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​A flower decorates a memorial dedicated to people who died during the 9/11 terror attack on the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Sept. 10, 2019. Staff photo by Mike Tsukamoto.

​AFA Remembers 9/11

“On this day 18 years ago, the terrorist attacks on our nation were devastating, and we must never forget the loss of American lives in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. With exemplary strength in countering assaults on our freedom and safety, our country and our US Air Force and airmen immediately responded to the 9/11 attacks with incredible perseverance and counteroffensive operations against violent extremism that continue today. Our airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, and Coast Guard can be counted on by all Americans in their undaunted commitment to always be where our enemies plan and operate, and with their personal courage and selfless sacrifice, never allow another attack on the United States of America." —Retired USAF Lt. Gen. Bruce "Orville" Wright, Air Force Association President

Senate Defense Appropriations Bill Backs F-15EX, Adds Space Initiatives

Members of the Senate’s defense appropriations subcommittee on Sept. 10 endorsed the Air Force’s plan to buy the F-15EX from Boeing, signaling authorizers and appropriators in the House and Senate will all back the idea in the final defense policy and spending bills. Senate appropriators also offer nearly $1.9 billion to plus up the Pentagon’s request for F-35s, including an extra 12 F-35As for the Air Force. On space, the subcommittee endorsed creation of a Space Force and created a new research spending line for “Tactically Responsive Launch,” a program intended “to ensure the Air Force devotes adequate resources to venture-class launch services,” according to a summary of the panel’s $695 billion defense spending bill provided to reporters. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Trump to Name New National Security Adviser to Replace Bolton

President Donald Trump announced Sept. 10 he will name a new national security adviser the week of Sept. 15, after John Bolton resigned earlier in the day. While Trump said on Twitter he asked for Bolton’s resignation Sept. 9, Bolton said he had offered to resign but that Trump wanted to discuss further. The next national security adviser will be this administration’s fourth. CBS News reported Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman will serve in an acting capacity until a new adviser is named. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Mosaic Warfare: DARPA’s Answer to Combating America’s Advanced Foes

The US military should adopt a new, adaptable, and resilient force design to eliminate single points of failure, such as critical data links, that could put US forces at risk in peer-to-peer combat, according to a new report produced for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Dubbed "Mosaic Warfare," this new design concept would confound enemies by presenting a highly adaptable web of sensors, shooters, and decision-makers enabled by advanced computing. That network—named for the adaptable, piecemeal art form—should be able to assemble and disassemble itself into infinite new combinations on the fly. DARPA commissioned the report, “Restoring America’s Military Competitiveness,” from AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Read the full story by Tobias Naegele.

DOD Employee Assistance Program Services Extended for 60 Days

A personal and professional support services program for Defense Department employees is temporarily reinstated for 60 days after it was suspended for about a week due to an unexpected contracting issue. “The health, safety and welfare of our civilian employees is a priority, and DOD is committed to continuing the services provided by the Employee Assistance Program,” Pentagon spokeswoman Jessica Maxwell said via email. When the program was put on hold on Sept. 1, civilians who work for the armed forces, defense agencies, and in DOD field activities like Washington Headquarters Services lost access to the help EAP provides, she explained. The Pentagon is figuring out a long-term fix during the 60-day extension, which began Sept. 9. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Jets Drop 80K Pounds of Bombs on ISIS Island as Strike Pace Grows

US F-35s and F-15Es on Sept. 10 dropped 80,000 pounds of bombs on an island in an Iraqi river that was “infested” with Islamic State group fighters, the US-led coalition announced. The coalition posted a video of the strike the same day that combined an aerial surveillance feed and video from Iraqi fighters on the ground. The video shows massive explosions on the Qanus Island in the Salah ad Din Province. Air Forces Central Command, in statistics released Sept. 9, reported that US and coalition aircraft conducted 218 strikes in Iraq and Syria in August, more than double that of July. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Annual US Aerospace, Defense Sales Approach $1 Trillion

The US aerospace and defense industry continued building its sales for the eighth straight year in 2018, growing 4.2 percent from the previous year and topping out at $929 billion, the Aerospace Industries Association announced Sept. 9. Aerospace accounted for $374 billion of US gross domestic product, or 1.8 percent of overall GDP. According to a 15-page report of final figures for 2018, aerospace and defense reduced the federal trade deficit by 10 percent in 2018, logging a trade surplus in that sector of almost $90 billion. Growth occurred despite what AIA called “significant events that deeply affected international markets,” like political gridlock in Washington, D.C., which spurred stop-gap funding measures and government shutdowns. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Trump Nominates Two USAF Officers for Third Stars, Overseas Leadership Roles

