Friday, July 30, 2010

QDR and National Guard

July 30, 2010

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, and DOCA members, I have two large documents to bring to your attention today.

First the report of the Independent panel to review the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) was released yesterday. It was chaired by Stephen Hadley and William Perry. The report is long (158 pages) and far reaching. If you just want to review a Compilation of Findings, that section starts on page vii. I have cherry picked a few of the panel's recommendations and put them at the end of this note. I found it interesting that the findings/recommendations were unanimous. I also thought one phrase in it was very interesting: "Instead of unconstrained, long term analysis by planners who were encouraged to challenge preexisting thinking, the QDRs [of the past] became explanations and justifications, often with marginal changes, of established decisions and plans. Congress constituted our Independent Panel to review the QDR, assess the long term threats facing America, and produce recommendations regarding the capabilities which will be necessary to meet those threats."

You can find the report here.

Secondly, General Craig McKinley, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, has released a paper on the contributions to our security made by the Guard. It is 16 pages long and has a one page executive summary. I shouldn't have been, but I was surprised at a number of facts presented in the paper. Such as having 75,000 National Guard soldiers and Airmen deploy in support of overseas missions. You can find the paper on our web site here.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Catch 22 in Afghanistan

July 27, 2010

Here's an interesting commentary from CBS News on the practice of buying Russian helicopters for the fledgling Afghan Air Corps (because there are some available pilots who were trained on them years ago), but requiring them to speak English before they are allowed to pilot them.

Dropped casually into the last paragraph of the lengthy article is the presumption that America is on the decline as a military power.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Battle of Britain remembered; Nat'l Aerospace Week

July 21, 2010

The 70th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain just passed by on 10 July without a lot of fanfare. It was a watershed moment in the first century of Airpower's history, and left us with many enduring lessons.

Both the British and Germans made hardware decisions years before, directly impacted that crucial fight, and with it, the course of the entire war.

In the late 1930s, the British proceeded – over substantial civilian objection – with production of not only the Hurricane, but also the Spitfire. The usual clamor was heard. The Spitfire was "not required," too expensive, too complicated and too hard to build. A few short years later, with Britain's national survival at stake, the Spitfire gave the Royal Air Force the necessary depth of capability and capacity to win.

Similarly, the British decided in the late '30s to invest in radar and centralize air defense fighter direction. Through this awareness and command/control, the RAF met and defeated the Luftwaffe day after day of sustained fighting.

In contrast, the Germans canceled a 4-engine, long-range bomber program and focused on their current fight, which meant Army cooperation. The result was an inability to disrupt British bases that refitted the fighters and kept them in the fight.

There are countless lessons for a serious airpower student of this battle. Among the keys to take away is that program decisions made long before the start of the war were decisive.

Here is an article on the Battle of Britain.

Secondly, the Air Force Association is partnering with the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) to promote National Aerospace Week 12-18 September. This week coincides with the 63rd anniversary of the US Air Force (17 Sep) as well as AFA's Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition (13-15 Sep). I am constantly amazed at how much the Aerospace Industry contributes to the US economy, national security and technological superiority. Aerospace sales reached a record $214 billion last year. The sector directly and indirectly contributes more than $1.2 trillion – or 5.6 percent of gross domestic product – to the US economy. It supplies nearly 11 million jobs in all 50 states.

National Aerospace Week is an opportunity for our collective voice to reach out to co-workers, colleagues, employees, communities, and elected officials to reinforce the messages highlighting the importance of this industry to our national security. National Aerospace Week also presents an excellent opportunity to thank our armed forces for their contributions to our security and to encourage young people to consider a career in the industry. We have put more information on the week … along with suggestions of activities … on our website.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

End of an Era: F-15s Leave Langley

July 20, 2010

The LA Times marks the end of an era by reporting that F-15s are leaving Langley Air Force Base after 34 years. At the same time, the 71st Fighter Squadron is being deactivated. The historic squadron has existed since 1941 and first flew P-38s in World War II.

The article notes the tremendous combat record (104 victories-0 defeats) compiled over the past three decades by the F-15. The design process for the F-15 began back in 1969. The oldest F-15s in service are among the 250 fighters being retired by the Air Force.

Despite its age, the Air Force remains heavily dependent on the F-15 and will be forced to rely on the aircraft for some years. It's intended replacement as the fleet's air dominance fighter, the F-22, was discontinued after just 186 Raptors were built. Instead, the Air Force will turn to the multi-role, single engine F-35, not yet in service.

PICTURED: Lt. Col. Clint Warner catches his daughter Sarah upon his return at Langley Air Force Base, Va., May 27, 2010, from a temporary duty assignment to Tyndall AFB, Fla. Colonel Warner is a pilot with the 71st Fighter Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Barry Loo)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

75-year anniversary year of the B-17 Flying Fortress

July 16, 2010

The B-17 Flying Fortress has a special place in military history. Known for staying aloft after taking enemy fire, the sturdy bomber's impact on World War II is impossible to ignore. Boeing, the manufacturer, flew the first one 75 years ago.

