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The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge
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The meaning of jasdf's airlift operation in iraq & jasd fs future challenge


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  • Good morning everyone. I’m Col Hikita, a visiting fellow of the Stimson center from the JASDF. I am honored to have an opportunity to make a presentation to you today. My topic is about airlift operation by the JASDF in Iraq. This mission taught us many lessons. During the operation, we also have experienced what we had not experienced before. Everything was the first time for us. In that sense, it was a significant experience for the JASDF. That is the reason I chose this topic.
  • I’d like to divide my talk into seven areas, the overview of the JASDF airlift operation in Iraq, the features of the mission, our own efforts for mission, the meaning of the operation, the JASDF’s challenge in the future. And the last area is additional part. I‘m talking about new defense program released at the end of the last year, and what it means for JASDF’s capability. Then I’m finishing my presentation by the conclusion. I would be happy to answer questions you may have at the end.
  • Let’s start with the overview of the JASDF airlift mission in Iraq. Although you might know it well, I’d like to explain briefly again. Our airlift mission was based on the Iraq Special Measures Law, which was passed in Jul. 2003 and the Basic Plan approved by the cabinet in Dec. 2003. Then special unit, the Iraq Reconstruction Support Airlift Wing, with around 200 personnel was organized and deployed to Kuwait in Jan. 2004. The airlift mission started in Mar 2004. At that time, the JASDF had the transportation flight from Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait to Ali airport, which was near the GSDF camp in Iraq. After their troops left Iraq in Jun. 2006, the JASDF unit remained and continued their mission. In 2006, we started regular fight to Baghdad international airport, and Erbil air port, the northern city of Iraq. Our mission continued for around 5 years. Then we had the last transportation flight in Dec. 2008. At the end all units were withdrawn in Feb. 2009. As a result, we transported 46,500 personnel and 673 tons of cargo in total.
  • The JASDF has conducted overseas operations before, such as the UN peace keeping operations, international disaster relief missions, exercises and so on. However this airlift mission had some features which were very deferent from our past activities. I’d like to point out 4 big difference as follows, this mission was under surface-to-air threat, we, the JASDF needed to construct facilities in a foreign country, we rotated personnel frequently during the operation and we deployed to the nation that was unfamiliar to us.
  • The first feature was threat against aircraft. Although it was said that full scale war had already finished in Iraq, there were many groups who were against the new Iraqi government or multinational forces. Then it was reported often that military aircrafts were damaged by attack from ground. The JASDF’s C-130 was refurbished for self protection, such as color of bodies, missile warning system, anti-explosion form, armor of cockpit and cabin and so on. And the crew also had special training to fly and to land avoiding threats before they were deployed. At first we flew in southern area of Iraq, which was relatively stable and safe. But we began to pay strong attention for safe flight because we started flying to Baghdad and Erbil in 2006. JPN military forces were limited to do missions only in “safe” area. However the definition of “safe area” was not clear. Before starting mission in Iraq, JPN had a heated argument on that point in parliament. But ruling party, especially prime minister Koizumi made a decision to deploy and operate military forces in Iraq. Of course they knew Iraq was really not safe. However they determined to consider our international responsibility and also Japan’s alliance relationship with the US. The JASDF was ordered to conduct mission actively but safely. We struggled with these contradictory factors. It was often very difficult for commanders to make decisions.
  • The second feature was that we had to construct base facilities in a foreign country for the first time. The unit was deployed to the Kuwait military base, so we rented some facilities from Kuwait air force. However as deployment was getting longer, the JASDF needed its own facilities. Because it was necessary to relieve personnel from stress and to make environment similar to the bases in JPN. Doing so was to keep their morale and enhance their efficiency for mission. We started building some facilities gradually for 200 personnel. And the JASDF had its own, HQs, offices, huge hanger and mechanic shops, barracks, mess hall, medical room, Japanese style bath and so on. They lived and worked in familiar environment after that. Especially they were delighted that mess hall served them Japanese meals. I think it was fact that meal is an important source for morale. Anyway, It was the first time that the JASDF constructed its own military facilities abroad in its history.
  • The third feature was about personnel rotation. The JASDF had had some operations overseas before but they all were short term and small scale. Basically Air Support Command of the JASDF is in charge of airlift operations. So they have selected members within their own personnel mostly. However we had to rotate more than 200 personnel every four months for the Iraq mission. It was impossible to make it within only Air Support Command. So we chose candidates through all commands including ASO. Fortunately we had many officers and non-commissioned officers who wanted to be assigned as members of special units. But we had a headache to select personnel in particular specialties. We always needed air crew and mechanics for C-130 transportation aircraft. But the JASDF have only one SQ of C-130. The number of C130’s pilots, loadmasters, navigators and mechanics was limited to choose. Therefore many of them were dispatched 3 to 5 times during 5 years. Moreover we always had hard work for selecting doctor because of the JASDF only have small number of them. And some of them didn’t want to go abroad for mission. We made effort to persuade them to go, sometimes not always. Anyway commanders and staff of personnel section were busy for selecting candidates.
