Saturday, December 22, 2012

Washington Perspective

On Tuesday, December 18th, Members of the House and the Senate released conference language aligning their respective versions of the FY 2013 Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). AFA will provide comprehensive analysis of the legislation after it is signed into law by the President. In the mean time, we wanted to let you know about two specific items of particular interest--the Retirement Commission and TRICARE fees. Below are some of the highlights:


The NDAA establishes the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission to review compensation and retirement benefits. The commission is charged with ensuring the long-term viability of the All-Volunteer Force, enabling a high quality of life for military families, and to modernizing the compensation and retirement systems in a sustainable fashion. The legislation calls for grandfathering current service members and retirees.

The Commission will have nine members—the President appoints one member; the Majority Leader of Senate, in consultation with the SASC Chair, appoints two members; the Minority Leader of Senate, in consultation with the Ranking Member of SASC, appoints two; the Speaker of the House, in consultation with the Chair of HASC, appoints two; and the Minority Leader of the House, in consultation with the Ranking member of HASC, appoints two. This process is supposed to occur within 4 months and the eventual reconditions will be submitted to the President within 15 months. 

 Commission members are expected to possess knowledge regarding federal civilian, military and private sector compensation; military family policy development; and implementation and actuarial science. The Secretary of Defense will also make recommendations to Congress in consultations with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, HHS and OMB.

The commission will have a budget of $10,000,000.


The FY13 NDAA restates the firmly held sense of Congress that access to quality health care services during retirement is a benefit earned though prior service to our nation. Thus, the FY13 NDAA rejects the Administration’s proposals to increase existing fees and create new charges. Instead, the FY13 NDAA includes a modest increase in TRICARE pharmacy co-pays in 2013 and a cap on pharmacy co-pays beginning in 2014 that would allow fees to rise by no more than the annual retiree COLA. This funding adjustment is offset by a 5-year pilot program, which requires TRICARE for life recipients to obtain refills of maintenance drugs through the TRICARE mail-order program.

To read the full conference report:

Summary from SASC Chairman Carl Levin's office:

Summary from HASC Chairman Buck McKeon:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Greetings from AFA

As the year comes to an end, we want to communicate our sincerest appreciation for all that our members, volunteers, supporters and friends have done throughout the year. We hope you will enjoy this special time of year with family and friends, and we look forward together to a great New Year.

While many of us have the opportunity to spend the holidays with loved ones, we must remember the courage and commitment to service displayed by our Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers and Marines, who may be separated for their families during this time. Their dedication is remarkable and we have great pride and appreciation in the work they do.

Without a doubt, the successes of this Association have to be attributed to the support of many. Our hearts are truly filled with gratitude for all that you do. Together, as we move into 2013, we can build on those efforts to expand the reach of AFA to help improve the quality of life of our nation’s Airmen and support our Air Force in the challenges ahead. 

May your holiday season be filled with much joy and happiness!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

AFA Congratulates Advancing Teams in CyberPatriot Competition

CyberPatriot—The National High School Cyber Defense Competition recently announced the top scoring teams who will be advancing to Round 3, the semifinal round of 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 V brought in more than 1,200 team registrations from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in both 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, Naval Sea Cadets Corps and Civil Air Patrol squadrons filled the All-Service Division.

During the second round of competition, held the first and second 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.

Is a team from your community among the top 93? To view the list of advancing All Service Division teams, click
here. To view the full list of advancing Open Division teams, click here.

Congratulations to all the teams!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

AFA Statement on the Passing of Sen. Inouye

The Air Force Association would like to express our sincere condolences on the recent passing of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. 

We had the honor of knowing him and the greatest respect for his life’s work. Sen. Inouye was a 2005 recipient of AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes not a single achievement, but a lifetime of work in the advancement of aerospace.

Sen. Inouye was a World War II combat veteran. He returned home highly decorated with a Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster and 12 additional medals and citations. His Distinguished Service Cross was later upgraded to Medal of Honor – the nation’s highest award for military valor.

First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, Sen. Inouye was serving his ninth consecutive term at the time of his passing. He dedicated his career to strengthening national security and enhancing the quality of life for military personnel and their families. He also addressed important issues including aviation and maritime transportation as the Co-Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

He was well known and highly respected for his bipartisan approach and consensus building on the Hill. He truly was a valued member in the community and his own profession. Our deepest sympathy is with his family and friends.

His service to our country should be an example for all of us.

