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HiFlyer last won the day on August 24 2016

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  1. It seems to me that there is a problem with the understanding the definition of the terms here. To get a clearance, you first have to have a completed security investigation. Certain types of investigations are necessary for different levels of clearances, and the type of investigation is determined by the anticipated clearance level of the projected duty . For instance a NACLE will allow up to Secret, while an SSBI will allow up to TS and above (i.e. SCI accesses). The investigation type is determined by the sponsor depending on level needed for your anticipated future job. A completed investigation does not give you a clearance, only the eligibility (assuming adjudication is favorable) After the investigation, the report is sent to an adjudication authority, who evaluates the report and decides if the results warrant giving you a clearance (i.e., decides whether or not you are a security risk or not). If the adjudication is positive, you become eligible for a clearance. Eligible doesn't mean you have a clearance, only that you are allowed to get one if needed. For rated officer entry selects, an SSBI investigation is normally done, although in today's backlogged system, for OTS people it is sometimes not completed prior to graduating. For ROTC it depends on timing but the investigation should be complete by graduation and commissioning. But, you still don't have a clearance, only the eligibility for one. Somewhere down the road you arrive at your first duty station. There, you will be placed in a specific position on the unit's manning document, and each position has a clearance level associated with it. For a UPT student, the positions are coded for a Secret clearance (or used to be) so upon arrival you will be given a Secret clearance. The fact that your SSBI investigation makes you eligible for TS does not matter if the manpower position only requires a Secret clearance. By the way, an IP coming in from another unit where he/she held a TS, will be downgraded to a Secret in most cases because an IP has no need for TS clearance in an IP slot (unless he/she will also be doing some addition duty for the Wing that has a higher clearance requirement, which is probably fairly uncommon). That may be different for CSO or ABM training if their syllabus works with more classified content. For the rest of your career, your clearance may go back and forth as you move from job to job, even within the same unit on occasion.. As for the "inactive" comment, if you move to a job where no clearance is needed (get out of the service, for instance, or leave ROTC (commission, but do not go directly onto active duty) your clearance would be suspended (inactive), but can be regained quickly when you return to active duty as long as you are within the period of your investigation's validity (i.e., if the SSBI requires a re-investigation every five years, and you've been off active duty/ROTC training status for only a year, the original SSBI would still be valid and allow for your unit to re-establish a clearance when you process in...no additional investigation required.
  2. Ref the "looking for STEM majors" comment, I've heard that a lot over the last decade, and I'm sure its accurate. But, "looking" is not the same as "accepting only". In the first place, recruiters don't make the board's policy. They certainly try to get the better qualified inputs, but they can't actually say no if you meet all the requirements in the AETC and AFRS guidance. If you have a "soft" major you may take a very small hit on the board's score sheet, but with a strong package you still have a good chance. I was a Poly Sci major (granted, a long time ago), my son was a Gov't/International Affairs guy a couple of years ago, and I've seen a lot of Liberal Arts majors get selected over the last few years, including Music, Fine Arts, and Philosophy. My experience and observations indicate the key is having a strong package overall, not one focused solely on flying time, or GPA, or volunteer time, etc.The board score has a defined number of points available in each of about six categories, "Extra" weight in one already strong category doesn't get you much advantage compared to boosting a weaker category; everything is important!
  3. Well. at least that's an improvement. In my day (granted, that was a few decades ago), they broke everywhere they went. The joke then was that they always flew in formation...C-5 lead, C-141 wingman carrying spare parts.
