Putting COVID-19 to the test

USAF Sees Spike in COVID-19 Cases as Bases Increase Restrictions

The total number of COVID-19 cases increased by more than 1,000 across the Department of the Air Force for the second week in a row, as bases across the military continue to increase health protection conditions amid the pandemic. On July 27, the Air Force reported 6,169 total cases, including 3,964 uniformed military members, 885 civilians, 981 dependents, and 339 contractors. There are 36,659 cumulative Defense Department cases as of July 27, and bases are responding by increasing restrictions. The Associated Press reported that as of July 24 more than 45 percent of total service installations around the world are at “Health Protection Condition Charlie,” the second-highest level, which indicates substantial risk of sustained community transmission.
KC-46 at McConnell

USAF Creating KC-46 Weapons Instructor Course

Air Mobility Command is partnering with Air Combat Command and the Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to create a KC-46 Pegasus Weapons Instructor Course, according to a July 24 AMC release. The team is working to incorporate the KC-46 into the school’s existing KC-135 Weapons Instructor Course syllabus, but the Pegasus-specific course will eventually move to a KC-46 main operating base, where a permanent weapons squadron will be set up. “Charting the course for establishing a KC-46 Weapons Instructor Course ensures we leverage the expertise and innovation of our best and brightest Airmen to deliver Rapid Global Mobility for the Joint warfighter,” said Maj. Gen. Joel D. Jackson, director of operations, strategic deterrence, and nuclear Integration at Headquarters Air Mobility Command, in the release.
Hurricane Hunters deploy to Hawaii to fly Hurricane Douglas

Pearl Harbor-Hickam Returns to Normal Ops After Hurricane Douglas Passes

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, returned to normal operations after Hurricane Douglas passed by the Hawaiian Islands as a Category One storm on July 26. The storm, which reached maximum sustained winds of about 90 miles per hour, passed north of the islands moving west, bringing heavy rains but no major damage. The base raised its condition of readiness, secured all aircraft, and sent all ships and submarines not under maintenance out to sea in advance of the storm. The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s “Hurricane Hunters” at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., deployed to Hawaii to fly into the hurricane as it approached.
Northern Strike exercise shifts to real-world mutual aid response for Guard firefighters

National Guard Exercise Takes Unexpected Twist in Michigan

A sudden fire off base added an unexpected sense of urgency and realism to a firefighting training exercise in Northern Michigan. When a historic building in Alpena, Mich. suddenly caught on fire, nearby firefighters participating in parts of Northern Strike 20, a National Guard annual joint training exercise, were called to battle the inferno alongside local first responders. “We all worked together really well,” said Steve Papineau, Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center fire department crew chief. “Firefighting is kind of like a brotherhood, so it would be the same if we were at a fire in New York or anywhere else.” After five hours of fighting the blaze, the firefighters put the fire out and protected nearby structures.

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.

Iran Moves Mock Aircraft Carrier to Sea Amid US Tensions

The Associated Press

Iran has moved a mock aircraft carrier to the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions with the United States, satellite photographs released on July 27 show, likely signalling the Islamic Republic soon plans to use it for live-fire drills.

Rapid Acquisition & Sustainment

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force and U.S. defense establishment are breaking down barriers and injecting speed, innovation, and creativity into the procurement system. Check out our new page to learn more about these efforts.

OPINION: This Is Not Your Parents’ Military. We Can’t Fund It the Same Way

Defense One

“Comparing a dollar spent on the Vietnam-era military with a dollar spent on today’s military fails to account for the extraordinary changes in military affairs over the intervening half-century—not only in technology, but also in the cost of talent and expectations for how we treat those in uniform,” writes Heritage Foundation Senior Research Fellow Dakota Wood. “With the exception of the venerable M2 Browning .50-caliber heavy machine gun, introduced in 1933, every piece of weaponry, equipment, and platforms has become more complex, more lethal, and more capable. It is naive to think that one can blindly compare past and present defense investments simply by accounting for inflation and completely ignoring the impact that technologies have had on the conduct of military affairs.”