Tropical Storm Laura

Ahead of Double Storm, Keesler Moves Aircraft but Barksdale Stays Put

Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., moved C-130J transports and WC-130 hurricane hunters to other bases ahead of a double tropical storm bearing down on the Gulf Coast, but Barksdale Air Force Base, La., home of Global Strike Command and half of USAF's B-52 bombers, plans to hunker down and keep its airplanes home. Keesler leaders do not plan to evacuate personnel from the base in advance of Tropical Storm Marco, expecting only heavy rains, a base spokeswoman said Aug. 24. They had not yet decided what to do about Tropical Storm Laura, which is expected to become a hurricane by the time it makes landfall, but are considering moving Basic Military Training recruits from Keesler’s Hattiesburg, La., facility to the U.S. Army’s Camp Shelby, some 80 miles north. If the storm continued to move west, the spokeswoman said, BMT trainees are likely to sit out the storm in base dormitories.
B-52 Deployment

B-52s Deploy to Europe, Train in Norway

Six B-52s trained alongside Royal Norwegian fighters in Northern Norway shortly after they deployed to Europe on Aug. 22. The task forces of B-52s deployed to RAF Fairford, England, from the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., for a “long-planned training mission where the aircraft will conduct theater and flight training across Europe and Africa,” U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa said in a release. “I am happy that our American friends choose to practice and train in our local areas,” Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen said in a translation of an Aug. 24 Norwegian release. “It is important that they know Norwegian conditions and can operate with us if necessary.”
50th EARS keeps F-15s fueled for the fight

MacDill KC-135s Deploy to Middle East, as McConnell Stratotankers Return

KC-135s and Airmen from MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., recently deployed to the Middle East to take over the in-theater refueling mission from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., tankers that returned home. The entire 50th Air Refueling Squadron deployed to al-Udeid Air Base, Qatar, on Aug. 18, as opposed to a piecemeal deployment of individual tankers and Airmen from across Air Mobility Command. This is the first “mass unit” deployment for the McConnell squadron, which replaced the 349th Air Refueling Squadron that also deployed as a whole unit in April. KC-135s began operating under the new deployment model, which has since moved to C-130 units as well, in August 2019, according to AMC.
Kunsan AB dorm

8th Fighter Wing Inspects Kunsan Dorms after Mold Photos Circulate

The 8th Fighter Wing is performing health and welfare checks at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, to help it identify and remedy mold and other moisture-related issues in its on-base housing, after a popular Facebook page published photos and video of affected dorms, wing spokesperson Maj. Emily C. Grabowski told Air Force Magazine in an Aug. 24 email. “After seeing the troubling images that were circulating last week, wing leadership and our civil engineer squadron were concerned that issues in the dorms were not identified during previous inspections or were not being reported,” she wrote. “As such, our CE squadron recommended the following list for review during welfare checks: room temperature, humidity, dehumidifier status, mold or mildew build-up, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment issues.”
Agility Prime

Senior Air Force Leaders Visit ‘Agility Prime’

The Air Force's new senior leadership team, in its first trip together, visited the service’s effort to create a “flying car” for both military and civilian use. Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass on Aug. 20 visited the AFWERX “Agility Prime” program near Austin, Texas. As part of the visit at Camp Mabry, the chief executive officer of LIFT flew in the company’s “Hexa” electrical vertical takeoff and landing vehicle. The futuristic machine looks like a massive consumer drone, with a small cockpit. There are 15 companies partnering with Agility Prime, and “many of them” are on contract to produce their version of a flying car, Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director and Agility Prime lead, said in a release. AFWERX hopes to field a vehicle in 2023.

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.

Here’s What Might Not Survive COVID Budget Cuts

Defense One

With global military spending expected to flatten or contract in the coming years as countries try to repair coronavirus-decimated economies, defense projects already on the books stand the best chance of survival, according to a budget expert.

DOD Narrows Timeframe for Coronavirus Relief Reimbursement

Inside Defense

The Pentagon issued a new memo last week that shrinks the period of time during which defense contractors can seek reimbursement through a provision in coronavirus recovery legislation. The document, signed by Kim Herrington, the acting principal director of defense pricing and contracting, says it revises an April memo on reimbursement related to Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which was enacted in late March.

US-Led Troops Withdraw from Iraq's Taji Base

Reuters

United States-led international coalition troops withdrew from Iraq’s Taji military base on Aug. 23 and handed it over to Iraqi security forces, Reuters witnesses and the coalition said. The base, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, had been the site of frequent rocket attacks by Iran-backed militias targeting U.S.-led troops in recent months.

Lawmakers See No Reason to Merge Space Force, NRO

National Defense Magazine

The question put forth during a panel discussion Aug. 20 at the Space Warfighting Industry Forum was: should the National Reconnaissance Office be folded into the Space Force? The answer from three lawmakers on the panel was a resounding “no.”

Northrop Grumman Weighing Exit Options for OmegA Rocket

SpaceNews

Without a significant commercial business to fall back on, OmegA does not appear to have a future. But Northrop Grumman says no final decisions will be made until after the Air Force briefs the company on the reasons why the vehicle was not selected.

Former Army Special Forces Officer Charged in Russian Espionage Conspiracy

Justice Department release

According to court documents, from December 1996 to January 2011, Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, a former member of the U.S. Army, allegedly conspired with agents of a Russian intelligence service. During that time, Debbins periodically visited Russia and met with Russian intelligence agents. In 1997, Debbins was assigned a code name by Russian intelligence agents and signed a statement attesting that he wanted to serve Russia.