Q&A with USAF’s Manpower Chief Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly

The Air Force recently has been circulating a new officer promotion concept aimed at giving non-rated officers in critical specialties a better shot at pinning on higher rank. In a June interview with USAF Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services, Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force Magazine asked about the pluses and minuses of the new concept, the next steps in getting it approved, as well as the latest on fixing the pilot shortage, enlisted pilots, and a refresh of USAF’s expeditionary force-presentation models. Read the Q&A by John A. Tirpak and Tobias Naegele, which will appear in the July/August issue of Air Force Magazine.

USAF MQ-9 Presence in Eastern Europe Shifts South

MIROSLAWIEC AB, Poland, and CAMPIA TURZII, Romania—The Air Force has shifted the eyes of its newly stood up MQ-9 detachment in Europe south, temporarily moving the small number of deployed Reapers from Poland to Romania. The MQ-9s of the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Det. 2 moved to Campia Turzii, Romania, from Miroslawiec AB, Poland, because of construction on the Polish base. The new operating location gives the contractor-owned, contractor-operated Reapers a closer look at the Balkans. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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AEROnet Gets an Audience

As the Air Force revamps its approach to the high-profile light-attack experiment, it is beginning to tout another aspect of the program to partners and allies: AEROnet. The Airborne Extensible Relay Over-Horizon Network, or AEROnet, is a prototype air-to-air and air-to-ground radio system that lets militaries share video, voice, and chat communications as well as command and control for less than $500,000. The Air Force developed it in tandem with the light-attack experiment so that all nations who invested in the new close air support program could share information more easily. But AEROnet offers broader possibilities outside of light attack, officials argue, and already has made its way to Europe and South America. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

USAF: New Raytheon Bomb Ready for Real-World Vetting

The Air Force’s top weapons development official says Raytheon’s Small Diameter Bomb II, or “StormBreaker,” is ready for primetime despite needing to work out some lingering issues with data links and other parts. “Getting them out into the field, right now I think that’s the best way for us to wring this out,” Air Force Weapons Program Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo said at a recent Air Force Life Cycle Management Center conference. “Get it into the hands of the people using it, figure out what they can do with it that we did not think of, figure out what things are happening in the operational environment that we were not able to replicate and test, and then feed that back into successive upgrades.” The Air Force plans to buy 12,000 SDB IIs and will fly them on a broad swath of the combat aircraft inventory. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Air Force Materiel Command Rolls Out “AFMC We Need” Initiative

Air Force Material Command has unveiled the “AFMC We Need” initiative to ensure the command’s structure and resourcing are strategically equipped to back up the National Defense Strategy. “The wide-reaching initiative will study command processes, resources, and command and control structure,” according to a July 2 AFMC release. The effort, which will run through the middle of August, includes an anonymous online survey and will culminate in “a series of recommendations and point papers” that will be given to leaders to review and act upon. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Space is the Next Frontier for Museum of the US Air Force

The Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, is addressing perceived shortfalls in its presentations by preparing new exhibits on space, the enlisted force, and women in the service, director David Tillotson said during a recent visit to the facility. Tillotson said the Museum is renowned for hardware and technology displays, but now will work harder to tell “people stories.” Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.



Boeing Begins EMD Flight Trials for T-X Trainer

Boeing has begun engineering and manufacturing development flight trials of the T-X trainer aircraft it has developed with partner Saab for the US Air Force. Jane’s Defence Weekly

Cyber Command Warns of New Attacks and Malware Potentially Linked to Iran

United States Cyber Command is warning that hackers are using a security flaw in Microsoft’s Outlook email program, while also uploading new malware to an archive used by cybersecurity researchers that one expert believes is connected to an infamous Iranian attack. Axios

As Acting Air Force Secretary, Donovan Takes Lead Role Advocating for Independent Space Force

In the weeks since he became acting Secretary of the Air Force, Matthew Donovan has used his bully pulpit to advocate for the establishment of a separate space service. With Congress just weeks away from taking decisive action on the issue, Donovan said he will continue to press the case on Capitol Hill. Space News

Pentagon Eyes Military Space Station

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit wants options for an unmanned orbital outpost to support space experiments and operations––a logistics hub that might even grow, DIU’s solicitation suggests, to a larger manned space station. Breaking Defense

How 2 Space Norway Satellites will Help the Air Force in the Arctic

Two Norwegian satellites will host the core components of the US Air Force’s next generation satellite communications system for the Arctic, Northrop Grumman announced July 3. C4ISRNET

Pentagon Looks into Virtual Reality to Prepare Troops for Nuclear War

The tech would let troops run through more exercises more frequently and at less cost than traditional training in the real world. Nextgov

OPINION: The Shape of Airpower

In the first of a two-part series, called “Shapes,” USAF Col. Mike Pietrucha, an electronic warfare officer instructor and the last American aviator to reach 1,000 operational hours in the Phantom II, examines the assumptions behind how the Air Force designs its combat aviation at the enterprise level, rather than at the aircraft level. War On The Rocks

Watch the Aircraft that Flew over Trump’s July 4 Extravaganza

Standing in a steady drizzle and flanked by the nation’s top military leaders, President Donald Trump turned the National Mall into an airshow on the evening of July 4 as aircraft from all four services and the Coast Guard roared over the Lincoln Memorial in a loud, proud celebration of the birth of America 243 years ago. Military Times

One More Thing

ACC Commander Dogfights Son in Twitch Live-Stream

The commander of Air Combat Command and his son fought each other live on a Twitch stream June 29, in a combat flight action video game. Gen. Mike Holmes pitted his skill with the F-15 against 1st Lt. Wade Holmes and his F-16 in this exhibition match designed to highlight the Air Force’s pilot community and to answer questions from viewers about military service. USAF release