Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In the news: DADT

The Pentagon's long-awaited report on gays in the military concludes that repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" law would pose little risk for armed forces' ability carry out their mission.

Read MORE >> http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0610_gatesdadt/

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the news...New START Continues to Spur Debate

According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, White House officials and Senate Republicans have shifted debates on New START, now focusing on treaty verification and nuclear weapons modernization.

The new question is whether the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty contains robust enough verification measures to catch potential Russian cheating and whether the remaining nuclear arsenal can be modernized and maintained.

Check out the article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703785704575642711321446070.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Acquisition, A/C age, Deficit

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, DOCA members,

I made contact with a former professor at Yale who works at a “think tank” in Wash DC and who wants to write about Airpower – especially as it relates to Asia. In the discussion, he noted that PACOM often says that 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water … and then he said: “Last time I checked, 100% of the earth’s surface is covered with air.” [I added the obvious – “and space … which stretches to the stars and beyond.”] Anyway, I offered to help get him smart on some of the issues … and sent him some dozen of my past Notes that I have sent to you. I was amazed that many are still true today more than two years later … and I thought many of you might benefit from seeing select ones of them again.

The first one presents an issue I see almost every day. And almost every day, the press, the critics … and even SECDEF get it wrong. It is how the Air Force buys aircraft. Most see the cost, but get no explanation of what type of cost, nor why are the numbers the way they are. The note tries to answer the question without getting too complicated. The example the note used was the F-22 … and this was originally written before Sec Gates made the decision to terminate production. As you read the note and pay attention to the news, you can tell the same techniques are being used on the F-35. We now hear of fewer numbers being bought, stretching out the production line, delaying until more testing is accomplished, etc. These type of activities will raise the cost. You can find the note here at: http://www.afa.org/PresidentsCorner/Notes/Note-2-29-08.pdf

Second, another note regarding the age of Air Force aircraft cannot be stated enough. We listed how old are the aircraft but we also came up with a good way of illustrating just how old. This note is still relevant and I’m sad to say it doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. You can enjoy this here at http://www.afa.org/PresidentsCorner/Notes/Note-2-20-08.pdf

[The second link in the note is “broken” – use the following one instead.]

Finally, I wrote a series of pieces in Jan and Feb 09, arguing for a lower deficit and for DOD to be included in [a smaller] stimulus package. This one from 16 Jan is appropriate to today … as we look to cut federal spending: http://www.afa.org/PresidentsCorner/Notes/Notes_1-16-09.pdf

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Threat, Technology, China

AFA Members, Congressional staff members, Civic Leaders and DOCA members:

Several new op-eds recently on current events have gotten my attention. First, the bombs recently discovered on a flight bound for the United States only proves that we face a thinking enemy who adapts to changes in our security countermeasures. This proves once again that Al-Qaeda does not sleep, and we have to remain vigilant to this threat. ADM James Loy, former Commandant of the Coast Guard and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, wrote a good piece on this in the Washington Post. You can read the piece here at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/05/AR2010110507632.html.

Second, new and improved weapons such as high imagery satellites and unmanned drones have not only changed the nature of warfare but their accessibility to other nations (and non state actors) in fighting their own insurgencies may lead to new rules regarding targets and targeters. [Reportedly Hizbollah has used remotely piloted aircraft to gather intelligence on Israel.] Another Case in Point, Saudi Arabia reportedly used high-tech imagery satellites from France to target insurgents in Yemen. The Saudis, according to the author, now want their own satellite capability, and they will soon request bids from Western companies for such a system. The piece says they also want drones that can see and attack enemy targets in remote places. You can read this here at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/10/AR2010111005500.html [may require a one-time free registration]

Third, fear of the growing influence of China has spurred a deeper relationship between the United States and some South Pacific nations such as Australia. According to Secretary of State Clinton, “The US was 'determined to strengthen and deepen' its 'strong alliances' with Australia, Japan, South Korea, The Philippines and Thailand.” This is just an example of the issues facing these Pacific nations who want to do business with both the U.S. and China but are mindful of China’s military modernization and claims to the South China Sea. You can read the article here at: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/deeper-us-alliance-in-response-to-strident-china/story-e6frg6zo-1225950377275.

All three pieces expose the risks to our security in this century. Terrorism, the rise of peer nations and the spread of military technology should cause us to proceed carefully and cautiously with defense cuts and policies regarding our allies. We are reminded that the world is still a dangerous place.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

AFA Exchanges Coast for Global Warfare Symposium

Later this week, AFA is hosting the 2010 Global Warfare Symposium on the West Coast in Los Angeles, CA.

The two-day symposium will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, located approximately 15 miles outside of Los Angeles AFB, home of the Space and Missile Systems Center and the 61st Air Base Group. For a list of the Symposium Agenda, go to http://www.afa.org/events/NatlSymp/2010/GWS2010_Agenda.asp.

But our unique symposium will center on the global role of the Air Force in the world today and will cover topics ranging from the nuclear enterprise, cyberspace, expeditionary forces and space. This November symposium, accompanied with the Air Force Ball, is a special part of AFA’s heritage and provides an opportunity to share ideas with highly skilled aerospace and Air Force professionals.