  • The other feature was about the area for deployment. As you know, Japan imports much oil and other natural resources including natural gas from middle east. So Japan has had relation with the gulf countries economically for many years. On the other hand, we didn’t have defense relation with them and a unit of the JASDF had not been deployed to that area before. In particular, we had no idea how the climate in the Middle East might affect the aircraft operation, or the health management of our personnel. And we needed to give personnel trainings of the middle east culture, custom, way of life although they stayed in the base mainly. In the JASDF, we hardly had experts on middle east to provide such training, including language. So we received variety of support from the USAF or other agency. Especially the US 5th Air Force in Japan gave us big help. Thanks to lot of support by them, we could do necessary preparation for short time to make airlift mission smooth and safe.
  • Let’s move on the next area, our own efforts for mission. I’ll talk how we solved some problems and made efforts to conduct our mission successfully. I’ll talk about our efforts during preparation and during the actual mission.
  • While Japanese government was discussing the deployment of the SDF, we, the JASDF anticipated the deployment order and started preparing for it. We had a lot of experiences of overseas airlift flight, but we had not had conducted these activities in the area where there was a potential threat. So the priority was the preparation against threat. We didn’t only refurbish C-130 but also prepared for flights under threat and program of chaff and flare. We also prepared for aircraft maintenance in the desert environment, air rescue, communication and rules for safety. Moreover we had to prepare for health care and welfare for personnel, and their families. In addition, we prepared for the possibility that someone would be killed during operation. We had too much do was in a short period of time. But the JASD hurried in a lot of preparation getting know-how for operation from the 5th Air Force. At the same time, not only the JASDF but Ministry of Defense and Joint Staff Office worked very hard for preparation in order to respond the order of deployment anytime.
  • Next is about our organization for this mission. During preparation for mission, the JASDF discussed over the organization of the unit. We needed to dispatch personnel to CAOC, Combined Air and Space Operations Center, which is the nerve center for all the US Central Command air operations because we should coordinate with the US military and multinational forces. After a lot of discussion, the JASDF decided to have another unit, the Airlift Planning Division in addition to the main unit, the Iraq Reconstruction Support Airlift Wing. The ALW was subordinated to Commander, Air Support Command in Tokyo. Airlift Planning Division, the APD was staff organization of Commander, ASC. The ALW had also their own staff. Why did the JASDF have the organization like this? One reason was to coordinate with CAOC as I said. The ALW was stationed at an air base in Kuwait near Iraq and the APD was dispatched to CAOC. They were geographically apart. The second reason was that planning was needed to be objectively without noise from the ALW, and the third reason was to do the mission safely with two leader’s opinions.
  • Director, the APD was authorized to plan the mission and to order the ALW for the routine airlift operation being commissioned by Commander, ASC. However Commander, ASC also gave Commander, the ALW authorization to decide go-no–go for daily mission. Basically Director of the APD was responsible for making decision based on the threat analysis and CAOC or the UN transportation request. And Commander of the ALW was responsible for making decisions based on weather, aircraft status, physical condition of the crew and so on. However the ALW sometimes required the APD to cancel flight due to threat condition despite the APD decided to go. They sometimes made disagreed on their decisions and argued with each other very early in the morning. The ALW and the APD were required to conduct operations safely. Death of even one crew, either by attack or accident, would have complicated the political situation in JPN. Commander of ASC required the ALW and the APD to closely coordinate with each other. And he believed that both of their decisions were correct from their own perspectives. But his priority was on safety. Therefore, he said that the mission should be canceled if they could not reach an agreement. The JASDF was denounced by other countries that we were always talking about safety, but actually our organization and system of decision making were effective for safe mission.
  • Next effort is about intelligence. We couldn’t have airlift operations in Iraq without information, especially about threat. However we didn’t have capability of collecting information on threat in Iraq. Then necessary information was provided by the US forces or multinational forces. We got mostly, more than 95% of it from CAOC. The APD received information needed and they analyzed it. At the same time the ALW shared same information and they analyzed it by themselves. The members of the APD were limited to go in the intelligence sector of CAOC and restricted to approach information for combat because the JASDF did only airlift mission in Iraq. But CAOC released the APD a lot of information on threat. The APD members also made efforts to keep good relation with the US intelligence officers of CAOC. And the ALW deployed to Kuwait made relationship among the US, Australia and Korea forces. And both of them, the ALW and the APD analyzed a lot of information for long hours. Intelligence officers were always busy to work. I think their analyzing helped the safe flight very well.
