Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Minnesota High School Shows its Gratitude

In its 66 years of advocacy and support for the US Air Force, the three pillars that define the Air Force Association’s mission are simple: educate, advocate and support. In an ongoing effort to encourage the pursuit of education, each year AFA provides several opportunities for scholarships and grants to those in the Air Force or aerospace community.

Recently, North High School's AFJROTC in Minnesota sent AFA a nice note to say "thanks" for the AFA grant they received earlier in the year. The school was able to use the funds toward a field trip to the local Air National Guard Base, taking 44 cadets to the base for a tour and a flight on an Air Force C130 aircraft. 

"This was an awesome experience for the cadets. For many, this was their first time flying, which made it more exciting. As an Air Force retiree and AFJROTC instructor, it made me feel good to see the excitement in the kids faces. These cadets have a new found respect for our military men and women as well as a new love of flying. Thanks again for the grant that made this trip possible."
- SMSgt Wilkinson, AFJROTC Instructor

For more information about the scholarships and their deadlines, visit www.afa.org/aef/aid/scholars.asp or contact Lynette Cross at (703) 247-5800, ext. 4807.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Note from AFA President -- Book recommendations, CP Newsletter

I have two new books to recommend to you.
The first is entitled:  George F. Kennan: an American Life by John Lewis Gaddis. The book is a biography about Kennan, who in the late 1940s wrote two documents, the “long telegram” and the “X” article, which set out the strategic vision that would define US policy toward the Soviet Union until that country’s collapse four and a half decades later.  The book is unique in that Kennan agreed in 1981 at age 78 to have Dr. Gaddis write his biography.  Kennan gave him unfettered access to his papers, his diaries, and other materials.  Both agreed it best to wait to publish the book until after Ambassador Kennan’s death.  He died in 2005 at the age of 101.   A quote from the book to interest you:
As for the Soviet Union, its system was unalterably opposed to that of the United States.  It followed, therefore, that there can be no possible middle ground or compromise between the two, that any attempts to find such a middle ground, by the resumption of diplomatic relations or otherwise, are bound to be unsuccessful, that the two systems cannot even exist together in the same world unless an economic cordon is put around one or the other of them, and that within twenty or thirty years either Russia will be capitalist or we shall be communist.”  Kennan, Jan 12, 1931.
I believe this book will be awarded a Pulitzer Prize this year … it’s that good.
Secondly, Lee Ellis has a written great book on leadership entitled:  Leading with Honor – Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.  As many of you know, I am a student of leadership and read vociferously on the subject.  This one is one of the best I’ve read.  Mr. Ellis begins his book with: 
Our culture desperately needs courageous servant leaders – men and women who have clear vision and strong character, who instill confidence and inspire excellence, who don’t fold under pressure, compromise on principle, or practice deception.  In short, we need leaders who are committed to leading with honor.”

The book has been endorsed by some outstanding leaders such as Gen (Ret) Bill Looney and Lt Gen (Ret) Bill Lord … and by a hero of mine:
R. E. Gene Smith, past President and Chairman of the Board, Air Force Association.  Gene writes: 
Lee captures the essence of what it takes to provide strong leadership, as well as followership, in some of the most difficult conditions ever faced by our military men.  A great read on integrity, character, and leadership.
Finally, our National High School Cyber Defense Competition – CyberPatriot – is proceeding well.  Out of over 1,000 teams which registered, we have 12 teams in the finals in the All Service division.  The semifinal round for the Open Division is this weekend.  The Commissioner, Brig Gen (Ret) Bernie Skoch, and his staff have started a monthly, online CyberPatriot newsletter.  I was struck by the variety of subjects covered (i.e., Blueprint for a Secure Cyber Future,  Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks,  Software Piracy: Big Consequences, CyberPatriot Competitor Code of Conduct, Coaches' Corner,  Cyberbullying, and Northrop Grumman - Grooming Tomorrow's Cyber Workforce) This newsletter should be shared broadly … not only with high schoolers, but also with some of us “old-people.”  You can find a link to the newsletter at:  http://www.uscyberpatriot.org/CP4/CP%20IV%20Documents/CPNewsletter_20Jan2012_Final.pdf
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

Friday, January 27, 2012

This Day in Airpower History: NASA's Apollo 1 Tragedy

Each day on the AFA Facebook Page, we give a "Today in Airpower History" fact. Though the heritage and history of the Air Force is rich with content, we wanted to elaborate on one of them.