An ongoing restoration of a B-17 is available to tourists at the National Museum of the Air Force. The Museum's Air Power Gallery displays a B-17, the "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby," and the restoration hangars have two more: the famed "Memphis Belle" and "The Swoose."

See this SeattlePI post for a photo and collection of B-17 lore, and thanks to Air Force AIM Points for alerting us to this important part of our heritage.

Above: "The Swoose" finds a new home at the National Museum of the Air Force. (Air Force photo)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wounded Warrior bikes Sea to Shining Sea

July 13, 2010

An Airman is riding coast to coast in the 4,000-mile Sea to Shining Sea bicycle ride. The trek begins at the Golden Gate Bridge and ends at Virginia Beach.

A year ago, Staff Sgt. Marc Esposito was severely wounded by an IED while serving as a Combat Controller in Afghanistan. The journey is part of his rehab, but also an inspiration to other wounded warriors.

Raptors take wing in Hawaii

July 13, 2010

Newly assigned F-22 Raptors, the only twin-engine fifth generation fighter in service, were dedicated at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Oahu 9 July.

They are the first F-22s assigned to the 199th Fighter Squadron, 154th Wing, Hawaii Air National Guard, and replace the F-15s that have protected Hawaiian skies since 1987.

Production of the F-22, America's top air dominance aircraft, has been capped at 186 fighters. Meanwhile, the U.S. is retiring some 250 legacy fighters, aging F-15s and F-16s, and banking on adequate production of the multi-role F-35, a single-engine fifth generation aircraft.

Photo: The stealthy silhouette of an F-22 Raptor against the clouds over Hawaiian waters, 9 July. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt. Cohen A. Young)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Iraq in 2012, Book Recommendation

July 9, 2010

AFA members, Congressional Staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, earlier this week I read an interesting piece by former Secretary of the Air Force Wynne. It is entitled Iraq in 2012: An Update in Perspective. In the piece, Sec Wynne brings out many points – to include the importance of the US to many of the countries in the gulf. To quote his last paragraph:

Already, the thinking part of Iraq is asking the US: 'Don't put Iraq in the rear view mirror'. Since they really mean watch over us, as we have in the past, this has implications to our aging and shrinking Air and Naval deterrent capability. With our seeming blindness to deterrent capability while we pursue 'balance and the current war we are in' could prove costly in the multi-polar era we are entering. One continues to hope for 'Peace in our time', but what we have seen work for the past peaceful period, is 'Speak softly; but carry a Big Stick'.

You can find the piece here.

Secondly, I am finishing a great book by Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman. [You might remember the name of Reed - he was Secretary of the Air Force in the Ford and Carter Administrations ... at the very least, many of us had to memorize his name ...] The book is entitled: The Nuclear Express - A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation - it came out last year. It traces how the technology, developed in the Manhattan Project, spread around the world. A few things I did not know ... (or had forgotten)

  • The Manhattan Project was really a multi-lateral effort with scientists from UK, Canada, France, and US ... plus former Germans ... involved.

  • The US did not share the technology with the British/French after the war.

  • The UK developed its weapons in fear of a US retreat (return to isolationism) after WWII

  • The French did so after its defeat at Dien Bien Phu ... and US heavy-handedness during the Suez Crisis

  • PRC was helped initially by the Soviets ... but perhaps most by a British spy

  • Israel and France collaborated on the Israeli bomb

  • The PRC helped Pakistan because of a border war with India that it won in 1962. India decided to pursue the technology for the same reason plus the PRC nuclear and thermonuclear tests in 1964/1967

  • Pakistan and AQ Khan were inspired by an Indian test in 1974.
    And ... lot's more. It's an interesting read.

Side note: Two weeks ago I sent the above section, recommending the book, to the Commander, US Strategic Command, Gen Kevin Chilton. Gen Chilton responded that he had already read the book and it was on the STRATCOM Commander's reading list. I checked out the list and it, too, is superb. While I have not read all of the books on the list, the ones I have read are outstanding. What also struck me about Gen Chilton's list is its wide selection which represents STRATCOM's varied set of missions. You can find the list here.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Airpower use still soaring

July 6, 2010

Halfway through the year, the U.S. Air Force is on track to substantially outpace last year's aerial surge in total sorties in U.S. Central Command, which comprises both Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year's month-by-month total grew throughout the year, spiking to over 10,000 per month late in the year. So far in 2010, the number is already over 70,000 [on pace for potentially about 140,000, closer to 12,000 flights per month].

Air sorties, often around 400 per day, are tracked daily by AIR FORCE Magazine's Daily Report.

Photo: An E-3 Sentry receives fuel from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker May 25, 2010, while flying over Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Kasey Zickmund)

Afghanistan Metrics, General McChrystal, Budget

July 6, 2010

Last week, two briefings on Afghanistan crossed our desk. The first was from CSIS; the second was from Brookings. Both briefings describe a set of metrics in order to measure progress or non-progress by our forces in Afghanistan, and both briefings are quite complicated. We ask you to draw your own conclusions, but we remain concerned that counter insurgency is a contest of wills, and if we tell the world … and the enemy … that we will be leaving soon, it puts our will into question.

