Daily Report

Jan. 17, 2020

Editor's Note

The Daily Report will not be published on Monday, Jan. 20, in observance of the federal holiday. We'll return on Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Maj Gen. William Cooley addresses SBIR Pitch Day

AFRL Boss Cooley Fired Amid Misconduct Investigation

Air Force Research Laboratory Commander Maj. Gen. William Cooley was fired from his post Jan. 15 as USAF investigators look into allegations of misconduct. Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Arnold Bunch removed Cooley from his job “due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead,” according to the Air Force. Cooley, who is the fourth high-profile USAF general officer to be fired in less than a year, took over at AFRL in May 2017 but is now reassigned as Bunch’s special assistant.
Army Soldiers Observe Crowds Near US Embassy in Iraq

DOD: Anti-ISIS Operations in Iraq Still Paused, Syria Ops Continue

The US military is in “daily conversations” about resuming anti-Islamic State group operations in Iraq, but the pause has not yet been lifted despite reports of American forces targeting ISIS this week. The US-led coalition suspended its anti-ISIS operations in Iraq earlier this month citing Iranian threats after the Jan. 3 drone strike killed Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan R. Hoffman said Jan. 16 US forces are still co-located with Iraqi forces, and planning for operations can continue though “specific field activities do not take place,” he said. Regular operations inside Syria are continuing, he added.
Navy Security Forces patrol NAS Pensacola after shooting

DOD to Unveil New Vetting, Physical Security Measures for International Trainees

Defense Secretary Mark Esper will travel to NAS Pensacola, Fla., next week to announce new safety measures and restrictions on foreign military access to US bases in the aftermath of last month’s shooting that killed three sailors and injured eight more, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan R. Hoffman said during a Jan. 16 briefing. “We’re looking at ways to ensure that … we’re taking all appropriate steps. We owe that to our people, we owe that to the families,” Hoffman said. “But we also want to ensure that this program continues. We believe that the international military student-training program is incredibly valuable.”
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty

NNSA Chief Details Uphill Slog to Nuclear Modernization

Extending the service live of the Air Force’s B-61-12 nuclear gravity bomb remains on schedule a year after officials acknowledged life-cycle testing of a commercial-grade replacement part would delay the program by 16 to 18 months. So daunting are the nation’s nuclear modernization challenges, says Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, that simply enabling modernization is the primary task; as for the finer work of actual weapons modernization, she says, “We’re not ready to do that.” At least not yet. Gordon-Hagerty laid out the 10-year plan to return production of critical nuclear pits to 80 per year. “We are waking up our system,” she said.
DoD Lab Day 2017

USAF Navigational Warfare Laboratory to Study PNT Threats

The Air Force is creating a Navigational Warfare Laboratory to study how military aircraft could still get around if an adversary attacks their GPS signal or other positioning, navigation, and timing systems. Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, will host the lab, which is slated to be up and running by May 2021. Their research comes as the military focuses on competition and possible conflict with Russia and China, and the advanced technologies those countries might wield to render US combat power useless. Jamming and other threats on the electromagnetic spectrum are a key piece of those considerations.

Radar Sweep

Eleven US Troops Were Injured in Jan. 8 Iran Missile Strike

Defense One

Nearly one dozen American troops were wounded in Iran’s Jan. 8 missile attack on Iraq’s al-Asad air base. This week, they were medically evacuated to US military hospitals in Kuwait and Landstuhl, Germany, to be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation, several US defense and military officials have confirmed to Defense One.

Study Raises Prospect of Space Conflict If US and Russia Abandon Nuclear Arms Control Treaty

Space News

The military and intelligence community’s space agencies may have to cope with growing instability in outer space if the United States and Russia don’t renew the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) that is set to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, experts warn in a new report. A study released Jan. 15 by the Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy notes that abandoning the New START Treaty could not only reignite a nuclear arms race, but also destabilize outer space.

Intel Agencies Push to Close Threats Hearing after Trump Outburst

Politico

The US intelligence community is trying to persuade House and Senate lawmakers to drop the public portion of an annual briefing on the globe’s greatest security threats—a move compelled by last year’s session that provoked an angry outburst from President Donald Trump, multiple sources told POLITICO. Officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, on behalf of the larger clandestine community, don’t want agency chiefs to be seen on-camera as disagreeing with the President on big issues such as Iran, Russia, or North Korea, according to three people familiar with preliminary negotiations over what's known as the Worldwide Threats hearing.

Taliban Say They Handed Cease-Fire Offer to US Peace Envoy

Associated Press

The Taliban has given the US envoy a document outlining their offer for a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10 days, Taliban officials familiar with the negotiations said Jan. 16. The offer is seen as an opportunity to open a window to an eventual peace deal for Afghanistan that would allow the United States to bring home its troops and end the 18-year war, America’s longest conflict.

Conservative Vets Launch Ads Urging Afghanistan Withdrawal

Politico

A conservative veterans' group backed by the Koch family is launching a multimillion-dollar ad blitz in three presidential battleground states on Jan. 16, seeking to tap into rising public support for withdrawing all American troops from Afghanistan. The appeal organized by Concerned Veterans for America—"Tell Washington it's time to bring our troops home!"—marks a new and more aggressive effort to roust voters in both parties to demand an end to the United States' longest war, which has killed nearly 2,400 US troops since 2001.

Royal Australian Air Force Completes Training Mission, Departs from Luke

USAF release

After achieving all training milestones, the Royal Australian Air Force began returning its F-35A Lightning II pilots, maintainers, and aircraft to Australia from Luke AFB, Ariz., in December 2019. The RAAF began training with the 61st Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit in December 2014 with two F-35s. Since then, 34 Australian pilots and 16 instructor pilots have earned their certification, and as of January 2020, the RAAF owns 20 F-35s.

One More Thing

Blueprint Leadership with CMSAF Kaleth Wright: Episode 3

USAF podcast

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright talks leadership, lessons learned, and shared experiences with the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, SEAC Ramón Colón-López.