Monday, March 28, 2011

Experts to Discuss the Complexities of Cyberspace at AFA Conference

AFA's brand new CyberFutures Conference and Technology Exposition is only a few days away! Learn about the challenges the new domain of cyberspace brings to different sectors and organizations at this inaugural event, to be held March 31 – April 1, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just minutes from downtown D.C.

Themed “New Strategies for a New Domain,” CyberFutures will focus on the challenges of developing and implementing effective cybersecurity policy and of applying technology in meeting those challenges. With featured speakers from government, defense, industry, and academia, the conference will be an energetic forum for discussion on the risks and vulnerabilities of operating in a cyber world full of hackers and technological complexities, and how to mitigate those risks.

Featured speakers include:
• Lt Gen William Lord, Chief, Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer
• Maj Gen Edward Bolton, Director, Cyber and Space Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force
• Dr. Vinton Cerf, Chief Technology Advocate for Google
• Dr. Martin Libicki, RAND Corporation
• Melissa Hathaway, Senior Adviser to Project MINERVA based at the Harvard Kennedy School
• Greg Schaffer, Assistant Secretary of Cyber Security Communication for Department of Homeland Security
• Gordon Snow, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Cyber Division

For a full list of CyberFutures speakers, go to:

AFA has also teamed up with RecruitMilitary to produce a career fair on April 1, where leading aerospace/defense firms will recruit for cyber tech openings. The career fair will be free, and open to all - veterans and non-veterans - who are interested in careers in cyber technology and related fields.

In conjunction with the conference, CyberPatriot III, AFA’s national high school cyber defense competition, will be conducting its national championship round. After six exciting months of preliminary rounds, the competition will culminate on April 1 with an award banquet for top winners in each division.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

April session of Air Force Breakfast Series

The next session of the Air Force Breakfast Series will be on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, with Lt. General Loren M. Reno,Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Installations and Mission Support for Headquarters U.S. Air Force, as the guest speaker.

Gen Reno is responsible to the Chief of Staff for leadership, management and integration of Air Force logistics readiness, aircraft and missile maintenance, civil engineering and security forces, as well as setting policy and preparing budget estimates that reflect enhancements to productivity, combat readiness and quality of life for Air Force people.

Commissioned in 1974 as a graduate of the Officer Training School, General Reno has had assignments in flying operations, training and logistics. He flew four missions into Saigon, South Vietnam, in 1975, and led air mobility logistics support for operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Prior to his current assignment, General Reno commanded the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.

The Air Force Breakfast Program is a great forum for dialogue with senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders. Past speakers include Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and General Gary L. North, Commander of Pacific Air Forces.

This April session will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel.

Register here:

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 21, 2011

AFA President Discusses Libyan No-Fly Zone with Bloomberg

AFA President and CEO Mike Dunn defines the objectives of the "no-fly zone" over Libya with Bloomberg BusinessWeek:

Allied Warplanes, Ships Move Into Place to Hit Qaddafi’s Forces
by: By Peter S. Green and Tony Capaccio
March 19, 2011

A no-fly zone over Libya could be set up in matter of days, as soon as political leaders define the objective of air interdiction and the rules of engagement, a retired senior U.S. Air Force general said.

“You can set it up in a few days, but it’s not going to be 24 hours a day,” retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant General Michael M. Dunn said in an interview this week. “If you want a comprehensive no-fly zone, it’d take a week.”

“This is an act of war,” said Dunn, noting that Libyans likely would be killed if the U.S. and allies destroy the country’s air defenses.

At least 200 planes would be needed to keep up 24-hour coverage of Libyan air space, though given the country’s limited air force, fewer aircraft might be effective in the short run, said Dunn, the president of the Air Force Association, a non- governmental group that promotes air power and the interests of former service members.

“You don’t have to cover the whole country, just the places where there are bases,” he said. “The objective is keeping Libya’s air force grounded, not taking it out.”

