Tuesday, November 29, 2011

CyberPatriot IV Update

AFA's CyberPatriot is preparing for another round of competition this weekend, with the All Service Division entering the second preliminary round.

In the meantime, the headquarters staff has been working even harder to expand the educational reach of the competition, which includes the addition of a forensics element in the national finals competition and the completion of a pre-competition survey.

During the National Finals Competition of CyberPatriot IV, 24 teams of finalists will compete in a new forensics exercise, teaching about and testing high school competitors on the exciting field of cyber forensics through the application of crime scene analysis, evidence gathering and critical thinking. The expansion to the competition has been made possible by the Defense Cyber Crime Center.

And after distribution to 1,000-plus student competitors, CyberPatriot IV’s pre-competition survey was completed earlier this month, gathering information on participants’ general knowledge of all things cyber. The survey asked questions addressing students’ overall understanding of cyber security and their likeliness to pursue a career is science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. Results will be compared with a similar survey after the completion of this year’s competition. This survey is an analytical effort to measure the effect CyberPatriot is having on the students who participate in the competition.

“This competition is about academic growth and teaching beyond the fundamental curriculum found in schools,” said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot Commissioner.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Dover, Sequester, Thanksgiving

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

Last week AFA held its Global Warfare Symposium in LA. We had some great speakers - to include Secretary of the Air Force Donley, Vice Chief of Staff General Breedlove, Gen Shelton, Lt Gen James and others. We will be putting transcripts of the speeches on our website … but there were several which brought out great points.

Secretary Donley addressed the issue with the Air Force Mortuary Affairs operation at Dover. He called this a violation of a “sacred trust” and that he and General Schwartz take full responsibility and take corrective action is well underway. Addressing the “Super Committee”, he thinks there will be some serious rethinking of service expenditures in the coming years, especially if the Budget Control Act's sequester mechanism takes effect. However, he said he doubts that any solution would involve the services taking a blanket meat cleaver-style uniform cut without consideration of strategy and goals. [He also said the AF share of the budget was 21% -- a number that surprised many.] You can find the transcript here at http://www.afa.org/events/NatlSymp/2011/default.asp

Gen Breedlove’s talk centered on the upcoming budget challenges facing the Air Force. He said the Air Force is planning for far deeper cuts resulting in a smaller Air Force and will put the nation “at a significant level of risk.” Sequester would compel the Air Force to cut, even further, … meaning contracts would be broken, missions would have to be looked at and base closings may have to be undertaken.

The rest of the speeches will be put on our website next week - probably mid-week. Check our website at: http://www.afa.org/ then click the Global Warfare Symposium button on the right side of the home page.

Finally, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we need to remember the sacrifices of our great Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians serving in harm's way - protecting our freedom. There has been a lot happening in the world of late, a military drawdown and uncertainty in Iraq and Afghanistan, a war in Libya, unrest in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria. Our young men and women are there on the tip of the spear ready to serve. Let’s not forget them this day and those returning from the fight who need our help as they transition back to civilian life. Let’s also remember our wounded warriors who need our help to repair their lives as they move on as they have made the sacrifice that makes such days as Thanksgiving possible.

For your consideration,


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association

Saturday, November 19, 2011

GWS Air Force Ball

The end of the Global Warfare Symposium is always marked by the annual Air Force Ball. As a vital part of AFA heritage, we celebrate the great accomplishments by individuals who have made significant contributions to aerospace. During dinner the General Thomas D. White Space Award went to Lt. Gen Larry James, and the General Bernard A. Schriever Fellowship to Richard McKinney. San Francisco Giants Closer Brian Wilson gave the Inaugural Michael Wilson Scholarship to Cadets Kaleb Simpson and Alexander Shuler, with touching words on his father's legacy of patriotism. 
SF Giants Pitcher Brian Wilson greets the crowd.
Also, we had a bit of a Hollywood treat. Actor Marcus Paulk and other representatives from Lucasfilm showed the trailer for Red Tails, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, which will be debuting early 2012. 

