Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Defense Department civilians can take up to two weeks of paid emergency leave if they or a family member are affected by the coronavirus, the Army said this week. Civilians are eligible if they are under government orders to quarantine or if they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, the Army said in a May 18 statement. The new emergency leave category is separate from sick leave and is authorized through Dec. 31.
A Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina C-17 Globemaster III, today, picked up 50 USAID-provided ventilators at March Air Reserve Base, Calif. and delivered them to Dover Air Force Base, Del. The mission is the first leg of a USAID mission to deliver 200 ventilators this month to Moscow.
While the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the nation, including Edwards AFB and surrounding communities, the 412th Test Wing has maintained an operational tempo that rivals pre-virus days, despite geographically separated teams and reduced manning. The 412th TW has continued operations through the adoption of dynamic processes and innovative techniques.
“Just a few months ago, Congress and the President created this new Space Force, bringing it forth out of the Air Force, just as the Air Force was raised up out of the Army 73 years before,” said Air Force Association Chairman and retired Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Gerald Murray. “Now, as thousands of Airmen begin the process of transferring into the Space Force, we are making clear that AFA fully embraces every one of the 15,000 or more professionals who will eventually make up this great Space Force. Whether they come from the Air Force, the Army, Navy, or elsewhere, we welcome them with open arms and a steadfast commitment to fight and advocate for their every need.”
Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett is pushing back on a Defense Department proposal that would delay transferring the Space Development Agency to the Space Force until October 2022. In a May 6 memo to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Barrett said the Space Development Agency—which is currently a Pentagon agency under the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering—should be part of the Space Force “as soon as possible.”
The House Armed Services Committee will host a private briefing on May 21, featuring representatives of both the Federal Communications Commission and the Defense Department, to discuss the ongoing fight over Ligado, C4ISRNET has learned. Scheduled to appear are Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, who has taken the lead on the Ligado issue; Gen. Jay Raymond, chief of space operations for the U.S. Space Force; Charles Mathias, associate bureau chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau; and Ron Repasi, acting chief engineer with the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology.
After a year of interagency wrangling, the Commerce Department today announced streamlined rules for commercial remote sensing satellites that lift many restrictions on radar imaging, night-time imaging, and short-wave infrared imaging.
The Air Force's B-1B Lancer bomber is about to move front and center in the U.S. military's power-projection mission in the Pacific. As part of its mission "reset" for the B-1 fleet, the Air Force is not only making its supersonic bombers more visible with multiple flights around the world, it's also getting back into the habit of having them practice stand-off precision strikes in the Pacific, a dramatic pivot following years of flying close-air support missions in the Middle East.
The Defense Department’s top official in charge of overseeing advanced research and development activities has said he does not believe it is feasible, at least at present, for an aircraft to carry a laser that would be sufficiently powerful to shoot down "an adversary missile." Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin appeared to be speaking about ongoing work on drones equipped with laser directed energy weapons for ballistic missile defense, raising questions about whether those efforts have hit significant hurdles.
The Air Force is leveraging emerging technologies and new legislation to accelerate acquisition decisions and streamline sustainment. Read more here.
The Air Force and the Defense Information Systems Agency are currently testing phone and tablet cases that combine physical security—like coverings for cameras—and electronic methods, like having built-in biometric authentication and signal jamming. The program could allow military personnel to keep their phones with them in secure facilities that usually shun mobile devices, while helping to secure their communications when they’re just out and about.
A photo taken at the Ohio museum that first surfaced on Reddit revealed a superimposed—with Scotch tape—photo on top of where Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond’s official photo should be. The replacement? None other than Gen. Mark R. Naird, Steve Carell’s character in the upcoming Netflix workplace comedy series, “Space Force”—an obvious nod to President Donald Trump’s launch of the U.S. military’s newest branch.