Posts

Military Connection: USAF to Open All Jobs to Women: By Debbie Gregory

Women in the AF

The U.S. Air Force is looking to open direct-combat related occupations to female airmen by spring, 2016.

The Secretary of the Air Force, Deborah Lee James, recently announced that she intends to open seven Air Force occupation specialties to women. Sec. James said that the Air Force is in the process of developing gender-neutral standards for the positions. Once these policies can be established, the spots will be open to anyone who is qualified to fill them.

There are only seven Air Force jobs that are currently closed to female airmen. These occupations include: combat control team, combat rescue officer, pararescue, special operation weather (officer and enlisted), special tactics officer, and tactical air control party (TACP). TACPs make up a critical combat occupation specialty, where airmen are assigned to infantry units to coordinate in-close air support from USAF aircraft against enemy targets.

Secretary James’ plan will bring the Air Force in line with the other service branches as to what they are doing to open combat jobs to women.

Back in January, 2013, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered all service branches to open all combat jobs to female service members by 2016, or explain why any must remain closed. The Pentagon lifted its ban on women serving in such roles in 2012, but gave the services time to integrate female troops into the male-only, front-line positions.

Currently, women make up about 15% of the U.S. military’s 1.3 million active-duty service members.

In similar efforts, the Navy began allowing female officers to serve on submarines as early as 2010, but has yet to formulate a plan to integrate women into its Basic Underwater Demolition school programs, which includes the Navy SEALs.

The Marine Corps began allowing women to take the Infantry Officer Course, however, no female officers have yet to pass the demanding 13-week program.

In September, the Army announced that it is considering admitting females into their elite Ranger School.

One of the big hang-ups for women moving into the most elite combat roles is that the military will not lower any standards for women. Women are expected to perform at the same standards as men in order to qualify. The Marine Infantry Officer Course is the best example of this. Nearly everyone in uniform agrees that standards need to remain strict. But most people agree, if any service member can qualify for a position, they deserve to work in billets for that occupation.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: USAF to Open All Jobs to Women: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: More USAF Officers Disciplined: By Debbie Gregory

3 commandersIt can be argued that the function of the Air Force’s nuclear missile community is among the most sensitive operations in the entire U.S. military. But recently, issues with discipline, leadership, morale and training have plagued the USAF commands in charge of nuclear missiles. Consequently, two nuclear commanders were fired and a third was disciplined.

On November 3, 2014, Col. Carl Jones, vice commander of the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Base in Wyoming was relieved of his duties, and reassigned as a special assistant to the wing commander. The 90th Missile Wing is responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. It has been reported that Col. Jones was dismissed “for a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership abilities.” Reports of multiple incidents of extreme behavior prompted allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, as well as cruelty and maltreatment of a subordinate.

The other officer who was relieved of command was Lt. Col. Jimmy Brown of the 741st Missile Squadron at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Brown was relieved of his duties for apparent “loss in confidence” in Brown’s ability to lead his squadron by Col. Michael Lutton, commander of the 91st Missile Wing, which oversees the 741st.

One of the main incidents that led to Lt. Col Brown’s dismissal occurred in March, 2014, when crew members under his command fell ill due to exposure to fumes. Air Force leadership believe that Lt. Col Brown failed to fulfill his responsibilities as a commander by ensuring the safety and well-being of his airmen.

Another officer in the 91st Missile Wing disciplined after the investigations at Minot AFB was. Col. Richard Pagliuco, commander of the 91st Operations Group, which is in charge of all three missile squadrons at Minot.  The Air Force found that Col. Pagliuco “failed to promote and safeguard the morale, well-being and welfare of the airmen under his command.” Although Col. Pagliuco received disciplinary action in the form of a letter in his personnel file, he remains at his position.

The punishments issued to these three commanders were the latest in a series of dozens of disciplinary actions against senior nuclear officers over the last two years.

In June, 2013, Lt. Col. Randy Olson, commander of the 91st Operations Support Squadron was fired. Olson was responsible for the training and proficiency of launch officers at Minot. Shortly after his dismissal, stories emerged that 19 launch officers had been taken off the job.

