tv Defense News ABC August 28, 2016 11:00am-11:30am EDT
>> this week on "defense news" -- the morphing fight against isis. welcome to "defense news." i'm aaron. this week we start with a look at the new commander and the fight against isis. >> the u.s. mission to defeat the islamic state in iraq and syria recently got a new commander. lieutenant general sean mcfarland is stepping down. taking over is army lieutenant general steven townsend who served in iraq as a colonel 10 years ago. >> when steve townsend was here, he fought mosul so he's the perfect choice to lead the coalition as they support the most decisive fight of the campaign in iraq. he will bring about the beginning of the end for daish. >> his first operation is likely to be the battle of
this year. >> mosul is a key priority. one of the great problems is how bad will this be. you never know how well the defender will defend. we've seen in other areas they dug in, they booby trapped, they fought straight by straight. you might say a relatively quick victory. no one can predict whether this is going to be a long battle, a short one, how difficult it will be. >> townsend arrived in baghdad at a time when isis is losing ground. >> well, i think he's inheriting a better situation than general mcfarland did because we have taken, you know, back fallujah. we're getting ready to move toward mosul. he iraqi army is getting better. isis has been weakened. we killed 45,000 of them. >> but during mcfarland's final days in command, he warned defeating isis and
iraq will require more than just a military victory. >> military success in iraq and syria will not necessarily mean the end of daish. we can expect the enemy to adapt into a terrorist organization. >> townsend's biggest challenge may be political. iraqis to resolve their ethic and sectarian rivalries. >> his big problem will be not only taking mosul but what comes after. is he going to be able to persuade the iraqi government in baghdad to have an inclusive government in mosul? i think that's much more difficult as we found out we went into iraq. it was easy to get rid of saddam. the question is, ok, now what? >> he will have fewer than 5,000 american troops on the ground along with the authority to use key military firepower such as attack helicopters and heavy artillery. the question is whether he will be asking washington for more. >> i think he has to wait
see. it's very difficult to know whether further resources will be needed. but there seems to be enough airpower to meet the need. that's critical. there's a limit to how many special forces you can actually put in to a kind of assist mission forward. and you'd have to put in very large numbers to fundamentally change that mission. >> russia's move to intervene into part of the syrian regime is making the 5-year-old syrian war far more difficult to resolve. it's become a problem that may be above townsend's three-star pay grade and will have to be resolved diplomatically between moscow and washington. >> he has to come to some sort of accommodation to the russians. it's not too much that our military can do to turn the tide of battle there. the last thing we want to do is have a conflict with the
russians or the iranians. the last thing we want to do is make this a big power confrontation. >> townsend's long-range goal is to help the iraqis and syrians stabilize the region and extend control into the lawless areas where isis thrives. but an american military's commander to do that is inherently limited. >> you have to be very careful, first. you do have very sharp limits here. general townsend is not in the business of trying to rebuild the western part of iraq or decide its economic future. iraq is very much a sovereign government. >> a big thing for townsend may be the arival of a new commander in chief taking over the white house in january. >> now, a lot could depend on who the president is. if it is president clinton, it ay be a matter of continuity with actually ease of added
they're needed. president trump would be an interesting issue because one problem is, what does a president-elect say, and this is a president who would probably say something, and there's no way to know. is it going to reinforce general townsend's mission? is it going to present a problem? that's not something, again, that you can predict, but it's certainly going to be a challenge if it happens. >> when we return, analysis on the fight for mosul. you're watching "defense news." >> isis is a very resilient, very adaptable organ somehow it felt like everything was moving in slow motion.
