Senior Air Force officials on Nov. 18 announced changes of both top managers for the F/A-22 fighter program. They cited increased program schedule demands and a need to align acquisition with “operational acumen” as the primary reasons for the change.
Brig. Gen. Richard B.H. Lewis will be the new program executive officer for fighters and bombers, replacing Brig. Gen. William J. Jabour. Lewis is currently director of the Joint Theater Air and Missile Defense Organization on the Joint Staff.
Brig. Gen. (sel.) Thomas J. Owen will become the new F/A-22 system program director. He replaces Brig. Gen. Mark D. Shackleford. Owen has been serving as the C-17 system program director.
Owen will work for Lewis, who in turn, reports to Marvin R. Sambur, USAF’s assistant secretary for acquisition.
In a written statement, Air Force Secretary James G. Roche said, “The Chief of Staff and I have been involved personally in reviewing all aspects of this program, and when necessary, we’ve made changes to ensure [its] success.” He added, “Generals Lewis and Owen have the right operational requirements expertise and technical backgrounds to bring the program into its next phase by the summer of 2003 with flying colors.”
Gen. John P. Jumper, Chief of Staff, agreed, saying, “Due to the demands on our program schedule as well as our overall intent to align major acquisition efforts closely with operational acumen, [we] determined that new leadership was necessary to achieve our objectives.”
Jumper praised the work of Jabour and Shackleford in bringing the F/A-22 program through “a very challenging period of testing and development.”
Just over a week before announcing the F/A-22 management change, the Air Force revealed that development costs of the F/A-22 fighter program could increase by up to $690 million.
In a Nov. 7 statement, service officials said this problem has no bearing on the advanced fighter’s technology or performance. The F/A-22 “continues to perform superbly in all tests,” said the statement.
The Raptor is on schedule for delivery in 2004 and initial operational capability in 2005, said USAF Chief of Staff Jumper.
“The F/A-22 is essential to America’s security in the 21st century,” said Jumper, pledging to get “to the bottom of this issue.”
The service tapped a team of technical and financial experts from industry and the Air Force to determine the magnitude of the overrun and recommend ways to avoid any further problems.
Iraqi forces have continued to attack coalition aircraft enforcing the UN no-fly zones over southern and northern Iraq. They fired upon coalition aircraft four out of five days since Nov. 8 when the UN issued Resolution 1441 demanding Iraq disarm. (See “Bush to Saddam: Go Ahead. Make My Day,” p. 11.)
On Nov. 18, US Central Command officials said coalition aircraft responded by striking two air defense communication facilities and one air defense radar facility.
Air Force officials said the service is poised to set up its new deployable B-2 stealth bomber shelters at overseas locations as early as May.
“We are going to forward deploy this airplane,” Col. Doug Raaberg, commander of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo., home of the B-2, told reporters in late October.
Four shelters will go to the British-owned Indian Ocean island Diego Garcia and one to RAF Fairford, UK. Each shelter can house two B-2 bombers. The Air Force has already established a special hangar at Anderson AFB, Guam, for the B-2.
The bomber long has been criticized for its lack of deployability. It requires a special, climate-controlled environment for maintenance work on its low-observable coating, not for protection against the weather, said Raaberg.
Diego Garcia is about five hours from Baghdad. If war with Iraq does break out, the B-2s would be able to make several sorties every couple of days, instead of flying more than 40 hours round-trip for one sortie as they did for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
The Air Force proposal to lease 100 Boeing 767s modified to perform aerial refueling appears to have come together. Lawmakers and company officials said in mid-November that final negotiations were under way for a deal late this year or early in 2003.
A Wall Street Journal article said the deal was set at $17 billion–much less than the original estimate of $26 billion. The Air Force would not discuss specifics, but Boeing officials confirmed the amount.
The Air Force would lease the aircraft for six years each and take delivery from 2006 through 2011. Under the proposed plan, the service would be able to purchase all the aircraft for an additional $4 billion at the end of the lease.
Pentagon leaders said they need to revisit what constitutes “tooth” and “tail” before proceeding with the next headquarters cuts.
Congress had mandated in the Fiscal 2000 defense budget a 15 percent cut in headquarters staffs by the end of 2002. DOD was to cut the last increment–7.5 percent–this year.
However, that may not happen.
“I don’t think we’ve done a very precise job in describing for the senior leadership the difference between the tooth and the tail,” USAF Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon town hall gathering Nov. 12. “There’s a lot of gray area.”
In fact, Myers said there are many jobs that have been considered tail that “you can’t go to war without.” He said, “It turns out that’s tooth and that includes some headquarters.”
The terms that were used when the Pentagon began considering headquarters reductions are not relevant today, explained Myers.
President Bush is ready to order the use of smallpox vaccinations for military members, Administration officials said in mid-November.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld presented a plan to the President that calls for inoculating as many as 500,000 of the 1.4 million troops. The first doses would go to emergency support forces, such as some medical personnel, and to troops bound for the Middle East.
The issue was not a slam dunk, since the vaccine itself poses a risk.
Health officials estimate that 15 persons out of one million vaccinated for the first time will suffer serious complications and that one or two of those may die. Routine smallpox vaccinations in the US were stopped in 1972. The world has not seen smallpox cases since the late 1970s.
US intelligence officials reported in November that both Iraq and North Korea have unauthorized stocks of smallpox. The virus is highly contagious and kills about 30 percent of its victims. There is no known treatment once infected.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is considering reducing the length of assignment for each of the military service chiefs from four years to two years. Under a proposed plan, first reported by the Wall Street Journal Nov. 5, Rumsfeld would have the option to extend their tours another two years.
The same arrangement exists now for the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as each of the combatant commanders. The services, for the most part, oppose the idea. They don’t think it would give the chiefs enough time to make substantive changes.
This latest plan, like the recent switch in title from commander in chief to commander for those officers who head unified commands, is viewed largely as a means for Rumsfeld to demonstrate control over the military.
However, this plan, if formally proposed, would require Congressional approval.
The Air Force announced in November that service officials had developed a new dormitory standard–4+1–that would provide airmen with a private bathroom. Construction on the first new 4+1 dorm could begin this year.
In this new style, four airmen would share a common living area that has a kitchen and living room but would each have a separate bedroom and bathroom. Under the current DOD 1+1 standard, first implemented in 1996, two airmen share a kitchenette and bathroom and have separate bedrooms.
DOD recently changed its policy on the space allowed for each dorm room–from 13.2 square yards to 20.4 square yards. A caveat to the increase in space and move to individual bathrooms is that any new dorm building must cost no more than a 1+1 style building.
