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REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE
Innovation is the hallmark of the United States Air Force. Born of rapid advances in technology and warfighting concepts, the Air Force has a history of embracing and encouraging change in order to dominate and exploit the aerospace dimension. Its creation, in fact, was a revolutionary innovation. The tradition of embracing and exploiting change was deeply imbedded by the time the Service was born of the Army Air Forces in 1947. It was tested and proven almost immediately during the Berlin Airlift. Despite the daunting and unprecedented nature of the challenge, the Air Force almost instantly built a massive airbridge—a lifeline to a beleaguered island of democracy. Fifty years later, Berlin stands as an enduring symbol of the adaptability and flexibility of aerospace power. This tradition of anticipating and adapting to new strategic situations continues today as the Air Force faces the challenges of the 21st century: providing the nation rapid and decisive aerospace power; maintaining readiness despite high and unpredictable tempo; modernizing equipment in a fiscally challenging environment; and continuing to recruit, train, and retain the finest airmen in the world.
GLOBAL OPERATIONS USING THE TOTAL AIR FORCE
To patrol no-fly zones, respond to contingencies, and conduct relief operations, America’s Air Force uses a well-integrated Total Force that relies on critical contributions from active duty members, reservists and Air Force civilians. Each has unique and complementary characteristics that combined produce a strong and versatile team. Building on its reputation as the DoD Total Force benchmark, the Service expanded the role of the reserve component in its flying training and security force missions, more fully utilizing the special skills Reservists bring to these important mission areas. Continuing to look ahead, the Air Force commissioned a study entitled Future Total Force to determine how the Total Force of the 21st century should be shaped to best use each component. A key to tomorrow’s Total Force is continued support of reserve component personnel by their civilian employers. The Air Force is working with employers to make guardsmen and reservists’ military service beneficial to them, as well as to the nation.
Wherever the United States has interests, the Total Air Force gives policy makers a wide array of timely, tailored options to shape events. The broad range of aerospace forces—whether conventional or nuclear, theater- or continental United States (CONUS)-based—deter aggression and demonstrate U.S. commitment to international stability. During 1998, the Air Force stood watch in the Pacific, Europe, and Southwest Asia with forward-based units; deterred conflict with its intercontinental ballistic missile forces; and flew B-1, B-2, and B-52 Global Power missions that underscored U.S. commitment and readiness to defend its interests throughout the world.
During 1998, this was especially true in Southwest Asia and the Balkans, where the Air Force put teeth into United Nations resolutions and the Dayton Peace Accords. Using powerful, day/night, all-weather, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, the Air Force gave national leaders and U.S. commanders unparalleled visibility into both regions.
In the Arabian Gulf, the Air Force units participating in Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch patrolled no-fly zones and maintained the ability to deliver decisive force in support of UN resolutions on Iraq. Three times in 1998, Iraqi leadership violated these resolutions. The Air Force, as part of a coalition effort, rapidly increased its deterrent presence. Behind the scenes, CONUS- and space-based assets provided support to this potent, in-theater force. Faced with clear political resolve and lethal aerospace capabilities, Iraqi leadership came into compliance with UN agreements. In December, because of Iraqi intransigence, the National Command Authorities ordered the DoD to execute Operation Desert Fox, a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq. The Air Force played a crucial role in this operation, employing its air and space weapons systems to ensure aerospace and information superiority and to precisely attack Iraqi military targets. The Air Force remains the key contributor to our nation’s commitment to stability in Southwest Asia, having flown 75 percent of the sorties in Northern Watch, 68 percent of the sorties in Southern Watch and nearly 100 percent of the tanker services essential to Air Force, Navy, and Marine operations.
Air Force participation in Operation Joint Forge has helped keep the peace in the Balkans. Building on its ability to monitor southern Europe from above, the Service has fused imagery from space, the Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and manned airborne platforms, to create a unified picture of the region, enabling UN forces to control what flies in the air and moves on the ground. The ability of aerospace forces to see from above and to strike the surface provided diplomats the leverage they needed to negotiate an agreement ending the violence in Kosovo. Within hours of inking the Kosovo agreement, Air Force aircraft were flying over the area, executing Operation Eagle Eye, the NATO mission to monitor compliance. Again, the speed, range, and flexibility of aerospace power used in new, imaginative ways by highly skilled, trained and dedicated personnel were crucial to success.
