Ralston Says USAF Committed to JSF
The Air Force is committed to building a Joint Strike Fighter that stays
within existing cost caps, according to Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, vice
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The terms of the service's participation in the JSF effort have become
an issue in the wake of Congressional efforts to derail the F-22 program.
If the air superiority Raptor were to be canceled or drastically scaled
back, the Air Force might have to re-evaluate the JSF, USAF officials
said this fall.
"I have not changed my position that the key to success for our
Tacair modernization program is to build an affordable JSF," Ralston
told a Senate hearing Oct. 27.
Operational requirements for the aircraft are not etched in stone, however,
Ralston pointed out.
"There is still a great deal of work to be done to determine the
proper statement of requirements," he told the hearing, which was
held for the purpose of weighing his nomination to become commander in
chief of US European Command.
Loss of the F-22 could affect the JSF because it is not currently configured
to shine in the air superiority role for which the Raptor is intended.
Adding air-to-air capability to the JSF could be expensive, particularly
as the Air Force intends to buy more than 1,700 of the aircraft. "We
need both aircraft," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael E. Ryan
told an Oct. 26 Congressional hearing.
Class A Accidents Decline in 1999
Fiscal 1999 was one of the safest years on record for US military aviation,
according to just-released statistics. The Class A accident rate for
the year was 1.58 mishaps per 100,000 flight hours. That represents a
4 percent reduction from 1998's figure of 1.64, according to the Department
In addition, the five-year Class A crash rate is 25 percent lower than
the previous five-year rate.
The military lost 43 people and 55 airplanes to crashes during Fiscal
1999. The Air Force's 12-month cumulative Class A rate was 1.40.
"Even one accident is one too many, and I continue to advocate
continuous improvement until we reach a goal of zero accidents, occupational
illnesses, and fires," said Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen.
The most dangerous item of equipment for military personnel remains
their own automobiles. Vehicle crashes accounted for 280 deaths in 1999,
up from 249 in Fiscal 1998.
Airborne Laser Backers Fight Cuts
A DoD-proposed cut of $258 million in the Airborne Laser Program budget
could end up costing the Air Force upward of $700 million in increased
costs for the anti-missile weapon, say ABL proponents.
A letter to Secretary of Defense Cohen, signed by 20 senators, said
it was likely that the move would both raise final costs and slip the
program's schedule by up to two years.
"While we understand the financial constraints under which you
are operating, we oppose changing the ABL's schedule for any reason other
than unforeseen technological problems," said the letter.
The Air Force Association urged Cohen to back away from the proposed
cut. AFA said the ABL was "among the most promising" of the
Defense Department's ballistic missile defense efforts.
"ABL is the only boost-phase missile defense program," AFA
National President Thomas J. McKee said in a Nov. 9 letter to Cohen. "In
comparison with other programs, the cost of ABL is extremely modest.
But the effect of the proposed cut is not. It will disrupt a program
that was just restructured last year and possibly delay deployment for
up to two more years. Missile defense is an urgent national priority."
Two Army Divisions Rated Unfit for Major
A classified evaluation that became public in early November showed
that two of the Army's 10 combat divisions have been rated as unready
for major theater war.
It marked the first time in at least seven years that an Army division
had received such a C-4 readiness rating. The units in question are the
10th Mountain Division, Ft. Drum, N.Y., and the 1st Infantry Division,
headquartered in Germany.
The main reason for the low rating is that both units have at least
one brigade serving peacekeeping duty in the Balkans. Rating them unready
may be something of a political statement by Army leaders looking for
relief from the expense and strain on personnel of continual deployments.
"The commanders have lowered readiness assessments out of concern
that they may be unable to disengage from the Balkans, retrain, and redeploy
forces in time to meet their major theater war requirement deployment
dates, as specified in current war plans," said a senior Defense
official at a Pentagon briefing Nov. 10.
None of the other divisions received the highest rating, C-1. All were
rated C-2 in the monthly report, said an Army official.
The problem goes to the heart of a balancing act that all the services
now undertake, said a Defense official. How do commanders weigh the need
to maintain an edge for heavy combat vs. the demands of peacekeeping
and humanitarian duty?
"Clearly, we've got more complex issues of how we train to be ready
for the high end as well as the low end, of which we've deployed about
45 times in the last nine years on the low end," said the official.
Peters Details Philosophy of EAF
Now that the first two Aerospace Expeditionary Forces have been assembled
and deployed in part to Southwest Asia, Secretary of the Air Force F.
Whitten Peters thinks it is a good time to promote the Expeditionary
Aerospace Force gospel throughout the US military.