According to Kathryn Halvorson, USAF housing division deputy chief, the 1+1 dorms already built at USAF facilities will not be renovated, since they’re still considered adequate under DOD policy.
“The 1+1 room was good because it was a private room, but it was small,” said Halvorson. Both plans offer considerable upgrades to previous dorm standards, she added.
Eight bases have opted to construct 4+1 dorms under the Fiscal 2003 military construction budget. They are: Barksdale AFB, La., Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., Hurlburt Field, Fla., Nellis AFB, Nev., Osan AB, South Korea, Sheppard AFB, Tex., and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
Service officials announced unrelated F-16 accidents that claimed the lives of two pilots. Both were flying out of Hill AFB, Utah, and both were US Air Force Academy graduates.
The first accident occurred Oct. 25 at 2:53 p.m. in the Utah Test and Training Range about 25 miles southeast of Wendover, Nev., when the F-16 piloted by 1st Lt. Jorma D. Huhtala collided with another flown by Capt. David Roszmann. Huhtala was killed. Roszmann ejected safely.
Both pilots were with the 4th Fighter Squadron, part of the 388th Fighter Wing, at Hill.
The second accident took place Nov. 13 about 2 p.m., also over the training range, when the F-16 piloted by Lt. Col. Dillon L. McFarland crashed. McFarland, a commercial pilot, was with Air Force Reserve Command’s 419th Fighter Wing at Hill. He had more than 3,000 flying hours in the F-16.
Officials said boards are investigating both accidents.
USAF officials said the service has expanded its Fiscal 2003 Aviator Continuation Pay program to include bonuses not only for pilots but also for certain groups of navigators and Air Battle Managers.
ACP bonuses are not entitlements, said Maj. Edward Ford, USAF’s chief of rated force policy for combat forces. “We review the ACP program every year and adjust it accordingly.”
To take advantage of the Fiscal 2003 ACP, navigators must have at least 15 years of aviation service and 18 or more years of total active military service. The amount of the bonus varies with the length of service commitment they accept–three years, five years, and through 25 years–and the number of years they have left for aviation service. The minimum is $10,000 per year, and maximum is $15,000 per year.
ABMs who have completed their initial aeronautical rating active duty service commitment are eligible for an ACP bonus. There are various stipulations on length of agreements, based on number of years of aviation service. The minimum and maximum bonus amounts are the same as for navigators.
The ACP program for pilots is similar to last year’s, said officials. Pilots have options for three-year, five-year, and up to 25-year agreements. The minimum bonus is $15,000 per year, and the maximum is $25,000 per year.
There is a change in the amount of money pilots can take up front, said Ford. The service is offering partial lump-sum payments of 50 percent for first-time eligible pilots but has dropped options to take smaller percentages.
USAF considers ACP an “appropriate and cost-effective” means to work through its rated personnel shortages, Ford said.
“It will be years before the Air Force fully recovers from the rated production cuts made during the mid-1990s,” predicted Ford. “Until then, ACP is the best tool we’ve got to improve the retention of these highly trained personnel.”
On Oct. 26, retired Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, 79, broke the sound barrier once again as he opened the air show at Edwards AFB, Calif. He said it was his last time, as he ended a 60-year military flying career.
Yeager was the first person to officially break the sound barrier, some 55 years ago. In 1947, he flew alone in the rocket-powered Bell X-1 to Mach 1.6. In 2002, he flew an F-15 to 30,000 feet at Mach 1.45. Lt. Col. Troy Fontaine, a test pilot at Edwards, was in the back seat.
“Now is a good time,” Yeager said about giving up military flying. “I’ve had a heck of a good time and very few people get exposed to the things I’ve been exposed to.” He added that he would keep flying P-51s and the light stuff.
The Air Force plans to field its first smart tanker–an air refueling aircraft with a communications relay system–in the spring and 39 other modified aircraft by fall 2003. USAF successfully tested its first modified tanker Oct. 23.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper first broached the possibility of using aerial refuelers to serve as airborne nodes for a warfighter communications network shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said that because tankers are always there, close to danger zones or flying intercontinental air bridges, they make perfect platforms to handle communications.
The Oct. 23 demonstration featured a KC-135 tanker outfitted with the Roll-on Beyond-Line-of-Sight Enhancement. Using ROBE, the tanker relayed data while flying from Eglin AFB, Fla., to Hanscom AFB, Mass.
ROBE is the first in a family of Scalable, Modular, Airborne Relay Terminals that will be used aboard tankers. The SMART system could also be used on other platforms, such as unmanned and ground- or sea-based vehicles, said USAF officials.
Initially ROBE will be a data relay that will allow line-of-sight/beyond-line-of-sight communication among network members. Officials said the objective is to connect battle directors in an air and space operations center with those en route to or in a theater of operations.
Charles Moose, the Montgomery County, Md., police chief who led the high-profile manhunt for the snipers who terrorized the Washington, D.C., region recently, is also an Air National Guard officer.
Moose was the leader and national spokesman for the multijurisdictional sniper task force that included members of the FBI, Secret Service, US Marshals, and other police forces. They spent three weeks tracking down the two suspects, arrested Oct. 24. The snipers killed 10 people and wounded three others.
As an ANG major, Moose is commander of the District of Columbia ANG’s 113th Security Forces Squadron, based at Andrews AFB, Md. He has led the 60-person unit since May 2000.
“He worked around the clock for two or three weeks after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” said CMSgt. Bobby Spear, the senior enlisted member of the 113th SFS. “He would work all day at Montgomery County [Md.] and then come to Andrews and work with us late into the night, making sure we had everything we needed to keep our planes and our part of the base secure.”
Spear added, “The admiration that he’s received from the national and international media and communities comes as no surprise to us.”
The Air Force will offer enlisted and officer personnel in certain critical career fields a new Montgomery GI Bill education benefit–transferability to a family member. The goal of the test program, slated to begin next year, is to boost retention.
Air Force members in certain specialties will be able to transfer up to 18 months of the MGIB benefits to their spouse, children, or a combination of both. First, though, they must sign on the dotted line.
Enlisted members must re-enlist by Sept. 30, 2003. They must also have between six and 12 years of time in service and already be eligible for the GI Bill. Officers must also have the same time in service and agree to a four-year active duty service commitment.
Enlisted specialties eligible for the program include linguists, firefighters, and computer system programmers. For officers, the eligible fields include civil and developmental engineers and scientists.
