Daily Report

Sept. 16, 2019

Mobility Guardian Preparing AMC for Future Conflict

FAIRCHILD AFB, Wash.—Air Mobility Command’s war of the future is playing out right now in the rolling mountains and plains of the Inland Northwest. The command recently kicked off Mobility Guardian 2019, the second iteration of its premier exercise, on a size and scale the command has not trained before. For three weeks, AMC aircraft, representatives from other services, and 30 international partners are fighting their way through complicated threat simulations that affect aircraft and bases alike. The command is learning how to be more agile in an era where advanced enemies can stymie USAF operations at all levels. “We always just assume we’re going to be able to go into a permissive big base. Those days are over,” exercise director Lt. Col. Joseph Monaco said. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Boeing Floats Two-Step Solution for KC-46 Cargo Issue

Boeing is proposing a two-step solution to address a major new deficiency with its KC-46 tanker, which limits the aircraft’s ability to carry personnel or cargo. Air Mobility Command on Sept. 11 revealed the deficiency and the restrictions it imposed after multiple incidents in which cargo restraint devices broke free during operational test and evaluation flights. First, the company is eyeing tie-down straps to allow the KC-46 to resume some cargo flights. Second, the company is testing a separate, “robust” fix for the locking mechanism. It plans to present proposals to the Air Force the week of Sept. 15. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Northrop Grumman Rebuffs Bid to Partner with Boeing on New ICBM

Northrop Grumman has rejected a Boeing overture to form a joint team on the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent nuclear missile, intended to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, Boeing said in a Sept. 13 statement. The move leaves Northrop as the sole anticipated bidder for the contract, expected to be at least $85 billion. “In our discussions to date, Northrop Grumman has expressed that they are not interested in partnering with Boeing to form a best-of-industry GBSD team,” a Boeing spokesman said in an email. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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Senators Worry USAF’s Spending Decisions Will Hurt Future Force

Senate appropriators are scolding the Air Force for what lawmakers see as misguided spending decisions that are now carrying into the service’s five-year funding plan, despite ever-growing Pentagon budgets. As part of a multibillion-dollar fiscal 2020 USAF budget proposal, the Senate Appropriations Committee wrote that in the past three years, the Air Force had the “opportunity to make responsible and deliberate strategic budgeting decisions as well as plan for the prospect of a topline leveling or downturn.” “The committee fears that the lack of strategic budgeting decisions, which can be delayed in the current budget environment, could have a detrimental impact on the effectiveness of the Air Force in the future budget environment,” lawmakers said. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Air Force Strategy Provides Pathway for AI Rollout

The Air Force on Sept. 12 published an artificial-intelligence strategy recognizing that, in order to take full advantage of data-crunching algorithms, the service must modernize the technology airmen use to do their jobs every day. The strategy, an annex of the Defense Department’s own AI plan, lays out five focus areas to help the Air Force move through a process that will lead it to daily operational use of self-learning software. “Everyone is responsible to purposefully consider and attempt to include AI in everything we do,” the strategy states. “Exploration, prototyping, and collaboration are not only encouraged, but critical to our future.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Esper to Take Airmen’s Questions at 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference

Newly minted Defense Secretary Mark Esper will take questions from airmen Sept. 18 at AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference, AFA Executive Vice President and retired USAF Maj. Gen. Douglas Raaberg said. “What a great way for airmen and their families to ask the secretary of defense how this service meets the needs of the National Defense Strategy,” Raaberg said. This will be his first major address as secretary to members of the Air Force community. The choice to take questions in such an event bears out Esper’s promise to engage the press and informing the American public about the Defense Department’s work. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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Five Things You Don’t Want to Miss at AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference

AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference kicks off Sept. 16 in National Harbor, Md., bringing together the entire Air Force family—enlisted, officers, civilians, industry, academia, and Capitol Hill—to explore perspectives and focus on “expanding the competitive edge” of the Air Force. This year’s event will boast an all-star cast of keynote speakers and a slate of sessions touching on everything from space and innovation to Mosaic Warfare and family resilience. But since such a packed agenda can be intimidating, here’s a starter list of five things you won’t want to miss. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Former CMSAF Gerald Murray Elected Chairman of AFA Board

Gerald Murray, the 14th chief master sergeant of the Air Force, will become the next chairman of the Air Force Association, replacing F. Whitten Peters on Oct. 1. Peters, a former secretary of the Air Force, held the chairman post for the past three years. Murray ran unopposed and was elected without objection to a one-year term Sept. 14. He will be the second former enlisted leader to hold the association’s top volunteer leadership position. Read the full story by Tobias Naegele.