It is important to emphasize that "EAF is a journey, not an end
state," he said in a commentary released in early November.
By that, Peters means that the new way of organizing is not just one
event. "It is a completely different way of looking at how we do
our business," his commentary said.
The establishment of new training courses for both young enlisted members
and young officers shows the type of change in thinking Peters wants
in the service in regards to EAFs. Warrior Week during basic military
training at Lackland AFB, Texas, and the Aerospace Basic Course at Maxwell
AFB, Ala., will both get new personnel thinking about the Air Force as
an expeditionary force able to respond to crises around the globe.
By spreading around the responsibility for deployments, AEFs should
make life better in the Air Force-Peters' self-proclaimed No. 1 priority
"The EAF will also lessen the high work levels at home stations
by putting enough manning on our bases to do the work, even when units
are deployed," wrote Peters.
Implementation of the concept won't be pretty at first, the Secretary
admitted. But the experience of Operation Allied Force, in which the
US Air Force deployed to 20 bases with seeming effortlessness, shows
that it can succeed. In the Kosovo crisis USAF personnel transformed
facilities with no US infrastructure into fully operational bases within
hours or days.
"The initial AEFs include many men and women who have been involved
in Kosovo and other operations this year," wrote Peters. "It
is not ideal to ask these men and women to leave again so quickly, but
it is essential if we are to find a long-lasting solution for optempo
The mind-set of the Air Force can't be changed without the hard work
and support and feedback of everyone in the organization, he noted.
"I need the help of all Air Force members to get the word out about
EAF. I need them to take time to understand the vision and our goals," wrote
Group Warns About Missile Defense Effort
The Pentagon's effort to develop an anti-missile system remains at "high
risk" of failure, according to a new report by a group of civilian
experts and retired military personnel headed by former Air Force Chief
of Staff Gen. Larry D. Welch.
Delays in testing and development have pushed the program hard up against
politically imposed time deadlines, said the Welch report, which echoed
earlier criticisms of the program made by the same group in early 1998.
While a prototype interceptor successfully hit an incoming re-entry
vehicle over the Pacific in October, as yet no tests have attempted to
integrate the entire anti-missile system, noted the report. Only two
exercises that tie together the interceptors, radars, and controlling
computer systems are scheduled before next summer, when President Clinton
is supposed to decide whether to go ahead with deployment of something
that will cost upward of $10 billion.
Furthermore, the program remains fragmented, with different parts of
the military pursuing their own parts of the pie, noted the report. This
has occurred despite some progress made since Boeing was hired to oversee
"Instead of unusual clarity, there is unusual fragmentation and
confusion about authority and responsibility," said the study.
Defenders of the program admitted that some technological criticism
was in order, but the context of a dangerous world means that the US
needs to forge ahead.
"We don't have the luxury of time," said Sen. Thad Cochran
(R-Miss.), an anti-missile system proponent. "Because of the threat,
we have no choice but to accept a high-risk program."
Shinseki and the
On July 28, with
the F-22 under assault in the House, all six
members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sent a
letter to senior lawmakers expressing support
for USAF's new fighter.
Rumors have circulated-sometimes in print-that the Army Chief of Staff,
Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, signed only under duress, after prolonged "arm-twisting" by,
among others, Gen. Michael E. Ryan, the Air Force Chief of Staff, Army
Gen. Henry H. Shelton, the JCS Chairman, and William S. Cohen, the Secretary
At a Nov. 10 session of the Defense Writers Group in Washington, Shinseki
told this story:
Q: Were you politicized by having
to sign the F-22 letter? ... Were you forced
into doing something that wouldn't be natural
because you are not in charge of threat
assessments or the F-22 or other aircraft?
Shinseki: First of all, the call
was not initiated by Mike Ryan and certainly
not by the Chairman or by the SecDef. There
was some description of yelling or screaming
or some indication that there was great
disagreement. There wasn't. The letter
came down, asking for my support on F-22,
and I called General Ryan and I said I
don't know enough about the F-22 to sign
this letter; I am not going to sign it.
No one has made the effort to come down
and educate me, but I'd be happy to be
I said I would call the Chairman and inform him that I had taken this
position, and I did, and the Chairman encouraged me to take the briefing
offered by the Air Force. I did, and it really was about technology and
the technologies associated with the F-22 that the Air Force desired
and felt was important for a joint contributor to the warfight, and then
I agreed to sign the letter. I didn't sign up necessarily to whatever
numbers are involved here, but it was my agreement that the technology
Q: Who did initiate asking you to
sign the letter?
Shinseki: I think it did come down,
as I recall, from Mike Ryan's office.