President Donald Trump on Sept. 10 nominated two Air Force majors general to receive their third stars and for new leadership positions overseas. Maj. Gen. Michael Minihan was picked to be the deputy commander of US Indo-Pacific Command, where he currently serves as the chief of staff. Minihan, a command pilot with more than 3,400 hours in aircraft such as C-130s, KC-10s, and C-32s, previously served as the chief of staff of US Forces Korea and as operations director of the former US Pacific Command. Also, Maj. Gen. Scott Kindsvater was nominated to become deputy chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Military Committee in Brussels. Kindsvater is now deputy chief of staff for operations at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. —Brian Everstine


Outstanding Airmen of the Year Spotlight: SMSgt. Philip B. McAlpin Jr.

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2019 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference Sept. 16-18. Air Force Magazine is highlighting one each workday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor SMSgt. Philip B. McAlpin Jr. from Air Force Global Strike Command.

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RADAR SWEEP


Thanks to Border Wall, “All-Out Brawl” Looms over Pentagon Spending Bill
Senate Republican plans to quickly pass spending bills over the next few weeks now appear at risk, amidst a push from Democrats to rebuke President Donald Trump’s diversion of military construction funding to the border wall with Mexico. Defense News

Senator Seeks Independent Probe of Military’s Use of Trump Resort
The top Democrat on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has formally requested an independent investigation into the Air Force’s increased use of a commercial airport in Scotland and overnight stays at the Trump Turnberry resort. Politico

The Air Force Is Investigating How White Phosphorus Rockets Ended Up All Over a Tucson Road
The Air Force is currently investigating an August incident that saw rockets outfitted with white phosphorus warheads spill out of a military vehicle onto a Tucson roadway, Task & Purpose has learned. A photograph of the incident taken on Aug. 16 by a passing airman and first published on the popular Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page shows more than a dozen Hydra 70 2.75-inch air-to-ground rockets covering a road that appears adjacent to the aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Ariz. Task and Purpose

DOD-HHS Contracting Turmoil Extends Beyond Employee Assistance Program
Documents from the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services shed new light on last week’s sudden suspension of a host of work-life programs for the Defense Department’s civilian workforce, while also highlighting the fact that the fissure between the departments affects much more than the Employee Assistance Program. Federal News Network

AFSPC Study, Eye on China, Urges “Expansive” New Strategy
A new Air Force Space Command study posits a possible future—named after ancient Chinese warlord Zhang He—where China dominates space even as human presence vastly expands to the moon and beyond. Breaking Defense

The Three Major Security Threats to AI
The artificial intelligence community needs to put a lot more effort and money into systems protection to avoid it costing billions more down the line, according to the founding director of the Center for Security and Emerging Technology. C4ISRNET

DISA is Merging Its Cyber Operations into a Single Cloud-Based Platform
The Unified Situational Cyber Awareness capability would help cyber analysts keep tabs on every part of the Department of Defense Information Network. Nextgov

North Korea Fires Two Projectiles After Offering Talks with US
North Korea launched at least two unidentified projectiles toward the sea on Sept. 10, South Korea's military said, hours after the North offered to resume nuclear diplomacy with the United States but warned its dealings with Washington, D.C., may end without new US proposals. Associated Press via NBC News

WWII “Screaming Eagle” Veteran Who Received France's Highest Honor Dies at 96
World War II veteran Henry Ochsner, who stormed the Normandy beach on D-Day and fought through to the end of the conflict, has died at 96. Ochsner, known as “Len,” died Sep. 7 at his home in California City, Calif. Washington Examiner

One More Thing …

Columbus AFB Airmen to March 100 Miles to Ground Zero in Honor of 9/11
Two airmen from Columbus AFB, Miss., began a 100-mile marching journey with an American flag beginning the morning of Sept. 10 at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., traveled through the day and night, and are slated to arrive at the Sept. 11 Memorial in New York on the morning of Sept. 11. Maj. Jonathan Leetch, 41st Flying Training Squadron T-6 instructor pilot, and Capt. Matthew Carpenter, 14th Student Squadron, 14th Flying Training Wing graduation officer, managed the setup of this year’s march, which is in its seventh iteration and will have about 25 people participating along the way. The goal of the group is to bring awareness to remembering the victims of 9/11, while also fundraising for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in NYC. USAF release