Resilience Tactical Pause

USAF Suicides Skyrocket in 2019

A total of 137 Airmen took their own lives in 2019—a 33 percent increase from the 103 suicides in 2018 despite service efforts to get the problem under control. The high pace of suicides has long worried senior service leaders, who in July ordered wings to stand down for a day to focus on the issue. Suicide is “an adversary that is killing more of our Airmen than any enemy on the planet,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said at the time.
JSTARS return to Al Udeid Air Base

JSTARS Returns to the Middle East

The Air Force recently deployed the E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System back to the Middle East, about three months after pulling the aircraft from theater for the first time in 18 years. Air Combat Command said at the time there was a "higher demand signal for JSTARS support" to other combatant commands, but photographs released Feb. 1 by Air Forces Central Command show the E-8C returned to al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on Jan. 16—just over a week after Iran launched a volley of ballistic missiles at U.S. personnel in Iraq.
Advanced Battle Management Systems Demo

Joint Leaders Mull Future Command and Control Tactics

Two Air Force officials say they and their counterparts in the other services will dig into joint operating concepts for command and control following a Pentagon-wide gathering on the topic in mid-January. "We really looked at structure, processes, and challenges and opportunities, and that's probably the best way to describe the outcomes of the C2 summit this time, as we looked at the need for what joint operating concepts the services need to develop," Air Combat Command Operations Director Maj. Gen. Kevin Huyck said.
The Gateway Inn at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland has been selected as contingency housing for Americans undergoing a coronavirus quarantine upon their return to the US from China. Air Force photo.

Lackland, Travis to House Coronavirus Evacuees

The Pentagon is opening four additional bases, including two Air Force installations, to the Department of Health and Human Services for the possible quarantine of personnel as the coronavirus outbreak continues. On Feb. 1, the Pentagon agreed to provide housing at Travis Air Force Base, Calif.; Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., for up to 1,000 individuals if needed. The housing would be for Americans returning from overseas travel in areas impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. So far, about 200 personnel are being housed at March Air Reserve Base, Calif.
Deployed low-light KC-135 refueling mission

Lord Says F-35s Safe Despite Fastener Problem

The F-35 fleet is safe to fly, despite an under-strength fastener problem potentially affecting nearly all F-35s, Pentagon acquisition and sustainment chief Ellen Lord said during a Jan. 31 press conference. A root cause analysis continues, but the Pentagon has "confidence in the integrity" of the jet, she said.

Radar Sweep

Al-Qaida in Yemen Claims Deadly Florida Naval Base Shooting

Associated Press

Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen claimed responsibility on Feb. 2 for last year’s deadly shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., by an aviation student from Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, released a video claiming the attack.

Military’s Top AI Officer Retiring as Pentagon Continues to Increase Investments and Interest

Federal News Network

The leader of the Defense Department’s hub for integrating artificial intelligence into operations and functional purposes of the military will retire this summer. Joint Artificial Intelligence Center Director Lieutenant Gen. John Shanahan will leave the Air Force, but continue his duties until he transitions from the service, JAIC spokesman Lieutenant Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson told Federal News Network in a statement.

Deputy VA Secretary Fired after Less than 5 Months on the Job


Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie on Feb. 3 announced the abrupt firing of his No. 2 at the Veterans Affairs Department, James Byrne, after less than five months formally on the job. “Today, I dismissed VA Deputy Secretary James Byrne due to loss of confidence in Mr. Byrne’s ability to carry out his duties,” Wilkie said in a brief, cryptic statement posted on the VA’s website.

AFMC, ACC Expand Weapons System Collaboration

USAF release

The agreement creates a new culture paradigm for the acquisition and operational communities, focused on improved communication and continuous collaboration. It also establishes a framework for bilateral immersions of Airmen to create better understanding of the maintenance and operational requirements of a weapons system throughout its life cycle.

The Pentagon Is Spending Millions on Hunter Drones with Nets

Defense One

After an F-22 Raptor nearly collided with a cheap drone in 2017, the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command received permission to shoot down unmanned flying objects that get too near its airbases. But shooting down drones over cities is a less-than-ideal solution to a growing problem. So the U.S. military is trying a new tack: spending millions of dollars on defensive drones armed with nets.

A Russian "Inspector" Spacecraft Now Appears to Be Shadowing an American Spy Satellite

The Drive

Publicly available data suggests that a Russian inspector satellite has shifted its position in orbit to bring it relatively close to a U.S. KH-11 spy satellite. Russia has a number of what it calls "space apparatus inspectors" in orbit, which the U.S. government and others warn the Kremlin could use to gather intelligence on other satellites or function as "killer satellites," using various means to damage, disable, or destroy those targets.

Esper Says Overturning Landmine Ban will Protect U.S. Forces

Inside Defense

The Trump administration's decision to lift a ban on using anti-personnel landmines outside the Korean Peninsula will protect U.S. forces, according to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. "Ultimately, they serve as a force multiplier, helping U.S. forces to fight effectively against enemy threats, which may be numerically superior or capable of exploiting operational or tactical advantages over U.S. forces," he wrote in a Pentagon memo issued Jan. 31.

One More Thing

The Defense Department Wants to Use the Atmosphere as a Sensor


The atmosphere is critical to life on the planet Earth, encompassing the air we breathe, blocking out life-threatening ultraviolet radiation from the sun and providing a barrier against the harshness of outer space. Now, the Pentagon’s research arm aims to explore another use for the atmosphere: Its viability to act as a sensor that can pinpoint potential disruptions to the planet.