Q: But not Mike Ryan himself?
Shinseki: No. The letter showed
up. It was carried in, and I was asked
to sign it, and I called him and, after
reading the letter, said, "Look, I
am not going to sign it, I am not prepared
to sign it at this point," and that
started the follow-up to that.
Q: It wasn't from Secretary Cohen
or the White House?
Shinseki: In fact, I had never talked
to Secretary Cohen or anybody at the White
House. That was one chief to another, and
I responded, and, in deference to him,
because I was disagreeing with another
member of the Joint Chiefs, I told him
I would call the Chairman and inform him
that I had taken that position, as a courtesy
to the Chairman.
Q: To follow up, for the historian,
was there arm-twisting?
Shinseki: In terms of, "Sign
it," no. No arm-twisting involved.
Congress Gets DoD Report on Reserve Health
On Nov. 8, Secretary of Defense Cohen sent Congress a study of National
Guard and Reserve health benefits and entitlements that recommends sweeping
changes to ensure that America's part-time military members get the care
Reservists are an increasingly important part of the Total Force, and
they are increasingly called upon to put themselves in harm's way. Yet
medical policies for the Guard and Reserve were established long before
today's era of regional scenarios and humanitarian aid airlifts.
"The findings of this report are compelling and important because
the changed nature of today's Total Force requires a new approach to
providing medical care to our reservists," said Cohen. "At
the core of this new approach is the notion that performance of duty,
not length of duty, establishes risk and exposure to harm."
That means the military should change to make sure it will treat injury
or illness sustained in the line of duty, regardless of the duty status
in which the individual was serving at the time.
Among the report's 14 recommendations:
Congress should vote into law or DoD should write into regulations specifically
what constitutes "incurring" or "aggravating" an
injury, illness, or disease in the "line of duty."
DoD should be able to place a Guardsman or Reservist who is injured
or becomes ill during inactive duty training on active duty for the period
of treatment or recovery.
DoD should be able to waive or reduce Tricare annual deductibles for
the dependents of reservists ordered to active duty for less than one
year in support of a contingency operation.
The dental care options available to Guardsmen and Reservists should
The report is part of a three-year effort to reassess reserve component
health care issues. It was produced by the Offices of the Assistant Secretaries
of Defense for Reserve Affairs and for Health Affairs.
Airman's Death Brings Training Changes
The Air Force on Nov. 24 released a report of the investigation into
the death of Amn. Micah J. Schindler, citing the cause of death as heatstroke
complicated by overhydration.
At the same time, Air Force officials recommended changes of procedures
in basic training.
Schindler died Sept. 12, two days after he became seriously ill near
the end of a 5.8-mile field march during basic military training at Lackland
Air Force medical experts sought out recent studies on the subject of
water intoxication and excessive water consumption. Water intoxication
and the resulting low blood sodium levels lead to an increased tendency
for internal organs, such as the brain and lungs, to rapidly absorb the
excess water and swell. This phenomenon played a critical role in the
death of Schindler, according to the investigation.
The investigating officer's recommendation for procedural changes include:
- Increased instruction on heat-related illness symptoms
and the risks of overhydration.
- Better procedures to help training instructors
and medical personnel monitor the medical status
- Increased efforts to encourage trainees to identify
personal or fellow trainees' problems and automatic
removal from field exercises for trainees with certain
In addition, the Air Force will move the 5.8-mile march to a time earlier
in the day, part of scheduling changes for Warrior Week training.
Will the Real F-22s
Please Stand Up?
USAF will acquire
six F-22 fighters with funds provided by Congress
in the Fiscal 2000 budget. But what kind of
fighters will they be: Test aircraft? Production
The answer isn't clear, given the way Congress recast the program, delaying
a production decision but continuing with the construction of air vehicles.
Note, for example, a Nov. 17 Air Force News story containing this statement
by Maj. Gen. Claude M. Bolton Jr., program executive officer for fighter
and bomber programs:
"These six airplanes will be operational test and evaluation airplanes,
because they come from research and development funds, but they will be production
airplanes. ... You won't be able to tell the difference between what that aircraft
will look like in a year or two, vice what it was going to look like before we
had to change the 'color' of money."
AMC Chief Expresses Concern for Future
The Department of Defense is currently revising its airlift requirements
with an eye on the importance of mobility assets to future regional conflicts
and humanitarian aid scenarios.
However, the commander of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Charles T. Robertson
Jr., worries that new transport airplanes will not come fast enough and
may not make up a big enough fleet to meet all the nation's needs.