Read the full article here: Allied Warplanes, Ships Move Into Place to Hit Qaddafi’s Forces

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


AFA members, Congressional staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, for several months I’ve been looking for an article which explains the essence of Airpower -- one that makes it easy to understand why this domain is so important to our national security. Last week, I found such an article in Air University’s Air and Space Power Journal. It is written by Col (Ret) and former Commandant of Air Command and Staff College, John Warden.

The piece is long – 14 pages on my printer. Here are a few quotes to interest you:

“Airpower enables us to think about conflict from a future-back, end-game-first perspec¬tive as opposed to one based on the battle obsession of Clausewitz and his followers. It also opens another very exciting possibility: conflict with little or no unplanned destruc¬tion or shedding of blood.”

“So here is a proposition: let us resolve to expunge the words fighting, battle, shape the battlefield, battlespace, and the war fighter from our vocabulary, to relegate the “means” of war to the last thing we think about, and to elevate the “end” to the pedestal of our consideration. In other words, let’s bury thousands of years of bloody battle stories, as heroic as they were, and start looking at war—and eventually airpower—from its end point, which by definition means from a strategic perspective.”

“Movement from the parallel domain to the serial domain causes the probability of success to begin to fall dramatically. Tak¬ing a very long time decreases the chances considerably. It isn’t impossible to win a long war, but the odds are very low—and this applies to both sides, despite significant differences in their centers of gravity. Since good strategy depends heavily on under¬standing probabilities, deliberately embark¬ing on a low-probability, long serial war does not make much sense.”

“Very simply, whether in war or business, our normal approach to the time element is exactly backward: we ask ourselves how long something will take rather than decide how long it should take in order to create parallel effects and succeed at an accept¬able cost.”

“We should take a page from business, which long ago learned that selling a product had to involve much more than touting its tech¬nical goodness. Products sell because cus¬tomers see them as filling a real need in their lives; airpower advocates have not done well in this regard. If airpower is something different, we must highlight its differences and show convincingly that it fills a vital need.”
“Airpower exponents not only need to connect airpower directly to strategy and market their product well, but also need to start believing in it. Those who begin a dis¬cussion by noting that airpower “can’t do everything” do themselves and their listeners a real disservice.”

“Of course, espousing the unlimited con¬cept of airpower exposes the advocate to charges of airpower zealotry, a lack of “jointness,” or some other nasty label. But we need to become confident enough to shrug off these labels.”

You can find the piece at: and click on the article by John Warden.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Friday, March 11, 2011

Unveiling Ceremony in honor of Medal of Honor Recipient CMSgt Etchberger

The Secretary of the Air Force hosted an unveiling ceremony in honor of Medal of Honor recipient CMSgt Richard L. Etchbereger this morning at our Air Force Memorial.

With remarks from CMSgt (ret.) John McCauslin, CMSAF James A. Roy and the Honorable Michael B. Donley, this ceremony was a memorable moment to reflect on the gallantry, valor and courage displayed by CMSgt Etchberger, as he gave the ultimate sacrifice to save his fellowmen on March 11, 1968.

Etchberger's heroic actions on March 11, 1968, will forever be etched into the sacred wall at our Air Force Memorial. Generations of family of Chief Etchberger were present as their name became part of a permanent record of our nation's gratitude. AFA was honored to be a part of this ceremony.

For more pictures, check out the Air Force Memorial's Facebook page.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Note from the President: Desert Storm, Goldwater

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members,

This year is the 20th year anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. In recognition of this, the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies held a session with Gen (Ret) Charles A. Horner and Lt Gen (Ret) David A. Deptula. The Director of the Institute, Dr. Rebecca Grant, was the moderator.[Special thanks goes to Lockheed Martin Corp for helping us sponsor the event.] We put a transcript of the event on the Mitchell Institute part of our website.

A few quotes to interest you - all from Gen Horner:

… you'll hear terms like boots on the ground, you've probably heard that one. You'll hear terms like force on force. And what it says is this. It says that the reason we have military forces is to engage the enemy military forces. And it leads to things like attrition warfare.