Actor Marcus Paulk spent time with two Tuskegee Airmen in honor of the Lucasfilm Red Tails movie.
It was a momentous evening and a great end to a powerful week of discussion.For further information on the topics from the Symposium, look to Air Force Magazine's Daily Report. Transcripts are also available at http://www.afa.org/.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day Two of GWS

Day Two of GWS began with an Air Force Update from Gen Phillip Breedlove, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. Aware of upcoming budget cuts he recognized that the Air Force will get smaller, but was adamant that we will not go hollow--stating that he "do(es) not believe that we should go into a fight and NOT have the upper hand." Take Away: We must find a way to reduce capacity while maintaining capability. Recent history has given us many firsts in working as a team, rather than in separate stovepipes, with our allies, and must continue as we will have more daunting foes further from our bases. It is critical for us to work with the Navy in an Air-Sea partnership. This united message will tell all enemies to cease their aggression.

Continuing the Air-Sea debate, Dr. Alan Vick of RAND Corp. spoke again on “Forging an Air-Sea Partnership for the 21st Century.” Lt Gen David Deptula (Ret., USAF), the first Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, chimed in from the audience on a few issues in what was a great discussion. Dr. Vick led the audience through this history of joint ventures, such as the Old War precedent of AirLand Battle with the Air Force and the Army, further catalyzed by the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Take Away: While joint structures should allow services to work together, Dr. Vick suggested that Air-Sea should be modeled on a combination of AirLand and War Plan Orange, which in combination would cover long- and short-term planning. Future problems will be in anti-access threats, information disruptions, incentives for the enemy to strike first, and US vulnerability, which will raise the costs of conflict. Working together, we can ensure reliable information flows to decision-makers.

Secretary Michael Donley wrapped up the conference with the State of the Air Force. The theme of the conference was teamwork, and cautious hope for the future through budget cuts. Donley continued with this, facing obstacles while insisting that it's not all bleak. Everything is on the table for consideration for the sustainability of the Air Force. He committed to standards of proper care for our fallen, and remarked on the stewardship of the Federal budget, accepting some risk to our security and the need to drive efficiency. Preserving Air Force core missions, Donley spoke of sustaining post 9/11 improvements, air superiority, and freedom of action in space, and maintaining an Air Force presence in every state. He closed with faith that the Air Force will keep evolving despite strained resources.

AFA Announces 2011 Michael Wilson Scholarship Recipients

Today, AFA announced the first recipients of its newest scholarship, the Michael Wilson Scholarship, a fund created earlier this year that annually grants two Air Force ROTC cadets in the United States money toward college.

The 2011 recipients of the Michael Wilson Scholarship are Cadet Kaleb Simpson, a junior at the University of Delaware, and Cadet Alexander Shuler, a senior at the University of Washington. The pair will be presented their award tonight at AFA’s Global Warfare Symposium in Los Angeles, California.

This significant scholarship was established through Brian Wilson, pitcher for Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants. Wilson established this scholarship to recognize the honor, commitment to service, and legacy of his father, Michael Wilson. The gift is the largest scholarship given by an individual to be administered by the Air Force Association in its 65 year history.

“The purpose of this scholarship program is to recognize AFROTC cadets coming into their junior or senior year who’ve demonstrated a remarkable level of commitment to both their organization and their studies,” said George Muellner, Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education. “These two recipients are well-deserving of this award, illustrating great leadership and talent that have set them apart from their peers.”

Read more here >>

2011 Global Warfare Symposium Wrap-Up

AFA has relocated to the west coast this week as we gathered in Los Angeles, CA to bring together AFA members, industry partners, Air Force Councils and all attendees for two days of discussing global warfare--from space and cyber priorities to ISR and AirSea Battle. While the tone was a somber one, admittedly looking towards the upcoming budget cuts without any delusion of what they will mean for our Force, speakers looked forward with hope.

Wednesday and Thursday began with the Enlisted, Air National Guard, Reserve, and Company Grade Officers Councils taking part in meetings. These councils gather at AFA Symposiums to tackle unpopular issues, fully cognizant of the importance of saving money while protecting the interest of Air Force families. Flight pay, separation pay, educational benefits and more were fleshed out to write persuasive position papers and reports in the coming months.

