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Military News Briefs for the Week of Aug. 17, 2001

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17, 2001 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service

news stories for the week ending August 17, 2001.)

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RUSSIA, U.S. MUST GET BEYOND COLD WAR, RUMSFELD SAYS TO PUTIN

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov in Moscow Aug. 13 and discussed a range of security, political and economic issues. At a Kremlin press conference, Rumsfeld and Ivanov said offensive and defensive systems should be linked in any discussions between the two countries.

Addressing the Russian refusal to the U.S. request delivered by Rumsfeld that both countries pull out of the 1972 Anti-ballistic Missile Treaty, Rumsfeld said the United States agrees it is "perfectly appropriate" to discuss offensive and defense missile capabilities together. But the United States will continue talks with Russia to move beyond the ABM Treaty and into the kind of normal relations it has with all other countries, he said.

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PLAN LOOKS TO SHAPE ACQUISITION WORKFORCE

Within the next five years, 50 percent of DoD's acquisition workforce will be eligible for retirement, department officials said.

That means DoD could find itself having to hire about 65,000 acquisition specialists over the next five years. Now is the time, officials said, to examine the acquisition workforce and plan how it should face the future.

Undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics Pete Aldridge discussed these goals during an Aug. 15 meeting with reporters in the Pentagon, emphasizing a commitment to revitalize the quality and morale of the acquisition workforce. To do this, he is working on a strategic plan.

Aldridge's plan will look at DoD's acquisition workforce needs. The plan will project both the future and coming problems. It will look at the skills and career tracks acquisition specialists will need. It will look at functions that need to be beefed up. It will look at areas where DoD may need more people -- and fewer.

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CHU SEES VALUE IN LONGER MILITARY TOURS OF DUTY

DoD's senior personnel official says modifying current "up- or-out" retention rules and establishing longer tours of duty might better serve members and their families.

David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told reporters Aug. 8 at the Pentagon that DoD is looking at personnel rules that impel service members to move frequently to secure promotions and possibly leave jobs they enjoy and are good at, or leave the force.

Critics of current military personnel practices "would say we've driven the 'up-or-out' principle, both in the officer and enlisted force, a little bit too far," Chu said.

Chu added that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld "is deeply skeptical about the pattern in which people spend so short a time in each post." The secretary, Chu said, has lately asked about the practicality of having troops, especially commanders, serving in billets for two years or less.

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F-22 GETS GREEN LIGHT FOR LOW-RATE PRODUCTION

The Defense Acquisition Board has approved the F-22 air superiority fighter to enter low- rate initial production, officials announced Aug. 15.

The decision means Lockheed-Martin will build 10 F-22s using fiscal 2001 funds and 13 in fiscal 2002. There are currently eight F-22s already flying.

"The program has met all its exit criteria for entering into low-rate production and is performing to its design goals," said Pete Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

The acquisition board unanimously approved low-rate production, Aldridge said. Low-rate production will run through fiscal 2005, then shift into high-rate production. Aldridge said the program will provide air dominance through the next 20 years.

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RECRUIT ATTRITION RATES FALL ACROSS THE SERVICES

Recruit attrition rates are dropping across the services thanks to programs that try to prepare enlistees for the rigors of basic training before they ship out and revamped training policies.

All the services report increased use of delayed entry programs in recent years. DEPs acclimate recruits, enhance their performance and decrease washouts.

DoD officials keenly watch recruit attrition numbers, especially since the cost of recruiting new service members averages about $11,000 each -- some $3,000 more than just a few years ago, said Navy Cmdr. Yvette BrownWahler, director for recruiting plans, Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Combined with an average cost of initial entry training at $35,000, DoD's investment in military recruit accessions and training is enormous since more than 200,000 of America's youth are recruited for active military service each year, she added.

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U.S. WARPLANES HIT IRAQI MILITARY SITE

U.S. Air Force F-16 jets attacked an Iraqi missile site Aug. 14, said a DoD official.

The raid "struck a surface-to-air missile site near An Nasiriyah ... about 175 miles southeast of Baghdad," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said to reporters Aug. 14.

Quigley called the target "another element in the Iraqi integrated air defense system that had been very active" in threatening coalition aircrews.

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