We have invited multiple speakers from the Air Force, defense-related industry, and government. As always, our national symposiums attract the top echelon of USAF senior management and commanders, the aerospace community and academia.

A list of featured speakers with their bios can be found here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Deficit Reduction

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, and DOCA members, the subject of deficit reduction is a tough one to write about. Our current deficit this past year was $1.4 trillion. To put that in perspective, the total amount of personal income tax that is collected each year amounts to approximately $1 trillion. Thus to close the gap, it will take extraordinary measures – ones that will hard politically and will incite our citizens.

As you know, President Obama formed a bi-partisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. This commission is headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. You can find its membership here: http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/members

On Wed, 10 Nov a draft briefing and paper were released by the two co-chairmen. The steps it recommends – including cutting the defense budget by $100B, as well as many domestic discretionary steps will be very controversial. Take some time to go through this briefing carefully. I believe it shows the depth of the challenges facing us as a nation. You can find this briefing here: http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/CoChair_Draft.pdf

Additionally, a draft paper helps to point out more details than just the briefing. You can find the paper here: http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/Illustrative_List_11.10.2010.pdf

I must point out that these documents are still in draft … and there will be much dialogue before any or all of these recommendations are accepted and turned into law.

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

USMC, Veterans Day

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members, today is the 235thbirthday of the US Marine Corps. The Air Force Association wishes our brothers and sisters in arms – many in harm’s way – the very best. Thank you for your valor and service to our nation. Secretary of the Air Force Donley and Chief of Staff, Gen Schwartz also sent their best to the Marines. You can find their message at: http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123230190

Tomorrow is Veterans Day – a day to honor the veterans of all branches of our Armed Forces. Most, but not all, celebrate this national holiday. [I note the US stock markets and many businesses are not closed on Veterans Day.] It’s worth our time to consider the historical roots of this day. On Nov 11th, 1918 the Armistice was signed at 1100 AM. The original concept for Armistice Day was a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 AM on November 11th, to honor veterans of World War I. The federal holiday we recognize today was approved by Congress in 1938, but it wasn’t until 1954 that Congress replaced “Armistice” with “Veterans” – amending the original Act to commemorate November 11thas a day in America when all veterans are honored. So, tomorrow, we come together to honor and recognize all of our American service members, past and present, and salute you for your service to our country, both in uniform and out.

Veterans Day is also an important one for two other reasons. In remembering the slaughter of World War I, soldiers and airmen around the world posited that there must be a better way to conduct warfare. There were 37 million casualties in the “War to end all Wars.” Trench warfare was both cruel and de-humanizing. They say one learns very little from one’s successes … and a great deal from one’s defeats. Even though WWI was not technically a “defeat,” it had the effect to spur strategists to look to the third dimension for a better way. Coming out of the war, Airpower began to spread its wings and start down the road to realize its potential.

Secondly, there was a view – perhaps it’s better to call it a “hope” – that WWI was so tragic; that so many people had died; and so many others had suffered – that it would be the last war ever fought … certainly the last one on that scale. What followed was a general disarmament in the West, a series of arms control initiatives – contained in the Armistice itself and sought later, and the view put forward that the US is protected by two great oceans; that we can return to a period of “live and let live” … or isolationism. Of course all of this proved to be a mirage.

The reason I mention both is these is we should learn from history and guard against a degradation of American Airpower and a weakened American defense.

Finally, AFA has put out a press release honoring our veterans: http://www.afa.org/media/press/VeteransDay.asp

So has President Obama: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/11/05/presidential-proclamation-veterans-day

And Secretary Gates: http://www.defense.gov//speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1518

However, perhaps the most heartfelt and poignant piece on this day comes from one of our members -- MSgt Angela Tristan, Acting first Sergeant, 14thWeather Squadron. The piece appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times, and we have put a link to it on our website: http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20101107/OPINION03/311070019/Remembering-veterans-who-keep-us-safe

I’ve read the piece 3 times … and every time brings both a tear and swelling of pride for the great sacrifices of those who have and are serving. Well done, MSgt Tristan !!!

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In recent news...

Here's an interesting article regarding a federal hiring program that may or may not have violated statutory preference given to veterans seeking U.S. government employment.

Federal Hiring Ruling Goes In Veterans' Favor

Printed by the Washington Post
by Joe Davidson
November 9, 2010

Just in time for Veterans Day, the Merit Systems Protection Board has sharply undercut a federal hiring program, saying it violates the employment preference Uncle Sam gives to those who have served in uniform.

The MSPB decision last week is a victory for organized labor, which has long complained that some agencies use the Federal Career Intern Program to circumvent the statutory preference given veterans seeking U.S. government employment.

The program has been the target of much high-level attention, including a union lawsuit against it and congressional hearings. At President Obama's direction, the Office of Personnel Management has evaluated the program and made confidential recommendations to him about it.

Yet for all of that, it was a tenacious Department of Veterans Affairs file clerk in Columbia, S.C., Larry Evans, who threw what could be a major blow to the way the program functions.