On Friday, January 27, 1967, a routine pre-launch test for NASA's Apollo 1 turned fatal when a fire ripped through the spacecraft's crew cabin, claiming the lives of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee.  A flash fire occurred in command module 012 during a launch pad test of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle being prepared for the first piloted flight, the AS-204 mission.

Following the tragedy, a seven-member board conducted a comprehensive investigation to pinpoint the cause of the fire. The final report The report presented the results of the investigation and made specific recommendations that led to major design and engineering modifications, and revisions to test planning, test discipline, manufacturing processes and procedures, and quality control. 

With these changes, the overall safety of the command and service module and the lunar module was increased substantially. The AS-204 mission was redesignated Apollo I in honor of the crew. 

For more information about this tragedy:

SPEAKER CHANGE: Upcoming Air Force Breakfast Series Session

Just a heads up –

Earlier this week we announced the date of the first session of AFA's 2012 Air Force Breakfast Series changed to February 2, 2012, with the same speaker, same topic, and same location (Key Bridge Marriott). However, we’ve recently had a speaker change and now Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley will be the guest speaker.
Thank you for your understanding regarding all the changes we have had for our first AFA AF Breakfast this year.  If you are already registered for this event, and opted for the “Media ticket with Breakfast”, and no longer wish to attend, please let Sarah Piggott (spiggott@afa.org) know if you would like to have your payment put towards another breakfast (preferred) or refunded.

If you’ve yet to register but still would like to attend, please register online at http://jan2012breakfast.eventbrite.com.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recipient of 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Shares his Experience

Below is an excerpt from the December 2011 edition of Flightline, the official Newsletter of the 780th Bomb Squadron of WWII. We wanted to share this specific article with you all because it holds a very special place in our hearts as it was written by a recipient of AFA's 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award. George Kuchenbecker, along with four other men, representing the heavy bombardment crews of World War II were the recipients of one of AFA's most esteemed awards! This particular award recognizes not a single achievement, but a lifetime of work in the advancement of aerospace.

His article captures his experience, his excitement and his gratitude of being honored at the annual ceremony that concluded the 2011 Air & Space Conference. Enjoy!

Saluted by Four Star Generals: ‘Cookie’ Receives Lifetime Achievement Award by AFA on Behalf of 15 AF Flyers

by George Kuchenbecker

In July I was asked by the Air Force Asso­ciation to speak at their annual conference and trade show and to be awarded their “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of my WWII service as a bomber crew member in the 15th Air Force. The conference was held September 19-21, in Washington, D.C., at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. 

The invitation included Gloria with all our travel and hotel expenses paid by the AFA. That was a great benefit as the room rate at the Gaylord is $299 a night. Most of our meals were also covered by the AFA. All we had to pay for was incidental food and some keepsakes for us and the gifts we bought for the grandkids. 

We left Seattle early on September 18th and spent our first night in the Gaylord. Monday the 19th the rush of activities started with get­ting our name tags from the AFA suite and meeting all the AFA people we had worked with to get to the event. Then the endless pa­rade of new faces. Not possible to remember faces and names. 

This year the AFA was giving its Lifetime Achievement Award to the heavy bombard­ment crews of WWII, “recognizing a lifetime of work in the advancement of aerospace,” ac­cording to their letter to me. Four WWII Army Air Corps veterans were invited - one from each major theater of combat. A pilot from the 8th Air Force in England represented Northern Europe, me from the 15th AF in Italy for South­ern Europe, a 13th AF B-29 pilot who flew out of Tinian in the Pacific bombing Japan and island bases on the road to Tokyo, and finally a B-24 ball turret gunner who flew in the CBI, flying missions in Burma and Southeast Asia.

