Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dedicated Search and Rescue Aircraft is Vital

Will this never end. My first assignment was in the 67 ARRS in Woodbridge England. We did everything from combat rescue, to space shuttle recovery prepositioning, to sharing the sea rescue ops with the Brits in the North Sea and the English Channel. America's forces aren't the only ones that depended on us either. We heard from the Joint Rescue Command Center. We sometimes got diverted in route when we were heading to Keflavik to sit alert for the 57th Fighter Intercepter Squadron.
We had a fleet of 6 tankers (HC-130's) and we stayed busy. When a disaster hit, we had to rotate tankers. I think people are ill informed on what these planes do. The HC-130 plays on scene commander, burning fuel searching, then when they locate either people, wreckage or an emergency locator transmitter, they call in the choppers, and usually have to stay on scene to refuel the helicopters. They also have PJs on board and tons of equipment. Rescue is not a mission you can throw together at a moments notice. These guys train and train hard 24/7/365. One of the worst days of my life was during a PJ training mission when one of the PJs was killed going out my airplane. He slipped on the jump platform and hit his head on the back side of the airplane. The force of the wind threw his head against the airplane and despite having his helmet on, it crushed his skull and he was dead instantly. The rescue mission is dangerous, requires lots of training, specialized aircraft that stay equipped and at the ready. As a prior aircrew member,both in and out of rescue, I can attest to the fact that just knowing a competent rescue force is there is a calming factor for aviators. I flew during the first Gulf War and in other operations and can tell you that rescue is so important, it is always part of briefings, sometimes the classified part and it is one thing that crews pay close attention to.
As a prior ARRS member, I will be watching this one. As a prior crew member, I pray rescue is improved, not diminished. We would hate to lose airmen because we tried to save a couple dollars. No life is worth that, especially not the life of a volunteer service member.

Friday, March 27, 2009

As Reported in "Duh" Magazine

Friday, March 27, 2009

The US is building the F-35 fighter. NATO allies wish to buy it. That being the case, don't you think that US Air Forces in Europe should get the F-35 BEFORE the allies get theirs, or at least at the same time? You might think that, but you aren't thinking like Robert Gates and his OSD crew, who right now have USAFE bringing up the rear. Note the following commentary, as reported in the Daily Report from Gen. Roger A. Brady, the USAFE commander before the Defense Writers Group:

The [USAFE] commander is pressing hard to make sure his own squadrons get their aircraft concurrently with their allies--and that would mean speeding up delivery of the fifth-generation fighter. "We have nations that have planned and programmed for this, and we are trying to transition in USAFE at the same time the allies do," he said. "It's very important for interoperability." From bed down procedures to training and the development of tactics, techniques, and procedures, the issue of coordinating efforts with the six F-35 partners in Europe is becoming "more of a topic of discussion than it was in the past," Brady added. "We have to have them the same time the allies have them," Brady said of the JSF. "I've been un-shy about that," he continued and explained that he believes the upcoming defense budget will show his efforts have paid off.

NATO's SACEUR, Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, supports Brady. The question is whether OSD will wise up. In 1939, George Orwell wrote, "We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." Per Orwell, let us give many thanks to General Brady for stating the obvious: DOD needs to speed up deliveries to USAFE.

China is preparing, but for what type of conflict?

Friday, March 27, 2009

As the argument gathers steam in the U.S. that we need to prepare our military for more battles with insurgent forces and low-level conflicts of the future, all the while letting our defenses geared toward major conflicts gather dust, it is interesting to see what the single largest near-peer rival on the globe is doing.

China is preparing aggressively. That much is certain, although exactly to what end remains unclear. Citing a U.S. report, the Washington Post puts it this way: “The report indicates that uncertainty over Beijing's intentions in modernizing its military is a source of concern. ‘Given the apparent absence of direct threats from other nations, the purposes to which China's current and future military power will be applied remain uncertain,’ says the 66-page report.” (“China’s Defense Tab Sharply Up, US Says” The Washington Post, Ann Scott Tyson, March 27, 2009)

We can glean a bit from the type of preparations the Chinese have chosen, however. It’s not low-level conflict.

