Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Missing the Military

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AFA members, as you might guess, I get lots and lots of emails. You send me all manner of information – to include way too many political pieces.

However, occasionally, I come across a piece that makes me stop and think. This one just did.

It appeared in the Charleston Post and Courier, the oldest newspaper in the South. It was written by Ken Burger … or perhaps I should say Technical Sergeant Ken Burger. Read it here and tell me what you think.

A belated Happy Passover and a Happy Easter.



Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

AFA Member Advocates Airpower in Guest Column

March 30, 2010

In a guest column in today's Des Moines Register, AFA member Marvin L. Tooman advocated for airpower. The Register titled the piece "Air, Space & Cyber Power -- Who will dominate?"

"Most wars of the past century share a common characteristic: They were not widely predicted. Even more to the point, the weapons systems and tactics that won them also were not well predicted," Tooman says, advocating broad airpower capacity to provide flexibility.

"The Department of Defense has taken the approach of focusing on today's fight at the expense of the future. The signs are there: Fighter aircraft older than the pilots flying them; bombers and tankers older than the fathers of the pilots flying them. Acquisition rates of new aircraft have put the U.S. Air Force on a replacement rate approaching 90 years. And the broad capabilities needed to deter future conflicts are being delayed and, in some cases, canceled. All while present military equipment is being worn down by the wear-and-tear of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq," he continues.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Aviation Legend Passes at Age 98

Elinor Smith Sullivan, a legendary pilot in the early decades of aviation, has died.

Read about her extraordinary life and contribution to aviation in this Washington Post article.

Below is a key excerpt encapsulating a few of her aerial exploits:

Miss Smith, who was known in aviation circles by her maiden name, set multiple solo endurance, speed and altitude records. In answer to a male chauvinist challenge, she flew her plane under four bridges along New York's East River, a stunt that landed her in hot water with federal authorities but secured her fame.

Celebrated in tabloids as Long Island's "youthful air queen," "intrepid birdwoman" and "the flying flapper," Miss Smith was featured on a Wheaties cereal box in 1934. Although now virtually unknown compared with her friend and rival Earhart, she was among the flashiest early aviators.

"She's not a household word, but she probably should be, because she did some really significant flying," said Dorothy Cochrane, a curator at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, where Miss Smith's photo hangs in the Golden Age of Flight gallery.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Veteran Pilot Oldest Ever to Take Flight on Historic U-2

Ollie Crawford has spent a lifetime in the skies, but just experienced his best view yet.

At 84 years old – the oldest person to ever go up in the famed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft – he recently took a rare two-and-a-half hour flight at 72,000 feet. That’s over 13-and-a-half miles straight up, roughly twice the height of a typical long flight across the U.S. on a commercial jet.

"I could see the curvature of the earth," he said.

Read more about Crawford, his flight and this remarkable aircraft.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Recommendations

AFA members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, and DOCA members, there are two recent books, both just out, to bring to your attention.

The first is entitled: Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of Legendary Ace Robin Olds by Robin Olds, Christina Olds, and Ed Rasimus. For those of you who knew General Olds, this book will tell you things about him that I'll bet you didn't know. For the rest of you, this is a fascinating insight to the man, his movie star wife, and his combat – in WWII, in Viet Nam, and in a "peacetime" Air Force. He was truly a man who was larger than life. The book is available on 13 April – and I read the pre-release manuscript … and could not put it down.

The second book is entitled: A History of Air Warfare edited by John Andreas Olsen. This book is remarkable in both its depth and breadth. It is organized chronologically with 16 chapters starting with Airpower in the First and Second World Wars; then Korea, Vietnam, Middle East, and the Falklands; then Desert Storm and the Balkans; then OEF, OIF, and Lebanon. The last part offers wider perspectives by focusing on air and space power in both unconventional and conventional warfare from 1913 to the present, and includes some speculation about the future. Each Chapter has a different author – all noted airpower experts – such as Richard Overy, Wayne Thompson, Ben Lambeth, Martin van Creveld, and Richard Hallion … as well as a few authors you should get to know … such as Air Vice Marshal (Ret) Tony Mason, UK Royal Air Force and Col (Ret) Shmuel Gordon, Israeli Air Force. All said, this book is a remarkable survey of Airpower … for both the professional and the general student of history.

