Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Note From AFA President -- NATO after the Summit

I have been looking for a paper which describes the outcome of the NATO Summit.

This one – by Dr. Karl-Heinz Kamp, head of research at the NATO Defense College, is an excellent read.

This new paper by the NDC Research Division deals with the future of the transatlantic link after Chicago. It defines the challenges for the Alliance as a result of the financial crisis, arguing in favour of “Smart Reductions” (in addition to Smart Defence), of keeping up NATO’s interoperability, and of a broader strategic perspective which some of the European Allies are lacking.


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

Monday, May 28, 2012

AFA's Memorial Day Statement

While the nation has hundreds of statues erected in memory of outstanding servicemen and women, there are millions more unmarked graves and unengraved stones – never capable of adequately telling the tales of sacrifice, courage and valor.

Decoration Day, it’s original name, was established three years after the Civil War ended, May 5th, 1868, when Major General John Logan, the head of a veterans organization called the Grand Army of the Republic, designated May 30th as the day to cherish “the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foes.” It wasn’t until 1888 that Decoration Day was recognized as a federal holiday. Although the term “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882, it did not become more common until after World War II. Over the years, but not until after World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars. Memorial Day was declared the official name by Federal law in 1967, and in 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day will be observed on the last Monday in May.

Though the name has changed, it is forever a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service, and we offer our gratitude to the many unsung heroes. The legacy of these heroes is the inheritance of the freedom’s afforded throughout this nation. The valor of those fallen is forever inscribed in the story of America’s success.

Today, we commemorate the airmen, sailors, soldiers and marines who have carried the shield in America’s wars, from the American Revolution to today’s operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and paid the ultimate sacrifice.  We give thanks to their unyielding dedication and faithful service to our Nation.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

AFA’s June Air Force Breakfast Session Welcomes Air Force Chief of Staff

AFA is pleased to announce General Norton A. Schwartz, the 19th Chief of Staff of the Air Force, as the guest speaker for the June session of AFA’s 2012 Air Force Breakfast Program. This event will be held on Monday, June 11, 2012, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., at the Key Bridget Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.

As Chief, he serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the general and other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President.

General Schwartz, whose retirement will be effective October 1, 2012, has served as Commander of the Special Operations Command-Pacific, as well as Alaskan Command, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, and the 11th Air Force. Prior to his current position, he was Commander, U.S. Transportation Command and served as the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense.

General Schwartz is a command pilot with more than 4,400 flying hours in a variety of aircraft. He participated as a crewmember in the 1975 airlift evacuation of Saigon, and in 1991 served as Chief of Staff of the Joint Special Operations Task Force for Northern Iraq in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1997, he led the Joint Task Force that prepared for the noncombatant evacuation of U.S. citizens in Cambodia.

The Air Force Breakfast Program is a monthly series that provides a venue for senior Air Force and Department of Defense leaders to communicate directly with the public and the press. Past speakers include Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Gen. Gary L. North, Commander of Pacific Air Forces, and Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, Commander of Air Force Materiel Command.

Please register online at http://afacsafbreakfast2012.eventbrite.com/.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

AFA Advocacy on the Hill: Veteran Civilian Employment

Today, AFA wrote letters to the co-sponsors of recent legislation aimed at easing veteran civilian employment, expressing our support for the bill to accelerate commercial license procedures for Veterans, H.R. 4155.

Specifically this bill would direct the head of each Federal department or agency to ensure applicants for any Federal license who have received relevant training while serving in the Armed Forces shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements for the license, unless the training was substantially different from the license requirements.

Already seven states have passed laws to expedite the licensing of veterans entering the civilian work force. H.R. 4155 will do the same at the federal level.

AFA’s Next Mitchell Hour: Awarding-winning author speaks on Saudi Arabia

AFA's Mitchell Institute for Airpower Studies welcomes Thomas W. Lippman, award-winning author and journalist, as the guest speaker for an upcoming Mitchell Hour. Lippman, who currently serves as an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute, will discuss Saudi Arabia and its relationship to the Arab Spring.  

This Mitchell event will take place on Monday, June 4, 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.  