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of isis if defeated in mosul will become more of a terrorist organization. it is already kind of melded into the grassroots level in places in central iraq, for example, and it's already stepping up the terrorist attacks in places like baghdad. the united states has already sent folks into baghdad and materiel into baghdad to help counter suicide bombers and car bombs, for example. so we're already anticipating that. but dealing with isis is kind of like squeezing a balloon. we don't know where they're going to go but we know they'll expand in time and in location as well. so we didn't anticipate isis moving to north africa a couple years ago or so, and isis is a very resilient, very adaptable organization. it inherently knows where the local grievances are and leverages those. so just because they get
defeated in mosul doesn't mean they are less of a threat. they may be more of a threat. because of the loss of most of the caliphate, for example, they may need to step up their attacks in baghdad and potentially europe and the united states to keep their purpose and their goals and their missions in the forefront, and now they're even more in competition with the likes of al qaeda as well. >> let's talk about al qaeda because there's been an interesting shift in the relationship with isis, al qaeda and some of the other powers in that region, right? there seems to be a mix of kind of al qaeda might be something that powers can work more closely with. >> al qaeda rebranded themselves into a more pragmatic, less ideological, more farther seen kind of organization. there are rebranding themselves like, hey, we are a group you can potentially work with. and so you s
north africa and elsewhere, for example, al qaeda spending a lot of effort on setting up grassroots organizations for the long term, for the long haul. and so what we're seeing now is more competition. you will see more competition between isis and al qaeda. >> so let's start with mosul for a second. the question is the fight right now in mosul and also the fallout. what are you keeping your eye on, what are you concerned about after this fight is done, where are they looking to see where they can look long term? >> the preparation after the battle, after the victory. it is the government setting up the institutions and the mechanisms for governance in places like mosul to be able to essentially kind of drain the swamp. other reasons why another isis would root itself there. because that certainly has not been the cases like places like
governance issues are still a major factor. very little water, very little power. >> and similarly in owe leapto and syria -- olepo and syria, what are they looking there? >> it is the -- aleppo, the largest area in syria was the status quo fight for a while. what we've seen in the last couple of months is hezbollah and russian air strikes have backed assad and what we've seen is an offensive into the eastern part of aleppo which is where the rebels are. and we've seen a surprise counteroffensive that was successful by the group -- led by the group known as theial niece are a front. now this -- al-nussra. now they are besieged by each other. so water is now getting in. ammunition may not get in.
from the grid is there, and the situation will get more desperate. not only humanitarian reasons but as a result of the increased in the intensity of the fighting in such a small urban environment. >> when we return, we'll dive into concerns about a pilot shortage in the u.s. air force. this is "defense n
>> welcome back to "defense news." major general scott, deputy chief of staff for operations, sat down with air force times reporter steven to discuss a looming pilot shortage. >> let me answer the question how bad it is. it is a crisis as described by our secretary and the chief as a crisis. last year we were about 55 fighter pilots short of the overall requirement and we project by the end of this year we will be north of
about 723, to be exact, of that requirement. the reason it's a crisis, how bad it is, because we have front loaded all of our cockpits and operational combat squadrons with those fighter pilots so we're taking risk in staff positions and training and test and other things. so we're taking risk in areas where in the near future if we don't do anything to address this crisis we'll have to then start shorting those front line squadrons and that's the reason it's a crisis. >> so what are the origins of this problem? why are we facing such a serious shortage? >> origins of the problem have to do with a lot of things. first of all, we've been at combat now for about 25 years since desert shield and desert storm, so we've had a continual drumbeat of deployments and stress on the force. we've also had a decrease in fire
we went from 134 squadrons back in that desert storm to 55 today which is a lot of decrease in capacity without a commensurate decrease in the supply piece. or on the demand. and if you looked at it from a supply-demand type thing, we have decreased the supply and we have kept the demand at the same and/or higher. so we have gotten to the point right now where we are looking at, you know, what do we do and how do we address it and we'll address it in three very distinct areas. we'll look at the production side of it. we'll redress and revisit the fighter pilot requirements across the board and do we need those folks in staff positions, we'll take a hard look at that. and then we'll also look at a number of portfolio options on the retention side. >> so when you have a shortage of fighter
does that have? how does the shortage of fighter pilots affect training of new fighter pilots and does it have the affect of worsening the problem if you're having difficulty training? >> shortage of fighter pilots affects the pipeline. when we talk about the production side of that pipeline i'm talking about the undergraduate training and the graduate training. for example, what they do when they first become pilots, the graduate training. when they graduate into their platform like the f-15 or the f-16 or fifth generation fighter like the f-35 or the f-22, so that training pipeline is extremely important. and the ability to produce the number that we need to address the growing concerns we have about the crisis is it's all about making sure we get that right and increase that capacity where we can.
