‘Pass-Through’ Reform, Modernization Among Aerospace Priorities in 2021 NDAA

Lawmakers are preparing their aerospace priorities for the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill, in which the Air Force hopes to see an endorsement of its modernization-heavy, $154.6 billion budget request. One provision that could have big ripple effects for the service is a push to remove “pass-through” funding from the Air Force’s budget, which critics say makes it seem larger in comparison to the other services. After the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act green-lit USAF priorities, like creating a Space Force and starting the F-15EX program, some lawmakers have a similar set of interests for this year’s legislation.

USAF Sees Highest Number of Sexual Assault Reports in 14 Years

The number of sexual assault reports in the Air Force increased 9 percent in fiscal 2019 from the year before—the “greatest number of reports” received since the service’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program launched 14 years ago. The Air Force received a total of 1,683 reports in 2019, including 1,161 unrestricted and 522 restricted reports. "The increase in reports could be for multiple reasons, but ultimately it demonstrates that victims trust the Air Force's processes enough to feel comfortable enough to report," states the executive summary to the Air Force addendum of the 2019 Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military.
45th Space Wing Successfully Supports Atlas V AEHF-6 launch at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

RAND Study Forecasts Shrinking Market for U.S. Heavy Rocket Providers

A new report by RAND Corp. argues the national security space enterprise would benefit from having three launch providers offering heavy lift services over the next few years, before downsizing to two to meet the Space Force’s long-term needs. RAND believes that as the United States makes up a smaller share of the global heavy lift market, commercial companies will turn to other countries with new rockets better suited to heavy launch. American launch providers would then need to turn to the Space Force’s National Security Space Launch program for work.
Phoenix Spark, 60th MXS prototypes PPE for COVID-19

Lord: DOD’s Ability to Shift Funds for COVID-19 Response Limited

The Defense Department will look at ways to shift funding toward COVID-19 response, though the Pentagon’s head of acquisition said the department’s flexibility is limited without action from Capitol Hill. Some lawmakers have called on the Pentagon to use its budget for coronavirus response, and not seek additional relief in future recovery stimulus funding. While there is potential for the department to shift operations and maintenance funding for COVID-19 response, Congress is already strict about authorizing money for military missions, Ellen Lord, the under secretary for acquisition, told reporters April 30. “We do have significant needs in terms of readiness and modernization in order to perform our primary mission, which is national security,” Lord said. “So we will look at that.”
Special Tactics Airmen conduct operability training with Weapons School

Air Force Creates New AFSC for Special Warfare Officers

The Air Force has consolidated three special warfare officer jobs into one specialty code in an effort to streamline resourcing, talent management, and deployments, the service announced April 30. Special tactics, tactical air control party officers, and combat rescue officers will now be assigned the Air Force Special Warfare AFSC 19ZXX, effective immediately. Previously, the officers were under the command and control AFSC. “The creation of a cadre of officers steeped in joint leadership and trained to lead the full spectrum of AFSPECWAR conventional and special operations missions will streamline accession, selection, and common skills training,” said Col. Thomas Palenske, director of the AFSPECWAR directorate at the Pentagon.
043020 Military Makeover

‘Military Makeover with Montel’ Searching for Next Home-Renovation Winner

“Military Makeover with Montel,” a television series that airs on both the Lifetime channel and the American Forces Network, has partnered with World Wrestling Entertainment to search for a deserving service member or veteran to receive a home-renovation and appear on the show in 2021. Now through May 31, individuals may nominate qualifying troops or vets—including themselves—by visiting the “Tag a Hero” campaign homepage and filling out an application.

Radar Sweep

OPINION: 8 Steps to Fully Funding Our Air and Space Forces

Defense News

“The Air Force and our new Space Force provide the airlift, strike capability, combat air patrols, unmanned aircraft, GPS, communications connectivity, and air- and space-based intelligence and surveillance for the joint force,” write retired USAF Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright, Air Force Association president, and retired USAF Col. Keith Zuegel, AFA’s senior director of government relations. “The Air Force provides two-thirds of the nuclear triad, and the Space Force provides the nation’s missile warning capabilities. Without substantial investments, these forces will be hard-pressed to deter or defeat a peer enemy in the next decade.”

Strategic Deterrence Forum with General Ray

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of Global Strike Command and the Air Force Strategic component commander for STRATCOM, joined retired USAF Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, for a virtual discussion about everything from the effects of COVID-19 on strategic deterrence to the future of the Continuous Bomber Presence mission in an April 29 online installment of the think tank’s Strategic Deterrence Forum.

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.

Key Lawmaker Opposed to Giving Pentagon Additional Stimulus Funding

National Defense Magazine

As the federal government considers another stimulus package to address the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said he doesn’t see a need for the Defense Department to receive extra funds.

Space Agencies Working on a ‘Unified Message’ on Industry Stimulus

Space News

The Space Acquisition Council, which includes senior leaders from the Pentagon and the National Reconnaissance Office, has made it a priority to assist space industry suppliers that are financially stressed by the new coronavirus crisis. But exactly what type of assistance will be offered is still to be determined, said the Department of the Air Force’s top procurement official Will Roper.

DOD Spending $75M to Boost Test Swab Production

Inside Defense

The Pentagon, using its authorities under Defense Production Act Title III, intends to award $75.5 million to Puritan Medical Products to increase production of medical swabs by 20 million per month starting in May.

Air Force Logistics Commander in Korea Fired Due to Loss of Confidence

A commander of the logistics readiness squadron at Osan Air Base, South Korea, has been removed from his post due to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead. Lt. Col. Michael Kearney, commander of the 51st Logistics Readiness Squadron, was removed from his post by Col. John Gonzales, 51st Fighter Wing commander, on April 28, according to a spokesperson from the 51st Fighter Wing.

China Says PLA Scrambled Aircraft, Ships to ‘Expel’ U.S. Warship from South China Sea Island Chain


Chinese authorities said they sortied ships and aircraft to “track, monitor, verify, identify, and expel” a U.S. warship from the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea on April 28, People’s Liberation Army officials said on Chinese social media. Navy officials confirmed to USNI News that guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG-52) conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the vicinity of the island chain off Vietnam.

Pentagon Pulls Money from Overseas Projects to Pay for Border Wall


Defense Secretary Mark Esper is restoring more than half a billion dollars in funding for military construction projects in the U.S. that were put on hold to help fund President Donald Trump's border wall, and instead will take money from projects that are primarily overseas. The move, which is laid out in a memo dated April 27 and obtained by POLITICO, drew an angry response from Democrats, who say the administration is "trampling" on Congress' power of the purse.

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Pentagon’s Testing for $12.6 Billion in Hypersonics under Review


The Pentagon's inspector general is evaluating whether the Defense Department and military services have adequate ground testing, evaluation facilities, and specialized chambers to support the nation’s spending surge on hypersonic weapons that fly faster than five times the speed of sound. The review, begun this month, is focused on the existing infrastructure for ground testing of the new weapons, not on their capabilities or on eventual flight tests on outdoor ranges.

Faster Acquisition

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force is leveraging emerging technologies and new legislation to accelerate acquisition decisions and streamline sustainment. Read more here.