USAF Gen Raymond Briefs on Space Force, Spacecom and COVID-19

Coronavirus Cramps Some Space Force Plans as Ops Continue

Work is still underway to build up the Space Force even as the new coronavirus raises some unexpected hurdles, the service's top uniformed officer said March 27. Three people assigned to the Space Force in Colorado have tested positive for the virus, Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond told reporters. Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., home to the Space and Missile Systems Center, on March 25 reported its first positive coronavirus patient in the base’s Fort MacArthur housing area. U.S. Space Command, which Raymond also runs, has not seen any positive cases so far. Public announcements on what to call space professionals, what uniforms may look like, and more are coming soon, Raymond said. He indicated the coronavirus has not halted the Department of the Air Force’s planning to formally transfer about 16,000 personnel into the Space Force starting later this year.
Roper AWS 2020

ABMS In-Field Capability Could Make Working Remotely More Secure

Advancements in cloud computing have made it easier to telework as the new coronavirus outbreak spreads, but the service is still looking for a creative solution that will enable those with security clearances to work remotely. The Air Force's Advanced Battle Management Systems experiment, which incorporates new devices known as tabletONE and phoneONE, might be the solution. Originally designed to enable Soldiers and Marines in the field to view secret-level data collected by airborne and space sensors, USAF acquisition chief Will Roper said the service is now looking to quickly procure these devices so acquisition professionals can work outside of a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility.
Boeing KC-46s Depart Everett

USAF Acquisition Largely on Schedule Despite COVID-19 Disruptions

Air Force acquisition programs remain largely on course, despite some major disruptions from the new coronavirus outbreak, such as Boeing halting production at its Puget Sound-area facilities in Washington state, the service’s acquisition boss said. The outbreak has posed unprecedented challenges to the service and the way it is procuring weapons, but so far there have only been "minor issues,” and all programs are largely sticking to schedules, said Will Roper, the Air Force’s assistant secretary for acquisition, technology, and logistics.
MCAS Iwakuni takes a stand against COVID 19

DOD Issues Pay and Leave Guidance for COVID-19 Crisis

The Defense Department has issued new guidance for commanders who are trying to maintain mission readiness while helping their personnel navigate through the uncertainties of the new coronavirus pandemic. “Commanders have broad authority to exercise sound judgment in all cases, and this guidance describes available authority and flexibility that can be applied to promote, rather than to restrict, possible solutions,” states the March 26 memo. The guidance also notes that in most cases, pay and benefits will not be affected, and it looks to clarify exceptions.
United Technologies/ Raytheon

Raytheon, UTC Merger Approved, Creating Second Largest Defense Company

The proposed merger of Raytheon with United Technologies has been approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, provided the two companies sell off some units that would otherwise give the new Raytheon Technologies a monopoly on some business areas. The new company will become the second-largest defense contractor, after Lockheed Martin.

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.

Trump Signs $2.2T Stimulus After Swift Congressional Votes

Associated Press

President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers, and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.

COVID-19 Drives Command Teams Charged with Homeland Defense into Cheyenne Mountain Bunker

The Drive

U.S. Northern Command has dispersed essential command and control teams to multiple hardened locations, including the famous Cheyenne Mountain bunker complex in Colorado, as well as another unspecified site, and is keeping them in isolation. The command took these steps to help ensure these personnel can continue to watch around the clock for potential threats to the U.S. homeland as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand across the country and around the world, including within the U.S. military.

U.S. Military Assessing 100 Possible Sites for Makeshift Hospitals

The military has a list of more than 100 possible sites nationwide to convert into makeshift hospitals to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, including convention centers, sports arenas, hotels, dorms, and other existing buildings, the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers said March 27.

The VA Won't Administer COVID-19 Tests to Non-Veteran Employees, Including Doctors and Nurses

Task and Purpose

The Veterans Affairs Department will not test non-veteran employees for COVID-19, including health care workers who are showing symptoms, an agency spokeswoman confirmed to Task & Purpose on March 27. “Per federal law, VA cannot provide medical care to non-veterans,” Christina Mandreucci, the VA press secretary, told Task & Purpose. “So if a non-veteran employee’s screening indicates that they may have symptoms of COVID-19, they would be referred to their health care provider for testing.

Senators Introduce Legislation to Remove U.S. Armed Forces from Saudi Arabia

Sen. Kevin Cramer press release

Senate Armed Services Committee members Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) introduced legislation to remove United States Armed Forces from Saudi Arabia. The bill, S.3572, would remove all forces and equipment from Saudi Arabia and relocate them to another location in the Middle East.

Air Force Seeks Partnerships to Produce Space Innovations and Base of the Future


The challenges span two initiatives that the accelerator explored pursuing over the past several months. The Base of the Future effort encompasses five challenge areas that will support the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which was directly hit by the Category 5 Hurricane Michael in 2018. The startup’s Space initiative presents potential partners with four challenge activities that aim to boost the next era of space technology.

U.S., Australia Make Progress on Robotic Jets

National Defense Magazine

The U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force are making progress with efforts to develop unmanned jets that can serve as “loyal wingmen” for manned counterparts. Under the concept, robotic systems can accompany fighters as decoys, weapons carriers or sensor platforms.

North Macedonia Joins the NATO Alliance

State Department release

On March 27, the United States, as a treaty depositary, received the Republic of North Macedonia’s instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty, making North Macedonia the 30th NATO ally.

One More Thing

The Winning Photos of the Military Visual Awards for 2019


The Military Visual Awards has announced its winning photographs for 2019, honoring the best military photos captured worldwide over the past year. The top prize of 2019 MVA Photographer of the Year was awarded to photographer Chris Hibben, who is part of the Air Force’s 4th Combat Camera Squadron. Check out a selection of photos from his winning portfolio.