Thursday, September 19, 2013

Airmen From Vietnam War Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of Air Force pilots Maj. James E. Sizemore of Lawrenceville, Ill., and Maj. Howard V. Andre Jr., of Memphis, Tenn., have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors on Sept. 23 at Arlington National Cemetery.

On July 8, 1969, Sizemore and Andre were on a night armed reconnaissance mission when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed in Xiangkhoang Province, Laos. Both men died in the crash but their remains were unaccounted for until April 2013.

In 1993, a joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic team investigated an aircraft crash site in Laos. They recovered aircraft wreckage from an A-26. The team was not able to conduct a complete excavation of the site at that time.

Twice in 2010, joint U.S./Lao People’s Democratic Republic teams conducted excavations of the crash site recovering human remains, aircraft wreckage, personal effects and military equipment associated with Sizemore and Andre.

In the identification of the remains, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as dental comparison – which matched Sizemore’s records.

There are more than 1,640 American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, call 703-699-1169 or visit the DPMO website at

Joint team clears flood debris from mountain entrance

by Staff Sgt. J. Aaron Breeden
21st Space Wing Public Affairs

9/18/2013 - CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- CMAFS Airmen are receiving unwavering support from 4th Infantry Division Soldiers, stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., who are clearing tons of debris from the primary tunnel entrance.

For several days, Colorado was saturated with torrential rains, which flooded and devastated many areas across the Centennial State, including Cheyenne Mountain.

On the evening of Sept. 12, a rockslide swept down the hill in front of the north portal, leaving nearly 5,000 cubic yards of mud, rock and uprooted trees.

Col. Travis Harsha, CMAFS and 721st Mission Support Group commander, said that despite the rockslide, the air defense, space surveillance and missile warning missions inside of the mountain remained 100 percent operational.

In fact, the crews working inside of the mountain were completely unaware that a rockslide ever occurred.

Dino Bonaldo, 721st Civil Engineer Squadron director, said that everything started around 9 p.m. Sept. 12, when security forces personnel on-duty described what sounded like an earthquake and soon discovered the massive rockslide blocking access to the north portal.

Bonaldo added that immediately following the incident, the 721st MSG ensured complete accountability for all Cheyenne Mountain personnel without a single injury to report.

Currently, the focus is on the clean-up process, and the support from the 615th Engineer Company, 52nd Engineer Battalion Soldiers at Fort Carson has made a world of difference.

Fort Carson has been key to the clean-up efforts, said Harsha. Within an hour of the request for support, their assessment team was on site and heavy equipment arrived shortly thereafter, he added.

"(The Soldiers) were the primary thrust to gain access into the mountain," said Bonaldo. They showed up with several pieces of heavy equipment -- front end loaders, dump trucks, rock crushers -- to get the debris cleared as quickly as possible."

Bonaldo added that while they are working quickly to clear the main entrance to the station, they are simultaneously trying to ensure minimal impact to the residential community next door.

"We're trying to prevent down-stream impact," said Bonaldo. "We've got to secure the area closest to the impacted site, and then work out from there."

The clean-up effort is expected to continue throughout the week with plans to reopen the north portal Sept. 23.

Bonaldo added that despite the difficulties at Cheyenne Mountain over the past few days, the help from neighbors at Fort Carson has made the road to recovery much shorter.

"It's been a challenging time here," he said. "(A natural disaster like this) has never happened here before and to have the first responders and engineering team come together so quickly has been great."

Face of Defense: Soldier Helps to Meet Comrades’ Spiritual Needs

By Army Sgt. Eric Glassey
Regional Command South

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Sept. 19, 2013 – Army Sgt. Michelle McCullah lights a candle, adding its glow to the spectrum of color cast through the stained-glass windows into the chapel.

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Army Sgt. Michelle McCullah lights a candle while developing chapel operating procedures at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 18, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Eric Glassey

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McCullah is a chaplain assistant for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, stationed out of Fort Carson, Colo., who is serving here with Regional Command South.

Her responsibilities are as diverse as the world’s religions as McCullah works with Army Chaplain (Capt.) Samuel Rico to provide spiritual ministry to the battalion.

“In this unit, as a chaplain, I have to be concerned for the spiritual needs of some 900 people in some form or another,” Rico said. “That’s a lot for one person. It helps having her keep me on track.”

McCullah takes being a chaplain assistant beyond simple administrative work by extending Rico’s ministry to the soldiers.

“She is an enthusiastic [noncommissioned officer] who always has soldiers’ care on her mind,” said Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Bill Harrison, 4th Infantry Division chaplain. “She goes around as a morale officer for the unit, lifting the spirits of the soldiers, which makes for an ideal chaplain assistant.”
McCullah also pitches in with other duty sections.

“A big part of [my job] is getting to know the soldiers that are in our unit,” she said. “I’ll go out and help other sections, whether it is helping with inventory or the mail,” she said. “Just communicating with them and getting to know them better, and making sure they are being taken care of. A big part of our job is focusing on soldiers’ morale and welfare.”

Interacting and ministering with the soldiers while providing knowledge about various Army resources is the highlight of her job, McCullah said.

“My favorite part about my job is taking care of soldiers when they come in for help,” she added. “For whatever reason they come in, whether it’s informing new soldiers about resources like Army Community Service or Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers when they were in-processing back at Fort Carson, or here just listening to them until the chaplain gets there.”

McCullah’s responsibilities will expand when her battalion assumes responsibility for Fraise Chapel here Oct. 1.

“I am very excited to take on the chapel,” she said. “I hope to mentor younger chaplain assistants, as well as [improve] my skills and duties.”

McCullah said her aspirations keep her focused on what’s important in her life.

“I want to own a house … so that I can take care of my family,” the Marysville, Calif., native said. “I know where I came from, and I want to do better for myself.” She added that she expects to finish her associate’s degree by the end of next year and eventually to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Wright Vows to Focus on People, Readiness as Undersecretary

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 – If confirmed as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, Jessica L. Wright told Congress today, she will continue to advocate for the Defense Department’s No. 1 asset, its people, as the military deals with budget challenges and new operational requirements.

“It is evident to me that our people and those that support them are the department’s greatest assets and our strength,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee during her confirmation hearing.

Wright, a retired Pennsylvania Army National Guard major general, has served as acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness since Jan. 1. She previously served as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

Testifying today, she attributed her 35 years in uniform and her family’s long tradition of military service with giving her unique insights into the challenges military members and their families face every day.

Wright called her late father, John Garfola -- a combat medic during World War II who was buried just this week -- her hero and role model for her family. In addition, her husband, Chuck, is a retired Army officer, and her son, Mike, is an Army lieutenant deployed to Afghanistan.

“The department has two sacred obligations. One is to care for its people who are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to protect the national interest. And the second is to ensure the national security of the United States,” Wright told the committee. “I bring a special understanding to both obligations.”

