Friday, October 28, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Proliferation of Technology, Factoid

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members, 
One of our staff members – Doug Birkey – who understands Airpower better than most, consistently finds things that provide broad principles about the essence of the art.
Here is an example:  Seems he found a fully functioning SU-27 available for sale on the open market for $4.95M.  It looks, from the specs, that it has been modified a bit … but has functioning avionics.  This is a superb 4th generation aircraft … perhaps the peer of our F-15s/F-16s … and if anyone with money can buy one, what keeps potential adversaries from doing the same?  Also, this shows us that we need to move forward on our F35 buy and begin a 6th gen fighter soonest. 
He also found a Russian Bear Bomber and a MiG-29 for sale … but … alas, the Bear was sold … (asking price was $16M).  [See the article below my name.]
Secondly, after the news broke that Khadafy was killed, the former AF Historian, Dick Hallion, sent me the following note:
...Given the events of the last 24 hours, it might be worth noting that a century ago, on October 23, 1911, Italian airman Captain Carlos Piazza initiated the operational fixed-wing air power era by flying a reconnaissance [sortie] over Libya from Tripoli to Aziza in a Bleriot, while, just over a week later, 2nd Lt. Giulio Gavotti of the Squadriglia di Tripoli dropped 4 small bombs from a Taube on the towns of Taguira and Ain Zara...
We should remember, when asked about Libya, to make 3 points:
  1. A rag-tag militia, supported by modern Airpower, defeated a large standing Army
  2. The cost to the US was less than $2B – about the cost of one-week’s operation in Afghanistan … and there were no US/Allied casualties
  3. NATO, for all its warts, performed superbly … and should be congratulated
For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association

For sale: Working strategic bomber and Cold War icon
 Flight Global
November 5, 2010

Good morning, shoppers. Christmas is right around the corner. It's never too early to look for 'stocking-stuffers'. Here's an idea: Cold War icon Tu-95 "Bear" bomber (above) posted for sale last month on eBay!

The auction unfortunately closed on 23 October, but I have good news: Richard Moore, of, which arranged the eBay auction, confirmed to me this morning that the bomber is still for sale. The listed eBay price of £10 million (US$16.2 million) is still in the right ballpark, Moore says.

I asked Moore how acquired the Tu-95, which does not reveal any identifying marks in the eBay photos. Moore replied that he was entering a meeting, then asked me to call back on Monday. So stay tuned for the back-story, I guess.

You might think £10 million is a little steep, but, honestly, where else are you going to find a working strategic bomber and carrier battle group nemesis at that price [emphasis added]?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Words Matter 2

AFA members, Congressional staff members, civic leaders, DOCA members, 
In a note earlier this week I took issue with the use of the words “garrisoned” forces and “expeditionary” forces.  (See:  I want to follow up on several other terms and concepts.  My purpose is to try to question conventional wisdom in a number of areas. 
 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.  As the Chief of Staff of the Air Force has noted, there is nothing “unmanned” about these systems.  A better term to use … and one the Air Force is using … is Remotely Piloted Aircraft.  There are pilots and systems operators flying these aircraft.  And … they are not “vehicles” … but aircraft.  We should all adopt this term … and for sure expunge the words “drones” and “UAVs” from the public lexicons.
Another term:  air power.  When you separate the words the term implies power which operates in or through the air.  A much broader term to use puts those two words together.  This expands the concept to include space and cyber space.  Then, I would argue, we should capitalize it to denote its symbolic importance to the nation and to the war fighter.  We should all consider using the term:  Airpower
Several years ago, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (who was an Army officer) posited that the mission of the armed forces was to “Fight and Win our Nation’s Wars.”  This concept lasted for many years, and it, too, is the exact wrong construct.  Lt Gen (Ret) Bob Elder makes the point that the military’s ultimate purpose is to support the nation’s interests. While engaging in combat operations is sometimes necessary, our nation’s interests are actually best served by seeking alternate solutions that do not require risking the lives of our men and women in uniform. This places an imperative on attaining our goals through deterring and dissuading potential adversaries; reassuring allies and those with mutually aligned interests; and favorably shaping regions through engagement, proactive problem solving, and shows of force. This does not mean letting the force atrophy in a naïve hope that conflicts will never arise. Quite the contrary, this concept rests upon the foundational notion of “peace through strength.”  I would also argue that the purpose of war is a better state of peace.  Thus, while the military might like to just fight and win, it may have the responsibility for post conflict duties.  [That sometimes results in “mission creep” – but that is the subject of a different note.]
Another term:  100 Hour War (referring to the supposed length of time of Operation Desert Storm).  After Operation Desert Storm, GEN Powell, GEN Schwarzkopf, and others perpetuated the myth that the length of the operation was 100 hours.  The reality is much different.  It was a 42 day operation – and during the first 38 days, Airmen of all services were fighting and dying.  A better construct is the one that former Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen Moseley, has used.  It was an 1,000 Hour War.
Another term:  Second Gulf War (referring to Iraqi Freedom).  Unfortunately this term connotes a distinct break between Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.  In reality, Airmen from the Air Force, Navy, and, for a short while, the Marines flew no-fly enforcement sorties from 1991-2003.  There was no break from combat for these Airmen.  Once again, this is a ground-based term which implies combat was not occurring.  A better way to describe this so-called second war is to refer to it by its operational name:  Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn.
There are lots of other examples.  Perhaps you can think of some and suggest alternatives to me.
The bottom line is that – like with everything we read – we should question/challenge what people say.  Words do matter.
For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dr. Geiss Speaks at Air Force Breakfast Series during Energy Awareness Month

