Pentagon acquisition chief Ash Carter has given his blessing for the Air Force to move forward in its quest for a new military weather-monitoring satellite. DOD Buzz reports that Carter has signed an acquisition decision memorandum directing the Air Force to figure out how many Defense Weather Satellite System spacecraft are needed to fill the void left by the cancellation of the NPOESS satellite design. He also tasked USAF to determine what sensors the new spacecraft should carry. The Obama Administration in February abandoned the NPOESS program after the joint Air Force-NASA-National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration effort became mired in management and technical challenges. In its place, the Air Force is pursuing DWSS, while NASA and NOAA develop the Joint Polar-Orbiting Satellite System for climate monitoring. First launch of DWSS is targeted for 2018. (For more, read Weathering the Breakup from the Daily Report archives.)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.