Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.

Senate Confirms Brown to Lead Air Force in Historic Vote

Senators confirmed Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. as the first black military service chief in American history in a 98-0 vote June 9. Brown, the decorated four-star general in charge of Pacific Air Forces, is expected to begin his four-year term as the Air Force’s top uniformed officer later this summer. His confirmation comes as the military responds to nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism, spurred by George Floyd’s death in Minnesota last month. He has pledged to carry out the service’s sweeping modernization plan while continuing to fight insurgents in the Middle East and Africa and posturing against Russia and China—all while adjusting to life during the coronavirus pandemic.
Space Force Flag

Space Force Attracts Thousands in First Transfer Window

More than 8,500 Airmen applied to formally transfer into the Space Force during the month of May, about half the number of people who currently work for the fledgling service. Space Force officials will choose about 6,000 of those satellite operators, intelligence analysts, cyber professionals, and others to join the service for a two-year term, according to a June 9 release. A Space Force spokesperson did not immediately answer how many Airmen were eligible to apply in the first, and likely only, transfer window for Active-duty USAF officers and enlisted personnel.
Boeing KC-46 delivery ceremony

KC-46 Full-Rate Production Pushed Back to 2024

The Air Force has officially delayed the KC-46’s full-rate production decision milestone until 2024 as the next-generation tanker works through problems plaguing its Remote Vision System, the service announced June 8. The Air Force and the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation decided the KC-46’s initial operational test and evaluation will only conclude after the RVS deficiencies are resolved, and the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center has tested the aircraft in its final production configuration, the service said in a statement. KC-46 was originally slated to reach full-rate production in June 2017, but that date has been pushed back multiple times. The latest delay will not add any “contractual cost or delivery impacts,” the service said.
Lt. Gens. Kelly and Van Ovost

New Leaders Nominated for ACC, AMC

President Donald Trump has nominated Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly to receive his fourth star and take over as commander of ACC and Lt. Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost to receive her fourth star and take over as commander of AMC. Kelley is the deputy chief of staff of operations at Headquarters Air Force. He has previously served as the commander of 12th Air Force, 9th Air Force, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan, and the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Van Ovost is the deputy commander at AMC and previously has served as the director of staff at Headquarters Air Force and the director of the Joint Staff. She has also served as the vice commander of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center and led the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md.
Will Roper on "Aerospace Nation"

Next-Gen Air Dominance Acquisition Plan Coming Soon

The Next-Generation Air Dominance program's acquisition strategy will be finished this summer, service acquisition chief Will Roper reported June 9 at a Mitchell Institute Aerospace Nation streaming event. He's assigned a team to assess whether the "Digital Century Series" model for the aircraft will cost less than traditional methods. Even if it doesn't, Roper indicated that he will press ahead because it will allow new technology to be added to the aircraft faster, the better to keep up with peer threats. He also discussed concepts of operation for "Skyborg" escort aircraft.

Tennessee Air Guardsmen Create VR Simulator for Maintainer Training

A pair of Tennessee Air National Guardsmen are collaborating with the Warner Robins Logistics Complex and the augmented reality/virtual reality development studio Moth+Flame—with support from ARCWERX—to create a virtual-reality simulator to help maintainers practice running USAF aircraft engines while saving money, increasing aircraft availability, and improving training quality. “We're working on a Multi-Aircraft Engine Run Simulator that will allow maintainers to work on training for engine runs and for engine run proficiency runs on the F-15C, F-15E, C-130H, C-17A, C-5M, and JSTARS right off the bat,” Senior Master Sgt. Thomas “Powell” Crider said of the effort he’s undertaken with colleague Tech. Sgt. David Hill.

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.

Air Force Folds IT Contracts into $8B Recompete: This Is IT

Bloomberg Government

The Air Force has expanded the scope of an acquisition aimed at consolidating its expiring information sharing systems contracts, and with that expansion comes an $8-billion-to-$10-billion price tag, according to the Air Force’s notice to industry.

Is China Already Inside America’s Hypersonic Industrial Base?

Defense News

As the Pentagon focuses on developing new technologies such as artificial intelligence and directed energy, Defense Department officials have declared the need to ensure foreign nations are not buying their way into the defense-industrial base. But a new report warns China may already have ownership over a key focus: hypersonic weapons.

OPINION: Losing Market Share and Damaging National Security Due to Anachronistic Drone Policy

Forbes

“In a nutshell, the Missile Technology Control Regime treats large drones as if they were nuclear missiles—which they are not,” retired USAF Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, writes. “As a result, this self-imposed restriction not only limits the sale of large U.S. drones to our friends and allies but pushes them into the arms of foreign suppliers some of whom are potential adversaries. The result is a series of negative consequences for the U.S.”

T-7A Red Hawk Achieves Another Design Goal

USAF release

The Air Force is a step closer to finalizing the design for its fourth- and fifth-generation advanced pilot trainer, the T-7A Red Hawk. Boeing and USAF recently conducted both the Aircraft Critical Design Review and overall System CDR during a three-day summit culminating 18 months of development work on the program.

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.

Civil Air Patrol To Purchase 17 New Cessnas

AVweb

The U.S. Civil Air Patrol has awarded a contract to Textron Aviation for the purchase of 17 Cessna piston engine aircraft. The contract includes 11 Skyhawk 172Ss, five Skylane 182Ts, and one Turbo Stationair HD T206HD.

Watchdog: VA Needs to Include More Specialists in Electronic Health Record Decisions

Nextgov

While the Veterans Affairs Department’s rollout of a new electronic health record system has been waylaid by a number of issues—insufficient infrastructure, piecemeal training and a pandemic—the process for figuring out how to configure the new system has gone well, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. However, key stakeholders have been underrepresented on the councils managing that process, according to auditors.

One More Thing

Air Force Cancels 2020 Marathon, Offers Virtual Option

USAF release

In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and prioritize the health and safety of participants, Air Force officials have cancelled in-person running of the 2020 Air Force Marathon. For those participants who are registered, the Air Force Marathon team has developed three options to choose from. Additionally, for those who have yet to register, there is still time to sign up to participate in the virtual events.