For more than 30 years, Lippman has written about Middle Eastern affairs and American foreign policy, specializing in Saudi Arabian affairs, U.S.- Saudi relations, and relations between the West and Islam. He is a former Middle East bureau chief of the Washington Post, and was previously a writer, editor and diplomatic correspondent for the Post, covering the Vietnam War, reporting on foreign policy and national security throughout the 1990s, and being the principal writer on the war in Iraq for Washingtonpost.com in 2003.

Lippman is the author of numerous magazine articles, book reviews and op-ed columns about Mideast affairs, including Understanding Islam (1982, 3d revised edition 2002); Inside the Mirage: America's Fragile Partnership with Saudi Arabia (2004); and Arabian Knight: Col. Bill Eddy USMC and the Rise of American Power in the Middle East (2008), which won a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association as best biography of 2008.

He is also a consultant on regional affairs to US government agencies, including the Air Force Special Operations Command.

Following his presentation, he will be signing his most recent book, Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally (2011). Books can either be purchased in advance when you register for the event (with credit card) or onsite (with cash or check) for $20.  

All Mitchell Hours are free to the public. To register for this event, go to http://june4mitchell2012.eventbrite.com.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Memorial Day at the Air Force Memorial

It's that time of year again!

AFA and the Air Force Sergeants Association invite the public to join a commemorative Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony at 9 a.m., Monday, May 28, 2012, at the Air Force Memorial. 

Memorial Day recognizes and pays tribute to the many airmen, soldiers, marines and sailors who have died in service to our nation. This annual event serves as an opportunity to demonstrate our gratitude to the nation’s millions of veterans. A wreath will be placed at the Memorial on this day of remembrance in honor of the many generations of military heroes. 

Chief Master Sergeant Scott A. Fuller will be the keynote speaker of the ceremony. CMSgt Fuller is dual-hatted as the Command Chief Master Sergeant of both Air Force District of Washington and the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing, headquartered at Joint Base Andrews, Md.
Planned activities include the national anthem, invocation, speeches, the laying of the wreath and the sounding of Taps.

All military, veterans and civilians are welcome and encouraged to attend. There will be an opportunity available for individuals and organizations to lay smaller wreaths and/or flowers in memory of their family, friends and organizational members. Call or e-mail the Air Force Memorial Office, 703.979.0674 or afmf@airforcememorial.org, with questions or for wreath ordering suggestions. 

About the Memorial: The Air Force Memorial is dedicated to the Men and Women of the United States Air Force and its Heritage Organizations. It symbolizes the national place of pride, reverence and remembrance located just outside the nation’s capital, in Arlington, Virginia. Directions can be found online at www.airforcememorial.org.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Note from AFA President -- Annual Report on China

Yesterday DOD released its Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China.  The report to Congress is divided into a classified report and an unclassified report.  The Unclass part was released to the public.

One of you has already asked what I think about the report.  It appears long … about 50 pages – but is much shorter than that … with lots of empty pages.  The Executive Summary of the Report downplays the PRC drive to build a modern force; its 11.2% increase in defense spending; its cyber activities and hacking into US companies and government computers; and its drive to take, by force if necessary, Taiwan.  It also does not mention threats made to senior officials and others to use nuclear weapons on the US and its forces.  On the Taiwan point, the Administration has turned down Taiwan’s request for F-16s to replace its aging F-5 fleet.  I also think the report emphasizes cooperation too much.  Here is a quote from the Executive Summary:
“During their January 2011 summit, President Barack Obama and China’s President Hu Jintao committed to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Within that framework, the U.S. Department of Defense seeks to build a military-to-military relationship with China that is healthy, stable, reliable, and continuous. Strengthening the U.S.-China military-to-military relationship is a part of shaping China’s choices by encouraging it to cooperate with the United States and its allies and partners in the delivery of international public goods, including in such endeavors as counter-piracy, international peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.”
Finally, there is no recognition of the Chinese debt held by US citizens … that China refuses to pay.  [For reference, see:  http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/05/18/149159/chinas-secret-it-owes-americans.html]
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, May 18, 2012

Note From AFA President -- NATO

This weekend the heads of state of NATO members meet in the United States for what is called the NATO Summit.  As we hear about what comes out of the summit we should keep in mind a few basic principles.

First, NATO has proven to be incredibly flexible.  It was founded in 1949 to bind together nations of like minds and defend against an attack by the Warsaw Pact.  When the WP went away, there were many that thought NATO would wither and slowly fade away.  What happened instead was the Alliance broadened its understanding of security and the threats it faced and … adapted.