This understanding, she said, will guide her as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s senior policy advisor on recruitment, career development, pay and benefits for 1.4 million active duty military personnel, 1.3 million Guard and Reserve personnel, 680,000 DOD civilians, and in overseeing the overall state of military readiness.

“I fully acknowledge that there are many challenges facing the department,” particularly the constrained fiscal climate, she said. But in confronting them, she promised to remain a staunch advocate for service members and their families, whose sense of duty drives them to “selflessly put the interest of our nation first.”

By doing so, she told the panel, they have made the U.S. military one of the most trusted institutions in society, and ensured the continued success of the all-volunteer force.

Wright said she will support Hagel’s commitments to the force and to ensuring it remains an agile, capable force for the future. That involves addressing what she called one of the most significant challenges facing it: stress resulting from more than a decade of deployments and high-tempo operational requirements.

“Although our service members never hesitate to answer the nation’s call, this call causes the toughest challenges on the battlefield and here at home,” she said. “Our service members and their families are under significant strain. Their minds, their bodies, their spirits require healing.”

Wright said she will ensure, if confirmed, that the department’s efforts to care for its people continue.
The security environment those people will be called upon to face in the future will be characterized by shifting operational requirements abroad, evolving threats to national security and continued budget challenges, Wright said.

“If confirmed, I would be vigilant and ensure the department provides the leadership in vision necessary to rebalance, adapt and evolve the all-volunteer force as it has done so well over the last 40 years,” she said. “I’m also committed to ensuring that we maintain the military’s status as the strongest, most capable, most respected fighting force in the history of the world.”

Also testifying at today’s hearing was Deborah Lee James, nominated to be the next Air Force secretary, and Marcel J. Lettre II, the nominee as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, and Kevin A. Ohlson, nominated as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Missile Defense System Intercepts Target in Test

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 – The Missile Defense Agency, U.S. Pacific Command and sailors aboard the USS Lake Erie conducted a successful flight test today of the Aegis ballistic missile defense system, intercepting a ballistic missile target over the Pacific Ocean.

A complex separating short-range ballistic missile target was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii, and flew northwest toward a broad ocean area of the Pacific Ocean. The USS Lake Erie detected and tracked the missile with its onboard AN/SPY-1 radar. The ship, equipped with the second-generation Aegis BMD weapon system, developed a fire control solution and launched two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles to engage the target.

The first SM-3 that was launched successfully intercepted the target warhead. This was the first salvo mission of two SM-3 Block IB guided missiles launched against a single separating target, officials said, adding that they will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

The test exercised the latest version of the second-generation Aegis BMD Weapon System, capable of engaging longer-range and more sophisticated ballistic missiles, officials said. This was an operationally realistic test, as the target's launch time and bearing are not known in advance, they added, and the target complex was the most difficult target engaged to date.

This was the fourth consecutive successful intercept test of the SM-3 Block IB guided missile with the Aegis BMD 4.0 Weapon System and the 27th successful intercept in 33 flight test attempts for the Aegis BMD program since flight testing began in 2002.

Across all Ballistic Missile Defense System programs, this is the 63rd successful hit-to-kill intercept in 79 flight test attempts since 2001.

Edwards T-38 aircrew prep for new ejection seat upgrade

by Jet Fabara
412th Test Wing Public Affairs

9/18/2013 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For test pilots at Edwards, their long-time trainer airframe, the T-38 Talon, is receiving an upgrade that is set to ensure the safety of T-38 aircrew now and well into the future.

The upgraded ejection seat, known as the Martin-Baker Mk US16T, brings added safety features that were not previously available.

"We have an entirely new ejection seat system for the T-38," said Maj. Jon Appelt, 370th Flight Test Squadron training officer. "The biggest benefit of this new seat is the expanded ejection envelope, which increases aircrew survivability. This includes the ability to successfully eject in a zero airspeed and zero altitude situation as well as improving survivability in the high altitude and high airspeed regime."

In addition to the zero-zero seat feature, Appelt mentioned the seat would include an inter-seat sequencing system, which allows one of the two aircrew members to start the ejection sequence for both aircrew members and sequences the ejections to avoid seat to seat interference.

"Potential seat to seat interference during the ejection process is a serious problem with the old system, and now with the new inter-seat sequencing system, the seats are automatically de-conflicted during the ejection, avoiding this problem," added Appelt. "Once the center ejection handle is pulled, the aft seat will always eject first, followed by the front seat, which reduces the possibility of both aircrew members colliding in-flight."

In conjunction with the inter-sequencing system is the seat's leg restraint system, which provides two upper and lower leg garters attached to the aircrew member's legs.

"This feature draws the pilot's legs in and retains them in a position, clear of obstacles, until man-seat separation occurs," said Master Sgt. David Buczynski, 412th Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment Quality Assurance. "The leg lines are connected to the inner pistons of the main beam assembly, which stays with the aircraft after ejection."

Since the new seat incorporates a parachute system built into the seat just like the ACES II system on an F-16, Buczynski said the aircrew member will no longer have to carry a 50-pound, back-style parachute out to the aircraft.

"Added features of this ejection seat include the use of drogue chute stabilization, an automatic chute deployment, automatic man-seat separation and a manual override system, in the event of automatic and backup system failure," added Appelt.

Although the new integration is ongoing, Appelt said aircrews will still be required to undergo the appropriate training before flying.

"Everybody flying in the new seat will be required to train on the new seat, which involves 30 to 45 minutes of ground training and about 30 minutes of training at the aircraft," Appelt said. "Once the modular training seat system is available, aircrews will be able to use the system as a fundamental training device."

The integration commenced in early July and, at this point, should end by mid-October, according to Appelt.

"Obviously, it will take a while to take all these T-38s through the modification process, but we're near the tail-end of the mod process. There are contractors working at Vance Air Force Base, Calif., which allows us to mod one jet per week, but training has to be accomplished on both airframe ejection seats nonetheless," said Appelt.

Hagel Reaffirms Department’s Commitment to Personnel Security

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2013 – Acknowledging that “something broke down” to permit a gunman to kill 12 people Sept. 16 at the Washington Navy Yard, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday reaffirmed the Defense Department’s commitment to providing for its people’s safety.

In an interview with Judy Woodruff on “PBS Newshour,” Hagel said the highest responsibility of leaders is to protect their people.

Earlier, Hagel announced that internal and external review panels will investigate the Navy Yard incident and will make recommendations on how to close gaps, address inadequacies and correct failures in security. He noted to Woodruff that this has been an ongoing process since the November 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, as the Defense Department to date has implemented about 65 of 79 recommendations that emerged from that investigation.

“Whether it's the access to bases, whether it's the physical safety and security of bases, whether it's the credentialing process, much, much has been done,” he said. “Obviously, we need to do more, and we will.”