USAF plans to survey those personnel taking advantage of the test program to determine to what extent the GI Bill special incentive influenced their decision to remain in the service. If the results are positive, the service may continue the program beyond 2003.
DOD announced in late October that it had developed an innovative way to improve military funeral honors–using a digitally enhanced bugle. Using the bugle, an honor guard member who is not a musician can “play” Taps.
The ceremonial bugle, said a DOD statement, “is intended to be a dignified alternative to prerecorded Taps played on a stereo.” It will not replace a musician, said DOD, if one is available.
A small electronic device, inserted deep into the bell of a bugle, plays a high-quality rendition of Taps “virtually indistinguishable from a live bugler,” according to DOD. An honor guard member would simply push a button and hold the bugle to his lips.
DOD officials said the entire military has only 500 buglers, while some 1,800 veterans die each day. That number of deaths “precludes us from having a live bugler at every service,” said Mark Ward, DOD’s senior policy advisor on casualty and mortuary funeral honors.
“If we can get a live bugler, that’s our first priority,” said Ward. “Absent a live bugler, though, our ceremonial bugle is an alternative to the boom box CD player.”
The Pentagon began a six-month test of the new ceremonial bugle in Missouri Nov. 7. It plans to survey those who choose to use the ceremonial bugle, instead of a CD player, to determine whether to expand the program.
Administration officials announced a new agreement between the Defense Department and Veteran Affairs to provide health care to military members and veterans in the North Chicago-Great Lakes area.
Under terms of the agreement:
- The Navy will construct a new ambulatory medical facility for outpatient services.
- The North Chicago VA Medical Center will provide comprehensive surgical care.
- The Navy will use the North Chicago VA Medical Center for its surgical and inpatient needs.
- Navy surgical teams will work at the VA center.
Capt. Jefferson S. Dotson, an Air Force fighter pilot missing in action during the Vietnam War, was buried at Arlington National Cemetery Oct. 25.
Dotson was listed as missing following a mission on Aug. 9, 1969, when he and fellow pilot Capt. Lee Gourley flew an F-100F along the Ho Chi Minh Trail to gather intelligence. Dotson officially was declared dead on April 26, 1976.
Remains believed to be those of Dotson were discovered in December 2001 and subsequent DNA tests confirmed the identification.
The Air Force has opened the job of missile facility manager as a four-year special duty assignment. There are some 200 positions available.
Three years ago, service officials removed the position from its special duty list. Instead, it made the job part of the missile maintenance career field.
It was a controversial move, according to MSgt. Larry Dunbar, superintendent of ICBM operations at Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo., because the small career field couldn’t support the additional requirements.
The facility manager job is relatively stable because there are no deployments. A major drawback, though, is the commute to work.
Some managers must travel about 160 miles to reach the missile facility. Once there, the manager, who must be a jack-of-all-trades, stays for three days. A plus is that the manager only works about 12 days per month.
The job entails maintaining the power supply, water treatment, supplies, publications, equipment, and housing arrangements for the missile alert crew, the transient maintenance crew, and security forces at the facility. The manager might also have to provide emergency medical help or remove snow.
Besides being independent-minded, applicants for the positions must be staff sergeants to senior master sergeants. The assignments are advertised on USAF’s Equal Plus.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld selected the Fiscal 2003 appointees for the Defense Department Advisory Committee on Women in the Services–the first under the group’s revamped operating agenda.
The group now comprises only 13 civilians from throughout the US who have experience with the military or with women’s workforce issues. Previous boards had 22 members.
The chair of the new group is retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Carole A. Mutter, who had served as head of manpower for the Marines. She said the group will “be more focused” and collect recordable information. “This should make it easier to spot actual trends and discount what are anomalies,” Mutter added.
The other committee members are: Catherine Aspy of Keizer, Ore., Lynda Davis of Great Falls, Va., J.P. Duniphan of Rapid City, S.D., Bonnie Fuller Ford of Albuquerque, N.M., Julie Hamre of Bethesda, Md., Constance Horner of Washington, D.C., Susan Patane of Loma Linda, Calif., retired Army Reserve Col. Darryl Ladd Pattillo of Austin, Tex., Margaret Robson of Washington, D.C., Virginia Rowell of Vienna, Va., retired Air Force Reserve Col. Vance Shaw of McLean, Va., and Rosalie Silberman of Washington, D.C.
A 14-man search and recovery team returned to Hawaii in October with what they believe will be the remains of four US service members whose C-46 transport aircraft crashed in the Tibetan Himalayas in March 1944.
The team from the US Army Central Identification Lab, based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, found the aircraft wreckage in a cliff face above a ravine. Team members spent two months excavating the site, working out of a base camp at 15,500 feet altitude.
The C-46, which was based at Sookerating, India, was reported missing during a return flight from Kunming, China. The crew may have become lost and the aircraft ran out of gas.
Lab officials said identification of the remains can take anywhere from several months to several years.
President Bush signed the $355.1 billion Fiscal 2003 defense appropriations bill Oct. 23. It marks a $37 billion increase over Fiscal 2002 spending.
Its provisions include:
- A 4.1 percent pay raise for service members.
- A $5 billion increase for operations and maintenance, though this fell short of the President’s request.
- An $11 billion increase over last year’s procurement budget.
- Plus, $7.4 billion for the national missile defense system.
The Administration did not get the unlimited $10 billion contingency fund it had requested for conducting the war against terrorism overseas; however lawmakers said that could be covered in supplementals.
The President also signed a $10.5 billion military construction bill.
TSgt. Navid Garshasb won the 2002 Pitsenbarger Award for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom.
He is a “real live American hero,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Wooton, commander of the 25th Information Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.
Garshasb, who is a linguist and superintendent of scheduling in the 25th IOS, helped prevent a hostile incident with Afghans when the MH-53 helicopter he was on crashed in a combat zone in Afghanistan. As some 15 Afghans began to approach the downed helicopter, the crew prepared their weapons. However, Garshasb, who decided the Afghans did not necessarily appear hostile, put down his weapon and advanced toward them to talk.
He was suffering from two fractured vertebrae, a fractured rib, and hypothermia, but he was finally able to make the Afghans realize they were endangering their own lives and should return to their village. It was an “interesting situation in an interesting place,” Garshasb said. “I was just doing my job.”
The Air Force Sergeants Association presents the Pitsenbarger Award annually to an Air Force enlisted member for heroic acts.
According to the General Accounting Office, DOD’s depots really can’t show how much work they contract out vs. what they perform in-house. It’s not a new problem, said GAO in a report released in late October.