Second, if we did not have NATO, we could not create it today.  An Alliance governed by consensus is a difficult one to create.  Everyone has to give a bit to further the cause of all nations.  The US has led NATO and will continue to do so … but there is power in having many nations acting in concert … and having the military power to implement their goals and objectives.

Third, NATO’s bureaucracy is … well… daunting.  In the years I dealt with Alliance affairs, we used to refer to NATO as No Action Talk Only.  However for a continent that has fought each other for thousands of years, talk is not a bad thing.  NATO’s bureaucracy demands attention.  There are meetings at every level – Chiefs of Defense, Foreign Ministers, Defense Ministers.  There is a standing military committee and staff and a standing military structure.  Two of the most important contributions by NATO are often overlooked:  the use of just two common languages (English and French) and the development of doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures.  For those of us who have spent decades in the Asia-Pacific region, we are jealous of what NATO brings to security discussions.

Fourth, NATO had put the idea of “out-of-area” to bed.  Its operations in Afghanistan and Libya have proven that NATO can operate successfully in key areas of the world.  Yes, there are improvements that need to be made … but the first step in any improvement process is to identify where improvements are needed.

Fifth, many pundits use NATO and Europe synonymously … forgetting that the US and Canada are both key players in the Alliance.  We should all remember that when we criticize NATO, we are, in fact, criticizing ourselves.

Finally, the Secretary General of the Alliance, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, penned a piece that appeared in the London Times.  A quote from the piece to interest you:
“Nato has an impressive record of success that stretches back more than six decades. At this summit we will take the necessary decisions to ensure that success continues. In this age of austerity, the choice is stark: Smart Defence or less defence.”

Additionally, let me ask you to troll around NATO’s home page (http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/index.htm).  I think you will learn a lot about the alliance.  I certainly did.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

National High School Cyber Defense Competition Passes 300 Team Registrants

Registration is now underway for the nation’s largest and fastest growing high school cyber defense competition, CyberPatriot V! With more than 320 teams in 43 states already being organized, word is getting out to educators across the country. Among those now registered are also teams from U.S. Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Korea and Italy, and teams from the Manitoba Province of Canada.

“Over the past years we’ve seen thousands of students enriched by the skills and educational experiences offered by CyberPatriot,” said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot Commissioner. “This competition doesn’t just teach students about the evolving world of cyber, but also leads to more options for a college or vocational educational track. Last year at this time, we were only slightly over100 teams registered. So to see that number more than double is exciting, and we truly are looking forward to the upcoming season.”

Established by the Air Force Association, CyberPatriot is a team-based activity, where students learn to defend a computer network from real-life computer threat scenarios. In the fall, teams across the nation will square off online, using special software provided by CyberPatriot to competitively solve vulnerabilities in their networks. The top teams then compete again in a series of online rounds to determine finalists for an all-expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital and the Championship Round in March 2013.

CyberPatriot IV saw more than 1,000 teams register, representing all 50 states and Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Europe and the Pacific. It also brought the first international exhibition teams with several teams from the Manitoba Province in Canada competing parallel to the American teams. In addition, top winners from each division received more than $50,000 in college scholarships from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, CyberPatriot’s presenting sponsor.

Registration for CyberPatriot V closes on September 30, 2012. Any high school can field a team for the Open Division, while Junior ROTC units from any Service or Civil Air Patrol are eligible to field teams in the All Service Division. The educational experience and materials are identical for students in either division.

Other CyberPatriot sponsors include founding partners SAIC and CIAS at the University of Texas-San Antonio, as well as AT&T, Boeing, General Dynamics, Microsoft, Raytheon, the Air Force Research Laboratory, MIT-Lincoln Laboratory, Cisco, URS and K2Share.

Coaches can learn more about CyberPatriot and sign up at www.uscyberpatriot.org. Information is also available from the CyberPatriot staff at info@uscyberpatriot.org.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Note From AFA President -- Mil and Mil Spouse Appreciation

AFA members, this month is National Military Appreciation Month. Last year the House introduced Concurrent Resolution No. 328 in November. The Senate agreed to it without amendment and by unanimous consent April 26.

