Secretary Esper Visits U.S. Africa Command

DOD, USAF Leaders Address Basing Concerns

U.S. European Command boss Gen. Tod D. Wolters issued a memo explaining the strategic rationale behind the Pentagon's proposed posture shift within the European theater, and cautioned that any moves will take time to implement. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said July 29 the U.S. would move nearly 12,000 troops from Germany, shifting most elsewhere in Europe and bringing home roughly 6,000. This includes ending the fighter mission at Spangdahlem Air Base and moving the base's F-16s to Italy. Also on July 31, U.S. Africa Command announced that preparations for its move out of Germany have begun. The Stuttgart-based command will consider both European and stateside options, and possibilities will be evaluated “to ensure appropriate positioning of forces to deal with future challenges,” a command release said.
SASC social 061522

House Passes 2021 Defense Spending Legislation

House lawmakers approved next year’s military funding as part of a six-part legislative package in a 217-197 vote July 31. The $1.3 trillion group of bills, known as a “minibus,” funds several areas of the federal government from the Justice Department to the Transportation Department. For the Pentagon and others that handle defense-related programs, like the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons work, the House offers $694.6 billion, or $1.3 billion above its current allocation, in base defense funding and more than $68 billion for combat operations overseas. Senate appropriators have yet to release their own defense spending legislation for 2021.
Gen. David Goldfein

Goldfein Tribute Headed to Air Force Memorial

Air Force leaders honored outgoing Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein July 31 at the Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va., as he heads for retirement in the coming days. Goldfein is leaving his post as the Air Force’s top uniformed official on Aug. 6 after four years in the job and nearly 40 years of military service. Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett presented a stone panel inscribed with Goldfein’s words that will be added to the memorial: “This is our sacred duty. When protecting Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, we fly to the sound of the guns … or we die trying.”
NTS-3-city-lights

Experimental Satellite Design Ready to Build

A promising experimental Air Force satellite is one step closer to being ready to launch. The Air Force Research Laboratory on July 30 said the service’s Navigation Technology Satellite-3 passed a critical design milestone in June that lets the contractor, L3Harris Technologies, start to build and test the system. It is on track to launch in 2022. NTS-3 is designed to improve on the directions and timing, now provided by GPS, that power everything from mapping apps to ATMs. It also offers the U.S. a backup option in case GPS satellites become targets in a future conflict.
Russian MOD Facebook Video July 30

Russia Claims Another USAF Intercept Over the Black Sea

Russia purportedly intercepted a U.S. Air Force RC-135 surveillance plane and a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft over the Black Sea on July 30. Neither American aircraft crossed the Russian border, noted the post, which included a 36-second video that appeared to depict both aircraft. U.S. Air Forces in Europe would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the Russian claim or footage. This would be at least the third alleged intercept of a USAF RC-135 aircraft over the Black Sea in about a month.

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.

After Spiking through June and July, Military COVID-19 Cases Level Off

Military Times

The last week in July showed a sizeable slowdown in the increase of coronavirus cases among service members, from a peak of more than 4,000 cases in one week earlier in the month. With a total of 27,536 infections as of the morning of July 31, Defense Department officials have attributed the rapid rise in cases to increased testing and community transmission in states like California, Arizona, Texas and Florida, which set records for new numbers of cases throughout the month.

Department of the Air Force Stands Up Task Force to Combat Interpersonal Violence

USAF release

The Department of the Air Force launched a task force to address concerns regarding interpersonal violence among service members. Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett appointed Brig. Gen. April D. Vogel, the director for manpower, personnel, recruiting, and services at the National Guard Bureau, to lead the task force, which will support members of the Air Force and Space Force.

Space Force on Alert: Behind Russia's Mysterious Testing of Deadly Anti-Satellite Weapons in Orbit

Fox News

Last week, the head of the U.S.'s newest military branch, the Space Force, cautioned publicly for the first time that Moscow had undertaken at least two concerning anti-satellite weapon tests in recent months, in a potential bid to develop on-orbit efficiency that could dangerously hinder the U.S.'s heavy dependency on space-based systems … While no targets were destroyed in either the April or July experiments, the pattern—coupled with the notion of two Russian satellites following an American spy satellite—is enough to stir up some anxieties.

OPINION: Potential Defense Budget Cuts Demand a New Calculus

Defense News

With the U.S. election around the corner and the economic impact of COVID-19 mounting, calls for defense spending cuts are on the rise. The practicality of reductions is questionable given the scale and scope of the threat environment, the reality that key elements of the military are decaying, and that defense jobs represent one bright spot in an otherwise bleak economy. If cuts are coming, it is crucial to execute them in a fashion that prioritizes the most effective, efficient and valuable capabilities within the Department of Defense. This requires a new approach to assessing weapon systems’ value, write Mitchell Institute Dean retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula and Executive Director Doug Birkey.

926th Wing Gets the Green Light for Active Association

USAF release

Air Combat Command published a Total Force Integration Record of Decision on July 15, stating the 64th Aggressor Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., will become an Air Force Reserve Command Active Association, officially setting up the 926th Wing to take responsibility for the aircraft and leading the squadron. “The Air Force Reserve provides essential manpower and capabilities, enabling rapid global response, operational surge, and long term operational sustainment,” said Air Force Reserve Commander Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee. “This strategic depth is critical to our national defense.”

New Community College of the Air Force Degree Coming for Thousands of Airmen

Air Force Times

The Associate of Applied Science in Military Technology and Applied Sciences Management degree will be a more flexible option for airmen who don’t have enough formal skills training to meet the requirements for current degree programs, Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama announced in a release July 20.

'The Jet Doesn't Care:' 1st Female F-35 Demo Pilot Says She's Focused on Excellence

Military.com

Capt. Kristin "Beo" Wolfe, the new face of the U.S. Air Force's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter demonstration team, is "used to" being outnumbered as a female pilot. Wolfe, of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, has served in the Air Force for nearly a decade. But now, as the first woman ever to hold her job, she knows there’s an additional expectation to perform with superiority and excellence.

Plan to Change VA Motto to Include Women Draws Republican Support

Military Times

The measure—sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.)—would change the current statement from “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise ‘To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan,’” to the less specific “To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise to care for those ‘who shall have borne the battle’ and for their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

AFSOC Airman First in Command to Gain Sikh Religious Accommodation Waiver

USAF release

On June 7, 2020, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Dominic Varriale, a geospatial intelligence analyst with the 11th Special Operations Intelligence Squadron, became the first member of Air Force Special Operations Command to gain a religious accommodations waiver. He accomplished this by way of the Sikh American Veterans Alliance, who helped guide him through the process from start to finish.

The Royal Air Force Is Running Out Of Options. It Needs To Buy More F-35s

Forbes

The RAF must choose between optimizing itself for high-intensity warfare against a technological foe—in other words, Russia—or tailoring its forces for low-intensity operations. At current spending levels, the United Kingdom can’t afford to pay for an air force that does both, analyst Justin Bronk wrote for the Royal United Services Institute. “The government will either have to significantly raise defense spending or make some hard decisions.”

One More Thing

Female Military Pilots See the Next Barrier to Break: Getting More Black Women to Fly

Tri-City Herald

The women who were the first to break gender and race barriers as military pilots understand the isolation that comes with being the only female in their squadron. They have spent years encouraging more women to fly, but as new data obtained by McClatchy shows, there are still few in the ranks, and even fewer who are Black.