The issue is the 50/50 rule. Congress mandated that DOD depots must perform 50 percent of the DOD depot maintenance workload, while the other half can be handled by private contractors. With the poor state of the depot data, said GAO, there is no way to determine if the services are complying with the law.
GAO cited examples from each of the services of either understating, not reporting, or faulty assumptions. For example:
- The Air Force counted twice some component repairs–about $500 million worth–and failed to report some facility modifications performed by contractors.
- The Army erroneously reported workloads at two commands in millions of dollars rather than thousands.
- The Navy did not report some $200 million in repair work.
- The Marine Corps also understated more than $100 million.
Combatant commanders recently received guidance from the Pentagon to revamp battle plans–a process that normally takes place over a two-year period–within six months. This is just a first cut, said Marine Gen. Peter Pace, JCS Vice Chairman.
“Rather than look for a two-year cycle on war plans, [Defense Secretary Rumsfeld] has directed them to come in within six months with their first cuts on changing the major battle plans for the nation,” Pace said at the Fletcher Conference in October.
Rumsfeld’s contingency planning guidance, said Pace, requires combatant commanders to update plans that may have been on the shelf for the past five to 10 years. The goal is to lay out exactly what assets they need to accomplish their missions.
“A new part of the puzzle is what we are calling an operational availability study,” said Pace. “Put simply, how much of the nation’s combat capability do we want to be able to deliver anywhere in the world and in what time?”
Pace said that most of the preliminary reviews of the war plans done over the past few months have left unanswered the question of whether commands are scaling war plans to fit the resources they have rather than the resources they really need to accomplish a mission.
Pentagon officials said more than 1,100 people submitted designs for the memorial for those killed in the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon. Of those, a panel selected six finalists.
The 11-member panel included artists, designers, family members of those killed in the attack, and two former Secretaries of Defense. The panel took three days to review the 1,126 qualified entries, which came from within the US and overseas.
Artists’ renderings of the six final proposals are online at http://memorialcompetition.pentagon.mil.
The memorial will be located outside the Pentagon near the point of impact. Officials expect to decide on a final design this month.
Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Carr, former chief of chaplains, died Nov. 9 at his home in Springfield, Va. The 76-year-old Carr had leukemia.
Carr, who was the Air Force Association National Chaplain for 14 years, was born in El Centro, Calif., in 1925. He began his military career in 1943, serving as a B-24 radio operator/gunner in the South Pacific. He left the service three years later, but was recalled in 1951 for the Korean War. He was released the following year and completed graduate studies in theology in 1954.
He was recalled to active duty once again in 1955, this time as a chaplain, and served until his retirement in 1982. He then became an advisor and consultant to humanitarian agencies overseas and founded two aid agencies in the States.
|Myers Says Taliban, al Qaeda Excel at Adaptation
As USAF Gen. Richard B. Myers looks back over the war in Afghanistan, he concludes that the bad guys have been better than the good guys at adapting to the pressures of war. And it has cost the US some “momentum” in prosecuting the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, said the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“They have adapted,” said Myers. “They adapt the way they talk to each other, the way they pass money.” In general, added Myers, “they [enemy forces] have adapted their tactics, and we’ve got to adapt ours.”
In fall 2001, at the start of Operation Enduring Freedom, “we caught them off guard [and] had a pretty successful several months,” Myers said Nov. 4 at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. “I think you could make an argument now that we’re not thinking as fast as we need to think, that we’re not inside the decision loop … of the adversary.”
He added, “We need to speed that up.”
Myers said the initial war plan produced by Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the commander of US Central Command, “was bold,” with “a large element of risk” built into operations. It was conducted in a way that the adversary clearly didn’t know what was happening.
“They were confused,” said Myers.
One cause of the confusion, said the Chairman, was that US forces were quicker on the draw. “Early on in Afghanistan,” he said, “we were absolutely thinking faster than the adversary and therefore [were] very successful.”
He explained that the US has “got to get back to the point where we can observe what they’re doing and make some decisions about that–act and assess faster than they can do just the opposite to us.”
Specifically, Myers continued, the “intelligence flow” has to be “a lot more exquisite.”
In addition, he said, the US needs to use forces “to strike very quickly on intelligence that may not be 100 percent perfect or sure, but to take that kind of risk because the payoff is so important.”
He said, “They’ve made lots of adaptations to our tactics, and we’ve got to continue to … try to out-think them and to be faster at it.” The American military can be either “good or bad at that,” depending on the situation, according to Myers.
“In general, I think that’s where we need to improve, and I think in a sense we’ve lost a little momentum there,” he noted.
|Bush to Saddam: Go Ahead. Make My Day
With the passage of a tough UN resolution on Iraq, President Bush swiftly took a hard line with Saddam Hussein.
Bush made it plain that, to disarm the Iraqi dictator, he was equally prepared for war or peace. “The United States prefers Iraq meets its obligations voluntarily,” he said Nov. 8, “yet we’re prepared for the alternative.”
“The alternative” is code for a US-led military invasion, which had been made ready for launching at any time.
A few days later, the President went out of his way to declare “zero tolerance” for any Baghdad shenanigans in complying with UN demands.
“We’re through [with] negotiations,” said Bush. “There’s no more time. The man must disarm.”
The 15-member UN Security Council on Nov. 8 unanimously adopted a new resolution aimed at forcing Saddam to dismantle his nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs. It declared Iraq to be in “material breach” of earlier obligations to get rid of its weapons of mass destruction.
The resolution offered Saddam “a final opportunity” to meet Iraq’s disarmament obligations, which stem from the 1990-91 Gulf War. And, it added, any obstruction will bring Iraq face-to-face with “serious consequences.”
The United States had spent several months preparing and positioning in the Gulf region a large military force–that was headed toward 250,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines–to administer such consequences.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Nov. 13 that Saddam had agreed to abide by the resolution.
Few, however, thought Iraq’s grudging acceptance letter to Annan was anything more than the opening gambit from a dictator who had spent 12 years perfecting his game of “cheat and retreat.”
In fact, the US almost immediately had to warn Iraq not to obstruct weapons inspectors who were set to return Nov. 18 after a four-year hiatus. The warning, issued by Secretary of State Colin Powell, followed a hint that Baghdad would challenge the UN resolution. “We expect co-operation,” Powell warned.
The UN resolution required Baghdad to give UN inspectors a complete and accurate declaration of all aspects of its chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons programs and ballistic missile systems. The deadline for this task was set for Dec. 8. Baghdad quickly insisted it possessed none.