Airman Makes Splash Giving Back to Community

By Air Force Airman 1st Class William J. Blankenship
Air University

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala., Sept. 18, 2013 – Military members find many ways to be involved in their communities. Some volunteer to clean schools, build homes or visit elderly veterans. Others use life experiences to mentor youth.

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Air Force Airman 1st Class Lance Thornton coaches his Barracudas swim team at practice in Montgomery, Ala., Aug. 30, 2013. Thornton began volunteering in the community to share his experience from competing at the college level. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Blankenship

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In 2011, Air Force Airman 1st Class Lance Thornton, then a Buffalo State College student-athlete, hung up his goggles and swimwear to join the Air Force. Today, he shares his aquatic skills with the Montgomery YMCA Barracudas swim team.

More than 20 years ago, Thornton took his first lap in a backyard pool in upstate New York. When he was 5, Thornton and his four brothers learned how to swim competitively under the direction of their mother.

The four-year all-conference collegiate swimmer competed in multiple events, including the 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard breaststroke, 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley, racking up numerous accolades and experience he would later use to mentor others.

"There came that point where I knew I was done swimming competitively," Thornton said. "But, I always knew I would be around the pool in some capacity."

Thornton said he is asked all the time why he chose the Air Force over the “aquatic” Navy or Coast Guard.

"The Air Force offered me the greatest opportunity to pursue a career field that I was interested in -- computer programming -- with a high quality of life," the Air University operations and communications technician said.

After technical school, Thornton started his first job in the Air Force as a programmer and began searching for community involvement opportunities shortly after arriving here.

"Once I got settled, I thought, as a military member, ‘What better way to give back to the community than doing what I love anyway?’" he said. "Coaching isn't like doing a job for me. It is the most rewarding experience I have ever been a part of."

Thornton holds Buffalo State's school record in the 200-yard individual medley and received a Robert Kissinger Swimming and Diving Award, which is presented to student-athletes who exemplify an "outstanding work ethic and commitment to the team and college.”

"I figured I had something to give back to the community, and my experience gave me an outlet to become involved," he said. "A vast majority of my weekends and evenings are spent volunteering, and I wouldn't trade that opportunity for anything."

After six months of volunteering with the Barracudas, Thornton became the head coach for the YMCA's entire swim program. In this role, Thornton leads the instruction for 130 swimmers ages 6 to 18.

"I spend about 12 hours a week at the pool with these kids," said Thornton, who also is a physical training leader with his Air Force unit. "We want to empower them to be successful both in the pool and, more importantly, in life. Our program aspires to foster an atmosphere for kids to make friends and their parents to get to know other adults. The camaraderie that comes from sports brings them together and benefits the entire family."

During Thornton's first season with the Barracudas, the team set 48 personal records out of 56 taper swims. Seven former team members are on current Division I college scholarships. In the past three years, the Barracudas have produced an Auburn University swim team captain and four 2012 Olympics trial swimmers.

Thornton uses a rank structure on his team similar to a military chain of command, which, he said, creates stability and organization.

"I lean on the lessons I learned both in the pool and thus far in my military career to stress dedication and discipline to my team," he said. "My goal is to prepare them for swimming and college with emphasis on proper work ethic, discipline and dedication to best prepare them for the next level."

From swimming in meets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., as a child to poolside coaching in Alabama, Thornton has traveled far to get to this point, but he said he knows this is just the beginning.

"For me, a child achieving a goal is what coaching is all about," he said. "It is way more rewarding when the kid succeeds than when I did as an athlete. If you're not coaching to see the smiles on the kids' faces, you aren't doing the right thing."

With aspirations of continuing to work with young people, Thornton said he wants to be an Air Force recruiter or military training leader if he is not accepted into a commissioning program.

Donley becomes 9th inductee into AF Order of the Sword

By Master Sgt. Lee Hoover, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Public Affairs

 WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Michael Donley, the 22nd Secretary of the Air Force, was inducted into the Air Force Order of the Sword at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, D.C. Sept. 13.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody led the ceremony to induct the former secretary, who was only the 9th person in Air Force history to be inducted in the headquarters Air Force Order of the Sword.

The chief described Donley, who retired in 2013, as a tremendous leader who deserves the rare honor.
"Every time I was with Secretary Donley, he wanted to talk about you -- there were many times others wanted to steer the conversation in a different direction, but he wouldn't let it happen," Cody said to the 300 enlisted Airmen attending the ceremony. "He always had you -- and all of our 690,000 Airmen -- on his mind. He truly cared about us and I can think of no one better to be honored with the Order of the Sword."

The Air Force's Order of the Sword was founded by the enlisted force to recognize and honor military senior officers and civilians, for significant contributions to the welfare and prestige of the Air Force enlisted corps, mission effectiveness as well as overall military establishment.

During the ceremony, Donley expressed gratitude to the Airmen for inducting him into the order.

"Words are not enough to thank you and the enlisted men and women of the United States Air Force for selecting me for induction into the Order of the Sword," said Donley. "I am sincerely touched and humbled to be placed in the company of the many great Air Force leaders who have been honored to receive this award."

Donley noted the honor of working each day with Airmen, particularly the non-commissioned officer corps, whose “unrivaled professionalism” gives the Air Force its strength.

“You are expert trainers, leaders, coaches, and mentors to our entire force -- from junior Airmen to officers alike,” Donley said. “What’s more, our NCO corps is the envy of the world, and for that we owe many of you a debt of gratitude."

Weapon system sustainment gains highlight results of command’s 5-center construct

By Airman 1st Class Alexander W. Riedel, Air Force News Service

 WASHINGTON (AFNS) --Improved sustainment of service weapon systems tops the list of command accomplishments after a year-long reorganization effort, the Air Force Materiel Command’s top general said here Sept. 16.

Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger addressed her command’s mission of regaining acquisition excellence in a time of fiscal constraint at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference & Technology Exposition.

“Our mission, as we have embraced it, is to equip the Air Force for world-dominant air power,” Wolfenbarger said. “In essence we are responsible for providing combat capabilities to the warfighter and that is an awesome responsibility the men and women of Air Force Materiel Command execute on a daily basis.”

Representing 83,000 military and civilian service members in her command, Wolfenbarger outlined the progress of an ongoing restructure effort of AFMC’s operations and procedures.

By reducing 12 centers to five, aligned around the primary mission areas of science and technology, life cycle management, developmental test and evaluation, and sustainment, command leaders have improved AFMC processes, Wolfenbarger said.

“(We have) done a lot of work to launch us on a path that leverages a reorganization that is historic in nature,” Wolfenbarger said. “What I’m most excited about in this reorganized Air Force Materiel Command is not how much more efficient we’ve gotten, but how much more effective we’ve become.”
The command’s five centers are the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, both headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; the Air Force Test Center, headquartered at Edwards AFB, Calif.; the Air Force Sustainment Center, headquartered at Tinker AFB, Okla.; and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, headquartered at Kirtland AFB, N.M.

