Military News

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Air Mobility Command’s force structure plan takes shape in President’s Budget proposal

by Capt. Kathleen Ferrero
Air Mobility Command Public Affairs


3/27/2014 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- The president's budget proposal announced earlier this month outlines a future rapid global mobility force structure that includes the retirement of the C-38 fleet and reduction of the C-130H, KC-135 and C-20 programs.

In addition, officials note the planned movement of 16 aircraft into backup inventory during fiscal year 2015 (see map for state-by-state data).

Over the next five years, the Air Force plans to remove almost 500 aircraft from its entire inventory to transition to a leaner force as it faces about $12.5 billion in budget cuts, according to officials.

Col. Todd Cargle, Air Mobility Command Programs Division chief, said the budget cuts are forcing the Air Force to make hard choices to meet rapid global mobility mission requirements within budget constraints.

"We needed to make sure we were putting forward the best possible recommendation to support the warfighter," Cargle said. "Every stakeholder -- four other major commands, the Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve -- at every level was at the table to shape this recommendation."

The budget calls for the closure of four active associate units (three existing units and one that was in the planning phases). Active associate units combine active duty with Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve resources.

Maj. Gen. Maryanne Miller, deputy to the chief of the Air Force Reserve, told Congress this month that the fiscal year 2015 proposed budget was "a transparent, collaborative Total Force planning effort maximizing the contributions of all three components."

It was also a collaborative decision to retire the C-38 fleet.

The Air Force argues that retiring entire fleets can save billions of dollars, because it saves the costs associated with infrastructure, logistics, personnel and base operating support. For example, the future retirement of the KC-10 fleet could save the DoD more than $2 billion across the Future Years Defense Plan, Cargle said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh described the enormity of what $12 billion means to the budget in his latest "Airman to Airman" message.

"If we stop flying for the next two years ... completely, no flying hours at all in our AF for two years, we can pay [only] one year of the sequestration bill," said Welsh. "It's a big problem. ... we're working hard to fix it, but there's going to be tough choices that have to be made."

To face the challenge of the future security environment and dwindling budgets, Air Force senior leaders plan to shrink "capacity"-- or how much it can do at any one time, in order to maintain "capability"-- what the Air Force can do at any time.

For example, if the Congress agrees to the changes when they pass next fiscal year's National Defense Authorization Act, C-17A capacity will be reduced by placing some C-17s into backup inventory to not fly daily, but to still preserve strategic airlift capability if needed, Cargle said.

The fact that sequestration budget limits are scheduled to return in fiscal year 2016 cannot be ignored, Gen. Welsh told the House Armed Services Committee March 14.

"Every major decision reflected in our (fiscal 2015) budget proposal hurts," Welsh said. "Each of them reduces capability that our combatant commanders would love to have and believe they need. There are no more easy cuts."

(Claudette Ruolo, American Forces Press Service, contributed to this article.)

Changing the way we inspect

by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


3/27/2014 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- The 355th Fighter Wing became the fifth fighter wing in Air Combat Command to be evaluated under the new unit effectiveness inspection program.

A UEI is an inspection that was implemented in August 2013 and combines consolidated unit inspections and operational readiness inspections into one continuous inspection.

Prior to this implementation, a wing's major command would visit the wing every two years to conduct either a compliance or a readiness inspection, where the base was mandated on what needed to be executed to pass, said Brig. Gen. Barre Seguin, ACC Inspector General. Now it is the responsibility of the wing commander to establish a Commanders Inspection Program (CCIP) and determine what tasks need to be completed to ensure readiness.

Although the majority of the UEI falls under the CCIP, MAJCOM IG will still visit a base every two years to complete a Capstone. A Capstone is a week-long event focused on verifying and validating the commanders CCIP, but is also focused on individually evaluating the compliance, readiness, economy, efficiency and discipline of each unit.

The wing IG trains a Wing Inspection Team, who is responsible for inspecting their respective units to ensure they are up to standards with the wing commander's objectives, while MAJCOM IG focuses on the CCIP and the morale and welfare of the Airmen on the base.

"Our role is to inspect the wing throughout the two year period, whether we do it virtually or with snapshots," Seguin said. "A snapshot is where we send a small team of five to 10 people to the wing to observe and evaluate the WIT conducting an exercise or inspecting a subordinate unit within the wing itself. We expect to send about two snapshot teams a year [to each base]. This will ultimately culminate in a Capstone event."