Our first scheduled event Tuesday was a fo­rum with the four of us speaking to the entire group in attendance. A large number of those we spoke to were U.S. Air Force personnel, all in their dress blues. There were more four-star generals than I had ever seen before, and all wanting to shake our hands. Some of the fe­males were in their formal uniforms with long blue skirts. Quite a sight. The forum lasted about an hour and a half and then it was din­ner time. We dined at McCormick & Schmick's, right on the banks of the Potomac River. Our host was Doug Birkey, the AFA man who set up the whole event, and some of the AFA peo­ple that worked with him. Bunch of really great people. 

Wednesday started with a stop at the Jos. A. Bank store to pick up our rental tuxes which the AFA paid for. We spent most of the day explor­ing the Gaylord and some of the D.C. sights. Then the big event - a huge banquet for about 1400 guests. Formal attire for all. Great food and very well served. Then the awards presentation with lots of Air Force brass, many high-level executives from Air Force suppliers including Boeing and Air Bus, plus many smaller compa­nies that supply most of the nuts and bolts that make the Air Force run.

After dinner was the awards. After many speeches and rec­ognitions of dignitaries it was time to present the Lifetime Achievement Awards. There were five to be presented. My group was next to last and the four of us took our place on the stage. The perpetual tro­phy for the award is a large crystal ball engraved with the AFA logo and several turns of silver cord around it. Our names will be placed on its pedestal. Unfortunately, there were no small replicas for the recipients. 

Then the party began. In that huge ballroom many came up to shake our hands and say thanks for what we had done so long ago. There were five four-star generals in the group and each sought us out indi­vidually, came to attention in front of us, popped a brisk sa­lute and shook our hand. They spent a few minutes asking the what and where questions about our service, thanked us for our service and made way for the next person to speak to us. It's hard to imagine a lowly staff sergeant being saluted by a four-star general!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Note from AFA President -- Loh, Fogleman, op-eds

I have several op-eds to bring to your attention.

The first is by Gen (Ret) Loh which appeared as a letter to the editor of the NY Times. It contains the clearest and most succinct articulation of Airpower that I have seen. You can find the piece below my name.

Secondly, I ran across a piece by former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen (Ret) Fogleman. In it he states we can reduce our active military and rely on the National Guard and Reserves, while bringing down budgets and investing in the next-generation technologies we’ll need in the decades to come. You can find the piece at: http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2012/01/smaller_us_military_the_right.html 

A second piece by the general also merits your attention. It appeared in Defense News. You can find it at: http://www.defensenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012301160015

Third, we have put the links to several op-eds on our website – some on both sides of an issue. The general location of them is in our Education and Opinion section. (See: http://www.afa.org/EdOp/).

For example, on Iran, Mark Helprin of Wall Street Journal and Shibley Telhami and Staven Kull of New York Times differ in their approach to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Likewise Chairman McKeon (R-CA) of the House Armed Services Committee takes issue in the Washington Post with the Administration on its new strategy.

Finally, a thoughtful piece on Taiwan appeared in the NY Times. It was written by Su Chi, Chairman of the Taipei Forum. You can find the piece at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/13/opinion/why-taiwans-future-matters.html

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association


To the Editor:

Re: "Panetta to Offer Budget Strategy Cutting Military <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/03/us/pentagon-to-present-vision-of-reduced-military.html> " ("The Next War" series, front page, Jan. 3):

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta's task of cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from the defense budget while retaining a competent military is not as drastic as your article describes if he reverses the growth in ground forces and expands the investment in air power.