The Air Force also used the vast potential of aerospace power unconventionally by working alongside drug enforcement agencies to combat the illegal drug trade. Combined airborne and ground-based radars and sophisticated intelligence collection platforms identified suspected drug traffickers before they could enter U.S. airspace, reserve fliers tracked drug smugglers far from our borders, and the Civil Air Patrol aided law enforcement agencies at home. On the ground, Air Force working dogs detected significant quantities of illegal drugs at ports, barring their entry. Air Force counterdrug operations demonstrated both the versatility of aerospace power and the innovative ways the Service is using its assets to counter nontraditional threats to the nation’s well being.
Humanitarian and Relief Operations
The legacy of the Berlin Airlift lives on as the Air Force continues to use its global mobility assets to support humanitarian and relief operations to people in need. When the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed, the Service responded, deploying an Initial Response Team of medical personnel and security forces to both locations in less than 24 hours. Its timely arrival helped reduce suffering and stabilized the situation. In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, the Air Force built an airbridge to Central America, rapidly lifting life-saving food and medical supplies to the region. The Service estimates that by February 1999 it will have delivered 10 million pounds of cargo to those who survived the worst storm to strike the region in 200 years. Twice in 1998, the Air Force reacted to natural disasters in remote parts of China, airlifting emergency supplies to those in need. And, to the delight of the world’s children, the Air Force lifted Kieko the whale from Oregon to a new home in Iceland.
At home, when heavy winter storms ravaged the East Coast and Rocky Mountains, the Air Force lifted critical disaster relief supplies to the affected areas. Even livestock, stranded by these conditions, were kept alive by airdrops in Vermont and New Mexico. As catastrophic wildfires engulfed large parts of Florida, the Air Force helped check the destruction, moving 72 fire trucks and 269 fire fighting personnel from the western United States to decisive points in Florida to fight these fires. Their efforts protected thousands of residents and greatly limited damage.
The Air Force helped meet the nation’s security needs during 1998 by operating across the spectrum of peace and conflict in every corner of the world. Deployments continued at four times the old, Cold War pace. Adding to the challenge, the Air Force met that demand with 30 percent fewer people and 40 percent less force structure. We did—and continue to do—significantly more, with significantly less. The combination of increased workload and smaller work force lead inevitably to high tempo, with Air Force people and equipment in almost constant demand. The Air Force exists to defend the nation. Its airmen dedicate their lives to accomplish that mission, regardless of the sacrifice. However, the combination of several years of continued high operations tempo, austere budgets, and a strong economy has stressed the force. Large numbers of skilled and dedicated airmen left the force in 1998. The loss of that talent—particularly at the mid-career level—translates into reduced readiness.
Information Operations and Assurance
For all operations, the Air Force—and its command authority—depend on timely and reliable information. The Service executes Information Operations (IO) in air, space, and cyberspace to gain and maintain information superiority. Toward this end, during 1998, the Air Force published IO doctrine and issued a comprehensive policy for defensive IO. It also completed the sweeping Electronic Warfare (EW) Operational Shortfall Study aimed at ensuring the superiority of Air Force EW capabilities into the 21st century.
The Service also took steps to assure the integrity of its information and prepare for transition to the Year 2000 (Y2K). The Air Force has strengthened information assurance by subjecting its computer networks to the same operational rigors as it does weapons systems—fielding new equipment, training personnel, establishing rules of engagement, and reporting network status as a component of readiness. The Air Force also established base Network Control Centers that enhance the ability to quickly detect and react to network intrusion.
An important information operations task is the transition to the Year 2000. Computers are critical to the Air Force—they are key components of its weapons systems, automated information networks, and infrastructure. Ensuring that the much-publicized Year 2000 computer problem does not degrade readiness is a top priority. The Service must ensure that mission-critical systems work without interruption or error on January 1, 2000 and beyond. To do this, the Air Force has evaluated, prioritized, and updated its systems. Most of the mission-critical weapons and information systems were certified Y2K ready by the December 1998 target. Those that await completion in 1999 do so because of compelling mission, business, or technical reasons. The Service plans a strong Y2K testing and operational evaluation program in 1999 and will have continuity of operation plans in place for all mission tasks and systems. The Air Force will be mission ready on January 1, 2000.
READINESS - AEROSPACE OPERATIONS WITH FISCAL CONSTRAINTS
Readiness—the preparedness of a Service to conduct its primary mission—is complex. Measuring it is difficult. But it comes down to a simple question: Is the Air Force prepared with the people and equipment necessary to support the National Security Strategy? Some components of readiness are tangible, such as the number of top-notch and fully trained airmen, orbiting satellites, or mission-ready aircraft. Others, like individual and unit morale, unit cohesion, and unit effectiveness are less tangible. As Air Force senior leaders have reported, the Air Force remains ready to meet today’s demands. However, the combination of several years of constant high operating tempo, aging equipment, and the cumulative effect of too few dollars has taken its toll on current readiness and created concerns about future readiness.