  • The other effort is about coordination between two units. As I was talking about organization, we had two decision makers in operational area. The APD was always active for mission because they stayed at CAOC and they were facing multinational forces’ big scale operations every day. And they were always required by CAOC to transport personnel of multinational forces. They wanted to do transportation as much as possible. On the other hand, the ALW was always careful about conducting missions safely because they were with crew members and they knew well crew’s physical and mental fatigue. Of course the APD and the ALW sometimes had argument about go or no-go for missions. But they always discussed sincerely and often came to mutual understanding in the end. They were stationed at two separate locations. So they made chances to visit each other to communicate directly and to understand each other’s situations. Moreover Commanders of both units communicated often on the phone and the TV meeting system. I think that good coordination was one of big factors that JASDF could complete mission safely.
  • What was the meaning of the mission in Iraq? We learned a lot from our mission in Iraq. We understood global standard of military operations when we worked with the US and multinational forces. And we learned how to operate with coalition members. At the same time we knew what kind of capability we have to build up more. Moreover we had an opportunity to think about possible international operations by the JASDF. More than 50 years have passed since establishment of the JASDF, and our military operations have been changing drastically in recent 20 years. Despite the SDF is not military force constitutionally, we are expected the capability and the presence as a military force. Especially after the Cold War, the SDF has been expected to cope with various contingencies and JPN government has amended the SDF Law and related regulations as needed. However the SDF operations are still limited. They can’t do combat operation or can’t support combat operation. And the SDF can operate in only safe area. Using the weapons is very limited. Of course mission in Iraq was under same condition. But it was the very first mission under threat. Especially Baghdad city was similar to the combat zone. We had a lot of airlifts to and from Baghdad international airport and our flights were commended by other nations especially because of punctuality and safety. Although our total number of transportation was insignificant, completing the mission gave us big confidence to do international operations. Anyway I think it was a break through activity for the next step.
  • most important factor for any operation. We will also need information for each mission in the future. However we won’t be able to have the same capability as the US forces. Then we have to request the US and share information as needed. But we have to build up our intelligence capability. I think we always make efforts to collect geographical information. It will be very important for preparation of deployment and operation. And I think we should build up capability to analyze the information. Analyzing will be key for success of mission. Anyway considering future international operations, it is necessary to spend money and time to build up our own intelligence ability. Next challenge is experience. We got many lessons through Iraq mission and past international operations. However they are not enough for us, I think we need more experiences to learn how to operate. Although we can learn some lessons from other nations’ military operations, accumulation of our own experiences is the best way to step up. I think the SDF should be active to do international operations. And doing so is our responsibility in international community to improve international security environment. Thirdly I am talking about what kind of mission we should do and we can do. Considering JPN security policy and the JASDF’s assets, airlift must be the most possible operation for the JASDF. However we have to think next step. In other word, we have to prepare to dispatch not only cargo aircraft but other assets, for example which are AWACS, tankers and reconnaissance aircrafts. Especially thinking about activity to support combat operation is profitable to analyze our capability, and doing international mission actively will reinforce the SDF’s capability. I believe that it will satisfy the requirements of not only Japanese citizen but international community. Lastly I should talk about relationship with the US. JPN has developed economically keeping security and independence thanks to the JPN-US Security Treaty. Our relation has passed 50 years and JPN’s selection is still same. The treaty is still important for national security of JPN and we should improve the relationship. Then we should make efforts to improve international security environment, especially east Asia. During Iraq mission, we got key information from the US. But the US forces have spent much money and time, sometimes lives to collect wide variety of information. Information is very valuable. The US forces released information to the JASDF for operations because of not only their benefit but also confidence as an ally. We should improve the relation to get stable credit. And I think that the strong credit will enable us to strengthen defense of JPN and to improve regional security environment. I have talked about Iraq airlift mission by the JASDF in previous area. Next I am going to talk about our future challenge. At first I ‘d like to point out intelligence capability. While Iraq mission, we depended on information came from the US forces. Because we didn’t have enough capability to collect information. Information was the
  • Well before conclusion, let’s look at the overview of the JPN Defense Program. In particular, I’d like to focus on the part directly related to the JASDF. New National Defense Program Guidelines and Mid-term Defense Program were released last Dec. New NDPG shows the basic guidelines for FY11 and beyond. Regarding the force structure and the equipment of the SDF, the new NDPG says that the SDF should strengthen its air defense capability to respond to attacks on off-shore island, strengthen air transport capabilities to do international activities and strengthen information-collecting capabilities as a intelligence function.
