The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General Ronald R. Fogleman has announcedthat he's personally reviewing all administrative and personnel actions takenas the result of the April 14, 1994 downing of two US Army UH-60 Black Hawkhelicopters over northern Iraq.
In addition, the Air Force has been reviewingwhether the administrative actions taken following the incident were sufficientconsidering the circumstances.
Additionally, the Air Force is reviewingwhether certain other personnel actions such as evaluations, decorations,subsequent assignment actions, and promotions following the incident wereappropriate.
This review was begun upon completion of the judicial proceedings againstCaptain Jim Wang which were recently concluded. The Air Force has beencommitted to the identification and resolution of system and personnel failuresassociated with this tragedy.
As a result, this renewed look at the adequacyand appropriateness of disciplinary and administrative actions taken is beingpursued with utmost concern and deliberation.
General Fogleman said in a message to all commanders on July 11, 1995, "Wecannot tolerate actions which appear to condemn inappropriate conduct onemoment, condone it the next, or even worse, reward it.
Accountability iscritically important, to do less will undermine good order and discipline ofthe force and destroy the trust of the American public."
Previously, the Air Force implemented a number of specific actions to precludesimilar incidents in the future.
These actions were taken in three primaryareas: training, personnel policies, and procedures.
-All AWACS crews were recertified with a program that included academics,mission planning and a formal presentation before a certification board.
-A policy of crew integrity was established, i.e. the same crews operatingtogether on all missions, to provide continuity of training, deployment, andemployment.
-Visual identification training and certification procedures and manuals wererevised to reflect enhanced tactics, techniques and procedures.
-Theater indoctrination training was improved prior to deployments.
-A computer-based Combat Visual Identification Training System was developedto display aircraft visual characteristics in three-dimensional animation,graphics and digitized video, to improve pilots' ability to visually identifyaircraft, including helicopters.
Assignment policies were changed to allow more continuity and operationalexperience in the weapons controller career field.
-AWACS aircrew temporary duty rates were reduced to below 120 days per year.(AWACS aircrews had been averaging in excess of 180 days away from their homestations. Reducing the time away from home station has provided more time fortraining and increased proficiency levels for crew members.)
-The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. European Command, immediately changed the rulesof engagement after the incident to clarify responsibilities for command andcontrol.
-Joint doctrine was changed to reflect additional corrective actions dealingwith integration of all rotary and fixed wing aircraft into the joint AirTasking Order (ATO).
-A single Combined Force Air Component Commander was established to providecontrol over all aircraft.
-Additionally, the Joint Requirements Oversight Council (JROC) continues topursue improved Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) dependability, enhancedcommand, control and communications systems, and doctrinal and operationalprocedures to reduce the chances of human error.
At the conclusion of his review, General Fogleman will provide a comprehensivereport to Dr. Sheila Widnall, Secretary of the Air Force.
General Fogleman'sreport also will include any additional actions taken as a result of hisreview, recommendations for additional actions and recommendations for changesto policies or processes.
Although accountability for this tragic mishapcannot compensate for the loss, it is an essential element of leadership andclosure to the series of events surrounding this incident.