It was his case against the VA, and another brought by David Dean against OPM, that led MSPB to find "a violation of appellants' veterans' preference rights" in the operation of the intern program.

The decision has serious implications for a program widely used by some agencies to fill vacancies.

"Since 2003, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has used FCIP as its exclusive method for hiring all incoming customs and border protection officers," Maureen Gilman, legislative director of the National Treasury Employees Union, told Congress in May. Other agencies use the program to hire financial experts, tax collectors, engineers, claims representatives, accountants and contracting specialists.

To Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, the widespread use of the program is an indication of how valuable it is. But if its days are numbered, he said, "the critical thing is to move to an alternative quickly." (The non-profit Partnership has a content-sharing relationship with The Washington Post).

About 15 percent of FCIP hires are veterans, compared with 25 percent in the federal workforce generally. Since 2003, the number of FCIP employees jumped from 400 to 27,000.

"Untold numbers of veterans are potentially being shut out of job opportunities for which they would have preference because the agencies are filling the positions under FCIP without public notice," said MSPB.

That's odd, or at least should be, since veterans' preference does apply to the intern program. Because it is part of the "excepted service," positions filled through the intern program do not have to be publicly advertised, as is the case with jobs in the "competitive service."

That lack of advertising, which hindered the preference, is what led to the violation of the veterans' rights, said Jim Green, a former OPM lawyer.

To read the full article, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/08/AR2010110805887.html.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Check out some of AFA's events this week!

This week, AFA has several events taking place!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 7:00 a.m.:

AFA will be hosting its monthly Air Force Breakfast Program, with General William M. Fraser III, Commander of Air Combat Command, presenting as the November speaker. The Air Force Breakfast Program is a monthly series that provides a venue for senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders to communicate directly with the public and the press.

This event will take place at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel, located at 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington VA, 22202. Please register online at http://afanovbreakfast.eventbrite.com/. For additional information, contact Lizzie Carver at 703-247-5800, ext. 4877 or e-mail her at ecarver@afa.org.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.:

Dr. Rebecca Grant, Director of the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies, will be presenting the latest Mitchell Study, entitled “Downsizing USAF: A 60-Year Analysis of Air Force Aircraft Inventory.” This informative report illustrates force structure trends for USAF aircraft and helicopters covering the years 1950 to 2009.

Dr. Grant will present the report with James C. Ruehrmund Jr., retired Air Force Reserve colonel, and Christopher J. Bowie, Corporate Director of the Northrop Grumman Analysis Center. This event will take place at AFA Headquarters, 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA 22209, next to the Key Bridge Marriott.

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.:

AFA and the Air Force Memorial Foundation will host an 11 a.m. Veterans Day ceremony at the Air Force Memorial. A two-minute moment of silence at 11 a.m. will be observed to commemorate those members of the U.S. armed forces who died while servicing our nation. During this ceremony a wreath will be placed at the Memorial in memory and in honor of the veterans of the United States Air Force and its heritage organizations.

This ceremony is open to the public, with the hope that both military and civilians will come out and support the Air Force and all the armed forces on this day of honor.

Directions to the Air Force Memorial may be found online at www.airforcememorial.org.

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.:

AFA’s education initiative CyberPatriot will begin competitions for their Open Division in this two-track youth cyber defense challenge. CyberPatriot is a high school competition aimed to educate students about the cybersecurity field and inspire students to consider STEM-related studies. The All-Services Division, comprised of Junior ROTC programs from all Services and Civil Air Patrol squadrons, successfully competed last Saturday. The Open Division is made up of teams registered from public, private, parochial and home schools.

The 100+ teams in this division will virtually compete across the nation Saturday morning for an opportunity to win scholarship money and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

**Don't forget, AFA's Global Warfare Symposium is less than two weeks away, November 18 - 19, in Los Angeles, Calif.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

CyberPatriot Prepares for Round Two:

Junior ROTC, Civil Air Patrol Teams Get Ready for Next Round of CyberPatriot

The nation’s largest youth cyber defense challenge is now preparing for its second round of competition, taking place this Saturday, November 6, at 10:00 A.M., EDT.

CyberPatriot is the premier high school cybersecurity challenge in the nation produced by AFA that was designed to inspire students to consider science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields in their studies.

The Saturday competition will have nearly All-Service teams virtually “face-off” for a chance to win scholarship money and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The competition’s first round took place Saturday, October 23, 2010, with more than 400 All-Service teams setting out to competitively ward off a series of cyber attacks and defend a virtualized network of computers. Teams are expected to be scored based on how quickly and effectively they establish and maintain secure networks.

Many teams were able to successfully compete, but due to exceptional high server demand, technical challenges impaired some teams’ ability to compete. As a result, every team was advanced to the second round of the competition. But the teams that were able to display exceptional performance received a “bye” for the second round of competition and will be advanced directly to the third round.

For a list of the 34 teams who have advanced to the third round, click here.

The Open Division begins competing on November 13.

CyberPatriot is presented by Northrop Grumman, with founding partners SAIC and the CIAS at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

More can be learned about CyberPatriot at http://www.uscyberpatriot.org.