Mitchell Institute Announces New Moseley Chair for Aerospace Research

AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies announced Sept. 13 the establishment of the Gen. T. Michael Moseley Chair for Aerospace Research. Made possible through the financial support of Air Force veteran H. Ross Perot, Jr., and named for Moseley, the 18th Air Force chief of staff, the new chair will focus on policy research supporting air and space power in the 21st century, according to Mitchell’s dean, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula. Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem, a recognized expert in national security, aerospace power, and combat aircraft operations, will occupy the new chair. Over more than 30 years as a fighter pilot, commander and strategist, Stutzriem was also a professor of national security studies at the National War College and pioneered time-sensitive targeting in Afghanistan. He was acting deputy secretary of state for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and later helped forge the nation’s first Arctic defense strategy as strategy, plans, and policy director for US Northern Command. Deptula announced the appointment at a special Mitchell Institute panel discussion, “An Evening with the Chiefs." Moseley and current Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein shared a stage for the first time to offer their unique perspectives on the Air Force’s past and future. —Tobias Naegele

Correction

The article “Goldfein to Present Air Force Cross to JTAC for 2017 Afghanistan Action” in Friday’s Daily Report incorrectly described TSgt. Daniel Keller’s specialty. He is a Joint Tactical Attack Controller.

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RADAR SWEEP

The Growing Pains of the Pentagon’s New Space Acquisition Arm

The Trump administration’s plans to overhaul military space operations is well underway with a new warfighting headquarters in the US Space Command and bipartisan support in Congress for establishing a dedicated Space Force within the Air Force. Politico

US Poised to Send 150 Troops to Patrol Northeastern Syria

The Pentagon is preparing to send about 150 troops to northeastern Syria to conduct ground patrols with Turkish forces, reversing at least temporarily a withdrawal from Syria that President Donald Trump ordered last December. The new troop deployment, which has not been previously reported, is part of an expanding series of military and diplomatic steps the United States has taken in recent weeks to defuse escalating tensions with Turkey, a NATO ally, over American support for Syrian Kurdish fighters. New York Times (subscription required)

US Might Still Sanction Turkey for Buying S-400 from Russia

The United States is still considering levying sanctions on Turkey for buying Russian S-400 air-defense batteries, a top State Department official said Sept. 12. R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary for political-military affairs, said the potential new measures would supplement the Trump administration’s decision to kick Turkey out of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. Defense One

Taliban Visits Moscow Days after Trump Says Talks “Dead”

A negotiating team from the Taliban arrived Sept. 13 in Russia, a representative said, just days after US President Donald Trump declared dead a deal with the insurgent group in Afghanistan. Russian state news agency Tass cited the Taliban’s Qatar-based spokesman Suhail Shaheen as saying the delegation had held consultations with Zamir Kabulov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Afghanistan. Associated Press

Study Explores the Idea of Allowing Some Military Reservists to Work From Home or Be Non-Deployable

The military’s reserve component has a chronic under-manning problem. A new report from RAND Corp. suggests some ways to fix that, including some ideas that would rock the traditional structure of military service, even for part-timers. Military Times

The Pentagon Needs to Make More Software Open Source, Watchdog Says

The White House in 2016 required every agency to make at least 20 percent of its custom software available for reuse across the government, but the Pentagon isn’t even halfway there, according to the Government Accountability Office. Nextgov

BAE Sees Big Business in Light-Attack Aircraft Component Market

BAE Systems has cast its eye on the light-attack and jet trainer market and sees an opportunity to be a one-stop shop for the aircrafts’ electronic systems and other subcomponents, a company executive said Sept. 12 on the sidelines of the Defence and Security Equipment International conference. National Defense Magazine

Defense Department Says "Forever Chemical" Cleanup Costs Will Dwarf Earlier Estimates

Military leaders said Sept. 12 that “forever chemical” contamination costs are likely to surpass their original $2 billion estimate as Congress works to push the Defense Department to clean up contaminated water across the country. The Hill

Administration Releases $250 Million in Ukraine Military Aid

The Trump administration has released $250 million in military aid to Ukraine that had been held up despite criticism that the money was desperately needed to deter Russian aggression and territorial expansion. Associated Press

One More Thing

Watch a Hypersonic Sled Track Test at Edwards

This sled is traveling at 6,599 mph (Mach 8.6) in the video and was several miles away from the camera when it began, so it’s covering over a mile roughly every second. Edwards AFB on Instagram