US Air Force Space Pitch Day

SMC Boss Open to New Space Acquisition Council

Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center boss Lt. Gen. John Thompson appeared optimistic about the future of acquisition under the Space Force, despite industry's concerns about changes foreshadowed in the draft fiscal 2020 defense policy bill. Bipartisan, bicameral language would create a space acquisition council for the Space Force that leaves out SMC. It also establishes the position of an acquisition executive for space, breaking those duties off from the Air Force's procurement chief. While Thompson declined to address the legislation, he painted the congressionally directed changes as an opportunity.
Esper Donovan

Donovan Tapped to be Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness

Matthew Donovan will assume a new role as acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness following the resignation of Jimmy Stewart on Dec. 13, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced. Donovan has served as under secretary of the Air Force since August 2017, though he was named acting Secretary of the Air Force after Heather Wilson stepped down to become president of the University of Texas-El Paso. Stewart also is an Air Force veteran who retired as a major general in 2014. “It's people like Jimmy, the selfless individuals who put service before self, who are the backbone of this country,” Esper said.
Operation Inherent Resolve

Continued Airstrikes Show Lingering IS Presence in Syria, Iraq

US and coalition aircraft continued to strike Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria in November as US forces drew down in size, according to new statistics from Air Forces Central Command. Last month, aircraft as part of Operation Inherent Resolve conducted 153 airstrikes, down from the previous month’s total of 166, for a total of 4,570 so far in 2019.
141st Operations Group RC-26 at Medford Airport

Draft NDAA Saves Recon Planes From Retirement—For Now

Two Air Force intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft escaped the chopping block in the joint, draft fiscal 2020 defense policy bill, but the aircraft are still under congressional scrutiny. At issue are the RC-135, a small fleet with multiple varieties of planes used to gather information on things like electromagnetic signals and ballistic missile launches, and the RC-26, a niche Air National Guard aircraft that helps track suspects in civilian and military missions such as counter-drug cases. Its cameras and communications equipment also assist with disaster response, maritime patrol and more.
Bundles are packed, rigged and ready to roll

Operation Christmas Drop Underway in the Pacific

The world’s longest-running airdrop training mission, bringing aid to 20,000 people across 1.8 million square nautical miles, is in full swing in the Pacific. The USAF-led, 68th annual Operation Christmas Drop began on Dec. 7 and runs through mid-December. About 175 bundles full of food, medicine, and other aid are being dropped from C-130s to about 55 remote islands.

Radar Sweep

US Military Needs Better Data On Itself to Exploit AI

Breaking Defense

While the US military has “tons of really good information on the adversary” that can be used to teach future artificial intelligence systems about enemy targets, it actually lacks the necessary data about its own forces, says Col. Enrique Oti, head of the Air Force’s key software innovation hub Kessel Run. Until the Defense Department gets that data on itself, he said, there’s a host of AI applications out of reach.

Here Are Some Early Adopters of the Controversial JEDI Cloud

Federal Times

There will be 14 early adopters of the Pentagon’s controversial new enterprise-wide general-purpose cloud, Defense Department CIO Dana Deasy said Dec. 12. Deasy, speaking at the AFCEA NOVA Air Force IT Day, said parties eyeing a move to the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud are US Transportation Command, Special Operations Command, Joint Special Operations Command, and the Navy.

House Defense Bill Would Mandate Carbon Capture Program for the Military

Defense One

Efforts to suck greenhouse gases from the atmosphere would get a boost from the House version of the 2020 defense authorization bill, which requires the Defense Department and other federal agencies to create a program to turn carbon in the air and seas into fuel or other products of military use.

Lawmakers Cheer Bid to Ease Air Force Contamination Impact

Associated Press via US News & World Report

A defense spending bill that's close to clearing Congress is getting praise from members of New Mexico's congressional delegation, who say it includes some relief for communities affected by contamination at Air Force bases in the state and elsewhere around the country.

Schriver, Pentagon Asia Policy Lead, Exits Building

Defense News

Randall Schriver, the Defense Department’s top policy official for Asia, has left the Pentagon. Schriver, who has served as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs since January 2018, is exiting the government to return to private life, according to chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

3 Female Staffers Sexually Harassed by Top Pentagon Official: IG Report

ABC News

A top defense official sexually harassed three female staffers before ultimately resigning from his post last April, according to a report from the Pentagon Inspector General's office released on Dec. 12. The official, Guy Roberts, was the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs—as well as a former Marine Corps infantry officer, judge advocate, and staff officer.

One More Thing

FCC Launches Plan to Make Suicide Hotline Accessible through a 3-Digit Dial Code


“988 has an echo of the 911 number we all know as an emergency number,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said as the mandate was under consideration at the agency’s December open meeting. “We believe that this 3-digit number dedicated for this purpose will help ease access to crisis services, it will reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health conditions, and ultimately, it will save lives.”