Stephen Kitay

Kitay: Reducing Secrecy Critical to Space Force Success

Greater transparency about space budgets is needed to normalize Space Force as the sixth military service, the Pentagon's space policy chief said Feb. 6. “We … need to lower the classification of what we’re doing,” Stephen Kitay told an AFA Mitchell Institute audience on Capitol Hill. Leaders like Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten have been “clear that this needs to be updated” in order for the public and industry to “understand the threats we’re facing.” Kitay also discussed why the services will need to retain some space expertise as Space Force consolidates, as well as the role of the new service, particularly in the context of actual kinetic conflict.
Mark Esper at Johns Hopkins SAIS

DOD Review Finds $5.7 Billion in Savings to Shift to Priority Missions

The Pentagon’s Defense-Wide Review would shift $5.7 billion from non-military defense offices and agencies to higher priority missions such as nuclear deterrence and technology investment. The review, released this week, recommended “right-sizing” entities such as medical treatment facilities, reducing the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, and reprioritizing missile defense research. “These savings will be invested in cutting-edge innovation and warfighting requirements of our core missions,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Feb. 6 at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.
Lt. Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost

Van Ovost Tapped to be Air Mobility Command’s No. 2

Lt. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost has been nominated to be the second in command at Air Mobility Command, the Pentagon announced Feb. 6. Van Ovost, currently the director of staff at headquarters Air Force, will take over for Lt. Gen. Jon Thomas if confirmed. The Pentagon has not announced Thomas's next position.
Northrop Grumman DA/RC

Northrop Pitches Autonomous Battle Management Software for ABMS

Northrop Grumman is pitching the Air Force a new battle management system, which it hopes to incorporate into future Advanced Battle Management System experiments. The system is designed to be completely heterogeneous with a sliding scale of autonomy, so there is a network of capability immediately available to operators that is capable of accommodating changes in the battle space. "It is essentially a battle manager on steroids," said Bryan Lima, Northrop's director of future battle management.
Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling's Firth-Sterling Gate

More Bases Available To Host Coronavirus Evacuees

The Pentagon on Feb. 6 outlined additional bases that would house people who need to be quarantined as part of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, should the Department of Health and Human Services request. The 11 bases are near major international airports, with each able to provide housing support for up to 20 people. The installations will only be used if people are identified at the airports and cannot be housed at existing HHS facilities. DOD personnel will not be in direct contact with the evacuees.
The Pentagon

Esper Reminds Troops of Ethics Responsibilities During Election Season

As the 2020 election season gears up, Pentagon leaders are urging military personnel to be on their best behavior, and reminding troops of their ethics requirements. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in a Feb. 5 memo, writes that all Pentagon personnel “must be steadfast in our commitment to defend the Constitution and our Nation’s democratic principles.” He added, "As public servants who have taken an oath to defend these principles, we uphold DOD’s longstanding tradition of remaining apolitical as we carry out our official responsibilities."

Radar Sweep

U.S. Halts Secretive Drone Program with Turkey over Syria Incursion


The United States has halted a secretive military intelligence cooperation program with Turkey that for years helped Ankara target Kurdish PKK militants, four U.S. officials told Reuters. The U.S. decision to indefinitely suspend the program, which has not been previously reported, was made in response to Turkey’s cross-border military incursion into Syria in October, the U.S. officials said, revealing the extent of the damage to ties between the NATO allies from the incident.

Not a Break, but Fissures in U.S.-Iraqi Military Alliance

Associated Press

Iraq’s government told the Iraqi military not to seek U.S. help in operations fighting the Islamic State group, two senior Iraqi military officials told The Associated Press—a sign that authorities are serious about rethinking the strategic relationship. At stake are vital U.S.-provided weapons, military technologies, and aircraft that have been key in countering the threat of ISIS militants trying to make a comeback in northern and western Iraq.

Russia Voices Concern over New U.S. Nuclear Weapon

Associated Press

A senior Russian diplomat raised concern Feb. 5 about the United States deploying a new submarine-launched nuclear weapon, saying the move signaled Washington’s belief that it could wage a limited nuclear conflict.

Air Force Gives Nod to L3Harris to Continue Development of NTS-3 Navigation Satellite

Space News

An experimental navigation satellite being developed by L3Harris for the U.S. Air Force has passed a preliminary design review, clearing the way for the program to move forward, the company announced Feb. 5. The Navigation Technology Satellite-3 is an experiment to show that a layer of smaller satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit could improve the resiliency of the military’s positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities.

Rapid Acquisition & Sustainment

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force and U.S. defense establishment are breaking down barriers and injecting speed, innovation, and creativity into the procurement system. Check out our new page to learn more about these efforts.

One More Thing

Lab Life—Episode 21: Flu, Pandemic, and Novel Viruses

AFRL podcast

On this episode of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s “Lab Life” podcast, experts from the Defense Department’s Global Respiratory Pathogen Surveillance Program at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine’s Epidemiology Lab discuss how the lab and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitor influenza to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with critical data to facilitate the creation of the influenza vaccine each season.