Seguin explained while visiting a base to conduct a Capstone, they can also send a snapshot team to tenant units on the base that fall under the same MAJCOM. This saves the Air Force time and money.

The Capstone evaluates each installation using a 5-level grading scale: ineffective, marginally effective, effective, highly effective and outstanding, Seguin said. There are four major gradable areas: managing resources, leading people, improving the unit, and executing the mission. The ratings in each area are averaged out to give the base only two grades. One is for the wing itself as a whole, while the other is based on how the wing uses funds provided by higher headquarters.

Being in the Air Force 25 years has given Seguin many opportunities to participate in exercises and inspections, but this inspection is by far different.

Seguin explained the goal of moving to UEIs. It is to focus on aligning mission readiness with inspection readiness and getting away from inspection preparation.

"I would actually call it the largest change in the way the Inspector General has done business in our United States Air Force since the inception of our service," Seguin said.

This inspection is slated to last for five days, four of which are actual inspection days while the last one is for writing reports and providing feedback to wing leaders.

Winnefeld Honors Corpsmen, Medics at Battlefield Angels Gala



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2014 – The Armed Services YMCA and Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. teamed to honor medics and corpsmen during the Angels of the Battlefield Gala here last night.

The gala, held at the Four Seasons Hotel, honors medical personnel who have saved lives on the front line.

Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke of the courage, skill and quick reactions the medics and corpsmen displayed that brought so many Americans home.

Those honored were: Air Force Senior Airman Taylor Renfro, Army Sgt. Kristopher Ritterhouse, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Toland, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Marchante, and Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Janet Combs.

“Corpsmen and combat medics hold a very, very special place in our military,” Winnefeld told the audience during his keynote speech.

The admiral noted that corpsmen and medics have been awarded 75 Medals of Honor. “A corpsman helped raise the flag over Iwo Jima,” he said.

And these young men and women have performed unbelievably well in demanding conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Now, as you know, the colloquial form of address for a hospital corpsman or combat medic is ‘Doc,’ which is a hard-earned sign of respect,” the admiral said. “Let me tell you, not just anyone can be ‘the Doc.’ It takes a lot of dedicated training and hard work.”

In the American Revolution, he said, medics were just fellow soldiers who happened to stop and help others if they’d been wounded. Injuries sustained in combat during the Revolutionary War resulted in about a 60-percent survival rate.

Survival rates improved through the years, and in Vietnam it had increased to about 75 percent, Winnefeld said. He noted that was only a 15 percent improvement over 200 years.

“But the last 12-plus years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us to focus our efforts on the ‘platinum 10,’ providing new kinds of medical care within the first 10 minutes of injury and, of course, beyond,” he said. “Today, if you’re wounded in combat, thanks to these wonderful men and women, there’s a 92 percent chance that you're going to survive, the highest number in the history of warfare.”

And those that are wounded are the most inspiring story of all, the admiral said. They prove every day, he said, that “ability can overcome disability.”

The admiral thanked many of the caregivers and families that attended the event, calling them heroes in their own right.

“And I’m sure that if you were to ask these people who they credit with saving their life, or the life of their loved one, the answer would not surprise you, the first person who administered care, that ‘angel on the battlefield,’” Winnefeld said.

The admiral told the honorees that by placing the needs of their brothers and sisters above their own, they have become their heroes “and you are now our heroes.”

“You, and those you stand for, have more than met the demands of your profession, with courage and strength, and in the words of the Medic’s Creed, ‘You aided all those who were needful, treating friend, and foe and stranger alike,’” Winnefeld said. “I’m honored and proud to have had the opportunity to serve alongside you.”

Renfro is a 23-year-old Air Force medic from Jacksonville, Ill., who has both provided lifesaving treatment and received it. She was saved by another medic when her vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Ritterhouse, a 26-year-old Army medic from Bullhead, Ariz., continued to provide medical treatment for others after being seriously injured himself in a battle in Afghanistan. Despite his own injuries, he returned to search for more casualties while under fire.

Toland is a 32-year-old Navy corpsman from Atlanta, Ga., assigned to a Marine unit. He triaged and treated patients when an IED hit a bazaar in Afghanistan, ultimately saving many lives.

Marchante is a 27-year-old Navy corpsman from Murrieta, Calif., who treated a severely wounded soldier in Afghanistan while under active fire. Marchante used his body to shield the victim from further injury.

