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March 30, 1998

HEADLINE NEWS

Missile Defense Riddled With Diverse Failures

HEADLINE NEWS

Partisan Sniping Mars Readiness Debate

HEADLINE NEWS

Sikorsky Studies Black Hawk Upgrades

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HEADLINE NEWS

Missile Defense Riddled With Diverse Failures

Military experts condemn slack management, poor results of Pentagon's anti-ballistic missile programs

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HEADLINE NEWS

Partisan Sniping Mars Readiness Debate

WASHINGTON Congress the Pentagon and are locked in a feud over the adequacy of U.S. military readiness, a dispute awash in politics and confused by conflicting government reports about whether U.S forces are in fighting trim. Determined to render its own judgment, Congress has ordered the Pentagon to cough up more information on combat readiness, which both sides agree is difficult to define and measure. Some measurements of readiness are easy, like tracking spare parts. Other factors are intangible, like morale and unit cohesion. The Pentagon says it is willing to provide more information in its quarterly readiness reports, which Congress ordered expanded in the Fiscal 1998 Defense Authorization Act. But high-ranking civilian defense and military officials claim Congress needlessly mandated some data it already receives. In other instances, lawmakers demanded data for which there is no reasonable or standardized measûrement, the services contend, But the growing readiness dispute on Capitol Hill involves more than the volume of information Congress receives or disagreements over the accuracy of various statistical and technical readiness measurements. Exasperated lawmakers, Republican and Democrat alike, protest what they claim are irreconcilable differences between official Pentagon readiness reviews and anecdotal field reports. The reports. Pentagon’s quarterly assessments generally rate combat readiness as acceptable if fragile. In stark contrast, field reports gathered by traveling senators and representatives show signs of skimpier training, heavier maintenance backlogs and larger spare parts shortages than Pentagon report cards seem to suggest (AW&STMar. 9, p. 72). The divide is politicizing the readiness issue, arousing suspicions on Capitol Hill that the Defense Dept.’s civilian leadership and military brass are towing the White House line and playing down deficiencies. Congressional Republicans accuse the Democratic White House of spending less on defense than it should, while at the same time embarking on too many military commitments overseas, draining readiness accounts that support training, maintenance and spare parts. A cadre of House and Senate Republicans and some conservative Democrats is trying to assemble a case, built on the pessimistic field reports, that the Administration’s shortchanging of defense will result in the same sort of “hollow force” that became a political liability helping to drive a previous Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, from office in 1980. In a series of recent hearings, both House and Senate military panels have received troubling reports of F-15 engine shortfalls, F-15 and F-16 spare parts shortages, limited aviation fuel supplies and strained aviation logistics, shrinking combat pilot ranks, avionics shortages, late installation of new technologies and deficient numbers of maintenance specialists (AWefSTMar. 9, p. 72, 74). Lawmakers also have been informed by the services of dwindling flight hours, diminished training and slipping “mission-capable” rates for major weapons like combat aircraft. "THE PRESIDENT IS EITHER UNAWARE of, or has chosen not to acknowledge, the seriousness of readiness, quality of life and modernization problems,” asserted Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), as this year’s congressional readiness review began. Many defense-oriented members of Congress, including Thurmond, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, regard readiness as the number one issue confronting the U.S. military. To date, however, congressional Republicans have been unable to produce evidence of a military-wide, comprehensive readiness decline. Ironically, they have undercut their own case to some extent by boasting that they have added tens of billions of dollars to the national defense budget in recent years. Thurmond noted that Congress has appended an extra $22 billion since 1995 to President Clinton’s military requests, bolstering Pentagon coffers across the board and alleviating the very pressures on readiness that Republicans decry. Clinton signed into law the additional money Congress appropriated, enabling him to claim that he and Congress together, in bipartisan concord, have kept readiness intact and the defense budget high, relative to much larger military spending reductions by other Western countries and Russia since the Cold War ended in 1991. Moreover, the Republicans are at odds with the judgment of some outside military