Hinote on Aerospace Nation

Hinote: COVID-19 Accelerated Modernization ‘Day of Reckoning’

The Air Force can't afford to keep the force it has and modernize it, so it must choose new technology over force structure, Brig. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, acting director of the Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability, said May 27. Modernization was put off too long, and pressure on federal spending from pandemic relief will compel the Air Force to choose a robust or modern force, he said, with no choice being the "worst possible" outcome. Dispersal of forces and migrating away from large, fixed operating bases is also in the future, posing targeting challenges to adversaries and imposing costs that will aid in deterrence, he said during an AFA Mitchell Institute streamed event.
Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley

For Clues About Space Force’s Future, Look to Crew Dragon

Some space watchers say NASA’s return to launching astronauts from U.S. soil this week could shape the far future of military manned spaceflight, though others say the new Space Force doesn’t need to aim for “boots on the Moon.” SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft will carry NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the International Space Station using a Falcon 9 rocket, marking the first time since 2011 that the U.S. has not relied on Russia’s Soyuz program to take people to space. The Space Force, and Air Force Space Command before it, does not handle human spaceflight, and does not have its own cadre of astronauts. But NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, for which Crew Dragon’s planned May 30 launch is the first manned mission, could still spur ripple effects for military space.

Many Cadets to Return to Air Force Academy This Summer

The U.S. Air Force Academy intends to bring back about three-quarters of its Cadet Wing—basic cadets included—this summer, USAFA Graduate Liaison Nicole Cox wrote in a May 27 email to alumni that was obtained by Air Force Magazine. A USAFA spokesperson confirmed the email’s validity. “Cadets will be brought back in multiple waves based on timing for their summer programs,” Cox wrote, adding that the Academy will implement COVID-19 risk-mitigation measures including a restriction of movement, social distancing, and keeping certain groups of cadets separated from one another within two of its dormitories. Over the summer, the Academy plans to conduct academics, airmanship programs, Basic Cadet Training, and Air Force Academy Preparatory School Basic Military Training, Cox wrote.
USAFE

USAFE Units Converge over North Sea as International Exercises are Canceled

The sky above the North Sea in Europe filled with dozens of USAF aircraft on May 27 as fighters from multiple bases joined together in red vs. blue teams to prove that U.S. Air Forces in Europe crews are ready for a high-end fight, even as the COVID-19 pandemic forces the command to change its schedule. Since the outbreak began, USAFE has cancelled or suspended 14 exercises, leaving a shortage in its crews ability to train at a high-level outside of their own local airspace. The May 27 “large force employment” event was the culmination of about a month and a half of planning, led by the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England. All told, 38 aircraft came together including F-15Cs and F-15Es from Lakenheath; KC-135s from RAF Mildenhall, England; F-16s from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; F-16s from Aviano Air Base, Italy; a NATO E-3 AWACS; and the 603rd Air Operations Center at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, monitoring the action.
2nd MDG extends hours for sports, school physicals

Military Coalition Asks Congress to Stop Downsizing of DOD Medical Facilities

A coalition of military and veterans associations is urging lawmakers to reverse Pentagon plans to close or downsize military medical facilities as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads. In February, the Pentagon said it planned to close or downsize 50 medical clinics, including 12 on Air Force bases, to focus more on the “readiness of our operational and medical forces” and less on serving families and retirees. The Military Coalition, a collection of more than two dozen groups including the Air Force Association, on May 18 sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services subcommittees on personnel urging them to adopt a provision in the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act to stop the downsizing. “The COVID-19 pandemic demands medical readiness requirements be reassessed and updated with lessons learned from the whole of nation response to the coronavirus emergency,” the coalition wrote.
CMSAF Wright visits Vandenberg AFB

CMSAF Wright to Serve as Air Force Aid Society’s Next CEO

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright will succeed retired Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hopper Jr. as CEO of the Air Force Aid Society—one of the service’s official charities—on Oct. 1, the organization announced May 27. “I’m excited about this next chapter following my retirement from the U.S. Air Force,” Wright said in an AFAS release. “It’s been an invaluable experience to serve alongside so many great Airmen over the past 31 years. I admire Lt. Gen. Hopper and look forward to building upon the success and great things he and his staff have done at the Society to help so many of our Air Force families.” Wright, whose retirement date from the Air Force has yet to be announced, has served as CMSAF since February 2017.

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 Releases RFI to Study COVID-19 Impact on Operations, Investments

Inside Defense

The Air Force is starting a new effort to assess the COVID-19 pandemic's long-term impacts on operations and readiness that could affect the service's financial investments. A request for information the Air Force released May 22 will help come up with a solicitation to potential contractors on behalf of the service's deputy chief of staff for operations, who is overseeing the effort.

Space Acquisition: Speed May Not Fix Problems, Critics Say

Breaking Defense

The latest version of the Air Force’s long-overdue report to Congress on space acquisition reform fails to address a number of foundational questions, critics say, including: go fast to do what; who gets to decide the what; and who is accountable if things go pear shaped?

Three European Air Forces Approve Performance Benchmarks for Next-Gen Fighter Jet

Defense News

The air forces of Germany, France, and Spain have agreed on a set of performance benchmarks to help their governments guide the development of a next-generation fighter jet set to fly in 2040, the German military announced May 26 in a statement. The document, approved earlier this month, is meant to help officials identify what features from a collection of 10 possible system architectures are worth keeping when the time comes to settle on a path forward for the Next-Generation Weapon System, or NGWS.

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.

Boeing to Cut Nearly 10,000 Jobs in Washington, More than 12,000 Overall

The Seattle Times

Boeing announced to employees May 27 a first batch of almost 7,000 involuntary layoffs in the U.S. Added to more than 5,500 voluntary buyouts, that means it will cut almost 12,300 U.S. jobs. Washington state takes the biggest hit: 9,840 Boeing jobs will be cut before July 31 in a combination of buyouts and involuntary layoffs, the company said.

One More Thing

Military and Intelligence Personnel Can Be Tracked with the Untappd Beer App

bellingcat

Surprise! The beer-rating app Untappd can be used to track the location history of military personnel. The social network has over eight million mostly European and North American users, and its features allow researchers to uncover sensitive information about said users at military and intelligence locations around the world.