  4. Rule of life: everybody's experience is different. Don't expect yours to match. But, here's my son's example... 1) Started OTS, June '09 (Alabama), finished in Sept (3 months) 2) Moved to UPT base (Texas), waited for six months to start (attended Introduction to Flight Training in Colorado for a month). Got tired of separation and married GF in Feb '10. Started UPT in April '10, finished in following April '11 on Friday. Move #1 3) Left for survival school three days later (Monday), enroute to C-130H school (Little Rock, Arkansas). Dad and mom flew to Del Rio to help wife pack and move to Little Rock. (18 months) [Move # 2) 4) Moved into apt in Little Rock while in C-130 training, finished in Jan '12. Packed up for move to Yokota AB, Japan in Feb '12. (8 months) [Move #3]. 5) Lived on base Yokota for two years, first child born mid-tour. PCS out after two years (1 year early).. (24 months) [Move #4] 6) Move to Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs. After 1 year, AF closed C-130 squadron at Peterson. Reassigned to Little Rock AFB again for upgrade to new C-130J. (13 Months) [Move #5] 7) Completed C-130J training at Little Rock. (9 months). Assigned to additional specialized C-i30 training at Kirtland AFB (Albuquerque, NM) enroute to next base in Europe. Second child born at Little Rock. Training was Temporary Duty ("TDY"), so household goods packed and sent to England. Son to New Mexico, wife and 2 kids to her parents in Virginia. (7 months) (Move # 6) 6) Complete training in NM, picked up wife and kids, flew to England where presently assigned. NOTES: a. Not a move every 3 or 4 years, but six moves in about six years. A bit more than average. but not too unusual for the early career years with lots of training stints at different locations. Four moves in the first six years would probably be more typical in many cases. It tends to slow down a little after that b. Try to fit med school into that. Not easy, not impossible, but will take more separation, I suspect. Good luck on your trip through the gauntlet. It can get stressful but its also a unique adventure and you'll see/do things most people won't ever have a chance to experience.
  5. Go here http://www.dossaviation.com/usaf-ift and read it all carefully.
  6. I don't believe there is any official guidance for the 150 minimum other than the waiver rule as noted above. However, you have to remember that the recruiting business is a "supply and demand" situation. When recruiters are undermanned and overworked, they (or their supervision) can add little restrictions onto their local processes to weed out the less impressive applicants so they can spend their limited time on the ones who "look" (not "are") more likely to succeed. When manning requirements were "okay" a few years ago, a lot of the recruiting units adapted a policy of not accepting applications from those with less than 150 on the "matrix" (AA+A+V)...or the bottom 50% of that group. Whether they do that these days , I don't know. It would be worth it to find out if your recruiter uses that cutoff these days. If yes, retaking the AFOQT might be a necessity; if no, then press on with what you have. Just be aware that the 150 issue doesn't have much, or any, relation to the selection board's process, only with the local recruiters as a work management tool. Good luck.
  7. Basically there is no connection between rated selection and having a graduate degree (maybe a little help if it was a M.S. in Aero Engineering but even then not a lot). However, for selection on an OTS board (basic officer training, not necessarily pilot, or even a rated slot of any kind) , an advanced degree might buy you a slight bump on the OTS board score. Once you are selected for OTS, things that help you get a pilot slot include high score on the PCSM, high score on the AFOQT pilot score, good GPA, technical degrees and work experience, actual flight experience (especially a PPL and additional civilian ratings). However, none of those are pass/fail; some people make it with all of those and some without...the last split I saw (several years ago) half the pilot selects had a PPL or better, and half didn't. As for overall chances, that's virtually impossible to predict because there are so many variables. many of which are somewhat subjective and may vary from board to board depending on what the AF needs at that particular time.
  8. I agree. Although my experience goes back 45 years, as an OV-10 FAC I usually flew solo and handled things fine (good weather, known friendly locations, minimal bad guy actions, etc.) but when the poop hit the fan (multiple TICs, really bad weather, poor visibility, nighttime, and frequently a combination of most of them) the ability to launch with two guys really helped to figure out things, keep track of multiple situations, keep an extra set of eyes on which way was up and where the high terrain was and track where other dangers were. Two seats for that kind of mission is very helpful, but you can always operate solo if you need to do so. Also, if the aircraft carries an FMV sensor, you definitely need a separate set of eyeballs focused on that! I never had a crew communication problem, but its easier with two than with 13.
  9. Some thoughts: work hard in college, don't be an Art History major (technical knowledge helps), learn about flying (take a few instructional flights if possible), take the FAA private pilot ground school course, keep your knowledge of basic arithmetic (pencil and paper, not with a calculator...they don't let you use one on the test), keep up with basic physics, chemistry, algebra, and geometry, read a lot...it will help with word association. Don't worry about the actual test until six months before you take it; Do worry about the basic math and science and aircraft knowledge as you go through college. Finally, if you have a hot date some night or could study for the test...take the date option!!