“False statements or omissions” in such declarations constituted “a further material breach” under the resolution.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Iraq not “to take or threaten hostile action” against US or allied aircraft enforcing sanctions over Iraq. In the US view, this, too, constituted a new material breach and provided a case for war.
It was not made clear who was to decide whether Iraq had met the terms of the resolution–Washington or the Security Council. The resolution removed an automatic “trigger” for use of force against Iraq, but Bush had said Washington was not bound to wait for UN approval to take military action.
Not everyone was pleased with the outcome at the Security Council. Commentators William Kristol and Donald Kagan, longtime advocates of “regime change” in Iraq, argued that there was a risk the United States would get bogged down in a welter of claims and counterclaims that would string out and eviscerate the current support for knocking off Saddam.
“There is no point in kidding ourselves,” they wrote. “The inspections process on which we are to embark is a trap. It may well be one that this powerful and determined President can get out of, but it is a trap nonetheless. … President Bush’s own policy advisors have led him into an inspections quagmire from which he may have difficulty escaping.”
The Financial Times reported from Paris that France was overjoyed that it managed to divert the resolution toward Iraqi disarmament rather than “regime change,” as Bush had sought.
Another skeptic was Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who earlier had expressed a complete lack of confidence in the head weapons inspector, Hans Blix.
Of Blix, Perle once said, “I wouldn’t hire him for an Easter egg hunt. … Very nice man, but put Hans Blix up against Saddam Hussein? Not a fair match.”
|Jumper Redirects Career Planning
The Air Force is embarking on “a new way of thinking” about career choices, Gen. John P. Jumper, USAF Chief of Staff, said in early November when he announced a new program called Force Development. Over the next six months, the service plans to redesign how the Air Force assigns its personnel to schools and jobs.
“We intend to open the aperture on what is considered beneficial education and training experience,” said Jumper.
The program applies across the board to officer, enlisted, and civilian members, although initial changes focus on active duty officers.
One significant move in this new way of thinking will eliminate, for most officers, the requirement to acquire an advanced degree to be competitive for promotion to lieutenant colonel.
Jumper said that there will not be one “set solution” for success in all cases.
For instance, some individuals may bypass traditional Professional Military Education to pursue a different degree program–if it makes more sense for the individual and the Air Force, said Lt. Gen. Richard E. Brown III, USAF’s top personnel officer. He added that those non-PME opportunities will be considered equally valuable to professional growth.
To ensure that equality, the Air Force intends to change officer career brief forms. The forms currently have separate boxes for PME and advanced academic degrees, but in the future, they will have only one box “to more accurately reflect career development,” said Brig. Gen. Richard S. Hassan, director of the Air Force Senior Leader Management Office.
Another major change will enable officers to skip what is termed career broadening–but with a caveat.
According to Hassan, if officers are happy being pilots, scientists, engineers, or other specialists, then they do not have to pursue development beyond their primary specialty. The Air Force, he said, values technical knowledge and functional skill.
“However, they have to be realistic about their chances for promotion to colonel or general,” Hassan noted. “It’s great that we have people who are experts in a particular field at the tactical or operational level, but at the strategic level we need senior leaders with much broader perspectives and knowledge.”
Officials said other initiatives under the Force Development program will be announced in the coming months.
|Beware the Unprecedented Power of the “Weak State”
The following remarks are excerpted from a Nov. 4 address to the Brookings Institution by USAF Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“Since the time of Thucydides, the premise of conflict between nations is that the stronger states could defeat the weaker ones. That was the common wisdom.
“In the past 200 years, that’s been roughly true about 70 percent of the time, but as we saw in Vietnam, and the Soviets saw in Afghanistan, great powers can fail because there’s a mismatch in interest. What is a peripheral issue to a powerful state may be a core issue of survival to a weaker state.
“This disparity of interest, then, can get translated into a disparity of commitment. It’s one reason a weak power can overcome a stronger nation’s designs.
“Since 1980, one political scientist reports, this trend for the weaker to succeed has actually increased as the weaker states have come out on top almost half of the time in the last 20 years.
“And now, if you add weapons of mass destruction to the equation, you have a case where relatively weak actors may have access to lethal power that rivals what the strongest nations have. Weak actors can potentially inflict unprecedented devastation on a great nation.
“With weapons of mass destruction, they can hold at risk large portions of societies.
“During the Cold War, of course, we faced the threat of nuclear conflict with a superpower, but deterrence contained that threat, because we placed at risk something the adversary held very dear–that was, in essence, their very existence.
“Today, if a weak power is a terrorist network with weapons of mass destruction, deterrence won’t work most of the time. When they’re willing to commit suicide to further their agenda, what do they value that we can place at risk
“This dilemma, I think, reflects an unprecedented nature of today’s security environment.”
|PA&E Indicates C4ISR Systems May Prosper at Other Programs’ Expense
Early this month, top defense officials planned to send to the President recommendations on what changes must be made to major acquisition programs to further DOD’s transformation efforts for the Fiscal 2004 budget. Early indications were that some high profile programs, such as USAF’s F/A-22 Raptor, would be trimmed to make way for other systems.
Several major programs underwent reviews spearheaded by Stephen A. Cambone, director of DOD Program Analysis and Evaluation. The reviews were mandated in the classified Defense Planning Guidance and were intended to evaluate exactly what benefit systems bring to joint warfighting.
The systems most prized by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld include Command, Control, Communications, and Computers and Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and Surveillance programs, according to Cambone’s deputy, Rear Adm. Stanley R. Szemborski. It is up to Rumsfeld to determine “what types of capabilities he would like to emphasize and what types of capabilities he would like to de-emphasize,” the admiral told the Fletcher Conference in mid-October.
Szemborski noted that the Fiscal 2003 budget made some initial moves toward improving C4ISR capabilities–but that further work was needed in these areas.
The Pentagon needs to “continue on the development of C4ISR [and] transformational communications,” said Szemborski. “This will enable us to move enormous quantities of information over very long distances and enable the kind of networked forces that we think will be the hallmark of the future.” He added, “We also need to continue to leverage our technology for conducting space operations and space control.”
Cambone also touted joint C4ISR capabilities as a likely growth area. “We are looking to focus first and foremost on the contribution that any given program or platform is going to make to joint operations,” he said earlier this year.
DOD “looked after C4ISR in last year’s budgets,” noted Cambone in a Sept. 18 news briefing. “And now there’s more still on C4ISR.” He also cited special operations capabilities, space, and satellite linkages and networks as areas where “we have got to put more emphasis and importance.”