"I wonder when we get to the end of that road whether it will be
enough?" Robertson said at a House Armed Services readiness subcommittee
appearance on Oct. 26. Robertson also is commander in chief of US Transportation
The planned purchase of 134 C-17s to replace 270 C-141s is all well
and good, but tonnage capacity is not the same as airlift capability,
he warned. While the new C-17s will be able to carry about the same weight
of cargo as the C-141s they replace, the obvious fact that there are
fewer of them will limit airlift flexibility.
"In other words, 134 C-17s can only be in half as many places as
270 C-141s," he said.
The planned C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program could
help. It will be a long time coming, however-if it comes at all.
"Even if we succeed, ... we will not see [C-5 mission capable]
rates rise significantly until 2005," said the TRANSCOM chief.
The C-5's current mission capable rate is about 58 percent, Robertson
Cohen Says Housing, Health Care Need Work
Now that Congress has raised the military's pay, housing and health
care loom as the two biggest issues for service members, according to
the Secretary of Defense.
Improving these areas is important, because even with the raises provided
by the FY 2000 defense authorization act "we can't possibly pay
what the private sector can pay and will pay," said Secretary of
Defense Cohen at a Nov. 2 conference in Washington.
Things are getting better, Cohen hastened to add. The new pay scales,
plus changes in the retirement system, have already made a difference
"We've seen in the most recent weeks some change in the attitude
and willingness to re-enlist," he said. "Whether this will
be enough to sustain that remains another question."
In his travels to installations around the country, the biggest complaints
Cohen now hears are about the Tricare health care system, he said. Many
people are not satisfied with the system and its perceived inefficiencies
and long lines.
"This is something we have to come to grips with," he admitted.
Housing is second on the new complaint list. DoD is trying to leverage
its housing money via a new program that attracts six or seven private
dollars per DoD dollar for housing projects, said Cohen.
He praised the new Air Force Aerospace Expeditionary Force concept as
a way to provide more stability in military life. But more than stability
will be needed to attract recruits in today's economy, he said.
DoD must change its recruiting message, said the Secretary.
"The mere fact that we say we'll pay for your college education
frankly is not a big seller today. ... We need to have advertising appeal
to young peoples' patriotism, to show them what military life can and
should be," he said.
Kosovo Air Boss Finds Fault With France
The NATO air campaign against Serbia began too slowly, and political
considerations increased the risks run by US and allied pilots, a top
USAF general told a Senate panel Oct. 21.
Lt. Gen. Michael C. Short, commander of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe
and head of USAFE's 16th Air Force, was particularly critical of France.
Certain targets that French leaders did not want the alliance to strike
were deemed off limits at the outset of the campaign, he said. To guard
against collateral damage as much as possible, sensitive sites such as
bridges could be bombed only at times of day when civilians were least
likely to be near.
Yet France contributed only 8 percent of Operation Allied Force's sorties,
said Short, who acknowledged that he was being perhaps impolitic with
his remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Allied Force should have more closely resembled Desert Storm, said Short,
with a heavy punch aimed at the heart of the Serb regime in the first
moments of conflict.
F-22 Testing Progresses
During a November sortie by Raptor 4002, the F-22 test program passed
its 433rd flight hour. That accumulated time represents 10 percent of
the program's planned flight testing-an important milestone of development.
Historically, most major design or performance flaws in jet aircraft
have surfaced by this point in the test regime. So far, the F-22 has
suffered no such problems, say program officials.
Earlier in the fall, the F-22 contractor team successfully completed
engine runs on Raptor 4003. The runs, which included generator checks
and environmental control system flow checks, checked off one more of
the nine major steps the F-22 had to take last year before the Pentagon
will consider putting the airplane in low-rate production.
"Only one more [Defense Acquisition Board] criterion to go-delivery
of the F-22's Block 2 software to the program's flying test bed-and we
will have completed all DAB criteria for 1999," F-22 program director
Maj. Gen. Michael C. Mushala said Oct. 22.
DAB goals surpassed last year included flight at Mach 1.5 without use
of afterburners, flight at greater than 60 degrees angle of attack, and
initial radar cross section full-scale pole model testing.
Cohen Addresses Anthrax Questions
The current effort to vaccinate all US military personnel against anthrax
should not be equated with the Pentagon's use of Pyridostigmine Bromide
as an anti-nerve gas shot during the Gulf War, said Secretary of Defense
Cohen on Oct. 20.
The Pentagon has released a Rand report that says there could be a connection
between PB and unexplained Gulf War illnesses. Hot, stressful conditions
might cause the brain to absorb damaging amounts of the substance, Rand
researchers speculated. More study is needed, because current information
is inconclusive, said the study.
