CSAF Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. at vASC

The Air and Space Forces Want to Break the Mold. Here’s How They’re Starting.

The Department of the Air Force’s top officers are beginning to lay the groundwork for changes to how they manage and provide air and space forces to commanders around the world. In his first month as Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. has warned that the service needs to overhaul its inventory and quicken the pace of warfare, or risk falling to other global powers. “We want to make our force generation and force presentation model easy for us to understand and to articulate inside our Air Force, [and] easy to understand in our joint force,” Brown said. The Space Force is rethinking how it organizes, trains, and equips its own people as well.
SECAF Barrett at vASC

Air Force Introduces e-Planes for the Digital Era

The Air Force and Space Force will begin adding “e” to the names of aircraft, weapons, and satellites that are designed and tested using digital engineering, Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett said Sept. 14 at the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. “For 73 years, the entire history of the Air Force, X-planes have represented technological innovation,” Barrett said. “Today, the e-plane and e-sat will join them in making history and ensuring Airmen and space professionals have modern tools to protect our nation.” Boeing’s Red Hawk trainer jet is the first plane to earn an “e” designation, as the eT-7A.
916th ARW welcomes two tails to the family

AMC to Evaluate ‘Interim’ KC-46 Fix While Pressing for Permanent New Remote Vision System

The Air Force in the coming weeks will evaluate an interim fix to the KC-46’s troubled remote vision system to see if there would be any value gained, while still holding Boeing to its requirement to provide a broad, permanent fix to the system by 2023. In April, Boeing and the Air Force announced an agreement on fixing the remote vision system—a collection of cameras and sensors linking the boom operator in the front of the aircraft to the boom system to refuel aircraft. The system has long been troubled by unclear and skewed images, in turn causing the boom to strike outside of a receiving aircraft’s receptacle. Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost said the Air Force is holding Boeing to the plan to deliver 12 “aircraft kits” in 2023. The company has proposed an interim software fix, and Van Ovost said the service is determining whether it wants to proceed on this installation, under the requirement that it does not delay the permanent fix. “There’s nothing that we would do that would slow down getting to 2.0 and getting it on our airplane,” she said. “That’s the most important thing, to get to the full requirements that we agreed to onto the airplane,” she said.
F-16 at Spangdahlem

USAFE: Move of Airmen, F-16s From Germany Still in Planning Stages

About two months after the Pentagon announced the plan to pull thousands of troops from Germany, including the F-16 presence at Spangdahlem Air Base, the head of U.S. Air Forces in Europe said the move is still in the planning stages, with the goal to avoid mitigating current operations. The Pentagon and U.S. European Command on July 29 announced the military would move 11,900 personnel out of Germany, including moving the 52nd Fighter Wing F-16s to Aviano Air Base, Italy, and would cancel the planned move of KC-135s and a special operations wing from RAF Mildenhall, U.K., to Spangdahlem. USAFE boss Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian said his command “has a fair amount of work in front of us” to understand the details of the move to Aviano, and to ensure that the infrastructure is ready to take in the jets.
Matthew P. Donovan

Donovan: DOD Must Revamp Talent Management to Recruit, Retain ‘Digital Natives’

If the Defense Department wants to recruit and retain younger Americans who speak technology and innovation as a first language, it must significantly change its approach to talent management, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew P. Donovan said during a Sept. 14 session of the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Namely, he said, DOD must figure how to differentiate its offerings from those of the corporate world when marketing itself, give personnel more career flexibility, and embrace “digital modernization across the entire department.”
Armed Forces Bowl showcases U.S. Air Force

Air Force Recruiting Service Institutes Diversity Targets for USAF

The Air Force Recruiting Service is implementing diversity targets for USAF recruiting efforts and will gauge its progress once a month beginning in fiscal 2021, AFRS Commander Maj. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr. announced Sept. 14. The Space Force will also adopt these targets, he added. “The targets are based on the qualified pool of potential recruits in the country,” he explained. By monitoring how it measures up against these targets, USAF will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of its marketing efforts and tweak them as needed to maximize their reach, he said.
ABMS Onramp 2

Kelly: Most Appealing Part of ABMS Demo Was AI; Opportunity to Free Up PED Airmen

The recent ABMS experiment demonstrated great value in artificial intelligence, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mark D. Kelly said in a September 14 press conference at AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. The value it offers is in potentially bringing more information into decision-making while freeing up Airmen for undermanned mission areas. He also discussed his priorities in his new position, the value of the F-15EX, how he views the Digital Century Series, and hypersonic weapons.
127th Security Forces Training of August Drill

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Air National Guard Drilling

Air National Guard wings have slashed the number of citizen Airmen who drill in-person on the same weekend and scheduled multiple drills per month to maintain readiness while mitigating COVID-19 risk, Chief Master Sgt. Tony L. Whitehead, senior enlisted adviser to National Guard Bureau Chief Army Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson, said Sept. 14. The change allows ANG to accomplish necessary training while still implementing social distancing, he said. ANG also is employing virtual communication methods wherever possible, he said. Air National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Michael A. Loh said ANG made this training flexibility possible by empowering wing leaders to make planning-related calls, and praised units for taking creative approaches to training, maintenance, and teaming amid the coronavirus challenge.
Valley of Death

Keeping Innovators, After Attracting Them, Means Crossing the “Valley of Death”

The Air Force is seeing results in attracting small and medium businesses and startups by using targeted investments and putting them together with commercial investors, panelists said in an acquisition panel at AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. But once the small businesses are in the system, they won't stay unless everyone can see there's a path to production and profitability. The Air Force must get that next phase right, the panelists said.
Hurricane Sally Flight

Keesler at HURCON 3 as Hurricane Sally Moves on Gulf Coast

As Hurricane Sally strengthens to a Category 2 storm, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., near the storm's expected landfall, has elevated its hurricane preparedness level, alerting base personnel to secure loose objects outside and prepare for potential evacuation. The storm is expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane on the morning of Sept. 16, bringing as much as 24 inches of rain to some areas.

Virtual Events: 6th Annual Schriever Space Forum, and More

On Nov. 20, the Air Force Association's Schriever Chapter will host the 6th Annual Schriever Space Futures Forum—a live, virtual event—featuring appearances by Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John E. Hyten, Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson, Space and Missile Systems Center Commander Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, and incoming U.S. Space Command boss Lt. Gen. (sel.) John E. Shaw. Register for free here.

Radar Sweep

WATCH: Virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference Day One Highlights

Air Force Magazine

Air Force Magazine Editor-in-Chief Tobias Naegele and News Editor Amy McCullough highlight some of the key takeaways from the first day of AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference, including clips from Secretary Barbara M. Barrett and Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.'s keynote addresses.

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.

Reaper Replacement Reveals Bold New GA-ASI Vision

Aviation Week Network

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) released exclusively to Aviation Week a concept rendering of a next-generation unmanned aircraft system (UAS) that reflects the characteristics the company’s designers view as essential for the class of aircraft that could replace the MQ-9 by the early 2030s.