Thursday, December 29, 2011

AFA Chapters Celebrate Holiday Season with Charity

While the Christmas season is often filled with family, presents and parties, AFA Chapters around the country have used this season as a time of giving. AFA's Ak-Sar-Ben Chapter of Omaha, Nebraska, celebrated the holiday season with a visit to the Omaha Veterans Hospital. A week before Christmas, "Santa's elves" provided gifts, drinks and snacks to all the in-patients and staff!


And from the Thomas B. McGuire, Jr. Chapter of McGuire AFB, New Jersey, AFA members participated in the 20th Annual Wreaths Across America event, held on December 10, 2011. At Arlington National Cemetery, Capt Jennifer Condon-Pracht teamed with the CMSgt Bryan Creager and Capt Emily Brand were able to assemble 25 active duty, civilian, and Civil Air Patrol volunteers to help lay wreaths at the day’s event. More than 100,000 wreaths were laid with more than 10 truckloads of wreaths delivered. 


Mitchell Institute to Release New Study on ISR Forces

The Mitchell Institute will be hosting a Mitchell Hour next month! Dr. Rebecca Grant, Director of the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies, recently announced the forthcoming publication of a Mitchell Paper, “Layering ISR Forces.” It will be released at 9:30 a.m., January 17, 2012, at AFA’s national headquarters in Arlington, Va.  

Dr. Grant will present the report with author Michael W. Isherwood, a defense analyst and former A-10 fighter pilot. In this new Mitchell Institute paper, Isherwood has a clear message: US forces have to be extremely proficient at all aspects of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance because success in future operations hinges on timely, astute combinations of ISR resources. He explains that layering airborne ISR forces is especially intricate because of their different operational qualities and sensors.  

Rebecca Grant is regarded as one of the nation’s foremost air, space and cyber power analysts, with 20 years of experience in Washington, D.C. Among her Mitchell Institute titles are: Return of the Bomber (2007); Losing Air Dominance (2008); and The Vanishing Airpower Arsenal (2010).  

For media registration, please email

Monday, December 26, 2011

The 12 Days of AFA!

Each year, AFA compiles a list of great reasons why you should join or gift the gift of membership this holiday season! We released them on the AFA Facebook the twelve days prior to Christmas. Here's a recap:

On the first day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: a growing network of Air Force officials, policy-makers, industry experts, and other members who, like you, care deeply about airpower and the mission of AFA. Join today, and start taking part in all our benefits! Join today for only $45/yr or $110/3 years:!

On the second day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: The Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies! This world class aerospace and cyberspace think tank continues to influence the national security debate. For more information about the Mitchell Institute go to

On the third day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: discounts on travel deals! AFA offers two travel programs to our members: Government Vacation Rewards and RCI. For affordable timeshares, cruises, flights and more, AFA knows you deserve a vacation! Visit

On the fourth day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: four world class conferences! As a member, you have the opportunity to attend our conferences and symposiums at a heavily discounted rate. At these events you will hear from the top leadership of the Air Force, academia, industry and historical Air Force icons.

On the fifth day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: concerts, ceremonies, and other events at the Air Force Memorial (link to fb page). AFA was instrumental in the vision and creation of the Memorial, a site of reverence and remembrance. Come visit and “like” the Air Force Memorial Page on Facebook!


On the sixth day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: great deals on holiday gifts! Discounts are available through our online mall for members only! Shop using discounts and rebates at some of your favorite stores like Apple, Dell, and Microsoft. Shopping at the AFA Online Mall earns you rebate dollars from 1-20% of your purchase.

On the seventh day of Christmas, AFA gave to me (and many others for that matter!): more than $1.5 million in scholarships, grants, and awards annually. These programs encourage Air Force members to continue their education, provide funds to Air Force spouses working toward a degree, and administer grants that develop math and science skills. For more information and ways to get involved, go to

On the eighth day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: access to the award-winning Air Force Magazine, the USAF Almanac, and the electronic news brief Daily Report, which reaches more than 130,000 readers worldwide. Be a part of that readership, sign up today!

On the ninth day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: the chance to help future generations further their studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)—subjects that are vital to our security! Programs we sponsor--like CyberPatriot  and Visions of Exploration
--reach kids nationwide on a daily basis and show them an attainable and fun future!