Air Force readiness indicators are declining, more so for stateside forces than overseas units. Because the Service gives forward combat units resource priority to keep them at peak strength, it is forced to accept lower readiness rates for stateside units. Overall, major unit readiness decreased by 18 percentage points in the last two and a half years, with stateside combat readiness declining by 56 percentage points in that same period. Nearly half of that decline occurred in the last ten months of 1998. The strain—and the limits—of doing more with less are showing. In response, the FY 2000 President’s Budget increases readiness spending, which should address the readiness decline.
In the past decade, reductions in Air Force manpower and force structure have outpaced those in infrastructure. As a result, the Service is spending scarce resources on unneeded facilities, spreading its airmen too thin, and struggling to maintain readiness. The need to fund higher priority programs has caused the Air Force to under-invest in base operating support, real property maintenance, family housing, and military construction. To enhance readiness, the Air Force must be allowed to reduce its base structure. That, in turn, will make its people more effective, and the force as a whole much more efficient.
America’s airmen are the foundation of our Air Force and a national treasure. We must recruit and retain the very best. Although the Service met its 1998 recruiting goals, the increasing difficulty it had in doing so caused a drop in the critical pool of delayed enlistments. To ensure that it continues to attract top-notch people, the Air Force enlarged its recruiting force and increased the size of its advertising budget.
Retention is also a concern. Air Force people have earned an enviable reputation as disciplined and highly skilled workers. The Service must compete with the strongest economy in a generation for airmen’s expertise and leadership skills. Several years of high operating tempo, civilian-military pay inequities, and a less attractive retirement system are making it difficult to keep our people in uniform.
Pilots are just one example of the Service’s retention difficulties. The stable lifestyle and excellent pay and benefits of the airline industry caused large numbers of the Air Force’s pilots to separate in 1998. Today, the Service is 855 pilots short of its needs, a number that is expected to jump to approximately 2,000 in FY 2002. Pilot retention is a Total Force problem, with the reserve component having difficulty manning its full-time flying billets as well. To stem this attrition, the Air Force increased pilot production by sending more candidates through initial flying training and added two years to the initial pilot training commitment.
Retention is not solely a pilot issue. Far from it. It is also a serious concern with enlisted personnel, especially mid-level non-commissioned officers. These airmen represent an experience and leadership base that is critical not only for today’s readiness, but also for training tomorrow’s Air Force leaders. Reenlistment rates for those completing their second-term are 69 percent. This is below the Air Force’s goal of 75 percent for the second year in a row and the numbers continue down. In fact, many key warfighting career fields, such as security forces, avionics, aircraft maintenance, and air traffic control are experiencing even larger drops in reenlistment. First-term and career reenlistments also fell below Air Force goals for the first time in eight years. Because the Air Force invests heavily in training its enlisted force from the first day an airmen puts on the uniform, the early loss of any airman is a blow to readiness. To help combat these trends, the Air Force has expanded the number of career fields eligible for Selective Reenlistment Bonuses to 117 and is working with the DoD leadership and the other Services on proposals to further stem attrition.
The age of the Air Force’s weapons systems is unprecedented. Next year, the average age of our aircraft will be 20 years and under current modernization plans it will increase to 30 years in 2015. Soon, many of our pilots and maintenance personnel will be younger than the tools of their trade. The costs of maintaining this older equipment are climbing exponentially. Fatigue, corrosion, and parts obsolescence are progressively driving up the costs of maintaining older planes. For example, an older F-15, nearing its third decade of service life, costs 37 percent more to maintain than newer versions. If the Air Force is to continue making readiness affordable, it must replace weapons systems that are beyond their useful lives and revitalize those that are still viable.
Faced with competing needs—to operate and modernize in a budget-constrained environment—the Air Force has been forced to make difficult programming choices. One decision the Service made in the mid 1990s was to reduce funding for spare parts and depot maintenance. While not a desirable long-term strategy, the Air Force believed that innovation and careful management would allow it to maintain equipment at lower levels of funding. The Service was partially successful. Through the innovative Agile Logistics Program, the Air Force revamped its supply concept, substituting rapid resupply for large inventories. The Service also experienced initial success with creative management actions, such as prioritizing component repair; fixing high-priority operational components while delaying lower priority support items; and supplying forward units first. However, declining readiness indicators—falling mission capable rates and rising cannibalization rates—indicate that these strategies have not brought ownership costs down to expected levels. In order to address these trends, the Air Force greatly increased spending on spares and repairs for FY 1998 and FY 1999. The FY 2000 President’s Budget adds additional funds to these accounts. The Service believes these increases will arrest the decline in mission capable rates. In the long term, this remains an area of concern given the increasing costs associated with an aging fleet.