Part of the new organization’s success, Wolfenbarger said, is the implementation of integrated life-cycle management -- reducing “seams” in the organization through standardization and streamlining of processes.

“The real power of the new construct is our ability to work across the centers to ensure that while they have their own distinct mission, we can better succeed by working collaboratively,” she said. “We are looking for standardization and cost-cutting opportunities that take the construct of ILCM to a level we have never seen before in our U.S. Air Force. True ILCM is the enabler for delivering affordable and effective global vigilance, global reach and global power to our nation.”

Despite the importance of the civilian workforce for AFMC, Wolfenbarger said in the wake of sequestration her command was able to maintain support to the most important mission sets.

“We had to slow down some of the great momentum we have had, during the furloughs,” she said. “We are now ramping back up again, but it will take us some time – we’re estimating until the second quarter of fiscal year 2014, to get back to that pace we were on before the furloughs -- but that hinges on not having to embrace additional civilian furloughs in fiscal year 2014.”

During fiscal shortfalls, maintaining existing fleets is an important challenge the Air Force successfully continues to manage, she said.

“We are very good at maintaining legacy aircraft,” the general said. “We, along with our industry partners, can continue to maintain these systems for the length of time our nation demands. But I have to tell you -- they are not necessarily up to the threats that are evolving.”
Despite the hardship, Wolfenbarger said there is excitement within AFMC for the opportunity to standardize approaches, continually improve them, and to enable the workforce to have a role in a different way of accomplishing the workflow.

“There is always an opportunity to get better,” she said. “We’re executing in this new organizational construct for about a year now and are about 10 days from declaring full operational capability. But we are all appreciative of the fact that we are on the forefront of really leveraging this new organizational construct and what it can provide in terms of a more effective way of executing our mission.”
In an address to civilian leaders within the audience, Wolfenbarger asked industry partners to also examine their own approaches of executing military contracts while reducing inefficiencies.

“Maintaining our national defense comes down to a concerted collaborative partnership between government and industry,” Wolfenbarger said. ”Our Air Force partners with industry on identifying and implementing best business practices and on developing technologies and weapons systems across the life-cycle management, testing and sustainment arenas ... Collectively, it is our responsibility to squeeze as much as we can out of every defense dollar that’s allocated to us.”

While the current budgetary environment provides a significant opportunity to reinforce the role of industry and military in this partnership, Wolfenbarger said smaller budgets will require all to bring even more ingenuity, creativity and collaboration to the table.

“We will preserve to the best of our ability the execution of mission sets that are critical and part of our DNA as the U.S. Air Force,” Wolfenbarger said. “We will have to make some tough decisions on our weapons systems and capabilities that go with executing those critical mission sets. But we will get through this downsized budget environment and come out the other end.”

Wichita reporter 'simulates' Airman experience

by Master Sgt. Brannen Parrish
931 Air Refueling Group Public Affairs

9/17/2013 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- A local television reporter gained an opportunity to see one method of the 931st Air Refueling Group's mission preparation during a visit to the KC-135 Operational Flight Trainer and the Boom Operator Weapons System Trainer, Sept. 17.

Mark Davidson, a television reporter from KSN News in Wichita, visited the base and flew the pilot and boom simulator.

"I really appreciate getting this opportunity," Davidson said to the pilots and boom operators who accompanied him to the simulator. "Few people ever get this experience. It was amazing."

Davidson met with Lt. Col. Eric Vitosh, commander, 18th Air Refueling Squadron who explained the training value that flight simulators provide at a reduced cost to tax payers, and how the 931st Air Refueling Group's air refueling mission provides global reach.

Captain Christopher Markley, pilot, 18th ARS and Master Sgt. James Guldjord and Master Sgt. Christopher Norris operated the simulators. The Airman for a Day piece will air on KSN sometime in September.

Combat Air Forces in the 2020s

by Gen. Mike Hostage
Commander of Air Combat Command

9/18/2013 - WASHINGTON -- I'm privileged to serve with more than 140 thousand active duty, civilian, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Airmen who provide dominant combat airpower around the world, ensuring our Nation's security. They are our greatest treasure - extraordinarily innovative and skilled - without question they are the source of our combat capability, providing effective airpower anytime, anywhere, in support of our national security strategy.

As leaders, we have formed with them and their families a sacred trust - to do all that we can to ensure they are resourced, equipped and trained to do what our Nation asks of them.

As we look toward the Combat Air Forces in the 2020s, we must commit ourselves to three things that are foundational to our Airmen's ability to deliver dominant combat airpower when and where our Nation demands it.

First, we must acknowledge the critical role Combat Air Forces, the CAF, will continue to play in advancing our Nation's interests. The impacts of the current fiscal calamity on CAF modernization will not obviate the expectation that we, when called upon, must deliver dominant combat forces to the Combatant Commander.

Second, the CAF needs to be restructured following more than a decade of shaping to support the counterinsurgency wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. It is my view that the Air Force's Global Power mission, conducted principally by the CAF, is challenged today by more risk than either Global Reach or Global Vigilance.

Third, ACC's ability to provide relevant combat forces to the Combatant Commander will, in the coming decades, hinge on recapitalizing to a robust fifth generation fleet. Our aging CAF legacy fighters, despite constant capability improvements, will eventually cease to be a relevant combat force.

Before I address each of those three in more detail, I want to go back to our the Chief of Staff highlighted earlier today, they are the ultimate source of our combat capability. The women and men of Air Combat Command possess the knowledge, creativity, and drive to overcome highly complex and dynamic challenges whenever and wherever the Nation asks. They are informed by a rich history, beneficiaries of a unique air-mindedness, highly adaptive to new concepts, and eagerly receptive to the possibilities inherent in science, technology, and human ingenuity. CAF Airmen can synthesize seemingly disparate elements in creative ways, providing innovative solutions for the Combatant Commander. They are the most sophisticated and precious resource we possess.

Our imperative in ACC is to maintain an environment of mutual respect and trust for our Airmen- that imperative is critical to providing effective combat forces and foundational to the Command's mission.

In addition, we also owe our Airmen the proper equipment, training, and skills required to conduct the missions our Nation calls upon them to do. Sadly, sequestration continues to impact our Airmen - uniformed and civilian - stymieing the Command's ability to adequately train and equip them. Sequestration impacts morale, erodes combat readiness, and ultimately limits options for Combatant Commanders.

If sequestration persists, our Airmen will be held back in training to conduct the very missions they joined the AF to perform, potentially creating an element of disillusionment within our Force--again the most precious resource we have. Our
imperative, however will remain, to provide mission-ready forces to Combatant Commanders, accepting that some of our units may not be immediately available, requiring some amount of time to get fully trained for combat. To send them forward anything less than fully combat ready would be morally corrupt. Put simply, to deal with the sequester, our training focus will be placed on those Airmen filling our most critical mission sets, regrettably leaving many others only partially prepared.

