Daily Report

April 30, 2021

Above and Beyond: The Fight to Upgrade One Airman’s Silver Star

Capt. Stephen R. Phillis received the Silver Star posthumously for his actions in Desert Storm. On Feb. 15, 1991, he was flying one of two A-10s tasked with attacking a massive formation of Iraqi armor in the Kuwait desert, when his wingman was shot down. Phillis, the mission commander, lingered above the site for three minutes and 45 seconds—intentionally drawing fire to help the search and rescue effort before he was ultimately shot down himself. Now, more than 30 years after the incident, on his former U.S. Air Force Academy boxing buddies, after years of research, is pressing for Phillis to receive a military award more befitting his sacrifice. “You have a hard time explaining what heroics in an airplane looks like,” said Jim Demarest, a brigadier general in the Florida Air National Guard and himself a veteran of Desert Storm. “Steve’s heroics check all the boxes."
Gillibrand sexual assault

Bipartisan Group of Senators Introduce Bill to Overhaul Military Justice

A bipartisan group of more than 30 senators is sponsoring a bill that would overhaul military justice by taking the decision to prosecute serious crimes including sexual assault away from commanders to independent prosecutors. The Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, unveiled April 29, comes as the Pentagon itself is reviewing how it handles sexual assault. The legislation would “take critical steps to create a more professional and transparent military justice system for serious crimes—including rape and sexual assault, murder, manslaughter, child endangerment, child pornography, and negligent homicide,” according to a statement from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Atlantic Council AI

NSCAI Commissioners on the Importance of AI and Its Ability to Reshape the Future Fight

The United States has a slim lead over China in artificial intelligence technology, but the gap is rapidly closing and “urgent action must be taken” to preserve U.S. competitiveness, said members of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence during an Atlantic Council virtual event. The commission set an aggressive goal for the Defense Department to be "AI-ready" by 2025, but in order for that to happen it needs more money for basic AI research and must grow better at identifying and tracking talent, said Robert O. Work, vice chairman of the commission, on April 29.
F-15E bombs

Deployed F-15Es Prove Capability to ‘Tactically’ Ferry Bombs

F-15Es deployed to the Middle East on April 25 proved their ability to move bombs in a “tactical ferry mission” just two months after the concept was originally tested. Six Strike Eagles flew to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, from another deployed location carrying double the amount of bombs in their standard load, reducing the need for mobility aircraft to ferry the broken down bombs closer to the fight. “The Strike Eagle can now carry enough JDAMs for an active combat mission, land at a remote location, and reload itself and/or another aircraft—such as an F-35 or F-22—for additional combat sorties,” 85th Test and Evaluation Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Jacob Lindaman said in a release.
C-5M India

Travis C-5M Airlifts Coronavirus Aid to India

An Air Force C-5M loaded with COVID-19 relief supplies left Travis Air Force Base, Calif., on April 28 for New Delhi, India, as that country struggles with a large outbreak of the virus that has stressed its health care system. The C-5M, from the 60th Air Mobility Wing, carried oxygen cylinders with regulators, N95 masks, and rapid testing kits to Indira Gandhi International Airport, according to U.S. Transportation Command. The flight is the first of “several large shipments” of supplies from the state of California and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Radar Sweep

This Air Force PJ Heroically Treated 7 Teammates Wounded by a Massive Explosion in Afghanistan

Task & Purpose

Staff Sgt. Michael Rogers was watching a Soldier through his night vision goggles when all of a sudden the world blew up. It was 2019, and the Air Force pararescueman was accompanying an Army Special Forces team on a mission to secure a Taliban ammunition dump in Afghanistan. A few Special Forces Soldiers were sorting through a Taliban stockpile of homemade explosives, mortars, and RPGs when it exploded, throwing the mission into chaos.

The Air Force Is Testing Ways to Use the MQ-9 Drone in Island-Hopping Missions

Military.com

The Air Force Is Testing Ways to Use the MQ-9 Drone in Island-Hopping Missions The U.S. Air Force's principal hunter-killer drone, used for counterterrorism operations for more than a decade, is expanding its sea legs. The service is finishing up another Agile Reaper exercise with the Navy and Marine Corps this week, during which it has tested how quickly Airmen can launch, recover, and rearm the MQ-9 Reaper for its next mission, according to officials from the 49th Wing at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

VIDEO: Nuclear Deterrence Forum: Dr. Matthew Kroenig and Mr. Matthew Costlow

Mitchell Institute YouTube

Nuclear modernization is key to maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrence capability. Matthew Kroenig and Matthew Costlow, two established experts in nuclear deterrence strategy and policy, join the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies to discuss the modernization of the ICBM force; how our nuclear deterrent affects our allies, partners, and adversaries; and what China and Russia's modernization means for our own nuclear forces.

VIDEO: A Look at StellarXplorers

The Oklahoma News Report YouTube

StellarXplorers is a national high school space challenge sponsored by several organizations including the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Air Force Association. Two Oklahoma City-area high school teams made the finals this year and as Steve Shaw reports: when you shoot for the stars, there's no telling just how high you'll fly.

Space Force Holds Space Engagement Talks with Israeli Air Force

Executive Gov

Officials from the U.S. Space Force and Air Force held discussions with the Israeli air force on space-related efforts that can present future opportunities for the U.S. and Israel to coordinate and work together to ensure the peaceful use of the space domain.

U.S. And Israel Concerned Over Growing Drone Threat from Iran

Forbes

The U.S. and Israel will establish an interagency working group “on the growing threat of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAVs] and Precision Guided Missiles produced by Iran and provided to its proxies in the Middle East Region,” according to a statement from the White House following bilateral talks.

Air Force NTS-3 Navigation Satellite to Launch in 2023

Space News

The Air Force Research Laboratory is planning a 2023 launch of the NTS-3 experimental satellite the U.S. military will use for positioning, navigation, and timing. AFRL previously announced the launch would be in 2022, but the mission will slip into 2023, AFRL Commander Brig. Gen. Heather L. Pringle told reporters April 28.

New Kessel Run Software for Speedy Targeting Gets ACC OK

Breaking Defense

The Air Force’s Kessel Run coding “factory” has just fielded new software to speed targeting by the service’s far-flung Air Operations Centers—aimed at supporting Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2).

Air Mobility Command Works to Modernize the Flight Line

Fed Scoop

The Air Force command that oversees logistics for global flights is working to digitize data to enable more modern maintenance tracking of its aircraft. Air Mobility Command will work with Xage, a cybersecurity company specializing in zero-trust architecture, through a contract awarded by the Air Force Research Lab.

OPINION: No ICBMs? Big Problems

Defense One

“After dispelling unfounded fears of false alarms, placing the question of cost in context, and seriously considering the unpleasant consequences of eliminating ICBMs from the U.S. nuclear force, the U.S. decision to proceed with GBSD appears well founded. ICBMs cannot do everything, but they are essential to the most important thing: deterring nuclear war,” writes Matthew R. Costlow, a senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy and author of “Safety in Diversity: The Strategic Value of ICBMs and GBSD in the Nuclear Triad.”

One More Thing

China Launches First Module of New Space Station

BBC News

The Tianhe module - which contains living quarters for crew members - was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Centre on a Long March-5B rocket. China hopes to have the new station operational by 2022. The only space station currently in orbit is the International Space Station, from which China is excluded.