The Air Force can support the National Security Strategy today, but to do so in the future at an acceptable level of risk requires increased funding. To arrest the readiness decline, the Service needs additional funding to resolve shortfalls in programs that affect its airmen and its equipment. The Air Force believes improvements in the retirement system and military pay, proposed in the FY 2000 President Budget’s, will aid retention, and therefore readiness. The EAF concept, introduced in 1998, will enhance the Service’s ability to conduct sustained expeditionary operations and reduce the impact of the tempo they require of airmen. Additionally, increased funding, contained in the budget, for spares and repairs will improve cannibalization and mission capable rates. In the longer term, however, the Service must modernize and upgrade its weapons systems to keep its aging fleet sustainable at an affordable cost.
EXPEDITIONARY AEROSPACE FORCE - INNOVATING FOR THE FUTURE
Today’s national security environment requires America’s Air Force to continuously conduct short-notice operations across the spectrum of conflict, frequently in austere locations. To meet this need, the Service is revamping its concept of operations—transforming how it rapidly deploys forces into theaters of operation, accomplishes its missions, and then redeploys. This new Expeditionary Aerospace Force (EAF) concept represents a revolutionary way of providing aerospace power to warfighting regional commanders, while mitigating the effects of tempo on its airmen. In the long run, EAF requires a change in how the Air Force thinks about itself. More immediately, it is shaping how the Service is organized, trained, and manned.
By January 2000, the Air Force will reorganize its forces, operationally linking geographically separated units into ten Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEFs). Each AEF package will consist of a full complement of aerospace power, air-breathing and space-based equipment, active duty and reserve personnel. With fighter, bomber, tanker, airlift, command and control, radar, and electronic warfare aircraft combined with communication, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance air and space systems, AEFs will provide tailorable units with unparalleled responsiveness and punch. This reorganization is in the Air Force tradition. It will exploit technology to create these new operational units without moving significant force structure and it will better integrate the Total Force. AEFs will be scheduled on a 15-month cycle, with 90-day vulnerability periods. During each vulnerability period, two AEFs will be tasked to support both scheduled forward presence missions and short-notice taskings.
AEFs will provide U.S. combatant commanders a more capable, better-trained force. Training as a team during their spin-up cycle, AEFs will form a fully integrated aerospace unit, one that combines the capabilities of the Service’s weapons systems to create a powerful composite force. Knowing AEF schedules in advance will allow the Air Force to structure training programs to put these units at the peak of readiness as they enter their vulnerability period. A known commitment period will permit AEFs to refine training and planning to match current world events, resulting in shorter response times and a tailored force that better meets the needs of U.S. commanders in chief.
Reorganizing into AEFs allows the Air Force to schedule its units far in advance of actual commitment, adding predictability and stability to the lives of airmen. The Service hopes that with some of the aggravation and disruption of short-notice deployments removed, retention will improve. Predictability also allows full participation of the reserve component. Once organized into AEFs, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units will know a year in advance when they are committed to an AEF tasking, allowing members and their employers to structure work schedules to enable participation. In the end, AEFs permit better use of the Total Air Force.
Importantly, the EAF is more than an innovative way of structuring units. It also establishes a new approach for the way the Service operates the bases that support them. Currently, the Air Force sizes its support forces based on the number of permanent bases that it operates. Support forces for expeditionary sites are then drawn from this pool of manpower. As a result, airmen work long, hard hours when deployed, while those left at home do their own work and that of the deployed team. The EAF initiative realigns manpower, adding the additional support-force authorizations required to operate the Air Force’s expeditionary forces. By increasing the size of its deploying support career fields, the Air Force will be able to better sustain expeditionary operations and manage the effect of tempo on its airmen.
MODERNIZATION - FUTURE EXPEDITIONARY READINESS
Critical to the 21st century’s Expeditionary Aerospace Force is modernization. The FY 2000 President’s Budget provides funds to maintain key modernization programs like the F-22, C-17, and the Evolved Expandable Launch Vehicle (EELV), and will address shortfalls in combat aircraft force structure. At the same time, while this budget maintains key modernization programs, it does so at slower than optimal rates. Modernization is guided by the Air Force’s six core competencies: Air and Space Superiority, Rapid Global Mobility, Global Attack, Precision Engagement, Information Superiority, and Agile Combat Support.
