Lockheed Martin GPS IIIF (SV11+) satellite

New DOD Space Strategy Warns of Growing Threats from Russia, China

The U.S. National Security Space enterprise is not built for the current environment—specifically the rapidly increasing threats from Russia and China—so as the Space Force stands up, the Pentagon released a new strategy aimed at guiding years of policy to address shortfalls in the domain. The Defense Department on June 17 published the National Space Strategy, following in the steps of 2018’s National Defense Strategy, as a “roadmap to advance our nation’s military space power by guiding the most significant transformation in the history of the national security space program,” Stephen Kitay, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, told reporters.
NORAD intercept

F-22s Intercept Two More Russian Bomber Formations Near Alaska

For the second time in a week, F-22 Raptors, supported by KC-135 Stratotankers and an E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, intercepted two formations of Russian aircraft off the coast of Alaska, North American Aerospace Defense Command announced. The Russian aircraft—Tu-95 bombers, Su-35 fighters, and an A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft—stayed in international airspace during the June 16 flights, but came within 32 nautical miles of Alaskan shores, said NORAD. “For the eighth time this year, Russian military aircraft have penetrated our Canadian or Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zones, and each and every time NORAD forces were ready to meet this challenge,” NORAD Commander USAF Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said in a release.
Thompson and Deptula

SMC Completes Critical Design Reviews Despite COVID-19 Restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions moved much of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s work online, but the Space Force still met major milestones on new systems virtually. In recent weeks, the GPS III Follow-on finished its critical design review campaign virtually and on schedule. Additionally, the Weather System Follow-On Microwave program finished its CDR process in April, receiving Milestone B approval in mid-May during the height of the pandemic. “I think that’s remarkable, in that old hands like myself … know the face-to-face interpersonal contact required to close out a critical design review on a major weapon system, and to do that virtually is really remarkable,” SMC boss Lt. Gen. J.T. Thompson said during a June 17 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event.

Improved Body Armor for Female Airmen Coming This Fall

The Air Force recently awarded a contract to begin production of body armor specifically designed for women, as part of a service-wide push for inclusion and gear better suited for female Airmen. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Female Fitment Program Office awarded the contract to TSSi of Harrisonburg, Va., after an evaluation of possible gear that included both laboratory and field assessments, according to an Air Force Materiel Command release. “Our female Airmen had gaps due to poor fitment issues,” said Maj. Saily Rodriguez, the manager of the Female Fitment Program, in the release. “The new gear fits properly, which improves protection and offers better comfort for gear that has to be worn in difficult environments and conditions."
Stoltenberg

NATO Looks to Counter Russia’s Growing Nuclear Capabilities

NATO defense ministers on June 17 agreed on three measures aimed at countering Russia’s “extensive and growing arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles during the first of a two-day meeting held via secure teleconference due to the new coronavirus pandemic, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. The “balanced package of political and military elements” includes efforts to strengthen the Alliance’s integrated air and missile defense as well as its advanced capabilities, and adapts NATO's intelligence and exercises, Stoltenberg said.

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.

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.

Acting Pentagon Comptroller to Resign

Inside Defense

Acting Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker is resigning from the Defense Department, according to a statement from Defense Secretary Mark Esper. McCusker, who was confirmed as deputy comptroller in August 2017, was nominated to serve as Pentagon comptroller last November, but President Donald Trump withdrew her nomination in March following reports about internal emails in which she opposed the White House decision to withhold aid from Ukraine, a matter that was at the center of Trump's impeachment.

U.S. Needs New Policies with Move to Cislunar: Aerospace Corp.

Breaking Defense

As America moves beyond Earth’s orbit and expands operations to the Moon, space operators face the specter of the same crowding and pollution problems now bedeviling current space operations in orbits that are even more fragile, a new Aerospace Corporation study warns.

Bipartisan Senate Bill Would Increase Pentagon’s Artificial Intelligence Capacity

Nextgov

The bill would require the Defense Secretary to “develop a training and certification program to better enable” the Defense Department’s human resources workforce to recruit artificial intelligence and cyber talent. In addition, the Defense Secretary would be required to issue guidance on how the Pentagon could make better use of existing direct hire authorities to onboard AI talent.

Trump Plan to Stem Vet Suicides Focuses on Public Awareness

The Associated Press

President Donald Trump released a long-awaited plan on June 17 to address the persistently high number of suicides by veterans, with initiatives including firearm safety, wellness programs at workplaces, and new barriers near railroads and bridges.

One More Thing

Million Piece Mission Jigsaw Features National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

USAF release

Air Force Recruiting Service joined the trend of virtual jigsaw puzzles with the launch of an online challenge of piecing together a 1.03 gigapixel image from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. As users enter the mission on AirForcepuzzle.com, they see the full image that shows a collection of aircraft on display at the museum’s fourth building. This image was captured after the building’s opening in 2016 by photographer John Opie. As a puzzle, the image contains 3,000 tiles and a total of 1.2 million pieces.