Dr. Geiss speaks to a crowd of military,
media and industry professionals,
at the Crystal City Marriot
"Energy is a critical topic for the Air Force," said Dr. Kevin T. Geiss, a member of the Senior Executive Service and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Energy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Geiss was the guest speaker for AFA's Air Force Breakfast Series this month,  which is also nationally observed as Energy Awareness Month!

Dr. Geiss is responsible for providing oversight and direction for all matters pertaining to the formulation, review and execution of plans, policies, programs and budgets for the effective and efficient use of energy to support the global Air Force mission.

Awareness is great, he said, but the aim is to "move the Air Force and move the nation to action" in energy efficiency. Their initiatives include improving resiliency (ability to easily recover if access to conventional energy sources are ever compromised); reducing demand for energy (reducing cargo, coordinating missions with allies, improving resource management, etc.); assuring supply (landfill gas is being used by Hill AFB to produce electricity); and fostering an energy aware culture.

The Air Force is making excellent progress toward satisfying federal energy mandates. Since 2003, the Air Force has reduced energy use nearly 15 percent, water consumption 11 percent, and more than six percent of all electricity is obtained from renewable sources. And today, 99% of Air Force aircraft is fitted for synthetic fuels. 

Listen to the full presentation here:

AFA Announces Fall 2011 Civil Air Patrol Educator Grants

AFA recently announced the 22 recipients of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Educator Grant, an education initiative funded by AFA and managed by the Civil Air Patrol Headquarters.

The CAP Educator Grants are each up to $250, and provided to teachers who are members of either the Air Force Association or the Civil Air Patrol. This initiative funds classroom activities or materials that benefit the entire group of students and promote knowledge of aerospace power.

From designing model airplanes and launching rockets to visiting Air Traffic Control towers and bases, AFA and CAP are teaming up to help promote aerospace education and the pivotal role aerospace power plays in national security. Grants can be applied toward field trips to aerospace museums or Air Force bases, or for books, DVDs or videotapes on aerospace topics.

Congratulations to all the Fall 2011 recipients!

Click here for the full list of recipients >>

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Words Matter

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

Last month a senior AF leader used terms to describe forward-based forces and those not forward. The terms he used were “expeditionary” forces and “garrisoned” forces. The terms are commonly used … but they made me stop and think. Are B-2s at Whiteman AFB expeditionary? Are they in garrison? They can certainly reach out almost anywhere on the planet and achieve strategic effects. How about the ICBMs at FE Warren AFB? Or the space squadron at Peterson AFB? Or the MQ-9 squadron flying Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in Iraq from Creech AFB? What about the F-16 squadron at Kunsan AB – it fights from “garrison” … but is it expeditionary?

It seems to me that Airpower transcends these land-based, historical terms.

I asked a former boss and mentor of mine what he thought … and his very good answer is below. Like him, I am not fired up about his suggested alternatives in the last paragraph.

