordyce, chief of fixed-wing flight safety for Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla., has the distinction of being the first special operator selected for the Air Force Legislative Fellows Program. Fordyce will serve for a year as a Congressional fellow in Washington.
- The Uniform Services Thrift Savings Plan opened to military personnel Oct. 9. The retirement savings and investment plan is similar to the civilian world’s 401(k).
- A coalition of Vietnam veterans organizations has unanimously agreed on the design and wording of a special plaque to be placed in the area of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, per Congressional mandate. The gray granite plaque will be placed near the memorial’s existing statue of three servicemen and will read, “In memory of men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.”
- The Air Force officially designated its newest C-17 Spirit of Connecticut at an Oct. 12 ceremony at the Connecticut Air National Guard facility, Windsor Locks, Conn.
- On Sept. 29 Alaska’s Kodiak Launch Complex successfully carried out its first orbital launch. An Athena I launch vehicle placed four satellites in two different orbits for NASA and the Department of Defense.
- The National Aeronautic Association has announced that Capt. Jodi A. Neff, the first woman to command a Special Operations Low Level C-5 Galaxy, will receive its Stinson Award for Achievement for the year 2001.
- Philip Wayne Grone has been appointed the principal assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment, and John Paul Woodley Jr. has been appointed assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for environment, according to an Oct. 9 personnel announcement.
- The Air Force Club Membership Scholarship Program recently awarded a total of $10,000 in scholarship money. Recipients, who wrote winning essays on the value of club membership, were, in order of finish: 1st Lt. Timothy Cummings, Nellis AFB, Nev.; Young Stinebiser, wife of MSgt. Paul Stinebiser, Scott AFB, Ill.; and SSgt. Stephen Parsons, Hanscom AFB, Mass.
- Air Force Research Laboratory workers have recently been awarded two patents for devices that detect wiring problems before they cause catastrophic aircraft system failure. One is a sensor for the detection of conduit chafing. The second is a test instrument for detecting corrosion in electrical connectors without having to unplug them.
- William Winkenwerder Jr. was sworn in Oct. 29 as the new assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. He was executive vice president of Health Care Services for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
- Gen. Robert H. “Doc” Foglesong officially assumed duties as Air Force vice chief of staff at a Nov. 5 Pentagon ceremony. He was deputy chief of staff for air and space operations.