The actual Symposium sessions began with a welcome from AFA's Chairman of the Board Sandy Schlitt, followed by a presentation by General William Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command, entitled “The Foundational Role Space and Cyber Play in our Nation's Defense.” General Shelton discussed "launch business," encouraging competition to help drive down increasing costs while managing risk. Take Away: The Air Force has an unparalleled track record for launches, which should not change. What should change is buying practices, perhaps with bulk orders, which will improve predictability and provide parts in a larger quantity. We will rely on industry to help define different architectures while recognizing that resilient systems will offer cross mission/domain alternatives with cost efficiency. Serious about stretching every dollar, Gen Shelton advises all commanders to be cost conscious and to understand that "there won't be additional money" in the future. He recognized that this is not an upbeat topic, but one that we need to hear, with faith that the Force will be very capable.

This year, the Global Warfare Symposium included several breakout sessions, including one addressing the Challenges to the American Way of War with Dr. Alan Vick of RAND Corp. Using the definition of American Was as rapid deployment, rear area sanctuaries for US Forces, and closely monitoring enemy activities, he suggests that the anti-access threat will be disruptive to American military dominance and hinder our ability to project power with potentially serious consequences. Citing prior "disruptive innovations" such as the telephone replacing the telegraph, something like the conventional ballistic missile could become dangerous in the hands of an enemy with the technology to displace ours.

Later in that day, Maj Gen Suzanne Vautrinot advocated for "full spectrum operations" in the cyber domain in her talk on Cyber Operations: Maximizing the Return on Investment. Cyber attack in the military is a serious attack, so there is a need every day for us to be on offense, defense, and exploitation. Orders in cyber are the same as in other domains, with cyber being inherently Joint in air, space, land and sea. "Cyber" must become a part of the solution, as much as a part of the mission, because "we have to fly the network every single day."

Lt Gen Ellen Pawlikowski then moderated a panel of industry professionals, “Looking to the Future: What Should We Be Doing in the 21st Century.” George Whitesides of Virgin Galactic spoke of space changing drastically in the next five years, most markedly with opening space to anyone willing to pay $200,000 for a flight. Kay Sears of Intelsat General followed with strides the commercial industry can take to help prepare for future fights in space. She urged that the industry should not be seen as a threat, but as an ally in resiliency to defend against hostile attacks and adverse conditions. Elon Musk of SpaceX looked to take us back to the moon and beyond, bringing more launches and working to create sustainable space shuttles which will be reusable. Lt Gen Michael Hammel, USAF (Ret) from Orbital Sciences Corp., also brought up the corporate responsibility with opportunities for government to leverage what's in the private sector, warning that we must change the architecture and buying practices to meet demands.

The day concluded with a viewing of Jay Lavender's film Wounded Warriors' Resilience, which we mentioned here in October. It's a powerful 20-minute video showcasing the resilience of our service members across branches. Definitely a strong end to the first day of the symposium!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

AFA's Global Warfare Symposium

AFA's 2011 Global Warfare Symposium began today in Los Angeles! Throughout this two-day event, senior military leaders, DOD officials and researchers will focus on the global role of the Air Force in the world today and will cover an array of topics, including the Nuclear Enterprise, Cyberspace, Hypersonics, the Pacific and Space!

Make sure you follow AFA on Twitter for updates: http://twitter.com/#!/AirForceAssoc

Also, check out Air Force Magazine's coverage of the event on the Daily Report!