Air and Space Superiority
Air and space superiority—the ability to control the vertical dimension so that the joint force is both free from attack and free to attack—is the key to achieving full spectrum dominance. In the 21st century, air and space superiority will depend on the F-22 Raptor, the EELV, the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), and the Airborne Laser (ABL).
· The F-22 Raptor will dominate the future air arena in the way that its predecessor, the F-15, mastered the skies over the last two decades. The F-22 brings a revolutionary combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability and integrated avionics to the air battle, and its near-precision surface attack capability gives theater commanders additional flexibility. The Raptor successfully completed its first flight in September 1997 and its first supersonic flight in October 1998. Envelope expansion testing continues with the F-22 having successfully completed an aggressive test profile in November 1998 that clears the way for the aircraft to enter its next stage of development. The Raptor enters operational service in 2005.
· The EELV ensures America’s access to space well into the 21st century. The EELV program teams with industry to develop a launch vehicle meeting military, civil, and commercial requirements with little or no modification. This dual-use strategy ensures that military spacelift requirements are met while stimulating the nation’s commercial launch industry. The medium- and heavy-lift EELVs will have their first flights in 2002 and 2003, respectively. EELV will reduce the cost of space launch by a minimum of 25 percent, with a goal of cutting costs in half.
· The SBIRS will contribute to U.S. aerospace dominance in many ways. It will provide warning to national and theater commanders of enemy missile launches, cue missile defense systems, and characterize theater battlespace for situational awareness and space tracking. SBIRS also will provide technical intelligence information on adversary threats.
· The ABL is another critical component in the Air Force strategy for countering theater ballistic missiles (TBMs). ABL will deploy quickly and provide theater commanders the ability to destroy TBMs in the boost phase of flight. In 1998, the Air Force continued to validate the technology by testing the flight-weighted laser module at 110 percent of required power output. ABL completed a successful preliminary design review and passed its first authority-to-proceed event, signifying the program’s readiness to progress into detailed design.
Rapid Global Mobility
The ability to move rapidly to any spot on the globe ensures that tomorrow, just as today, the Air Force will be able to respond quickly and decisively to unexpected challenges and interests. Modernization is key here, too. Initiatives toward that end include the C-17 aircraft and Global Access, Navigation, and Safety (GANS) modifications to many Air Force aircraft.
· The C-17 Globemaster III is the Air Force’s newest airlifter. Its ability to carry outsized and oversized cargo to remote and austere airfields affords America the unmatched ability to deploy force or humanitarian supplies virtually anywhere on the globe. C-17 deliveries under the current multi-year procurement plan continue ahead of schedule, with the 120th aircraft scheduled to be delivered in 2004.
· Through GANS modifications, the Air Force is fielding seven closely related navigation and safety programs. The Service accelerated collision- avoidance system modifications to several aircraft. The Air Force is also replacing the cockpits in the C-21, C-130, KC-135, and C-5, bringing these aircraft into the 21st century while cutting the costs of maintaining these aging fleets.
The ability to attack rapidly and decisively over long distances allows the Air Force to strike an enemy with an array of forces from within a theater or from the continental United States. Global Attack programs include fielding the B-2 and modernizing the B-1 and B-52 bombers.
· The B-2 Spirit, the world’s only long-range stealth aircraft, is able to meet any global engagement task, anytime, anywhere. The Air Force continues to improve the Spirit’s low observable coatings and integrate additional advanced weapons.
· The B-1 and B-52, long the heavyweights of the Air Force, continue to be a potent part of the joint force. The B-1 Lancer combines the ordnance load and intercontinental range of a bomber with the supersonic speed of a fighter. The Lancer is slated for modifications that will improve its defensive systems and increase its ability to deliver precision munitions. The versatile B-52 retains its nuclear capability and can employ a wide variety of conventional precision and standoff munitions. Upgrades to its communication and navigation systems will keep the B-52 viable through 2040.
U.S. theater commanders must have the ability to concentrate combat power and achieve desired effects while minimizing risk and collateral damage. The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, Joint Standoff Weapon, and Joint Strike Fighter are among the Air Force’s high-priority Precision Engagement programs.
· The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) will enable the Air Force to destroy heavily defended hard targets with virtual impunity. JASSM is a highly accurate, stealthy, standoff missile delivered through acquisition reform at a quarter of the cost of similar weapons. The program transitioned into Engineering and Manufacturing Development in 1998.