training part itself and the fighter pilots training other fighter pilots, we are manning from graduate form -- training fighter pilots. the issue with us is we don't have enough fighter pilots to do the undergraduate. and we would train in the t-6 and t-38, we don't have enough to do that so we have to fill from other types of pilots, mobility from the bomber and force other type of 11 crews. >> and how about the war against the islamic state? obviously that's a very airpower driven conflict entirely on the u.s. side. what is the pilot shortage -- how is that impacting the islamic state war? >> well, consider currently
units at 100% so -- >> if the problem continues, could that change? >> it could change. it could change in the near term unmitigated. like i said, we're taking risk in the staff positions in this fighter pilot crisis and it could translate into we don't have enough in about 18 months to fully man those frontline operational squadrons. so the fight against the islamic state is one part of what we do. the air force is required to be able to defend the homeland, to defeat an adversary and deny an adversary and we do that in support of the defense planning guidance through a number of different measures. as you know, we're fighting the cricket, which is china -- not fighting china but we're deterring an adversary. our focus has been china, russia, iran and korea in addition to the fight on counterterrorism, and air superiority is a big part of that. so like i said, right now
those cockpits are manned at 100% but in the near future within 18 months we could see issues if we don't mitigate and we have a plan to mitigate those shortfalls in the near term but it will take us time to get where we need to go. >> general, can you give me an example of how this kind of shortage affects a fighter pilot during the life span of his career? >> absolutely. i can give you an example from the f-16 community. so if we take a hill air force base, for example, if a fighter pilot's first tour is 4 1/2 years or 54 months, in that 54 months, he or she will spin up and get mission qualified. they'll likely go out the door with their unit for a six-month deployment. they'll come back from that deployment with some pretty strong skill sets in one area and come back and try to regain full spectrum readiness. while they're regaining that, that fighter pilot will get tasked to go on a one-year remote,
which is a base they have one year at a time. they'll leave their family and be gone for a year and do the skill set to do air superiority on the very difficult fight on the peninsula. then they'll come back, do a flag exercise or two, some other developmental things they need to do. they'll get full spectrum readiness for another deployment or focus on skill sets to have a deployment for six months. over that 4 1/2 period or 54 months, they'll be gone 36 months of that. only be home for a year and a half. that's a particular life of a fighter pilot. very difficult, very demanding and we're asking them to do it over and over again. so as we look at our problem set, we're trying to address it in the area of production, increase that production to increase the flow from graduate -- from undergraduate to
community. we're looking at the requirements across the to be a those who are coming up on a decision and about the 10 to 12-year po -- point to say, i want to continue to do this and incentivize it with a portfolio of quality of life and service, a really balanced approach to entice them to stay in for the long haul. >> on this week's "money minute," personal finance experts offers easy money management tips. >> checklist. they can seem tedious but the practice can save you time. in the military, a checklist or manual improved efficiency and minimized mistakes. and the same goes with managing your credit cards. your credit card checklist should include these four things. keep spending in check, pay off balances monthly, pay on time and always pay more than the minimum. these seem basic but it's easy
to accrue debt when credit is readily available. maxing out is hard to pay off and affects your debt-to-credit ratio which hurts your credit score. paying off your balance every month saves you money in interest, but if you have to carry a balance from time to time, make sure you have a low interest rate to keep it economical. and that's why paying your bill on time is so important. not only will you avoid late fees but it will also prevent your rate from jumping because of late or missed payments. it's good to talk to your card issuer before you miss a payment if you can. they can help you with some other options, and when you do pay, pay it off or pay more than the minimum. doing that will pay more towards the principal amount which will help you pay off your balance sooner. having credit is great, and keeping this checklist paves the way for having great credit. >> thanks, janette. we'll see you next week. when we return, more from the major general. you're watching "defense news." >> we need to t
