USAF Hits 2019 Personnel Goals, Facing Retention Ripple Effects

The Air Force met its recruitment and end-strength goals for fiscal 2019, but Active Duty retention successes are partially driving fewer service members to join the Reserve. The Air Force added 4,700 Total Force airmen in 2019 to reach 506,200 uniformed members, while competing for pilots and people in other professions in hot commercial markets with low unemployment. As the service convinces people to stay on Active Duty, though, the pool of prospective Reservists shrinks. Meanwhile, the Air National Guard was on track to exceed its end-strength goal for 2019 and wants to add around 500 more in 2020, its top officer said. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen and Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

DODIG: Not All USAFA Sexual Assault Cases Were Reported to Congress

A Defense Department Inspector General investigation published Oct. 2 found that the Pentagon failed to tell Congress about 11 sexual assault reports that US Air Force Academy cadets lodged with the school’s Family Advocacy Program, despite a legal requirement to do so. DOD also did not inform lawmakers of 24 cases reported from 2015 to 2017, the IG found, though the watchdog could not prove the Air Force was required to submit those reports. The Air Force and higher DOD offices have started work on the inspector general’s recommendations, but the watchdog said it is waiting to see if all suggestions are implemented. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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Patrick AFB Deploys Rescue Crews to Middle East, Africa

More than 100 Reserve airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla., recently deployed to support combat search and rescue missions in the Middle East and Africa. Two squadrons simultaneously left the wing for separate locations, which proved too much for Patrick’s 920th Logistics Readiness Squadron, according to an Oct. 3 Patrick release. So they called in help from other units, including personnel from Moody AFB, Ga.; March ARB, Calif.; and NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas, to move about 80,000 pounds of equipment, gear, and people on a C-5 and civilian aircraft over the course of about two weeks. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

USAF Launches Air Force Justice Information System

The Air Force recently launched a new, online criminal data reporting system aimed at providing “global integrated awareness” about illegal activity impacting airmen and USAF resources. The Air Force Justice Information System is touted as “the most modern” system of its kind in the Defense Department, according to an Oct. 3 Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center release. USAF security forces personnel uploaded the first case to the system in late September. “This is a monumental step in the modernization of [the] security forces criminal data reporting system, providing a centralized hub of criminal data reporting, automatic flagging of federally reporting of offenses, … installation breech tracking and criminal data reporting trends, and analytics that allow for predictive analytics,” said MSgt. Elizabeth Sadler, who headed up its development, in the release. The system cost the service $5.7 million to develop, and stood up in under 10 months, according to AFIMSC. The system is being rolled out in phases, with the goal to go live for the entire service—Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve—by Oct. 31. Experts at Hanscom AFB, Mass., Patrick AFB, Fla., and JB Andrews, Md., are conducting operational testing of the system. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

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North Korea Says Underwater-Launched Missile Test Succeeded

The Oct. 2 test of the Pukguksong-3 missile, which North Korea describes as a type of missile capable of being launched from a submarine, is seen as the North’s most high-profile weapons launch since it began diplomacy with the United States early last year. Some experts say North Korea wants to show the US what would happen if diplomacy fails again. Associated Press

Pentagon’s Top Lawyer to Review All Ukraine-Aid Documents

The Defense Department’s top lawyer is gathering all records and documents related to the Ukrainian aid at the heart of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Jonathan Hoffman, the department’s top spokesman, said. But Hoffman provided no details on when the Pentagon first learned that the $250 million aid package had been frozen, reportedly by the Office of Management and Budget, or why. Defense One

Pentagon to Classify More Acquisition Info, Keep Closer Eye on Fed Employees

Using a slate of new authorities, the Pentagon is looking to classify whole new categories of information surrounding acquisition and procurement, defense officials say. The move comes as the Defense Department takes over as the clearinghouse for security clearances across the federal government, which includes a wide-ranging effort to lock down networks and information shared with the defense industry in an effort to protect data from the prying eyes of Chinese and Russian hackers. Breaking Defense

Defense Department to Tighten Data Security After Settlement with Veterans Group

The Defense Department will revamp its Servicemembers Civil Relief Act databases following charges the online information sites exposed millions of troops’ and veterans’ personal information to identity thieves and scammers, officials announced Oct 3. Leaders from Vietnam Veterans of America, which filed a lawsuit against the department to force the changes, called the move an important step in ensuring that military members’ information is monitored and protected. Military Times

OPINION: Contemporary China: In Conflict, Not Competition
“Most Department of Defense officials tend to classify the current stance with China as a competition. However, instead of a competition, which implies a steady state, I would argue that we are in a mature state of conflict,” writes Timothy Faulkner, a defense intelligence senior-level advisor with US Army Pacific Command. Army University Press

AFIMSC Fiscal Closeout Promotes Readiness, Supports Airmen and Families

The Air Force successfully closed out fiscal 2019 on Sept. 30 by executing a record $7.1 billion in the installation and mission support portfolio. Lt. Col. Laurie Lanpher, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center budget director, said the milestone could not be accomplished without a tremendous team effort. USAF release

The Search for the Counterdrone “Silver Bullet”

When it comes to defending infrastructure, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The combined drone-and-cruise missile attack on an Aramco refinery in Saudi Arabia that took place Sept. 14 revealed limitations of the particular defenses in place, and companies that make counterdrone systems leapt at the opportunity to promise an answer to at least some of the threat. C4ISRNET

OPINION: Keep History Flying: Warbirds in the Wake of the B-17 Crash

“This week’s tragedy weighs heavily upon us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives, those injured, and their families. The mission of honoring veterans and educating members of the American public about their history remains vital,” writes retired USAF Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “Historic aircraft must continue to fly.” Forbes

One More Thing

Watch a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster Rehearse in 360 Degrees

Take a virtual ride in the aircraft’s cockpit as it rehearses for its appearance at Sunsuper Riverfire, an event held Sept. 28 as part of the 2019 Brisbane Festival. RAAF on YouTube