Agile Lightning

Deployed F-35s Raise Mission-Capable Rates, Help Form New Logistics System

Airmen and F-35s deployed to the Middle East from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, increased the jet’s mission-capable rate during combat operations while helping guide the future of the jet’s complex maintenance logistics system. F-35s from Hill’s 4th Fighter Squadron deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, for six months last year. The jets almost instantly began conducting airstrikes while 70 percent of the fleet was able to conduct its mission, said Brig. Gen. David Abba, director of the Air Force’s F-35 Integration Office. By the end of the deployment, that rate had climbed to more than 90 percent. The jets flew 1,300 combat sorties over about 7,300 combat hours, and employed about 150 weapons.
SMC Full Operation Capability Celebration

Experts Worry Secrecy Will Hinder Space Acquisition Reform

Space policy experts at the Satellite 2020 conference argued overclassification of those systems makes it harder to achieve the procurement reforms that military space needs. Pentagon officials noted their collaboration with entities in the intelligence community helps keep those who need to be informed in the loop, like splitting acquisition authorities for certain programs between the Defense Department and the IC. But if the military can’t describe the threats facing the U.S. in space, and can’t talk about what technologies might be able to help, that silence could stymie outreach to commercial industry and hinder faster, cheaper, nontraditional approaches to developing and fielding new tools.
Bomber Task Force Europe

B-2 Returns to Europe for Task Force Deployment

An undisclosed number of B-2 stealth bombers touched down March 9 at Lajes Field in Portugal for the latest bomber task force deployment to Europe. The Spirit bombers from the 509th Bomb Wing and 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., deployed to the base with the help of KC-10s from the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe release.
UNOCHA Middle Juba Jilib Somalia map

US Airstrikes Kill 6 Al-Shabab Militants in Somalia

The United States killed six al-Shabab militants and wounded two others in a series of airstrikes carried out in the first week of March, U.S. Africa Command reported. Three of the strikes—two on March 2 and a third on March 5—targeted al-Shabab militants near Qunyo Barrow, Somalia. A fourth targeted one of the terror group’s camps near Gandarshe on March 7, the command said. AFRICOM alleges no civilians were harmed in the strikes.
OIR silhouette

Two US Troops Killed Fighting Islamic State Group in Iraq

Two U.S. service members died during a March 8 fight with Islamic State group militants in northern Iraq. The Americans were killed while advising and accompanying Iraqi security forces during a mission targeting an IS stronghold in a mountainous area, according to a March 9 U.S. Central Command release. Their names and service branches will not be released until their next of kin are notified.

Radar Sweep

US Begins Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan, Official Says

Associated Press

American troops have begun leaving Afghanistan for the initial troop withdrawal required in the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement, a U.S. official said on March 9, amid political chaos in Kabul that threatens the deal. Hundreds of troops are heading out of the country as previously planned, but they will not be replaced as the U.S. moves ahead with plans to cut the number of forces in the country from about 13,000 to 8,600, the official said.

North Korea Fires Weapons after Threatening ‘Momentous’ Action

Associated Press

North Korea fired three short-range projectiles off its east coast on March 9, South Korea’s military said, two days after the North threatened to take “momentous” action to protest outside condemnation over its earlier live-fire exercises. Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the multiple kinds of projectiles fired from the eastern coastal town of Sondok flew as far as 200 kilometers (125 miles) at a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers (30 miles) before landing in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Amazon ‘Quite Likely’ to Prove Pentagon Made an Evaluation Error in JEDI Cloud Contract, Judge Says


A federal judge granted Amazon’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the Department of Defense from moving forward with work under its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract due to what the judge said was “quite likely” a material error in Microsoft’s bid overlooked by Pentagon officials. While Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith issued the ruling for a temporary injunction Feb. 13, the court unsealed her lengthy and technical opinion the evening of March 6.

DOD Awards Contracts for Development of a Mobile Microreactor

DOD release

The Defense Department has awarded three teams, BWX Technologies, Inc., Lynchburg, Va.; Westinghouse Government Services, Washington; and X-energy, LLC, Greenbelt, Md.; contracts to each begin design work on a mobile nuclear reactor prototype under a Strategic Capabilities Office initiative called Project Pele. Project Pele involves the development of a safe, mobile and advanced nuclear microreactor to support a variety of DOD missions, such as generating power for remote operating bases.

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.

Bill on Immigration Policy for Children of U.S. Servicemembers, Civil Servants Passes Senate


U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and former Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) introduced bipartisan legislation to change a current law that creates a disadvantage for certain children whose parents are serving the nation abroad in uniform or in the civil service. The Citizenship for Children of Military Members & Civil Servants Act is now headed to the President after it passed the Senate on March 6.