  • Next, let’s move onto the Mid-term Defense Program. It is for carrying out defense build-up in accordance with the NDPG and it covers for next five years, FY11-FY15. Some basic near-term defense programming decisions for the JASDF are made planned in this document. Despite the shrinking budget, the JASDF is trying to improve not only air defense capability but also international operations capability. One fighter SQ will be shifted to Naha air base. ADC HQs will move to Yokota air base. The JASDF will procure new transport aircraft. Procurement of 10 new aircrafts is planned in the MDP.
  • New type of the aircraft is replacing C-1 transport aircraft, then the JASDF will procure around 30 new transport aircrafts totally. And we are considering more procurement of them in the future. As for size, C-2 is one and half times longer than C-1. And the wing span is also one and half times as wide as C-1. Max pay load of C-2 is approximate 30 tons of cargo, and C-2 has the capacity for around 110 personnel. As for maximum flight range of C-2 is more than 3,500 miles. It is around 4 times longer than that of C-1.
  • This sheet is about C-2 development schedule. As you know, the development was prolonged because we had structural problems in trial manufacturing. In this sheet blue color is original schedule and then it was extended around 2 or 3 years compared to the original schedule. The JASDF will start procurement of 2 C-2s in FY11 and start of deployment to the SQ will be after FY13.
  • The JASDF will procure new fighter to replace F-4.
  • Originally 7 F-Xs should have been procured in FY09, under previous MDP. But the selection has been prolonged. We have to consider a lot of factors, which are operational, defense industrial, budgetary, timely and the interoperability. The ministry of defense, MOD has organized the Integrated Project Team for F-X this year and it is accelerating the selection. MOD aims to decide the type of new fighter so that they will be able to request the budget for new fighters in FY12. Therefore RFP, Request for Proposal, is planned to be delivered in April because each company needs around 5 months to answer it. The JASDF plans to procure 12 new fighters in the new MDP. But the number of them will be depend on the price. 6 fighters are still participations as a F-X officially but some of them are difficult to procure as you know. The JASDF is requiring high performance and advanced technology for new fighter. Anyway the retirement of F-4 has already started and the JASDF must procure the new fighter as soon as possible.
  • Moreover the JASDF will upgrade AWACS and modernize F-15, F-2 and rescue helicopter UH-60J. In regards to the intelligence capability, the SDF is considering future reconnaissance function including procurement of UAVs. The JASDF has already procured 4 tankers. However the JASDF is considering more procurement to improve capability of transportation and endurance.
  • Finally, conclusion. As I said, the JASDF’s Iraq mission was a break-through operation for us. We were proud of having completed the mission safely. Before deployment of the JASDF to Iraq, JPN hesitated to dispatch them because of argument of safe area. In the meantime, our government was under pressure to participate in the Iraq mission by the US government. The Prime minister of JPN and ruling party decided to approve the dispatch in the end. At that time they expected the worst case in the mission but they thought the mission was worth participating and JPN should do operations with the US or other countries. Still, it was the most important for us to contribute to the peace of international community in order to stabilize the security environment. Of course JPN has some internal challenges in the operations with other countries’ forces. But the SDF should recognize what we can or cannot do, while proactively thinking how we can demonstrate our capability. The SDF started doing international operation 20 years ago and since then the SDF has done many operations. But I think mere number is not enough. We should face the reality that the SDF often doesn’t satisfy the needs of international community. I think the SDF should step up. It means that the SDF has to increase what it can do. The SDF should challenge more complicated or more potentially dangerous missions. According to the new NDPG, JPN will shift the security concept from “the Basic Defense Concept” to “the Dynamic Defense Force”, and NDPG says the SDF should operate more actively. As the SDF participates in international operations, we will be expected to do more. I’d like to say strongly that JPN should build up the future SDF in order to not only defend our country but also respond to the international requirement and to fulfill our responsibility for international community.
  • That’s all for my presentation. Thank you for your kind attention. And if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to raise your hand.
