Barrett, Brown to Kick Off AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference Sept. 14

The Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference will kick off Sept. 14 with Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett and Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. each addressing a live, virtual audience. This year’s conference, which runs through Sept. 16, will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but still brings together a packed lineup of U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force, Defense Department, and industry experts, providing direct insights into senior leaders' plans, policies, and vision while also highlighting emerging trends.
Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman

Space Force Looks at Readiness Through Fresh Eyes

The Space Force is figuring out how to measure military space readiness, an analysis that will affect how the service trains its members and upgrades its technology. “A lot of times, readiness is described as preparing to deploy or preparing to accomplish your mission at some point in the future,” Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, the Space Force’s chief operations officer, told Air Force Magazine Sept. 11. “You do training, you perform maintenance activities, ... so that, if called upon, you can do your mission at a high level. But if you think about it, our space assets are largely doing their wartime mission on a day-to-day basis, and so we have to perpetually be ready.” Identifying where the service is struggling will shape the new service's fiscal 2022 budget request.
Space Force roadshows

Space Force to Celebrate 1st Birthday with Personnel Picks, Promotion Plans

With its first birthday a few months away, the Space Force is preparing to unveil a slew of personnel, policy, and culture decisions that will set it apart from the other armed forces. The service plans to announce by its one-year anniversary on Dec. 20 which Airmen in fields like cyber, intelligence, and acquisition are accepted into the Space Force. Service officials want to get rid of promotion tests for enlisted Airmen and instead use boards that focus on the best career assignments for people to help them advance, rather than simply raising their ranks or holding them back. And, yes—dress uniforms are coming.
U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas P. Payne

Soldier Receives Medal of Honor for Saving Dozens of Hostages in Daring Iraq Raid

U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas P. Payne received the Medal of Honor during a Sept. 11 ceremony at the White House for a 2015 mission during which he led a rescue that liberated 75 captives facing execution at the hands of the Islamic State group. Payne is the first service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during the fight against ISIS. “Pat, you embody the righteous glory of American valor,” President Donald J. Trump said during the ceremony. During the Oct. 22, 2015, mission, Payne repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire, running multiple times into a burning and collapsing building to save dozens of hostages set to be executed by ISIS.
B-1 at Eielson

Bomber Task Force Sends B-1s to the Arctic, Near Africa

Three B-1Bs flew a long-range bomber task force mission on Sept. 10, starting from Texas and transiting through the East Siberian Sea near the Arctic before touching down at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, to prepare for more missions, U.S. European Command announced. The three Lancers, from the Reserve's 345th Bomb Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, flew the 14-hour, 4,300-nautical-mile mission into the easternmost section of EUCOM’s area of responsibility, the command said in a release. Two days before the B-1 mission, two of the B-52s deployed to RAF Fairford, U.S., flew south and trained alongside Tunisian Air Force F-5s over the Mediterranean Sea.
Bombers, Marine F-35s join Point Blank 20-4 exercise

Three Nations, More than 50 Planes Train Together in ‘Point Blank’

More than 50 aircraft, including four different fighter types from three countries and two U.S. services, trained together in a large force exercise over the North Sea on Sept. 10. Exercise Point Blank 20-04 included U.S. Air Force F-16s from the 510th and 555th Fighter Squadrons from Aviano Air Base, Italy, along with F-15s from the 48th Fighter Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England; KC-135s from RAF Mildenhall, England; and B-52s deployed to RAF Fairford, England. The USAF contingent linked up with U.S. Marine Corps, United Kingdom Royal Air Force, and Royal Netherlands Air Force F-35s, plus RAF Eurofighter Typhoons, RNAF F-16s, and a RAF Voyager refueling aircraft. The exercise centered on fourth- and fifth-generation defensive counter air integration missions, according to a 48th Fighter Wing release.
100th ARW KC-135s support Exercise Point Blank

Lockheed: New Demand for F-16s Could Push Type Past 5,000 Mark

Lockheed Martin is seeing a “resurgence” of demand for new F-16 fighters, now up to the Block 70 configuration, according to company Executive Vice President for Aeronautics Michele A. Evans. WIth a backlog of 130 jets, and several countries on the cusp of making orders, Evans said it's possible the Falcon could ultimately break the mark of 5,000 built. Some 4,600 have been delivered so far. The company is now building F-16s in Greenville, S.C., after moving production from Fort Worth, Texas, and it could open a second line in India if it wins a competition there for a variant called the F-21.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

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.

