NRO, SPACECOM Hash Out Roles in Space

The National Reconnaissance Office and U.S. Space Command are still shaping a new concept of operations to settle the question of who should defend the various pieces of the military space enterprise, the NRO’s deputy director said during an April 24 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event. “This is something [Army Brig. Gen. Thomas James, Joint Task Force-Space Defense commander] and I spend a great deal of time on,” Maj. Gen. Michael Guetlein said. “We meet every two weeks on this subject alone.” A forthcoming joint CONOPS document will help guide future investments and operations. Guetlein did not provide a timeline for finishing that work.
Bandits Lead Tanker Takeoff

McConnell Deployment Offers First Look at How USAF Operates in ‘New Abnormal’

KC-135s and Airmen from the 349th Air Refueling Squadron at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., lived in quarantine and dramatically changed their routine before heading to the Middle East earlier this month. The early April deployment to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, is an example of how the Air Force is beginning to operate in what Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein calls the “new abnormal.” Although the Air Force has detailed how aircrews are protecting themselves from virus exposure while flying regular missions, the McConnell process is one of the first looks at how a squadron deploys amid the pandemic.

Thunderbirds, Blue Angels to Start Nationwide Tour in New York

The Air Force’s Thunderbirds will kick off a nationwide tour honoring first responders and essential workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic on April 28 in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, flying alongside the Navy’s Blue Angels. The “America Strong” tour will start around noon in New York City, followed by flyovers in Newark, Trenton, and Philadelphia. The teams will then move on to other cities across the country, with demonstrations occurring every one to two days, according to a Pentagon release.

Trump to Nominate Manasco as Permanent Under Secretary of the Air Force

President Donald Trump will nominate Shon Manasco, the current acting under secretary of the Air Force, to take the role permanently, the White House announced April 24. Manasco, who has been serving in the acting role since December, is the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs. If confirmed, he would take the role last filled by Matt Donovan, who is now the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Before the Air Force, Manasco was the executive vice president and chief administrative officer for the United Services Automobile Association (USAA), and the senior vice president and chief human resource officer for Constellation Energy.

Air Force Mulls Next Steps for GPS After Ligado Approval

Military officials are exploring their options for how the Air Force’s GPS constellation could coexist with a new network that Ligado Networks says will enable fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless connectivity and the burgeoning Internet of Things. On April 20, the Federal Communications Commission unanimously voted to allow Ligado to deploy the network in the electromagnetic spectrum’s L-Band. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said at a recent Defense Writers Group event that he and Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond are “looking at different mitigation steps” in response to the Ligado plan.
Reservists volunteer

Another 150 Reserve Medical Specialists Volunteer for COVID-19 Response

About 150 more Air Force Reserve medical specialists volunteered and have reported for service to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The majority of the new volunteers reported in less than two days to help fight the new coronavirus outbreak in the hardest-hit region of the country. There are now more than 770 Reservists mobilized across the country for the virus response. They are part of the roughly 61,000 total Defense Department personnel supporting COVID-19 relief, including 14,600 people deployed in support of U.S. Northern Command, of which about 4,400 are medical personnel.
Warrior Performance Platform

New AFWERX Partnership Aims to Make USAF Fitter, More Lethal

AFWERX is partnering with the makers of a human performance monitoring app known as the Warrior Performance Platform to use remote fitness to create a fitter, less injury-prone, and more lethal Air Force. Last August, the USAF innovation incubator awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract to CoachMePlus and The Informatics Applications Group so the duo could put their Warrior Performance Platform to work for USAF.
Advanced Battle Management Systems Demo

GAO Insists Air Force Still Needs ABMS Plan, Disputes Service’s Latency Claim

The Government Accountability Office rejects criticisms of its recent Advanced Battle Management System audit by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, saying the report was neither latent nor hobbled by a lack of access to classified information. The GAO is aware of the accelerated pace of new programs and will soon publish a new guide on how to assess Agile Development projects, it said.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

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.

Air Force Will Have Answer on Pilot Cancers Next Year, Study Goes on Despite COVID-19


The Air Force has finalized the terms of a groundbreaking study sought by former fighter pilots to determine whether military aviators are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer. For more than a year, retired Air Force fighter pilots have pressed the service to look at the number of aviators who have either died from, or are fighting various types of cancers, and to look for potential causes.

Recruiting Goes Digital with Air Force Commission and Enlistment Portal

USAF release

With the digital world as the primary option for reaching recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Air Force Recruiting Service has created a digital means to shorten the time for potential new recruits to digitally upload their information on the path to joining the Air Force.

Space Force Projects More Than 7,000 Airmen Will Join Its Ranks This Year

Space News

When the window for applications opens May 1, more than 7,000 enlisted airmen and officers will be asked to volunteer to give up their commission in the Air Force and transfer to the U.S. Space Force. Lt. Gen. David Thompson, vice commander of the Space Force, said he expects a majority of those eligible to transfer will do so, and he is seeing great enthusiasm in the ranks about the opportunity to serve in the newest branch of the military.

Lockheed Martin Wins DARPA Contract to Integrate Blackjack Satellites

Space News

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a $5.8 million contract for satellite integration work for the Blackjack program, the company announced April 24. Blackjack is a project to deploy a constellation of 20 satellites in low Earth orbit by 2022 and demonstrate that a LEO system can provide global high-speed communications.

DOD Tries Again on Multi-Billion Missile Interceptor

Breaking Defense

The Missile Defense Agency issued a long-awaited request for proposal today for its next-generation missile interceptor, eight months after the surprise cancellation of its multi-billion dollar attempt to replace the current, aging system.

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.

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F-16 at Spangdahlem First in Europe to Hit 10,000 Flight Hours

Stars and Stripes

An F-16 combat jet at Spangdahlem Air Base achieved a landmark 10,000 flight hours, nearly 27 years after it rolled off the production line and began flying for the 52nd Fighter Wing. The aircraft—Tail No. 343—is the first Block 50 Fighting Falcon in Europe and only the second F-16 in the U.S. Air Force’s inventory to reach the historic milestone, something maintainers hailed as a testament to its durability and their dedicated labor.

One More Thing

The Pentagon Will Use AI to Predict Panic Buying, COVID-19 Hotspots

Defense One

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed that “just-in-time” supply lines don’t always operate as they should. Fortune 500 companies use predictive analytics to improve their ability to deal with the unexpected—and now so do planners with U.S. Northern Command.