President Obama and Mr. Panetta now recognize that the precision, efficiency, low cost and near zero casualties offered by a strategy based on air power allow them to withdraw sooner from Afghanistan and attack Al Qaeda effectively from wherever it chooses to operate. At the same time, we can build our air forces to deter aggression in Asia and elsewhere.

Air power provides the capabilities, flexibility and long range need to fulfill Mr. Panetta's strategy of fighting and winning one major conflict, while being able to "spoil" a second adversary's ambitions in another part of the world, and countering terrorism.

But Congress keeps talking about cutting the very programs needed to do this - modern fighters, long-range bombers, drones and global surveillance assets. Instead, we need to invest in these systems to replace our worn-out air power assets, not cut them.

Mr. Panetta's strategy is right. To make it work, we must underwrite it with a robust modernization of air power forces.

Williamsburg, Va., Jan. 3, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Washington Perspective -- Calendar

AFA members, tonight the President delivers his State of the Union speech to both Houses of Congress. The Republicans respond after the speech.

What to listen for from both speeches:
- Listen for any focus on national defense. In this tough economy, it’s doubtful that you will see this topic broached … other than to take credit or pass blame for taking steps to reduce our presence overseas. But, as I have said many times, the Preamble to the Constitution says “ … provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare ….” National security is job #1 for the government.

- Listen for any indication of what the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ADM Mullen, says is the number one threat facing the nation: our national debt and annual deficit. As you know, politicians on both sides like to … be popular … and tout new programs and increased spending/investment in certain areas … not to talk about what and where will be cut. But I believe we are facing a mountain that our children/grandchildren will have to face. At 2%, the interest on the national debt is over $300B. That is larger than the budgets of the State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Treasury, Department of Justice, and the Department of Transportation … combined. We presently pay for only about 60% of every dollar spent. We have to address this issue head on.

- Listen for a shared sense of “togetherness” in these tough times. We need our leaders to pull together … and to unite our nation … not necessarily behind specific policies, but behind a shared set of goals for the country. [I’m not talking about bi-partisanship here. That’s probably too much to expect.]

I recognize that this is the election season [and the season has been underway for a while] … and it is unlikely that these speeches will be the final say on America’s challenges, but it is time for us all to understand what needs to be done and to chart a path to the future.

Secondly, on 26 Jan, I expect Secretary Panetta to give us a peak at the FY13 defense budget. We know the deficit control act of last summer cut $450+ billion out of defense. Many people I meet with say … that’s probably OK … but … don’t cut me/my base/my district, etc. We expect there to be sizable cuts to all the Services. Initial indications are that the cuts will be meted out proportionally – 30/30/30/10 to the Departments of the AF, Army, and Navy, and the agencies. While I believe the Strategic Guidance puts a premium on air, space, cyber space, and naval forces, sometimes the programmers and budgets don’t necessarily follow the guidance. Also, with the Air Force budget less than 20% of the defense budget (vs the Army at 35% and the Navy at 25%), an even split in percent terms cuts the Air Force less than the others. However, we don’t know if the split is in percent or dollar terms. If it is in dollar terms, the result could be as much as $10B more in FY13 than if it were in percent terms. Look for a cut of almost 300 airplanes from the AF inventory; look for cuts to the Guard and Reserves as well as the active force. And look for “unhappiness” broadly shared.

Finally, I expect the budget to be sent to Congress on 13 February. It is then that we will know specifics about the Administration’s request.

In the meantime, Congress has a number of issues facing it: extending the 2% Social Security tax cut and the Medicare/TRICARE “doc fix” past February, among others.

And … hanging over the Department of Defense is the threat of sequestration. Sequestration, if it occurs in Jan 13, would cut another $500B or so from DOD.

There is lots of work for all this year.

For your consideration.


Michael M. Dunn

Air Force Association

Monday, January 23, 2012

Time Change: 2012's First Session of the Air Force Breakfast Series

Last week we announced the first session of AFA's 2012 Air Force Breakfast Series would take place on January 27, 2012. As of today, the event date has been changed and will take place on February 2, 2012, with the same speaker, same topic, and same location (Key Bridge Marriott).

