Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass

Bass Tapped as Air Force’s First Female Enlisted Leader

Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass will become the 19th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, and the first woman to serve as the highest ranking non-commissioned officer of any U.S. military service. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., who will take over as Chief of Staff later this summer, picked Bass to follow outgoing CMSAF Kaleth Wright. Bass’s selection sets up a historic leadership slate for the Air Force: It will become the first military branch run by a Black Chief of Staff and a female enlisted Chief. Bass currently serves as command chief master sergeant for Second Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. She is the top enlisted adviser for Air Force-run training courses that graduate 150,000 military personnel each year.
AFRL change of command

Pringle Takes Helm at USAF Research Lab

The Air Force Research Laboratory welcomed Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle as its new commander on June 18, marking its third leadership change in six months. Pringle follows Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, who has served as the lab’s top officer since January. He replaced Maj. Gen. William Cooley, who was abruptly fired Jan. 15 as the Air Force Office of Special Investigations opened an inquiry into misconduct allegations. Pringle previously worked as Air Force director of strategic plans and held a similar position at Air Force Materiel Command.

F-15E Missing Man Formation Honors Fallen Lakenheath Pilot

As members of RAF Lakenheath’s 493rd Fighter Squadron gathered on the RAF Mildenhall flightline on June 18 to pay their final respects to their deceased colleague, 1st Lt. Kenneth “Kage” Allen—who died in a June 15 F-15C crash in the North Sea—F-15Es from the 494th Fighter Squadron flew a Missing Man formation to honor him.
Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr

Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr., 1940-2020

Gen. Thomas S. Moorman Jr., who developed and led a sizable portion of the Air Force's space organizations and capabilities, died June 17 at age 79. Moorman played a “pivotal role” in Air Force and defense space, laying the foundation for Space Force, said the new service's leader, Gen. Jay Raymond.
Catalyst Accelerator

Air Force Space Accelerator Will Nurture Tech Startups Focused on Cybersecurity

The competition is open for the next cohort of small and innovative companies vying to benefit from a three-month residency at the Colorado Springs campus of the Catalyst Space Accelerator. As many as 40 startups are expected to apply for the eight slots available, developing technology that can secure increasingly software-driven spacecraft against foreign hackers and cyberspies. The contest comes as the program is being moved to the new Space Force.

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.

Navy Upholds Firing of Carrier Captain in Virus Outbreak

The Associated Press

The two senior commanders on a coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier didn’t “do enough, soon enough,” to stem the outbreak, the top U.S. Navy officer said Friday, a stunning reversal that upheld the firing of the ship’s captain who had pleaded for faster action to protect the crew.

TRICARE Prescriptions Would Be Free During Pandemic Under New Proposal

Military.com

Two U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would let TRICARE waive prescription drug copayments for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or other national emergency. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) proposed the TRICARE Prescriptions Relief Act bill on June 17 to provide financial help for Active-duty and retiree families experiencing unexpected increases in prescription drug costs during the pandemic.

Space Development Agency Wants to Demonstrate Hardware Before Merging with Space Force

Space News

The director of the Space Development Agency Derek Tournear again made the case that the agency needs at least two years to prove its business model before it is merged with the U.S. Space Force. “I would contend that we need enough runway to be able to demonstrate that military utility,” Tournear said June 18 during an online chat with Chuck Beames, chairman of the industry group SmallSat Alliance.

State Media: Iran Test Fires Cruise Missiles in Naval Drill

The Associated Press

Iran test fired cruise missiles in a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman and northern Indian Ocean, state media reported June 18. The report by the official IRNA news agency said the missiles destroyed targets at a distance of 170 miles. It said the tests took place during a naval drill by Iran’s navy in the Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.

NSW Government was Target of Major Cyber Attack Operation Linked to China

The Sydney Morning Herald

A wave of sophisticated cyber attacks against the NSW government and other critical Australian infrastructure spurred Prime Minister Scott Morrison's warning for the nation to be on guard against more attempted hacks. Australian security agencies believe China is behind the cyber raids on all levels of government, industry and critical infrastructure including hospitals, local councils and state-owned utilities.

Shifting Gears, DOD Moves to LEO for Future OPIR Sats

Breaking Defense

As the Defense Department deliberates future missile warning plans, senior officials say the second iteration of the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared constellation could include multiple satellites in low Earth orbit, a revolution in the traditional U.S. approach to early warning.

Vice Chief’s Challenge Submission Deadline Extended

USAF release

Airmen can participate in the challenge by submitting their ideas via the Airmen Powered by Innovation platform to solve problems related to automation or elimination of menial tasks. Additionally, peers can provide live input and vote for their favorite proposals.

Texas Guard Team Wins First NGB Innovation Competition

USAF release

The Texas Guard team, whose entry focused on development of 3D printer technology, beat out 110 submissions nationwide. Competitors pitched their ideas in rounds at the unit, state, and regional levels. The winners advanced to the final round, held June 12.

For First Time in Decades, Female Soldier Completes Final Phase of Special Forces Training

Military.com

A female National Guard Soldier has successfully completed the final stage of the Army's Special Forces Qualification Course (Q Course), but she's not a Green Beret yet. The soldier finished the grueling three-week evaluation known as Robin Sage this week, but she is still in the final counseling phase, in which she and other students receive evaluations from course staff.

Turkey Now Has Swarming Suicide Drones It Could Export

The Drive

The Turkish military reportedly plans to buy more than 500 quad-copter-type Kargu series loitering munitions, or suicide drones, in the near term. The Kargus, at present, can operate in semi-autonomous or manually controlled modes, but work is underway to give up to 20 of them the ability to carry out mass attacks as a swarm, which could give Turkey's troops a potentially game-changing new capability.

Supreme Court Ruling Protects DACA Service Members from Deportation

Military.com

Several hundred "Dreamers" in the military received a conditional guarantee from the Supreme Court on June 18 that they could continue serving without fear of deportation by the Trump administration. In the second surprising ruling this week with major implications for the military, the Supreme Court barred the administration from ending protections for about 700,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

One More Thing

Alaska Has Removed the "Into the Wild" Bus

Backpacker

More than 28 years after Chris McCandless took up residence there, an Army National Guard helicopter airlifted the abandoned vehicle out of the backcountry.