· The Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) is a near-precision, all-weather, unpowered, standoff munition. The Air Force will use JSOW to deliver cluster munitions that find and destroy soft and armored targets at ranges up to 40 nautical miles. The Air Force takes delivery of JSOW beginning in 1999.
· The Joint Strike Fighter is a multi-role stealth fighter being developed to replace the Air Force’s aging F-16 and A-10 fleets. It complements the capabilities of the F-22, providing the Service a mix of multi-role and air superiority aircraft for the 21st century. The program is on-track to supply 1,763 aircraft to the Air Force beginning in 2008.
The capability to collect, process, and disseminate an uninterrupted information flow, while exploiting or denying the adversary’s ability to do the same, will be critical to success in future military operations. Within the Information Superiority core competency are Command and Control (C2), the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
· The Air Force manages command and control as a weapon system and is committed to acquiring and fielding state-of-the-art C2 equipment. The Aerospace Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center (AC2ISRC) was formed to standardize C2 and ISR systems across the Service. Working with the Air Force Communications and Information Center, AC2ISRC is rapidly moving toward advanced capabilities that will allow commanders to get inside an adversary’s operating cycle and use information against him.
· The Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) provides theater commanders real-time, wide area surveillance of enemy ground movements. JSTARS, demonstrated crucial in combat, is proving itself invaluable supporting contingency operations. Ten JSTARS are currently in production; the fourth aircraft was delivered in 1998.
· The Air Force’s UAV programs include the Predator and two developmental High Altitude Endurance (HAE) systems. Predator recently returned from its third operational deployment to the Balkans, where it provided valuable imagery to United Nations forces keeping the peace there. The HAE vehicles will begin military utility assessment in 1999. The HAE UAV will give the Air Force long-dwell, low-observable imagery intelligence collection capabilities.
Agile Combat Support
The success of the Expeditionary Aerospace Force ultimately rests on the ability of the Air Force to sustain forward operations. Rather than depending on large, deployed inventories, agile combat support relies on rapid resupply to improve responsiveness, mobility, and sustainability. Information technologies, such as the Global Combat Support System, featuring both new leading edge capabilities and technical updates of existing systems, are key and will allow the Service to reduce its in-theater footprint.
AIRMEN - THE FOUNDATION OF AEROSPACE POWER
The Air Force will always need top-notch, well-trained, and highly motivated airmen. The service is taking innovative steps now to ensure that it has the force in the 21st century to dominate the aerospace dimension. The transformation from civilian recruit to Air Force airman begins at Basic Military Training (BMT). The Air Force made several improvements in 1998 to ensure that basic training produces the world’s finest professional airmen. The Service made basic training more physically rigorous and added a field training exercise that better prepares airmen for expeditionary operations. The Air Force is also adding another BMT squadron to reduce the trainee/trainer ratio. The Military Training Instructor is the key to BMT. Through incentives, such as increased special-duty pay and uniform clothing allowances, and follow-on assignment preference, the Air Force will attract the best instructors to this demanding job.
The Air Force strongly supports gender-integrated military training. Air Force training is firmly linked to our combat mission—a mission that requires men and women work together as a team. The aerospace team depends on professional relationships between genders, relationships best taught from the first day of military training, rather than delayed until airmen reach operational units. Trainee safety and security are paramount concerns. Accordingly, gender-separated living areas in dormitories are secured and monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Officer training is changing, too. The new Aerospace Basic Course is designed to better prepare company-grade officers and equivalent Air Force civilians for the future, providing them a foundation in the profession of arms and a working knowledge of the unique contributions of aerospace power. Through this entry-level professional military education program, Air Force lieutenants and key civilian interns gain a deep appreciation for Service values, history, doctrine, and the skills required to operate and fight from austere, forward bases.
Air Force civilians are an integral part of the aerospace team. To prepare these workers for the 21st century, the Service overhauled its civilian development program increasing opportunities for professional development. The program’s goal is to produce civilian workers who are technically proficient and well versed in the Air Force mission, operational structures, and doctrine.
Quality of Life
The Air Force retains and motivates its airmen through seven Quality of Life (QoL) initiatives: fair and competitive compensation; a valued retirement benefit; safe, affordable, and adequate housing; quality health care; balanced tempo; robust community and family programs; and expanded educational opportunities.
Our airmen report that their number one QoL concern is fair and competitive compensation. Military pay has not kept pace with the civilian economy. The Air Force strongly supports the improvements to military pay proposed by the President.
