Monday, September 24, 2012

Four-Star Forum: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday afternoon’s Four-Star Forum was certainly a major highlight of this year’s conference. The Generals covered topics ranging from leadership to the demanding strain placed on our current Force. General Johns, Commander, Air Mobility Command, started off the panel by saying the Air Force needs to focus on “answering the call of others so they can prevail.” General Welsh, CSAF, exerted himself as a true leader throughout the panel, giving advice on successful leadership tactics, and pointing out that we must focus on the people behind the hardware. “We can’t have airpower without airmen,” Welsh said, and discussed the challenges our airmen face today: including the demanding requirements for promotion within the midgrade officer ranks.

Chief Roy, CMSAF, once again, did a great job at bringing the enlisted perspective to the foreground, stating that 79 airmen this year alone have committed suicide which is a problem that needs our attention now more than ever. He calls on leadership to continue to watch over our airmen and to maintain a positive quality of life for those who serve our country.

Our most recent four-star general, General Herbert Carlisle, Commander, Pacific Air Forces, addressed the need to define our priorities and clearly determine what are the most important tasks verses what we can afford not to do in our current downsized environment. “We cannot do more with less. We have to do less.” - General Carlisle.

Each General commented on the importance of reconsidering what we value, realigning our priorities, and coming to a more clear definition of what should be emphasized in order to continue successfully protecting our freedoms and serving our nation to the best of our ability. “Culture is behavior over time,” said General Kowalski, Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, and the entire panel appeared ready to lead the Force through the current period of potential sequestration.

Friday, September 21, 2012

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

Today is National POW/MIA Recognition Day, held each year on the third Friday in September. It honors those who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action. At this year's Air & Space Conference, we were able to recognize three POWs of the Vietnam War for their dedication.
Below is a short video created by AFA to tell the story of the courageous individuals who were held in captivity during the Vietnam War. As the war progressed, several hundred air crew—perhaps as many as one thousand—were shot down and captured by communist forces. Torture, beatings, forced confessions, starvation diets, and solitary confinement represented standard conditions to which the prisoners were subjected. Nor were the Americans allowed to communicate with the outside world—they simply vanished. 
We owe these men and women our most sincere gratitude for their service, not just as prisoners of war, but for their sacrifices on behalf of the nation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Highlight from Day 3: Dr. Ashton Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense

Dr. Ashton Carter, Deputy  Secretary of Defense, led a forum on the Pivot to the Pacific! Highlights from his presentation below:

US military power in the Asia Pacific

Dr. Carter began his speech expressing gratitude to Air Force leadership in a tough time. He went on to acknowledge the great community that has helped build our military. "We don't build anything in the Pentagon...industry does...and the equipment they provide is second only to the people that operate them."

65 years is not the long.  Air power has helped the US shrink the world.  It has helped us see the world, strike with precision, and secure skies.

ISR has been a huge success story in a short time.

Question...which strategic choices will the nation make?

While things have shifted in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts...the rest of the world...both our enemies and friends have not stood still.  This is one of the two great forces at work.

On sequestration:
The second great force is fiscal crunch.  "Sequestration is dangerous." He went on to say how he has been a broken record on the situation, describing sequestration as "chaotic", "disastrous", and "wasteful". "It was never designed to be implemented." He added that it would make it impossible for the US to develop a plan.

If sequester is de-triggered, our defense budgets will flatten out...not decline or rise.

On the new defense strategy:
The new defense strategy...makes sense and it is what we are building toward. He also added that protecting technology, research and development is extremely important to this.

The Pacific is important economically, strategically, and politically, he said.  History of Air Power in the Pacific is rich and storied.  Distances demand air power. Our stabilizing role allowed Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia, and even China and India to rise peacefully.

"We are walking the walk of re-balance...not just talking the talk.  ISR assets will be shifted as Afghanistan winds down." 60 percent of the Air Force is there now.  Our newest forces are going to the Pacific first.

On alliances:
Alliance and partners are a force multiplier...burden sharing.