In fact, they seem to be preparing to catch up, equal or surpass other militaries in the arena that only two other major powers really occupy: Russia and the United States.

The list of China’s spending priorities differs greatly from the U.S. trend. While we slash back our F-22 program to a fragment of initial plans, and punt the much-needed tanker down the road yet again, China is heavily investing in the top end of technology. The list is not short, but here are a few of China’s priorities: ballistic long-range missiles, including many that can reach any spot in the U.S.; and a beefed-up navy that extends their reach, especially attack submarines.

All told, China admits to an 18 percent spending surge, another $60 billion increase over their current budget, as they have for several years in a row now. In actual dollars, the U.S. estimates China actually plans to spend roughly double that one-year increase, however, according to the Post report.

What are the long distance plans for this muscular military? They aren’t saying, but we can assume attack submarines and long-range missiles are not part of the arsenal needed to keep Tibet in the fence.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dunn: Combat Search & Rescue needed

Friday, March 27, 2009

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, one of the (dumber) ideas floating around Washington these days is to cancel the AF's replacement rescue helicopter – designated Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) – X. The logic behind this idea is that other assets can do the mission, and therefore, the DOD does not need specialized assets.

This logic is ably disputed with an op-ed written by former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen (Ret) Michael E. Ryan [see: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2009/edop_32609.asp]. Gen Ryan argues that the CSAR mission area is not a "pick-up" game; AF CSAR forces have rescued over 3000 people in CENTCOM's Area of Responsibility since 9/11; and CSAR is a very complicated and dangerous mission … for which we need … a ready, trained, and dedicated force.

In a recent panel discussion of AFA's Mitchell Institute at the National Press Club, a similar question was asked to the panel. I thought Gen (Ret) Gregory S. Martin's answer deserves your attention. He said that there are a lot of experts on CSAR … but none of them are in positions of authority. He (Martin) has commanded CSAR forces and understands a little bit about the mission. If you are interested in rescuing people who have been shot down, then you need a dedicated force … one that is trained, equipped, and properly sized to be available to rescue people who become isolated behind enemy lines. You don't know where you will have to go … you may have to go into the mouth of the tiger; you may have to shoot your way in or out … but it is the American military ethos to not leave people behind.

Since I also commanded a group with two CSAR squadrons in it … if only for just a short period of time … let me add that my units saved lots of lives "in peacetime." They were scrambled, often in the middle of the night, to go to some faraway places. The crews, to include the PJs, were the most professional of any I saw during my career. They were deployed over 200 days per year and saved hundreds of civilians in their assigned area. Further, in Iraq and Afghanistan, our present enemies don't exactly have POW camps. They don't bother to follow the Geneva Conventions. They torture and kill their captives. To quote Gen (Ret) T. Michael Moseley, former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, " … to protect our people – not just Airmen, but those of all Services – it is a moral imperative that we field a new system." That is why the CSAR – X was and still is the #2 acquisition priority (behind KC-X) of the Air Force.

For a transcript of the Mitchell Institute event, go to: http://www.afa.org/Mitchell/presentations/031809CAFinCrisis_tnx.pdf.

For the latest Mitchell Institute study [Combat Air Forces in Crisis], go to: http://www.afa.org/Mitchell/Reports/CAF_0309.pdf.

For those of you interested in Blogging on this issue, visit our blog site, Air Force Association Blog.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dunn: Highlighting the AF Mission

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, civic leaders, and DOCA members, I found a very interesting article, published in Strategic Studies Quarterly, written by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen Norton A. Schwartz and Lt Col Timothy R. Kirk. The article is entitled "Policy and Purpose - The Economy of Deterrence." It builds on CSAF's address at the September 08 Air and Space Conference Symposium. It seeks to broader understanding of deterrence and describes how it fits with other forms of policy. We have put a link to it on our website. [Warning - it is long - 20 pages on my printer.] Link: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2009/Schwartz_Kirk.pdf

