Air Guard plane photographs flood damage

Air Force IG: RC-26s Didn’t Collect Protestors’ Info, But Mistakes Were Made

A redacted Air Force Inspector General investigation report released Aug. 21 determined that Air National Guard RC-26B flights conducted over protests in Minnesota, Arizona, California, and Washington, D.C, didn’t collect citizens’ personal information, but the National Guard Bureau made some serious missteps in its utilization of the reconnaissance aircraft. These errors, which the report said were rooted in policy misinterpretations by the National Guard Bureau, included not getting Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper’s clearance for the RC-26 missions, and activating aircrew and support personnel for these missions in an inappropriate status. The IG also cited Defense Department policy for leading the bureau to mistakenly believe “that the RC-26B is not an intelligence resource,” a point of confusion that it said “substantially contributed to the likely misuse of Immediate Response Authority.”
Air Force top officials visit JBSA missions for first combined trip

USAF Hopes Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 Will Help Solve Pilot Shortage

The Air Force hopes to make up lost ground in battling its chronic pilot shortage with Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5, the main topic of the first field trip for newly minted Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, who joined service Secretary Barbara M. Barrett on a trip to Air Education and Training Command in Texas. Barrett said the visit was meant to highlight the importance of innovation in technical training.
A Boeing illustration shows the F-15EX.

AFMC: Air Force Not Bound to 144 F-15EXs

While the Air Force has moved to put the F-15EX fighter program under contract, it's not obliged to buy the entire notional fleet of 144 of the jets, and could terminate the program at any time, according to Air Force Materiel Command. It may wish to do so as more advanced systems come along and USAF needs to make room for them in expected flatter budgets.
Tropical Storm Laura

Gulf Coast Air Bases Prepare for Possible Twin Hurricanes

Air Force bases along the Gulf of Mexico are preparing for twin tropical storm systems that are expected to make landfall as hurricanes within the next several days. Tropical Storm Laura, as well as a tropical depression likely to strengthen into Tropical Storm Marco, could grow into a rare case of two tropical cyclones to barrel through the Gulf of Mexico at the same time, according to the National Weather Service. They are slated to strike Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and Puerto Rico during the week of Aug. 23. Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., have begun the earliest phase of storm preparations.
MAFFS

For C-130 Crews Fighting California Fires, the Mission Can Be Personal

C-130s from four Air National Guard and Reserve units, outfitted with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, are flying at a high operations tempo battling massive fires burning across California. The units had 2019 off from firefighting because of a slow season, but are now facing what CalFire has said are hundreds of blazes across the state, including two of the largest in state history. For one unit, the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing, the fire is in their backyard, making the mission personal, said Col. Gregory Berry, commander of the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group, who is coordinating the response.
Travis AFB Westwind Inn

Travis AFB Lifts Evacuation Order; Aircraft to Return Within Days

60th Air Mobility Wing Commander Col. Corey A. Simmons gave non-essential Airmen and their families the all-clear to return to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., as of 10 a.m. PDT on Aug. 21, following a wildfire-induced evacuation on Aug. 19, the base announced in a Facebook post. Simmons issued the order as a preventative measure amid the LNU Lightning Complex Fire, which purportedly got within 2 miles of the base in recent days, as similar evacuations were underway in nearby communities, Air Force Magazine previously reported. The wing expects the C-5s, C-17s, and KC-10 aircraft it sent out of state as a precaution to be back on base within “the next few days,” according to the post.

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.

OPINION: The DOD Needs to Rethink Long-Range Strike in Its Joint War-Fighting Concept

Defense News

“There is no question that [Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Gen. [John E.] Hyten’s ultimate objective is valid—multiplying the nation’s long-range strike capacity while diversifying attack methods,” writes Douglas A. Birkey, executive director of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “However, this proposed thinking risks yielding less striking power because the respective options available to the services have radically different price tags.”

OPINION: A Vision for US Air Force Partnerships in the Americas

Defense News

“Latin America is the perfect location for U.S.-based units to accomplish needed training while also supporting U.S. interests in the region. These types of Pan-American missions would not only validate our training but also increase interoperability while highlighting our commitment to the Americas. This is especially important during an era of great power competition in which we see the growing influence of Beijing in the region,” wrote Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft, commander of 12 Air Forces (Air Forces Southern).

DOD Offers Diversity and Inclusion Counseling Resources

USAF release

The Defense Department responded to interest from service personnel by providing its members with diversity and inclusion resources for those who experienced racism, bias, and discrimination in either their personal or professional lives.

Continuing Resolution Could Hit Space Force Hard

National Defense Magazine

A potential continuing resolution for fiscal year 2021 could have an outsized effect on the Pentagon’s newest armed service, said the vice commander of the Space Force Aug. 20.

US Cyber Command’s Training Platform Can Now Use Operational Cyber Tools

C4ISRNET

The Persistent Cyber Training Environment is an online client that allows U.S. Cyber Command’s warriors to log on from anywhere in the world to conduct individual or collective cyber training as well as mission rehearsal on par with the National Training Center, which did not previously exist for cyber warriors. The Army runs the program on behalf of the joint cyber force and Cyber Command.

Pentagon Acquisition Chief Clarifies Temporary Extension for Implementing Chinese Equipment Ban

Nextgov

Defense Under Secretary for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord confirmed Aug. 20 the Director of National Intelligence provided a waiver to the Pentagon extending the deadline for government contractors to comply with a new supply chain rule—which requires contractors to eliminate products from a list of Chinese companies including Huawei and ZTE—for a narrow set of low-risk commodities.