Lt. Gen. Scott Rice

Air National Guard to Fall Short of Fiscal 2020 End Strength Goal

The Air National Guard will fall approximately 1,000 personnel short of its authorized end strength of 107,500 at the end of fiscal 2020 due to a drop in retention, despite recruitment being slightly on the rise, ANG Director Lt. Gen. Scott Rice said. While the Air National Guard is working to determine the cause of the retention issues, Rice said he suspects the uncertainty and activation tempo associated with COVID-19 are contributing factors. “We had orders in hand in March and April just for 30 days, 31 days, and then those are extended to the end of May, and to the end of June, and now we have the authorization to extend them through August,” Rice said during a June 10 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event. “That's, you know, pretty impactful on people, as we look to the future.”
Inspector General of the Air Force visits AFIA

How the Air Force Watchdog Will Study Racial Disparities

The Air Force Inspector General wants to hear from a broad range of Airmen as it tries to identify racial biases in the service's justice and professional development systems. Officials will first focus on policies and processes that may have largely disadvantaged black Airmen, after multiple outside reports showed the Air Force disproportionately doles out punishment to young black personnel. The IG created a Senior Leader Advisory Group composed of 10 black general officers, 10 black enlisted chiefs, and four black members of the Air Force's senior executive service. Airmen from all major commands will be selected to join the team as well. The service's watchdog will use interviews, group discussions, and targeted and anonymous surveys to root out discrimination in how the Air Force both punishes and advances Airmen, the Air Force detailed in a June 10 release.

F-22s Intercept Russian Bomber Formations Near Alaska on Same Morning

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors, with help from KC-135 Stratotankers and an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, intercepted two separate Russian bomber formations off the Alaskan coast on the morning of June 10, North American Aerospace Defense Command said in a release. NORAD intercepted the Russian aircraft as they traveled into the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, but they never entered sovereign American airspace, the command noted. The intercepts come less than two weeks after Russia sent Su-27P and Su-30SM fighters to intercept USAF B-1B Lancers “in neutral waters” in response to a May 29 Bomber Task Force training mission over the Black Sea region.
746th EAES unloads cargo in Afghanistan

CENTCOM: No Finish Line Yet for Afghanistan, Syria

Despite a framework for peace in one theater and declarations of upcoming troop withdrawals in another, the head of U.S. Central Command said June 10 that there’s no finish line or concrete withdrawal in sight in either Afghanistan or Syria. CENTCOM boss Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, speaking at a virtual Middle East Institute conference, said the U.S. is ahead of its timeline to reduce its troop level in Afghanistan to 8,600 by next month, as outlined in a February deal with the Taliban. However, the Taliban is not holding up its end of the agreement and has continued to “aggressively” attack Afghan forces, he said. In Syria, the Islamic State group has largely moved underground and focused on cyber operations, plus launching some local attacks, McKenzie said.
Mighty 97th conducts large formation exercise

Roper: KC-46 IOT&E and Full-Rate Production Could Be Accelerated

Just a day after the Air Force announced that a full-rate production decision on the KC-46 tanker will have to wait until late fiscal 2024 due to extended testing of the redesigned Remote Vision System for tanking operations, the service’s acquisition executive offered his hope that the timetable may be accelerated by laboratory testing of RVS elements. The service and Boeing will work with the new and improved Remote Vision System in hardware-in-the-loop laboratories—one at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and one at Boeing’s Everett, Wash., facility, Air Force acquisition boss Will Roper said June 10. The new system—called RVS 2.0—will have 4K cameras, a LIDAR system for three-dimensional visualization and distance measuring; all to correct perception and distortion problems with the existing RVS. “I’m … nursing hope that this hardware-in-the-loop environment may let us squeeze more time out of the testing,” he said.
Air Force Test Center focuses on UAS technology

Small Drones Continue to Threaten Deployed U.S. Forces

U.S. forces in the Middle East are not prepared enough to defend against swarms of small drones, and the Pentagon needs to work harder to get ahead of the enduring threat, the head of U.S. Central Command warned. Small unmanned aerial systems, which can be purchased online or in a typical department store and easily outfitted with weapons, have proliferated to the point where it is costlier and harder to defend against than it is for adversaries to buy them, CENTCOM boss Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said. Troops have seen a variety of those aircraft in the region for years, and they won’t go away any time soon. “I argue all the time with my Air Force friends that the future of flight is vertical, and it is unmanned,” McKenzie said during a June 10 Middle East Institute event. “We are seeing it now.”

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.

Airborne Laser Weapon on Track for 2022 Demonstration

C4ISRNET

The 60-kilowatt high energy laser will be mounted on an AC-130J Ghostrider, a massively armed workhorse for the Air Force. The laser weapon will be a cherry on top to the gunship, which already boasts a 30mm side-firing chain gun, a 105mm cannon, AGM-176A Griffin laser guided missiles, wing-mounted GBU-39/B GPS-guided, and GBU-39B/B laser-guided Small Diameter Bombs.

OPINION: Former DIA Director: Please, Take Your Knee Off Our Necks So We Can Breathe

Task and Purpose

“As a person who has had incredible success in this country, I am directly appealing to those in positions of power and privilege to recognize the experiences of your fellow Americans who do not look like you, learn from them, and take meaningful actions to lift them up,” writes former Defense Intelligence Agency director and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart. “And I want you to imagine what our country would look like then.

This Marine Was Just Selected to Become the Next Senior Enlisted Leader for U.S. Space Command

Marine Corps Times

Marine Corps Master Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker has been selected as the next U.S. Space Command senior enlisted leader, the Pentagon announced June 9. “It’s great to be a Marine right now and I appreciate the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps nominating me and allowing me to compete for this position,” Stalker, who has served as the senior enlisted leader of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency since March 2018, said in an email to Marine Corps Times.

1st Special Operations Wing Gets First Female Commander

The Palm Beach Post

Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn, a 25-year Air Force officer, became the first woman to take command of the 1st Special Operations Wing in June 8 ceremonies at Hurlburt Field, Fla., headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command. The 1st Special Operations Wing is the most-deployed wing in the Air Force, and as commander of the wing, Schermerhorn will also serve as installation commander at Hurlburt.

Bell Boeing Delivers 400th V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor Aircraft

Boeing release

The Bell Boeing V-22 team recently delivered its 400th aircraft, a CV-22 for Air Force Special Operations Command. The first production V-22 was delivered on May 24, 1999, and today deliveries occur under the Multi-year Procurement III contract valued at $5 billion.