SASC social 061522

House Defense Appropriators Float Fiscal 2021 Plan

House appropriators are planning to offer the Pentagon $694.6 billion for operations, personnel, and procurement, plus another $10.5 billion for military construction, in fiscal 2021. The Defense Department funding proposal is $1.3 billion higher than DOD received in fiscal 2020, but nearly $4 billion lower than the Trump administration requested. It spans $626.2 billion for the base account and another $68.4 billion to fund ongoing combat and deterrence operations in the Overseas Contingency Operations account.
Arizona healthcare workers conduct COVID-19 testing

Air Force Sees Major Spike in COVID-19 Cases

The Air Force this month saw its highest one-week spike of coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with more than 1,000 new cases reported among uniformed military, civilian, dependents, and contractors from June 29 to July 6. As of July 6, there were 3,325 total COVID-19 cases in the service, including 2,121 within the uniformed ranks. That compares to 2,300 total and 1,366 military cases as of June 29, according to Air Force data released July 7. The week of June 29 saw the Air Force's second civilian death, eight new hospitalizations, and 99 new recoveries. The increase comes as the United States sees COVID-19 surge in several states, and as the military grows its ability to test more people for the virus.
F-35 Turkey

Senators Want to Speed Turkey’s F-35 Ouster

A bipartisan group of four senators are demanding that the Pentagon explain why Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 program—to have been completed in March—now isn't expected until 2022. The senators said the sense of Congress on the matter is clear, and they want no further delay in ousting Ankara from the fighter program. The Pentagon argues it was trying to avoid costly disruption, but senators believe the delay is making the U.S. look weak.

Some Directed-Energy Weapons Show Promise While Others Slow

Air Force officials are still looking to perfect directed-energy weapons to use against the low-tech threat of small drones before scaling up lasers and microwaves to take out cruise missiles. The Air Force’s high-power microwave weapon known as the Tactical High-Power Microwave Operational Responder, or THOR, is heading to the Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico for further testing, Don Shiffler, chief scientist in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s directed energy branch, said July 7. He added the Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator, or SHiELD, program is having difficulty shrinking a powerful laser into a pod compact enough to fly on an airplane.

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.

VA Reports Nearly 5,000 Active Cases of COVID-19 Among VA Patients

Military Times

Veterans Affairs Department officials reported nearly 5,000 active cases of coronavirus among patients under their care as of the morning of July 7, but VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said that threefold increase in cases over the last month doesn’t point to the department’s system being overwhelmed.

MacDill Air Force Reservists Return from Fighting COVID-19 in New York

Air Force Times

The 927th Air Refueling Wing sent eight medics to New York to be a part of 281 Air Force Reserve medical professionals who volunteered and saw more than 37,000 patients between mid-April and June. They sent an additional dozen aeromedical evacuation Airmen across the nation for other COVID-19 relief missions.

Senate Kills NDAA Language to ‘Usurp’ Civilian Control Of Nuke Budget

Breaking Defense

"The compromise still achieves Chairman Inhofe’s goal of giving the Department of Defense more direct involvement in the development of the NNSA [National Nuclear Security Administration] budget, but the final approval power still rests with the Secretary of Energy," Senate Armed Services Committee spokesperson Marta Hernandez says.

REPORT: ‘Offense–Defense Integration for Missile Defeat’

CSIS report

“Improved ODI [offense-defense integration] would go a long way to countering modern missile threats,” writes Brian Green, a senior, non-resident associate in the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Missile Defense Project. “But ODI is not a panacea. A better appreciation of its benefits and challenges should give decisionmakers a better sense of how to proceed.”

U.N. Expert Deems US Drone Strike on Iran's Soleimani an 'Unlawful' Killing

Reuters

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on July 6. The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani’s convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions.

With a View Toward Iran, Israel Launches Spy Satellite

The Associated Press

Israel said it successfully launched a new spy satellite into space on July 6 as its leaders hinted it was behind a massive fire at an Iranian nuclear site last week—potentially ratcheting up a long-running covert war.

How the Army is Approaching Joint All-Domain Command and Control

C4ISRNET

In a wide-ranging interview with C4ISRNET’s Nathan Strout, Brig. Gen. Rob Collins discussed the various efforts he’s led in intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors, the lessons he’s learned there, and how the Army is approaching multi-domain operations.

One More Thing

Meet the First and Only Air Force Pilot to Shoot Down a Satellite

Task and Purpose

On September 13, 1985, an Air Force pilot pushed his F-15A into a steep climb at near-supersonic speeds as he prepared to launch into history. The pilot had prepared many months for what he was about to do: fire a heat-seeking missile towards a satellite the size of a 1969 Volkswagen as it hurtled through orbit at five miles a second. Basically, he was about to hit a bullet with another bullet, which would require absolutely perfect timing. But the pilot was ready for it.