Yet growing worry over the first vaccination effort should not be allowed
to sow doubts about the current one, insisted the Defense Department
chief at a press conference in the United Arab Emirates.
"What we have to do is make the best possible policy judgements," said
Cohen. "Given the potential for our forces to be exposed to an anthrax
threat, which is one of the most deadly they could encounter, it would
be irresponsible not to insist they be properly protected."
At the time it was dispensed to some 250,000 US troops, PB was not fully
licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. But it was the only available
protection against soman, a deadly nerve gas that US intelligence suspected
had been passed to Iraq by Soviet officials in previous years.
The anthrax vaccine, by contrast, has been in use by civilians since
the 1970s, when the FDA approved its use. Its flu-like side effects are
mostly mild and dissipate.
"In order to show that I believe absolutely in the safety, in the
veracity, of the vaccine, I've had six of the vaccine injections to date," said
The jury remains out on PB as well, officials said.
"Given the deadliness of soman and the lack of other treatments
available, we certainly cannot rule out using PB to protect our forces
in the future," Sue Bailey, assistant secretary of defense for health
affairs, said Oct. 19 at the Pentagon.
Tricare To Get Patient Advocates
Over the next eight months Tricare patients will get someone new to
watch over their quality of care-beneficiary counseling and assistance
These patient advocates will be added to the staffs of Tricare lead
agent offices and military treatment facilities due to a push from the
FY 2000 defense authorization act. The regional positions will likely
be filled with full-time employees, while the clinic and hospital level
slots will be filled with part-time workers, Dave Bartley of the Tricare
Management Activity told a Tricare Communications and Customer Service
conference Nov. 3.
The new offices will be a "buck stops here" locale, said Bartley.
Once patients go there with a question or concern, they should not have
to look any further for someone who can provide them with answers.
Patients with questions should continue to first contact their local
health benefits advisors at clinics and hospitals.
A Marine Takes
the Helm at Air and Space
Gen. John R. Dailey,
USMC (Ret.), former assistant commandant of
the Marine Corps and recently an associate
deputy administrator of NASA, was named Nov.
24 as director of the Smithsonian's National
Air and Space Museum.
His appointment, announced by Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman,
will take effect in January.
Dailey succeeds retired Vice Adm. Donald D. Engen, who was killed in
a glider accident last July. Engen served as director of the museum for
three years, coming in after the departure of Martin O. Harwit, who had
embroiled NASM in a major controversy over its Enola Gay exhibition.
The new director came to NASA in 1992, following retirement after 36
years of service in the US Marine Corps.
Heyman said, "We selected Jack Dailey from a very strong field of
candidates. He is a most impressive individual, and even more impressive
is the confidence and admiration he has earned throughout the air and
space community. The responses we received to our inquiries were simply
astounding. He will continue the strong, dedicated leadership that we
have come to expect at Air and Space. We look forward to an exciting
future as the museum continues to grow and reach out to new audiences
on The Mall and at the planned Dulles Center."
Dailey is a pilot with more than 6,000 hours in aircraft and helicopter
flight. During two tours in Vietnam, he flew 450 combat missions.
US To Beef Up Kuwait Infrastructure
The US will upgrade its air and army bases in Kuwait and establish a
permanent land force headquarters in that strategic Gulf ally, a senior
defense official said Oct. 23.
The official was accompanying Secretary of Defense Cohen on his fall
swing through the Middle East region.
The official said Kuwait is supportive of the move, which is slated
to get done over the next several years.
Ali al-Salim AB, just south of the border with Iraq, will be upgraded
to support more aircraft and store more pre-positioned aviation equipment.
Currently the facility there is dedicated mainly to 12 British Tornado
strike aircraft and some US helicopters.
Al Jaber AB, south of Kuwait City, will become a logistics hub. Currently
it is the main US Air Force installation for airplanes that patrol the
no-fly zone in southern Iraq.
Meanwhile, Camp Doha, site of pre-positioned US ground force equipment,
will be modernized to provide command-and-control capability for an Army
Cost of the projects is an estimated $193 million.
X-33 May Not Fly as Planned in 2000
The NASA/Lockheed Martin X-33 reusable launch vehicle prototype will
likely not take to the skies in a test flight during 2000. Damage to
a liquid hydrogen tank incurred during a recent exercise will likely
push first flight into 2001, officials said in early November.
The composite tank structure apparently failed as it warmed, following
a liquid hydrogen fill test Nov. 3. The test included both filling the
tank and subjecting it to some of the stresses it would undergo prior
to an actual test flight.