  10. In most cases it probably would be better, IF it does what you need and you can afford it. Although I could be accused of being a bit biased after 50 years in the AF recce business (25 with with the U-2 program), I really don't think I am. The GH is a great little aircraft ("little" mostly referring to size, weight, and power) and I think the Teledyne Ryan and Northrop Grumman people did a pretty good designing and building it considering the political constraints they were working under. Can you imagine what a prime would wind up with if a new program started out with "Build us a new fighter-bomber, make it unmanned, and make it cost less than $25 million, and it doesn't have to do anything specific as long as it stays under $25 mil a copy." The problem with the GH as an operational ISR platform is that no one ever went to the operator or user, and asked what they needed, and turned them into system requirements. Virtually every suggested capability in the original ARPA CONOP was left out because the UFP limit precluded adding them to the design (things like effective sensors...no SIGINT at all, no off-track EO/IR (LOROP), no ability to switch sensors to meet mission needs, no self-protection systems, no significant O&M savings (some people talk about lower flying hour costs, but they aren't much lower per hour, and it flies nearly 100 Kts slower than the U-2 so you use up more hours coming and going!), and no ability to deal with high threat areas. Of course, that last one isn't the GH's fault...remember, the HAE CONOPS was supposed to include two vehicles. The DarkStar was cancelled and it was the segment that was supposed to handle the "...economical solution to theater commanders RSTA needs---near-real time reconnaissance capability against high-value, well-defended targets." So, unmanned is good in many cases; unmanned with no capability and no budget to support it isn't!
  11. A valid question; here's my opinion based on my involvement as an AF O-6 at NSA working airborne programs for the Asst Dep Director for Operations, Military Affairs and post- retirement as a civilian in OSD (DARO, OUSD/ISR, and NIMA/NGA)at the time The answer is that in the very early 90s, Bill Lynn, the Director of DARPA (actually named "ARPA" at that point but returned to its original title of "DARPA" later in the 90s), and Bill Perry, the DepSecDef (not sure if they were in those exact positions in the very beginning, but by mid-90s they were) believed that unmanned aircraft had the potential to revolutionize airborne operations, starting with ISR, by reducing personal exposure to threats, enabling extended ISR (long duration ops) and save money by reducing the manpower costs in the systems. Additionally, they believed that a new acquisition concept called the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) could speed up the introduction of new systems from the current (in the 90s) and painful 15-20 years. The idea was to marry up the contractor side and the government side early in the development cycle to better work out operational issues while designing the vehicles (sounds good...didn't work!). They married the two ideas and DARPA initiated the High Altitude Endurance (HAE) and Medium Altitude Endurance (MAE) programs in 1994. The HAE program envisioned two platforms; a high altitude "U-2-like" vehicle and a smaller low observable, craft for better penetration of highly defended areas, referred to as "tier 2+ and "Tier 3-" in their concept terminology. The MAE program started with an existing much less capable unmanned RPA called the "Gnat", built by General Atomics for another purpose. You'll note here that this effort was a DARPA technology development effort, not an acquisition effort responding to an approved DoD mission need. In fact, the Air Force was not particularly enamored with the idea of unmanned mission aircraft and did not support the effort; there was no AF money or manning in the POM to support it. In fact the HAE program plan itself says there is only one required outcome...and let me quote from the ARPA 6 Oct 1994 ver 1.0 HAE CONOP..."A dominant objective of the HAE UAV program is to obtain the maximum capability possible for a set, non-waiverable Unit Flyaway Price (UFP); accordingly, while there are performance objectives, the only requirement that must be met is the UFP." In other words, it doesn't have to do anything except fly, hold a camera, and cost less that $10 million a copy; no operational needs have to be satisfied. To many in the system, the real effort was for DARPA to develop the new acquisition concept, using the HAE and MAE as exemplars. The AF eventually got the aircraft because the outcome of an ACTD was to be either: 1) a failed program, so cancel it, 2) showed promise, so move on and correct issues, or 3) Provide program residuals to the eventual user (AF in this case) for them to decide to either keep and operate or dump. The ARPA and SECDEF seniors decided it flew, collected something, and (sort of) met the UFP goal (at about $15.5 each), so they chose option 3 and passed it all to the AF (both HAE and MAE, although the DarkStar segment of HAE was cancelled after it crashed on flight 2. Why they kept it was the usual case of political and industrial influence, I guess. Some of us suggested the best course of action was to dump the Global Hawk because it met few