The resolution states that the House, with the Senate concurring, "supports the goals and objectives of a National Military Appreciation Month." It also "urges the president to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States, localities, organizations and media to annually observe" the month "with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Finally, the resolution urges the White House Commission on Remembrance to "work to support the goals and objectives" of the month.

The Senate first passed a resolution in 1999 designating National Military Appreciation Month. That declaration summoned U.S. citizens to observe the month "in a symbol of unity, … to honor the current and former members of the armed forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom and peace."

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. All of us who have served know of the sacrifices of our spouses – frequent moves, job and school changes, deployments, and many, many others. In my case the car always broke down the day I left on a deployment … and/or my children got into trouble at school … and/or the rent check bounced, etc etc.

If you would like to pay a tribute to your favorite military spouse, you can send us your story and we will post it on our AFA Facebook page. We can include photos also. Send your tribute to: connections@afa.org

And … if you wish, you can make a donation in honor of your favorite military spouse at: https://www.afa.org/afa_donation_form/default.asp?pm=show_form&dm=m

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

Note From AFA President -- bin Laden Papers

Last week was the 1st year anniversary of the UBL raid.  Reportedly many documents were gathered during the raid.  The US government has released 17 of those documents to the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point.  On 3 May CTC released a translation of the documents – encompassing 64 pages.  
OK … it’s long, but … there is a very good introduction by GEN (R) Abizaid at the beginning of the document and an excellent executive summary of three pages.   
A quote from the executive summary to interest you: 
“Bin Ladin’s Plans 
One of the 17 documents is a letter dated April 2011 authored by Bin Ladin in response to the Arab Spring, which he considered to be a “formidable event” (hadath ha’il) in the modern history of Muslims. This letter reflected his intended strategy of responding to the new political landscape that was emerging in the Middle East and North Africa. 
In the Arab world, Bin Ladin wanted al-Qa`ida to focus its efforts on media outreach and "guidance.” He believed that a media campaign should be launched to incite “people who have not yet revolted and exhort them to rebel against the rulers” (khuruj ‘ala al-hukkam). But he also wanted to invest in guidance, “educating and warning Muslim people from those [who might tempt them to settle for] half solutions,” such as engaging in the secular political process by forming political parties. 
In Afghanistan, Bin Ladin wanted jihadis to continue their fight against the United States. He believed that their efforts weakened the United States, enabling Muslims elsewhere to revolt against their rulers, no longer fearing that the United States would be in a powerful position to support these rulers.”
You can find the piece on our website at:  http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2012/CTC_LtrsFromAbottabad.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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

GI Film Festival

How are you celebrating National Military Appreciation Month? Well, this year check out the GI Film Festival, which works to honor the successes and sacrifices of American GIs through the medium of film. Friends of AFA get a 10% discount on ticket purchases with this code: STA-12-0078!

This year, the festival has at least two films that honor our airmen:

The Legend of Pancho Barnes – the story of one of the most colorful and accomplished women pilots of the earliest 20th Century: http://gifilmfestival.com/Film_Screenings-detail/the-legend-of-pancho-barnes/

Screening: Friday, May 18, 2012, 12pm
Naval Heritage Center
Price: $12.00

And also, Lost Airmen of Buchenwald – a documentary that chronicles the extraordinary journey of 168 Allied airmen illegally imprisoned in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp during World War II. A controversial moment in history that their home countries tried to hush-up, Lost Airmen of Buchenwald tells this harrowing story through interviews with seven surviving members of the group, including their heroic commanding officer: http://gifilmfestival.com/Film_Screenings-detail/the-lost-airmen-of-buchenwald/

Screening: Sunday, May 20, 2012, 2pm
Naval Heritage Center
Price: $12.00 

Find out more information at www.gifilmfestival.com!

[The GI Film Festival is a 501(c)(3)nonprofit, educational organization, with no direct affiliation with the Air Force Association. However, we both share a common goal of preserving the heritage and honoring the veterans of the US Armed Forces.]

