Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Podcasts/transcripts now available

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The podcasts and transcripts of AFA's Air & Space Conference speakers are now available at www.AFA.org ... click here to go directly to the audio or transcipt of our three dozen forums. The list includes Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; the top leadership of the Air Force; special heritage presentations by the Tuskegee Airmen, the Doolittle Raiders and General Johnny Alison; Pulitzer Prize-winner Charles Krauthammer; Vinton Cerf of Google; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Richard Myers; foreign policy experts and more.

Education and Opinion

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic leaders, DOCA Members, we have just put up lots of very good op-eds on the Education and Opinion part of our homepage [see: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/]. Notable among them are:

Missile Defense

•A piece by Sec Gates on the changes the Administration has made to missile defense plans in Europe http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20gates.html?em.

•A piece from the Wall Street Journal critical of the Administration's missile defense plans in Europe http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204518504574418563346840666.html?mod=googlenews_wsj


•A piece by GEN David Petraeus that posits that Afghanistan is hard … but do-able http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article6839220.ece

•One by Senators Lindsey Graham, Joseph Lieberman, and John McCain urging the Administration to not "muddle through." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574404753110979442.html

•And one by Frederick Kagan, Kimberly Kagan, and James Dubik that argues that Afghan forces aren't yet a substitute for our own. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/11/AR2009091103625.html


•A piece by Omar Fadhil Al-Nidawi and Austin Bay which argues that the while US forces may depart Iraq by Dec 2011, the Iraqi Air Force will not be ready to do the job until 2016 at best, or more probably 2018 or 2020. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574404643254697058.html

•One by Thomas Friedman which talks about Iraq's nescient institutions. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/13/opinion/13friedman.html

•A piece by Andres Oppenheimer that questions Venezuela's ties to Iran. http://www.miamiherald.com/421/story/1242157.html


•A piece by Amb Chester Crocker that posits that we confuse engagement as a strategy … when it is really a process. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/opinion/14crocker.html

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Friday, September 25, 2009

Air Force Tanker Request for Proposal

The Air Force just released its long awaited Draft Request for Proposal for a new tanker, https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=713bc6e87f1a76db2c2b20a4bee1e8a5&tab=core&_cview=0. This occurred after Sec Gates transferred responsibility for the tanker's acquisition back to the Air Force

Concurrent with this, the Air Mobility Command (AMC) released a White Paper which talks about the Imperative for a new tanker. This document is an exceptional piece. It details not only the rationale for a new tanker, but gives the reader some idea on its concept of operations. I especially like the following parts [listed by PDF page]:

Page 5 where AMC asks if we had ever tried to buy parts for a 1950s vintage Zenith television [I have … but found it cheaper to replace the TV rather than get someone to provide the parts.]

Page 6 – the chart which shows the average age of various airline fleets

Page 9 – where a RAND study is cited saying that the present KC-135 fleet will be 90 years old when fully retired … and the operation of a 90 year old fleet is unprecedented in aviation history

Operational scenarios which begin on page 9 show the range of missions our tanker fleet is expected to support

You can find the White Paper on our website at: http://www.afa.org/edop/2009/TheImperativeforNewTankerNow.pdf

A while back, one of you wrote me … your were the "Grandfather" who flew as a crew member on the KC-135 in the early 60s. Your dad was the "Great Grandfather" who got into the system near the end of his career in the late 1950s. Your son flew on the aircraft in the 1980s. And you were hoping your Grand daughter – who was in pilot training at the time got the chance to fly the aircraft next year. We all hope this family tradition does not continue for 40 or more years … as you will surely set a record for 6 generations of one family on the same system.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

McChrystal Report, Airpower Advocates

AFA members, the news this week includes the initial report from GEN McChrystal on Afghanistan. Many news agencies are commenting on it … "interpreting" it for us. I thought you might like to see the report itself. You can find it on the Washington Post website at: http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/Assessment_Redacted_092109.pdf?hpid=topnews

Caution: the file is 66 pages long … and it is the redacted version and is unclassified.

