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​Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Seve Wilson, testifying here before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Feb. 8, 2017, said a yearlong continuing resolution is a “$1.5 billion math problem.” Air Force photo by Scott M. Ash.

$1.5 Billion-Plus Hit on USAF from Year-long CR, Contract Delays Baked In      

A year-long continuing resolution would hit Air Force operation to the tune of more than $1.5 billion, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Seve Wilson reported. He also acknowledged that the service has stopped planning to award any contracts in the first or second quarters of the fiscal year, because it’s become predictable that budgets will be delayed and contracts can’t be signed, anyway. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Head of DOD IT Cybersecurity: Monster Cyber Attack “Looming”

The Pentagon is “prepared for” an unprecedented cyber attack, says director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, touting continuous and ongoing success defending against attacks that are increasing in both frequency and scale. Army Lt. Gen. Alan Lynn called the anticipated attack a “terabyte of death,” hundreds of times larger in-scale than those in recent years. “We know it’s coming,” he said at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association event in Washington, D.C., according to a DOD release. Lynn commended the Defense Department on holding down the fort thus far, but said he'd found the scale of the cyber offensive against American networks “truly surprising and it still continues to surprise me just how robust the attacks have become.” For example, D​OD used to have to protect against one- or two-gigabyte attacks. “Now, we get 600-gig attacks on the internet access points and unique, different ways of attacking that we hadn’t thought of before,” he added.  The Air Force is working with DISA on redesigning its own network gateway infrastructure—the one defending those access points—climbing aboard a federal effort to conjoin the services into one, central highway for web traffic. Air Force Magazine dug deep into the cybersecurity challenges facing USAF in its January cover story. DOD is aiming to reduce stovepipes of cybersecurity policing and increase visibility and reaction time in its systems. This is an ongoing challenge, especially on the the Defense Department's scale, where 3.2 million people interact with its networks, according to Lynn, who retires in February. —Gideon Grudo

Air Force Examines How Virtual Reality Can Help Train Airmen

The Air Force is trying to determine how virtual reality can be used to better train airmen. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

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Lawmakers Ask Trump to Make Climate Change a National Security Priority

A bipartisan group of 106 lawmakers, including 12 Republicans, on Jan. 11 sent a letter to President Trump urging him to include climate change as a national security threat to the United States. The White House’s National Security Strategy, released on Dec. 18, did not mention climate change and Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Dec. 21 the forthcoming National Defense Strategy also will not discuss climate change. “We have heard from scientists, military leaders, and civilian personnel who believe that climate change is indeed a direct threat to America’s national security and to the stability of the world at large,” the letter states, highlighting that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said the effects of climate change are a “direct threat.” Shanahan said that even though the NDS will not mention climate change, it can still be a priority. —Brian Everstine

Wyoming Guard Wing Welcomes Upgraded C-130H

The Air Force’s first fully upgraded C-130H made its first appearance at its future operating base in Cheyenne, Wyo., in early January. The Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing hosted the C-130H, tail number 21536, on Jan. 6. The aircraft spent 18 months at Little Rock AFB, Ark., receiving three engine modifications aimed at making it more efficient, according to an Air National Guard release. These were upgrading to the eight-bladed NP2000 propeller, switching to an electronic propeller control system, and adding Rolls-Royce T56 series 3.5 engines, the release states. The aircraft will now undergo further testing at Eglin AFB, Fla., while the rest of the wing’s fleet and other C-130Hs are upgraded, according to the Guard.

Developing Multiple-Domain Tactics

Combat Air Force tactical experts and senior leaders gathered at Nellis AFB, Nev., in January to figure out how to develop multiple-domain tactics to support air operations. “The reasons you’re here is to learn from one another and think of ways to integrate airpower across all domains,” said Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, at the Combat Air Force Weapons and Tactics Conference, which ran Jan. 2-12. “It’s a challenge, there is a lot of work you’ve already done and we’re going to talk about the world we live in, how it’s changing, and how we fit into it.” The first week was devoted to developing tactical solutions to issues that had been gathered from component numbered Air Force and major command commanders, the second week dealt with tactics improvement proposals. In addition, the tactical leaders gave briefings on tactical solutions they had developed to an audience of general officers and senior executive services personnel from the Air Force, joint, and coalition communities, including the Air Force Chief of Staff. —Steve Hirsch

Sheppard Takes Over as USAF’s Busiest Joint-Use Airfield

The Air Force’s busiest joint-use airfield in 2017 was its main training base. Sheppard AFB, Texas, took the designation as busiest airfield from Eglin AFB, Fla., as more USAF and NATO partner students train in aircraft such as T-6s. A major factor in the increase was the Air Force trying to address its pilot shortage, along with the temporary closure of an auxiliary airfield in Oklahoma, according to an Air Education and Training Command release.



—MQ-1 and MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft flew more than 12,000 sorties in 2017, helping to rid ISIS from multiple cities: AFCENT release.

—Orbital ATK will deliver seven Cessna C-208B aircraft to Afghanistan under a sole-source contract to be awarded by the Air Force: IHS Jane’s.

—The Defense Department will send more remotely ​piloted aircraft, both armed and unarmed, and ISR assets to Afghanistan, along with some 1,000 new combat advisors before the spring fighting season begins: Wall Street Journal.