If you decide to read either of these books, give me some feedback on them.

As a reminder – the link below is to the President of AFA's reading list.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

National Doctors Day, WASPs

AFA members, this week I attended a Remembrance Ceremony dedicated to fallen military medical personnel in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The medical community – in its largest sense – was there to honor the fallen and their families at Arlington National Cemetery. I was struck by three things at this ceremony. First – the losses sustained in our current conflicts were much higher than I had imagined. The nation has lost 216 KIA in Iraq and Afghanistan – a staggering number for a community generally protected under the Geneva Conventions. Secondly, one of the speakers – I believe it was the Surgeon General of the Navy – observed that we, as a nation, should take the time to honor our physicians on National Doctors Day – which occurs each March 30th. The history of National Doctors Day goes back to the 1930s – but it wasn't officially recognized until signed into law in 1990. Thirdly, the ceremony was an outdoor one … and when the National anthem was sung, I, as a veteran, saluted the flag. After the ceremony, I was asked by many if it were permissible to do so. I noted that in Oct 2008 the law changed – thanks in large part to Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma – with the support of AFA – to permit military not in uniform or veterans to salute the flag when it is raised and lowered and when the National Anthem is played. The VA press release describing this can be found at: I encourage all of you who serve or have served to render a hand salute where appropriate. I have noticed that doing so attracts attention and causes young people to wonder why … and to ask questions – and that is generally good.

Secondly, last week the Air Force Association was honored to host an estimated 1,300 people at the nation's majestic Air Force Memorial for ceremonies coinciding with the Congressional Gold Medals for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). WASPs served in WWII in a variety of roles: ferry pilots, test pilots, towed targets for gunners, pulled weather reconnaissance missions, flew student navigators and bombardiers, and instructed male pilots. In all, more than 1,000 women flew for the AAF during the war, and 38 were killed, 11 in training and 27 in line of duty. They served in civilian status, wore made-over men's uniforms, and when there were enough males to fill the flying jobs, were sent home with little more than an official thank you. Their story has been told many times in many places. Probably the best pieces written have been published in AIR FORCE Magazine. You can find them at: and We put a few of the pictures at the ceremony on our website. My favorite is just a simple sign: For the rest of the pictures go to:

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Monday, March 15, 2010

AFA's CyberPatriot reaching high schoolers; Featured in SIGNAL

AFA's CyberPatriot National High School Cyber Defense Competition is growing and providing high schoolers with insight into some of the most exciting career fields of the future.

Featured here in AFCEA's Signal Magazine, the one-of-a-kind student cyber security competition reached 20,000 teens in its first full year, and plans are under way for significant expansion.

Adam Thurman, a member of the winning Team Doolittle from Utah, told Signal, "It was amazing when they read our names, because when they read second and third I thought, no way, no way," he says.

Signal quoted AFA's Executive Vice President, David "Buck" Buckwalter: "Cybersecurity is the hook because it's so hot." Nearly 200 teams participated in this year's CyberPatriot II, the first year the contest went national with a web-based simultaneous contest.

Jim Jaeger, director of Cyber Defense and Forensics for General Dynamics-AIS, a sponsor, was also quoted by Signal: "Our nation's future ability to defend against cyberthreats and protect its vital networks demands that we engage young people now and show them the dynamic careers that are in cyberdefense ... The excitement you see in these kids as they take on the defense of these networks in these competitions reinforces the optimism I have for our next generation. But that requires efforts like this to include and encourage young men and women."

Founding partner SAIC donated $25,000 to award scholarships to the top three teams. The first place team members received $3,000 each; second place were awarded $1,500; and third received $500.

Learn more about CyberPatriot here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Air Warfare Symposium

AFA Members, Congressional Staffers, Civic Leaders, DOCA Members, if you did not go to this symposium last month, you missed a great opportunity to hear AF (and Army) leaders talk about Air Warfare … both today and in the future.