Washington Perspective -- Industrial Base, Letter to HASC

AFA members, Washington is still seized with the impending actions of the Super Committee.  The Committee has to make recommendations for cutting $1.5T or else mandatory cuts of $1.2T will occur (called sequestration) – divided equally between Defense and non-defense accounts.  Sequestration will result in approximately $1T net reduction in the defense budget over 10 years [for reference, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up DOD funding at $513B for FY12.]  This is close to a 20% cut in defense spending per year.
Many of you have written back that DOD must pay its share … and the Air Force Association agrees.  However, we believe the $450B+ that the President has levied on DOD is quite sufficient, given that, as a percentage of GDP, DOD spending is near an all-time low.
What has not been discussed in the press is the impact sequestration will have on the jobs front.  First, most estimates coming from the Department believe cuts of such magnitude will cause DOD to “lay off” upwards of 150,000 troops and tens of thousands of civilians.  A new study by Dr. Stephen S. Fuller at George Mason University has given us a hint at the impact on the industrial base.  The key findings of the study were as follows: 
  • Total potential job losses (direct, indirect, community): 1,006,315
  • Total potential aerospace/defense and supply chain job losses: 352,000
  • Total loss of workers’ wages and salaries: $59.4 billion
  • Impact on national unemployment rate: + .6%
  • Impact on projected growth of 2013 Gross Domestic Product: - 25%
The impact on jobs varies by state … but California (-125,800), Virginia (-122,800), Texas (-91.600), Florida (-39,200), and Massachusetts (-38,200) are the ones with the highest numbers of jobs lost.
It isn’t just the defense companies that will be hurt by defense cuts, according to Fuller. “DOD buys from other sectors in the economy,” Fuller said. “Suppliers and other small businesses located in communities with large and small aerospace companies are affected by these cuts. As these companies suffer, so do the businesses further down the supply chain.”
For more information, see:  http://secondtonone.org/
Secondly, late last month, Barry Watts: Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Fred Downey: Aerospace Industrial Association, and Pierre Chao: Center for Strategic and International Studies testified on the industrial base before a panel of the House Armed Service Committee.  We’ve captured a number of quotes from the transcript.  See:  http://www.afa.org/PresidentsCorner/WashingtonPerscective/2011/Oct_24_HASC_Industrial_Base.pdf
A couple to interest you: 
Downey: “The industrial base that existed then does not exist today. It’s a far cry from the military industrial complex of the Eisenhower era. In the 20 years since the Cold War, nearly 150 significant defense companies have consolidated into 6. A number of companies left the market. Almost none have entered it.”
Chao: “Exports controls are absolutely critical to this category, where we’re not getting inside the technology because people are afraid to put technology inside the US because they can’t get it out again….”
Finally, this week a few AFA members penned a letter to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Readiness, House Armed Services Committee – Randy Forbes (R-VA).  The letter describes what Airpower can bring to our security.  I’m reminded of the quote from a former Senate staff member:  “The only thing more expensive than a first-rate Air Force is a second-rate Air Force.”
You can find a link to the letter at:  http://www.afa.org/grl/PDFs/Congressman%20Forbes.pdf

For your consideration,

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Iran, Gen Loh 2

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

This past week Iran has been in the news. First, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced the release of an updated report on Iran. Unfortunately the release is not yet public. This group knows I believe it is generally better to read an actual report … rather than read what news agencies say the report says. Secondly, the issue was highlighted in the most recent Republican debate on foreign policy. I was surprised with the number of different views in that debate. Then the President responded to some of the comments coming out of the debate. Sooo … why is this issue important? Simply because the Islamic Republic of Iran has stated that it wants to see a world without Israel and without the United States. In Sep at our Air & Space Conference, Charles Krauthammer called Iran the most dangerous country on the planet.

Over the past two weeks, AFA has found several very-good op-eds on Iran. The best, written by Stephen Rademaker and Blaise Misztal, (I inserted a comma here) appeared in the Washington Post. It is a semi-technical look at Iran’s nuclear program that comes to the conclusion of “ … there is no basis for concluding that the threat posed by Iran’s program has been diminished. To the contrary, it continues to grow at an alarming rate.”

A second piece is by Bret Stephens, and it appeared in the Wall Street Journal. [Apologize in advance for the political statement at the end.] In the piece, Mr. Stephens argues that it is increasingly clear what Iran is doing. And … we need a real debate on what to do about Iran building nuclear weapons. He begins the piece with: “There's no more doubt about Tehran's nuclear-weapons program. How the West will respond remains open to question.” You can find the piece at: http://www.afa.org/edop/2011/RealIranDebate.pdf

What this points to is how difficult this situation is for the US and the international community to handle. There are no clear, easy solutions. [If there were, we would have already implemented them.] And … this impacts not just the US, but our allies, too.

Secondly, Gen Loh has written another piece that appeared in the Suffolk News-Herald. In it General Loh posits that our defense strategy in the future ought to rely on Airpower. The final statement of his piece is powerful:

“If Congress wants to save more dollars on defense, it should preserve the American airpower advantage that ensures our military dominance without 100,000-ground-troop invasions or trillion-dollar nation-building adventures.”