On the tenth day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: the opportunity to make tax-deductible donations that make a difference! At its core, the Air Force Association is a grassroots membership organization. Starting with the gift of membership, a donation, or the presentation of one of our Fellowships, you are allowing us to further our mission! For more information on contributions or gifts in honor of a loved one, check here:

On the eleventh day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: an advocate on Capitol Hill! We brief Congressional staffers on airpower issues, educating as we go! Through policy papers, debates, work with the Military Coalition, and interaction with people who can make a difference in the Pentagon and on the Hill we make sure that AFA is a presence that is heard!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, AFA gave to me: the perfect gift to give, membership in AFA! Keep up-to-date on what AFA is doing to protect your interests! Each year we release a Statement of Policy and Top Issues Brief to inform our members—and the world—of what we’re working on with the Air Force and on Capitol Hill. We want to share these tools with you!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season's Greetings

     On behalf of the Air Force Association, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year. We hope you will enjoy this special time of year with family and friends, and we look forward together to a great 2012. We have felt honored and privileged to serve with you, especially at this vital time when our armed forces need our support the most. The courage and dedication of our Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines, is remarkable and we have great pride and appreciation in their efforts. We’re proud to support them and advocate on their behalf. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season. 
     As the year comes to an end, we’d like to thank everyone – members, volunteers, sponsors and friends—for all of their hard work and dedication to the mission of AFA. From AFA Headquarters, have a blessed holiday season and may it be filled with much joy and happiness! We look forward to seeing you all again in 2012!                                                                      

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Note from AFA President -- Pacific nation, NK

Over the past few months the Administration has emphasized US ties across the Pacific. In mid-November, Secretary Clinton delivered a very good speech at the East-West Center in Hawaii. In the speech, she pointed out the importance of the Asia Pacific region:
“So many global trends point to Asia. It’s home to nearly half the world’s population, it boasts several of the largest and fastest-growing economies and some of the world’s busiest ports and shipping lanes, and it also presents consequential challenges such as military buildups, concerns about the proliferation of nuclear weapons, natural disasters, and the world’s worst levels of greenhouse gas emissions. It is becoming increasingly clear that in the 21st century, the world’s strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia Pacific, from the Indian subcontinent to the western shores of the Americas. And one of the most important tasks of American statecraft over the next decades will be to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise – in this region.”
Sec Clinton took on the charge that with our economic problems, now is not the time for a new era of engagement in Asia:
“At this time of serious economic challenges, I am well aware of the concerns of those in our own country that the United States downsize our work around the world. When they hear me and others talk about a new era of engagement in Asia I know they think to themselves, “Why would we increase our outreach anywhere? Now’s the time to scale back.” This thinking is understandable, but it is mistaken. What will happen in Asia in the years ahead will have an enormous impact on our nation’s future, and we cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and leave it to others to determine our future for us. Instead, we need to engage and seize these new opportunities for trade and investment that will create jobs at home and will fuel our economic recovery.”
And she describes moving ahead on six key lines of action:
“They are: strengthening our bilateral security alliances; deepening our working relationships with emerging powers; engaging with regional multilateral institutions; expanding trade and investment; forging a broad-based military presence; and advancing democracy and human rights.”
You can find the entire speech at:

Secondly, the world received good news this week. The world’s most authoritarian despot – Kim Chong Il of North Korea – died. Many around the world, especially in the Republic of Korea cheered. Kim has single-handedly killed millions of his own people and approved/conceived of dozens of terrorist attacks. As a self-proclaimed expert on NK, I listened to the commentary on the news with great interest. I found most of those opining to have made one of several mistakes when talking about North Korea. First NK is not a country. It is more like a crime family gang run by Kim, his friends, and his family. Think of it as a mafia. And … it does all the things a mafia organization does – such as drug smuggling, counterfeiting, kidnapping, extorting, and threatening. Secondly, despite the many experts you might hear, no one knows what is really going on inside of the minds of the elites who control power. Third, I heard (and laughed) that the “will of the people” was being ignored. Despots don’t permit the people to have a will. I could go farther, but let me share one piece I saw that seems to get the situation about right. Ms Melanie Kirkpatrick writes the piece below that appeared on Tues, 20 Dec in the Wall Street Journal.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association



The World's Most Repressive State
President George W. Bush famously told journalist Bob Woodward, 'I loathe Kim Jong Il.'

