Michael D. Griffin and Lisa Porter

Pentagon’s Top 2 Technology Leaders Leaving for Private Sector

The DOD's top two research and engineering officials are leaving their posts July 10 to pursue an opportunity in the private sector together, according to an email the pair sent out to Pentagon colleagues June 23. Michael D. Griffin was the first to occupy the newly re-minted post of director of research and engineering, the fourth-highest Pentagon position, which was restructured by Congress in 2016. His deputy, Lisa Porter, will be going with him, but they did not disclose the nature of their new venture. It's not clear who will be the acting USD/R&E until a replacement is nominated for the position, which requires Senate confirmation.
RQ-4 Global Hawk arrives at Yokota Air Base

Lawmakers Seek Guardrails for RQ-4 Retirement

Congress is rekindling its fight with the Air Force over the fate of the RQ-4 Global Hawk fleet for fiscal 2021, as House lawmakers push back on plans to retire some of the high-flying intelligence aircraft that could be vulnerable to enemy fire. The Air Force wants to cut its Global Hawk fleet from 31 airframes to 10, divesting mostly Block 30 variants and a few Block 20 airframes. It would keep Block 40 drones, the most recent design. Members of the House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee want to withhold half of the funding for the Air Force’s future battle management network until certain conditions are met for the RQ-4, according to the panel’s version of the 2021 defense policy bill that was approved June 23.
KC-135 Tails at Dusk

House Panel Mostly Allows KC-10 Retirements, Blocks KC-135 Cuts

A House panel plans to let the Air Force retire some of its KC-10s in a phased approach while blocking cuts to the KC-135 fleet, with a caveat. The House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee’s markup of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Air Force to maintain a minimum of 50 primary mission inventory KC-10 in 2021, 38 in 2022, and 26 in 2021. The bill also prohibits the service from retiring any KC-135s until at least 2023. However, the markup says the ban on retirements does not apply to “individual KC-135 aircraft that the Secretary of the Air Force determines, on a case-by-case basis, to be no longer mission capable” because of mishaps, damage, or “being uneconomical to repair.”
Maintainers ensure F-35’s mission capability

House Committees Want Answers on F-35 Spare Parts, Sustainment

Members of one House committee are calling for an investigation into Lockheed Martin for its handling of F-35 spare parts, while another has crafted language in its markup of the 2021 defense policy bill calling for an assessment of the Joint Strike Fighter’s troubled sustainment system. Democratic members of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee on June 23 announced they have requested information from Lockheed on the company’s alleged “failure to deliver spare parts” for the F-35 that were ready for installation. Separately, the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee in its markup of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill is calling for an investigation into F-35 sustainment costs. Lockheed says it will work with the committees, and noted the company has made several improvements aimed at reducing costs and improving performance.
U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel Lightning Scenic

Proposed NDAA Provision Would Protect Sexual Assault Survivors at USAFA

A provision to the 2021 defense policy bill aims to create space between sexual assault survivors and their alleged attackers at the U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and the U.S. Naval Academy so the students can get the chance to finish their studies. “Being able to complete your education without fear of sexual assault is a basic civil right—one that has been denied to too many military service academy cadets and midshipmen,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), chair of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee, told Air Force Magazine in a statement.
pentagon CR

House Legislators Push for More Detail in DOD Suicide Reporting

The House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee wants to require the Defense Department to include more detail in its annual military suicide reports to Congress, including what steps military departments are taking to make it feel less controversial for troops to ask for help if they're struggling with issues of mental health or considering suicide.
Operation Freedom's Sentinel/Operation Inherent Resolve

Congress Wants to Know SOCOM’s Plan to Counter New Threats, Reform Command Culture

Congress wants the Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command to provide a plan on how to counter emerging threats from foreign countries while continuing to fight terrorism and fix ethics and professionalism concerns in the Command. While USSOCOM has grown to face new threats, Congress is concerned the command is spread too thin and unable to maintain an advantage across all theaters. USSOCOM needs to assess how many forces should shift from historical efforts against terrorism to new operations regarding great power competition, according to the House Armed Services intelligence and emerging threats subcommittee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill.
Sig Sauer

Air Force Gets New Handgun

The Sig Sauer M18 handgun will replace the M9 pistol that has been in service since 1985. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Small Arms Program Office purchased some 125,000 M18s from Sig Sauer for $22.1 million, and delivery is slated to be complete by August 2022. The polymer M18s are lighter, cheaper, and more repairable than the all-metal M9s, said Merrill Adkison, Small Arms Program Office senior logistics manager, in an AFLCMC press release.

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.

Presidential Fleet to Receive Communication Upgrade

USAF release

A team from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Presidential & Executive Airlift Directorate has begun fleet-wide satellite communication upgrades on aircraft supporting the President and other Executive Department leaders.

US Air Force Considers Ways to Recruit Commercial Pilots


The service’s Air Education and Training Command has not yet established new career paths, but is exploring the idea of recruiting experienced commercial pilots or civilians within commercial pilot training programmes, Air Combat Command chief Gen. James M. Holmes said during an AFA Mitchell Institute webinar.

Air Force Surgeon General Authorizes 5-Year Shaving Waivers

USAF release

In a memorandum dated June 18, 2020, Lt. Gen. Dorothy A. Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General, authorized five-year shaving waivers for Air and Space professionals diagnosed with Pseudofolliculitis Barbae, effective immediately. Driven by feedback from the field, the change is intended to provide more time for skin to heal and prevent a recurrence.

Air Force Releases JADO Doctrine

USAF release

The Department of the Air Force released the service’s first doctrine annex on Joint All-Domain Operations June 1, outlining how the service expects to maintain its competitive advantage. Annex 3-1, Department of the Air Force role in JADO, builds on the doctrine note signed by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein in March, and the direction to deter and defeat adversaries from the National Defense Strategy.

Surge in Coronavirus Cases at Air Force Base on Guam Sparks Probe into Possible Violations

Stars and Stripes

The Air Force is investigating whether any of the 35 airmen who tested positive for coronavirus in less than two weeks at Guam's Andersen Air Force Base violated mandatory protection measures, a general said June 22. All 35 belong to the same unit whose members arrived on the island May 25, according to a statement attributed to Brig. Gen. Gentry Boswell, commander of Andersen's 36th Wing.

Air Force to Take More Action at PFAS-Tainted Marsh, but Locals Skeptical

Detroit Free Press

Clark's Marsh, a natural area near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, Mich., so tainted with potentially harmful nonstick chemicals that almost every living creature tested there shows excessive levels of them, will get more attention from the U.S. Air Force. But area residents, frustrated by years of inaction and slow results as Wurtsmith's legacy pollution has spread to affect the surrounding community, aren't celebrating yet.

U.S. Air Force to Support Counter Narcotics Operations In Caribbean

U.S. Southern Command release

Two patrol aircraft, an E-3 Sentry (AWACS) and E-8 Joint STARS (JSTARS), supported by two KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling aircraft, will fly detection and monitoring missions in international airspace to help U.S. and international law enforcement authorities disrupt and defeat transnational criminal organizations trafficking illegal narcotics in the region. Approximately 200 Airmen, including aircrews, maintenance technicians, logisticians, and administrative personnel, will support the operation.

One More Thing

U.S. Repatriates Remains of Korean Service Members

DOD video

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency conducted a repatriation ceremony with South Korean officials at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, on June 23, 2020. The DPAA is turning over the remains of 140 South Korean service members who died in the Korean War and have now been identified.