On buying practices:
Better buying power is a priority.  Affordability and performance with an emphasis on should-costs.  Past performance will be important.

Highlights from the Q/A between Dr. Carter and the audience:

Q: The relationship between DoD and industry...what do you think of it?

A: We have been wrestling with cost control in the JSF.  It is a very difficult process to go from development to's requires a team effort.  We want the JSF, but we also must control costs.

Q: Thoughts on industrial mergers?

A: We understand our industry needs to be technologically, and financially successful...we encourage businesses to make decisions on what makes sense from a profitability standpoint.

Q: Are we organized correctly from a cyber perspective?

A: We can defend our networks...we can develop cyber weapons and prepare for employment...third is protecting the entire nation from cyber attack...that third one is the difficult...lots of barriers when working with private industry...anti-trust laws are tough problems.  We are doing things way too slowly.  Need legislative relief.

Q: Are you satisfied that our R&D budget is protected?

A: Yes, but I am concerned that we are not getting things out of the programs that we can use.

Q:  What does the future of ISR look like?

A:  We must have the same kind of ISR in a contested environment.  We must get that down.

CyberPatriot gets continuing support from the Northro Grumman Foundation

Representatives of CyberPatriot and the Nothrop Grumman Foundation
at AFA's 2012 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition

The Air Force Association has worked closely with the Northrop Grumman Foundation, the presenting sponsor, to see the expansion of the largest and fastest growing national high school cyber defense competition -- CyberPatriot! This morning, Northrop Grumman's Sandra Evers-Manly, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, and Diane Miller, director of Operations for Cybersecurity and program director for the CyberPatriot, joined AFA's Vice Chairman of the Board for Aerospace Education, George Muellner, and CyberPatriot Commissioner, Bernie Skoch, to present the program with a $1 million grant. This marks their third year as presenting sponsor.

CyberPatriot, established in 2008, is AFA's flagship STEM program, exposing high school students to the world of cyber, introducing them to career opportunities and emphasizing teamwork and good citizenship. Together, AFA's CyberPatriot and Northrop Grumman are committed to supporting cybersecurity education, training and technology.

Congratulations to CyberPatriot!

Day 3 of the Air & Space Conference

The final day of the 2012 Air & Space Conference includes our keynotes speakers, a forum by Dr. Charles Krauthammer and our Four Star Forum! The day's forums are followed by our annual Air Force Anniversary dinner where we get to honor several individuals and groups for their achievements to the Air Force and the aerospace community.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More highlights from Day 2: Marion Blakey on Sequestration

Marion Blakey, President and CEO of Aerospace Industries Association, led a forum on Sequestration! Highlights from her presentation below: 

Sequestration...106 days until d-day:
AIA's mission is focused on American military air power.  "We support the warfighter.  We must design the safest and most effective equipment...allowing our pilots the lopsided advantage in the air." Since 1953, not a single American soldier has been lost to an attack from the air.

Dark cloud of sequestration hangs over the defense department.  "It is a foolish policy...kicking the can down the road."  Blakey also added that it was rather unbalanced. "Defense has only 20% of the budget but taking half the cuts."

But strong warnings from everyone fall on deaf ears in Washington.  "It is a travesty, especially in a time of is too big of a cut after we have already taken cuts."

She called it a demolition, not a deficit reduction. "No way to rationally work out solutions with chainsaw approach."

While the "Pivot to the Pacific" has been underway for quite some time, Secretary Panetta has said sequestration will make that pivot un-executable.

In addition, studies show major segments of the defense industry would not be able to sustain advantage and in some cases leave major gaps in our defense industry.  Small businesses would be hit the hardest. Research and development will be hit hard.  Skills will be lost that we will not be able to recover from.

"It is a threat to the nation...not a political campaign.  The biggest threat is doing nothing."

[ explains more.]

Highlights from the Q/A between Ms. Blakey and the audience:

Q: What can the defense industry do to remain strong?

A: Pressure on defense budgets regardless of sequestration...must have a robust strategy for international partnering in the world.  30 percent export goal...must have a strategy and we currently don't.