A few minutes after the news of the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il flashed across computer screens on Sunday night—Monday morning on the Korean Peninsula—I received an email from a North Korean defector. The man, who is now living in Seoul and is a Christian, was exultant: "God blesses all of us," he wrote. The defector's sentiments will be shared by many, especially his long-suffering countrymen.

The best-known aspect of Kim Jong Il's legacy is a nuclear North Korea. During his rule, which began in 1994 after the death of his father Kim Il Sung, the younger Kim accelerated the nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs initiated by the elder Kim. He went on to proliferate both technologies to Iran, which today would not be on the brink of being a nuclear power if it were not for his assistance.

Kim Jong Il will also be remembered as a master manipulator of the Western powers, especially the U.S. The history of the failed denuclearization agreements says it all. On Pyongyang's part, it is a history marked by lies, broken promises, and clandestine programs. On the part of the U.S., the history is marked by gullibility and wishful thinking. North Korea's path to developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them would have been far more arduous had Bill Clinton and George W. Bush not accepted Kim Jong Il's promises of future good behavior in return for economic benefits.

The late dictator leaves another legacy too: presiding over the world's most repressive modern state. Kim Jong Il's name belongs on the list of the most evil tyrants of our time.

President George W. Bush famously told journalist Bob Woodward, "I loathe Kim Jong Il," a statement for which he was widely mocked in diplomatic and academic circles. Mr. Bush made this remark in 2002, when the world was just beginning to learn about the horrors of life in North Korea thanks to the testimonies of the few people who had escaped and reached safety in the free South. Associated Press A North Korean child sits on the top of a stone lion on the river banks in Sinuiju, North Korea.

In the decade since 2002, there has been a flood of escapees. From these men, women and children we have a glimpse of Kim's human legacy: a brutalized and starving people, whose access to food is controlled by the state and dependent upon their perceived political reliability; the world's most corrupt society, where the rule of law is nonexistent; and a gulag-like system of prison camps, where some 200,000 people are incarcerated, often with three generations of their families, for such "crimes" as listening to a foreign radio broadcast, reading a Bible, or disrespecting a portrait of Kim Jong Il or Kim Il Sung. Refugees frequently use the word "hell" to describe their country, and it is impossible to disagree.

Here are just two examples of Kim Jong Il's reign of terror—one monumental in its impact on human suffering. First is the famine of the mid-to-late 1990s, which killed two million to three million North Koreans. This blood belongs on the hands of the dictator himself, who diverted resources to military programs rather than buy food for his hungry people, and who refused to introduce agricultural reforms that would make possible better and sustainable food production. He was only too willing to let millions of his countrymen die in order to pursue his nuclear ambitions.

The other example has to do with the defection, in 1997, of a high-ranking official, Hwang Jong-yop. Kim Jong Il's initial response was to round up 3,000 of Hwang's relatives—including people who had no idea they were related to the defector—and ship them off to the gulag. But his obsession with retribution did not stop at North Korea's borders. He spent the next 13 years—until Hwang's death from natural causes in 2010—dispatching a series of assassins to Seoul to attempt to murder him.

Kim's personal eccentricities were legion—the ever-present boiler suit, the bouffant hair style, the elevator shoes. His personal appetites were legion too, akin to those of Nero or other famous hedonists of yore. In recent years, after his doctor reportedly ordered him to avoid his preferred cognac, he drank only Chateau Margaux, an expensive French Bordeaux. He was a great movie buff whose personal library was said to include thousands of films. In 1978, he arranged to have his favorite South Korean actress kidnapped from a beach in Hong Kong and brought to Pyongyang to star in North Korean movies.

There is one more notable aspect to Kim's human legacy, and while it would be overly optimistic to make too much of it, it is nevertheless a hopeful one. In recent years, according to testimonies by refugees, more and more North Koreans have started to question Kim's rule. The discontent doesn't yet reach the level of organized dissent, but refugees report that there is a growing hatred of the Kim family dynasty. The hatred is more widespread than one would suppose in a state where most sources of information are controlled and where the regime propagates a cult of Kim family worship.