Traditionally, the retirement benefit has been perceived as a powerful retention tool. Airmen relate that the reduced retirement plan adopted by Congress in 1986 falls short of what it takes to keep them motivated and in uniform. The Air Force supports the President’s proposed revisions to the military personnel system, which will benefit retention.
Housing, for both single members and families, is also an important Air Force QoL concern. Service commitment to the new DoD 1+1 dormitory standard, where airmen share a kitchen and bath, but have a room of their own, is a visible QoL improvement for our junior enlisted personnel. The Air Force is also addressing family housing concerns. The Service is committed to reducing out-of-pocket housing expenditures for those members living in the civilian community, and to revitalizing over 61,000 aging, on-base homes. Where feasible, privatization offers one way to update base housing quickly and affordably. At Lackland AFB, Texas, private funds are being used to replace 272 housing units and construct 148 new units on base. The results to date have led the Service to consider nine additional housing privatization projects.
Quality health care is fundamentally a readiness issue that affects every Air Force member. Airmen must be physically able to meet the challenges of expeditionary warfare and they have to be confident that their families are cared for while they are deployed. To deliver timely, reliable, cost efficient health care, the Air Force is resizing facilities for community needs, promoting healthy lifestyles, and employing managed care via the TRICARE program. Air Force hospitals and clinics are top-notch, meeting the same high standards as their civilian counterparts. Health and wellness programs offer a range of nutrition and exercise options, with the objective of keeping airmen healthy, rather than treating them after they become ill.
DoD fully deployed TRICARE, the military form of managed care, in June 1998. TRICARE is a significant change in military health care, and its implementation has been far from perfect in some areas. As the program matures, the Air Force believes confidence in the system will improve. At the direction of Air Force senior leadership, the Inspector General is conducting an EAGLE LOOK, a review of aspects of the TRICARE program. The EAGLE LOOK will assess available data, conduct interviews, review procedures, pinpoint potential hot spots and, where necessary, recommend courses of action to improve health care service.
The DoD’s Medicare Subvention Demonstration Project, TRICARE Senior Prime, began testing in 1998 at a number of Air Force medical facilities. If successful, TRICARE Senior Prime will deliver health care to Air Force members when they need it most, in late retirement.
The Air Force also manages tempo as a QoL initiative, seeking to limit an individual’s time away from home station to a maximum of 120 days per year. To meet operational needs while managing tempo, the Air Force reduced its exercise and inspection schedules, increased reliance on its reserve component, and reduced the typical length of an aircrew deployment from 90 to 45 days. The Expeditionary Aerospace Force builds on these initiatives, spreading deployments more evenly among operational units and increasing the size of deploying career fields.
Community and family programs knit our people together at home and provide for families while their spouses are deployed. Through Air Force-sponsored childcare and youth centers, commissaries and military exchanges, and morale, welfare, and recreation programs, the Service demonstrates commitment to its airmen and their families. The Air Force has also created a new position at each base, the Family Readiness Non-Commissioned Officer, to provide a single-point solution for families of deployed airmen.
For the Air Force, education has always been the gateway to innovation. Through the Community College of the Air Force, active duty airmen combine college credits and Service-related education and experience to earn an Associate Degree in Applied Science. Additionally, the Air Force tuition assistance program pays up to 75 percent of tuition costs for accredited colleges and universities, many of which offer classes on base. The Air Force civilian tuition program answers a similar need for our nonuniformed employees. Taken together, Air Force educational programs constitute a meaningful and motivational QoL benefit.
DOING IT SMARTER
Air Force Battlelabs
In 1997, the Air Force established six Battlelabs and tasked them to identify and validate innovative ideas that improve the way the Air Force accomplishes its mission. The six Battlelabs—Aerospace Expeditionary Force, Command and Control, Force Protection, Information Warfare, Space, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—began to pay dividends in 1998. Battlelab success stories include the Air Tasking Order Visualization and Assessment Tool, Improved Information Reachback, and the Sensor Guard intelligence fusion package. Each of these initiatives markedly enhanced joint operations by placing new and cost-effective capabilities into the hands of combatant commanders.
Expeditionary Force Experiment
The Expeditionary Force Experiment (EFX 98) was the first in a series of experiments designed to explore new operational concepts and advanced technologies. This experiment concentrated on better ways to command and control the air component during expeditionary operations. It explored using rear area support centers, reducing the personnel and logistics requirements in the forward area, and commanding and controlling en route aerospace forces from both ground and air.