Combs, a 31-year-old Coast Guard corpsman from Miami Beach, has treated hundreds of patients -- including two rescued from the water when their helicopter went down, a critical stroke victim, and many others. She is known for motivating her personnel and compassion for her patients and their families.

Hagel to Host ASEAN Ministerial in Hawaii



By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2014 – Next week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will convene the first U.S.-hosted meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Defense Department Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said today in a press briefing here.

Following the meeting, Hagel will travel to the Asia-Pacific region for visits with his counterparts in Japan, China and Mongolia, Kirby added.

The trip will be Hagel’s fourth official visit to the Asia-Pacific, a region of growing importance and emphasis for U.S. foreign policy and its defense strategy, the press secretary said.

“The secretary extended this invitation to ASEAN ministers in his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue last June [and] participated in the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus last August,” Kirby told reporters.

Increased and expanded DOD engagement with ASEAN members has been a priority for Hagel, the admiral noted, and the secretary has worked with U.S. Pacific Command Commander Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III to focus on making the upcoming historic gathering a success.

Kirby said the ASEAN meeting will identify ways to strengthen multilateral security cooperation in the region and build more robust partnerships between military and civilian agencies to improve humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

Toward that end, Hagel has invited leaders from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development to join the meeting and is pleased the NOAA and USAID leaders will attend, the admiral added.

According to the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, DOD leaders expect the frequency, scale and complexity of future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions to increase, Kirby said.

“Secretary Hagel believes the United States and our partners must be prepared for that reality,” he noted.

From Hawaii, Hagel will travel to Japan for his second visit there as defense secretary.

“When he traveled there in October with Secretary [of State John] Kerry, he announced that the United States and Japan will begin the process of revising the defense guidelines that underpin our bilateral military-to-military relationship,” Kirby said, adding, “This upcoming trip is an opportunity to discuss those ongoing efforts and as well as other regional security matters.”

This week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and President Barack Obama met in the Netherlands, the admiral added, and Hagel’s Japan visit is an opportunity to build on those discussions.

Next, Hagel will make his first visit as defense secretary to China.

“He's very much looking forward to this visit, having hosted his Chinese counterpart [last August] here at the Pentagon,” Kirby said. “He has longstanding ties to China, beginning when he traveled there for business in the early 1980s. He also built strong relationships with senior Chinese leaders while serving as a U.S. senator.”

In China, Hagel will have a full complement of bilateral engagements focusing on the military-to-military relationship and on regional security issues, the admiral said, adding that the secretary “views this relationship as crucial to our rebalance and he will emphasize the importance of building trust, increasing openness and transparency, and upholding international norms throughout his trip.”

Hagel’s final stop will be in Mongolia, the first visit there by a U.S. defense secretary in nearly 10 years.

Mongolia is becoming a more important security partner for the United States, having deployed forces to Iraq and Afghanistan and in peacekeeping operations worldwide, Kirby said, and during the visit Hagel will thank Mongolia for its contributions and discuss ways to enhance future U.S.-Mongolian cooperation.

Kirby said that, as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, Mongolia has a growing stake in stability across the Asia-Pacific region and he expects Hagel and the leaders there also to discuss regional security matters.

“This trip to Asia, his fourth in less than a year, is further evidence of the secretary's personal commitment to the president's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region,” the admiral said, adding that the strategy is fully supported in the QDR and resourced in the president's budget.

Most importantly, the strategy and budget shift the military from a focus on protracted counterinsurgency operations, he said, “seeking instead to regain full-spectrum capabilities that are relevant not only to Asia but to the challenges we see across the Middle East, and potentially even in Europe.”

Kirby added, “The priority this budget places on high-end capabilities and readiness is exactly what we believe is most relevant in a volatile and threatening world where America's global commitments are and will remain sacrosanct.”

Schlesinger, Who’d Helmed CIA, Pentagon, Dies at Age 85



By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2014 – Former CIA director and defense secretary James R. Schlesinger died from complications from pneumonia today in a Baltimore hospital at age 85.

Schlesinger was considered a tough, forthright and outspoken leader throughout his career.

Schlesinger was considered an exceptional candidate for the top Pentagon job. His career history included university economics professor, the Rand Corp. director of strategic studies, and other senior government appointments as the former Atomic Energy Commission chairman, CIA director, and Bureau of the Budget assistant director, where he spent time on defense issues.

