Monday, August 25, 2008

Air Force back to using HUMINT unit.

Air Force Times: Staff Report

Posted : Monday Aug 25, 2008 17:45:06 EDT
The Air Force is back in the business of using people to gather intelligence, standing up a detachment dedicated to HUMINT Aug. 14.

The unit — called Detachment 6 — falls under the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and is part of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.

It is supposed to focus on developing information on foreign aircraft and other aerospace capabilities.

A cadre of HUMINT personnel has been in place since November. The new detachment will eventually transition to squadron-level over the next few years. Maj. Gar J. Lightner assumed command of Detachment 6 from Maj. Dianne Hickey.

In past interviews, officials have said the unit looks to draw experienced airmen from a wide range of specialties, not just intelligence analysts.

Aerospace engineers are needed to talk with aircraft designers. Pilots would speak with aviators. Computer engineers w

Woo Hoo! U.S. Forces Capture Top al Qaeda leaders.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces said on Sunday they had caught two prominent al Qaeda leaders, including one they blamed for the kidnapping of an American journalist.

High ranking sources said they had captured Ali Rash Nasir Jiyad al-Shammari, known as Abu Tiba, on August 17 and Salim Abdallah Ashur al-Shujayri, known as Abu Uthman, on August 11.

Abu Tiba was the Sunni militant group's senior advisor in the Iraqi capital, while Abu Uthman was its "emir," or leader, for the capital's eastern Rusafa district.

Abu Tiba was in charge of al Qaeda during its most active period in early 2007, they said in a statement.

Abu Uthman was believed to be the planner directly behind the kidnapping of U.S. journalist Jill Carroll, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor who was held for nearly three months after being abducted in 2006.

His associates were also involved in the kidnappings of British/Iraqi aid worker Margaret Hassan, who was slain by her captors in 2004, and of a group of Christian peace activists, the statement said.

"The capture of Abu Tiba and Abu Uthman eliminates two of the few remaining experienced leaders in the AQI (al Qaeda in Iraq) network," U.S. military spokesman Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll said.

U.S. forces say al Qaeda militants have been driven out of many areas over the past year-and-a-half since many Sunni Arab tribes turned against them, but the militants still retain the capability to stage suicide bombings and other big attacks.

Holloman to be 2nd home for UAV training

By Michael Hoffman - Staff writer Air Foce times
Posted : Monday Aug 25, 2008 8:31:32 EDT

Air Combat Command officials announced Aug. 18 that Holloman was chosen over Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and Fort Huachuca, Ariz., to house the second Unmanned Aircraft System Formal Training Unit, which is expected to stand up in 2009.

The decision won’t become final until after an environmental impact study, but that’s seen now as a formality.

Pilots and sensor operators previously completed their MQ-1 and MQ-9 Initial Qualification Course at Creech, but the continued demand for more round-the-clock orbits of Predators and Reapers in the war zones means ACC needs more training slots to provide enough airmen to fly them.

Over the past year, the Air Force has more than doubled the number of unmanned aerial vehicle orbits over Iraq and Afghanistan — from 12 to 27 — and has had to rapidly train pilots to keep up with the pace. Air Force officials say they want to increase that total to 50 orbits by 2011.

To match that growth, service officials have said they aim to more than double the number of pilots for the MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and RQ-4 Global Hawk, from 350 to 800, by 2013.

“As we ramp up this critical capability, we also need to increase our production of UAS operators,” said Col. Michael Kennedy, ACC deputy director for plans and programs.

Officials chose Holloman because of its “existing mission facilities, cost compatibility with current ongoing missions, amount of restricted air space” and the number of clear days to fly, said Maj. Kristi Beckman, an ACC spokeswoman.

The new unit will be able to train an average of 120 crews, which include a pilot and a sensor operator, each year, Beckman said.

About 38 Predators and Reapers will be sent to Holloman once the training unit stands up, along with a mix of about 100 airmen and contractors to serve as trainers and support staff.

The decision to stand up another training unit, rather than expand the one at Creech, was made because of “base support limitations at Creech,” Beckman said.


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