There were a number of notable quotes to come from the presentations. Here are some excellent ones:

“We’ve also added four RQ-4 Global Hawks and graduated our first class of RPA only pilots. Later this year Air Combat Command projects that we will have more RPA pilots than F-16 pilots in our Air Force. To support this expansion we’ve added two new RPA facilities at Cannon and in Syracuse, and the mission at Syracuse is being accomplished by the Air National Guard.”- Honorable Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force, AFA Air warfare Symposium, Feb 18.

“Therefore, our efforts to protect these interests in space and cyberspace must be as ambitious as our reliance on these domains. We must be able to deter and to defend against attacks on our space and cyber capabilities and fight through any degradation, disruption or even denial of vital capabilities.” – Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, AFA Warfare Symposium, Feb. 18.

“Certainly our reliance on space and cyber power is well established because our nation’s diverse interests -- diplomatically, financially, economically, and yes, militarily -- exist around the globe. We have an enduring need for robust space and cyber systems and the inherently globally oriented capabilities that they provide. It would be fair to say, I think, that space and cyber power affects the lives of virtually all Americans every day; keeping us connected and shaping the ways in which we all view the world.”– Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, AFA Warfare Symposium, Feb. 18

My favorite quotes from the event came from MG Curtis Scaparrotti, CG 82nd Airborne and CJTF-82 [in Afghanistan] and Gen Gary L. North, Commander PACAF.

“...the way we operate could only be done with air power, with what the Air Force brings to this fight. There’s no doubt in my mind about it.” – Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, Commander, Army 82nd Airborne, AFA Air Warfare Symposium, Feb 18.

“What we want to do is to make sure that those who take off in airplanes against our United States Air Force and particularly if they know the F-22 is airborne or in the future the F-35, they will remember that the most feared words that an enemy pilot will ever hear are “Cleared for takeoff.” –Gen. Gary L. North, Commander, Pacific Air Forces, Air Warfare Symposium, Feb 18.

We have a link on our website to other quotes at:

Finally, as many of you know, I highly recommend those of you who are serving on active duty or actively in the ANG or AFRES read the speeches of key leaders. It will help you to understand both the public message and what themes/topics are on their minds.

We have put their talks on our website at:

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Friday, March 5, 2010

NASAx2, Posture Statement

AFA Member, Congressional Staffers, Civic leaders, and DOCA members, almost unnoticed in the Administration's budget announcement was a decision to not replace the Space Shuttle. This effectively ends the human spaceflight program - which has consequences for both NASA and DOD … and the aerospace industrial base. One of our members (who asked that his name be withheld) wrote an op-ed on the subject. We put in on our website - you can find it at:

Secondly, one of you sent me a fascinating link put out by USA Today [most of you might be interested to know that AFA has a partnership with USA Today to bring math and science education into hundreds of classrooms across the US]. The link is fascinating - it showed how the International Space Station was constructed. It makes one proud of the engineering and design talent of our nation to see how complicated, intricate, and important it was to oversea this program. You can find the link at:

Finally, this week and last, Secretary Donley and General Schwartz testified on the Hill in support of the Air Force FY11 budget. Their statement, usually referred to as the AF Posture Statement, should be read by every defense professional. I read every one when I was on active duty - not only to see exactly what Air Force priorities were - but also to see where I could support the Secretary and the Chief in my own talks and op-eds. You can find the statement at:

For your consideration,


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Begun the Drone Wars Have (From NRO)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Here's an interesting item from a National Review writer titled: Begun the Drone Wars Have

Doubtless, the Air Force is in a transformative time. In fact, this is cool stuff to fans of aviation.

But the author closes with an opinion that unmanned technology is rapidly making even our most capable aircraft -- the F-22 Raptor -- obsolete. (Do you agree? Weigh in with your comments.)

While that potential is there, our Remotely Piloted Aircraft are still a long way from taking on the all-important air dominance mission. And whatever new capabilities emerge, the U.S. still has to have the money to build them ... an increasing challenge.

Research & Development is more than promising -- it is potentially game-changing -- in areas like Airborne Laser, Remotely Piloted Aircraft and elsewhere. For the foreseeable future though, we need to keep enough fifth generation fighters in the skies to ensure global capabilities.