World Airshow News, Jan/Feb 2000
The United States Military: A Thank You and honest handshake with hard eye contact for everyone is the minimum.
(Note: This article was written over in December of 1999. Ironically it is as germane today as on the day it was first published.)
the 1999 ICAS Convention in
the 1999 ICAS Convention in
when I referred to the Hart-Rudman Commission Report it was obvious I had
exceeded the knowledge base of most of the civilians and a number of the
military personnel present.
airshow industry has, traditionally and mightily, depended on the North American
military’s involvement and support of its airshows.
Demonstrations Teams and static displays have always been a big draw at
these events; yet every show producer will readily admit these resources have
been, and are becoming more, scarce.
scarcity of military airshow support has three very basic reasons: lack of
personnel, lack of equipment, and lack of money.
military infrastructure has suffered a massive draw down since the Gulf War.
Here’s a quick and dirty overview of the
personnel and aircraft that are still on duty have to fulfill an increasing
array of deployments and commitments around the world.
with the resent changes in US Air Force policy and the establishment of the Air
Expeditionary Force concept, some USAF crews are still spending over 250 days
per year deployed to far off locations.
was brought home recently by headlines in the
stress on the people and equipment of the defense establishment has been, and
continues to be, unrelenting.
US Air Force “Mission Capable” rate has declined for the last eight years.
From a high of 83.4% in 1991, the total USAF was only 74.2% mission
capable in July of last year. 1 in 4
USAF aircraft was not capable of fulfilling its mission requirements.
The Department of the Navy is no better off.
As an exceptional example, last August (99) the USMC’s AV-8B Harrier
West Coast fleet was 4% mission capable and those based on the East Coast stood
airshow industry does not operate in a vacuum. (See Sidebar)
All of these issues, and more, impact the military’s participation in
airshow. As we approach the 2nd
Century of Flight, what can the airshow industry expect from the military?
The “immediate” outlook is not bright.
Hart-Rudman Commission report is a Pentagon ordered study of the
demise of the
Hart-Rudman Commission report, “New World Coming” asserts that rouge states,
terrorist, and other will acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and use
them. The report concludes,
“Americans will likely die on American soil, possible in large numbers.”
that statement in perspective with the RCE report’s conclusion that additional
DoD assets will have to be placed in the hands of the National Guard and
Reserves (to save money) and that the Guard and Reserve will have to take on an
increasing role in the defense of the US homeland, one can easily see that
assets devoted to airshow participation will continue to shrink.
what can we in the airshow industry do? The
phrase “Think Globally, Act Locally” is apropos.
your show is lucky enough to get military support, treat it as a valuable
that the hardware is a high value and stage it for maximum exposure for your
show and the military. The
military’s justification for airshow participation is for Public Relations and
Recruiting. Ensure all branches of
the military are given ample opportunity to maximize the value, as PR and
especially Recruiting, of the assets they provide.
Involve the Recruiters, not just local - up to the Company or Squadron
level, in all aspects of the event. Place
the Recruiters in a prime location as near the associated displays as possible.
that all personnel accompanying the display aircraft, or other hardware, are
giving up a weekend to support your event!
them the same support and benefits as you give your prim event sponsors or
headline performers. Put them in the
“good” hotel. Make sure they are
supplied food and drink at their displays. Invite all personal to all events (if
there are protocol considerations, let them work those out between themselves).
And remember the enlisted personnel are just as important as the
officers. Too many times I’ve seen
the pilots eating in the “Chairman’s Tent” while the troops that keep’em
flying are buying “airshow steaks,” out of pocket, at one of the concession
finally, let every military person that supported your event know you appreciate
their contribution – not only to your airshow, but also to the defense of our
country. A Thank You and honest
handshake with hard eye contact for everyone is the minimum.
A letter to their Commanding Office should be a given.
A plaque for the Squadron and a tee shirt or other small memento for each
person is not going overboard.
the “Global” part:
the last ten years, our military personnel have had to do more with less.
While “Tasked to the Max,” they are being shuffled from one crisis to
another across all four points of the compass.
They deserve better.
ago, at an AFA meeting, I had the privilege to introduce “Ensign” George
Gay, the Soul Survivor of Torpedo Squadron 8 at the Battle of Midway.
As he spoke to our local Air Force Association Chapter, he told of going
into battle in an inferior aircraft, with inferior weapons, watching his
squadron mates crash into the sea until he too was in the water.
last summer, I watched the United States Congress debate the de-funding of the
F-22. History repeats.
military and the airshow industry have a symbiotic relationship; the military
supports the airshow, the airshow supports the military’s PR and recruiting
efforts. We owe our military
personnel more then that.
you want that military support at your airshow, support the military –
fulltime. For US Citizens, I would
suggest this November.
Hart – Rudman Commission reached 14 basic conclusions about the world of the
next 25 years:
advances in information and biotechnologies will create new vulnerabilities for
technologies will divide the world as well as draw it together.
national security of all advanced states will be increasingly affected by the
vulnerabilities of the evolving global economic infrastructure.
5. Energy will
continue to have major strategic significance.
6. All borders
will be more porous; some will bend and some will break.
sovereignty of states will come under pressure but will endure.
or failure of states will occur, with destabilizing effects on neighboring
crises will be replete with atrocities and deliberate terrorizing of civilian
10. Space will
become a critical and completive military environment.
11. The essence
of war will not change.
intelligence will face
more challenging adversaries and even excellent intelligence will not prevent
emerging security environment in the next quarter century will require different
military and other national capabilities.
Air Force Magazine Dec 99