It is our moral imperative to ensure forces that deploy are fully ready, not partially ready. Sending Airmen into combat without the training they need, without the equipment, parts and capabilities they need to be fully effective is unconscionable - our Nation and our Airmen deserve better than that.

Make no mistake; the role of the CAF over the coming decades will be critical, likely more critical than ever before. We must always be ready to provide dominant combat airpower for America, despite our current fiscal constraints. In my judgment, the US national debt, and its associated budget repercussions, remain the most significant threat to our national security. More than two decades of sustained global engagement and combat operations have imposed tremendous stress on our service members and equipment. At the same time, the economic means we rely upon to underwrite our global security posture are becoming increasingly constrained and it seems will remain so for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the context in which past decisions were made has changed, and we are now being forced to make decisions impacting long-term force structure based upon short-term fiscal constraints.

ACC's ability to provide dominant combat airpower underpins our Nation's ability to pursue and protect its vital interests, and without it, all other military options and instruments of power become less credible. The CAF's global power capabilities are critical to holding targets at risk anywhere on the planet and ensuring freedom of action for Joint and Coalition forces in contested environments. Specifically, dominant air superiority has been enjoyed by the US and its Allies since the middle of the last century. It has come to be expected that our forces don't worry when they hear the sound of jet noise overhead...they know it is ours. That luxury does not come for free and will not persist unless we, the United States Air Force, continue to make it so.

The nation can no longer afford to take such capabilities for granted as has been done for the past two decades. Our Nation expects the CAF to prevent, deter, and defend against aggression aimed at America and its allies, and when called upon, to help secure victory regardless of the type of conflict. This expectation will continue to expand as our Nation transitions out of Afghanistan and rebalances its focus to the Pacific.
Despite the clear need for dominant airpower, the current and potentially the future fiscal environments are forcing the CAF to become smaller, further exacerbating our ability to provide operationally effective combat power. Force structure decisions being made today will impact tremendously the CAF's future relevancy, measured explicitly by its ability to influence the decision-making calculus of potential adversaries. By consequence, if our future force must be smaller, then it must be vastly more capable.
The next generation of Airmen must have the next generation of combat equipment to defend our Nation and advance its interests.

Although we can't predict with certainty the time, location, or circumstance in which US policy-makers will call for the use of military power, we must be prepared to respond across the spectrum of conflict, meeting the full range of security challenges. Today, the Air Force is globally engaged...with the world-wide demand for ACC's distinctive capabilities remaining very high, despite the withdrawal from Iraq and pending withdrawal from Afghanistan. Every indication I see tells me that the high operations tempo of the past two decades will remain the norm as we move into the post-OEF world.

The constant demand for our distinct capabilities includes our low supply/high demand combat rescue assets. The mantra of our rescue forces, "So that others may live", is well known and respected around the world. Air Force Rescue has been operating with deploy-to-dwell ratios that are at or near unsustainable levels for an extended period of time. While the Airmen within these career fields have performed their missions magnificently, remaining at these operational tempos has caused our fleets to age at accelerated rates, posing significant challenges to the long term viability of our critical rescue fleet. Again one of the things that makes our Air Force special is the sure knowledge that we will not leave an Airman behind. It is part of what makes us great and what allows our forces to venture into the unknowns of combat. Therefore, we have another moral imperative to retain sufficient numbers of well-equipped combat rescue forces in the future, despite any fiscal challenges.

From potential high-end major combat operations against near-peer adversaries to low-end low-intensity engagements, ACC must be ready to leverage the unique characteristics of airpower - speed, range, precision, flexibility, persistence, and lethality. These characteristics offer unparalleled combat effects, able to be appropriately scaled and tailored to meet the needs of Combatant Commanders around the world.

In March 2011, ACC demonstrated its ability to flex across the full range of military operations. During that month, B-1s, with the help of the Air Force Targeting Center, demonstrated the reach of Global Power by successfully attacking targets in Libya from Ellsworth AFB, SD in support of NATO Operations, while remaining committed to COIN operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our Airmen have performed magnificently over the past decade, but now we must look to the future and prepare our Airmen to face new and different challenges.

Before marching bravely into our future, it is wise to be mindful of our past, noting, in particular, how the CAF evolved in the face of several challenges over the past 60 years. During the final phases of WWII, US Army Air Forces dominated the skies against the German Luftwaffe and the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service. Superior aircraft like the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, B-17 Flying Fortress, and B-29 Superfortress delivered air superiority and a crushing bombing campaign in support of Allied Forces. Yet as the War ended, the newly formed Air Force, challenged by a new, formidable Cold War adversary, transitioned away from prop-driven aircraft and began to restructure for the jet era. The timing of this transition proved crucial during the Korean War as the Air Force required a jet able to match the higher- and faster-flying, Russian MiG-15. The F-86 Sabre, and our superiorly trained pilots, proved to be an effective counter to the MiG-15, amassing a kill-to-loss ratio of nearly 2 to 1.

Then, again following many arduous lessons from the Vietnam War, Tactical Air Command wrestled with the grueling task of restructuring its combat forces for the future. While we aggressively engaged and shaped the continued acquisition and modernization of third generation fighters, to include that period's F-4s, F-105s, and F-111s, we determined the weapons and performance characteristics associated with these platforms would not assure us the degree of dominance our Nation would demand in future decades. As a result, we conceived the next generation of fighters, the fourth generation - the F-15, F-16, and A-10.

Many of the decisions to pursue these aircraft were made in the waning light of a costly war in Vietnam and during equally challenging fiscal times at home. Despite these challenges, we prioritized the future of tactical dominance; most importantly, the future of air superiority. The results have been overwhelming - the US and its Allies amassing a 104 to 0 kill-to-loss ratio for the F-15C, our preeminent air-to-air fighter over the 70s, 80s, and 90s. It is this degree of dominance that has allowed us to maintain air superiority above friendly forces for 60 years. While it is satisfying to trumpet this accomplishment, it is more important to recognize that past accomplishments provide no future guarantees.

Our fourth generation fleet, built to defeat an imposing Soviet force, displayed its utter dominance during Operation Desert Storm, providing decisive air power against Iraqi air and ground forces. This performance validated the hard decisions made in the 60s and 70s by displaying to the world the potential speed and lethality of synchronized combat air power. While truly an historic episode in air power history, there are those who question the need to retool the CAF, citing the success of Desert Storm. I would remind us all that Desert Storm occurred 22 years ago--a lifetime in the realm of weapon system innovation and advancements. The formula for strategic irrelevance begins with expecting future security while basking in past success.

Today we are at a crossroad, similar to that faced by our leaders more than 50 years ago. Our fourth-generation aircraft have far surpassed their original design service lives and now face underfunded or cancelled modernization efforts. In the next 5 years, our pilots flying fourth-generation aircraft will be faced with the daunting challenge of countering very advanced enemy systems with fighters and bombers that will not have kept pace with the rapidly evolving operational threat environment.