You can find the piece at: http://www.suffolknewsherald.com/2011/11/12/a-defense-strategy-for-the-future/ 

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Retired Senior Air Force Leaders Write to the Hill

Just yesterday, several retired senior Air Force leaders attached their names to a letter to Congressman Forbes, commending him on his new initiative, "Strong Defense, Strong America."

The letter lays out the current environment in which our military men and women find themselves and the many challenges they are already facing.

"The men and women of the US military are balancing an exceedingly broad array of missions—everything from humanitarian relief efforts and challenges in cyberspace to traditional combat operations and nuclear deterrence."
Our servicemembers are doing this in a tense environment, where policy and budget decisions made over the next few months will shape the options available to leaders for decades into the future.

As the Air Force now finds itself in a situation where further acquisition deferment could lead to the eventual cessation of key missions, the authors of the letter request leaders to fully consider the ramifications of the decisions they make today as they seek to guide our nation through this difficult period.

 "Just as our legacy fleet has enabled national policy objectives over the past several decades, our future investments will govern the options available to leaders into the 2030s and 2040s. Investing in capable systems will make the difference between success and failure in future wars and between life and death for those who answer the call to serve our nation."
Read the full letter here >>

Monday, November 14, 2011

CyberPatriot Welcomes MIT Lincoln Laboratory as New Sponsor

AFA recently announced that MIT Lincoln Laboratory has joined the list of prestigious sponsors supporting AFA’s education initiative, CyberPatriot, the national high school cyber security competition.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center that applies advanced technology to problems of national security. Their research and development activities focus on long-term technology development as well as rapid system prototyping and demonstration.

CyberPatriot, established in 2008 by AFA, is an exciting competition that teaches students how to defend and protect computer systems from cyber threats and potential hackers. CyberPatriot IV kicked off its competition late October 2011, with more than 1,000 teams around the country (and five in Canada) registered to participate.
“We are thrilled to be a part of the National High School Cyber Defense Competition,” said Dr. Eric D. Evans, Director of MIT Lincoln Laboratory. “MIT Lincoln Laboratory has been working to encourage young people to enter the STEM fields, and we look forward to a long relationship with the CyberPatriot program.”
Lincoln Lab joins CyberPatriot as a Cyber Silver sponsor, adding even more energy to the nation’s largest and fastest growing youth cyber challenge.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Washington Perspective -- AFMC cuts, HASC hearing, McCain

AFA members, last week AFMC announced a restructuring to reduce overhead, streamline decision-making processes, and align missions. Not everyone on the Hill received this well. However, this is just a start. The Air Force has announced it will cut 7,600 net civilian billets as its part of the Presidential directed reduction of the DOD budget. This will impact almost every base in the Air Force. Additionally, we know the service will get smaller and not be able to do many of the things they are now doing. Both the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force have said they will avoid any notion of a hollow force. SECDEF Panetta has announced he will look at higher TRICARE fees, fewer troops, and more base closings. Plus he said DOD is also looking at cuts to the nation’s nuclear arsenal and to the F-35 program. Panetta also made clear that our defense strategy will include a shift in US focus to the Pacific.

Secondly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) testified before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) on the Future of the Military Services and the Consequences of Defense Sequestration. [Sequestration would occur if the Super Committee does not come to an agreement on where to cut our deficit.] The result of Sequestration would be another $450B+ cut in defense spending (over 10 years) on top of the President-directed $450B+ cut being planned now. The JCS were unanimous in their concern on the effect of such additional cuts. We have put a few summary quotations on our website at: http://www.afa.org/PresidentsCorner/WashingtonPerscective/2011/Excerpts_Nov_2nd_HASC_Joint_Chiefs.pdf On the same day the Operations Deputies also testified before the HASC Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces. Lt Gen Carlisle was the AF witness. You can find selected quotes from his testimony at: http://www.afa.org/PresidentsCorner/WashingtonPerscective/2011/Excerpts_from_Nov_2nd_HASC_AirLand_TACAIR2.pdf