Q: What would you replace Sequestration with?

A: Defense shouldn't be offering alternatives...they are executives, not elected representatives.

Q: If sequestration long would it take to recover?

A: Tough question...speculative.  Depends on how long it goes on.

Q: What would you do if contracts were terminated for convenience to avoid penalty fees?

A: We expect to be treated fairly.  Don't deal with rumors.

Q: Any wiggle room in the law?

A: None that I see.

Day Two Highlights!

Photo of the Day:
In his conference addresses, Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Welsh thanked the men and women of the Air Force -- in all positions -- for their dedication.

Gen Welsh and MSgt Toni Worthey, a noncommissioned officer in charge at the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations at Dover AFB
Day 2 of the conference had about 35 sessions -- covering challenges for the industrial base, international air forces, STEM, energy, the Arab Springs, power projection in the Pacific, and so much more. We also held several Air Force heritage panels -- including airmen from the Korean War, Berlin Airlift and World War II. Below are a few recaps from our social media team.

Highlights of the day's sessions: 

General Officer Air Commandos talk basing plans and Irregular Warfare Wing

Air Force SOF generals to include AFSOC's commander Lt Gen Fiel described future planes and recapitalization road ahead. Specifically, M-28 Skytrucks are moving NSAv at Cannon to Duke field with 6th SOS. This will be the start of an Irregular Warfare Wing that will include Aviation Foreign Internal Defense (AvFID), communications, services, civil engineering, SERE, CCT packages. NSAv PC-12s will be converted to U-28s as well. Leaving the the c-146 (Dornier 328) will be the sole NSAv aircraft with a goal of 2-3 aircraft per Combatant Command.

AFSOC FY13 and beyond CENTCOM

General Fiel laid out his road ahead at an AFSOC panel. His top 5 priorities for FY13 are AC/MC130 Recapitalization, CV-22 to EUCOM, U-28, AC-130W, and AvFID. Pacific and Europe squadrons are going to be larger than in the past, specifically with 10-12 planes per squadron with respect to MC-130s. Even with this expansion of OCONUS assets AFSOC will continue to rely on big Air Force and big Army to be able to operate. 

Impact of Macroeconomic Forces & Fiscal Austerity on the Global Defense Industrial Base

The proposed FY13 Defense Budget does a reasonably good job of replenishing the industrial base says Dr. Nayantara Hensel, Professor of Industry and Business at ICAF. It does this buy cutting procurement by $3 billion and R&D by $500 million with total savings of $75 billion over 5 years. The US is currently the leading exporter of defense equiptment with a 30% share, Russia around 25%, and China with less than 5%. As countries implement austerity measures and cut defense budgets, external sales will continue to be important aspects of economic recovery. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Day One: Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo

The Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition is officially underway!!!

The Opening and Awards Ceremony opened the day, presenting more than 40 awards to individuals, industry and groups who have demonstrated distinguished service on behalf of aerospace education – including the 24th Air Force for the Theodore von Karman Award, the USAF Weapons School for the Hoyt S. Vandenberg Award and The Boeing Company for the John R. Alison Award to, due to their technical excellence in the development of Global Positioning System, Wide Band Global System and the X-37 System.

A full list of winners can be found here:

But the few days will see some great presentations and conference addresses addressing the challenges that face the USAF and the aerospace community! (Full agenda can be found here:

Stay tuned for session recaps throughout the next three days!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

AFA 2012 National Convention

We had a great weekend with our delegates and members, getting down to official business of AFA -- including elections for new Board leadership! We had several business sessions which provided a great networking environment for our delegates. Sunday morning started off with our annual Air Force Association Memorial Service at the Air Force Memorial where we paid our respects to AFA members, supporters, and friends who passed away this past year.

Tomorrow kicks off our 2012 Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition with highlights including addresses by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.

