Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cyber, Iran, Airpower

We ran across three interesting pieces. The first appeared in Foreign Affairs, is written by Gen (R) Wesley Clark and Peter Levin. It describes the nature and depth of the cyber threat to the US … and offers prescriptions for our defenses. What if leaves out are the many policy issues that the Administration must face in order to be fully prepared. You can find a link to this piece on our website at:

The second piece appeared in the Washington Times and discusses the after-effects of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. It gives a thoughtful analysis to the issues … at the strategic level [which is generally hard to do within the limits of an op-ed page]. You can find a link to this piece on our website at:

Finally, a piece in Armed Forces Journal written by Phil Meilinger – a retired Air Force Colonel, who has a PhD in military history. In the piece he posits that it is Airpower that has drastically reduced civilian casualties in warfare. This is an important piece … as the President and his national security team debate sending more troops to Afghanistan. You can find a link to this piece on our website at:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Debt, Friedman, Heroes

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, DOCA members, a while back I wrote, in concern, about my worries over the rising national debt. That this is a national security issue is without question. Last fiscal year, the interest on our $12 trillion debt was over $380 B. As the debt and interest rates rise, it will squeeze defense spending. A very good editorial on this can be found on our website at:

Secondly, this week Tom Friedman's editorial in the NY Times was a bit unusual. In it he recommends what President Obama should say at his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech … and he pays tribute to the great men and women who are defending our freedom. The editorial can be found at:

Finally, a small piece in the NY Post caught my attention. It pays tribute to two of our fallen warriors, who gave their last full measure. It turns out they were not killed in Iraq or Afghanistan … but in the Philippines … by Abu Sayyaf, an ally of Al Qaeda. This should remind us all of the global nature of terrorism … and what the stakes are in battling this scourge. You can find the article on our website at:

For your consideration,


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Esquire Magazine: We've Seen the Future, and It's Unmanned

Esquire magazine takes note of the changing face of air power in an article: "We've Seen the Future, and It's Unmanned."

"We've been thinking about this for a long time," Gersten says, and he reads me a quote from V-J Day, 1945, spoken by General Henry Arnold, who was taught to fly by the Wright brothers and commanded the Army Air Forces during World War II: "We have just won a war with a lot of heroes flying around in planes. The next war may be fought by airplanes with no men in them at all." Maybe Arnold didn't figure on so many wars in between, but technology is catching up with his vision.

The article, by Brian Mockenhaupt, is a great description of how Airmen in Arizona are directly engaged in battlefield operations half a world away.

Every so often in history, something profound happens that changes warfare forever. Next year, for the first time ever, the Pentagon will buy more unmanned aircraft than manned, line-item proof that we are in a new age of fighting machines, in which war will be ever more abstract, ever more distant, and ruthlessly efficient.

We buy more drone aircraft than jet fighters now, and train more pilots to fight them. Eight thousand miles away from the front lines, an unmanned aircraft pilot sits at a monitor, seeing everything...

It isn't until late in the article that the writer notes the inconvenient fact that -- at least for now -- unmanned aircraft are only useful in already-controlled airspace, a job that in today's Air Force still falls to manned fighter aircraft.

The planes could easily be shot down flying over hostile countries with robust air-defense systems. The Serbs downed a Predator in 1995 with a ground-to-air missile, and more were lost over Kosovo and Iraq. New UAVs will fly much higher and be equipped with countermeasures to thwart missile attack. For now the Predators and Reapers have dominion over Iraq and Afghanistan, where their biggest threat is a sharp crosswind on the runway.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sources, YouTube

AFA Members, Congressional staffers, Civic leaders, and DOCA Members, there are some really good sources of information available on line … and I want to bring a couple to your attention. The first is from my former university – The National Defense University. One of its research centers [the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS)] has published a Global Strategic Assessment which is very good. The entire document is long … and if you only have time to read one chapter, I recommend Chapter 10 on South Asia. You can find the Assessment at:

INSS home page can take you to other publications:

Secondly, one document to which I often refer is the CIA World Factbook. It is unclassified and routinely updated. The sections I use the most are the country comparisons. For example, did you know that the US is 28th in the world in military spending as a percent of GDP? The top three? Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Or … that we are 10th in the world in GDP per capita, 50th in the world in life expectancy, and 57th in the world in education spending as a percent of GDP. The Factbook can be found at: You can get to the country comparisons section with the button entitled "Guide to Country Comparisons."

Finally, AFA has a number of videos up on YouTube. [Yes, I know those of you reading this on a government computer can't access YouTube – but you can forward this note to your home computer]. The videos which we used for the Air and Space Conference are the newest: Tuskeegee Airmen, Doolittle Raiders, and Dr. Schlesinger. The listing is at the bottom of this note.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Reminder: Many of you contribute to CFC. I would ask that you consider directing your donations to either the Air Force Association or the Air Force Memorial Foundation. The numbers are listed below:

AFA CFC Number: 12214
AFMF CFC Number: 11953

AFA's YouTube Channel (this includes all of our videos) -

The Tuskegee Airmen
Doolittle Raiders
Dr. Schlesinger
Air Force 61st Anniversary
Berlin Airlift
General Looney's Support of AFA
Air Force Pilot Commercial
Air Force Anniversary
2007 Jimmy Stewart 1st place
2007 Jimmy Stewart 2nd place
2007 Jimmy Stewart 3rd place
AFA - The Force Behind the Force

Fast Fact on the KC-X tanker

Why build a KC-X tanker? According to this report from UPI, the 50-year-old KC-135 fleet requires seven manhours of maintenance for each hour in the air. Another of the oldest KC-135E models was retired last month -- an inevitable trend.

Air Force 911 teams in Afghanistan

Another glimpse of our everyday heroes in the fight in Afghanistan, this one from Fox News. It's a brief look at the Air Force teams that bring in supplies to the troops in the most desolate parts of Afghanistan. Known as 911 teams, these Airmen set up a dirt runway and unload fast -- potentially under duress.

Read about it here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Follow AFA on Facebook & Twitter!

The Air Force Association is on Facebook and Twitter. To join us in either forum, simply visit our homepage and link to us at the bottom right hand of the page.

An Airman's Purple Heart

The Denver Daily News tells their readership about a hometown Airman on patrol in Afghanistan, wounded by a roadside bomb. The interview with Air Force Technical Sgt. Richard Gibbons sheds light on the everyday heroic service of thousands of Airmen and our Armed Forces.

Read more here.