experts, who assert that no U.S. readiness problems exist in any meaningful strategic sense. Even high-ranking defense officials from the Reagan era—which saw the biggest peacetime military buildup in U.S. history—scoff at the notion of another “hollow force” in the making. This complicates the Republican bid to reap partisan gain from the readiness issue. OVERALL C-RATING1 • C-1 = Capable of all wartime missions (MAE2 > 89%). • C-2 = Capable of most wartime missions (MAE = 80-89%). • C-3 = Capable of many, but not all wartime missions. Significant decrease in flexibility and increased vulnerability. (MAE = 70-79%). • C-4 = Unit requires additional resources or training to undertake its wartime missions, but may be directed to deploy (MAE = 50-69%). • C-5 = Unit undergoing organiza1A combat unit’s overall “C-rating" refers to its level of capability. The lower the number, the higher the capability. 2MAE (Mission Accomplishment Estimate) is a commander’s personal assessment of his unit’s ability to execute that portion of his unit's wartime mission it would be expected to perform if alerted or committed within 72 hours. The MAE rating takes into account both quantifiable resources and intangible factors such as morale. Source: U.S. Army “Readiness spending per capita of military personnel is as high as it has ever been,” said Lawrence J. Korb, who was the readiness czar in the Reagan Pentagon from 1981-85. “Yes, the total U.S. defense budget has been going down since 1985, but so has the size of our military forces. And readiness demands have been vastly reduced because there’s a big difference between having to fight the Soviet empire and dealing with Bosnia. Bosnia doesn’t degrade readiness, it’s a training exercise that strengthens readiness.” ADDRESSING LAWMAKERS' and service officials’ warnings that the military is now too small to take on so many overseas commitments, Korb said, “No other country in the world trains or procures equipment at the rate we are. Every other country’s budget has gone down much more rapidly. The Chinese have increased their defense spending, but it was in net decline from 1979 to 1989. And how much are the Chinese spending—$12-23 billion [annually]? Let’s say it’s $50 billion. It doesn’t come close to our $270 billion.” Maj. Gen. John J. Maher, the Joint Staff’s vice director for operations, testified at a House National Security readiness subcommittee hearing this month: “Our armed forces remain capable, within an acceptable level of risk, of meeting the demands of our strategy.” To some committee members, that sounded suspiciously like hedging. At the same hearing, they heard from Lt. Gen. Patrick K. Gamble, Air Force deputy chief of staff, air and space operations, who cautioned that a high operations tempo, aging aircraft and the need to rotate forces through several forward-deployed locations is putting considerable strain on Air Force personnel “and their ability to maintain our force in a high state of readiness in forward and rear base areas.” According to Lt. Gen. Martin R. Steele, Marine Corps deputy chief of staff for plans, policies and operations, “Our aviation and ground equipment readiness rates are currently at acceptable levels, but our ability to maintain aging equipment is slowly slipping.” The greatest concern is “our continued ability to maintain aging equipment without overwhelming our personnel” with outsized workloads. GAMBLE ADDRESSED THE GAP between Pentagon readiness reports and anecdotal field evidence, arguing they can be reconciled. “My view is that both reports are true and generally consistent.” Official technical reports represent the chain of command’s best judgment “on whether specific unit capabilities meet the very specific demands” laid down in the plans of the theater combatant commanders [CINCS],” he said. “Field reports are much better indicators of the human cost of doing business. They tip the chain of command off to specific problems at specific bases that don’t show up in” technical or statistical indicators. “Field reports can convey the personal strain and professional frustration of our airmen.” Technical measures and field reports combined give headquarters a more wellrounded picture. “Our reporting systems tell us today that aerospace forces can meet the CINCs’ call across the full spectrum of military operations. We are voicing our concern at the growing level of effort it takes to meet that call.” Military officials cautioned lawmakers that readiness reports can easily be misunderstood, even using the simple scorecard system that rates combat readiness from C-1 (fully capable) to C-3 (capable of many, but not all wartime missions) to C-4 (50-69% capable). Vice Adm. James O. Ellis, Jr., deputy chief of naval operations, said, “For example, 274 of the 674 Navy units reporting during Fiscal 1998 first quarter were C-3 or below. This figure may come as a surprise, and some might assume your Navy is in trouble. But considering the rotational nature of our forces, this figure is anticipated and considered routine.” ©