Finally, the Congressional Budget Office scored the Sen McCain proposals on TRICARE. AFA’s Daily Report contained some, but not all of the details. McCain’s recommendations would drastically cut military health benefits for all retirees under age 65. First, it would bar retiree participation in TRICARE Prime. Second, it would impose an annual enrollment fee for TRICARE Standard – that looks to us like about $1,500 for a single retiree and $3,500 for a retired family. It would also prevent TRICARE from being a secondary payer for beneficiaries who have civilian employer coverage. Finally, it would raise the annual catastrophic cap on out-of-pocket expenses to $7,500 per family vs. the current $3,000. Total savings from McCain’s proposals appear to be over $100B. The deficit is serious business, but … the Air Force Association believes we should not balance the budget on the backs of those who are fighting and have fought for our nation and its security. If you agree, I’d ask that you send a note to your Members of Congress citing your concerns. The best way to get mail to them is to use regular mail (not email) and mail it to their home offices.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Friday, November 11, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Veteran's Day

AFA members, we should all stop today to remember our Veterans, their sacrifices (sometimes with their lives), and the sacrifices of their families. 
As many of you may know, I will officiate over a short ceremony at the Air Force Memorial overlooking the Pentagon.  Here is the “speech” I will give: http://www.afa.org/members/CommTools/APA/apa_notes/2011/Gen_Dunn_Veterans_Day_2011_Speech.pdf
Additionally, our Chairman of the Board, Sandy Schlitt and his spouse, will attend a breakfast honoring our veterans at the White House with the President and First Lady.  Later, he will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. 
At 1100 today, I’d like to ask each of you to pause for a moment of silence in honor of all those who have served and are still serving.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Thursday, November 10, 2011

AFA’s Global Warfare Symposium Covers Global Role of U.S. Air Force

AFA's annual Global Warfare Symposium is now only one week away. 

Come hear military leaders, senior government officials, and academicians address the many challenges that the U.S. Air Force faces in its global role! Themed “Rethinking Global Conflicts in the 21st Century," the Global Warfare Symposium will take place Thursday, November 17 to Friday, November 18, 2011, at a new location, the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. This new location allows the Symposium additional space to include more presentations and several break-out sessions.

What is the foundational role space and cyber play in the nation’s defense? How can enhanced air-naval cooperation help counter anti-access threats in peace, crisis and war? Amid a changing strategic environment and continually emerging operational requirements, what should the Air Force be focusing on in the global arena?

Expect to also hear timely presentations on cyberspace; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; expeditionary forces; global threats; and space. Confirmed speakers include General Philip Breedlove, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force; General William Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command; retired USAF Lt. General David Deptula, the first Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Mark Lewis, former Chief Scientist of the Air Force; and more.

Also, senior political scientists and researchers from RAND Corp. will be hosting several discussions, covering challenges to the American way of war, the recent uprisings in the Arab Spring, and nuclear enterprise.

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.

For Symposium details, go to http://www.afa.org/events/NatlSymp/2011/default.asp.

Happy 236th Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps!

The Marine Corps traces its institutional roots to the Continental Marines of the American Revolutionary War and have vigilantly served this country ever since! Today we join our brothers and sisters of the Marine Corps as they celebrate their 236th birthday. It's been an honor serving with you.

Happy 236th Birthday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

AFA Supports Burn Pit Registry

Last week, AFA was represented at a joint press conference with Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) regarding the introduction of bipartisan and bicameral legislation to create a Burn Pit Registry. We sent a letter of support to Representative Todd Akin (R-MO) who introduced the bill, and also a letter of support to Sen. Udall who introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

The Burn Pit Registry is a listing of individuals who may have been exposed to toxicities while serving abroad. Based on recent accounts of possible health maladies of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and a possible link to toxic fumes released in open burn pits it has become necessary to voluntary track and account for these individuals. This registry will ensure that members of the Armed Forces who may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes while serving overseas can be better informed regarding exposure and possible effects.

Senator Udall introduced this bill on November 3, 2011, and AFA fully supports it. We join many organizations/individuals interested in getting ahead of this critical issue and help the VA determine not only to what extent the ramifications of burn pits may have on service members but also how to disseminate information to those service members. 

Let’s not have these burn pits be the Agent Orange for Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s not wait 30 to 40 years to do what’s right for our military men and women.

Learn more at www.burnpits360.org.

Note from AFA President -- CSBA, Sec Clinton, Loh

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

Washington is awash with lobbyists and articles on the Super Committee. The leadership in DOD, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Air Force are concerned about the effect of another $450+B cut of defense … on top of the present $450+B cut that President Obama has already ordered. The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) has done a short background piece to try to shed some light on sequestration and the impact on DOD. 