Over the past decade we intentionally modified our CAF aircraft to meet the demands of the protracted counterinsurgency fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. The need for persistent ISR and responsive close air support proved to be essential elements of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn. The constant overwatch and tactical support provided by CAF air power to our brave troops on the ground have galvanized their trust and strengthened our joint effectiveness. A decade from now, the CAF's ability to maintain this trust will require additional modernization for the F-22 and recapitalization of our legacy aircraft with a full fleet of F-35s.

After more than a decade of focused CAS and ISR overwatch in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is time we allay the high-end mission risk being assumed by the CAF. The Nation's ability to project Global Power is predicated by the relevancy of its combat air power. A relevant CAF, ready to operate in highly contested environments, must have an adequate number of technologically advanced aircraft and operators trained to execute these high-end missions.

Today, we again stand at a critical juncture. Our 5th generation fleet, particularly a full fleet of F-35s, will provide the precise retooling required by the CAF. By 2023, a modernized force of F-22s operating in concert with a robust fleet of F-35s will mitigate the risk currently imposed on the CAF, ensure the trust built with our joint partners, and, more importantly, afford our nation the ability to project relevant combat air power. Our need to restructure does not eschew the significance of our contributions in the mission areas of ISR and CAS developed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Rather, it acknowledges the historical parallels between where we are today, with the periods following World War II and Vietnam. Now, as then, it is time for us to prioritize programs that allow the CAF to execute full-spectrum operations in highly contested environments. Our Nation's security demands the CAF maintain these higher-end capabilities and skill sets.

The total air dominance we've enjoyed over the past decade in Iraq and Afghanistan existed in part because of an unchallenged net-enabled battlespace. We cannot assume this in the future. In fact, our potential adversaries have invested significant capital and innovation towards countering our air dominance. In the coming decade, both new hardware and training will be required to counter symmetric and asymmetric threats to our forces. To ensure continued air dominance, ACC has embarked upon a readiness project designed to ensure our Airmen can operate in an advanced threat environment where all elements of the domain are contested.

Readiness Project-2 is a program under which we are changing the paradigm of how our force trains. The certainty of our communication links, our pervasive datalinks, our far-seeing radars, and incredibly accurate GPS systems have bred generations of aviators who know little of the old-school TTPs of chattermark, no-radar procedures, and counter-radar jamming. As we exercised our incredible capabilities since the onset of Desert Storm, our adversaries have taken careful note and have been investing in asymmetric ways to deny us these systems. The training plan called Readiness Program-2 ensures that our Airmen practice routinely, how to deal with the momentary or prolonged interruption of any or all of these unique capabilities. Our adversaries should know that such asymmetric attacks will not stop us; they will only make us mad. We will not be stopped, and will continue to bring lethal combat power.

When I served as the CFACC at Air Forces Central Command, I saw firsthand the extraordinary impact of our ISR and mobility Airmen. I flew with MC-12 crews and supported our ground partners with vital real-time intelligence; I also flew with C-130 and C-17 crews who airdropped food, fuel and ammunition resupplies with exceptional precision to forward operating bases in Afghanistan. Those Airmen, their skills and their unique capabilities are unmatched. However, we can't afford to be lulled into a sense of complacency in which we believe those great Airmen will have the same freedom of movement in the contested environments we anticipate in the future - that would be irresponsible.

As we move toward 2020 and beyond, we anticipate our potential adversaries' capabilities to continue to grow and concentrate on achieving an asymmetric advantage- which is why we need to focus the CAF on those higher-end skill sets to win in contested environments. We've grown accustomed to freedom of movement of our ISR and mobility assets. In tomorrow's contested environments, we simply won't have that luxury - those capabilities will require robust air superiority support or they face being neutralized in the earliest stages of a war.

Our 4th generation fighters, as well, do NOT have the ability to operate without significant risk in an advanced threat environment. For the United States to operate in environments that are becoming increasingly contested by our adversaries around the globe, in line with the DoD strategic guidance, the Air Force must continue to invest in capabilities critical to our future success, like the F-22 and F-35 - capabilities that will enable other members of our team, like our ISR and mobility Airmen, to project power despite the contested environment. Fiscal constraints will require the CAF to balance force structure with new capabilities and game-changing technologies to ensure lethality and survivability.

When I first took command of ACC, it was my goal to balance modernization and recapitalization in order to ensure the CAF was prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. This balance required me to look at recapitalizing our fleet through the development and purchase of new weapon systems. At the same time, I had to continue modernizing our legacy fleets through upgrades designed to extend service life and enhance combat capabilities. Our current fiscal environment will likely force me to make the hard decision between recapitalization and modernization. If the Department says it can no longer support both, I must pick one or the other...and to me, recapitalization is what makes the most sense. I realize that means accepting risk in the near term, but the alternative is arriving in the middle of the next decade with a now 45-year old fighter fleet and most likely no remaining domestic fighter production.

Our potential adversaries' increasing capabilities will require us to have fifth generation capabilities to enter the battlespace. A modernized fourth generation fleet by itself will be irrelevant against those capabilities. Potential near peer adversaries are using modern technologies to build advanced aircraft, surface-to-air, and air-to-air missiles--all with increased range and enhanced capabilities. As Gen Welsh noted back in's not just our peer or near peer adversaries who will use these capabilities....over 50 countries around the world fly Chinese or Russian top-end fighters. These developments will degrade our ability to operate most 4th generation CAF assets, so we must rebalance investments to equip our Combat Air Forces to meet the developing threat.

Back in July the Chief said, "The F-35 Lightning II JSF is imperative to the future of the Air Force. Upgrading the existing fleet may save money, but will not make it competitive." He went on to say, "A 4th generation aircraft meeting a 5th generation aircraft in combat will be more cost-efficient, [but] it will be dead before it ever knows it's in a fight." Let me say that again - it will be more cost-efficient, but it will be dead.

5th Generation fighters possess distinct capabilities not found on our current combat platforms. These 5th Generation capabilities dramatically reduce an enemy's ability to successfully engage our force. The F-22 and F-35 must and will underpin the CAF for decades to come. Our 4th generation capabilities have served us well, now it's time for the 5th generation assets to take the CAF reins.

The F-22's attributes of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics ensure our ability to project power anywhere on the globe; including in anti-access and area denial environments. Simply put, the F-22 fleet, combined with complimentary capabilities from our joint partners, allows us to "kick down the door" and enable joint operations in the most demanding environments that exist now and in the foreseeable future. The F-22's multi-mission capabilities allow us to seize the initiative, achieve air superiority, attack those who challenge us in the skies and to defeat those who would challenge us from the ground. Despite its pitifully small numbers, the F-22 contributes significantly by protecting the joint force from attack and enabling the joint force to conduct offensive operations.