NIC's Global Trends Report

A new study was recently released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, highlighting global trends by 2030: The National Intelligence Council's (NIC) Global Trends Report engages expertise from outside government on factors of such as globalization, demography and the environment, producing a forward-looking document to aid policymakers in their long term planning on key issues of worldwide importance. Particular pieces of interest: 
  • Demand for resources will increase owing to an increase in global population from 7.1 billion today to about 8 billion by 2030. Demand for food set to rise 35 percent; energy 50 percent over the next 15-20 years. 
  • Nearly half of world population will live in areas with severe water stress. Fragile states most at risk, but China and India are vulnerable to volatility of key resources. 
  • A big theme that the US will be taking is collaborating with allies and partners around the world going forward

Monday, December 17, 2012

Words from an OAY: SSgt Banks

Staff Sergeant Angelo Banks, of the 81st Security Forces Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, is the second guest OAY blogger in the series. His duty title is "Pass & Registration Clerk." SSgt Banks led eight Airmen as team leader of a quick response fire team while deployed to Manas, Kyrgyzstan. His team secured 90 sorties, which transported 296 tons of cargo worth $451 million. Airman Banks also trained members of the Kyrgyzstan military to search vehicles for improvised explosive devices and led 13 members in 19 flyaway security missions to 39 austere forward operating bases, delivering 1,300 passengers and three detainees.

I am SSgt Angelo C. Banks from Keesler AFB, MS. In October 2006, I decided to join the United States Air Force. I made the decision because my father, who was helping me financially at the time, decided that was no longer an option. With school being my number one priority my father gave me an alternative option how to earn my education for free. January 23, 2007, I was on a plane going to Lackland AFB, TX.

My experience as a Security Forces member has given me a unique outlook on the Air Force. I have obviously gained some experiences and seen some situations that others will not have the privilege to appreciate. Some can say they have been to a certain base in Afghanistan, whereas I can boast being to several Forward Operating Bases, networking with troops from all branches of the military. I have had the opportunity to go through rough but exciting and academically satisfying training that will be valuable to many locations and jobs outside and inside the United States. Security Forces is surely costly on your family and time, but it is a job that you and your family can appreciate the time served in.

Being able to have the Security Forces experience along with my faith, family and support system, I have been honored to receive several awards within the past year. I do not take my reputation lightly and understand that without family, great leadership, and humility there would have been no chance for those opportunities. There are a plethora of Airman in our United States Air Force that deserve these accolades just as much, if not more, than me. My advice to any of those Airmen would be to continue to work hard and appreciate your support system and, in due time, your hard work and humbleness will pay off in a way that will consecrate your future.

For me, there is a bright future ahead to include reaching goals such as graduating with my bachelor degree in Sociology, entering into OTS, and raising my two children to the best of my ability. The Outstanding Airmen of the Year award will play a big part in my future in the Air Force, if I continue with the dedication and ambition it took to get where I am today. I have seen many talents thrown away by peers due to lack of focus. These mistakes motivate me every day to constantly strive higher and never let any situation deter me from getting to the next level of my life.


Angelo C. Banks
Staff Sergeant, USAF

Read last month's guest blog post from SMSgt Callaway >>

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

AFA Announces National Conference and Symposia Dates for 2013

AFA officially announced the 2013 dates for its three national conferences and symposia:

Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition

February 20 – 22, 2013
Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, in Orlando, Florida

Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition
September 16 – 18, 2013

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland
Global Warfare Symposium
November 21 – 22, 2013
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California

AFA’s annual conferences are unique opportunities for networking n and professional development where AFA brings together Air Force leadership, industry experts, academia and current aerospace specialists from around the world to discuss the issues and challenges facing America and the aerospace community today. Our national conference attracts the top echelon of USAF senior leadership and offers attendees major conference addresses, forums and professional development workshops that focus on challenges and accomplishments unique to the Air Force and the aerospace.

Check back at periodically for registration updates.

AFA's Next Mitchell Hour: Strategy in a Time of Austerity

Mark your calendars for the last event of the year from the Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies. AFA's next Mitchell Hour welcomes Dr. Andrew Krepinevich, defense policy analyst and President of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), as the guest speaker. The topic of his discussion is “Strategy in a Time of Austerity.”

Dr. Andrew Krepinevich is a recognized intellectual leader within the national security community. As president of the CSBA, he leads a team who has helped inform and shape the public discourse on the matters of strategy, defense planning and military investment options for the 21st century; and formulated concepts of operations to address the emerging anti-access area denial threats. During this Mitchell Hour, he will discuss his most recent article, “Strategy in a Time of Austerity: Why the Pentagon Should Focus on Assuring Access”—published in the November/December 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs.

This Mitchell event will take place on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at AFA’s national headquarters. Mitchell Hours are free to attend. Find out more here:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Could this be what a Northrop Grumman LRS-B might look like?

The US Air Force has embarked upon a new Long Range Strike family of systems--one component of which is the Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B). Dave Majumdar from Flightglobal shared this piece, speculating on what the next generation bomber may look like:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Support for our Fighting Falcons!

AFA is proud to support our United States Air Force Academy Football team as they prepare for the Armed Force Bowl later this month, but we need your help. In an effort to pack the stands in our favor, we are helping spread the word on the Academy's annual initiative to provide assistance to enlisted personnel of all services to attend a bowl game. Essentially the Air Force Academy buys down the cost of tickets and generous donors (individuals, groups and corporations) provide additional resources so that most deserving airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines and coast guardsmen and their family members receive complimentary tickets to attend the college bowl game. This year, the Academy will be playing in the Armed Forces Bowl in Ft. Worth, TX on 29 Dec.