Perhaps one of you could come up with a better description of Airpower than either of us. Think about it and let me hear from you.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

In our strategy program, we include discussion of a set of Cardinal Rules, one of which is Focus on the Future. A part of Focus on the Future and simultaneously an illustration of it is the idea of changing labels and vocabulary if you want people to do something different in the future than they are doing now. So as an example (which we have discussed a little in the past), if you want people to think in new ways about Airpower, you avoid ancient and anachronistic words like “battle” and its off-shoots such as “preparing the battle-field.” “Warrior” also fits into this category. These kinds of words have such strong connotations and produce such evocative images, that they create a big barrier to people understanding that Airpower is not mechanism for fighting, but rather one for winning through creation of system change. [Emphasis added.]

The above was really a long-winded way of saying that I agree fully with your concern over the use of “garrisoned and expeditionary forces.” Both inevitably drag the listener (or reader) back to the American Indian wars and to our allies into Central America (nothing wrong with either, but not quite our problem today.) Identifying the problem is step one with step two being finding new terms—not to replace the old, but to capture an image of a desired future (Airpower accomplishing something that ancient garrisons and expeditions could not accomplish). [Emphasis added.]

It seems to me that the first conceptual idea is that with Airpower, we don’t need foreign garrisons (which is also a very defensive-sounding word) or clunky expeditions (at least in theory and in the future that will be controlled by the current budget deliberations). Ideally, with Airpower we impose solutions on an opponent in a very short time period with little or no residual effects (manpower on the ground, barbed wire, political entanglements). A “power projecting” air force would be a big improvement, but it is not very catchy and has become a bit overused. “Power projection,” “garrisoning” and “expedition-ing” are all means as opposed to ends. How to capture the ends, the result of the means, and to do it with evocative words that need little explanation, is the challenge. (A little differentiation from our joint friends also wouldn’t hurt.) The following are some possibilities:

The Impact Air Force; untethered impact force; the discriminate effects force; the precision effects force; the dominator (perhaps a bit over the top); the global reach/global effects force; the global impact force; the distant impact force; or perhaps the rectifiers. I am not sure that I am overwhelmed by any of these but they do suggest some alternatives. I’ll keep thinking about it; as you have rightly suggested, it is not a trivial issue. Words count!

Monday, October 24, 2011

CyberPatriot Goes International

AFA is proud to announce that this year’s CyberPatriot competition has more than 1,000 teams registered, comprised not only of U.S. students, but also several Canadian teams. 

CyberPatriot IV welcomes a contingent of five teams from the province of Manitoba, Canada, participating in CyberPatriot’s initial international expansion. Sisler High School, Arts and Technology Centre, and Technical Vocational High School in Winnipeg; Garden Valley Collegiate in Winkler; and Morden Collegiate in Morden will compete alongside the competition’s Open Division.

Besides having teams representing all 50 states and DC, CyberPatriot also has teams in Puerto Rico and U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in both Europe and the Pacific. But this is the competition’s first effort to include a non-U.S. affiliated school.

“I am very pleased with the growth of this program, seeing that it is not only reaching all 50 states here in this country, but attracting educators and students beyond our borders,” said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot Commissioner. “Cyber security is a global concern and this program is equipping thousands of students with the technical basics to better protect themselves.”

CyberPatriot is presented by Northrop Grumman, with founding partners SAIC and the CIAS at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

AFA's States and Regional Presidents' Mtg, Documentary on Wounded Warriors' Resilience

During the tail end of last week (and into the weekend), AFA's State and Regional Presidents convened here near Headquarters to discuss the way ahead for our Association! With several sessions and workshops, our Presidents were kept very busy! Some of their sessions included "Strategic Focus and Direction", a Working with Congress workshop, and a presentation by Lt. Gen. Larry James, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance for Headquarters U.S. Air Force, who provided an overview on the current state of airpower. 

The group also was able to meet director Jay Lavender to screen his documentary on Wounded Warriors' Resilience! This film was a powerful and inspirational tribute to some of the men and women who have served in the U.S. military since 9/11 and overcome impossible odds. Check it out below!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Our Magnificent Military

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

I write this note with a gamut of emotions. I just watched a 20 minute film that I wish every American would take the time to see. It first aired on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 … and is now online.

WOUNDED WARRIORS' RESILIENCE is a short documentary film about the extraordinary sacrifice and inspiring resilience of brave American men and women in uniform who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11, been wounded, and are role models of the human capacity to overcome adversity.