The hatred extends to Kim Jong Il's son and announced successor, Kim Jong Eun. In recent months Kim Jong Eun is believed to have ordered a vicious crackdown on North Koreans who try to leave the country and on family members they leave behind. Recent roundups of people caught in possession of foreign DVDs, listening to foreign radio broadcasts, or using cell phones that can call outside the country are also laid at his feet.

None of this bodes well for the North Korean people in the near term. It looks like Kim Jong Eun can be counted on to do everything he can to perpetuate his father's tyrannical regime. In this, he will have the support and assistance of the elite ruling class, which benefits from the status quo.

In dealing with the new dictator of North Korea, however, the Western democracies would do well to reconsider the policies that failed to move the now-dead dictator. In this, they should heed the advice of the late Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright and democrat.

In the last decade of his life, Havel took up the cause of the North Korean people and urged the world's democracies to make respect for human rights an integral part of any discussions with Pyongyang. He wrote in 2004: "Decisiveness, perseverance and negotiations from a position of strength are the only things that Kim Jong Il and those like him understand."

These qualities, absent from the West's dealings with Kim Jong Il, deserve to be paramount in its dealings with his heir.

Ms. Kirkpatrick, a former deputy editor of the Journal's editorial page, is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. Her book on North Koreans who escape and the people who help them will be published next year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

AFA Congratulates Advancing Teams in CyberPatriot IV Competition

AFA's CyberPatriot recently announced the top scoring teams who will be advancing to the third and final preliminary round of the nation’s largest high school cyber defense competition.

CyberPatriot, an education initiative produced by AFA in 2008, is a one-of-a-kind cyber defense competition that provides students hands-on learning about cyber security. CyberPatriot IV brought in more than 1,000 team registrations from all 50 states, U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Europe and the Pacific, and Canada in the two-track competition. Teams have registered from public, private, parochial and home schools in the Open Division, and JROTC units of all Services and Civil Air Patrol squadrons filled the All-Service Division.

During the second round of competition, held the first and third weekends of December, teams set out once again to defend virtualized networks of computers. Teams were scored according to how quickly and effectively they established and maintained secure networks. The scores of the first and second preliminary rounds were aggregated to determine which teams moved forward.

To view the list of advancing All Service Division teams, click here. To view the advancing Open Division teams, click here.

“There was a tremendous amount of effort being displayed by all the teams who participated in CyberPatriot IV, and we congratulate them for their hard work,” said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot Commissioner. “As these students are competing against their peers and having fun, they are also building skills and key knowledge in an area that is critical to our nation’s success. We are proud to be able to provide such an energetic and exciting venue for learning, and look forward to the remainder of this year’s competition.”

After Round 3, the top 12 qualifying teams of each division receive all-expenses-paid trips to the CyberPatriot National Championship Competition held in the Washington, DC area, in March 2012.

The final preliminary round for the All Service Division teams will be on January 13, while the Open Division competes again on January 27.

More information on CyberPatriot can be found at

Washington Perspective -- Defense Bill, TA, Debt

Congress passed (late last week) the FY12 Defense Authorization Act. It, like most defense bills, was complex and had many elements. Here is a document which provides a general summary to the Act:

For a better look at elements of the personnel parts of the bill, see this longer piece which compares House and Senate provisions and tells you which were approved: [AFA believes our positions prevailed in a number of areas. We are proud of our efforts (and of the HASC) in not proceeding with a Joint Unified Medical Command. We achieved many of our goals outlined in an earlier Washington Perspective (See: However, we did not achieve a long-held objective of ending the DIC/SBP offset. We will push hard for it next year.]

Additionally, on an item not on the list, we failed to convince the Senate that the Air Force needs to own the Air Force Memorial. As some of you might realize, the Army is the caretaker of the Memorial … but the AF pays most of the bills there through a memorandum of agreement with the Army. While I consider this one a “no-brainer” … and it came at no cost to the government, the Senate Armed Services Committee continued to block the transfer. I will be asking you in the future to send letters to your Senators.