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>> welcome back to "defense news." now, more from major general scott vander hamm as he talks about retaining pilots in the air force. >> there are a number of things the air force is doing to fix the problem. we're looking at the quality of life and quality of service initiatives that secretary and the chief kind of talked about and announced. in that balanced approach we're taking a look at not just the production which we kind of just talked a little bit, we're increasing production by about 15% in the undergraduate and graduate pipelines right now. we're addressing the requirements across the board and baselining and scrubbing those hard to see if we really need to have 11 f's in those positions because that's where we're taking the risk right now. and second thing we're looking at in the quality of life and quality of service piece, we're looking at a number of retention things. we know we can't buy our way out of this but we're going to be asking for
authorities to provide an aviation retention pay bump somewhere it's been for the last 17 years at $25,000 a year. we are going to be asking congress to increase that for us to give us some leverage, to incentivize, but money's not the only thing. we're taking a look at those quality of life things that deal with that space, that family time that those fighter pilots need, some certainty. give them some flexibility in assignments. look at how we do developmental education and when do we do it. the smart timing of the exercises so their home time, they're actually home and not in a deployed mind set constantly. so i liken it to if you are a body builder and i sent you downrange and said, steve, you can only exercise your right arm. you are going to come out looking massive, huge bicep but the are -- rest of your body
we are sending them ready to go but when they come back the full spectrum readiness has atrophied and we need to be smart how we build that. >> are you worried by maintaining 100% manning for squadrons such as those that are leading the islamic state fight that the operation's tempo might be wearing them out a little bit? >> it is. they're tired. we have tired iron. we have tired people. but it's the right thing to do to man those units at 100%. if we man them any less it would only be worse. so we're taking the risk in the nonfrontline unit areas. what we really need to do, though, is to address that operational tempo and that home station piece. the -- you know, when you come home and you have to do additional duties, we're addressing that too. the secretary and chief announced we will take those additional duties off their plate. air combat command announced
command and support staff so they can take some of those duties like security management, the deployment monitor, the training manager and a lot of the other duties that those pilots would have to do in addition to flying will take them off their plate as well. >> do you think the increasing the fighter pilot -- the aviator retention bonus from $25,000 to $48,000, will it help the air force compete with airlines that are trying to recruit some of your pilots? >> yeah. we have not addressed that. it is part of the contextual backdrop of the whole situation we're dealing with but it's only a piece of it. they are going to try to hire about 3,500 pilots a month -- a year for the next about 10 years until 2025. so how much money will compete? the studies we have from the rand and others showed us raising that money from $48,000 to $60,000 will incentivize and keep
we need to have stay and we need to message appropriately. we need to tell them what they do is appropriate and then we need to back it up with doing something. we can't have that say-do gap by saying we are going to do something and not do it. >> secretary james expressed some concern about the take rate by which the rate of which pilots accept the aviator retention bonus. the air force hopes to have about 65% of people offer the bonus take it. last year it was 48%. so far this year it's about 34%. why do you think fighter pilots aren't taking the retention bonus at the levels you'd wish they would? >> i think it's a lot of the things i just addressed. it's really that quality of service and quality of life. the quality of life was the things we talked about -- mily time, you know, life in garrison, if you will, getting all the capabilities and competencies back on top. and the
piece is the flying piece. they're coming home and while they're home, they're short on maintenance. they are not getting to fly as much as they'd like to fly. so we in the portfolio of things we're looking at, to create a fighter pilot you need the pilot, right? you need somebody to train that pilot. you need maintenance to generate the combat power and you need all the support behind it. those are part of the quality of service. if fighter pilots aren't doing what fighter pilots do, then they'll look to the door. that's one piece of it. and then the airlines in addition to the compensation offers a more stable life for them, a little more time at home, a little more -- they've known what their schedule is going to be like. we want to pat them on the back if they decide to do that. if they decide to depart, we want them to join the reserve part. we don't want to lose their ex
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