Goldfein letter

Goldfein: Time to ‘Dust Off’ the MOPP Gear Because COVID-19 Isn’t Going Away

Current predictions show a COVID-19 vaccine is still 18 months away, so the Air Force must find ways to survive and operate in a world where the virus keeps coming back, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein wrote in an April 28 letter to commanders. “It’s time to dust off those Ability to Survive and Operate manuals,” Goldfein wrote. “Many of us grew up in the age of Apple Orchards, MOPP levels, operations with PPE, aircraft decontamination procedures, etc. While we have not required it in recent years given our focus on the Middle East, the ability to survive and operate in a CBRNE environment is in our DNA.” Goldfein said the pandemic is now the "defining moment" for Airmen, comparing it to Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks for previous generations. "The command characteristic of each defining moment is the world never returned to where it was before the event," Goldfein wrote.
52nd CS Airmen: Spangdahlem's virtual backbone

Inside the Air Force’s Scramble to Telework During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Air Force’s information technology enterprise is facing an unprecedented test. The coronavirus pandemic has shocked global economies, sent nations into lockdown, and overwhelmed hospitals in some of the largest American cities. As the U.S. workforce adjusts to the new reality of working from home, the virus’s spread is forcing the IT that supports millions of military and civilian personnel to sink or swim. Building on incremental changes that were already in progress, Air Force officials are trying to turn what they call “20th-century IT for a 21st-century service” into an enterprise that keeps their air, cyber, and space missions going uninterrupted. If they succeed, this urgent recognition of IT as a top priority could reverberate far into the future for a better connected, digitally savvy force.
GPS Ligado

Can DOD Testimony Change FCC’s Mind on Ligado?

The Senate Armed Services Committee is convening a panel of current and former military officials May 6 in a last-ditch attempt to get the Federal Communications Commission to change its mind about approving a Ligado Networks plan opposed by the Pentagon. Committee leaders believe the FCC ignored the nearly unanimous concerns raised by the rest of the federal government, a SASC spokeswoman said. The goal of this week’s hearing is to amplify those warnings that the commission may have overlooked. SASC is in talks with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, which holds oversight responsibility for the FCC, about potential next steps if the FCC does not change course.
Cheyenne Mountain Complex

NORTHCOM Isolating Personnel, ‘Driving Risk to Zero’ at Cheyenne Mountain

U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Demand personnel who work in certain “no fail” missions are sequestered inside the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado to avoid any possible contact with the new coronavirus and ensure the homeland is protected, the head of NORTHCOM said. Starting in February, NORTHCOM and NORAD moved critical personnel into Cheyenne Mountain, a 5.1-acre complex situated under 1,800 feet of rock. “What I’ve been trying to do is ... drive risk to zero,” NORTHCOM boss Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said during a May 5 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event.
Hurlburt Field COVID-19 testing

DOD Finishes ‘Tier One’ COVID-19 Testing, Plans to Test Asymptomatic Troops

The military has finished testing its top-tier forces and is planning to test a selection of asymptomatic personnel across the force to understand how the virus has spread through the ranks. The Pentagon announced a four-tier testing plan, starting with key strategic and homeland defense personnel, followed by troops in the combat zone, those deployed or returning from overseas, and lastly other forces. DOD currently can test about 20,000 people per week, but ultimately the need is for about 56,000 tests per week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in the same briefing. These numbers have changed as the situation develops.
Pair of Ellsworth B-1s further demonstrate force employment model in Pacific

B-1s Fly Training Mission to Estonia

Two B-1Bs flew directly from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., to train with NATO forces in Estonia on May 5, the latest long-distance training mission for the bombers. The Lancers worked with forces on the ground from Estonia, the United Kingdom, and Denmark as part of the “Spring Storm” exercise, according to the Estonian Ministry of Defense. “The U.S. Air Force values opportunities such as these to build readiness capacity and capability alongside the Estonian air force,” the U.S. Embassy in Talinn said in a news release. “Regardless of any global challenge, the U.S. remains committed to our allies and partners and stands ready alongside them.”

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.

Carrier Prepares to Go Back to Sea after Virus Outbreak

The Associated Press

On board the coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt, the crew is getting the aircraft carrier ready to head back out to sea. For the ship’s commander, Capt. Carlos Sardiello, the road to recovery has been a challenge. For the crew sidelined in Guam for more than a month, it’s been an emotional roller coaster.

U.S. Pacific Air Forces Issues Travel Restrictions Waiver for Unaccompanied Short Tour Assignments

Air Force Times

U.S. Pacific Air Forces has issued a waiver for unaccompanied short tour assignments for PACAF Airmen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a memo obtained by Air Force Times. Although the Pentagon issued a stop movement order that has limited travel for service members and temporarily suspended almost all permanent-change-of-station moves due to the virus, the command has issued a waiver loosening restrictions for some PACAF Airmen.

L3Harris Announces $330 Million Charge Related to Coronavirus

Inside Defense

L3Harris Technologies said May 5 its commercial and international businesses are facing a higher risk of challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. In its earnings announcement, L3Harris disclosed it recognized a $330 million charge during its most recent quarter for impairment of goodwill and other assets as well as other COVID-19-related impacts.

Aerospace Nation: A Conversation with Gen. O'Shaughnessy

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, discussed both commands’ efforts in combating COVID-19 and the role of Joint All-Domain Command and Control among other critical missions of homeland defense with retired USAF Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, during the May 4 installment of the think tank’s “Aerospace Nation” series.

OPINION: A Smart Approach To Retaining Most Of The A-10s

Breaking Defense

The Air Force leaders who sought to retire the A-10 in 2014 did not want to cut the aircraft, but they had no other choice due to the Budget Control Act of 2011. While that era has passed, the same dynamics are still at play—a service that is under-resourced, overtasked, compelled to retire aircraft to free up resources to modernize the remaining inventory of mostly geriatric aircraft.

Toxic Drug Combination Killed Two Airmen in Spangdahlem Dorm

Air Force Times

Two Airmen who were found dead in a dorm room at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, in January had a toxic, fatal combination of drugs in their systems. Air Force Office of Special Investigations spokeswoman Linda Card said in an email May 4 that the final autopsy reports and death certificates of Airman 1st Class Xavier Leaphart and Airman 1st Class Aziess Whitehurst, who were both 20 years old, listed their causes of death as “multiple drug toxicity," and that their deaths were recorded as accidents.