Barksdale's Air Force Base 2nd Bomb Wing bombers arrive at Minot Air Force Base

Barksdale Escapes Severe Hurricane Damage, Guard Rallies for Storm Support

Barksdale Air Force Base, La., suffered light damage and no deaths or injuries due to Hurricane Laura, which passed close to the base early on Aug. 27. Most of the base's B-52 bombers evacuated to Minot Air Force Base, N.D., in the day and night before the storm struck. Damage at Barksdale seemed to be confined to downed trees, power outage, shallow flooding, and some wind damage on buildings. A more definitive assessment will be made in the coming days. Col. Matthew G. Rippen, commander of Louisiana’s 159th Fighter Wing, announced the state was activating its entire National Guard force in an Aug. 26 Facebook video. As of the afternoon of Aug. 27, 480 Airmen from the New Orleans-based wing had been mobilized in response to the storm.
Secretary Esper

Esper Warns of China’s ‘Self-Serving’ Behavior During Pacific Trip

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper continued his verbal offensive against China, accusing the country of “self-serving” behavior and a disregard for international laws, the same day the Chinese military fired medium-range ballistic missiles during a military exercise. China is undergoing an aggressive modernization plan to “achieve a world-class military by the middle of the century,” which will embolden Beijing’s expansionist plans and provocative behavior, particularly in the disputed South and East China Seas and “anywhere else the Chinese government has deemed critical to its interests,” Esper said during an Aug. 26 speech at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, Hawaii. The trip comes as China is showing some of its capabilities in a large-scale exercise, which the Pentagon called “counterproductive to easing tensions and maintaining stability.”

Space Force Details OCP Uniform Requirements

Members of the newly created military service focused on war fighting in space will officially wear a camouflage pattern developed for war in Afghanistan. The Department of the Air Force on Aug. 24 released a memorandum stating that the Operational Camouflage Pattern is mandatory for all members of the Space Force beginning April 1, the Air Force’s date to finally phase out the Airman Battle Uniform in favor of the OCP pattern. Space Force members will wear “Space Blue” name tape, Space Force badge, and grade insignia, with a full-color U.S. flag, according to the memorandum. Space Force occupational badges are mandatory, with optional occupational and qualification badges and patches. “Our uniforms are the first visual cue of our identity as a service,” Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman, senior enlisted advisor of the Space Force, said in the release.
USAF fitness tests

USAF Eases Fitness Demands on Airmen Who Have Had a Miscarriage

An Air Force Instruction published earlier this month aims to ensure that Airmen who suffer miscarriages are given time to recover and get back into fighting shape before taking their next fitness assessment. These Airmen weren’t previously guaranteed a minimum grace period before they were forced to take these tests. “The changes are intended to make sure Airmen and Space Professionals who are pregnant, recently delivered, or experience a miscarriage are taken care of and it helps standardize the process for our medical personnel,” wrote Lou Burton, a spokesperson with the Air Force Surgeon General’s Office, in an Aug. 27 email to Air Force Magazine.

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.

DOD Crowdsources Efforts to Promote Diversity, Inclusion

USAF release

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper asked for the process as part of his Board on Diversity and Inclusion. The board—chaired by Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett—wants input from service members and DOD civilians, and crowdsourcing is one tool they will use.

Drone Maker General Atomics Lays off Hundreds

Defense News

The company was dealt a blow earlier this year when the Air Force announced it would stop buying the MQ-9 Reaper in fiscal 2021, at least four years earlier than expected. And now the future of the program remains uncertain, with the Air Force looking at options to replace the MQ-9 Reaper.

REPORT—‘The Missile Threat: A Taxonomy for Moving Beyond Ballistic’

Aerospace Corporation

“Using old classifications, we risk mischaracterizing the threats missiles pose and pursuing incorrect and ineffective ways to mitigate them,” write Sam Wilson, a policy analyst with the Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy, and Steven Dunham, senior project leader for international launch systems at the organization. “The new approach offers a more holistic, integrated, and adaptive way of understanding this rapidly and continuously evolving ecosystem.”

US Space Force Tests New Anti-Jamming Capability

C4ISRNET

The U.S. Space Force has tested a new anti-jamming capability that will make the military’s main satellite communications constellation more resilient than ever, the Space and Missile Systems Center announced Aug. 26.

OPINION: In a Robot War, Kill the Humans

Defense One

Even if advances in robotics mean fewer humans on the battlefield, the fight will increasingly focus on those that remain, writes Zak Kallenborn, a national/homeland security consultant, specializing in unmanned systems, drone swarms, homeland security, weapons of mass destruction, and WMD terrorism.

Acquisition Chief to Host AFVentures-Focused 'Ask Me Anything'

USAF release

Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper and AFWERX Director Col. Nate Diller will co-host the live, virtual event, which will give Airmen, space professionals, industry partners, the American public, and the press a chance to directly engage with them on all things AFVentures.