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  • New Boss at 12th Air Force


    Air Forces Southern and 12th Air Force is now under the command of newly promoted Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, who assumed leadership of AFSOUTH and 12th AF during a Dec. 19 change of command ceremony at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Nowland replaced Lt. Gen. Tod Wolters, who is headed to the Pentagon where he steps into the office of deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements on the Air Staff. Nowland previously served as the chief of staff at US Southern Command, where he worked to coordinate the command’s theater campaign plan, and to sync the efforts of nine directorates and 16 staff offices. The subordinate commands of 12th AF operate more than 680 aircraft and oversee more than 55,000 airmen and civilian employees. In a holiday message to airmen, Nowland said he and his family are excited, honored, and humbled to join the 12th AF community. “I look forward to earning your trust, and getting to know you and your families,” he said. “While leading 12th AF and Air Forces Southern in producing and providing the trained and ready airmen this nation needs to fight the threats facing America, we will strive to balance mission and family.”

  • ANG Head: Equipment, Resources Must Be Modernized

    Modernizing the Air National Guard’s equipment and resources is a top priority, said ANG Director Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke. Speaking at a Dec. 19 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va., Clarke said he wants to make sure “that the equipment that we have today is going to be recapitalized and modernized.” Using the example of a beautiful, head-turning 1961 Corvette sitting in his garage that he doesn’t trust more than 10 miles away from home, Clarke said it is imperative that the aircraft being utilized in missions are fully updated and well maintained to get the job done. “If I want these people to be battleready, ... I want them to feel like the airplanes that they are flying are safe, reliable, and modernized to the point that they can do anything that’s tasked to them” in different environments and under different conditions, Clarke said.

  • ANG Director: Romania to Join F-16 Fight

    ​Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke addresses the audience at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 19, 2014. Staff photo by Lyndsey Akers.

    Lt. Gen. Stanley Clarke, director of the Air National Guard, said the breadth of the ANG's involvement in security cooperation missions is so wide that he is "still learning today how involved we are" across the world. Speaking at a Dec. 19 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event in Arlington, Va., Clark gave the example of Romania, which is looking to acquire its own F-16s after partnering with the 187th Fighter Wing in Montgomery, Ala., on F-16 exercises. Members of the Romanian air force joined US airmen for Dacian Viper 2014 in April, a two-week air-to-air and air-to-ground exercise that included F-16s and MiG-21s. The Alabama Air National Guard and Romania having been working together through the Guard's state partnership program since 1993. Romania will receive 12 F-16 Block 15 midlife upgrade aircraft from Lockheed Martin to replace its MiG-21 fleet beginning in 2016. As for the Air National Guard's continued role with security cooperation, "We're going to continue to look for partnerships with anyone who believes the same ideas that America does," Clarke said. (See also The Guard's Partnerships from the October 2014 issue of Air Force Magazine.)

  • Pentagon: ISIS Leadership Killed in Strikes

    Coalition airstrikes have killed several senior ISIS leaders since November, negatively affecting the terrorist organization’s operations and its ability to command and control forces, confirmed the Pentagon on Dec. 18. Since mid-November, strikes have killed “multiple senior and mid-level leaders within the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby in a statement. The loss of these leaders has degraded ISIS and its ability to command and control operations against Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish fighters. Kirby did not specify individual leaders killed in the strikes, noting DOD would not discuss intelligence and targeting aspects of ongoing operations. ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not among the dead, but unnamed DOD officials told  Al Jazeera and other media outlets those killed included Haji Mutazz, one of Abu Bakr’s deputies in Iraq, as well as Radwan Taleb al-Hamdouni, who was a senior ISIS leader involved in the occupation of Mosul. “It is important to note that leadership, command and control nodes, facilities, and equipment are always part of our targeting calculus,” said Kirby. The success of these airstrikes are a clear sign of the coalition’s resolve in enabling the Iraqi security forces to disrupt and degrade ISIS, as the Iraqi’s prepare to retake control of contested areas of the country, he added.

  • US, Japan Security Agreement Delayed

    The planned revision for the US-Japan Defense Cooperation agreement, which was scheduled for release at the end of the month, will be delayed until the “first half of next year, taking into account the progress of Japan's legislative process, “according to a joint Japanese and US statement. The Japanese parliament is set to take up new legislation in 2015 to address many of the long-standing restrictions on the use and deployment of the Japan Self Defense Forces beyond the territories of Japan, following local elections next spring. Senior US and Japanese officials said the delay is to ensure “consistency between the revision of the guidelines,” Japan’s legislative process, and the content of the guidelines, noting further discussions will help shape the final report. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved a reinterpretation of the country’s constitution this past summer, which would allow Japanese forces to come to the defense of allies who are under military threat, in certain circumstances. The decision ended the so-called “collective self defense ban.”

  • Russia's Stealthy Ambitions


    ​The Russian air force is slated to receive its first production stealthy fifth-generation T-50 PAK-FA fighter off the Sukhoi assembly line in 2016, reported IHS Jane's. "The number of prototypes is increasing; the state trial program is being conducted as per schedule," Vladislav Goncharenko, director of Sukhoi's parent United Aircraft Corporation, quoted from a radio interview in the Dec. 16 report. As part of its overall aircraft recapitalization plan, the Russian air force plans to have a total of 55 advanced T-50 aircraft in service by 2020, according to the report. Sukhoi has already produced five PAK-FA airframes to support testing and evaluation, and three more are currently on the production line. The prototype fighter flew for the first time in 2010.

  • Luke's First International F-35


    A Royal Australian Air Force F-35 Lightning II touched down at Luke AFB, Ariz., becoming the first international F-35 partner to join the pilot training schoolhouse there on Dec. 18.  "Today, we take another tremendous step forward in our transition to the F-35 here at Luke," said 56th Fighter Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus in a release. "Australia is the first of 10 nations. …Welcoming our first Australian F-35 is a special day for Luke and the community that has been so supportive of us, he added. RAAF F-35 pilots will train with the wing's 61st Fighter Squadron, as well as Italian and Norwegian F-35 pilots whom are slated to begin training under the auspices of Luke's future 62nd FS by next June, according to the wing. Dutch and Turkish F-35 partners also will eventually train at Luke, in addition to current and potential foreign military sales customers.

  • Iraqi Vipers Arrive In Tucson


    ​USAF Lt. Col. Julian Pacheco and Iraqi air force captain Hama land one of the IAF's new F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft Dec. 16, 2014, at the Tucson International Airport, Ariz. Air Force photo by SrA. Jordan Castelan.

    Iraq's first two F-16D two-seat Vipers recently were delivered to the Arizona Air National Guard's 162nd Fighter Wing at Tucson to begin Iraqi pilot training there. "The arrival of Iraqi purchased and owned F-16s is a tremendous step towards Iraqi air force pilots providing organic air power for their country," said Air Force international affairs chief Maj. Gen. Lawrence Martin in a release. "Once they're done with their training here in Tucson they'll go home and go right into operations," added instructor pilot Lt. Col. Julian Pacheco. "Every lesson we can impart to the students, is critical because they'll be using those skills as soon as they go home" in the fight against ISIS, he said. Iraq has ordered a total of 36 F-16s, eight of which are slated for delivery to Tucson, due to the fluid security situation in Iraq. The first jets touched down on Dec. 16, according to the wing.