operational needs, would cost too much to upgrade (if it could ever be upgraded...too little space, too little power, too little payload), and met few of the original desired capabilities, We felt it would be cheaper to take the money and start with a clean sheet design, using the knowledge gained to drive the new (unmanned) platform (which we referred to as "Global Truck"). The estimated $200-400 million extra was consider too much money by leadership, so we stay on the "cheap" track...which I suspect has cost us an extra $5-8 Billion by now (just my guess). As for the ACTD experiment, it hit a few bumps, too. When the Predator program was turned over to the AF and told to operate it, they found the DARPA program provided no money or manpower in the DoD budget to do so, no tech data was ever developed for the Service (it was all contractor proprietary) so they couldn't fix it, no ground control systems built except the contractor's test stuff so they couldn't deploy or fly it fly, No additional money was provided by DoD or Congress to the AF so the AF started a program called "Predator 911" to find money (to operate and buy support) and manpower, and facilities, "robbing" it from the current and future years budgets, causing major disruptions for years. As for GH, the idea of killing the U-2 and replacing it with the GH didn't float either, because the GH had practically no operational capability as delivered and it took a decade to develop the RQ-4B with more capability and slightly better sensors. So, that's why we have it! BTW, as far as Perry and Lynn were concerned, the success of unmanned systems since then probably indicates their vision was a success, and I can't really argue that they'd be wrong. Its all in your perspective.
  12. First, it's almost impossible to predict success because so many of the board's criteria are somewhat subjective and the AF's needs constantly change, which impacts what the board is looking for. With that said, your stats are pretty good. GPA is a little low (below average, but not out of the envelope) but that's not a killer. PPL and hours will help, as will the PCSM. So, I'd say chances are average to better than average, but no guarantees. Also when you say "chances", remember that there's a numbers game in that definition...how many do they need when that board meets vs. how many apply on that particular board. That relationship can have a major impact on selection rate. Good luck.
  13. It amazes me that anyone would call stop-loss a "retention tool". Granted, you keep a few people a little longer in the short term, but if the problem is that you are burning out the force, it only accelerates the burn and speeds the increasing percentage of the force that makes the decision to bail out ASAP. Additionally, a lot of potential accessions see the burn and decide to go elsewhere to either fly, or adopt a different career, so not only does retention of the existing force suffer but it makes it harder to get new bodies in the pipeline. Retention means appealing to the force in a manner to make them WANT to stay in, not MAKE them stay in. BTW, I'd sure like to see some of those other "long term solutions". If pilots are getting out for a set of definable reasons, I'd hope the solutions address them, and not a few PC headliners that look good in the media, like working hard on that multi-gender bathroom issue. Maybe I'm just an old dinosaur, but in my 49 years of AD and contractor service to the AF and DoD I've seen this road traveled three times and it hasn't worked yet!!
  14. Not exactly an F-15 suggestion, but along the lines of the post-flight write-ups... U-Tapao, 1974: Pilot (Big John, not Tall John) lands his U-2, debriefs with the crew chief and writes in the forms "Aircraft flies sideways" (actually meaning out of trim and flies with a slight yaw), then closes the book and leaves. Thirty minutes later, back at the trailers where we all lived, the Lockheed tech rep (Travis Mason, I believe, a great guy but not much patience and a poor sense of humor) storms in frothing at the mouth, looking for John, yelling loudly something about airplanes not being able to fly sideways and how can he clear such an idiotic write-up. John was conveniently absent so after about 10 minutes of frustrated yelling he left. I think the maintenance super cleared it by writing " Straightened aircraft" or something similar. I have to add that Big John was not Travis's favorite pilot to start with. Earlier in the tour he noticed several of the older guys wearing similar black watches that looked nice (actually some early Japanese digital watches they got cheap in Bangkok). Upon asking, they told him that they were "Lockheed U-2 watches" given by Lockheed to pilots who had flown operational missions. They told him to see Travis to get one. Of course, there was no such deal from Lockheed, and Travis didn't know anything about the joke, but for weeks John bugged Travis about getting his watch. The other guys told him that Travis did have the watches, but was just slow to respond and you had to bug him a lot to finally get one. Then came the "flies sideways" write-up and the Travis/Big John relationship went downhill from there. Big Jonn didn't really care, but Travis almost wouldn't stay in the room or talk with John by the end of the tour.
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