You've got to be careful how you think about things. And quite frankly, ground forces, boots on the ground, carpet bombing, all those sayings that go with the land generals may or may not be accurate, but you as individuals, particularly the young guys, when you get in a situation of war you've got to think. You need to study your history; you need to study what's gone on in other wars and in the past. That to me is one of the most valuable lessons of Desert Storm.

Airpower is very dependent and leverages technology probably better than any other service other than space. We catch a lot of hell for it because it's expensive. But if you think about the impact of stealth, precision munitions, ISR, we've fundamentally changed the way wars are fought and the way that people die in battle. That's a good thing. But we've got to continue with our technology development.

Vietnam, they picked the targets in Washington. That was one thing I was very sensitive about in Desert Storm. I was not going to allow any target - I didn't care where we got information from. That was not the point. It was up to the Black Hole to nominate the targets and then it was up to the people executing the war to strike them or not strike them depending on how things changed.

Strategy. Everybody studies strategy. If you don't have good political objectives then it doesn't matter what strategy you have. You're not going to succeed. So that's why the military has to be involved in the political objectives of the conflict. This is where the senior guys have to suck it up.

We tend to view our enemies as we view ourselves. You've got to understand culture. Where we screwed up with the Iraqis is we tended to think they think like we do.

We ignore the support which is the foundation of air power. I'm talking about maintenance, supply; I'm talking about the bio-engineers. We deployed to the Middle East. I'd go down to Al-Dafra, and even the docs were standing in line at the porta potties holding up IVs. They're giving themselves IVs, waiting for their turn to go into the crapper. What happened is they got some bad ice and the whole base went down, boom, just like that.

We also did not have State Department participation. The end of the war came and they said Schwarzkopf, go negotiate with the enemy. He said that's not my job. My job is to kill them. You send somebody else up there. They said we don't have anybody else. We never thought about it. So he had to go up there. Then of course they got to fly and we saw what happened to the uprising.

The other thing that really was great was the coalition cooperation we had. The coalition really worked, and I was worried about that because if you read the history of World War II, the hardest thing you have is being in a coalition. Then quite frankly, our service cooperation was very, very good. Walt Boomer is a hero. Stan Arthur is a hero. And John Yeosock was my roommate. The only problem we had was the underling generals that would try and stir the pot. But that was great.

The piece is long - 19 pages on my printer and can be found at:

Secondly, there is scholarship funding available from lots of sources. AFA also has many programs [see:]. But there is one that I want to bring to your attention that has a special relationship with AFA and with which many of you might not be aware - the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Sen Barry Goldwater was the Chairman of the Board of the Aerospace Education Foundation (AEF) from 1975-1986. The AEF combined with AFA in 2007.

The Foundation awards undergraduate scholarships to outstanding students, known as Barry M. Goldwater Scholars, in the spring. The awards are made on the basis of merit to two groups of students--those who will be college juniors and those who will be college seniors in the next academic year--who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering. Four-year institutions are eligible to nominate up to four students who are in the sophomore or junior class during the academic year. Two-year institutions may nominate up to two students who are sophomores during the academic year. To be considered, a student must be nominated by his or her college or university using the official online nomination process on the Foundation's website. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

For more information, see:

For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

CyberFutures Conference!

AFA's newest conference is now only three weeks away!

The CyberFutures Conference and Technology Exposition is to be held march 31 - April 1, at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, Maryland -- just minutes from downtown D.C.

We have a great line-up, with an acclaimed author, the Google VP, former presidential advisers, and military leadership all going to be present.

AFA’s CyberFutures Conference boasts some of the nation’s top IT and cyber leaders from industry, government and the military. Speakers will share their thoughts and strategies for managing the pronounced new challenges the cyber domain presents to every organization. Attendees will learn about the risks and vulnerabilities associated with operating in a cyber world full of hackers and technological complexities, as well as how to mitigate those risks.

Here's a sneak peek at some of our speakers:
Richard A. Clarke, author of a #1 New York Times bestseller and the 2010 novel Cyber War, will be among the conference’s speakers. Having served the last three presidents as a senior White House advisor, Clarke is an internationally-recognized expert on security, including homeland security, national security, cyber security and counterterrorism.

