Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper says there is so far only “inconclusive” evidence that the coronavirus could have originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, rather than naturally, but adds, “if the Chinese government had been more transparent earlier, it would have helped us.”
The first U.S. service member to test positive for coronavirus has recovered and been released after 49 days in isolation in South Korea, the military said April 16. The announcement came as the pace of infections has slowed across South Korea since an outbreak began in the southeastern city of Daegu in late February.
“There have been too many confusing messages during this crisis,” writes Jim Golby, a defense policy advisor at the U.S. Mission to NATO. “Senior military and civilian leaders should be enforcing social distancing as much as discipline, and with one voice.”
President Vladimir Putin, citing the deepening coronavirus crisis, said on April 16 Russia would postpone its May 9 celebrations including a huge military parade across Red Square to mark 75 years since the Soviet victory in World War II.
On April 15, eleven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches of the USS Lewis B. Puller, USS Paul Hamilton, USS Firebolt, USS Sirocco, USCGC Wrangell, and USCGC Maui, while the U.S. vessels were conducting joint integration operations with U.S. Army AH-64E Apache attack helicopters in the international waters of the North Arabian Gulf.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) is calling for the creation of an Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative, with a $6.09 billion investment in fiscal year 2021. The fund would be based on the European Deterrence Initiative, a special DOD fund for projects focused on deterring Russia that was set up in the wake of the annexation of Crimea.
The U.S. Air Force is progressing electronic warfare testing of the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System (EPAWSS) upgrade for the Boeing F-15 combat aircraft, it announced on April 14.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein on April 16 announced that Brig. Gen. Rodney Lewis and Brig. Gen. Steven Whitney have both received new assignments at the Pentagon.
The Verification Evidence and Resilient Design in Anticipation of Cybersecurity Threats—or VERDICT—tool aims to work across a range of computer systems, such as those for smart devices, ships, aircraft, power plants, and wind farms. The goal is to provide the systems with comprehensive assessments of cyber threats, recommend how to address vulnerabilities uncovered, and predict the potential of forthcoming attacks.
The Air Force is leveraging emerging technologies and new legislation to accelerate acquisition decisions and streamline sustainment. Read more here.
“Transitioning to the integrated lead refinement and call center is a major milestone in the Air National Guard’s Total Force recruiting initiatives,” said Brig. Gen. April Vogel, director of the National Guard Bureau’s Manpower, Personnel, Recruiting and Services. “Additional integration efforts we are currently pursuing include joining the Air Force national marketing and advertising contract, integrating positions into the AFRS staff, and conducting a pilot study to identify opportunities to integrate with Air Force recruiting squadrons.”
U.S. Space Command has awarded a $14 million contract to LinQuest for support services, the company announced April 15. LinQuest a year ago received a $9.2 million contract to help with the standup of the command.
Rare Photo of North Korean MiG-29 Firing an R-60 AAM Emerges after Kim Jong Un’s Visit to Sunchon Airbase
The visit also provided a rare public appearance of the weapons used by North Korean aircraft.