5 Takeaways From the New Air Force Chief’s Vision ‘Accelerate Change, or Lose’

RealClear Defense

“The Air Force’s new Chief didn’t waste time or mince words in his vision document, aptly entitled “Accelerate Change, or Lose.” General Charles Brown, Jr., is sending up flares, and policymakers should pay attention. The time is ripe, he asserts, while still in the early years of a new defense strategy, having just stood up a new service in the Space Force, and during a pandemic,” writes Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Latest on JADC2

Air Force Magazine

Joint all-domain command and control is redefining how the U.S. military will operate in the future joint fight—and how systems must be designed today. For the latest on all things JADC2 and to stay tuned to the latest developments, check out our JADC2 landing page.

The New US Air Force Chief has a Reputation of Only Asking for What He Needs. He’s Going to Need a Lot.

Defense News

In September 2016, when the U.S. Air Force’s new chief of staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein, took the stage at the service’s largest conference, he spoke of the heavy responsibility of leading the service. He said the portraits of former chiefs had eyes that followed him like “a Harry Potter movie,” and he recounted his own experience as a young F-16 pilot in combat for the first time during Desert Storm. Then he used the speech, like his predecessors had, to lay out his goals for the Air Force. For his successor, Gen. Charles “C.Q.” Brown Jr., who will make his first address to the service during the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference on Sept. 14, coming in “guns blazing” might be the only option.

Everyone Wants a Space Force—but Why?

As perceived security threats mount in Earth's orbit, countries around the world are following the example of the United States and creating their own "space forces." Nine months ago, in December 2019, the U.S. Space Force was born. The new military branch was created with a focus to protect the nation's satellites and other space assets, which are vital to everything from national security to day-to-day communications. Now, countries including France, Canada, and Japan are following suit, as leaders from those countries' "space force" analogs said Sept. 10 during the 2nd Summit for Space Sustainability, an online event hosted by the nonprofit Secure World Foundation.

General Officer Nomination

DOD release

President Donald J. Trump nominated Maj. Gen. Robert J. Skinner for appointment to the grade of lieutenant general with assignment as director, Defense Information Systems Agency/commander, Joint Forces Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, Fort George G. Meade, Md.

DOD Identifies Air Force Casualty

DOD release

Senior Airman Jason Khai Phan, 26, of Anaheim, Calif., died Sept. 12 in a single-vehicle non-combat related accident while conducting a routine patrol outside the perimeter of Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

This Air Force Unit Has Been Fighting Alongside Army Rangers Since 9/11

The Air Force typically doesn't get a lot of credit for close-range ground combat missions, but there is one unit that has fought alongside Army Rangers almost every day since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since its initial deployment in October 2001, elements of the 17th Special Tactics Squadron have deployed with units of the 75th Ranger Regiment for more than 6,900 days and counting. The headquarters and two operational detachments of the 17th have been in a continuous rotation of combat deployments in the 19 years since 9/11, according to an Air Force news release.

The Boom Overture Jet Is Vying to Become the First Supersonic Air Force One—Here's an Early Look

Business Insider

Aerospace company Boom Supersonic this week announced a contract with the U.S. Air Force to develop a supersonic plane for transporting diplomats and high-ranking government officials. The contract will fund research into building new, mission-appropriate configurations of its conceptual supersonic passenger plane, called Overture. Boom has designed the Overture, which is still in development, as a single-aisle business class plane, with seats laid out in a 1-1 configuration. With the new funding from the Air Force, Boom plans to explore ways to customize the plane—both inside and out—for government work.

Air Force, Navy Accelerate Quantum Research with International Virtual Event

USAF release

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate is spearheading an international alliance of principal investigators across government, academia and industry to accelerate quantum enabling technologies. The 18 research teams from around the world who have qualified for awards for their potentially game-changing quantum research and innovations were announced as part of the live, virtual “Million Dollar International Quantum U Tech Accelerator.”

One More Thing

Air Force Remains Tight-Lipped on Details Even as It Begins Promoting Possible Two-Game Football Season

The Gazette

Behind guarded gates, Air Force is preparing for a possible two-game football season in ways it is opting not to share. The Falcons kept Navy (Oct. 3) and Army (Nov. 7) on the football schedule even as the Mountain West’s postponement of fall sports took away the other games on the 2020 slate. This past week, Air Force began promoting the home game against Navy and the series for the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy on social media. The team is also practicing at regular-season levels (20 hours a week) and has held at least one scrimmage. So, it would seem all signs point toward a two-game season this fall. But the Falcons aren’t ready to talk about it.