The flip side of the equation is that with a finite budget, reductions will have to come from somewhere. Szemborski emphasized that the current reviews are not budget drills. Traditional PA&E program evaluations such as these have focused on affordability.
Cambone said the reviews recognized that DOD might be willing to “accept increased risk” in areas of distinct US advantage, such as tactical airpower, to provide more funds for C4ISR and other top Rumsfeld priorities.
Both Cambone and Szemborski cited cuts to the Air Force’s B-1 bomber fleet and the cancellation of the Army’s Crusader heavy artillery system as examples of “key decisions” that have already been made.
Cambone looked at the F/A-22 with an eye toward reducing the planned buy of 339 down to as few as 180. The question posed to the Air Force was whether 180 Raptors would be enough to meet joint requirements. The Air Force answer: No. In fact, service officials pushed to increase the number to 381 to ensure USAF could field one squadron per each of its 10 Aerospace Expeditionary Forces.
Other programs under evaluation included:
The V-22 had been considered an easy mark for elimination because of technical and safety hurdles. However, in November, Rumsfeld said he was unlikely to rush to judgment on the tilt-rotor aircraft, given that the program had been redesigned and is in the midst of testing.
“Why in the world would you put in place a test program if you didn’t want to know what the outcome might be,” he asked rhetorically.
Press reports this fall indicated that the Army might take the brunt of the programmatic reductions, with the Comanche, Stryker, and Future Combat System all facing significant cuts or delays. And, although funds from the Army’s canceled Crusader were to be used by the Army for other systems, DOD officials made no guarantees that funds cut from service accounts under the current reviews would go back into the same service’s budget.
“In my time at OSD, I have not heard the words ‘traditional allocation’ used once,” said Szemborski. He added that Rumsfeld will either say he wants to emphasize a capability or de-emphasize it. Rumsfeld has not said “if it is de-emphasized, then the service will get that money back,” the admiral continued.
As the steward for most of the C4ISR systems that could gain priority in the 2004 budget, the Air Force could find itself overseeing a larger share of the overall defense budget.
-Adam J. Hebert
|US Bishops Raise Questions About War With Iraq
Though snarled in a pedophile-priest scandal, US Catholic bishops found time to offer moral guidance on war with Iraq.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops pronounced it “difficult to justify the resort to war against Iraq” because it found no “clear and adequate evidence” that Iraq was about to launch “an imminent attack of a grave nature.”
The Nov. 13 statement expressed “serious concerns” and “questions.” It emerged from the bishops’ four-day conference in Washington, D.C. The vote was 228-14, with three abstentions.
The statement did not flatly declare any US attack unjust, but it came close. The official conference press release pointed disapprovingly to what it called “the rush to war with Iraq.”
In an unlikely development, the war issue became entangled with the sex-abuse scandal, which resulted from failure of some bishops to discipline priests who sexually abused children.
Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, a key figure in the scandal, also presided over the shaping of the war statement. Boston-area Catholics called for his resignation because he had transferred a known pedophile, John Geoghan, from parish to parish.
At the conference, Catholic lay groups voiced objections to the choice of Law to be a moral spokesman on the war issue.
Despite the complaints, the conference plunged ahead with the statement. The bishops’ conference has often taken stands on war and peace. It condemned the Vietnam War in 1971.
The most famous act came in 1983, when the bishops issued a pastoral letter protesting President Reagan’s nuclear arms policies and questioning the morality of nuclear deterrence.
Deterrence, it said, is the result of “political folly,” adding, “We cannot consider it adequate as a long-term basis for peace.” The bishops called for “accelerated work for arms control reduction and disarmament” and “efforts to develop nonviolent means of conflict resolution.”
In Washington, the bishops raised their questions inside the framework of Roman Catholic “just war” theory:
The bishops were content, for the moment, to make do with raising questions and expressing concerns. Even so, it is clear that many would like to seek outright condemnation.
“We are on the brink of war,” declared Bishop Walter F. Sullivan of Richmond, Va., “and I think we have to be very, very clear that all of us are against the war in Iraq. We need to be strong. We need to be forceful and not equivocate.”
-Robert S. Dudney
|UN Weapons Inspectors Enter Baghdad
Chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix and a 30-member support team entered Baghdad Nov. 18 to begin, once again, the process of checking the status of Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Blix, who was to leave Nov. 20, outlined the process at a meeting with reporters Nov. 15. He said the support team would remain to set up operations for the inspection team. The first group of inspectors is slated to arrive in Iraq Nov. 25 and begin inspections Nov. 27.
The inspectors have 60 days, said Blix, to update the UN Security Council.
On Dec. 8, Iraq is supposed to submit a declaration of its Weapons of Mass Destruction to the UN.
“When [the declaration] gets here [UN headquarters], we will have all of our people analyzing it and comparing it with the knowledge we have from the past,” said Blix. It will serve as an important basis for verification, he said.
Blix added that inspectors will not make the call about what constitutes a material breach of the UN’s tough new resolution. Instead, he said, “We will report factually on what has happened, and then it is for the Security Council to assess.”
|Pacifist Professor Feels Blowback From Comments
A professor at Saint Xavier University wound up in hot water for accusing USAF of “baby-killing tactics,” among other things.
Peter N. Kirstein, 56, taught for 28 years at the small Catholic college in Chicago. In November, he received an e-mail from an Air Force Academy cadet seeking help publicizing a campus event. He fired back by calling the cadet a “disgrace to this country.”
The college subsequently received thousands of angry calls, prompting Kirstein and President Richard A. Yanikoski to issue apologies and clarifying remarks. Kirstein was publicly rebuked and disciplined.
Below are the relevant statements:
1. Text of Kirstein’s E-Mail to Cadet
You are a disgrace to this country and I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby-killing tactics of collateral damage. Help you recruit. Who, top guns to reign [sic] death and destruction upon nonwhite peoples throughout the world? Are you serious sir? Resign your commission and serve your country with honour.
No war, no air force cowards who bomb countries with AAA, without possibility of retaliation. You are worse than the snipers. You are imperialists who are turning the whole damn world against us. September 11 can be blamed in part for what you and your cohorts have done to Palestinians, the VC, the Serbs, a retreating army at Basra.
You are unworthy of my support.
Peter N. Kirstein,
Professor of History,
Saint Xavier University
2. Kirstein’s Subsequent Explanation
I would like to apologize to every person who is offended, burdened, distracted and hurt by my e-mail to an Air Force Academy cadet. My e-mail, while motivated from a pacifist perspective, was not professional in tone and totally at variance with my usual interaction with students and colleagues.