On one hand, I am inspired by these heroes.  On the other, I am angry at the savagery of the terrorists who threaten our country and our way of life.  But I am also reminded that US and allied Airpower have allowed us to strike at the heart of our enemies while minimizing the exposure of our troops to IEDs, mines, snipers, and homicide bombers.  

Finally, I am proud of our rescue forces, our medics, and our tanker/airlift team to get our brave men and women out of harm’s way to the medical treatment they need.
I’d ask you to forward this note to as many people as you can. 
You can find the link here:

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10th Anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom Event

Mitchell Institute Director Rebecca Grant moderates
the Q&A following Gen Moseley's speech.
The AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies recently hosted an event commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Operation Enduring Freedom, with General T. Michael Moseley, USAF, Ret., as the guest speaker.

Titled “Operation Enduring Freedom: A New Model for Airpower”, this hour-long event had Gen Moseley speaking about the initial days of the campaign, addressing a crowd about his experiences, lessons learned, and regrets. 

Check out Air Force magazine's Daily Report for highlights >> 

General Moseley, former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, assumed command of 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces in November 2001 and served as Coalition Forces Air Component Commander for Operation Enduring Freedom. During the attacks of 9/11, Gen Moseley was in the Pentagon, soon to be "intimately" involved in fighting the terrorists responsible in the years that followed. 

He admitted that they had no situational awareness in Afghanistan in the initial days, not even owning a map of the territory. "We didn't really have much of a clue about Afghanistan," he said.

Beginning with a no-fly zone template and building on relationships with international and coalition partners (i.e., Saudi Arabia, ), OEF quickly changed the way they had been fighting for the decades prior in the Middle East.

"We had almost no situational awareness in Afghanistan." Before he left Washington, he requested a map of Afghanistan to get familiar with the area on his tanker ride over. "The staff called back and said we don't have any maps of this place, you know, we're trying to find them ourselves." 

So, with $20/$30, he got a map of Afghanistan from National Geographic. "I fought, much to the demise of the intel guys, I fought most of the campaign in Afghanistan off a national geographic map, which is an excellent map by the way."
General T. Michael Mosley was the 18th Chief of Staff of the Air Force
This Mitchell Event was held in Salon III of the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City,
October 19, 2011.
The Mitchell Institute is an independent, non-profit research, studies, and analysis organization founded by the Air Force Association. It takes its name from America’s most famous and arguably greatest airman, Brig. Gen. William Mitchell. The Institute seeks to carry on, in the modern day, General Mitchell’s tireless and dedicated effort to expand airpower thinking and increase public awareness of the need for this unique military instrument. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AFA's National Secretary Visits Warren AFB

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force
Last week, AFA's past national secretary, Joan Sell, a two-time AFA Presidential Citation recipient, visited 20th Air Force and the Mighty Ninety as part of an ICBM familiarization tour.

Sell has been a part of the AFA for nearly 20 years and just finished her second and last term as the national secretary. Visiting Air Force Global Strike Command's ICBM Wing, she was accompanied by Jeri Andrews who currently serves as the Colorado State AFA vice president for Plans and Development.

"We are always honored by the great support from the AFA," said Col. George Farfour, 90th Missile Wing vice commander, according to an article released by the Air Force.  "Being able to show off the outstanding personnel of the Mighty Ninety is one of the great parts of my job. However, having Ms. Sell and Ms. Andrews, who have committed so many years to further the mission and people of the Air Force, ask to visit F. E. Warren and see its mission in action is an extraordinary honor."

Monday, October 17, 2011

CyberPatriot Draws in More than 1,000 Teams

Registration for CyberPatriot IV officially closed last week and this year's competition has now drawn in 1,019 teams, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in both Europe and the Pacific.

Established by the AFA in 2008, CyberPatriot is the nation’s largest and fastest growing high school cyber security challenge. Last year’s competition had more than 660 teams vying for a chance to compete among the top qualifying teams. Its unique structure provides students hands-on learning while competing virtually against their peers and introduces many to the idea of cyber security as a profession.

Teams are now preparing for preliminary online rounds of competition, which begin October 28 for the All Service Division and November 4 for the Open Division. Is your local high school or Civil Air Patrol squadron represented in this year's competition? Find out here ( and make sure to follow the progress of your team!

