Top Pentagon officials brief European Strategic Force Posture Review

Q&A with Gen. John E. Hyten

The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff doesn't see a need for a new roles and missions debate, preferring to let the services pursue their own new capabilities—such as long-range fires—and sort them out afterwards. Gen. John E. Hyten, in an interview set to appear in the September issue of Air Force Magazine, said the deconfliction of missions will come in joint all-domain command and control, not in limiting what systems the services pursue, because offensive systems may also be offensive ones. Hyten also talked about priorities in a flat budget, paying a "premium" to keep a limited number of legacy systems to reduce near-term risk, budget transparency, how to accelerate space capabilities, and whether the industrial base is up to the task of peer competition.
F-35A

How F-35 Middle East Deployments Are Shaping Future Ops

Air Force F-35As from Hill Air Force Base, Utah, have patrolled the skies of the Middle East continuously for the past 16 months. During the 34th Fighter Squadron's eight-month deployment, the squadron tested new tactics for the fifth-generation F-35A that will lay the groundwork for the jet’s future. It also operated from two locations in theater, a first for the jet in combat, and did not lose a sortie to maintenance. “Successfully implementing split operations was the biggest takeaway for us,” Cavasos said. “To be able to bed down in a forward location means that we now have unpredictability against potential adversaries. They are so used to us showing up in country, staying in the same place for half a year, doing the same things and leaving. They know it. We know it. Now we proved we can be more agile. That principal can carry over operationally to other regions and any potential adversaries there.”
Kunsan AB Moisture Issues

8th Fighter Wing Addresses Concerns about Mold, Mildew in Kunsan Dorms

The 8th Fighter Wing is addressing concerns about the condition of dormitories at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, after anonymous footage appearing to show mold, mildew, and/or water damage in two of these buildings was recently posted by the popular, but unofficial, "Air Force amn/nco/snco" Facebook page. In response to questions from Air Force Magazine, wing spokesperson Maj. Emily C. Grabowski said that while Kunsan’s climate has been more humid than normal—a condition that can exasperate moisture-related building issues—these problems are typically manageable. Grabowski outlined ways the wing is combating these kinds of problems. Chief Master Sgt. Ronnie Woods, the wing’s command chief, acknowledged the base’s local climate is challenging to the Wolf Pack’s quality of life, he said the whole wing needs to be part of the solution.
Operation Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze Crew in Quarantine to Keep Antarctica COVID-19-Free

Airmen with the 304th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron are quarantining in New Zealand, before the Air Force begins one of the most unique Operation Deep Freeze seasons in recent history. Because of COVID-19, the 30 Airmen are in quarantine after arriving Aug. 6 at Christchurch. The team, made up of Active duty and Reserve Airmen from the 62nd and 446th Airlift Wing and one supply troop from the 627th Air Base Group at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., will leave quarantine next week and head to Antarctica—the only continent on the globe free of the new coronavirus. “Antarctica is the last place on Earth that has been, and continues to be, COVID-free,” the squadron’s commander Lt. Col Brandon Tellez said in an Air Force Reserve Command release. “The [National Science Foundation] teamed up with my unit and we’ve come up with a plan to mitigate any potential transfer of the virus to any of the people we’re taking down there.”

Virtual Events: Mitchell Institute Rolls Out New Policy Paper, and More

On Oct. 1, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual rollout of its latest policy paper, “Understanding the Promise of Skyborg and Low-Cost Attritable Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” by retired USAF Col. Mark Gunzinger, the think tank's director of future Concepts and capability assessments, and Lukas Autenried, a senior analyst there. Event video will tentatively be posted to the think tank's website and YouTube page afterward.

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's Active COVID-19 Cases Dip as Deaths Rise Steadily in August

Military.com

The number of active cases of COVID-19 at the Veterans Affairs Department has dropped by 38 percent in the past month, but the case count continues to be nearly three times that of late May, before much of the country began easing stay-at-home orders.

US, South Korea to Begin Scaled-Down Drills Amid Virus Spike

The Associated Press

The United States and South Korea will begin their annual joint military exercises this week, Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said Aug. 16. But a spreading coronavirus outbreak has apparently forced the allies to scale back an already low-key training program mainly involving computer-simulated war scenarios.

CEO of Boeing’s Defense Wing Talks Stumbling Blocks, from KC-46 to COVID

Defense News

Leanne Caret stepped into the top Boeing defense job in 2016, after the American company lost a lucrative contract for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation bomber. Questions about Boeing’s future as a producer of fighter jets—and the prominence of its defense business—lingered as the end of the F-15 and F/A-18 production lines loomed in the near future. Now the tables have turned. With COVID-19 devastating the travel industry and eradicating near-term sales opportunities for commercial airliners, Boeing’s defense sector finds itself as the company’s model pupil.

SOCOM Spent More Than $800 Million on Gear It Wasn't Even Sure It Needed

Task & Purpose

The Defense Department Office of the Inspector General audit, publicly released on Aug. 14, set out to examine whether Special Operations-Peculiar (SO-P) equipment was thoroughly assessed as meeting mission requirements ahead of fielding to special operations forces from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2019. SO-P equipment specifically refers to fancy tech unique to U.S. Special Operations Command units, and runs the gamut from communications and surveillance gear to specialized vehicles and aircraft.

U.S. Army General to Be Sworn in as Space Commander

SpaceNews

U.S. Army Gen. James H. Dickinson this week will take the helm as commander of U.S. Space Command. He will be the first Army officer to lead the military’s unified combatant command for space operations.

In Interview, Iraqi Leader Says Country Still Needs US Help

The Associated Press

Iraq’s prime minister said Aug. 17 ahead of a much anticipated trip to Washington that his country still needs U.S. assistance to counter the threat posed by the Islamic State group and his administration is committed to introducing security sector reforms as rogue militia groups stage near-daily attacks against the seat of his government. Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press that Iraq currently does not need direct military support on the ground, and that the levels of help will depend on the changing nature of the threat.

One More Thing

MacDill EODs Remove French Air-to-Air Missile from Florida Airport

Military Times

Members of the 6th Explosive Ordnance Disposal team were called out to Lakeland Linder International Airport on Aug. 14 after it was shut down in the wake of the discovery of the missile, which had been delivered to Draken International. Based at the airport, Draken has a fleet of about 150 former military aircraft it contracts out to help train current military pilots.“Our EOD team went out and secured the missile,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Brandon Hanner, a spokesman for the 6th Air Refueling Wing. “It was live, but unarmed.”