Many in the Air Force describe their mission using the moniker of: "Organize, Train, and Equip." As many of the old-timers know, the rest of the phrase goes: " … forces for prompt and sustained combat operations in the air." People more familiar with the current Air Force might add: " … in the air, space, and cyberspace." In fact the Secretary of the Air Force, Honorable Michael Donley and Chief of Staff, Gen Schwartz, recently came out with their very descriptive version: "Fly, Fight, and Win in Air, Space, and Cyberspace." It is a phrase most of us can remember/repeat, and it resonates with the past mission of Fly, Fight, and Win. However, to add clarity (or not), I thought it might be helpful to tell you what the law says is the Air Force mission. You can read the actual words from Title 10 below my name.

Finally, the Shuttle Discovery took off a couple of days ago. Its crew is led by an AFA life member, Col Lee Archambault, USAF. [For one article on the launch, see: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-space-shuttle16-2009mar16,0,1281009.story and for more on the crew, see: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts119/index.html]. [Note there are two former teachers who are members of his crew.] Lee has flown on the shuttle before. On his last flight, he took with him two American flags … and in Jul 07, made a special trip to the Air Force Memorial and presented them to the Air Force Association and the Air Force Memorial Foundation. I was honored to be able to accept them on behalf of the then-Chairman of the Board, Bob Largent. We took the opportunity during Lee's short visit to fly both flags at the Air Force Memorial. You can find the photo we took at this link: http://www.afa.org/media/press/afa_astronaut.asp

Lee - I know you get these emails … even in space. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the crew of Discovery.



Michael M. Dunn

Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense and subject to the provisions of chapter 6 of this title, the Secretary of the Air Force is responsible for, and has the authority necessary to conduct, all affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the following functions:

(1) Recruiting.

(2) Organizing.

(3) Supplying.

(4) Equipping (including research and development).

(5) Training.

(6) Servicing.

(7) Mobilizing.

(8) Demobilizing.

(9) Administering (including the morale and welfare of personnel).

(10) Maintaining.

(11) The construction, outfitting, and repair of military equipment.

(12) The construction, maintenance, and repair of buildings, structures, and utilities and the acquisition of real property and interests in real property necessary to carry out the responsibilities specified in this section.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dunn: Defense Appropriations

Thursday, March 12, 2009

AFA Members, Congressional staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, I remain concerned about the overall level of government spending … and about the amount given to Defense. Last week a Senator released some very interesting numbers on the growth of budgets from 2008 to 2009. He cited the numbers based on the sub-committee which was responsible for the appropriation. We have put his numbers on a slide on our website. You can find it here: http://www.afa.org/ProfessionalDevelopment/IssueBriefs/budgetstats.pdf

The major point to take away from this slide is that most appropriations have grown by an average of 80 percent. So … how much is Defense spending expected to grow. The article at this link [as well as others] (http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2009/edop_3-10-09.asp) says it will increase by only 4%. This, when the economy needs help … and production lines of aircraft are preparing to shut down - which will eliminate key, high-paying manufacturing jobs. It is obvious to most that having been in constant combat for over 18 years … and with the average age of the fleet approaching one-quarter of a century, the Air Force … much like the Navy … needs to recapitalize. It will need funds and our support to do it.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn, Lt Gen (Ret)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dunn: The Air War in Afghanistan

Saturday, March 7, 2009
AFA Members, Congressional staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA Members, recently AFA's Mitchell Institute released a study on Airpower in Afghanistan. The report, by Dr. Rebecca Grant, is exceptional. It shows the innovation the Air Force has made to better support the joint warfighter. It also highlights the many contributions of our sister Services. It can be found at this link: http://www.afa.org/Mitchell/Reports/0209airpowerinafghan.pdf [Caution - the file is large -- 1.9 Megs]

Secondly, AFA held a very successful symposium in Orlando last week. If you were not able to make it, we have loaded many of the presentations on the web at this site: http://www.afa.org/events/aws/2009/post_orlando/default.asp If you have limited time, I commend to you Secretary Donley's and Gen Schwartz's talks.

