Langley F-22

New Pilot Training Plan Could Provide More F-22 Combat Power, Red Air

Air Combat Command could get more F-22s in the fight if its new "Reforge" fighter pilot training construct pans out, ACC commander Gen. James M. Holmes said during a June 22 AFA Mitchell Institute Aerospace Nation streaming event. Holmes said more early F-22s also could become "Red Air" adversary aircraft under the plan. He also discussed leasing advanced trainers to prove the Reforge construct. “Part of what we’re trying to do is see if we could create more capacity without spending more money,” Holmes said. If Reforge works, fewer F-22s would be needed for basic skills training in the jet. “We can take some of that training-coded iron and turn it into combat-coded iron."
74th EFS returns from deployment

Holmes: Proposed New Force Deployment Plan ‘Key’ to Retention

Senior leaders were briefed on a new plan for Air and Space Expeditionary Forces at the service's top-level Corona meeting earlier this month, Air Combat Command boss Gen James M. Holmes said during a June 22 Mitchell Institute virtual event. Holmes and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Lt. Gen. Mark D.Kelly presented the plan, which Holmes said is still being refined. As of now, it would break the deployable Air Force into “six bins, on a 36-month schedule,” meant to provide national leaders with a more ready-to-go large force while still managing day-to-day commander needs, while giving Airmen more predictable “white space” on their calendars for training and family time, Holmes said.
18th SFS guards Kadena AB

Fire at Kadena HAZMAT Facility Releases Chlorine Gas, Affecting Dozens

OKINAWA, Japan—About 45 people experienced symptoms of smoke and chlorine gas exposure June 22 at Kadena Air Base, after a fire at the 18th Wing Hazardous Materials Pharmacy sent hazardous particles and plumes of smoke billowing into the air. Most of the individuals had mild symptoms and were treated and returned to duty, according to a base press release.

HASC Personnel Panel Seeks Space Force Staffing Details

House lawmakers are criticizing the Space Force for being too vague about its future personnel plans as the new service turns six months old. Congress approved the creation of a Space Force last year, and is now taking a piecemeal approach to cleaning up the details as the service begins to mature. “The committee commends the Department of Defense for the establishment of the Space Force within the Department of the Air Force,” House Armed Services personnel subcommittee members wrote in their version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill. “However, the current planning seems to lack some specificity and details that may be needed to help ensure the timely and successful execution of the force structure plan for the Space Force.”
28th EARS refuels E-8 Joint STARS

House Wants to Keep JSTARS Flying for Foreseeable Future

House lawmakers want to ban the Air Force from retiring the E-8C Joint STARS fleet until the service finds a suitable replacement, while seeking more information on the complex network meant to take the jets’ place. The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill looks to amend Congress’s earlier views on the E-8C replacement. Hoping to learn on the go, the Air Force is adding new communications, analysis, and targeting tools into periodic ABMS demonstrations. Now, lawmakers want more details on what goes on during those exercises.
Top Defense Official Briefs Media on COVID-19 Acquisition Policy

DOD Faces Billions in COVID-19-Related Claims as Program Delays Persist

Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen M. Lord said the department is on the hook for billions of dollars in COVID-19-related costs, saying the Pentagon submitted its request to cover the claims to the Office of Management and Budget. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, passed in March, enables federal agencies to reimburse contractors for additional expenses required to keep work moving through the outbreak. As most of the country has been reopening following months of lock down measures, Lord said she has seen an “enormous amount of recovery” in the defense industrial base. In April, Lord forecasted there would be about a three-month delay to defense acquisition across all major programs, and as of June 22 she said that prediction still holds.
Russia and China

Congress Wants to Better Understand Potential Risks from East Asian Adversaries

Congress wants the Defense Department to report back on North Korean weapons programs as well as growing ties between Russia and China, citing potential risks to U.S. national security. Specifically, the committee asked the DOD to research North Korea’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities, and then report to Congress by the end of October, and to assess North Korean domestic development and resources, and if any countries may collaborate with North Korean efforts. The mark also asks the Director of National Intelligence and the Defense Secretary to deliver a report on China and Russia’s relationship by March 2021.
DC Air National Guard

