Saturday, July 28, 2012

Note from AFA President -- Final note

This will be my last note to you. I depart my AFA position at the end of the month. 
It has been my honor to have served as the AFA President and to have communicated with you on a regular basis. The AFA Board of Directors has selected a new President, but has not yet publicly announced his name. I expect he will be in place near the beginning of September.
For those of you who want to stay connected, I have established a new email account:
Feel free to write any time.
Many of you have asked me which of my notes received the largest response.  [Almost all of them – good and bad – are online on the AFA web site.]
I estimate several of my notes reached well more than one million people … thanks to many of you forwarding them to those in your address books. One written in Feb 2008 received perhaps the most positive feedback … but please recognize that the numbers in the note are now different due to budget cuts. However, the concept is still valid. The title of the note was: "How the AF Buys Aircraft – the "101" version." You can find it at:
A second popular note listed quotes on national security and on Airpower. You can find a link to the quotes at:
My favorite?  Gen "Tooey" Spaatz's quote on page 18:  "We better be prepared to dominate the skies above the surface of the earth or be prepared to be buried beneath it."
My next favorite - Gen David C. Jones (page 9):  "Without courageous families, there would be no courageous Airmen."
A third favorite note of yours was a pictorial depiction of AF aircraft and cars made in the same year. The visual image of  … say a C-5 juxtaposed with an AMC Gremlin … seemed to clarify exactly what the AF aging fleet really meant. In the note, I said:
"[With a car] … despite its age, there are no worries. If something goes wrong at 55 miles per hour, you just pull over and make a phone call.
Contrast that with an Air Force aircraft built the same year. Like the car, the plane has been obsessively cared for over the years. But there are huge differences. Instead of being garaged, its frame has withstood everything nature can throw at it for decades. Instead of low mileage, it has far exceeded, sometimes doubled or tripled the manufacturer's expectations. Instead of being taken out for special occasions, it has been a daily workhorse put through the rigors and strains of high-speed air travel for more than a generation. It still is expected to fly at top speeds and for long distances as it did when it came off the assembly line and when something goes wrong in the air, it is a split-second matter of life and death."
You can find a link to the contrast at:
Let me take this opportunity to thank our AFA leaders – all of whom are volunteers – for their many hours of service to the Association. Without the field, AFA simply would not function.
And finally, let me also thank the AFA staff. They spend thousands of hours on hundreds of tasks … with many tasks being thankless ones. Without such a superb staff, AFA would not be where it is today.
And … I leave you with one last quote, which is especially apropos to the situation we face today. 
"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else."  - Winston Churchill
For your consideration.

Michael M. Dunn
Air Force Association

"The only thing more expensive than a first-rate Air Force is … a second-rate Air Force."  --  Senate staff member


Anonymous said...

Mike -- AFA, the USAF, and the nation owe you huge THANKS for all you have done over the past 5 years as AFA President/CEO. Your outreach programs -- the Daily Report, Airpower Advocates, blast e-mails/President's Reports, and the Mitchell Institute have been invaluable in telling the airpower story. And CyperPatriot went from a concept to a leading, nationwide program during your watch. You have established programs that will serve to promote Air Force airpower and aerospace education for years to come. You have left us a wonderful legacy. THANKS!

Joe Sutter, Past AFA COB

Anonymous said...

Mike Dunn has been the consummate communicator, leader, and spokesperson for the AFA. With his perspicacious daily notes, his astute and meticulous observations, explanations, and informative dialogue has kept us abreast of pertinent issues, challenged us to expand our opinions, and clarified with insightful perspective confusing and misleading reports. He has dedicated each day in recent years to the pursuit of a strengthened AFA organization well-equipped to step forward in efforts to protect the respect, support, and benefits for our nation's military---active, reserve, retired, families, and communities, and to ensure a new generation is prepared to accept the torch of maintaining national security, prosperity, and democracy. Mike Dunn will be missed..... Susan Mallett, Civil Air Patrol

Vance48 said...

Mike, yesterday marked 42 years since I was sworn into the USAF. Serving with you at USEUCOM was an honor and one of the highlights of that long career. Reading every note you sent out as AFA President was a daily ritual. That read should have been mandatory for every USAF member on active duty, in the Guard, in the Reserves, or retired from the service. I believe the Air Force was made a better place because of your work. You have been a true Total Force leader, Mike. Thank you. Col Aubrey Vance Renfroe, USAF (Ret), 1st Senior Reserve Forces Advisor to CINCEUR, USEUCOM

Anonymous said...

Mike - I join the chorus singing your praises (though with my voice I sing only in large choirs). The Air Power Advocate and CyberPatriot programs keep AFA relevant to national leaders, members, and the public. Kudos for superb leadership and the personal touch not always seen in executives. Best wishes from the Tennessee Volunteer state AFA!

Jim Mungenast, TN AFA State President

Anonymous said...

Mike- Thank you for your leadership and your commitment to helping us contirbute to a greater association and USAF. Your Daily Reports and Friday APA conversations have given us much to think about and in many cases forced us to take a stand. We have been the beneficary of your wisdom, leadership and concern. You leave us in a stronger position than when you arrived and did no harm along the way. Thank you.
Skip Dotherow, AL AFA State President