Finally, many of you respond back to my notes … sometimes with thoughtful and lengthy responses. As you know, I answer almost every responder. However, some of the points you make would be useful to share with others. For this reason, we have created a BLOG site. It can be found at: http://www.airforceassociation.blogspot.com/ No idea is off-limits … except for objectionable language.



Michael M. Dunn, Lt Gen (Ret)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Maybe Japan Will Let Us Use Theirs

As reported in airforce-magazine.com's "Daily Report," Japan is getting its third KC-767J tanker from Boeing and is waiting on a fourth to be delivered in 2010. Here are the basics:

At Least Someone’s Getting New Tankers: While the Air Force sits and waits for a new tanker to replace its Eisenhower-era KC-135s, ally Japan’s tanker program progresses. According to Boeing, the company delivered the third of four KC-767J tankers that it is building for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force to its Japanese industry partner Itochu Feb. 25. Itochu will turn over the aircraft to the JASDF sometime this month after an in-country acceptance process. It will join the two KC-767Js that were supplied last year. "This new KC-767J will be a valuable addition to Japan's tanker fleet as the country performs vital missions in the Asia-Pacific region," Dave Bowman, Boeing vice president and general manager for Tanker Programs, said in the company’s release. Boeing said it is scheduled to transfer the fourth Japanese tanker to Itochu in December for delivery to the JASDF in the first quarter of 2010.

You would think there would be some outrage about this in Congress, since the United States Air Force is still flying 50-year-old tankers. Congress and the Pentagon have made things so complicated that it has become nearly impossible to re-equip the Air Force in any meaningful way. Since Japan is buying new tankers, maybe we can lease them when we need them. What a great new concept. We build them for other countries to use and then rent them since we can’t seem to build for our own Air Force. There’s got to be a better way of running a military.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

AFA President: Raptor decision has 30-year ramifications

Lt. Gen. Mike Dunn, USAF (Ret.), had an interesting discussion on the F-22 Raptor with Stephen Trimble of Flight Global, as posted recently on Trimble's blog, The Dew Line.

Dunn, a former command pilot of the F-15 and other aircraft, now AFA's President/CEO, supports keeping the F-22 line open. Among just a few of his points: the Raptor is our most capable air dominance aircraft and the only fifth generation fighter in service, the nation will rely on it for another 30 years, potential competitors are developing their own fifth generation fighters, and finally, a lot of American jobs depend on the Raptor. Specifically, 95,000 direct and indirect jobs in 44 states.

The discussion is timely, as the next major decision by the Obama administration is due very soon to certify whether or not the program goes forward. A bipartisan group in Congress, comprised of nearly half of the members of both houses, has already weighed in strongly on the need to produce more F-22s before allowing a permanent shutdown or costly interruption of the line.

Listen to the podcast here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

"Another View" of the Air War

The New York Times carried a recent piece titled, “From a carrier, another view of America’s air war in Afghanistan." You would think that, before the NYT gives “another view” (the Navy’s view) it would enlighten its readers with the first view — that of the Air Force. You might think that, but you would be wrong. All that the NYT has ever written about THAT war is that USAF doesn’t provide enough ISR and the F-22 hasn’t taken part in it.

This was buried in the second half of the story:

“The Navy says the pilots on the Roosevelt fly about 30 percent of combat missions over Afghanistan; the majority of the flights are handled by the Air Force from bases in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. The Navy was called in last summer when attacks on American and NATO supply lines were on the rise and military commanders decided they needed to get the trucks off the roads and use more air transport.”

So, reading between the lines: Navy air wasn't doing much of anything until last summer. Then, because the war heated up, the Navy was asked to lend a hand. Even so, the Air Force is still handling 70 percent of the (expanded) mission.

Moreover, what does the Navy have to do with the move "to get the trucks off the roads and use more air transport?" Has the Navy, unbeknownst to us, decided to build its own airlifter fleet, like the Army? Or is the NYT reporter just a little confused? To get another view of the air war not seen in the New York Times, a new study, “Airpower in Afghanistan” by Rebecca Grant, will appear on the Mitchell Institute website on Thursday.