Wednesday, January 27, 2010

STEM & Cong Military Family Caucus

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article that caught my attention. It was focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.

Takeaways from the article:

The US remains the world’s science and technology leader, but other countries are gaining ground.

Over the last 10 years, US R&D spending rose 5-6% per year, but ... China's rose over 20% per year

The US awarded 22,500 doctorates in natural sciences and engineering in 2007 -- with half of them going to foreign nationals.

Additionally, I checked out the National Science Board report ... upon which this article was based. There is a lot of information in this document -- I found a couple of interesting facts in the highlight section, starting on page 4:

On-time graduation rate from high school remains steady ... at 73%. [Gasp!!]

In 2005, 94% of classrooms in U.S. public schools had computers with Internet access, and the ratio of students to instructional computers was 4:1.

Secondly, I met last week with a staffer in the office of Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. It seems the Congresswoman has -- with support of others -- started a Military Family Caucus -- which has 95 members. If your Representative is not on the list, please contact your MLA to get them interested. You can find the list here. [Note: there are at least 3 or more members not listed.]

For your consideration,


Nuclear Forces

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, I’ve been “comm out” with you for the past couple of weeks. My staff has had me on the Hill almost every day … lots going on.

I want to concentrate this note on the negotiations with Russia on the Follow-On START treaty and its resultant implications on our nuclear force structure … as well as the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review – which we expect to be published on 1 March or so.

There have been many interesting pieces published recently which shed light on the subject. The first, by Drs Lieber and Press, appeared in Foreign Affairs, Nov-Dec. In it, the authors argue that the US nuclear deterrent has been successful for the past 65 years – so successful that it has been taken for granted. Further, they believe that nuclear deterrence in the 21st century will be much more complicated (and dangerous) than in the past. Achieving the right mix of forces will be essential for the future.

The second piece I want to bring to your attention was written by Dr. Lowther, Air Force Research Institute. In it the author disputes the logic, point by point, of those who want to go to zero nuclear weapons.

The third piece is takes a different tack. It is by the so-called four horsemen – Msrs. Shultz, Perry, Kissinger, and Nunn. The piece points out that as we decrease our warhead numbers, it is increasingly important to modernize the nuclear infrastructure of our nation.

My own views? I wrote a short piece that was published here on the website of Second Line of Defense. In it I argue that much has been written on this subject … yet too much of it are based on myths which have not been proven to be true.

Finally, I would urge you to poke around on the Second Line of Defense website. It has many innovative pieces that you just can’t find elsewhere. Its homepage is here.

For your consideration,


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fighter Gap

Today's Daily Report from AIR FORCE Magazine, reveals plans to slowdown the early year production of the F-35 Lightning II, the only active fifth generation fighter program following the early shutdown of the F-22 Raptor.

The long-expected fighter gap will begin in earnest with the retirement of 250 legacy fighters, a decision that AFA has supported as necessary to the Air Force's ability to manage the fleet. With an average age of around 25 years, many more retirements are sure to follow creating a "bathtub" effect until the full production of the F-35 begins taking up the slack years from now.

Perhaps a larger concern is if decisions about the F-35 begin to echo the arguments made for the premature demise of the F-22. What are your thoughts about the developing fighter gap?