Melissa Hathaway, a senior advisor at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, served as Director of the Joint Interagency Cyber Task Force in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence under the Bush Administration. Under the Obama Administration, Hathaway was named the Acting Senior Director for Cyberspace in the National Security Council.

Vinton Cerf is the vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. Widely known as a "Father of the Internet," he is the co-designer with Robert Kahn of the basic architecture of the Internet.

Gordon Snow is the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Cyber-crime Division. As part of the FBI’s top cyber division, Snow is on the front lines of federal efforts to prevent cyber crime, espionage and potential online terrorist activity.
In a panel discussion, military leadership from different branches will discuss challenges associated with defending the military network.

For a full list of speakers, go here.

As part of CyberFutures, AFA has teamed up with RecruitMilitary to produce a career fair on April 1, where leading aerospace/defense firms will recruit for cyber tech openings. The career fair will be free, and open to all - veterans and non-veterans - who are interested in careers in cyber technology and related fields.

In conjunction with the conference, CyberPatriot III, AFA’s national high school cyber defense competition, will be conducting its championship round for this year’s challenge. After six exciting months of preliminary rounds, the competition will culminate on April 1 with an award banquet for top winners in each division.

Register now at!

SECDEF speeches, Aircraft Proc, Hero

AFA members, Congressional Staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, recently, Sec Gates gave two important speeches – one at West Point and the other at the Air Force Academy. You can find the speeches at:


There are two small factual errors in the USAFA speech. See if you can find them. (Hint: One is implied … and both are on page two).

Secondly, we have laid out part of the 2012 budget for you as it pertains to aircraft procurement. You can find a simple brief at:

Overall, the nation is supporting the Army’s, Navy’s, and Marine’s air arms … as well as the nation’s Air Force.

A few observations from the briefing:

The Department of the Navy aircraft procurement budget is larger than the Department of the Air Force’s

The Navy and Marines – with a total of about 70% of the number of systems as the Air Force – is buying almost twice as many aircraft (227 vs 114). [Recall that the Chief of Staff, General Schwartz, has said the AF needs to buy about 200 aircraft per year in order to make modest reductions in average aircraft age of the fleet.]

The Army – with about 60% of the number of systems as the Air Force – is buying more than twice as many aircraft (236 vs 114).

If the aircraft buy rate holds steady over time [which it never does], the Navy is on a replacement rate of about 17.5 years – which is respectable.

The Army replacement rate is about 15 years, and it, too is respectable.

The Air Force replacement rate is a little over 49 years -- which means that, except for retiring old systems, the average age will not get younger this fiscal year.

Finally, this note’s Portrait in Courage is about Staff Sergeant Robert Gutierrez. SSgt Gutierrez is Special Tactics Combat Controller with a U.S. Army Special Forces Team. I think you’ll find -- when you read the piece – you will have a sense of pride in the great service of all those who serve our nation.
For you consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Friday, March 4, 2011

Air Force Memorial to Host Engraving Ceremony for CMSgt Etchberger

Next week AFA's Air Force Memorial will be hosting an engraving ceremony for Medal of Honor Recipient Chief Master Sergeant Richard L. Etchberger!

On Friday, March 11, 2011, an unveiling ceremony recognizing Etchberger’s name on the Valor, Courage and Sacrifice Wall at the AF Memorial will commence at 10:30 a.m.
[For directions, go here >>>]

Etchberger received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest decoration, posthumously for his heroic actions in combat on March 11, 1968, during the Vietnam War.

About Etchberger:
As a radar technician, he served at the summit of one of the tallest mountains in Laos, where he and a small team manned a radar station guiding American pilots in the air campaign against North Vietnam.

On March 11, 1968, the site came under attack from North Vietnamese soldiers. Chief Etchberger continued to direct air strikes and call for air rescue on his emergency radio, thus enabling the air evacuation force to locate their position. Etchberger tended to the wounded and fought off the advancing North Vietnamese troops until a rescue helicopter arrived.