Secondly, AFA President and CEO, Mike Dunn was at a North Carolina AFA state meeting 10 days ago, and a few of the participants had not seen the Rolling Stone piece on General McChrystal. He told them he would send it to all our members. It is a rather long piece, and we urge all of you to read it carefully. Civil-military relations are so important that all of our citizens should be aware of the limitations we put on our military.

Finally, Gen. Dunn wrote over one year ago, expressing concern about our rising budget deficit. Two weeks ago, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, stated that the budget deficit was the "biggest threat to our national security." You can find a short Youtube video of the CJCS. [Note: the reporter is in error when she states: "The current defense budget deficit is the biggest threat …" – instead it's the federal budget deficit.]

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4, 2010

As we celebrate Independence Day, we want to say a special thank you to all the members of our Armed Forces, their families, and those civilians in a supporting role. They’re doing important work. We’ll also never forget all the veterans who have served and established a tradition of dedication and excellence in our military.

Since our nation’s founding, generations of patriots have fought, served and sacrificed to preserve our freedom and help secure better lives for millions around the world. We owe each of them a tremendous debt of gratitude. Our great nation is blessed with a truly remarkable heritage of freedom.

Thank you to everyone who is a member of AFA or supports our Air Force and our Armed Forces. We at AFA wish you a great Fourth of July.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Air Force Band Concert on the 4th

July 2, 2010

The Air Force Band will perform a special Independence Day concert at the Air Force Memorial at 8 p.m. on the Fourth of July. Expect a crowd, so get there early for the best view!

Anniversary of Nat'l Statuary Hall; Air Force represented

July 2, 2010

On this day in 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed the law designating Statuary Hall, then already 50 years old and known as the Old Hall of the House, as the home of the National Statuary Hall collection in the U.S. Capitol. Read more at today's Politico.

While many of the statues honor early statesmen and predate the Air Force, there is Air Force and aviation representation in the collection.

A statue of Jack Swigert [pictured] was contributed in 1997 by Colorado. Each state contributes two from any era, and he is one of the more recent ones. In a storied career, he was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, a test pilot for private aviation, a pilot in the Air National Guard and a NASA astronaut. He was on board the famous Apollo 13 mission, an attempt to return to the Moon. He died in 1982, shortly after his election to Congress.

Reportedly, the state of Ohio is planning to update their collection with a new contribution. Among the finalists under consideration in June by the state legislature was a representation of the Wright brothers. Orville and Wilbur Wright fathered aviation with powered flight a little over a century ago while living and inventing in Dayton, Ohio, and a few years later built the first military airplane.

Finally, Statuary Hall is often used for ceremonies. The famed Tuskegee Airmen were honored there upon receipt of the Congressional Medal of Honor. They were honored by the Air Force Association at the 2009 Air & Space Conference in Washington, D.C.

Photo: Created by Staff Sgt. Michael Middleton, a new chalk nose art is displayed on an RQ-4 Global Hawk assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at an air base in Southwest Asia Feb. 12, 2010, in honor of Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Lee Archer who died Jan. 27 at the age of 90 in New York City. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New gadget: Air Force device scavenges electricity

July 1, 2010

The U.S. Air Force, which often employs some of the world's most cutting edge technology, has another cool new device. It's relatively simple looking with a simple job. Known as a "bat hook," the high tech gadget allows Airmen to tap into any nearby electrical wire when they are short on power or have an emergency need for more electricity. They simply power up and move on with their mission.

Discover Magazine highlights the Bat Hook in an article titled: "How Batman Would Steal Electricity."

Air Force Civilians earn award for excellence

July 1, 2010

Four civilians employed by the Air Force have been named the Outstanding Air Force Civilians of the Year, one of the Air Force Association's prestigious national awards. The honor will be presented in a ceremony at the 2010 Air & Space Conference in September in Washington, D.C.

Adm. Mullen: Unsustainable Nat'l Debt is #1 security threat

July 1, 2010
In case you missed it, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, earlier this week described our soaring national debt as our nation's number one security threat. The debt is already constricting Defense budgets, and already by 2012 the interest alone on the debt is projected to roughly equal the entire U.S. Department of Defense budget. Mullen calls the national debt "unsustainable."

Here is the brief video clip posted by The Hill newspaper.

Happy Birthday, AIR FORCE Magazine

July 1, 2010

On this day in 1946, AIR FORCE Magazine became the Journal of the Air Force Association. Both AFA and AIR FORCE Magazine predate the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as an independent service in 1947.

Don't miss the July issue.

Lt Gen McInerney weighs in on Afghanistan

July 1, 2010

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney contributed an opinion article to Fox News entitled "Everyone Must Go, If We Want to Win in Afghanistan." He poses a number of questions, notes that the Taliban (not the U.S.) is the number one killer of civilians in Afghanistan and urges changes in the Rules of Engagement so that airpower can be used effectively and preserve the lives of American forces on the ground.

McInerney, a member of the Air Force Association, flew 407 combat missions in Vietnam and served as Assistant Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Read more of his Air Force bio.