T-7A Red Hawk

ACC Aims to Cut Pilot Training Time By Up to Half

The Air Force is implementing a fighter pilot training plan that will regroup training phases and use new technologies to cut between a third and half off the time needed to transform a raw student pilot into a fighter flight lead, according to the new concept of operations. The plan exploits the in-jet simulation capability of the new T-7 Red Hawk, paired with ground-based virtual reality and artificial intelligence to accelerate student progress. Called “Rebuilding the Forge,” or “Reforge” for short, the new CONOPS, which was signed out by Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes on June 2, would be the first major transformation of fighter pilot training since jet training began in the 1950s, according to its authors.

Investigation: Climbing Anchor Failure Caused Pararescuman’s Death

A pararescueman died during an October 2019 mountain rescue and climbing training exercise in Idaho after an anchor system failed, pulling him off the top of a cliff. Tech. Sgt. Peter Kraines, 33, a Special Tactics PJ with the 24th Special Operations Wing at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., was one of five Airmen participating in a six-day training exercise to improve climbing skills near Boise. An Air Force Accident Investigation Board report states Kraines set an anchor system that gave out as an Airman was rapelling down a rock face, and that Airman’s momentum pulled him off the cliff.
B-2s Arctic

B-2s Train in Arctic as USAF Prepares to Release Strategy for the Region

Two B-2s linked up with Norwegian F-35s north of the Arctic Circle on June 18 to demonstrate long-range strategic integration, as the Air Force is set to release a new strategy on how it will operate in the Arctic, the head of U.S. Air Forces in Europe said. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, speaking to reporters in a virtual event, said the service “in the very near future” will release the document for operating in the Arctic, which “will more broadly inform our way ahead for operations” in the increasingly important region. While the broader Defense Department and other services have published their own strategies for the Arctic, this document will be new for the Air Force. “The Arctic remains a key area for us to continue to best understand how we will operate up there, and key to me for that is how we operate with our partners,” Harrigian said.
B-52 trains with Danish Navy

Report: Standoff Weapons and Arsenal Plane No Match for Bombers

Bombers are a better bet than standoff weapons for managing combat at long range, according to a new Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies report, released June 18. While standoff weapons are needed for key targets inside a well-fortified enemy's air defenses, only bombers can provide the massed firepower needed for an extended air campaign, according to the report's author, retired Air Force Col. Mark Gunzinger. Bombers' ability to strike deep within enemy territory—likely beyond the range of standoff weapons—is a “cost imposing” strategy on an enemy, Gunzinger said.
Army National Guard Director Re-enlists Oregon Soldiers

Senate Vets Hokanson for National Guard Chief

The prospective next head of the National Guard Bureau told the Senate this week he expects the new coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest will require the Guard to play a greater role in homeland security than in the past. “Given the magnitude of recent domestic events, I anticipate a larger role for the National Guard in supporting civil authorities in the homeland; therefore, I foresee a potential increased role for me, if confirmed, in the interagency in planning for and reacting to events in the homeland,” Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Hokanson wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee ahead of his June 18 confirmation hearing. If confirmed, Hokanson will earn a promotion to general and replace Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, who assumed the post in August 2016. The head of the National Guard Bureau is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
New evidence of Russian aircraft active in Libyan airspace

Use of Contracted Russian Fighter Jets in Libya Could Increase Civilian Casualties

Russian private contractors are continuing to build up their presence of fighter jets in Libya, raising concerns about long-term security impacts of this capability and short-term worries about the skills and professionalism of fighter pilots for hire. U.S. Africa Command on June 18 released new images of at least 14 Russian MiG-23s, MiG-29s, and Su-24s that Russia had repainted and deployed to al Jufra Air Field in Libya in May. The aircraft are reportedly flown by the Wagner Group in support of military commander Khalifa Haftar’s offensive against the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, said the pilots are largely retired or other non-proficient aviators, raising concerns about possible civilian casualties from air strikes.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

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.

SecDef Creates All-New Board for 'Diversity and Inclusion' in the Military

Connecting Vets

Weeks after the killing of George Floyd sparked national unrest over racial discrimination, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has introduced a new defense board for diversity. The "Defense Board on Diversity and Inclusion" will conduct a "six-month sprint to develop concrete, actionable recommendations to increase racial diversity and ensure equal opportunity across all ranks & in the officer corps," Esper said in a Twitter thread published June 18.

U.S. Forces Korea Permits Racial Injustice Protests on Bases


In an emailed statement, Army Col. Lee Peters, chief USFK spokesman, said commanders knew about two recent "candlelight vigils and both were coordinated with appropriate authorities prior to execution." Abrams also put out guidance from his chief Judge Advocate General before the demonstrations in an effort to let all service members and civilians participating "know what they were allowed and not allowed to do," Peters said.

Top Pentagon Official Wheelbarger Resigns


Kathryn Wheelbarger, who is highly regarded by national security experts in President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and among Democrats, did not explain the reasoning for her departure in a copy of her resignation letter obtained by Reuters.

Lockheed Martin Ventures Invests in Red 6

Inside Defense

Lockheed Martin Ventures has invested in Red 6, a Santa Monica, Calf.-based firm specializing in synthetic training. Red 6 said in its June 17 announcement that it will use the funds to "accelerate the development and commercialization of Red 6's ATARS (Airborne Tactical Augmented Reality System)."

McCain Crew Completes Basic Certification


The crew aboard Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) successfully completed Basic Phase Certification earlier this month, the U.S. Navy confirmed on June 16. The Navy has been repairing and revamping McCain since the ship suffered damage in August 2017 following a collision with the oil tanker MV Alnic MC near the eastern entrance of the Strait of Malacca, resulting in the deaths of 10 sailors.