The starboard and port liquid hydrogen tanks will form an integral part
of the X-33 structure. Their fill tests are one of the most demanding
hurdles that the program will have to surmount before first test flight.
Hot fire tests of the craft's unique linear aerospike engine are also
likely to be challenging, officials said.
Return of the
Maj. Gen. Vladimir
Dvorkin, head of Russia's strategic missile
research institute, thinks he knows why the
US has moved toward approving a limited National
Missile Defense system. The impetus comes not
from legitimate concern about a rogue or inadvertent
missile strike, said the general, but from
pressure put on by greedy Star Wars military
Dvorkin developed the Sovietstyle interpretation of events in the
Dec. 1 issue of the military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda.
His words: "One can only assume the main reason [for the American
effort] is not threats but satisfying the interests of militaryindustrial
sectors connected to ABM [Anti-Ballistic Missile systems] and of financial
groups. ... Since there has been a considerable blockage in implementing
the Star Wars program, it is necessary to clear the blockage and secure
Plans call for President Clinton next summer to decide whether to order
the Pentagon to push ahead with deployment of a thin NMD system capable
of coping with a relative handful of incoming warheads.
CALCMs To Be Fitted With Hard-Target
USAF awarded Boeing a three-year, $40 million contract to add a penetrating
warhead capability to 50 of Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles,
the company said in a Nov. 29 statement.
Boeing is on contract to convert 322 nuclear Air Launched Cruise Missiles
to non-nuclear CALCM AGM-86C Block 1 and Block 1A configurations. Under
the latest deal, the last 50 conversions will be to the new AGM-86D hard-target
penetrating warhead configuration.
Boeing's statement said the Seattlebased firm will select either
Lockheed Martin's advanced unitary penetrator or the Britishdesigned
multiple warhead system. Both warhead variants have undergone a series
of tests at Eglin AFB, Fla.
The first Block 1 CALCMs were delivered to the Air Force in early November.
The final AGM-86D missiles will be delivered by mid-2001.
Tough Words for Allies, Rivals
Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.), the Presidential candidate, had
some unvarnished words for America's premier
military allies as well as the world's two
other major powers-Russia and China. In a Dec.
1 speech to the National Jewish Coalition in
Washington, McCain made these points:
Europe: "Our allies are currently spending too little on their own
defense. They are increasingly indifferent to serious problems inherent
in developing a defense identity separate from NATO, and they persist
in avoiding coming to terms with the necessity of forging a mutual defense
against threats to our interests outside Europe. These failings require
immediate improvement, and we must use the forms of persuasion necessary
to do so."
Russia: "The Russian people are now being told by many of their
leaders that democracy and free markets have caused Russia's descent
into chaos. Nothing could be further from the truth. At fault in Russia
is not the failure of free market and democratic principles but rather
their corruption by weak leaders, militant nationals, and greedy profiteers.
For too long, we have indulged systemic dishonesty in Russian politics
and in our relationship in the false hope that time is all that's needed
for Russian leaders to change their country's destiny."
China: "They [China's communist leaders] are determined, indeed
ruthless, defenders of their regime, who will do whatever is necessary,
no matter how inhumane or offensive to us, to pursue their own interest.
... I would not accept a forced reunification with a democratic Taiwan.
I do not think it useful to publicly identify the means by which we would
oppose such aggression, but China must be made to understand that the
use of force would be a very serious mistake in judgment, a serious mistake
with grave consequences."
Navy Squadron Gets First Super Hornets
The US Navy's first F/A-18E/F Super Hornet squadron-VFA-122, based at
NAS Lemoore, Calif.-received its first seven aircraft Nov. 18.
VFA-122 is a fleet readiness squadron, meaning it is responsible for
aircrew and maintenance training. The carrier-based aircraft is scheduled
to become the workhorse of the fleet, replacing earlier model F/A-18
Hornets and F-14 Tomcats. Later, it is to be complemented by the Joint
Until June, the Navy squadron will focus on verifying the Super Hornet
syllabus and qualifying the first group of Super Hornet instructor pilots,
instructor weapon system operators, and maintenance personnel.
The first graduates are destined for the first fleet squadron of operational
Super Hornets. The first fleet deployment is scheduled for spring of
A Fresh Look
at Race and the Military
US armed forces
have made good progress in fighting discrimination
in their ranks in recent decades, but both
white and minority service personnel continue
to differ widely in their views about the current
state of race relations in the ranks.
That is the bottom line of two large equal-opportunity studies released
by the Pentagon on Nov. 23.