CyberPatriot also offers support and technical expertise from industry leaders, including CyberPatriot’s presenting sponsor Northrop Grumman and founding partners SAIC and the CIAS at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Also: CyberPatriot is a member of the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC), a national coalition of public-private sector entities collaborating to enhance the workforce with the next generation of cyber security professionals through skill development activities, mentoring, and resources, and the facilitation of scholarship, internship and employment opportunities.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

AFA Congratulates Newly Elected Leaders; Steele Chapter Swears in New Officers

Each year, AFA delegates come together at the National Convention to discuss the future of the Association and to vote on new national and regional officers. The 2011 National Convention, held in conjunction with the Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, was a great success and we’d like to congratulate the following members who were elected or reelected to office:

National Officers:
  • S. Sanford “Sandy” Schlitt (FL) – 2nd term Chairman of the Board
  • Justin Faiferlick (IA) – 2nd term Vice Chairman of the Board, Field Operations
  • George Muellner (CA) – 2nd term Vice Chairman of the Board, Aerospace Education
  • Len Vernamonti (MS) – 2nd term AFA Treasurer
  • Ed Garland (TX) – 1st term, AFA Secretary
National Directors are elected for three-year terms.
  • Rick W. Hartle (UT) – At-Large
  • Donald E. “Don” Taylor (TX) – At-Large
  • Donald R. “Don” Michels (GA) – Southeast Geographic Region
Newly Elected Region Presidents:
  • Central East – Scott VanCleef (VA)
  • Florida – Mike Emig (FL)
  • New England – Bob Wilkinson (MA)
  • North Central – Ron Garcia (ND)
  • Rocky Mountain – Gayle White (CA)
  • Southwest – Bob Hale (NV)
  • Texoma – Bob Slaughter (TX)
Continuing Region Presidents:
  • Great Lakes – Bill Grider (IN)
  • Midwest – Mike Cook (NE)
  • Northeast – Eric Taylor (PA)
  • Northwest – Rick Sine (WA)
  • Southeast – Dave Klinkicht (NC)
  • South Central – Tom Gwaltney (AL)
New Foreign Regional:
  • Maria "Vicky" Leos (South Korea)
  • Mike Nishimuta (Europe)

On Tuesday, October 4, 2011, the D.W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter, located in Arlington, Virginia, met to swear in its new officers. Chairman of the Board Sandy Schlitt was present to swear in Gavin “Mac” MacAloon, President; Kevin Lewis, Vice President of External Affairs (3rd term); Jeff “JC” Conners, Vice President of Internal Affairs; Tom Lacey, Secretary (3rd term); and Miles Sawyer, Treasurer for life. 

Outgoing Steele Chapter President Peter Jones will be moving on to a new position as State President. Lt Gen Richard Newton was also present to speak at the ceremony. (Bio can be found here:

AFA wishes all of the newly elected officers the best of luck throughout their terms as they uphold our mission to EDUCATE the public on the critical need for unmatched aerospace power and a technically superior workforce to ensure U.S. national security; ADVOCATE for aerospace power and STEM education; and SUPPORT the Total Air Force family, and promote aerospace education.

The new D.W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter officers L-R Tom Lacey (Secretary), Kevin Lewis (VP External Affairs), Lt. Gen. Newton, Gavin MacAloon (President), and Miles Sawyer (Treasurer).

Chairman of the Board Sandy Schlitt swears in the new officers for the D.W. Steele Sr. Memorial Chapter L-R Miles Sawyer (Treasurer), Tom Lacey (Secretary), Kevin Lewis (VP External Affairs), Lt. Gen. Newton, Gavin MacAloon (President).

Lieutenant General Richard Y. Newton, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff and Director, Air Staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

Happy 236th Birthday to the U.S. Navy

On Friday, October 13, 1775, during a meeting in Philadelphia, the Continental Congress voted to fit out two sailing vessels, armed with ten carriage guns and swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty, and to send them out for three months to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British army in America. This was the original legislation out of which the Continental Navy grew and as such constitutes the birth of the United States Navy.

We congratulate the men and women of the U.S. Navy as they celebrate their 236th birthday. Their service to the nation has been unyielding and we remain forever grateful for the courage and commitment demonstrated by our Sailors.

Happy Birthday to the U.S. Navy!

Read more:
- Air Force leaders send birthday messages to Navy
- History of the Navy