Secondly, AFA needs to strengthen its grass roots advocacy. We have created a group I call Airpower Advocates [ … and no … I abbreviate it as APA … not something else]. These advocates are available to talk to local civic groups - Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. They build strong ties with the local press. They occasionally write op-eds or letters to the editor. And they are a resource for Congressional MLAs and liaison with the local Congressional offices. I try to keep them informed on Airpower issues … and we frequently teleconference with as many as are available.

You can read a bit about it at: http://www.afa.org/members/commtools/Grassroots_Communicators_Responsibilities.pdf

Right now we have about 50 APA members spread throughout the country. That is not enough … give our mission and our membership. I would like to get about 200 more of you to volunteer for this program. For those of you who are interested in the program, please notify Chet Curtis by email at: CCurtis@AFA.org

And … to be a full APA member, it is probably best if you are not on active duty … as we sometimes differ slightly from official Air Force positions … However, if you are a good communicator, we would have you do part of the APA mission … talk with local civic groups. If you are interested, email Chet Curtis.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Friday, September 18, 2009

SECDEF, SECAF and CSAF remarks to AFA

This week AFA held its annual Air & Space Conference in Washington DC. It was a great event … and very well attended. We had presentations from a vast array of leaders, both inside and outside of the Air Force. Many attendees got to hear from such luminaries as the Doolittle Raiders and the Tuskegee Airmen.

Three of the presentations were especially notable. The first was by Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. His speech can be found on our website at: http://www.afa.org/events/conference/2009/scripts/rgates.pdf

Following his talk, Secretary Gates took questions from the audience. The questions and his answers can be found at: http://www.afa.org/events/conference/2009/pdfs/AFA-090916-GatesQA.pdf

The second notable talk was given by Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley. It can be found on our website at: http://www.afa.org/events/conference/2009/scripts/donley.pdf

Finally, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen Norton Schwartz made a presentation that can also be found on our website at: http://www.afa.org/events/conference/2009/scripts/SCHWARTZ.pdf.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Secretary Gates restores tanker authority to Air Force

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Speaking today at the final day of AFA's Air & Space Conference, Defense Secretary Robert Gates made news by restoring U.S. Air Force authority in the tanker buy.

Read the report from AIR FORCE Magazine here.

Read more here.

In extensive remarks before a packed ballroom at the Gaylord National Conference Center in National Harbor, Gates expressed confidence in Air Force leaders and lauded the service of Airmen and their roles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Acknowledging their efforts are often unsung, he detailed their contribution and turned the focus to the vital role of airpower in future defense of the country.

A complete transcript will be available soon at www.AFA.org.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Petraeus' apology, McCaffrey briefing

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

AFA Members, a while back, AFA's Daily Report reported on a speech made by GEN Petraeus. [http://www.airforce-magazine.com/DRArchive/Pages/2009/August%202009/August%2020%202009/BeyondOutrageous.aspx] I received over 600 emails about the report item … all similar in nature. Later, the DR published the fact that he apologized for his remarks to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. We have put a link up on a more extensive apology by the general. You can find it at: http://www.afa.org/edop/2009/edop_9-8-09.asp

Secondly, I want to point you to a slide briefing by GEN (R) McCaffrey [http://www.afa.org/edop/2009/McCaffrey-Challenges_Aug09.pdf]. In it the general highlights nine national security challenges facing the nation. I like the succinct nature in which he hits the main points. Caution: the piece is political in nature … but I am sure most of you can read around those parts.

For your consideration,


Michael M. Dunn

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Life & Wars of Gen Curtis LeMay

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, this past weekend I read a great book – one that anyone who cares about airpower should consider. The book is entitled: LEMAY – The Life and Wars of General Curtis LeMay. It is written by Warren Kozak, published in 2009, and came to me via a staff member from a former Chairman of the Board of AFA. Simply put – the book destroyed all the preconceived notions I had about General LeMay – most of which were formed by his run for Vice President, the movie Dr. Strangelove, and his often quoted statement of "bombing the North Vietnamese back to the stone age."