I am opposed to war and the use of violence in resolving international conflicts while understanding many believe it is appropriate as a last resort. I believe pacifism is a noble calling and should be part of the national dialogue concerning war, peace, and justice. I recognize individuals who serve in the military deserve respect both for their service and their viewpoints. It is wrong for me or anyone to blame an individual serving in the military when the debate is over national policy. I know as a member of the academic profession that one should be respectful and not disparage a person without careful examination of fact. I have paid a great price for my lapses and I have learned from my errors. …
I deeply regret the hurtful way I communicated to the cadet and it will never happen again.
Peter N. Kirstein, Ph.D.
3. The President’s Statement
Richard A. Yanikoski, Ph.D.
President, Saint Xavier University
November 15, 2002
During recent weeks Saint Xavier University has attracted national attention because a tenured professor of history sent a young Air Force Academy cadet some e-mail containing inflammatory, anti-military comments. Professor Peter N. Kirstein, an avowed pacifist, quickly apologized to the cadet and to the Air Force Academy for his e-mail message, but in the meantime thousands of other interested parties have taken offense.
From the beginning of this incident, Saint Xavier University has worked to achieve four objectives: (1) to make things right with the cadet and the Air Force Academy; (2) to respond compassionately to the anger and anguish aroused in so many quarters; (3) to counsel and discipline Professor Kirstein in appropriate ways; and (4) to ensure that teaching and learning at the University will continue unimpeded.
The following actions have been or will be taken to make things right with the cadet and the Air Force Academy: (1) Professor Kirstein sent a personal apology to the cadet and to the Air Force Academy. Subsequent correspondence between them has been open and respectful. (2) The University extended an official apology to the Academy’s Superintendent, and as president of the University, I have agreed to accept an invitation to visit the Academy within the coming year. (3) Saint Xavier University will send a delegation to the Air Force Academy’s upcoming Academic Assembly. (4) Campus officials have attempted to respond to all cadets, parents, and members of the Academy staff who telephoned or wrote to the University. Any omissions in this regard have been unintentional.
To respond compassionately to the large number of men and women who somehow received copies of Professor Kirstein’s e-mail and thereby came to feel demeaned by his intemperate criticisms of the military, the University has done the following: (1) Faculty, staff, and administrators throughout the University have fielded telephone calls during the past two weeks, in each case listening sensitively to complaints and advice. (2) We answered hundreds of e-mail messages personally, until the rising volume of correspondence made individual responses impossible. (3) We cooperated with the press in an ongoing effort to ensure accurate and responsible coverage. (4) We used web-page updates to summarize the University’s response to this emerging situation. (5) We consistently admitted that Professor Kirstein’s e-mail message was unwarranted and unbecoming a scholar.
By far the topic of greatest interest to most people has been the University’s response to Professor Kirstein. After careful deliberation, I have decided to take the following actions on behalf of the University:
1. Effective on the afternoon of November 11, 2002, Professor Kirstein was relieved of his teaching responsibilities for the current semester and reassigned to other duties.
2. An administrative reprimand will be delivered to Professor Kirstein and placed in his personnel file.
3. While on sabbatical leave during the spring semester of 2003, Professor Kirstein will submit his teaching, scholarship, professional development, and service record to peer evaluation within the norms of the University’s procedures for periodic review of tenured faculty. Professor Kirstein volunteered to have this review conducted earlier than it otherwise would have been.
4. Any future faculty contract(s) extended to Professor Kirstein will include a binding addendum specifically requiring him to adhere both to institutional policies and to the norms of the American Association of University Professors in matters relating to the proper exercise of academic freedom and extramural activities.
No additional information will be released by the University with respect to the above actions or other personnel matters concerning Professor Peter Kirstein. This is in accord with University practice.
Professor Kirstein and the University community deeply regret the incident that began this chain of events. Saint Xavier University remains committed to the pursuit of teaching and learning in a campus community where all are treated with respect, caring and justice and where academic freedom is enjoyed for purpose of promoting quality teaching, careful research, critical analysis, thoughtful discussion, and programs of direct service to metropolitan Chicago and beyond.
- The Senate confirmed Gen. James L. Jones Jr. as commander of US European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander. Jones, who will be the first Marine to hold the positions, will replace USAF Gen. Joseph W. Ralston in January. Gen. (sel.) Michael Hagee is to replace Jones as Marine Corps Commandant.
- The Air Force Academy is looking for a logo and motto for its 50th anniversary celebrations, slated to start April 1, 2004, and continue to 2009. Submissions are due by Jan. 31. They can be mailed to HQ USAFA/PA, 2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 320, USAF Academy, CO 80840 or e-mailed to email@example.com.
- On Nov. 4, Air Combat Command said improper maintenance procedures were the primary cause of a May 15 B-2 mishap that injured five airmen at Whiteman AFB, Mo. A B-2 bomber collapsed when one of the five maintenance personnel working on it “improperly removed a landing gear safety pin and then pushed the locking assembly into an unsafe position,” said an ACC report. “Without hydraulic power, the aircraft collapsed under its own weight.”
- On Oct. 30, DOD recognized three Air Force units at its annual maintenance awards ceremony. They were: 354th Fighter Wing (large unit category), Eielson AFB, Alaska, 18th Maintenance Squadron (medium unit), Kadena AB, Japan, and 510th Fighter Squadron (small unit), Aviano AB, Italy.
- An accident report released by Air Combat Command Nov. 6, on the March 30 breakaway of an Air Force surveillance aerostat from its tether near Rio Grande City, Tex., said high winds, turbulence, and sharp object damage were the cause. The aerostat drifted more than 300 miles before coming to rest on private land near Burnet, Tex. Along the way, the remains of its tether damaged power lines, interrupting power in several Texas counties. Crews had tried to recover the aerostat after a sudden windstorm developed. The aerostat is used for counternarcotics surveillance.
- Northrop Grumman announced Nov. 7 that it had received a $34.2 million contract from USAF for the first phase of the B-2 pathfinder program, a multiyear effort to design and integrate a new radar antenna on the stealth bomber.
- Capt. Elizabeth M. Tandy, a dentist at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Tex., won the nation’s highest graduate research award for periodontology–the Balint Orban Memorial Research Award from the American Academy of Periodontology. Her research focused on how estrogen can affect bone cells and how those cells adapt to a periodontal implant surface.
- The last C-5 aircraft had a Traffic Collision Avoidance System installed on Oct. 31, according to program officials at the Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The TCAS is part of an overall upgrade program designed to keep the giant transport flying until 2040, said Lt. Col. Darrel R. Watsek, the C-5 Avionics Modernization Program manager.