By the time he was nominated as defense secretary, Schlesinger had a formidable background in security affairs. President Richard Nixon tapped Schlesinger to become defense secretary in May 1973, the position for which he became best known. He took office July 2 at the young age of 44.

James Rodney Schlesinger was born Feb. 15, 1929, in New York City to a middle-class family. He married Rachel Line Mellinger in 1954, and the couple had eight children.

Schlesinger graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in 1950, a master’s in 1952 and his doctorate in economics in 1956. Schlesinger was described as an intelligent and strong-willed conservative, whose professorial expertise led to controversy in his career in the federal government.

Serving as defense secretary until Nov. 19, 1975, Schlesinger was dismissed by President Gerald R. Ford, reportedly for insubordination over his demands for increased defense budgets, and disagreements with the administration, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and the Congress.

Throughout his government career and into retirement, a large part of Schlesinger’s legacy was his goal to make certain that arms control agreements would never put the United States in an inferior strategic defense position against the then-Soviet Union.

Schlesinger enjoyed a rapport with U.S. military leadership, because he fought to give them more resources, consulted with them regularly, and agreed with many of their views. Schlesinger also opposed amnesty for draft resisters, and pressed for development of more sophisticated nuclear weapon systems. His support for the A-10 and the lightweight fighter program -- later the F-16 -- helped carry them to completion.

Schlesinger also realized the importance in the post-Vietnam era of reinstituting the morale and prestige of the military services, to modernize strategic doctrine and programs to increase research and development, and to jumpstart a defense budget that had declined since 1968.

Because he regarded conventional forces as an equally essential element in the deterrence posture of the United States, Schlesinger wanted to reverse what he saw as a downward trend in conventional force strength. He said because Soviet nuclear capabilities were nearly at parity with the United States, the contribution to deterrence made by U.S. strategic forces had declined. He emphasized that one of the missions of conventional forces was to deter or defeat limited threats.

Schlesinger therefore dedicated much of his attention to NATO, noting that its conventional capabilities must be strengthened. He didn’t agree that NATO did not need a direct counter to Warsaw Pact conventional forces because it could rely on tactical and strategic nuclear weapons, and said nuclear near parity between the United States and the USSR in the 1970s made that stand inappropriate.

In his discussions with NATO leaders, Schlesinger favored qualitative improvements in NATO forces, including equipment standardization, and an increase in defense spending by NATO governments by up to 5 percent of their gross national product.

Schlesinger had a succession of crises in the Pentagon that challenged his administrative and political prowess. In October 1973, three months into his tenure as defense secretary, Egypt and Syria launched the Yom Kippur War with a sudden attack on Israel. Israel’s military was not performing well, and the USSR’s efforts to restock the Arab antagonists complicated the situation for Israel.

Schlesinger said U.S. policy to avert direct involvement depended on Israel winning quickly. But as the Israelis faced large-scale military forces, the United States became involved by resupplying the Israeli forces. A cease-fire soon was declared, but after the USSR threatened to get involved to aid the Arab forces, the United States declared a worldwide forces alert.

The final chapter of the Indochina conflict also took place on Schlesinger's watch. While U.S. combat forces were out of South Vietnam in spring 1973, the United States kept a military presence in parts of Southeast Asia.

During Schlesinger’s defense secretary confirmation hearings, a handful of senators heatedly questioned him when he said he would favor resuming U.S. bombing in North Vietnam and Laos if the North Vietnamese launched a major offensive against South Vietnam.

When North Vietnam did so in early 1975, however, the United States had few resources there to help South Vietnam, and it collapsed when the North overtook Saigon in late April of that year. It was then that Schlesinger announced the last helicopter evacuation of U.S. diplomatic, military and civilian personnel from Saigon.

In Schlesinger’s quest to strengthen conventional and strategic U.S. military forces, he devoted much of his time to increasing the defense budget.

He noted the Defense Department was absorbing about 6 percent of the gross national product, the lowest percentage since before the Korean War, and that military manpower was at its lowest since before the Korean War. Defense spending, he said, came to about 17 percent of national spending, which was the lowest since before the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. With those figures, and with his concern over ongoing Soviet weapons progress, Schlesinger was a dedicated advocate of bigger defense budgets.

After leaving the Pentagon, Schlesinger wrote and spoke vehemently about national security issues, particularly the Soviet threat and the need for the United States to maintain adequate defenses.