Etchberger loaded his wounded men, one by one, each time exposing himself to enemy fire. But as the helicopter headed toward an air base in Thailand, an enemy soldier below fired into the underside of the aircraft, fatally wounding Etchberger. Of those 19 men on the mountain that night, only seven made it out alive. Three of them owed their lives to the actions of Chief Etchberger.

The Medal of Honor was presented to Etchberger's sons by President Obama at a White House ceremony on September 21, 2010.

Back in November 2010, AFA's Air Force Magazine, did an amazing feature on Etchberger. Check it out here: "Etchberger, Medal of Honor"

Please join us for this special ceremony in honor of CMSgt Richard L. Etchberger, for serving above and beyond the call of duty.

*Important Note: Military should be in their uniform of the day while civilians are requested to wear business attire.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Budget, Book, Space Strategy, Hero

AFA Members, Congressional staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members, debate of the US budget and the rising deficit dominates the news here in Washington DC. As many of you may know, I have been worried about the high levels of deficit spending for many years. See the following notes:

Last week the Congressional budget office came out with a short report which, I think, explains simply its estimates on future deficits. The report points out that the increases in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have been, in the past, paid for by significant cuts in Defense spending. The difference in where we are now is that we can’t decrease Defense spending enough to cover projected increases. For a summary of the report see the section below my name.

Secondly, last week I read a great book entitled: The Great Depression: A Diary by Benjamin Roth, James Ledbedder, and Daniel Roth. It describes what occurred in the depression years from the diary of someone who was interested in making observations. What was interesting about the book was:

1.How really bad the depression was. Not only did many people lose everything they had, but unemployment was so high and bank failures so frequent that massive portions of the population were on public assistance. Tax revenues shrank and those who could pay … say property taxes, razed rental buildings to take the land back to unimproved status to lower tax rates.

2.There were many similarities to the economic situation we face today. Some of the solutions undertaken by the Roosevelt Administration – which did not work – have been tried today. Both the Obama and Roosevelt Administrations tried to “spend their way out of” the recession/depression … and it did not work in the 1930s. The book is an easy read … and a bit repetitive. And a lot of it talks about categories of investments and how they were doing. But it gives one insights to the depression that I have not seen elsewhere. Plus it is a great addition to the understanding of perhaps our most important national security issue – our economy.

Thirdly, about 6 weeks ago, the Administration released its National Space Strategy. A link to the unclassified summary can be found at: I was struck by the simple observation that space is … as opposed to Tom Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded … cold, infinite, crowded … and essential. The number of countries which operate satellites in space is now approaching 60. Plus there are over 22,000 man-made objects in space. Keeping track of them … and avoiding them is a tough challenge faced by both USSTRATCOM and AFSPACECOM. Take a look at this summary and let me know what you think about it.

Finally, this week’s Portrait in Courage highlights the heroism of Staff Sergeant Christopher Ferrell. SSgt Ferrell is an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader. You can read about his exploits at:

For you consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association


The Outlook for the Economy and the Budget
CBO, February 24, 2011

Although CBO expects that production and employment will expand this year and in coming years, a return to normal economic conditions will take years. Payroll employment, which declined by nearly 9 million between the end of 2007 and early 2010, has recovered by just a shade over 1 million since then. Only by 2016, in our forecast, does the unemployment rate reach 5.3 percent, close to our estimate of the natural rate.

If current laws remain unchanged, as we assume for CBO’s baseline projections, the economic recovery and scheduled expiration of major tax provisions would cause budget deficits to drop markedly over the next few years as a share of output. Still, CBO projects that deficits would average 3.6 percent of GDP from 2012 through 2021, totaling nearly $7 trillion over that decade. As a result, the debt held by the public would keep rising, reaching 77 percent of GDP in 2021.