In case you forgot:

The 2012 Air Force Breakfast Series kicks off with Lieutenant General Herbert J. “Hawk” Carlisle, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements, as the guest speaker! Lt. Gen. Carlisle spoke at the September 2011 session, honing in on the responsibilities and challenges of his department. However, this month’s session he will be focusing on 5th Generation Fighters (F-22 and F-35) and their roles in terms of national and global security as they struggle with delays and setbacks in a tense budget environment.

Please register online at http://jan2012breakfast.eventbrite.com. For additional information, contact Sarah Piggott at spiggott@afa.org.

Friday, January 20, 2012

AFA’s Next ‘Mitchell Hour’ to Focus on Conducting Operations Against Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threats

AFA's Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies will move forward this year in a new direction, offering even more monthly events with high quality reports and briefings that cover issues vital to airpower and national defense. Last week's Mitchell Hour was a great presentation by ... to kick of the year! The next Mitchell Hour will be a briefing by Mark Gunzinger of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments regarding his latest report: “Outside-in: Operating from Range to Defeat Iran’s Anti-Access and Area-Denial Capabilities."
As Gunzinger explains in his report, “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US military has been able to project power overseas with few serious challenges to its freedom of action. This ‘golden era’ for US power projection is drawing to a close. …Iran, in particular, has been investing in new capabilities that could be used to deter, delay, or prevent effective US military operations in the Persian Gulf.” The report proposes an operational concept to enable the US military’s freedom of action against this threat.

This briefing will take place on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at AFA’s national headquarters at 1501 Lee Highway, Arlington, VA, next to the Key Bridge Marriott. The presentation will be in AFA’s fourth floor boardroom.

Gunzinger is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He has been a key player in every major defense review since the end of the Cold War. He supported the Air Force Secretary during the 1993 Bottom-Up Review, 1994 Commission on Roles and Missions, and the 2001 QDR. Most recently, he served as a senior advisor to the Air Force for the 2010 QDR.

Gunzinger is also the principal author or co-author of multiple Defense Planning Guidance/Guidance for Development of the Force directives, the key strategic planning guidance documents that shape DoD force planning.

All Mitchell Hours are free to the public. To register online for this event, go to
http://jan24mitchell2012.eventbrite.com. Please RSVP by January 23, 2012.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

USAF Chief Scientist Joins CyberFutures Conference Line-Up

The U.S. Air Force's chief scientist, Dr. Mark T. Maybury, will join an agenda full of Air Force leadership, industry experts, and current cyber security specialists at the Air Force Association’s 2012 CyberFutures Conference

CyberFutures is AFA’s premiere spring conference, where conference-goers will have the unique opportunity to interact with military, government, academic, and private sector leaders. It highlights speakers from across the cyber security community as they gather to discuss the full spectrum of the nation’s efforts and challenges to unburden, protect and efficiently utilize the cyber domain.

Dr. Maybury serves as chief scientific adviser to the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force, and provides assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the Air Force mission. In this role he identifies and analyzes technical issues and brings them to attention of Air Force leaders, and interacts with other military and science and technology communities to address cross-organizational technical issues and solutions. He has edited or co-authored 10 books, authored more than 60 refereed publications, and been awarded several U.S. patents.

Invited speakers for the 2012 cyber conference include: Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley; General William Shelton, Commander, Air Force Space Command; Representative Mike Rogers, Chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee; and Secretary Eric Rosenbach, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy.

This second annual conference will be held March 22-23, 2012, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center on the Potomac, in National Harbor, just across the river from Alexandria and minutes from downtown Washington, DC.

The CyberFutures Conference features a Technology Exposition hall where exhibitors from across the country will display their latest technology in cyber security. In addition, CyberPatriot IV, presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, will be holding their national finals competition in conjunction with the conference’s sessions. [P.S. The finalists for the All Service Division will be announced later this week!]