When Jimmy Carter became president in January 1977, he appointed Schlesinger as his special adviser on energy, and later as the first secretary of his new Energy Department. After two years, Carter replaced Schlesinger at the Energy Department.

Following his federal government career, Schlesinger resumed his writing and speaking engagements. He was employed as a senior adviser with Lehman Bros., and Kuhn Loeb Inc., of New York.

USAFE Band supports African Partnership Flight

by Tech.Sgt Benjamin Wilson
USAFE-AFAFRICA Public Affairs


3/27/2014 - LUANDA, Angola -- The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band rock ensemble, Touch n' Go is playing concerts at multiple venues here throughout the duration of African Partnership Flight Angola 2014.

African Partnership Flight is a collaborative learning environment designed to help the U.S. and regional partner air forces in Africa work together more effectively. With more than 20 Zambian and 35 U.S. participants, it is also the largest U.S. military exercise in Angola in the last nine years.

Many Angolan citizens are skeptical of military interests in the region and the band can help ease tensions that may exist.

"When Angola became independent in 1975, it became a communist regime country, and the United States used to support the formal rebels with the weapons and the money," said Phil Nelo, U.S. Embassy Luanda media relations and Angolan citizen. "Angolans think, well, Americans are coming here for the oil; they don't care about the people of Angola. And of course, coming with a band, it's kind of a boost. The U.S. government interests in Angola, is not only on an economic form, but also in the people to build cooperation."

The United States formerly established diplomatic ties with the Republic of Angola in 1993 after the nation's government renounced Marxism. Since that time, the two governments have begun actively strengthening their partnership through events like APF.

Throughout the week the Band will perform outreach concerts in several venues including event ceremonies, local schools, and broadcast radio.

During a recent engagement at the Dom Bosco School in Luanda, Angola, the Touch n' Go musicians put on a music workshop for the children and performed a concert, which included a song they rehearsed with the students.

Pedro Sakala, Dom Bosco School music director, said that his favorite part of the day was the fact that he could feel the love of the band for the children.

"[Playing with the band] was the part we were most looking forward to, because it was more interactive and the children were more involved in it because they got to actually play with the band," he said.

The schoolchildren echoed his sentiments.

"It was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it," said Guilhermino Sanguifi, student and saxophone player. "I really liked it and I hope that one day I can travel to America too and participate in something similar."

The mission of the United States Air Force in Angola this week is to build partnerships between the Angolan, U.S. and Zambian air forces, but also to make a lasting impression on the people of Angola.

"Our mission here is to support African Partnership Flight and I think what is really great about the USAFE Band being here to support that is that music is a universal language," said Master Sgt. Steven Pryzyzcki, USAFE Band percussionist.

The band's outreach performances with schools are of specific importance to long-term goals of building partnerships.

"The school performances are absolutely fantastic and the main reason why is that the hope of all of these countries, whether it be Angola, Zambia or the United States, is in the children," said Pryzyzcki. "And any opportunity that allows us to understand each other a little bit is a step in the right direction."

Russia Reinforcing Units on Border with Ukraine



By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2014 – Russia continues to reinforce units along the eastern and southern Ukraine border, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said during a news conference today.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week that the Russian troops were massing for regularly scheduled exercises.

“The minister said it was exercises, no intent to cross the border,” Kirby said. “They need to live up to that word.”

The build-up on the Russian side of the border does nothing to de-escalate the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Kirby said. “It’s doing nothing to assist in the stability of that part of Europe,” the admiral said.

The United States is concerned about the build-up and is monitoring it closely, he said.

The United States has added aircraft and personnel to the aviation detachment in Poland. The United States and other NATO nations have added to the force comprising the Baltic air police mission.

“I would tell you that the staff here in the Pentagon, both the civilian and uniformed, are constantly looking at other ways that … we can further reassure our allies and partners in Europe to potentially look at either adding to or reinforcing existing operations or exercises or even adding on additional opportunities,” Kirby said. “We’re looking at that very closely right now.”

There has been no indication of any Russian exercises in the region, the admiral said. “The way it was explained was that these were springtime exercises,” he said.

He urged reporters to call the Russian Ministry of Defense for more information.

“Our concern is for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and for the Ukrainian people and their nation,” Kirby said.

Moscow has violated Ukraine’s sovereignty. “The forces they have in Crimea and the forces they have along the border with Ukraine are doing nothing to deescalate the tension,” he said. “And that's the concern.”