We remain committed to the continued advancement of F-22 combat capabilities and the long-term success of the F-35 program. Our national defense priorities emphasize Asia/Pacific and the Middle East, while also maintaining our commitments in Europe and with allies and partners around the world. We must continue to deter and defeat aggression of peer and near-peer adversaries in highly-contested environments while continuing to acquire F-35s in sufficient quantities to enable a robust 5th generation fighter force. The programmed purchase of 1,763 F-35s is not a luxury; it is a national security imperative. As Clausewitz once said, "In tactics, as in strategy, superiority of numbers is the most common element in victory."

Fiscal constraints are driving the CAF to a smaller force, but it must be a more capable force with the ability to operate in, and eventually control, denied and degraded environments. This will only happen if we recapitalize our fighter fleet to the full complement of Lightning IIs. This will not be an easy task...we will likely be forced to choose between modernization or recapitalization... unfortunately we are being told we can't afford to do both.

In Air Combat Command we recognize that the fiscal and threat environments are constantly evolving. We also recognize our Airmen are our asymmetric advantage. By understanding the enduring role of the CAF, the historic need for our restructuring, and the imperative to grow our 5th Generation fleet, we'll enable our Airmen to deliver the Dominant Combat Airpower America expects.

** Editor's Note: The text of the speech was prepared for delivery to the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference on Sept. 17, 2013.

320th STS completes DARC training

by Tech.Sgt. Kristine Dreyer
353rd Special Operations Group Public Affairs

9/9/2013 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Members from the 320th Special Tactics Squadron completed Direct Action Resource Center training with a mobile training team on the Camp Hansen range Aug. 3-17.

The two-week training included M-4 and Glock-19 proficiency training on the range and also close-quarter combat where the group was divided into two teams and taught how to properly clear a building.

Typically, this would mean another trip back to the U.S. to complete the training, but due to budget constraints, the 320th STS decided to save money and bring the training to them.

"Instead of sending 15 people to the states, we paid for two instructors to come here," said Tech. Sgt. Joshua Brown, a pararescue specialist with the 320th STS. "The instructors have been great with adapting to what we had here and fulfilling all of our training needs. It's important for everyone to complete this training so we can be more proficient in shooting, moving and communicating."

Although they learned to work together in teams during the training, their ultimate goal is to be able to learn techniques that will help them adapt to any deployed environment.

According to Senior Airman Keaton Thiem, a combat controller at the 320th STS, the Airmen won't typically deploy as a team, but instead they will deploy individually and attach to other special operations teams from various branches of services, which can be somewhat of a challenge.

"Anytime we attach to a team, they have been together for a long time. We still have to be able to step in and start day one like we have been part of this team," Thiem said. "This training helps tie us all together and plays a huge role in allowing us to integrate properly."

Once the fundamentals were taught, the class ended with a two-day culminating exercise where the pararescuemen, combat controllers and a survival, evasion, resistance, escape specialist put their new skills to the test.

"The TTP (tactics, techniques and procedures) of the enemy is constantly changing," Thiem said. "These guys stay up on that. Having this training will definitely prepare us for future deployments."

Carter to Lead Panels on Base Security, Personnel Clearance

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2013 – “Obviously, something went wrong” in security procedures at the Washington Navy Yard, where a gunman killed 12 workers Sept. 16, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said here today, and the department will close gaps, address inadequacies and correct failures.

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Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, brief reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon, Sept. 18, 2013. DOD photo by Marine Corps Sgt. Aaron Hostutler

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In a Pentagon news conference, Hagel announced two panels that will investigate the situation and make recommendations.

Hagel and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed their condolences to the families and co-workers of the 12 Navy employees gunned down at the Navy Yard. Both emphasized that DOD personnel deserve a safe and secure environment wherever they work.

Yesterday, Hagel said, he asked Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lead two departmentwide reviews. The first will examine physical security and access procedures at all DOD installations, the secretary said.

In the second, Carter will look at DOD’s practices and procedures for granting and renewing security clearances, including those held by contractors. He will coordinate with officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of Management and Budget, Hagel said.

The secretary also has directed an independent panel to conduct its own assessment of security at DOD facilities and of the department’s security clearance procedures and practices.

Dempsey praised the actions of the police and medical personnel who responded to the rampage.

“Even in the midst of tragedy, there are moments of triumph,” he said. “The most visible feats were accomplished by professionals -- our military, police, and EMTs -- but there were other unseen moments equally heroic. I was especially inspired by the story of Omar Grant, a Navy Yard civilian, who helped a blind colleague to safety as they exited building 197 in the middle of the shooting. Omar refused to leave his friend behind. The urge to run toward danger to help someone in need is a testament to an American's character.”

Dempsey said some of the lessons learned from past tragic episodes helped during the Navy Yard shooting. Early indications are that procedures put in place after a Nov. 9, 2009, shooting spree that killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, may have led to “a less horrific outcome,” the chairman said. Officials put in place alert notices. Base officials also coordinated with local and federal officials in advance of crises, he said. There was also some benefit from training scenarios for employees and law enforcement on active shooter situations, he added.

“Some of the things we did as a result of those earlier incidents, we believe, actually reaped the benefit we intended,” Dempsey said

Success of India, Pakistan Critical to Region, Carter Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

ABOARD A MILITARY AIRCRAFT, Sept. 18, 2013 – Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter today wrapped up a weeklong overseas trip that included stops in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

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Anil Sabharwal, a member of India's air force, gives U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter a walking tour of a new runway under construction at Hindon Air Force Station near New Delhi, Sept. 18, 2013. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
After spending three days in Afghanistan, Carter stopped in Islamabad, Pakistan, for talks with senior defense and government officials. Among the topics discussed was the importance of Pakistan’s continued economic development to the security of the region, Carter said today.

The economic development of Pakistan is essential, he said.
“Their neighbor to the east is running away from them economically,” Carter noted. To develop its economy, Pakistan first needs peaceful relations with India to begin trading with them, the deputy defense secretary said.

Pakistan is critical to U.S. and regional security, the deputy secretary said.

“Unless it’s part of the solution, it becomes part of the problem in Afghanistan,” Carter said.

“The government of Pakistan has flirted over time with using terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” Carter added. “It is coming to the realization that terrorism is a boomerang, and it comes back on you when you try to use it for your own purposes.”

The principal threat to Pakistan is terrorism, he said, not its neighbors.

Carter spent yesterday meeting with senior Indian defense officials in New Delhi, including Defense Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur and Defense Minister A.K. Antony. He also met with U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Pelletier at the American Embassy.

The U.S. and India are destined to be security partners on the world stage, Carter said. The two countries share common interests, values and outlooks, he added, noting that the multifaceted defense relationship between them is the defining partnership of the 21st century.

A central topic of discussion was the Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, which is intended to increase defense industrial and technology cooperation, Carter said. The agreement isn’t just about selling defense equipment to India, the deputy defense secretary noted; it’s about fostering joint ventures.

“They don’t want to just buy our stuff,” Carter said. “They want to build our stuff with us and they want to develop new things with us, and they want to do research with us.”

