Friday, December 16, 2011

Washington Perspective -- FY12 NDAA

Yesterday the Senate passed the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act.  [The House passed it on Tuesday.]  The President has pulled his threat to veto the bill, and we expect him to sign it in the near future.  A summary of the Top issues is below my name.
Editorial comment:  While any defense bill is important, the impending cuts in the FY13 budget, coupled with possible sequestration cuts, will overshadow this bill in a major way.  As some of you may realize, sequestration means every line item in the budget will be reduced.  For defense, it is possible that every contract will have to be re-negotiated.  I will give you more information on this in the future.
Reminder:  While I will read your responses and pass them to our government relations team, I do not have the time to answer them. 
For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Top issues
  • $662.4B, $26.6B less than the Presidential Budget Request
  • The House passed the final fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, 283-136, Wednesday evening.
  • The Senate voted, 86-13, to pass the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill on Thursday afternoon.
  • Reduced the Air Force F-35 request from 19 airframes to 18. Navy and Marine Corps receive full request, 7 and 6 respectively.
  • Requires F-35 Low Rate Initial Production Lot (LRIP) 6 and all subsequent LRIP contracts to be negotiated as fixed price contracts, with the contractor assuming full responsibility for excess costs.
  • Includes Chief of National Guard Bureau as member of the JCS and re-designates the Director of the Joint Staff of the National Guard Bureau as the Vice Chief of NGB.
  • Authorizes the Secretary of the Air Force to purchase as a block, 2 Advanced Extremely High Frequency Satellites using a fixed price contract and with incremental funding for a period of 6 years.
  • Includes a provision affirming that the Department of Defense has the capability, and upon direction by the President may conduct offensive operations in cyberspace subject to the policy principles and legal regimens for kinetic capabilities, and the War Powers Resolution.
  • Does not prohibit TRICARE Prime enrollment fee increases in fiscal year 2012 and limits annual increases of the fee to the amount equal to the percentage increase in retired pay beginning on October 1, 2012.
  • Authorizes a 1.6 percent across-the-board pay raise for all members of the uniformed services, consistent with the President’s request.
  • Prohibits the Secretary from proceeding with restricting of the military health care system until GAO assesses a report by the Secretary of Defense on options developed and considered for governance of the military health system.


Michael Rea said...

Let’s look into the future by looking back 45-50 years. In the future we should have the F-22 all 187 airframes, and additionally, we will have the F-35 all (18?) airframes. Last time I looked, back in 1965-1972, we had the F-4, and the F-105 as our front line fighter bombers, combined total then was approximately 4,500 airframes, and we squandered these magnificent fighters. Yes, we traded our national security and dominance of the air for a nickel and dime fleet of marginally performing aircraft.

I don't see us building and fielding fiercely performing war planes upholding the traditions of our past; such as, the Century Series F-100 Super Sabre “the Hun” and the lethal F-105; the F-4 Phantom II, the A-10 and the current F-15 and the F-16 and the F/A-18. Performance aircraft all!

It used to be quite straight forward; the mission of the United States Air Force was to "fly and fight, and don’t you ever forget it" and of adhering to the air superiority doctrine of Colonel (BG) Robin Olds was paramount. I don't think the corporate generals in the Pentagon command structure and the procurement end of the DoD, are adhering to these fundamental principles that include sustained victory over one’s sworn enemies.

We used to have air fleets, literally armadas of high performance aircraft, and combat experienced and motivated pilots establishing a continuous status-quo of air superiority wherever they flew. In 1968 I got a taste of high performance flight in the T-38A that all Air Force pilots had to confront and master. Not important any more, according to the SASC and DoD! Money counts now.

Every day, when I look out the window of my office and watch the F-15's, and the hot rod F-16's and F/A-18's flying for training I see American air dominance as it should be, as it has always been. In other venues I see King Airs (the MC-12), and foolish Italian made C-27's that current USAF procurement officers envision replacing the C-130, unmanned UAV's, the Internet being used as a faux weapon, cyber space equipment including GPS conversions from land based transmissions to satellites that may require future launch by unfriendly foreign nations, and other benign acquisitions waiting in the DoD wings to replace the fighting class of American military aircraft of the WW-II to Vietnam era.

I see the congress nit-picking the F-35 production plans down to the nearly dozens of airframes present and future, when the defense budget allocations should be prioritized with sufficient funds for thousands of these fighter aircraft to be rolling off the production lines in Fort
Worth. Why is this? If the F-35 in all its iterations is the best fighter our nation can field at this time, then it should go into full production immediately!

In 2002 the Air Force had just awarded the F-35 program, and now, our total inventory at this point-in-time, 9 years later, is exactly four aircraft. Our nation mobilized back in 1941 for a two ocean war, built thousands of war planes, ships, and fought our way to victory - all in less than four years.

What is the F-35 anyway? Is it a bomber? Is it an air superiority fighter? Is it an interceptor? Is the F-35 another McNamara F-111- do everything but do nothing well look-alike dog? Is the F-35 a quantum leap in performance and capability over the F-16 and F-15, over the retired F-4’s and F-105’s of the Vietnam era? I remain to be convinced.

Michael W. Rea, Former Captain
Vietnam 1969-1972

Anonymous said...

Active Duty gets 1.6% while retirees get 3.6%????? Guess we know who votes!