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HEADLINE NEWS

Sikorsky Studies Black Hawk Upgrades

STRATFORD, CONN Sikorsky is studying a menu of upgrades to the Black Hawk that could double the aircraft’s productivity, cut its operational and support costs by onethird and extend the life of the UH-60 fleet by 20-30 years. Advanced Technology Candidates For Black Hawk Modernization The U.S. Army is defining requirements for upgraded Black Hawks and later this year plans to specify the elements of its UH-60X modernization program.

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HEADLINE NEWS

FI 19 Tests To Focus On Compressor Vanes

New York The U.S. Air Force and Pratt & Whitney will test an FI 19 in early April to see if an improvement aimed at lowering vibratory stresses on the powerplant’s fourth-stage blades was responsible for a seal failure that damaged an earlier test engine.
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HEADLINE NEWS

Mega-Merger Battle Marks End of an Era

WASHINGTON The U.S. government’s efforts to block Lockheed Martin’s proposed acquisition of Northrop Grumman appear to signal the end of an era of defense industry mega-mergers that have until now received strong support from the Pentagon.

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HEADLINE NEWS

ESA Reveals New Five-Year Strategy

Paris The European Space Agency is proposing a new strategic plan for the next five years that would reinforce Europe’s position in launch systems, Earth observation and space telecommunications, and pave the way for its entry into the field of satellite navigation.

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HEADLINE NEWS

Brisk Orders Accelerate Apache Production

/SEATTLE D espite a tight defense market, Boeing is gearing up to double production of new and remanufactured Apache AH-64D attack helicopters to a six-a-month rate over the next two years. The program also shows solid potential for additional international sales.

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FIDAE '98 REPORT

Chilean Air Force Requires Sixty-Fighter Minimum

SANTIAGO, CHILE The fighter competition in Chile is not really about the purchase of 16-20 new aircraft. LATIN IMAGE The real prize is an inside track for a decade-long fighter modernization program that could mean sales of 60 or more fighters as the Chilean air force works through a highly integrated plan to replace three old fighter types—35 Cessna A-37Bs, 40 Dassault Mirage 5/50s and 15 Northrop Grumman F-5E/Fs—with a single, easier-to-support aircraft.

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FIDAE '98 REPORT

Chilean Army, Air Force Vie For Attack Helicopter Mission

Santiago, Chile Chile’s first batch of new fighters will replace the air force’s venerable Cessna A-37s and thereby largely eliminate its primary close-air-support capability. The way to address this future lack of capability is to acquire an attack helicopter, according to Chilean and U.S. aerospace officials.

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NAVAIR TEAM

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND 47123 BUSE ROAD, UNIT #IPT PATUXENT RIVER, MD 20670-1547 January 26, 1998 Kenneth E. Gazzola Executive Vice President/Publisher Aviation Week 1221 Avenue of the Americas New York, NY 10020-1095 Dear Mr. Gazzola, I was extremely honored and proud when informed of NAVAIR’s selection as a Quality Center. Many of us throughout the defense aerospace community turn to Aviation Week e3 Space Technology as a credible source of information and critical perspectives on the dynamics of our business, which makes this award quite a distinction for our team. We measure quality in terms of customer-perceived value. We know we have done our job when the fleet gets the high-performance systems it needs, on time, and at a price it can afford. And we are continually looking for new opportunities to improve, to help our number one customer face the increasingly challenging demands of the future. Over the last several years, we have transformed ourselves into a product-locused operation, using government/industiy Integrated Product Teams to manage the full life-cycle support of our systems. Today, we are working problems in real time, along side our industry partners, developing a mutual sense of ownership in the outcome. We are actively pursuing acquisition reform — reaching out to industry for ideas on simplifying the acquisition process to reduce cost and cycle time. And we continue to pursue opportunities for teaming on new technologies, processes and state-of-the-art products. Our paramount concern is to reduce the total ownership costs of our systems. We are implementing several initiatives to find savings for investment in recapitalization and modernization. Well on our way to understanding eveiy element of operations and support costs, we are directing our improvement efforts at areas with the biggest potential payofl. Working with the fleet, we are applying valuable, in-service experience to develop innovative maintenance concepts tailored to individual product needs. Dramatic savings and reductions in out-of-service time are expected as a result of these activities. We have reduced our size dramatically since the beginning of the decade and shaped our capabilities to match customer requirements. Our focus now is on improving our processes, identifying the cost drivers and eliminating work that does not add value in the eyes of our customers. We will use their feedback as our guide and reach out to others involved in the larger acquisition system (throughout DoD and industry) to uncover new opportunities for collaborative improvement. It is satisfying to be recognized for the progress we’ve made, but we are lar from finished. The Naval Aviation Systems Team will continue reaching for the next level in performance. Our Navy and our nation depend on us to keep pace and to continue supporting maximum readiness and capability lor the fleet with eveiy dollar available. I would like to thank Aviation Week for recognizing our efforts, and express my sincerest gratitude to the members of the Naval Aviation Systems Team and our indusexpress my try partners lor their continued pursuit of excellence. NAVAIR Commander Vice Admiral John A. Lockard
March 231998 April 61998