Here is a sampling of what I found in the book:

"It should be remembered that generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant fought seventeen battles in each of their careers. LeMay fought one almost every day for three years. And unlike any other general in modern times, he did not send his men out on perilous missions, he led them. On the most dangerous missions, LeMay insisted on flying the lead aircraft in the formation himself, in the first plane the enemy would target. No other general in WWII did this."

The Army Air Corps chose the B-18 over the B-17 in the 1935 heavy bomber competition. The country was in the midst of the great depression and leaders were looking for the 75% solution [my words] when it came to recapitalizing the Army Air Corps. However, this compromised approach yielded an aircraft that lacked both the payload capacity and range to effectively engage in most combat scenarios—including those anticipated in Europe and the Pacific. Fortunately, Congress had the wisdom to add money for the B-17 – to keep both the bomber … and the Boeing Company alive for what was to come. By the end of the war 12,000 B-17s had been constructed, with nearly half of these lost in combat.

" … the start of the military buildup in the fall of 1941 hardly relieved LeMay's anxiety. The US was starting from nothing. It was impossible, he thought to correct twenty years of neglect in just six months or even a year, and he was right."

" The entire American effort managed just over seventy sorties in August of 1942, compared to … more than 20,000 [sorties] a month later in the war."

"He had no tolerance whatsoever for stupidity, incompetence, or laziness, and he was brutal when he witnessed these cardinal vices. … his consistent refrain was: "whoever didn't cut it or didn't like it here could always go to the infantry."

"Undergirding all Japanese strategy was a dismissive view that Americans [were] products of liberalism and individualism and incapable of fighting a protracted war."

"In any given month in the first half of 1945, upwards of 250,000 Asians were dying at the hands of the Japanese – a quarter of a million lives every thirty days."

"All told, the Air Force dropped over 12,000 mines and brought Japan's shipping down to one-tenth of what it had been before the mining."

LeMay in a speech in 1945: "It is beyond my powers of description to picture to you the difference between the bomb-blackened ruins and the desolation of our enemy's cities and the peaceful Ohio cities and landscape, untouched and unmarred by war. I can only say to you, if you love America, do everything you can do to make sure that what happened to Germany and Japan will never happen to our country. Our preparedness for war should be the measure of our desire for peace. The last war was started by airpower and finished by [airpower]. America, if attacked must be able to take the initiative immediately. It must attack in turn."

LeMay (in 1965): "[The enemy asked for it and they got it.] In reverse fashion, if we keep listening to the gospel of apology and equivocation which all too many politicians and savants are preaching today in the US, we will be asking for the same thing. And in time may achieve it."

"'Whatever you do, somebody's going to criticize you. Forget criticism,' was the advice he gave to Air Force personnel."

A list of LeMay's accomplishments is staggering.

He developed heavy bombing tactics in the European Theater of Operations … replacing ineffective and haphazard methods with disciplined combat formations that maximized the bombers' ability to defend themselves against enemy fighters and increase bombing accuracy over the target.
He developed the tactics that transformed B-29 operations in the Pacific from an utter failure into an overwhelming success by adopting unorthodox tactics and low altitude bombing runs.
He created the RAND Corporation
He started the ICBM program
He was the Commander of the Air Force in Europe at the start of the Berlin Air Lift
He built the Strategic Air Command into a force second to none
Despite his legendary differences with SECDEF McNamara (who earlier served under him as a Lt Col), the latter said about him: "Without question, Curtis LeMay was the finest combat commander the US has ever produced."

On balance, this book is important for many reasons. Gen LeMay stood up against group-think. He understood airpower and the human dimension of war. He stood by his principles, shunned popularity, argued for a strong deterrent. And … he was right. We owe him a ton. The legacy of his efforts still grace our Air Force today in Minutemen missiles, B-52 bombers, and KC-135 tankers.

For your consideration,


Michael M. Dunn

Combined Federal Campaign kick off

Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009

The Combined Federal Campaign has now kicked off! Consider the Air Force Association and the Air Force Memorial in your giving.

• AFA CFC Number: 12214 • AFMF CFC Number: 11953