- Moody Air Force Base in Georgia received its first T-38C with modified ejectors, engines, and inlets last month. Officials said these propulsion modernization upgrades will extend the life of the T-38 through the year 2020. More than 500 aircraft and 1,200 engines will be modified.
- USAF recently selected 561 senior master sergeants for promotion to chief master sergeant. The selection board considered a total of 2,815 individuals and promoted 19.93 percent, said officials. The rate of selection is significantly above the objective of 13 percent. Last year’s rate was 20.06 percent.
- Pentagon officials said high-level defense consultations with China are slated to resume this month after a two-year lull following the incident between a Chinese fighter aircraft and a US Navy EP-3 surveillance aircraft.
- The Navy’s F/A-18E Super Hornet made its first combat appearance in early November, according to US Central Command officials. The fighter participated in coalition strikes against Iraqi surface-to-air missile systems and a command-and-control communications facility in response to attacks by Iraqi forces on coalition aircraft covering the no-fly zone in southern Iraq. The Super Hornet flew from USS Abraham Lincoln.
- North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms, who spent 30 years in the Senate, received the DOD Medal for Distinguished Public Service from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a ceremony Oct. 30. The citation reads: “For exceptionally distinguished service over three decades in the US Senate and as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1995 to 2001. From his service in the Navy during World War II, to his service in the US Senate, Jesse Helms has been a devoted friend and determined advocate for the men and women of America’s Armed Forces.”
- USAF accident investigators determined that human error caused the May 17 crash of an RQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle during Operation Enduring Freedom. An Oct. 30 report said that the incorrect assembly of the right tail plane control servo by the manufacturer was the sole cause of the accident. No one was injured.
- Air Force Capt. Christopher Juarez won the 27th annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27. His time was 2:25:01. Juarez is a contracting officer at Nellis AFB, Nev. This was his third time to run in the event, which, this year, had more than 14,600 runners.
- The Air Force Team, including Juarez, won the Armed Forces Marathon Championship by 50 seconds. Individual scores of a team’s top three men and the team’s top woman are added to determine the championship team. In addition to Juarez, the team’s top finishers were Maj. Mark Cucuzzella (2:34:46) of Buckley AFB, Colo., Maj. Jon Scheonberg (2:40:00) of Ft. Meade, Md., and Capt. Brenda Schrank (3:04:39) of Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.
- Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V 500 series solid rocket motor built by Aerojet successfully test fired Oct. 30. The first Atlas V 500 version is scheduled to launch next year. The first Atlas V 400 series successfully launched Aug. 21, 2002.
- Air Force reservists who serve on active duty in a combat zone on or after Nov. 11, 1998, may qualify for VA medical benefits, according to Air Force Reserve Command. For most conditions, eligible members receive two years of free VA medical care from the date of discharge from active duty. Veterans who served in combat before Nov. 11, 1998, must prove that a medical problem is connected to their military service, or they must have relatively low incomes to receive free care for that condition. Locations of VA facilities may be found online at www.va.gov or by calling 1-877-222-8387.
- An RQ-1 Predator UAV crashed into the side of a mountain in the Nevada Test and Training Range near Indian Springs AFAF, Nev., on Oct. 25. The Predator, from the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron, was on a training mission. There were no injuries.
- DOD’s Federal Employees Health Benefits Program Demonstration Project ends Dec. 31. Beginning Jan. 1, 2003, demonstration project beneficiaries will resume coverage under Tricare, said officials. Congress mandated the FEHBP demonstration for three years. The Tricare Management Activity planned to mail information about future health care options to all demonstration participants. They may also call 1-877-363-3342 or go online at www.tricare.osd.mil/fehbp for more information.
- Next year, the Navy is moving its weapons training from Vieques, Puerto Rico, to Florida, following a wave of protests on the use of Vieques after a civilian security guard was killed by an errant bomb in 1999. The Navy plans to use ranges at sea and at bases on both Florida coasts for its exercises.
- In late October, Russia declassified its defense budget for the first time, revealing a significant increase in military spending. The 2003 budget calls for about $10.9 billion, with some 35 percent of that to be spent on weapons. For comparison, Russia’s defense budget in 2001 was calculated at roughly $7 billion, and this year at $9 billion.
- On Oct. 30, Australia and the US signed an agreement for Australian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program. Australia is the eighth partner in the program. It will invest $150 million in program development costs, thus gaining the right for its contractors to compete on the program.
- USAF’s latest remedy for airfield bird and other wildlife problems is a dog. At least two Air Force bases, Little Rock AFB, Ark., and Dover AFB, Del., are using working dogs to help deter wildlife from crossing onto their airfields. Little Rock recently leased Colin, a two-year-old border Collie, for one year. Airmen take Colin around the flight line three times a day or when needed to address a specific threat. The dog urinates in areas where he detects the scent of other animals. It appears to be working.
- In an Air Combat Command report released Oct. 23, investigators found that a design flaw in a high-frequency antenna assembly caused $5 million in damages to an E-4B aircraft May 13. A KC-135 boom operator refueling the E-4B noticed the antenna lashing the rear portion of the fuselage. The E-4B returned to its base at Offutt AFB, Neb., without incident, but the aircraft had sustained extensive damage to its tail, crown skin panels, and windows.
- For the first time DOD presented its Distinguished Civilian Service Award to a civilian below the grade of GS-15. In a presentation Oct. 23, Isaiah Ravenel, GS-11, chief of Det. 2, Air Postal Squadron, Yokota AB, Japan, and Sarah Tuckett, GS-14, chief of professional staff management at Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, received DOD’s highest civilian service award.
- DOD announced successful deployment of its new regionalized human resource system–the Defense Civilian Personnel Data System. It reached full operational capability earlier this year, completing a phased deployment begun in 1999. According to DOD, DCPDS is the largest known automated human resources system in the world. It encompasses more than 500,000 business rules and 490 database tables containing 5,000 data elements. It can process 1.75 million pay and benefits transaction combinations.
- The 43rd Fighter Squadron, the first F/A-22 squadron, officially stood up at Tyndall AFB, Fla., Oct. 25. The commander is Lt. Col. Jeff Harrigan. Tyndall, the training base for F-15 and F/A-22 fighter pilots, is slated to receive its first F/A-22 in spring 2003.
- Boeing announced on Oct. 25 the opening of the new F/A-22 maintenance training facility at Tyndall. The facility includes five fully automated electronic classrooms and two maintenance training labs.