Secondly, Sec Panetta, as a result of our letter and those of others, suspended the adjustment rule to the tuition assistance program. This shows that the Air Force Association does, indeed, make a difference. [For reference letter, see:

Finally, many of you have written me urging a more simple explanation of the erosive impact of our national debt. One of you (thanks, Jim) sent me the version below my name. And … while the numbers are not exactly accurate, they are close.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association


Snapshot of the U.S. Government financial situation:

      * U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
      * Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
      * New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
      * National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
      * Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

      Let's now remove 8 zeros and pretend it's a household budget:

      * Annual family income: $21,700
      * Money the family spent: $38,200
      * New debt on the credit card: $16,500
      * Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
      * Total budget cuts: $385


Monday, December 19, 2011

CyberFutures Conference set for March 22-23, 2012

AFA's newest conference, CyberFutures, promises to be another great event, sharing critical information and best practices on cyber-related issues. The 2012 CyberFutures Conference provides a unique platform cyber security and technology professionals to convene, and fosters the development of strategies to approach this growing security threat. AFA’s second annual cyber conference will be held March 22-23, 2012, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, minutes from downtown Washington, DC.

The cyber domain presents endless opportunities but also unbounded threats. Maintaining secure networks and systems is vital. Identifying and addressing the limitations and challenges is imperative—eliciting the need for a national event for the cyber community to share critical information and best practices.  

This conference is a great chance to come together with military leadership, senior DOD professionals, intelligence services and cyber experts as they discuss the latest in the continuum of cyber defense and how it affects nation and its security. Speakers of last year’s conference included Lt. Gen. William T. Lord, Chief of Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer for the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force; Greg Schaffer, Assistant Secretary of Cyber Security Communication for the Department of Homeland Security; Vinton Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist Google and one of "the fathers of the Internet”; and Robert Butler, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy.

Key conference topics:

· Cyber and Warfighting Integration

· Future of Cyber Defense
· Cyber Priorities and Perspectives
· The Evolution of the Cyber Threat
· Cyber Challenges and Technical Strategies

Along with top notch speakers, CyberFutures features a technology exposition that exhibits the latest technological advances and innovations in cyber defense.

In addition, AFA’s CyberPatriot, the national high school cyber defense competition, will be hosting their national finals competition, where 24 high school teams from around the country will compete for the championship trophy, scholarships and bragging rights. For more information on CyberPatriot, go to

Over the next few weeks, look for additional speakers, upcoming scheduling specifics and other information updates.

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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy 375th Birthday National Guard!

Today, the National Guard celebrates its 375th birthday. On behalf of the Air Force Association, we would like to commend the men and women of the National Guard for centuries of dedication. The National Guard has done an indispensable service to this nation, more than ever in the past decade responding to natural disasters and terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

Known originally as the militia, the National Guard predates the Declaration of Independence as well as the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The military organization we know today as the National Guard was established with a direct declaration on December 13, 1636, when the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony ordered all able-bodied men between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to join the militia. The goal was to increase the militias' accountability to the colonial government and responsiveness in conflicts with indigenous Native Americans.

Due to the changing threat environment that now includes more asymmetrical dangers and threatens our homeland, the roles of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard have changed extensively, with significant numbers of guardsmen having seen combat now in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

And after 375 years, the Guard’s contribution to the nation’s defense has remained paramount.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Understanding for the Military Tuition Assistance program

Just last week AFA's President and CEO Mike Dunn sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta urging a temporary delay in the issuance of the DoD MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for the Military Tuition Assistance program in order to assure maximum participation by post-secondary education institutions. Currently, institutions offering programs to service members on campus, on base, on ship, and at a distance must now sign and comply with the MOU by Jan 1, 2012, or they will no longer be able to collect military tuition assistance from their military students. 

And today, POLITICO announced that a group of at least 50 lawmakers will also ask Panetta to delay the implementation of the memorandum. In a letter, the lawmakers say the memorandum "was drafted in such a way as to infringe on the educational integrity and academic plans of our nation's colleges and universities. As such the MOU has failed to gain support from many of the nation's best colleges and universities." POLITICO obtained an advance copy of the letter, which can be read here: