109th Airlift Wing Kool School in Greenland

Air Force, Space Force Release Department’s First-Ever Arctic Strategy

The Department of the Air Force unveiled its first-ever Arctic Strategy on July 21, with Secretary Barbara M. Barrett citing the Arctic’s increasing strategic importance as Russia builds up its military presence in the area, China looks to normalize its presence there, and melting ice caps open up sea lanes to more traffic, creating the potential for increased rescue operations. “The Department of the Air Force[‘s] contributions to U.S. national security in the Arctic are large, but relatively unknown,” states the strategy. “Given the Arctic’s vast distances and challenges to surface operations, air and space capabilities have long been essential to gain rapid access and provide all-domain awareness, early warning, satellite command and control, and effective deterrence ... the Department of the Air Force is the most active and invested U.S. military department in the Arctic.”

House Proposal Could Give Naval Ranks to Space Force

Space Force ranks could soon mirror those in the Navy, under a House provision that would make the Space Force dump the Air Force’s system for the sea service's. House lawmakers on July 20 backed Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s (R-Texas) amendment to the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill as part of a larger package of amendments. Even if the provision is tacked onto the House’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act, the Senate could still turn it down as lawmakers hash out the final bill. The Space Force, which began reorganizing as a separate service within the Air Force in December, is still using Air Force ranks and grades as it builds its own culture.
Wolf Pack welcomes Wolf 60

Esper: No Order to Withdraw from South Korea, Though Possibility Remains

While Defense Department leaders have not issued an order to draw down the number of troops in South Korea, Pentagon leaders have left the door open to the possibility that U.S. forces will leave the Korean Peninsula, though key weapons systems will remain. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said July 21 the department is “looking at every geographic combatant command and making sure that we are optimized and positioned” to accomplish the National Defense Strategy. This could include bringing troops home, while focusing more on “dynamic force employments,” such as deploying aircraft, ships, and ground personnel as needed without basing them on the Peninsula. This “gives us, the United States, greater flexibility,” he said.
Hokanson and Loh

Senate Confirms Next National Guard Bureau Chief, ANG Director

The Senate in a pair of July 20 voice votes confirmed the next leaders of the National Guard Bureau and the Air National Guard. Army National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson will receive a fourth star to serve as the 29th National Guard Bureau chief and become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Hokanson will succeed USAF Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, who has led NGB since August 2016 and is expected to formally pass the torch in early August. The Senate also confirmed Colorado Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Michael A. Loh to receive his third star and succeed Lt. Gen. L. Scott Rice as Air National Guard director. Rice has led the Air National Guard since May 2016. A change-of-command date hasn't yet been announced.
Taiclet and Possenriede

Lockheed Martin May Go Shopping if Defense Budgets Fall Next Year

A downturn in defense spending may create some “attractive” pricing on companies Lockheed Martin may want to acquire, and it has the cash to pick up some bargains, company President and Chief Executive Officer James D. Taiclet said in a second-quarter earnings call July 21. If there is a slowdown in defense spending, Lockheed's backlog and cash position are such that it wouldn't feel much pain for two or three years, and the company would advise customers on upgrades that could make the most of what they already have, he said.

Virtual Events: AFA’s Virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference

The Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference continues today with a keynote from Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass at 9 a.m. EDT and another from Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper at 10 a.m. EDT. Conference attendance is free for military members and defense civilians, and rates for industry participants are discounted for AFA members (and from traditional rates for in-person participants). Registration is open now and space is limited, so early sign-ups are encouraged.

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.

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Pentagon Legislative Chief Calls It Quits

Foreign Policy

The Defense Department’s top legislative official will leave the agency on July 24, two officials familiar with the matter told Foreign Policy, matching the Trump administration’s record for civilian vacancies as the White House scrambles to get more nominees through confirmation.

OPINION: China's Military Capabilities Are Gaining on the US. The Pentagon Needs to Take Bold Steps.

NBC News

“To prevent conflict, the United States must maintain the military capability to deter China by demonstrating the ability to deny the success of such aggression or impose costs so high that Beijing steps back from the brink,” write Michèle A. Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy, and Gabrielle Chefitz, senior associate at WestExec Advisors. “The problem is this: If the Pentagon's own reported war games and analysis are to be believed, the current force may well be insufficient to deter or defeat Chinese aggression in the future.”

OPINION: The US Needs to Take Action to Deter Near-Peer Rivals in Space

C4ISRNET

“Looking ahead, it is prudent military planning to anticipate that our vital space-based infrastructure will be targeted in future conflicts,” write former U.S. Strategic Command boss and retired USAF Gen. Kevin P. Chilton and former Air Force Space Command boss and retired USAF Gen. William Shelton. “To deter these attacks and, if necessary, defeat them, the United States must develop and field both offensive and defensive capabilities that will make it clear to Russia and China that we will prevail in any conflict that extends into the space domain.”