Donations are tax deductable to the extent possible. Recipients of the tickets are chosen by installation commanders, chief master sergeants, first sergeants or their equivalents. This flier explains the program and provides instructions on how to purchase/donate tickets. For additional information, please contact the United States Air Force Academy Ticket Office at 1-800-666-USAF or go to their web site at:

Best of luck to our Fighting Falcons!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tribute to the 71th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, this nation fell victim to a surprise aerial attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy that claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Americans, including 68 civilians. This attack did not only propel US involvement into the war, but it unified this nation and helped shape who we are today. We pay tribute to those who lost their lives that fateful day and to those that followed so bravely. Without their courage, sacrifice and perseverance, freedom would not have triumphed. Today we join the nation in saluting the veterans of Pearl Harbor and all of those who bravely served in World War II.

The smoldering battleship USS NEVEDA silhouetted in the fire and smoke of the destroyer
USS SHAW which exploded when her magazine was hit by bombs from Japanese aircraft
during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Photo courtesty of the National Archives.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Senate Passes Defense Authorization Bill

The Senate on Dec. 4 unanimously approved its version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill, providing $631.4 billion for national defense programs and the war in Afghanistan. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, told reporters that senators added 145 amendments to the full Senate's final version. Among its many provisions, the bill: 
  • supports the Pentagon’s plans for the Air Force to spend $3.7 billion on the F-35 fighter program
  • allows a 1.7 percent military pay increase
  • fully funds efforts to train and equip Afghan security forces
  • allows the Pentagon to continue pursuing biofuels
  • tightens sanctions on Iran
  • bans transfers of Guantanamo detainees to the United States
  • authorizes the Air Force to spend $87 million less on its KC-46 aerial tanker program than the $1.9 billion the service requested.
For more reading:
Air Force Magazine's Daily Report: Senate Passes Defense Authorization Bill

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December Issue of Air Force Magazine

Have you checked out this month's issue of Air Force Magazine?

5 Must Reads:
  • Editorial on the fiscal cliff and sequestration
  • Adversary Stealth, highlighting the recent developments in Russian and China
  • Spotlight on the Air National Guard, the training and the equipment that serves as the first responders in the event of attack on the American government as well as those serving to protect the continental U.S.
  • US and Australia quietly bolstering their military relationship
  • ...and an Airpower Classic detailing the rise of the F5.
Read one of the world’s foremost publications in the fields of defense and aerospace reporting >>

Airpower: A National Asset

Earlier this week, an AFA member had a great article published in his local publication, in Central Florida.
America's Air Force is critical to its safety
By Mike Emig (Special to the Star-Banner)

In modern conflicts, airpower truly is a national asset. Airpower is extensively used at the entry point of conflict, preparing the battlefield and providing much needed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). As conflicts charge on, airpower doesn’t cease, but becomes that much more important to all other operations: air attacks, close air support, aeromedical evacuation, reconnaissance, etc. Then it does not leave a zone until after the last of the ground troops are withdrawn.

The role of airpower continues to be an integral part of the strategic planning of military missions. In Iraq and Afghanistan, airpower forces struck first at hostile forces on the ground, provided continuous ISR of the battle space, kept the skies clear of dangers with hundreds of thousands air patrols, provided highly responsive medical evacuation for the wounded and contributed the massive airlift capabilities required to move and sustain a joint force across the globe. But let’s not forget the rescue efforts and humanitarian relief during natural disasters in Haiti, Japan and here at home.

Read more here >>

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy 71st Anniversary to Civil Air Patrol!

Photo courtesy of the National Archives
 This Saturday, the Civil Air Patrol will commemorate its rich heritage as it celebrates its 71st anniversary! 

The all-volunteer, nonprofit organization of more than 61,000 members was founded on Dec. 1, 1941, less than a week before the iconic Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Immediately, they jumped into action – 59 members died, 26 were lost at sea and seven others were seriously injured while carrying out CAP missions during World War II.
Today, the Civil Air Patrol has undeniably remained a true asset to America’s defense. They help train and mentor today’s youth through aerospace education programs nationwide. They undergo search and rescue missions; disaster relief; and other emergency services yearlong. These individuals have performed
with great heroism and professional in all that they do.

AFA and CAP has an outstanding relationship, as we have a strong history of working closely together to further the initiatives of educators with our grant programs and promote STEM education with our CyberPatriot program.The partnership AFA has with the Civil Air Patrol continues to be fueled with a passion for furthering the educational opportunities for the public.

But in all that they do, CAP demonstrates the highest sense of patriotism and pride in their mission, and their legacy of selfless
sacrifice and commitment to country and community continues to thrive through today’s members and volunteers.
On behalf of the Air Force Association, we wish CAP a very happy 71th birthday!