D.C. Air National Guard Concludes Civil Unrest Mission

The District of Columbia Air National Guard’s support of the law-enforcement response to civil unrest in the nation’s capital following the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody concluded at midnight on June 22, DC National Guard spokesperson Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper confirmed to Air Force Magazine via email. DCANG aircraft were never involved in the mission, Clapper confirmed.

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.

Planting the Seeds of Technology for the Future Space Force

SpaceNews

The U.S. Space Force is small in size but big on technology. To stay ahead of rivals that are trying to compete with U.S. military might, the Space Force needs a research-and-development organization that brings a broad pipeline of ideas. That essentially is the role of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, its director Col. Eric J. Felt explained during a June 4 SpaceNews webinar.

Pentagon Says It Needs ‘More Time’ Fixing JEDI Contract

Nextgov

In updated legal filings, the Defense Department said it will not be in a position to award its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract to either Microsoft or Amazon Web Services until at least Aug. 17. According to the filing, both Microsoft and Amazon Web Services submitted revised JEDI proposals in May, but they’ll have to revise and submit bids once more because the Pentagon intends to issue another amendment to the JEDI solicitation by June 22.

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Coalition: Airstrikes Destroy ISIS Mountain Training Camp, Cave Hideout in Iraq

Stars and Stripes

Coalition strikes took out three Islamic State group camp sites in Iraq's Kirkuk province on June 19, while a jet "blasted" an ISIS cave in Nineveh province. The "summer camp" in rural Kirkuk was located about 16 miles west of the city of Tuz Khurmatu in "densely vegetated austere terrain," the U.S.-led Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement June 20. Strike videos described them as ISIS mountain training areas.

Offutt Reestablishes Fuel System Lost in Flood, Increases Capability

USAF release

For the first time since it was damaged in the March 2019 flood, the Type III Underground Fuel System became operational at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., on June 16. The underground fuel system allows personnel to refuel aircraft via an underground constant pressure system that takes it directly from fuel tanks located just south of the flightline.

OPINION: Ending Accompanied Tours to the Gulf Is a Message Delivered at a Cost

Defense One

“The Pentagon wants Iran—and U.S. allies—to pay close attention to its decision to keep troops' families out of the region,” writes Kirsten Fontenrose, director of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative and former senior director for Gulf Affairs at the National Security Council during the Trump Administration.

Assistant Secretary Visit Pushes Optimism for MacDill Housing Future

USAF release

In an ongoing effort to analyze and evaluate progress towards remedying issues in base housing on MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., the 6th Air Refueling Wing hosted Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Installations, and Energy John W. Henderson and Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr.

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The Stars and Stripes Newspaper Has Long Supported the Troops. Now It Needs Congress’ Support.

The Washington Post Magazine

Stars and Stripes has been chronicling the military angle of the COVID-19 crisis for months now: Sailors infected on Navy ships, face masks purchased for the Department of Defense workforce, stimulus checks cut for veterans. But in the midst of the pandemic, the newspaper faces an unprecedented threat all its own: In February, the Trump administration proposed eliminating all of the publication’s federal support in 2021.

One More Thing

Warner Robins Maintainers Memorialize Fallen Lakenheath Pilot

Air Force Magazine

Two aircraft maintenance squadrons from the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in Georgia joined forces to memorialize 1st Lt. Kenneth “Kage” Allen, the 493rd Fighter Squadron’s assistant chief of weapons and tactics who died June 15 when his F-15C crashed into the North Sea. The 561st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and 558th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron paint team worked together to stencil Allen’s name on the side of an F-15E that had finished Programmed Depot Maintenance and was bound for RAF Lakenheath, U.K.