Suppose instead that three major aspects of current policy were continued during the coming decade: 1) the higher 2011 exemption amount for the alternative minimum tax (AMT) was extended and, along with the AMT tax brackets, was indexed for inflation; 2) the other major provisions in the recently enacted tax legislation that affected individual income taxes and estate and gift taxes were extended, rather than allowed to expire in January 2013; and 3) Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’ services were held constant, rather than dropping sharply as scheduled under current law. If those policies were extended permanently, deficits over the coming decade would average about 6 percent of GDP and would cumulate to nearly $12 trillion. Debt held by the public in 2021 would rise to almost 100 percent of GDP, the highest level since 1946.

Assuming the continuation of those policies, balancing the budget in 2021 would require an additional cut in spending of about one-quarter, an increase in tax revenue of about one-third, or some combination of those approaches. On the spending side, a cut of that size would be a little more than total projected spending on Social Security; almost as much as combined spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs; and much more than spending on defense. Such a cut would also be a bit larger than all other federal spending—including spending related to transportation, education grants, federal justice, unemployment assistance, and retirement benefits, for example—apart from net interest and the programs listed above. On the revenue side, an increase of that size would be more than a tripling of revenue from the corporate income tax or a substantial increase in individual income tax revenue.

Projected Federal Revenue and Spending in 2021 with the Continuation of Certain Policies

During the past few decades, the significant increase in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spending has been accommodated in the federal budget by a marked decline in defense spending relative to GDP. Between 1970 and 2007, outlays for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as a share of GDP increased by a little more than 4 percentage points; over that same period, outlays for defense as a share of GDP decreased by a little more than 4 percentage points.Looking ahead, outlays for Social Security and federal health programs will continue to expand more rapidly than GDP as the baby boomers retire and health spending per person increases—climbing nearly another 4 percentage points in CBO’s projections by 2021. With defense spending running between 4 percent and 5 percent of GDP in the past few years, significantly reducing deficits will require changes to programs or tax payments that people will feel much more directly than they felt those past changes in defense spending.

Budgetary changes of the magnitude that will ultimately be required could be disruptive. Therefore, Congress may wish to implement them gradually so as to avoid a sudden negative impact on the economy, particularly as it recovers from the severe recession, and so as to give families, businesses, and state and local governments time to plan and adjust. Allowing for such gradual implementation would mean that remedying the nation’s fiscal imbalance would take longer and therefore that major policy changes would need to be enacted soon to limit the further increase in federal debt.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Libya, Radio piece, Book Recommendation

AFA Members, Congressional staff members, Civic leaders, DOCA members,

In the past 24 hours, I’ve talked with several reporters on the feasibility of creating a No Fly Zone over Libya. I don’t know if they will use any of my words ... but ... The note below was what I sent a friend who asked a specific question: Could the Libyan Air Defense system threaten the F-22 if it were used to set up a NFZ? I think it may shed light on the discussion of this military option.

Secondly, yesterday I did a radio piece on the tanker competition. It is not to do as easy as it might sound … I did say one misstated word. See if you can find it. The link is:

Finally, I want to point you to a new book. It is entitled: Global Air Power and is edited by John Andreas Olsen. [You might remember the editor in a few of his previous books [a link to Amazon provides a useful summary:]. His A History of Air Warfare is on both CSAF’s and my reading lists. This book is a compendium of essays by noted Airpower authors from all over the world. The book is long (400+ pages), but the 10 essays can be considered mini-books in their own right. Gen (Ret) Charles A. Horner writes this about the book:

"Military air power is less than one hundred years old, yet today no land or sea force can prevail in battle when opposed by a capable, well-led air force. Global Air Power traces how air forces in a range of countries found their rightful roles in the context of national priorities and achieved preeminence despite entrenched beliefs in the primacy of land and sea forces. This book should be required reading for all military leaders, present and future."

For you consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association


[Name deleted], the air defense system could not threaten the F-22. The Libyans have older systems. The network is integrated for a common radar picture. However, their aircraft are older -- mostly Mig 21s and Mig 23s with some light attack/trainers and some ground attack aircraft. The Surface to Air missiles are also older SA-2s, SA-3s (Viet Nam era) and about 50 SA-6s. The latter are lethal to almost all aircraft except for the F-22. They would have to be dealt with in any regard. But it is not clear what kind of maintenance they have undergone ... nor how well the Libyans are trained on the system.