In August, 2013, Col. David Lynch was fired as commander of security forces for the 341st Missile Wing, following a failed nuclear inspection.

And in March, 2014, nine officers were dismissed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, following an investigation into an exam-cheating scandal. Col. Robert Stanley resigned, and wrote in a goodbye message that he regretted having let down the American people. On the same day, the 90thMissile Wing at F.E. Warren disclosed that it had fired Col. David Holloway, but never released a full explanation as to why.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: More USAF Officers Disciplined: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: The “Combat Cloud” By Debbie Gregory

combat cloudThe U.S. military has invested a lot of money into its efforts to maintain dominance in air combat. An F-15 Eagle can cost up to $30 million, a single F-22 Raptor comes with a price tag of $150 million, and an F-35 Lighting ranges from $1.24 million to $1.56 million. But for all that money, there is a deplorable gap in the capability of our aircraft and resources to share data.

An effort is in the works to bring leaders from each of the DOD branches together with pioneers in industry and academia, in order to develop what is being called the “combat cloud,” a means to share data across aircraft, ships and satellites. The concept of the “combat cloud” is based on the idea of commercial clouds, commonly used to access and share data across different devices including smartphones, laptops, DVRs and other devices.

The “combat cloud” is still in the concept stage. The largest obstacle to the development of such a program mainly revolves around defending the system from intrusion. While it would be highly beneficial to have all of our air resources sharing and accessing data, there is the realistic threat that the data could be accessed by unfriendly units, or even worse, misinformation could be uploaded into the “combat cloud” by the enemy.

The ultimate success of implementing a usable “combat cloud” is likely to take a decade or so to be completed. The program is looking for a way to connect fighters, intelligence aircraft, satellites, ships and helicopters to form an overarching network of data that each platform could add to and access, even during missions.

Currently, the Navy is attempting to connect its forces via the Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (Nifca) plan that networks its ships and aircraft to protect assets at sea from attack.

The Air Force’s fleet of aircraft was not designed to interconnect. Cut backs and programmatic delays mean F-22s and F-35s will be fighting alongside fourth-generation F-15’s and F-16’s beyond 2030.  The branch is trying to come up with the most effective way to link its multi-era fleet. The Air Force’s Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, MA is planning to release a request for information for industry for a gateway between their different era aircraft.

Many in the aviation community believe that a data sharing system of some sort is an easy fix and could be done in a matter of months. But with DOD cutbacks and the scaling down of other major projects, the “combat cloud” could take a back seat to other areas that desperately need funding. For now, Washington isn’t convinced that there are any unfriendly countries that pose a reasonable threat to the U.S. military’s dominance of the air.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: The “Combat Cloud” By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: 82 F-16D’s Grounded: By Debbie Gregory

F16DOn August 19, 2014, the U.S. Air Force grounded more than half of its F-16D Fighting Falcons, after a routine inspection found them to be damaged, according to its Air Combat Command (ACC).

In a Pentagon release, the damage was described as being “canopy sill longeron cracks found between the front and rear pilot seats.” The cracks were discovered after a routine post-flight inspection on one of the jets. The discovery of cracks led to a fleet-wide inspection order throughout the USAF.

In total, 82 of the Air Force’s 157 F-16D’s were found to have the cracks, and were ordered to stand-down. The 75 remaining operable F-16D’s have been cleared to resume their duties.

Since the discovery, the Air Force has been working with Lockheed Martin engineers to discover the cause of the cracks, and what the repair options are.

The Air Force still maintains 812 other F-16 jets, which include a number of different variants, and are not impacted by the inspections or the damaged canopy sills.

Top Air Force generals, including ACC commander Mike Hostage, have said they must keep an eye on the wear and tear on the F-16s. The F-16 recently celebrated its 40th year of production, but older models have been continuously upgraded as there are advancements in the technology.

Although no official deadline has been given to get the grounded jets back in the air, it is predicted that a mix of American ingenuity and military know-how will get the birds back in the skies soon.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp, Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: 82 F-16D’s Grounded:   By Debbie Gregory