Air Force, Air Tractor Move Past Light-Attack Bid Protest

The Government Accountability Office recently dismissed a short-lived bid protest filed by Air Tractor regarding the Air Force’s effort to vet and buy light-attack planes. “Air Tractor Inc. protested the Air Force solicitation notice of contracting action, and the protest was dismissed after the Air Force elected to take corrective action,” service spokesman Capt. Jake Bailey said Aug. 12. Air Tractor protested to GAO on June 6, according to the watchdog’s website. The protest was dismissed June 28. Air Tractor pitched a variant of its AT-802 armed crop duster with L3 Technologies for the light-attack experiment in 2017. Sierra Nevada Corp. and Embraer’s A-29 and Textron Aviation’s AT-6B are the only aircraft still standing after two rounds of experimentation. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Kentucky Guard Pilot Receives Distinguished Flying Cross for Saving C-130

A Kentucky Air National Guard pilot on Aug. 10 received the Distinguished Flying Cross for averting disaster when his C-130 began a potentially fatal descent in 2016. Lt. Col. John Hourigan, a Hercules pilot with the 123rd Airlift Wing of the Kentucky Air National Guard, ordered that an engine be shut down as the aircraft violently shook and lost altitude during a training mission. Investigators later discovered the engine suffered a propeller failure. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

DOD Looks to Use Afghanistan as Cloud, AI Proving Ground

Afghanistan can serve as a proving ground for the Pentagon’s future cloud infrastructure known as JEDI, as artificial-intelligence algorithms are introduced into America’s nearly 20-year war, Defense Department officials suggested in a recent media roundtable. The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud can pair with other, closed-off military clouds and systems so troops can access information from anywhere. Officials see applications for both AI algorithms and a new cloud to hold the data in Afghanistan, and the Pentagon’s chief information officer will head overseas to look at how forces manage their data in theater now. A JEDI contract award to Amazon or Microsoft is now slated for this fall at the earliest because source-selection work was put on hold during a failed bid protest by Oracle. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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First KC-46s Delivered to Pease, Another to McConnell

The Air Force’s KC-46 fleet is growing. Last week, Boeing delivered three KC-46s—one for McConnell AFB, Kan., and two for Pease ANGB, N.H. The Aug. 8 deliveries to Pease were the first next-generation tankers for the Air National Guard, as the base expects to have 12-aircraft Pegasus fleet. The deliveries come as the aircraft continues to test its refueling system, including multi-point refueling of an F/A-18 from both the KC-46’s wing pods and center drogue system. The KC-46 is also testing its main refueling boom on the F-16, according to Boeing. —Brian Everstine

A-10 Rewinging Effort Concludes

The Air Force has wrapped up its effort to rewing its A-10 fleet so the Thunderbolt can keep flying through the 2030s. The Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill AFB, Utah, recently installed the last set of new wings on A-10 No. 80-0252. The plan to install 173 new wings began in 2011, and all but 11 were installed at Ogden, according to a Hill release. The effort began with a $1.1 billion contract to Boeing in 2007, but temporarily ended in 2016 in part because of cost, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Holmes said in early 2018. Funding returned in the fiscal 2019 budget that allowed the Air Force to finish the job. The Air Force expects the new wings to last for the equivalent of about 10,000 flight hours without a depot inspection, according to the release. —Brian Everstine

DOD Identifies Marine Killed in Iraq

Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer, 35, was killed Aug. 10 in combat in Iraq, the Pentagon said Aug. 11. Small arms fire killed the special operations Marine who was supporting Iraqi security forces in an undisclosed region of the country. A native of Mancos, Colo., Koppenhafer was assigned to the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion of Marine Special Forces Operations Command at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He is survived by his wife and two children. —Brian Everstine

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An article in the Aug. 12 Daily Report incorrectly listed which AFSOC C-130s were inspected for cracks and cleared. The correct aircraft are the AC-130W and EC-130J. We have updated the original story.



Blue Origin Files Protest Over “Flawed” Air Force Launch Procurement

Blue Origin filed a “pre-award” protest with the US Government Accountability Office, arguing that the rules set by the Air Force do not allow for a fair and open competition. Space News

The Air Force is All In On Software

The Air Force is betting big on its digital future. The service is coming to grips with the new norm that to be successful in future conflicts, it needs to become adept in the practice of software coding and adoption. C4ISRNET

SOCOM Plans New Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Advancements in technology are spurring Special Operations Command to examine how it can improve its artificial intelligence capabilities on a data-driven battlefield. National Defense Magazine

No Deal Announced as US, Taliban Wrap Up Latest Talks

The latest round of talks between the Taliban and the United States ended early Aug. 12 without any sign a peace deal had been reached for Afghanistan, as both sides said they would consult with their leaderships on the next steps. Associated Press

State Dept. IG: Hiring Freeze Hurt Border Security, Counterterrorism, and Other Priorities

The State Department’s 16-month hiring freeze, instituted at the start of the Trump administration, hurt activities across the department’s vast operational landscape, according to its internal watchdog, and the nation’s diplomats and support staff are still struggling to recover. Defense One

Allegations of Sexual Assault, Cocaine Use Among SEAL Teams Prompt “Culture” Review

In the wake of several high-profile scandals, including allegations of sexual assault and cocaine use against Navy SEAL team members, the four-star general in charge of all US special operations has ordered a review of the culture and ethics of the elite units. CNN

New “Bombshell” Legal Opinion Says Military Retirees Can’t Be Court-Martialed

A new legal opinion from the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals says court-martialing military retirees is unconstitutional—and the reason concerns the issue of retirement pay.

DIO Supports Further Renovation of RAF Lakenheath

Work is about to begin at RAF Lakenheath to renovate the United States Visiting Forces security forces facilities as part of an ongoing programme of improvements to the base. UK Ministry of Defence release

North Korea’s New Weapons, and How They Affect Trump’s Nuclear Deal Hopes, Explained

It’s been nearly six months since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for their failed summit in Vietnam, where they were unable to make progress on a nuclear deal that would have proved a legacy-defining achievement for the American leader. But the months since have seemingly put that goal out of reach. Kim has shown off no fewer than four new, advanced weapons since the Hanoi meeting in February. Vox

Russia Builds New Island Helicopter Base in Gulf of Finland

Russian engineers have built a new helicopter base on Moscow’s most westerly Baltic island, Gogland, in the Gulf of Finland, TV Zvezda military news and other Russian media quoted the Western Military District press service as saying on Aug. 7. Jane’s Defence Weekly

One More Thing

Here Is How the Pentagon Comes Up with Code Words and Secret Project Nicknames

If there’s one place one can find plenty of nicknames, it’s within the sprawling landscape of the armed forces. When it comes to the greater civilian world, there’s no historical precedent or agreed upon social norm for how someone or something gains a substitute informal title. However, given the Defense Department’s fondness of rigid structure, it should be no surprise that when it comes to nicknames, there’s a policy for them, too. The Drive