B-21 to Fly in December 2021; More B-52s to Come Out of Boneyard

The Air Force’s new stealth bomber will fly in December 2021, and the service continues to review its options for how to structure the future bomber fleet, service Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said July 24. More B-52s may be brought out of the boneyard and returned to active service, but USAF may not decide before the next budget how to phase in the B-21 while phasing out the B-1 and B-2, if it does so, Wilson said. However, the service can’t afford to have four bombers in service, he asserted. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Multi-Domain Ops Push Turns to Joint Force

LAS VEGAS—A high-level governance body could soon emerge to help oversee how the Defense Department collectively pursues multi-domain operations, an Air Force official tells Air Force Magazine. To truly succeed at quickly calling up any combat capability, anytime and anywhere, multi-domain operations can’t solely be an Air Force venture. One of the first attempts to broaden multi-domain operations to the joint force will take place at a command and control experimentation center at Nellis AFB, Nev., known as the “Shadow Operations Center.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Wright: Housing Issues Improving with Faster Maintenance, Companies Held to Account

The widespread issues of unsafe and substandard housing at Air Force bases have gotten better, with companies being held accountable and maintenance requests answered more promptly, the top enlisted airmen said July 24. An in-depth, in-person review of thousands of housing units across the Air Force showed staggering problems with on-base housing. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Norquist Appears Set for Prompt Confirmation as Deputy Defense Secretary

David Norquist, the nominee to be the Pentagon’s No. 2, appears set for a quick confirmation in the same vein as his new boss. Norquist, who was officially nominated July 23 to be deputy defense secretary, appeared before a cordial Senate Armed Services Committee for a July 24 nomination hearing where several lawmakers said they look forward to confirming him. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Senators Consider Path Forward for Hyten Confirmation

The Senate Armed Services Committee hopes to decide whether to move forward with US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten’s confirmation to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a July 25 meeting, a committee spokesperson told Air Force Magazine. Lawmakers are mulling whether to proceed after receiving allegations that the four-star general made unwanted sexual advances toward another senior military officer. An Air Force investigation was unable to find enough evidence to back up Hyten’s accuser’s claims about an incident that allegedly occurred in 2017. The Associated Press reported Hyten kissed, hugged, and rubbed up against one of his female aides, who met with senators to discuss the claims in a closed session July 23. Hyten is expected to speak to lawmakers at the classified session July 25. —Rachel S. Cohen

Air Force Names Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2019

The Air Force has named its twelve Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2019, according to an Air Force Personnel Center release. The winners, the service’s top enlisted airmen based on their leadership, professional performance, and personal accolades, represent several commands from across the Air Force, plus the Air National Guard and the Air Force District of Washington. They are: Air Force Materiel Command’s MSgt. Jahara Brown, Air Force Reserve Command’s SSgt. Caryn Frederick, Pacific Air Forces’ SMSgt. Sylvetris Hlongwane, Air Education and Training Command’s SrA. Gary Jeffrey III, Air Combat Command’s SMSgt. Andrew Kehl, Air Force Space Command’s TSgt. Inna Lvova, Air Force Global Strike Command’s SMSgt. Philip McAlpin Jr., the Air National Guard’s TSgt. Andrew Merrylees, Air Force Special Operations Command’s TSgt. Kenneth O’Brien, US Air Forces in Europe’s SrA. Misty Richmond, Air Force District of Washington’s SrA. Justin Starks, and Air Mobility Command’s SSgt. Christopher Stuebbe. The airmen will be presented with their OAY ribbons during this year’s AFA Air, Space & Cyber Conference, being held Sept. 16-18, in National Harbor, Md. The airmen will be allowed to wear the OAY badge for a year from the day of the award presentation.––Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

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Hecker Nominated to Lead Air University

Maj. Gen. James Hecker has been nominated to receive his third star and take over as president of Air University, the Pentagon announced July 24. Hecker is currently the vice director of operations for the Joint Staff, and had previously been the commander of air operations for the war in Afghanistan. In his new position, Hecker would relieve Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, whose next assignment has not been announced. Air University, located at Maxwell AFB, Ala., provides military education from pre-commissioning to degree-based and continuing education for officers, enlisted personnel, and civilians.—Brian Everstine



Turkey Hints at Cutting Off Access to Incirlik if US Is “Hostile” over S-400 Purchase

Turkey’s minister of foreign affairs spoke out against the United States’ decision to remove the NATO ally from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, as well as the looming possibility the Trump administration could impose sanctions on the country. Military.com

US Air Force Has Withheld $360M—and Counting—for Boeing’s Tanker Woes

The US Air Force has withheld $360 million from Boeing due to problems with the company’s KC-46 tanker, according to a service official. It’s the first time the Air Force has disclosed the total amount being held back until Boeing fixes various problems with the planes. Defense One

F-35 Canopy: New Glue, New Supplier May Boost Readiness

The government office that runs the F-35 program says the plane should meet the mandated readiness rate of 80 percent by 2020 if the problems with the plane’s canopies and spare parts shortages can be fixed. Breaking Defense

OPINION: The US Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance Program is Key to Mission Success

“Budget cuts enacted by the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee targeting the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance, or NGAD, program are putting the future of the nation’s air superiority at risk,” write retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute, and Doug Birkey, its executive director. Defense News

Griffin Confident New Space Agency Will Win Over Skeptics

The SDA does not yet have the authorities and funding in place to award contracts, but companies are still being asked to submit ideas for a future space architecture. Space News

Electronic Warfare Spending on the Rise

The Defense Department plans to boost investment in electronic warfare capabilities as it gears up for great power competition. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told National Defense that EW is the No. 1 functional area where investments need to be made in the coming years. National Defense Magazine

NORTHCOM Says US, Canada Must Maintain “Clear-Eyed” View of Arctic Threats

The United States and Canada must maintain a “clear-eyed” view of new security challenges in the Arctic, to include the ability of Russian submarines to launch cruise missiles from the region, the head of US Northern Command said on July 22. USNI News

Senate Confirms Former Delta Executive as FAA Administrator

A former Air Force pilot and Delta Air Lines executive has been confirmed by the Senate to lead the Federal Aviation Administration after overcoming opposition from Democrats who claim that he mistreated a whistleblower during his tenure at Delta. Associated Press via US News & World Report

Pentagon’s DEOS Award Could Be Coming Sooner Than Expected

The Pentagon’s multibillion-dollar Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract could be awarded as soon as August despite soliciting bids from industry in April. As recently as June, Defense Department Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy told reporters DEOS would likely be awarded a month or two after JEDI, but the timeline has accelerated. Nextgov

Esper Creates Task Force to Deal with Cancer-Causing Chemicals on Military Installations

On his first full day as secretary of defense, Mark Esper announced that he signed a memo establishing a task force to deal with cancer-causing chemicals found on military bases. The purpose, he told reporters at the Pentagon, is to “address all the key areas” of the military’s response to the presence of harmful chemicals used in firefighting foam. Military Times

One More Thing…

A Closer Look at North Korea’s "New" Missile Submarine

North Korea released a number of images of Kim Jong-un inspecting a new submarine. The images show the North Korean leader touring what appears to be a submarine in drydock, under construction. Experts believe the new sub will carry nuclear-tipped missiles that could be used to threaten US military bases in Japan and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Popular Mechanics