Tuesday, June 30, 2009

State of the aerospace industry

June 30, 2009

An online article in the Weekly Standard here weighs in on the consequences of Defense cuts on aerospace industry, already consolidating over recent years. The piece is lengthy, but the last 11 paragraphs focus more specifically on the US industry -- essential partners in our national defense and a strategic asset. Somewhat ominously, the article is titled "Flat Spin: Can the Aerospace Industry Recover?"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Letter in New York Times by AFA President Mike Dunn

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The New York Times on Friday published a letter to the editor from AFA President Mike Dunn responding to their editorial: "We Don't Need the F-22."

The Times titled his response: "We Do Need the F-22." Read it here. The Times also linked to the original article within the letter, if you want to catch up on their case against the F-22.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Debate on more F-22s still alive in Congress

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The F-22 Raptor is still in the news, with a growing move in both the House and Senate to build more for the U.S. Air Force. A second, related debate is whether the ban on foreign sales is outdated and should be removed. Our allies in Japan stand to benefit, as will our own U.S. economic activity. Of course, it is also a force multiplier for the Air Force, and continues to reduce the already dropping flyaway cost of these aircraft.

The mounting challenge within Congress to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the future of the Raptor is sparking more interest in why this remarkable aircraft is necessary and why its capabilities are so unique. Air Force Magazine's Daily Report has posted a number of updates on this hot topic in the past few days. These are must reading to anyone interested in the future of airpower.

Another take can be found here, although it should also be noted that this publication's cost estimate per plane includes the sunk costs of research and development, dollars spent long ago. The flyaway cost of building new planes going forward is well more than $100 million cheaper that this figure, and increasingly more in line with the costs of new fourth generation fighters that lack the F-22s state-of-the-art survivability, maneuverability and stealth.

Here also is the reporting from Politico, in case you missed it. This article and the administration's veto threat sparked a skeptical response from the Weekly Standard, whose writers feel it is extremely unlikely the President would veto a bill as significant as the Defense Authorization Act over this one issue.

All in all, this is a Congressional debate well worth having, and for our aging fighter fleet, better late than never.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

For Your Consideration

Saturday June 27, 2009

AFA Members, Congressional staffers, civic leaders, DOCA members, this week's news has highlighted a major catastrophe in Washington DC. One metro train rammed into another, killing 9 and injuring 80. Among those killed was Maj Gen (Ret) David F. Wherley, Jr. and his wife Ann.

General Wherley's last duty assignment was Commanding General, District of Columbia National Guard. [Read his Bio here.] On 9/11 he was the Commander, 113 Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, MD. His wing's aircraft were some of the first to arrive on the scene over Washington and the Pentagon on that day ... and they kept watch for many months afterwards. And ... like the rest of our great ANG - still protect us today. We will all miss General Wherley and Ann.

Coverage of the metro crash was wide/varied. Most recent articles point out that the age of the metro fleet is unacceptable at an average age of 19 years. [The actual car involved in the crash was put in service in the 1970s]. Compare those numbers with the age of the Air Force fleet - which averages almost 25 years old ... with some of its air vehicles which were put in service in the 1950s. And ... I would point out the most DC metro cars can coast to a stop when their motors quit ... and they seldom have people shooting at them ... like the Air Force faces. For a pictorial on the age of AF aircraft - see this link (then click the comparison medium).

Or - for a combination of varies mediums, click here.

Last week I had the opportunity to "testify" in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense. Lest you think I was grilled like senior Air Force officials ... I was one of 17 people to testify ... and we were limited in our time. I thought you might like to see my oral remarks available here.

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Doolitte Raider Burial

Friday, June 19, 2009

Three Op-Eds well worth reading

Saturday June 20, 2009

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, I have three "op-eds" to bring to your attention.

The first, by General (Ret) Gregory S. Martin argues that the lens to measure DOD "rebalancing" of the force should be viewed over 20-30 years. He also argues that DOD's decision to terminate the C-17 and F-22 production lines; cancel the next Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter, the Presidential Helicopter, the multiple kill vehicle, the next generation bomber and the Transformational Satellite communication system; and moving the Airborne Laser program to a research and development effort delivered a potentially destructive blow to America's air and space industrial base. You can find the op-ed here.

The second op-ed, by General (Ret) Lawrence A. Skantze, notes that the Air Force is making a major contribution to the fights in Iraq and Afghanistan, but is not getting the credit it deserves from the media. He also notes the many stories of bravery from our Airmen. You can find the op-ed here.

The last piece, by Tom Brokaw, was written on 6 June of this year. I challenge all you to ask your children/grandchildren/spouse what of significance happened on 6 June … in an earlier year. In the piece Mr. Brokaw cites the bravery and sacrifices of the "greatest generation." If you have not read his book (The Greatest Generation), I highly recommend it to you. The link can also be found here.

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn

Friday, June 12, 2009

For Your Consideration

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, one of you sent me a remarkable piece on Lee-Enfield Rifles, then secured the author’s permission for us to put it on our website. It is most readable and is what I call stream-of-consciousness writing … so be patient as you read it to the end. You can find it here.

Secondly, I recently came across three quotes for your consideration. The first is by the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen Daniel K. Inouye. He said this in a hearing to Secretary Gates:

“Your decision to terminate the acquisition of the C-17s the F-22s the DDG-1000 and the Future Combat System vehicles -- we have concerns that it may send the wrong signal to our friends and our potential aggressors that we are reducing our capability. It may also have a long-term impact on our defense industrial base. It may diminish our capacity to provide deterrence and reduce our strength that we provide to our allies. We hope that this is not the consequence, but some of us are concerned.”

A second quote is from Gen (Ret) Richard E. Hawley, former Commander of Air Combat Command. He said:

“But institutions can have short memories too. And in the early 60s we entered another Asian war, this time in Vietnam, without a capable air-to-air fighter -- without pilots schooled in the fine art of air-to-air combat -- and without weapons to neutralize the emerging threat of surface-to-air missiles -- and we paid a terrible price against a third-rate power. In the six months from 23 August 1967 to 5 February 1968, Vietnamese MiG-21 pilots racked up a 16 to 1 kill advantage. In all, we lost 2,448 fixed wing aircraft to a third world military whose Air Force deployed fewer than 200 aircraft.
How easily we forget.”

The final quote is from a discussion between two Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan:

"Tanks and armor are not a big deal--the planes are the killers. I can handle everything but the jet fighters."

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn

Friday, June 5, 2009

Air Force Posture Statement

AFA Members, Congressional staffers, Civic leaders and DOCA members, for the past few weeks, Secretary of the Air Force Donley and Chief of Staff, Gen Schwartz have been testifying before the various committees on the Hill. Both have answered a myriad of questions and defended well the Air Force FY10 budget request. As many of you know, before they go to each testimony, they have to prepare a statement which is entered into the record. Typically, they use a similar version for each committee. We have put a copy of this year’s posture statement on our website here. It is important … especially for those of you on active duty … to read and digest the statement. When I served in uniform, I read it often and used parts of it in public speeches … because I knew that OSD had cleared the entire document.

Secondly, Congress has asked each of the Services for their Unfunded Priority Lists. The one submitted by the Air Force is also on our website here. It shows those priorities which did not quite compete for funding during the budget process … and also gives you a picture of what the Air Force thinks is important.

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn

The Air Force Association on National Television

Tune In: AFA President Mike Dunn will be on Fox News this Sunday, 7 June, to discuss the North Korean situation and its implications on national security. Begin watching by 11:30 A.M. to catch the nationally televised segment.