Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Military Health System is arguably among the most effective medicine systems in the world and is our nation’s strategic medical reserve,” writes retired USAF Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright, Air Force Association president, and retired USAF Col. Keith Zuegel, AFA’s senior director for government relations. “This recent pandemic highlights the imperative to maintain such capacity rather than risk reducing it in size and scope.”
The bold new Pacific plan "is designed to persuade potential adversaries that any preemptive military action will be extremely costly and likely fail," Adm. Philip Davidson writes.
Navy Fires USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Days after He Pleaded for Help for Sailors with Coronavirus
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly announced that Navy Capt. Brett Crozier was relieved for loss of confidence. "I just know that he exercised extremely poor judgment," Modly said.
Neither the Comfort nor the Mercy are accepting walk-in patients, the captains said. Rather, patients are referred to the ships from local hospitals, who are screening and conducting COVID-19 tests on patients before boarding the vessels to prevent the spread of the virus.
A Russian Air Force cargo plane reportedly carrying medical supplies for coronavirus patients landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport just after 4 p.m. April 1. Moscow seized the chance to publicize the rare instance of a Russian plane bringing humanitarian aid to a U.S. airport, flooding social media with pictures and video shortly after the plane’s arrival. State media even had a live video feed of forklifts carrying brown boxes off the plane.
An internal Defense Department document from 2017 warned about the potentially catastrophic impact of a pandemic like the coronavirus, one that could “result in debilitating illness in military forces at levels significant enough to degrade combat readiness.” The internal Defense Department document, first reported by The Nation magazine on April 1, says a pandemic like the one currently spreading across the United States may impact U.S. Northern Command’s “operating environment for up to 24 months,” according to the document made available online.
President Donald Trump on April 1 warned Iran and its proxies against carrying out what he alleged is a planned “sneak attack” on U.S. troops in Iraq. At a White House press briefing later, Trump said "we just have information that they were planning something, and it's very good information."
The military will be sending 540 more troops to the southern border to help prevent crossings by migrants potentially infected with coronavirus, U.S. Northern Command generals said April 1. The upcoming deployment to the border will take place "very soon" to guard against the spread of COVID-19, said Lt. Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Army North.
The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin an $818 million contract to produce 790 extended-range variants of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER), according to a notice the Defense Department released April 1. Under the agreement, Lockheed will provide 360 missiles in Lot 17 and 390 missiles in Lot 18 to the service, along with 40 missiles to support foreign military sales programs.
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.
With new aircraft and systems comes the task of setting up programs to train aviators. Members of the 56th Air Refueling Squadron updated the training process by releasing a mobile application for their Electronic Flight Bag. The app emulates the KC-46 flight and navigation computer software, the Multi-Function Control and Display Unit, to allow students to study the MCDU in their free time.
Bill Marion, the longtime Air Force IT and cybersecurity official and current deputy CIO, will leave the service after a 28-year career in which he started as an intern. Marion told FedScoop he will depart at the end of April to move home to Austin, Texas, and take a role in industry. Marion couldn’t yet reveal his next role but said it will be closely tied to digital transformation, “but on the other side of the wall, if you will.”
America's carriers are going from having a sailor film deck operations through a window to recording the entire deck with no cameraman at all.