July 1, 2010

National Sovereignty

I read the editorial of Robert Dudney in the June issue of Air Force Magazine and I agree with its premise [“Warfare v. Lawfare,” p. 2]. However, I think the article needs some additional information.

For quite some time now, the United Nations has been labeled as a “peace organization.” In fact, it is anything but. For 64 years of its existence, there have been more wars than in all of history before. One of the things said about the UN is that it is the framework for a “one world government.” If this is so, then Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the former UN Secretary General summed it up in 1995 this way: “The age of national sovereignty is over.”

Your article speaks of possible “war crimes charges” against the United States for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as proposed by the International Criminal Court. Sounds to me like these are violations of the sovereignty of our nation.

In closing, witness the following from the International Declaration of Human Rights as adopted by the UN in 1948. In Article 15-1 it states: “Everyone has the right to a nationality.” However, in Article 29-3, it says this: “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” The question is simple: Do we allow this travesty of justice to befall our nation or stand up for our sovereignty

William Reid

Essexville, Mich.

Global Strike Command

I knew it would happen. SAC is back, at least 90 percent. “Strike Command Steps Up”—What an excellent article [June, p. 26]. It has taken longer than I thought for the powers that be to get the old SAC policies and procedures in practice again. The statement by Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz that the nuclear arsenal demands constant and undivided attention is definitely more true today than it was in Gen. Curtis LeMay’s time. And Gen. Curtis LeMay’s direction of constant and undivided attention was the key towards many if not all of SAC’s operations.

The implementing and standing up of the Strike Command (SAC) is long overdue. We have already seen a vast improvement in operations and personnel with the new command, and it will only get better. CMSgt. Martin K. Smith mentions morale and confidence. All the wing personnel, both operations and maintenance, will perform their duties with skill, perfection, and pride when their accomplishments result in daily missions completed, and higher headquarters-directed inspections will receive a greater than passing grade. The highest recognition any airman gets is, his wing passed their ORI, and he contributed.

It strongly appears that the powers that be (which in Strike Command goes from the numbered Air Force commander down) have the right attitude, frame of mind, and are going in the right direction.

SAC is back, even though it really never was gone. It was just resting for a time.

CMSgt. Donald W. Grannan,

USAF (Ret.)

Benbrook, Tex.

The Air Force did not “disestablish” Strategic Air Command (SAC) and later “create” Air Force Global Strike Command as an all-new major command. The Air Force inactivated SAC in 1992 and activated it again in 2009, at the same time redesignating it as Air Force Global Strike Command. It is the same command with a new name. From an official organizational perspective, SAC is Air Force Global Strike Command, and Air Force Global Strike Command is SAC. The official lineage and honors history of the organization indicates conclusively that the organization is one and the same, regardless of the inactive period and the redesignation. In fact, the organization began in 1944 as Continental Air Forces. Among its former commanders is Gen. Curtis E. LeMay. Instead of a new command filling the function of an old one, the old command was activated again, albeit with a new name. Except for its redesignation, SAC is back.

Daniel L. Haulman

Chief, Organization History Division

Air Force Historical Research Agency

Maxwell AFB, Ala.

Penny Packets

The author of the article disastrously tries to equate kinetic airpower—close air support and interdiction—with intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and assumes that both should be the province of the air component commander alone [“Penny Packets, Then and Now,” June, p. 56]. The Army has long had a kinetic airpower capability—attack helicopters—and these have been used to great effect since Vietnam in direct support of ground forces. The Army has also long had an airborne ISR capability, including the RC-12 Guardrail. Our joint warfighting doctrine has long had organizations and procedures to deconflict airspace, ensure safety of flight, and manage close air support assets. During the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, there were sometimes disputes between the air component and the ground component over collection priorities for theater UAVs such as the Predator (and even for the JSTARS), but these were resolved precisely where they were supposed to be resolved—by the CENTCOM commander and CENTCOM collection managers—and not by the CFACC alone.

As time has moved on, the Army has added its own airborne ISR platforms, and these have actually freed the Predator/Reaper to focus on theater collection. Even if the Army adds armed UAVs, these will be no different in operation or C2 from attack helicopters. The author is correct that Army division and corps ISR asset managers need to pay attention to joint operating doctrine to ensure proper airspace deconfliction for airborne platforms that now fly at higher altitudes than attack helicopters, but the procedures are in place for this already.

The author is also correct that fixed-wing close air support—from A-10s, F-16s, or F-35s—will always be finite resources and require specific expertise that can only be had in the air component. I know of no one in the Army who suggests otherwise. But the notion that “if it flies, it must be owned and managed by the air component” is anti-historical and out of step with the technological and battlefield command advances since 9/11. We need to continue our efforts to operate jointly, not restrict who can do what. The author needs to spend some time with the ground component before she writes anything else on this topic.

Greg Barnett

Great Falls, Va.


I was truly astounded by the Tom Hanks quote found in [the June issue’s] “Verbatim,” [p. 43]. Rarely, if ever, have so many errors in fact and logic coexisted in such a short statement.

First of all, during World War II, “we” as a nation didn’t view the Japanese as “yellow slant-eyed dogs.” Then, as now, racism certainly existed, but Mr. Hanks erroneously slanders the entire US with his clumsy and embarrassingly uninformed stereotype. Secondly, everything of any historical accuracy that I’ve ever read regarding Japan’s decision to initiate war with us through their dastardly sneak attack at Pearl Harbor suggests that their reasoning was based on Japan’s cold, calculated analysis of war strategy and war materiel concerns—not based, as Mr. Hanks again cluelessly claims, on the fact that “our way of living was different.” Mr. Hanks is horribly wrong again when he claims the US “wanted to annihilate them because they were different.” The US did not want to annihilate the Japanese people or even the Japanese nation. Had we wished to annihilate them, we would’ve continued creating and dropping atomic weapons on them until they were annihilated. The truth is, we correctly understood that only complete and total victory would solve the dire global threat posed by a merciless and hell-bent Japanese military machine.

Maj. Tom Childress,

USAF (Ret.)

Clemson, S.C.

May Almanac

I am a civilian with Friends of McConnell, a volunteer organization, which support activities and programs at McConnell Air Force Base here in Wichita, Kan. A couple of months ago, a friend of mine recommended that I join the Air Force Association.

Thanks for both an informative magazine and the Daily Report updates, which give me the latest on what’s going on in the Air Force. All of this is great, but your May “USAF Almanac” is incredible [p. 34]. As a civilian, I sometimes had a difficult time understanding the structure of all the various commands, components, and agencies within the Air Force and how McConnell fits into the big picture. The Almanac put everything into perspective.

Thanks for a great magazine!

H. Wayne Roberts

Wichita, Kan.