The Air Force conducts two major wargames each year that focus debate on strategy, emerging operational concepts, long-range planning, and force structure development. The first, the Global Engagement Wargame, focuses on operational issues 10-14 years into the future. The second, the Aerospace Future Capabilities Wargame, evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of future capabilities contemplated 20 to 25 years from now by our Vision and Strategic Plan. Providing an innovative look into the future, Air Force wargames highlight key insights into 21st century aerospace power.
DOING IT BETTER
Defense Reform Initiative
The Defense Reform Initiative (DRI) is an effort to improve the way DoD works. The Air Force has implemented 45 DRI Directives, pushing costs down and quality up. The Air Force is also experimenting on its own with more efficient ways to conduct business. The City-Base reinvention laboratory at Brooks AFB in Texas is one example. At Brooks, the Service is developing a proposal to transfer base infrastructure to the City of San Antonio, leasing back only the facilities it needs. San Antonio benefits by gaining facilities it can use to spur development while retaining the Brooks mission; the Air Force benefits by eliminating unneeded base infrastructure; and the community benefits by keeping its long-standing ties to the Service. The Air Force is studying additional infrastructure initiatives, such as housing and utilities privatization.
Public/private manpower competition is another DRI success story. During 1998, the Service fully executed its plan for announcement of Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 studies. Building on its highly successful JUMPSTART program, the Service is conducting a top-to-bottom review of its manpower authorizations, with an eye toward identifying additional positions that the Service can subject to competition. Recent competitive sourcing and privatization efforts yielded 35 percent manpower cost savings. This is a promising initiative.
The Air Force also is improving the way it does the business of depot maintenance, conducting competitions between public and private firms for this work. The results, so far, have been encouraging. In the first competition, the Air Force awarded the C-5 Programmed Depot Maintenance workload to the Warner-Robins Air Logistics Center (ALC), saving the Air Force $190M over the seven-year life of the contract. In a similar competition, Ogden ALC, teaming with Boeing, won a contract that generates $638M in cost savings for repair of the A-10 and KC-135 aircraft, plus electrical accessories, hydraulics, and commodity repair. A third competition, for the engine workload at San Antonio ALC, will be completed in February 1999.
Acquisition reform is another example of Air Force innovation. Lightning Bolt initiatives, the Service’s initial program for improving acquisition, have saved U.S. taxpayers $30 billion. Building on this success, the Air Force introduced its follow-on concept for reform—the Air Force Acquisition and Sustainment Reinvention Process. It aims to capitalize on proven industrial practices to deliver weapons systems more quickly and cheaply than traditional DoD acquisition practices.
Using a process called Partnering, the Air Force is raising acquisition reform to a new level. Partnering allows the Service to sponsor programs with industry and other government agencies, sharing costs and the risks associated with developing new systems and concepts. EELV is one example of this powerful concept. With EELV the Service and two contractors are pooling resources to build two new families of space launchers together, at a fraction of what the rockets would cost if developed independently. America wins all the way around with EELV. The Air Force gets the lift vehicles it needs, domestic industry improves its space launch competitiveness, and the nation’s space infrastructure is enhanced.
The Air Force, as a prudent steward of public funds, is working diligently to comply with the Government Performance and Results (GPRA) and Chief Financial Officer Acts. During 1998, the Service incorporated some GPRA output measures into its financial statements, and achieved relatively clean audit opinions of military and civilian pay accounts. Additionally, the Air Force strengthened its internal controls and management oversight to help prevent fraud and improve confidence in its financial statements. The Air Force is striving to reach the President’s goal of unqualified audit opinions on government financial statements. As it improves its financial systems to help achieve this goal, the Service will emphasize improvements that benefit decision making commanders.
The Air Force recognizes the need to balance its readiness requirements with stewardship of the resources with which it has been entrusted. By way of example, the Service actively participates in collaborative processes that safeguard the natural and cultural resources on the public lands withdrawn as training ranges. In virtually every case, government and private organizations credit the Air Force with preserving range environments that otherwise would have been diminished through human encroachment. Similar to its commitment to protect rangelands, the Air Force actively works to comply with all environmental laws and regulations, emphasizing pollution prevention as the first choice for achieving compliance. Where past practices have disturbed the environment, the Service has implemented clean-up programs enabling it to meet DoD goals and legal obligations.
In 1948, an unstable national security environment produced a crisis in the heart of Europe—a crisis that the Air Force, through innovation, turned into an opportunity for the free world. The proud, rich heritage of the Berlin Airlift continues today, with the Air Force providing the United States the aerospace power it needs to shape world events. That spirit of innovation—of constantly looking for better ways to do what must be done—will allow our outstanding airmen, working as America’s Total Air Force, to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
F. Whitten Peters
Acting Secretary of the Air Force
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