The joint C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft venture between the Indian multinational conglomerate Tata and Lockheed Martin is a perfect model of co-production, he said.

“India is now part of the supply chain [for the aircraft], and has the economic benefit -- the jobs benefit -- of being part of that,” Carter said.

Future defense projects between the two countries will include both co-development and co-production, the deputy defense secretary said.

Today, Carter traveled to Hindon Air Force Station in Ghaziabad, India, the largest air base in Asia and home to No. 77 Squadron, which operates the six C-130J aircraft India acquired in 2008. The aircraft have been used in several humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations throughout the country. In August, a pilot from the squadron set a world record for the highest-altitude landing and takeoff, landing at an airstrip 16,614 feet above sea level.

Hindon also is home to the recently formed No. 81 Squadron. Known as the Skylords, the squadron was formed in September to fly the Indian air force’s new C-17 Globemaster III transport jets, which began arriving earlier this year. Three of the heavy-lift aircraft have been delivered so far under the $4 billion deal, and seven more are scheduled to arrive by November 2014.

“We want India to have all the capabilities it needs to meet its security needs, and we want to be a key partner in that effort,” Carter said.

“When you look at pictures of the Indian air force’s C-130s participating in the recent flood relief efforts in the north, … that tells us we’re on the right track,” he added.

U.S. Foreign Military Sales Promote Security Cooperation

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18, 2013 – Though 2012 was a banner fiscal year with $69.1 billion in foreign military sales, that program and others like it are not in the business of selling equipment, but rather are promoting military-to-military relationships with international partners, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency official said here yesterday.

Speaking at a ground robotics symposium hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association, Derek Gilman, DSCA’s general counsel, said his agency promotes relationships by facilitating the purchase of defense equipment and services, financing, defense education and training and more.

“The idea,” Gilman said, “is if partners have U.S. equipment and U.S. training and are following U.S. doctrine, our interoperability is greater with them.”

Interoperability also can be leveraged through international acquisition and cross-servicing agreements for sharing such things as ammunition and spare parts, he added.

“That can lead, if you’re sharing joint doctrine, to joint exercises and other types of military-to-military cooperation and … to decades-long relationships -- core relationships -- with partners around the world,” Gilman said.

The Foreign Military Sales program is a form of security assistance authorized by the Arms Export Control Act through which the United States may sell defense articles and services to foreign countries and international organizations. Under the program, the U.S. government and a foreign government enter into a sales agreement called a letter of offer and acceptance. The State Department determines which countries will have programs, and the Defense Department executes the program.

DSCA is the central agency that synchronizes global security cooperation programs, funding and efforts across the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the State Department, the combatant commands, the services and U.S. industry. The agency is responsible for the policy, processes, training and financial management needed to execute security cooperation within DOD.

The agency’s mission areas cover a lot of ground, ranging from foreign military sales and foreign military financing to humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and mine action. DSCA also has programs for international military education and training and partnership capacity building.

DSCA has 12,881 active foreign military sales cases valued at $394 billion, 443 humanitarian projects worldwide, 768 security cooperation officers in 148 countries, 7,344 international students from 141 countries, and 7,090 participants in five regional centers around the world. DSCA does business with 227 countries and international organizations.

Foreign military sales represent the largest percentage of DSCA funds, with $69.1 billion in fiscal 2012, Gilman said, “but $29 billion of that is from the sale of 84 F-15s to Saudi Arabia, along with weapons and training and basing.” He said that going forward, the agency expects about $30 billion a year, with about $25 billion in 2013 sales.

“But that’s a significant increase over what we’ve had historically,” he added.

Before fiscal 2006, DSCA foreign military sales hovered between $10 billion and $13 billion, Gilman said, adding that the agency has been doing more than twice that amount each year and expects that trend to continue because of an increased emphasis on foreign sales, interoperability and fighting in a coalition environment.

Other DSCA programs include:
-- Foreign Military Financing, $1.1 billion in fiscal 2012-2013: The bulk of this funding goes to Israel and Egypt, with the rest divided among several other countries. Funding amounts go out in grant letters so it is considered a conditional grant to the foreign country. “The money, however, does not go to the foreign country,” Gilman said. “It stays in the FMF trust fund in the account for those countries and becomes new-year money. It’s obligated upon apportionment, so it continues to be available for the purposes set forth in the current-year congressional budget justification.”
-- International Military Education and Training program, $105.8 million in fiscal 2012: “IMET is a significant program whereby we provide education and training to folks from foreign militaries,” Gilman said. “It has been a significant aid to the United States over the last 30 years in terms of helping build relationships with those who later go on to be senior members of partner militaries.”
-- Special Defense Acquisition: “[This program] allows us to anticipate what the sales are going to be to foreign partners to buy defense articles in advance of those sales of high-demand sorts of items,” Gilman explained, “and then to provide those items to our partners.”
-- Excess Defense Articles: A major effort is going on now in this longstanding program with regard to Afghanistan, Gilman said, “and how we provide what we anticipate will be a large number of defense articles [there] to our foreign partners. It’s a way to make sure we reduce the possibility of waste in terms of demilitarization on the ground in Afghanistan.”

Looking ahead for DSCA, Gilman said building interoperability and sustainability and staying ahead of the competition are among the agency’s key opportunities and challenges.

DSCA differs from what a customer might see in a direct commercial sale, such as in the Foreign Military Sales program, because the agency provides what Gilman described as a total-package approach. A partner in a direct commercial sale would have to go to several commercial vendors to determine its own commercial requirements, he explained.

“But DSCA will work with partners to say, ‘This is the equipment you want to meet a certain need, these are the weapons you’ll need to go with that equipment, this is the training you will need [and] these are the requirements you will need on your base,’” Gilman said. “And we can provide all that through letters of offer and acceptance as to an estimate of how much it will cost.”

The agency also offers the advantage of the U.S. contracting process, he added, “so we can leverage our ability, especially if they’re contracting for something that’s already in the U.S. system, because we have an existing contract.”

DSCA can leverage the fact that the agency is buying the item to keep the price down for the customer, Gilman said.

“Some customers have a less-than-transparent acquisition system [at home], and they like the transparency the U.S. acquisition system offers them, so there are a number of benefits,” he added.
Other countries have had experience with foreign military sales, he said, and they prefer the DSCA approach.

“At the end of the day, we don’t care whether they use FMS or DSCA, but what we do care about is that they buy U.S. products in whatever way is most effective for them,” he said.

The agency also is seeing more pressure from traditional competitors such as the United Kingdom, France and Russia, and emerging competitors in China, India, Brazil, the European Union and elsewhere, Gilman said.

“China is becoming more and more of a player in the international armaments sales arena, and South Korea is becoming a significant competitor in the international armaments sales arena,” he said. “The United States wants to maintain its role as the preeminent competitor for the reasons of building relationships with our partners.