The central issue, in my mind, with a no-fly zone (NFZ) is a policy one. What do you want to do? It is too facile to say: Stop aircraft from killing people and destroying things ... as it begs the question of: “Soooooo, are you OK with ground forces killing people and destroying things?” If the latter is answered in the negative, then the air piece is only one part of a larger answer. [I worry this option is being considered just to be seen as “Doing Something.”]

A second, but lesser important question is: How long do you want to do this. If the answer is: We don't know ... but plan for a month or so. Then we'll need a couple hundred aircraft for 24/7 ops ... and either 3-4 carriers plus land-based support or bases in nearby nations or both. Italy is the best choice ... and to get its OK, we'll need either a NATO sign off, a UN Security Council Resolution, or just plain leaning on a good friend with a weak government. Other basing options are a bit unsavory. Egypt probably won't help ... neither will Tunisia. Algeria has its own terrorist problems. Israel won't want to be seen in an active role. Other African choices are pretty far away with little infrastructure.

A subset of the first issue -- more in the tactical realm -- is you would want to take out some of the air defenses no matter what systems you use ... and that means killing Libyan troops ... with all the unintended consequences of such actions. Secondly, what do you do about helicopters? They are hard to kill ... especially if they know you are coming. What if they just set down on the top of a building? You can't get them with an air-to-air missile; you'd need bombs [or as some of our members have pointed out – bullets] ... and that may mean civilian casualties ... especially if you don't hit that which you are aiming. Also, you don't generally configure fighters for both air-to-air missions and air-to-ground ones at the same time. Thus the need for more aircraft. The F-22 does carry both types of weapons internally and can do the job. I cannot address the policy question of whether Sec Gates would entertain a request from EUCOM to deploy the F-22. Some believe he would be reluctant to approve the aircraft’s deployment.

Finally, the Navy is not configured for round the clock operations, except in a short-term surge mode and has to keep a bit of its airpower to defend the fleet. This means less for NFZ ops. The good news is that you would not have to establish a NFZ over the entire country -- probably just the major cities and perhaps a few key air bases.

Bottom line: creating a NFZ over the country is “do-able” – but not simple … and I would want to get the policy pieces answered before we embarked on this option.

I know you didn't ask all this ... but ...


AFA President and CEO Mike Dunn on Federal News Radio

Yesterday afternoon, AFA's very own Mike Dunn was on FederalNewsRadio, as part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report.

Here's the link to the tanker selection:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Commander of Pacific Air Forces to Speak at Air Force Breakfast Series

The next session of AFA's Air Force Breakfast Series will have General Gary L. North, Commander of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), as the guest speaker! We'll be back at the Sheraton Crystal City Hotel for this session, to be held on Thursday, March 10, 2011, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

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.

PACAF is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 45,000 Air Force people serving principally in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Korea and Japan. In addition to being Commander of PACAF, Gen. North is Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command and Executive Director for Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

Commissioned in 1976, Gen. North has served two tours on the Joint Staff, serving as an executive officer to the Director of the Joint Staff, and as Director of Politico-Military Affairs for Asia-Pacific, where he was responsible for regional planning and policy for the Asia-Pacific, South Asia and Central Asia regions. He has also served on the Air Force Staff as the Chief of Joint Requirements Division and Deputy Director of Joint Matters, and as the Director for Operations of U.S. Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

He is also a command pilot with more than 4,600 flying hours, primarily in the F-4, F-15 and F-16. He flew 83 combat missions in Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

You can register online at For additional information, go here:

The Sheraton Crystal City Hotel is located at 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington VA, 22202.

Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a month set aside to highlight contributions of women to events in our history. The theme for March 2011 is, “Our History Is Our Strength.” Countless extraordinary individuals help represent a proud heritage for women in the armed forces. We, at AFA, salute the many outstanding figures, as well as organizations, who have dedicated themselves to this country. We honor their service, we salute their dedication and we appreciate their sacrifices and perseverance.