SECDEF, CJCS, and SEAC Host COVID-19 Town Hall

DOD on Coronavirus Pandemic: ‘We Will Get Through It’

The crisis caused by the new coronavirus outbreak could take months and weaken military readiness, though that drop is expected to be small, the top military leaders told service members in an online town hall March 24. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and USAF Chief Master Sgt. Ramón Colón-López, the senior enlisted adviser to the Chairman, took submitted questions from the military community for a live-streamed town hall. When asked when the outbreak will end and operations will return to normal, Milley said, “Nobody knows that ... But we will get through it. It’s not a question of when, we will get through it. And we’ll pull together as a country and as a military.”
New York Stock Exchange

Analysis: Defense Stocks May Take Years to Recover from COVID-19

Massive spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic may suppress defense spending and therefore defense stock prices, which have tanked to the tune of more than 30 percent in the last month, according to defense and aerospace analyst Byron Callan of Capital Alpha. Congress may also move to spend more on the National Guard and refuse to retire old USAF aircraft, he noted. “It’s going to take a couple of years” for a recovery in defense stocks, said Callan, who specializes in the defense and aerospace industry. Unlike the attacks of 9/11, the COVID-19 crisis “touches every American,” he told Air Force Magazine.
Gen. Joseph Lengyel COVID-19 Update Pentagon Briefing

National Guard Bureau Tracking 26 COVID-19 Cases

As of the morning of March 24, the National Guard Bureau is tracking 26 positive cases of the COVID-19 virus among its personnel, including one in a headquarters staff member, NGB Chief Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel said. Also as of early March 24, more than 9,000 Guard personnel have been activated as part of their states' fights against the new coronavirus, some under Title 32 authority from the President. However, Lengyel said, “It wouldn’t surprise him” if that number topped 10,000 “by the afternoon.” Governors and state adjutants general have informed him of near-term plans to activate “hundreds and thousands” more personnel to support state-level pandemic response, he added.
Pompeo and Abdullah

U.S. Cuts Aid to Afghanistan Amid Political Stalemate

The U.S. will immediately cut assistance to the government of Afghanistan by $1 billion because of leadership failures at the top ranks in Kabul, with plans to cut another $1 billion next year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced March 23. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah each declared themselves victors of the country’s recent presidential election, with both men even holding their own inaugurations earlier this month. Pompeo made an unannounced visit to Kabul on March 23 and tried unsuccessfully to help the two reach a deal for a government to move forward. “The United States is disappointed in them and what their conduct means for Afghanistan and our shared interests,” Pompeo wrote in a statement.

AEHF-6 Set for Launch Despite Pandemic

The Space Force’s first launch under the National Security Space Launch program is moving forward, despite the threat of coronavirus, to put the sixth and final Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite on orbit March 26. By adding the sixth AEHF satellite, U.S. troops should expect to see more reliable transmission of data used for real-time video, battlefield maps, and targeting. It also allows for stronger, more jam-resistant communications between national leaders like the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is also the second time a rocket will drop off a secondary payload that is hitching a ride ahead of the main mission. Brig. Gen. Douglas Schiess, 45th Space Wing commander at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., said precautions taken to avoid spreading coronavirus aren’t expected to affect the mission.

Radar Sweep

Snapshot: DOD and COVID-19

Air Force Magazine

Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

White House Launches Supercomputing Consortium to Fight COVID-19


The Trump administration unveiled a new initiative to help researchers worldwide harness a range of America’s most powerful high-performance supercomputing resources to deliberately accelerate new discoveries in the fight against COVID-19. Through the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, scientists can tap into 16 of America’s top computing systems.

Whitley Picked for CAPE Director

Inside Defense

President Donald Trump intends to nominate John Whitley to be director of the Defense Department’s cost assessment and program evaluation office, according to a White House announcement. Whitley currently serves as assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller.

Air Force Reserve Senior Leader Actions

AFRC Facebook post

On March 23, Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee announced a series of senior leader actions, including assignment of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Pennington as commander of 4th Air Force Headquarters at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. Pennington currently serves as mobilization assistant to the commander and president of Air University.