Defense officials and others have long portrayed the US military as a
model of integration for US society at large. Thus, they were disappointed
by the mixed picture presented by the surveys, but they vowed that they
would try to act on the less positive aspects of the survey results.
"There is no place for racism in our society," said Secretary of Defense
William S. Cohen at a Pentagon news conference. "There is certainly no place
for it within the military."
The two studies-one a survey of active duty members of the services,
the other an examination of the career progression of minority and female
active duty officers-did find that large majorities of service members
believe racial and ethnic relations in the military are better today
than they were even five years ago.
All of the surveyed groups of service members agreed that the military
handled race relations better than civilian society and that opportunities
were more numerous in the armed services.
Eighty-two percent of white members of the military who responded to
the survey said they had a close friend who is of a different race/ethnicity.
A comparable figure for white civilians is around 60 percent, according
to a 1997 Gallup survey.
However, the surveys pointed up sharp disagreement about the importance
of remaining race problems. Some 17 percent of white respondents felt
that the military has not paid enough attention to racial discrimination
and harassment in the past several years. The corresponding figure for
black personnel was 62 percent. For Hispanics, it was 38 percent.
Minority respondents were more likely to perceive that they had been
punished unfairly due to their race than whites. They also felt that
racial hostility continues to snake throughout the services. Some 71
percent of black officers reported an offensive encounter with another
service member, as opposed to 46 percent of white officers.
In the overall force, 75 percent of blacks and 78 percent of Hispanics
said they had had a racially offensive encounter within DoD in the year
prior to the survey. Surprisingly, 62 percent of whites said they had
had a similar experience.
- The Navy honored USAF's first Vietnamera Medal
of Honor recipient by naming a newly chartered pre-positioning
ship the MV Maj. Bernard F. Fisher. It did so at
an Oct. 15 ceremony at the Military Ocean Terminal,
Sunny Point, N.C. The nation bestowed its highest
military honor on Fisher for his bravery in saving
a fellow downed airman in 1966 at a remote special
forces camp near the Vietnam-Laos border.
- The first operational EGBU-15-an upgraded version
of the TV and IRguided glide bomb-has been
delivered to the Air Force, according to system contractor
Raytheon. The weapon features Global Positioning
System guidance for all-weather capabilities. It
was developed, tested, and delivered in 44 days following
the stellar performance of the GBU-15 in Operation
- The fifth production E-8C Joint STARS radar aircraft
was delivered to the 93rd Air Control Wing, Robins
AFB, Ga., on Oct. 21. The wing is scheduled to receive
three more of the airplanes by the end of Fiscal
2000-doubling the size of the fleet of this important
- On Oct. 29, Air Force Lt. Col. John J. Gomez made
history by taking command of the newly established
Training Squadron 35 at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas.
The ceremony marked the first time a Navy unit has
stood up under the leadership of an Air Force officer,
according to a USAF release. VT-35 will prepare Navy
and Air Force aviators to fly C-130s, P-3s, and other
- Pursuant to the terms of the 1977 Panama Canal
Treaty, Howard AFB, Panama, has been officially handed
over to the Panamanian government, the Air Force
announced Nov. 2. The transfer occurred with the
passing of a ceremonial key from US Ambassador Simon
Ferro to Panama President Mireya Moscoso. It ends
a legacy of 82 years of US airpower in Panama.
- The 126th Air Refueling Wing raised the US flag
over its new home, Scott AFB, Ill., in a special
ceremony Oct. 23. The unit moved from Chicago's O'Hare
IAP/ARS to Scott, as recommended by the Base Realignment
and Closure Commission. The cross-state transfer
resulted in $80 million in new construction at Scott.
- The Defense Department has created a new Web site
that explains the military pay changes taking place
Jan. 1. The "Military Pay and Benefits 2000" site
details the 4.8 percent pay raise scheduled to take
effect in 2000 and covers new retirement options
and housing allowance rules, among other things.
Later this year the site should become interactive,
allowing service personnel to calculate and compare
retirement choices. The Web address is http://pay2000.dtic.mil.
- The US Air Force returned to Vietnam on Nov. 11
when the 353rd Special Operations Group, Kadena AB,
Japan, flew 19 tons of disaster relief aid across
the Pacific to help ease the suffering caused by
the worst Vietnamese flooding in a century. Nearly
22,000 pounds of plastic sheeting, 3,600 blankets,
and 5,000 water containers were among the items that
made up the cargo of two Kadenabased C-130s.