You can find the piece here >>

Secondly, SecSTATE Clinton has a piece in Foreign Policy which I found interesting. In it she argues “the future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the US will be right at the center of the action.” As I read the piece, I was reminded of a famous quote from General of the Army MacArthur: “The history of the world for the next 1000 years will be written in Asia.” The piece is long – 18 pages on my printer. 

You can find it at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/10/11/americas_pacific_century?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

Finally, Gen (Ret) Loh has a piece that was published in the El Paso Times. It has the added benefit of being both concise and pithy. We have it on our website at: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2011/Military_Spending.asp

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Activity on the Hill: Veterans Employment

AFA has been behind two separate veteran employment bills and keeping track of them as they go through each side of Congress. Yesterday, U.S. Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, commended a bipartisan agreement to boost employment opportunities for veterans -- the "VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011."

The unemployment rate for separated Iraq and Afghanistan veterans averages 13 percent nationally. Often these service men and women are already equipped with the skills needed to qualify for civilian professions. The “VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011” contains bipartisan provisions to ensure service members transitioning to civilian life receive the aid they need to find a job in today’s tough economic climate. This bill combines provisions of Chairman Murray’s Hiring Heroes Act (S. 951; Report #112-36), Chairman Miller’s Veterans Opportunity to Work Act (H.R. 2433; Report #112-242), and veterans’ tax credits into a comprehensive package that will aggressively attack the unacceptably high rate of veteran’s unemployment.

“This agreement is a bipartisan and comprehensive approach to getting our nation’s veterans back to work,” said Chairman Murray. “It includes Republican and Democratic ideas because getting our veterans the financial security and dignity a job provides should never be partisan. For too long in this country we have patted our veterans on the back for their service and then pushed them out into the job market alone. By advancing this legislation we are giving our veterans the job skills to get their foot in the door and incentivizing employers to make sure that door is open to them.”

Key provisions include:
  • Improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP): The VOW to Hire Heroes Act will make TAP mandatory for most servicemembers transitioning to civilian status, upgrade career counseling options, and resume writing skills, as well as ensuring the program is tailored for the 21st Century job market.
  • Translating Military Skills and Training: This bill will also require the Department of Labor to take a hard look at what military skills and training should be translatable into the civilian sector, and will work to make it easier to get the licenses and certification our veterans need.
  • Veterans Tax Credits: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act provides tax incentives of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans, and up to $9,600 for hiring disabled veterans, if the veteran has been looking for work for six months or longer.
Read more here >>

AFA President and CEO Mike Dunn and Legislative Assistant Kristine Robbins
attended Rep Nancy Pelosi's Veterans Roundtable on Wednesday, Nov 2.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Feature on Veterans

With Veterans Day capping this week off, we (AFA) wanted to share some of the great articles we've recently found highlighting veterans. Parade published a great feature over the weekend, including six stories of courage and commitment from six vets serving six wars. This piece is truly a great tribute to our nation's veterans.

You can check out the feature here:  http://www.parade.com/news/veterans/index.html.

Asst. Vice Chief of Staff to Speak at November Session of Air Force Breakfast Series

And the next speaker for AFA’s Air Force Breakfast Program is ... Lt. Gen. Dick Newton, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director of Air Staff, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force!

Lt. Gen. Newton will be the speaker for the November session, which will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., at the Key Bridge Marriott, located at 1401 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA.

Gen. Newton oversees the administration and organization of the Air Staff, which develops policies, plans and programs; establishes requirements; and provides resources to support the Air Force's mission. He also serves as Deputy Chairman of the Air Force Council, and is the Air Force accreditation official for the international Corps of Air Attachés.

He served at Headquarters U.S. Air Force as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, and later as Deputy Director for Strategic Plans and Future Systems for the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. His joint assignments include serving as Deputy Director for Information Operations and the Director, Plans and Policy (J5), U.S. Strategic Command.

Most recently Gen. Newton served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He is a command pilot with over 2,900 flying hours in a variety of aircraft, including the B-2, B-1B, B-52 and T-38.

To register, go to http://afanovemberbreakfast.eventbrite.com/.

Also, take not that there will be no December Air Force Breakfast Session, but the program will resume in January 2012.