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Note From AFA President --Bomber

Only every now and then does one run across an article that completely lays out an issue … and in as few words as possible explains it to the public.
An example of one is entitled:  “Why the US Wants a New Bomber.”  It was written by David Axe and appeared in The Diplomat  … but it is essentially an interview with Lt General (Ret) David Deptula.  Gen Deptula, himself a fighter pilot, lays out the case for why … the United States … not the Air Force … or the Department of Defense … but the United States needs a new bomber.
There are lots of pithy quotes from the piece.  Here are a couple to interest you. 
“The U.S. Office of Management and Budget recently stated that existing bombers are adequate for projected missions over the long term. Did that change? Or did the Defense Department have to convince OMB that current bombers aren’t adequate?
The OMB statement was actually something of an anomaly: OMB has no military competence and shouldn’t be attributed any. [The Office of the Secretary of Defense] and the Air Force consistently indicated from 2006 to 2009 that the Air Force needed a new bomber, and then did so [again] from April 2009 through today.
DoD reasoning was that the B-1 and B-52 are aging and non-stealthy and the B-2, while stealthy, is only available in small numbers.”
 “Why not just upgrade existing bombers to meet future threats? What will the new bomber do that old, upgraded bombers can't?
The Air Force currently operates three types of bombers: the B-52H, the B-1B and the B-2A. Design of the B-52 began in the late 1940s and the last one was delivered in 1962. It has been upgraded many times and has excellent range and payload. However, no amount of updating can alter the fundamental characteristics of the aircraft – like its shape and resulting large radar signature – that make it relatively easy to detect and very vulnerable to air defenses of even modest sophistication. …
The B-1’s design dates from the 1970s and they were built in the late 1980s. They have also been modified many times over the past 25 years and are more survivable than the B-52s, but again their design characteristics place fundamental limits on how much upgraded sub-systems can extend their ability to penetrate advanced air defenses. Thus, B-52s will increasingly be used in the stand-off weapon-delivery role, and exclusively so in operations against well-defended adversaries.
The B-2 stealth bomber was developed in the 1980s and the last was delivered in the late 1990s. They were designed to penetrate advanced air-defense systems and are the only Air Force bombers capable of survivably delivering large weapons – or large numbers of smaller weapons – in a non-permissive air environment.
However, the Air Force has only 20 B-2s, roughly one-fifth of what’s generally regarded as the minimum-required stealth bomber force for major air campaigns in either East Asia or Southwest Asia – and remember, the new defense strategy calls for global strike forces capable of conducting two such campaigns concurrently. As our adversaries adapt to known U.S. military strengths by acquiring more advanced air defenses, mobile systems or hardening important targets the capacity of the B-2 fleet will fall ever further behind the demand for its capabilities.
In other words, the new bomber will restore a balance between Air Force bomber capabilities, capacities and demands.”
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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Note From AFA President -- F-22 (again)

I’ve read a few of the responses I’ve gotten from my F-22 notes from last week … and I would like to make a few corrections.
First, almost every aircraft – including large aircraft -- have, historically, had hypoxia problems.  The causes vary from human mistake, G-induced loss of consciousness, contaminants, breathing, and many, many others.  Seldom is it just one issue.
Secondly, the Air Force and Navy have had on board oxygen generating systems in many aircraft for many years.  The systems are designed to reduce weight, reduce deployed people and equipment, and limit handling issues.  The systems also have flown many millions of hours without incident or malfunction.
Third, I think I heard from nearly every AFA member who flew or had flown the F-18.  They were proud of their aircraft and (rightly) complained that I threw the F-18 “under-the-bus” … That was not my intent.  My intent was to show that the ABC piece was slanted and biased [“We only need it when the Taliban gets an Air Force … and it is only good for flying air shows.]  … As an Airpower advocate in the largest sense, I know better …
Fourth, it’s probably inaccurate to think that the Oxygen system in the F-22 is at fault for hypoxia in the aircraft.  If it were that simple, then the Air Force would have fixed it by now.  The ACC commander was quoted on 60 Minutes last Sunday as saying, “If … [we] … knew what the problem was, it would be gone.  … [We] … just have not found the problem yet.”  It is clear that there may be multiple causes for the hypoxia incidents that have emerged. 
Almost all of you commented on Sen McCain’s comments.  While I believe they were unprofessional, I need to point out that interviews are not often very short.  Many times there are edits … and it is possible that there was context around his comments that were edited out of the final airing.
Finally, many of you told me you did not see the 60 Minute piece.  For those of you who missed it, a transcript can be found at:  http://www.afa.org/EdOp/2012/CBS-60-Minutes.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