Crew members relied heavily on facial expressions
and hand motions to communicate with the Vietnamese. "It
was a challenge, but once they understood how to
untie cargo straps or stack the pallets, it went
pretty smoothly," said SSgt. Bobby Casey, a
- An Aug. 11 F-16 accident at Kunsan AB, South Korea,
was caused by pilot error, according to an accident
report released in November. Pilot 1st Lt. Marco
Parzych became so focused on flying his aircraft
that he did not hear radio calls of other airplanes
and did not notice that he was about to strike another
- The Air Force selected 502 of 2,855 eligible master
sergeants for promotion to chief master sergeant,
officials announced Nov. 8. That would come out to
a 17.58 percent selection rate for the 99E9 cycle,
well above the TOPCAP (Total Objective Plan for Career
Airmen Personnel) minimum of 13 percent set for chief
master sergeant during the force drawdown.
- On Nov. 2, Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert J. Courter
Jr. was selected to be the next director of the Defense
Commissary Agency. He is currently director of plans
and programs for Air Force Materiel Command.
- The Supply and Transportation Re-engineering Concept
Team from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw AFB, S.C.,
recently was selected as a winner of the 1999 Chief
of Staff Team Excellence Award. The prize recognizes
outstanding performance of teams that use a systematic
approach to improve performance.
- Names of the four winners of the Lance P. Sijan
Air Force Leadership Award were announced Nov. 1.
They are Col. Paul G. Schafer, formerly assigned
to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group, Al Jaber AB,
Kuwait; Capt. Mark T. Daley, 21st Special Operations
Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, UK; SMSgt. Gordon H. Scott,
formerly of the 7th SOS, RAF Mildenhall; and SSgt.
Thomas B. Mazzone, 3rd Aerial Port Squadron, Pope
AFB, N.C. The Sijan prize was created in 1981 to
recognize personnel who demonstrated outstanding
leadership while assigned to wing level and below
- The 55th Wing at Offutt AFB, Neb., received its
15th RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft on Oct. 14. The
addition should ease some of the workload on the
eavesdropping Rivet Joint fleet-one of the highest-demand
assets in the service.
- Almost 66,000 troops from the US and 10 other nations
gathered in Egypt in late October for the biennial
Bright Star live-fire training exercise. They peppered
a desert area outside Cairo with mortar and rocket
fire in a mock war designed to promote interoperability
between the militaries of NATO members and friendly
- Steve Pecinovsky, an Air Force judge advocate general
who works in the US attorney's office in Dayton,
Ohio, and in the Fraud Directorate of the Air Force
Materiel Command Law Office, may be the first colonel
in US history to compete in the US Olympic Trials
in track and field. Pecinovsky, one of the top racewalkers
in the country, will vie for an Olympic slot in the
50-kilometer racewalk event in February.
- Mark W. Gaddis, an electrical engineer at the Air
Force Research Laboratory's Semiconductor Laser Branch
at Kirtland AFB, N.M, has been named the Air Force
recipient of the DoD Outstanding Federal Employees
With Disabilities Award for 1999. Gaddis, born with
osteogenesis imperfecta, is one of the most respected
engineers in his field.
Our November 1999 "Aerospace
World" carried an item (p. 16) on USAF
optempo, quoting Lt. Gen. Frederick McCorkle,
Marine Corps deputy chief of staff for aviation.
He said: "I don't think the Marine Corps
right now can take care of the Air Force. ...
We've got our own problems." We thought
that statement (which we found in DoD's "Current
News" clipping service) came at a public
think tank session on Capitol Hill. In fact,
McCorkle made his comments to a reporter for Inside
the Air Force, a defense newsletter, which
printed them. Credit ITAF for bringing the
general's words to public attention.- THE
Retired Air Force Col. John Paul Stapp--once known as the fastest man
on Earth-died at his home in Alamogordo, N.M., Nov. 13 at 89. Stapp,
who entered the service during World War II, became one of USAF's premier
aeromedical researchers, pioneering work in deceleration effects on the
human body. In all he made 29 runs himself on a rocket-driven sled, reaching
a top speed of 632 miles per hour in 1954 at Hollomon AFB, N.M., where
he headed an aeromedical field lab. His work led to improved helmets,
stronger safety harnesses, and advances in aircraft and ejection seats,
as well as additional efforts in space travel and automobile safety.
Among many accolades, he received the Air Force Association's Theodore
von Karman Award in 1954.
Military analyst Harry G. Summers Jr., 67, a retired Army colonel, died
Nov. 14 in Washington after a stroke. Summers, a noted
writer and lecturer, was a recognized expert on the
Vietnam War. His first book, On Strategy:
A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War, is used as
a text at the US Army War College and several civilian
universities. He was also a former editor
of Vietnam magazine.
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