  • Transcript

    • 1. The meaning of JASDF’s airlift operationin Iraq and JASDF’s future challenge Atsushi Hikita Col. Japan Air Self Defense Force Visiting Fellow, The Stimson Center
    • 2. Contents・ Overview of JASDF airlift operation in Iraq・ The features of the mission・ JASDF’s own efforts for mission・ The meaning of the operation・ The future challenge for JASDF・ New Defense Program Guidelines and the implications for JASDF’s capability・ Conclusion
    • 3. Overview of JASDF airlift operation in Iraq- Based on the Iraq Special Measures Law and its Basic Plan- Operation period: Mar. 2004 – Dec. 2008- Airlift from Kuwait to Ali, Baghdad, Erbil etc.- C-130H × 3 with around 200 personnel Erbil- Total transportation 46,500 personnel and 673 tons of cargo Baghdad Ali Ali Al Salem
    • 4. The features of the mission- Airlift mission under surface-to-air threat- Construction of base facilities abroad- Rotation of personnel affected the entire JASDF- Deployment to unfamiliar nation
    • 5. Airlift mission under SA threat- Mission with safety- Refurbishment of C-130H for self protection- Special training for landing under the threat
    • 6. Construction of base facilities abroad - HQ building - Offices - Hanger - Barracks - Mess hall - Medical room - Bath - etc
    • 7. Rotation of personnel affected the entire JASDF - Every four months - More than 200 personnel - Air crew and mechanics - Doctors
    • 8. Deployment to unfamiliar area- Aircraft operation in desert environment- Health and mental care- Culture, custom and language
    • 9. JASDF’s own efforts for mission - Preparation before deployment - Organization - Intelligence - Coordination between units
    • 10. Preparation before deploymentMany things to prepare for - anti-threat - operation in the desert environment - operation support - personnel and their family
    • 11. Organization Chain of Command Commander, ASC CAOCASC Staff Director, APD US Air Base in SW Asia Commander, ALW SQ Commander Air Base in Kuwait
    • 12. Organization2 senior officers have authorities to makedecision to go or no-go Commander, ALW Director, APD weather threats A/C requirement status s crew
    • 13. Intelligence- Operational information provided by CAOC- Effort to access the information- Spending much time to analyze
    • 14. Coordination between unitsGood coordination between 2 authorities for missions Commander, ALW Director, APD
    • 15. The meaning of the operation- Understood world military standard- Learned to operate with coalition members- Thought about JASDF’s capability for international operations
    • 16. The future challenge for JASDF- Enhancement of intelligence capability- Accumulation of experience- Response to various contingencies- Tight relationship with US military forces
    • 17. National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) for FY 2011 and beyondOrganization, Equipment and Force Disposition- Response to attacks on off-shore island Strengthening air defense capability- Strengthening capabilities for international activities Strengthening air transport capability- Enhancement of intelligence function Strengthening diverse information-collecting capabilities
    • 18. Mid-term Defense Program (FY2011-FY2015)JASDF- Second fighter SQ to Naha Air base- New JASDF Yokota Air base- Procurement of new transport aircraft- Procurement of new fighter- Upgrade of AWACS- Modernization of F-15 and F-2- Modernization of UH-60J- etc
    • 19. Overview of C-2 (tentative name) Technology - Glass cockpit - Fly by wire - tactical flight management system - Aerial refueling system - Self protection system - High precision navigation system - etc Range C-X C-130 Size C-1 (max payload) Seattle C-1 : 1,700km Anchorage C-2 C-130 C-130 : 4,000km(30t) (20t) C-1 Islamabad C-2 : 6,500km (8t) Delhi Honolulu Male Singapore Payload Jakarta Port Moresby C-1 : 2.6t   Cairns C-130 : 5.0t C-2:12t
    • 20. C-2 development scheduleFY01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 1st Flight Design & Trial Manufacture Strength Test Flight Test Start of Procurement Operation
    • 21. Mid-term Defense Program (FY2011-FY2015)JASDF- Second fighter SQ to Naha Air base- New JASDF Yokota Air base- Procurement of new transport aircraft- Procurement of new fighter- Upgrade of AWACS- Modernization of F-15 and F-2- Modernization of UH-60J- etc
    • 22. F-X selection schedule FY FY09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 1st IPT Mtg. Final determination Selection RFP Budget request Start of procurement Operation ?
    • 23. Mid-term Defense Program (FY2011-FY2015)JASDF- Second fighter SQ to Naha Air base- New JASDF Yokota Air base- Procurement of new transport aircraft- Procurement of new fighter- Upgrade of AWACS- Modernization of F-15 and F-2- Modernization of UH-60J- etc
    • 24. Conclusion 1990’sPersian Gulf Cambodia Mozambique Golan Heights East Timor 1991 1992-1993 1993-1995 1996- 1999-2004 2000’s Iraq Nepal Indian Ocean Sudan Gulf of Aden 2003-2008 2007- 2008-2010 2008- 2009- 2010’s - We should prepare for the future operations.
    • 25. Thank you for your kind attention !