Congratulations to the new leaders:

Chairman: George Muellner
Vice-Chair for Field Operations: Scott Van Cleef
Vice-Chair for Aerospace Education: Jerry White
Treasurer: Len Vernamonti
Secretary: Ed Garland
Director-West Region: Nora Ruebrook
Director at Large: Gil Petrina

 Scott Van Cleef - Vice-Chair for Field Operations

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

AFA Announces New President

AFA's Board of Directors have approved Craig R. McKinley, the 26th Chief of the National Guard Bureau, as the next AFA President. McKinley will be succeeding Michael M. Dunn, who retired after completing his term in the five-year position.

McKinley has had a long service in key AFA leadership positions – at the chapter, state and region levels. Now, as AFA's top staff executive, he will direct the association's professional staff in all functional areas and be responsible for the management and operations of the association, which include professional development events across the country and countless aerospace educational initiatives. He will also hold the position of publisher of Air Force Magazine, the official journal of the association.

McKinley retired as a four-star general Friday, September 7. In addition to serving as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, he served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he was a military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and was the Department of Defense's official channel of communication to the Governors and to State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard.

“I feel very fortunate to have been selected to lead AFA, as this association has always had a strong culture with important missions,” said McKinley. “As this nation faces hard decisions in the near future, it will continue to need associations like AFA to promote national security and defense. I look forward to building upon the sturdy foundation and accelerating the momentum that in already in place at AFA, while preserving the heritage and attributes that have gotten AFA to where it is today.”

AFA is excited to welcome McKinley into his next role!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Anniversary of 9/11

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our soil. Today, The Air Force Association joins millions in commemorating the lives of those who were taken on that day, the individuals who immediately responded and the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protect this country in the years following. Our Nation has been enriched by their service, dignity and patriotism that will forever be remembered.

Though 11 years later, our Airmen on Active Duty, Guard and Reserves and Civilians are still in harm’s way in Afghanistan and throughout the world on many assignments protecting the same freedoms that were violated on that day. They and their families all have our heartfelt support and our admiration for what they do in the defense of our country and its citizens.

Today, we salute them all!

Monday, September 10, 2012

World Suicide Prevention Day

September is Suicide Prevention Month and more specifically, today is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide Prevention is an issue that AFA and the Air Force take very seriously as we care about the health and resiliency of our Airmen and encourage anyone to seek the help they need.

Recently, President Obama signed an executive order to strengthen federal suicide-prevention efforts for military personnel and to enhance treatment services for service members, veterans, and family members suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse.

Here’s the article from today’s Daily Report:

National Suicide Prevention Month serves an important reminder that you can make a difference in the life of a Veteran every month and every day. AFA joins several organizations across the country in encouraging Veterans’ communities, friends, and family members to get involved, learn more, and help spread the word to promote mental health and prevent Veteran suicide.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has taken critical steps in preventing suicide, including the establishment of the Veterans Crisis Line. For more information check out

Our Veterans stood by us. Now let’s stand by them. Together, we can make sure they get the support they earned and deserve.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CyberPatriot Designates Spokane School District “Center of Excellence”

AFA's CyberPatriot program has announced Spokane Public Schools of Washington state as its third CyberPatriot Center of Excellence!

The Center of Excellence designation refers to districts and communities that provide leadership and support to further the educational experiences of their students through the CyberPatriot program. CyberPatriot established the Centers of Excellence program in 2011, and thus far, two other communities – the Los Angeles Unified School District and the city of San Antonio – have been recognized.

In the 2011-2012 school year, Spokane Public Schools registered 20 schools to participate in the CyberPatriot IV competition, which was powered by SAIC’s CyberNEXS. And seven of the teams made their way to the National Finals Competition.

But Spokane did not just stop at registering teams; they facilitated a network of mentors, using an array of specialists to cover different topics of cybersecurity. Throughout the competition, some teams attended weekly (and sometimes biweekly) meetings, having mentors address different operating systems with the goal of giving their students the knowledge to build servers from the ground up.

As CyberPatriot works to improve high school students' understanding of cyber security and good citizenship, communities like Spokane are instrumental to its success. Such areas have made big efforts and strong initiatives to create the supportive environment to further their students’ learning experiences. Congrats to Spokane! 

For more information on CyberPatriot, go to