Experts Urge USAF to Hang on to Bombers, Invest in Long-Range Systems

Analysts who studied the Air Force’s long-term equipment needs urged that the service delay retiring any of its existing bombers until deliveries of the new B-21 stealth bomber are well underway. The experts, who led congressionally mandated studies at the MITRE Corp. and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, also pushed for generally longer-range systems, an open-ended purchase of aerial refueling aircraft, and speedy acquisition of the F-35 to help the Air Force meet its strategic needs in the coming decades. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

AFCENT Boss: As Space Threats Grow, US Needs to Know Who’s Out There

The Pentagon, building up its ability to identify and respond to nontraditional, faceless attacks on cyber networks, may soon face a similar problem: how to figure out who’s behind provocations or outright damage in space. Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the commander of US Air Forces Central Command, said at a Sept. 6 AFA Mitchell Institute breakfast on Capitol Hill that attribution in space will be a growing challenge for the Air Force as the domain—and people’s ability to affect it—evolves. “[Enemies] see us leveraging capability, they’ll try to counter it,” he told reporters. “If they can affordably counter it, even though they’re not a state actor, they will. Bad guys will use space to enable themselves, and we try to stop that from happening.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Mattis Calls for More Action to Combat Climate Change

Climate change’s ability to spur social conflicts and geological shifts across the globe should concern both the Pentagon and the public at large, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at a Sept. 6 book talk in Washington, D.C. While the retired Marine Corps general said he used to avoid conversations about what might be driving the planet’s rising temperatures “because I was military,” he argued the Pentagon must confront the issue. “If there is a chance that it’s climate change and it can be as potentially catastrophic as some think it could be, wouldn’t it be good to have an insurance policy” he said. Mattis discussed melting sea ice and drought as national security concerns and said a plan introduced by the Climate Leadership Council—which would levy a fee on entities whose mines, wells, or ports emit carbon dioxide and return those proceeds to individual Americans—makes sense. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory and Rachel S. Cohen.

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USAF Deputy CIO: Changing IT Acquisition Makes Contractors Responsible for Security

As the Air Force starts to buy information technology services like any other commodity, the service’s contractors and vendors will be increasingly central to its cybersecurity, the service’s Deputy Chief Information Officer Bill Marion said Sept. 5. “We have to flip the whole paradigm” of cybersecurity, moving from a view with the Air Force at the center to one where the service’s vendors are doing the heavy lifting, he told the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, D.C. The new paradigm implied that defense officials might need advance information about business moves by contractors, he said. Read the full story by Shaun Waterman.

F-35A Demo Team Moving to Hill AFB’s 388th FW

The Air Force’s F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team is moving to Utah. The Air Combat Command-sponsored team will relocate from Luke AFB, Ariz., to Hill AFB, Utah, starting in the 2020 airshow season, according to a 388th Fighter Wing release. And instead of falling under the purview of Air Education and Training Command, the team will be reassigned to the 388th, which is charged with ensuring the readiness of and deploying, operating, and sustaining the F-35A around the globe. "We’re excited to be able to demonstrate that power, speed, and maneuverability to audiences around the world,” 388th FW Commander Col. Steven Behmer said in the release. The team’s 2020 roster, pilot, and performance schedule have yet to be finalized. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

Outstanding Airmen of the Year Spotlight: TSgt. Inna A. Lvova

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2019 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference Sept. 16-18. Air Force Magazine is highlighting one each workday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor TSgt. Inna A. Lvova from Air Force Space Command.

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Air Force Crew Made an Odd Stop on a Routine Trip: Trump’s Scottish Resort

In early spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the US to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland. Politico

Air Force Space Commander Warns the Military Needs Better Intelligence

If satellites in orbit become targets during a conflict, will US forces have adequate intelligence to prevent and thwart attacks? Space News

Air Force to Spend $31M to Research How Lasers, Energy Weapons Affect Operators

The service awarded a research contract to General Dynamics IT to gain insights into how directed energy weapons affect the humans using them. NextGov

AFGSC Wins Air Force Organizational Excellence Award

By direction of the Air Force Secretary, Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command has been awarded the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award for the period of Jan. 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2017. USAF release

Here’s Why the Army’s Not Afraid to Send Its Future Helos Against Russian Air Defenses

US Army conventional and special operations aviation officials on Sept. 5 refuted a recent think tank report that claims the service’s futuristic helicopters will be "blown out of the sky" by Russian anti-aircraft defenses. Much of the Army’s modernization effort is focused on penetrating advanced anti-access/area denial networks—ranging from sophisticated air defense systems to complex jamming weapons—with long-range precision fires and a new generation of combat helicopters being developed under the Future Vertical Lift effort.

How AI Will Predict Chinese and Russian Moves in the Pacific

As Pacific Air Forces builds a picture of normal traffic, they’ll start looking for suspicious patterns—and even predict what’s coming. Defense One

The Next Battlefield: Robots & AI in Cislunar Space

Maj. Gen. John Shaw, Air Force Space Command deputy, said the military will eventually need to have autonomous robots and AI systems as it evolves its space warfighting range to the Moon and beyond. Breaking Defense

Competing of the Minds: Air Force Spark Tank 2020 Open for Submissions

The Sept. 27 deadline is soon approaching to devise and board ideas for the third annual Spark Tank Competition, which takes place at AFA’s 2020 Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 26, 2020. USAF release

Mitchell Institute Launches New Aerospace Information Resource

AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is launching a new information resource website today, Aerospace Power for the 21st Century. The new website will be an educational source to explore aerospace power’s role in achieving US national security objectives, and features details on the history of aerospace power, modern threats, future trends, current capabilities, and budget resources. The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

One More Thing

THE GATE RUNNER: How a Bizarre Breach at Mildenhall Transformed Base Security Across the Air Force

The Dec. 18, 2017, gate breach incident at RAF Mildenhall, UK, prompted the Air Force to do some serious soul-searching about how it handles base security—both in terms of infrastructure and its security forces’ tactics, training and procedures—and make changes to ensure something like that doesn’t happen again. Air Force Times obtained documents on the incident, including a use of force review, witness statements, a two-star general-led Tiger Team’s review, and emails between Air Force leadership via the Freedom of Information Act. Air Force Times