HASC Ligado letter

HASC Members Press FCC on Ligado Approval

Nearly two dozen House Armed Services Committee members wrote to the Federal Communications Commission on May 7 to jump into the spectrum dispute that pits the FCC and Ligado Networks against several federal agencies and national security stakeholders. “The national security community was unanimous in the judgement that approval of the use of certain portions of the L-band spectrum could pose an unacceptable risk to the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) in the United States,” the bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote. “Other federal and nonfederal users of this spectrum have raised serious concerns, including satellite communications providers and airlines."
Deployed Airmen equipped and test personal N95 mask

USAF Executes $126 Million Contract for In-Demand N95 Masks

The Air Force’s Acquisition COVID-19 Task Force recently executed a new, $126 million contract to 3M to ramp up production of N95 masks to increase the supply chain for the in-demand masks and resupply the Strategic National Stockpile. The contract uses funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to expand the supply chain to produce 26 million more masks per month beginning in October, with about 312 million masks produced over the next 12 months, according to an Air Force release. “Our past initiatives to empower our acquisition workforce and to accelerate programs have put us in a good position to respond to the present crisis with speed and agility,” said Will Roper, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, who established the service’s COVID-19 Task Force, in the release. “We are proud to be an important part of the solution.”
AWS

Amazon Files New Protest in Ongoing JEDI Cloud Saga

Amazon Web Services filed another protest May 4 to again push back on the Pentagon’s premiere cloud infrastructure competition. Amazon is appealing directly to the Pentagon over a perceived lack of clarity as the Defense Department amends its requirements for the commercial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud. The company already pumped the brakes on the JEDI program by protesting DOD’s October 2019 contract award to Microsoft, leading a federal judge to order the Pentagon to make changes. The new protest is private. Now, AWS says the proposed changes do not meaningfully address the problems it raised in its protest.

How the New Jersey Air National Guard is Getting the Job Done During a Pandemic

The New Jersey Air National Guard’s 177th Fighter Wing has a “no fail” mission and must keep F-16s on alert to respond to threats to the country’s northeast, even though the local community has been hit hard by the new coronavirus. COVID-19 has created a “biologically contested environment right here, in our backyard” for the wing, which operates out of the Atlantic City International Airport. The wing has shut down most access to the base, screening all visitors, and even quarantining crews before they go on alert to ensure that the wing’s F-16s and pilots are ready, the wing’s commander Col. Bradford Everman said in an interview with Air Force Magazine. “The 177th Fighter Wing, like really the rest of the Department of Defense, we don't have that opportunity to take a knee, we can't just shut down for a week or for a month,” Everman said. “We don't have that option. We have to continue getting the job done, because we have to continue defending America, our states, and our communities.”
Letters to Lackland

‘Letters to Lackland’ Encouraging BMT Trainees During COVID-19 Pandemic

One Airman’s grassroots initiative to lift up Air Force basic trainees during an unprecedented moment in history has grown into a global movement. Airman 1st Class Cailey Brislin, who works in the 434th Squadron Aviation Resource Management at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, was inspired to start the “Letters to Lackland” initiative last month after rediscovering encouraging notes she’d received while completing Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, according to a 47th Flying Training Wing release. Air Force Magazine reached out to the 37th Training Wing to find out how other Airmen and civilians can get in on the letter-writing action and help encourage potential future Airmen.

Virtual Events: 6th Annual Schriever Space Forum, and More

On Nov. 20, the Air Force Association's Schriever Chapter will host the 6th Annual Schriever Space Futures Forum—a live, virtual event—featuring appearances by Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, and incoming U.S. Space Command boss Lt. Gen. (sel.) John E. Shaw. Register for free here.

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.

Pentagon Wants Better Data for Its Predictive Aircraft Maintenance AI

Nextgov

The Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center is looking for ideas on how to improve the way it can use artificial intelligence technologies to predict when the Defense Department’s thousands of planes, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles need maintenance and repairs. The JAIC issued a request for information May 7 indicating it has run into challenges in its pathfinder project using AI to predict maintenance on H-60 helicopters and their T700 engines.

Esper Orders SDA to Link C2 Networks for All-Domain Ops

Breaking Defense

Joint All-Domain Command and Control is a way for the individual service C2 networks to "all have the same networking infrastructure to talk to one another," says Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear.

U.S. Defense Firms Hiring Thousands Amid Record Unemployment

Defense One

As U.S. unemployment reached its highest level since the Great Depression amid the coronavirus pandemic, some of America’s largest defense firms are hiring thousands of workers to build fast-flying missiles, satellites, and nuclear weapons.

Peters Presses Air Force on Long-Promised Cleanup of Wurtsmith Contamination

The Detroit News

Sen. Gary Peters is upset the Air Force says it's using $13.5 million allocated for cleaning up drinking water contaminants at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Mich., to do further study, rather than "tangible" cleanup projects in the area. The funding was part of $60 million that Congress provided last year to the Defense Department to address contamination by certain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances known as PFAS at decommissioned military bases.

Air Force Academy Starts Lifting Some Coronavirus Restrictions

Air Force Times

The Air Force Academy is starting to reopen some facilities and lift restrictions that were imposed to try to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Academy on May 11 will lift the “official business only” restriction, which was put in place March 23 and only allowed access to people who work or live on the installation or who needed medical services.

One More Thing

Sources: Trump Administration Drafting 'Artemis Accords' Pact for Moon Mining

Reuters

The Trump administration is drafting a legal blueprint for mining on the moon under a new U.S.-sponsored international agreement called the Artemis Accords, people familiar with the proposed pact told Reuters. The agreement would be the latest effort to cultivate allies around NASA’s plan to put humans and space stations on the moon within the next decade, and comes as the civilian space agency plays a growing role in implementing American foreign policy. The draft pact has not been formally shared with U.S. allies yet.