Air Force top officials visit JBSA missions for first combined trip

Air Force to Incorporate Study of Potential Adversaries into BMT, PME

Airmen, from basic military training to graduate studies at Air University, need to increase their study and understanding of potential adversaries, such as China and Russia, to better understand the Air Force’s place in the world and the risk of potential conflicts, the service’s senior uniformed leaders said. All leaders need to be able to talk to their Airmen “and go here’s what you’re doing, and why it’s important,” Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said Sept. 16 during the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. “You start talking about great power competition, we need to understand how our adversary thinks. We can count the number of platforms, [but] we need to understand how they think. What makes them tick? What drives their intent?”
Vanessa Guillén

Soldier’s Death Spurs Harder Look at Military Sexual Assault Across DOD

The Air Force has more to do to lead by example, and to create a culture where people feel comfortable discussing sexual assault and other forms of violence with their superiors, service leadership said. The death of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén, a 20-year-old Soldier who disappeared from Fort Hood, Texas, in April, has reverberated across the Pentagon. A motive is still unknown, though the 3rd Cavalry Regiment launched an investigation into claims that Guillén was sexually harassed before her death. “Empowering leaders at every level to be able to help create a culture and a climate where Airmen are willing to talk and share what is going on in their lives, maybe that would have helped the Vanessa Guillén situation,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass said at the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
867th Cyberspace Operations Group

New Ops Group Tries a Better Approach to Cyber Warfare

A new 867th Cyberspace Operations Group stood up at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, on Sept. 18 to streamline the Air Force’s cyber offense and defense, as well as its intelligence collection in the digital realm. “We now have the ability to focus on two distinct mission sets,” Col. Lauren Courchaine, commander of the parallel 67th Cyberspace Operations Group, told Air Force Magazine Sept. 17. “While they're still both focusing on offensive cyberspace operations, [group Commander Col. Travis Howell] ... has the ability to truly focus on the cyber national mission force and the prosecution of malicious cyber actors.” While Howell handles those units, Courchaine can focus on what combatant commands around the world need, like protecting air defense systems from electronic attack.
NTS-3 Rendering

AFRL Eyes Multiple Experiments as Next Space ‘Vanguards’

Military researchers are eyeing multiple projects that could become the next Space Force “vanguard” programs, the high-profile ventures that receive extra money and attention from across the Department of the Air Force. The “Precise” initiative and the Cislunar Highway Patrol System, which were recently selected in an internal competition for more attention, are top candidates, said Col. Eric J. Felt, who runs the Air Force Research Laboratory’s space vehicles directorate. More may emerge through avenues like the new WARTECH planning summit, which scopes out the most promising research projects for further investment. The final selection is slated for January 2021.
Thracian Viper 20

Aviano, Ramstein Airmen Head to Bulgaria for Thracian Viper 20

Airmen from Aviano Air Base, Italy, and Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will train with their counterparts from Bulgaria, Greece, and Romania as part of exercise Thracian Viper 20, the 31st Fighter Wing said Sept. 18. The exercise, which is being held Sept. 18-25 at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, looks to boost participating air forces’ “operational capacity, capability, and interoperability” with its host country, a wing release stated. “During the exercise, U.S. and Bulgarian air forces will conduct training enhancing our ability to rapidly deploy to remote locations and take command and control of the region,” U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa wrote in a release issued the same day.
Air Force Nursing Mothers

Department of the Air Force Enhances Support to Nursing Mothers

The Department of the Air Force recently beefed up its support for its uniformed and civilian USAF and Space Force personnel who breastfeed. A recent memo, which updates USAF’s lactation policy introduced last year, immediately requires unit commanders to set aside “a private area” where nursing mothers can pump and properly store breast milk, a Sept. 17 release about the measure said. The updated guidance also requires commanders and bosses to ensure these women are given lactation breaks that are actually long enough for them to get the job done.
Brig. Gen. Patrice Melancon

Building the Base of the Future

Nearly two years after Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., was slammed by Hurricane Michael, leaders there are working not just to rebuild that base, but to create a “base of the future” with a focus on resiliency, sustainability, and smart technology that can serve as a model for the entire Department of Defense. “Innovation is at the very core of what we’re doing, not only in the smart technologies that we’ve implemented, but in the agile process, the ‘how’ of building the base we need, not the base we had,” Brig. Gen. Patrice A. Melancon, executive director of the Tyndall Program Management Office, said during a panel discussion as part of AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

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

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.

DefAero Report Daily Podcast: AFA Wrap-up

Defense & Aerospace Report podcast

On the Sept. 17 edition of the DefAero Report Daily Podcast, retired USAF Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies; Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; Air Force Magazine Editorial Director John A. Tirpak; and Steve Trimble of Aviation Week and Space Technology discussed key takeaways from AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

OPINION: Esper's Convenient Lie

Defense One

“The Defense Secretary's claim that the two decades of countering violent extremism left the U.S. under-prepared for a near-peer fight doesn’t hold water,” writes Paul Scharre, senior fellow and director of the technology and national security program at the Center for a New American Security.

Iran Vows ‘Hit’ on All Involved in US Killing of Top General

The Associated Press

The chief of Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard threatened Sept. 19 to go after everyone who had a role in a top general’s January killing during a U.S. drone strike in Iraq. The guard’s website quoted Gen. Hossein Salami as saying, “Mr. Trump! Our revenge for martyrdom of our great general is obvious, serious, and real.”

General Atomics Wins Up to $7.4 Billion to Supply MQ-9 Reapers

Inside Defense

The Air Force has awarded General Atomics an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract that enables the service and its foreign military sale partners to purchase up to 36 MQ-9 Reapers annually over the next five years. The "Agile Reaper Enterprise Solution" deal is worth up to $7.4 billion and intended to stabilize costs and reduce the delivery schedule by about 35 percent via a streamlined contracting process, the Air Force confirmed Sept. 17.

Northrop Grumman Receives Award for Evolved Strategic SATCOM Program

Northrop Grumman press release

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a contract by the Space Force for the rapid prototyping phase of the Evolved Strategic SATCOM program to develop a modernized strategic communications space segment with enhanced resilience and cybersecurity capabilities. During the rapid prototyping phase, the company will deliver the preliminary design for ESS’ space segment and a ground-based demonstration.

Pentagon Unveils New Religious Liberty Policies after Pressure from Conservative Lawmakers

Military Times

The Pentagon has issued new guidance on religious liberty within the military—following pressure from Republican lawmakers to “prioritize protecting the rights and freedoms of service members” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While critics of the revised regulation say it will encourage military superiors to push their religious beliefs on subordinates and fellow service members, proponents of the rule have hailed it as a victory for religious liberty.

New Emails Reveal the Chaotic Final Days of Brett Crozier’s Command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt

Task & Purpose

The situation was so dire on the USS Theodore Roosevelt that by March 30 leaders on the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier found themselves “inside a tornado fighting a war,” according to emails recently released to Task & Purpose by the Navy. The Navy handed over 200 pages of email communications in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Task & Purpose in April. More than 1,000 additional pages remain under review, Navy officials said.