SASC social 061522

Senate Passes Stopgap Spending Bill Hours Ahead of Federal Shutdown Deadline

The Senate voted 84-10 on Sept. 30 to pass a stopgap spending measure that would keep the federal government open through Dec. 11, pending President Donald J. Trump’s likely approval. Congress opted not to finish the appropriations process before fiscal 2021 begins Oct. 1, so federal agencies are restricted to the same amount of money they received in 2020 and cannot start any new spending programs. Air Force Magazine reported Sept. 24 that a three-month continuing resolution would stymie the Space Force’s growth as a separate military branch, push back production of the E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node jet, and delay Space Force construction projects.
Astral Knight 2020: Enhancing Regional Security

Bipartisan Lawmakers Blast Proposed European Force Structure Changes

Bipartisan lawmakers on Sept. 30 blasted the Pentagon for failing to provide details of its planned force structure changes in Europe, saying the proposed removal of almost 12,000 troops from Germany could harm U.S. alliances. Under the proposal, first announced in July, DOD would shift F-16s from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany to Italy, move U.S. Africa Command headquarters out of Germany to an undetermined location, keep two USAF wings in England, and return thousands of troops to the United States at a time when Congressmen agreed deterrence against Russia is important. Committee ranking member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said “a couple staffers in the White House decided they wanted to sell the Ppresident on an absolute troop cap for Germany” without understanding the consequences, and then Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and DOD planners are “trying to put lipstick on the pig,” and “my concern is the underlying strength and unity of the [NATO] alliance has not been a foremost consideration.” Pentagon leaders said the bulk of the details are still being determined, but assured the committee any changes would serve the interests of the National Defense Strategy.
Mobile Navy Week

STRATCOM Hopes Experiments Will Speed Nuclear Command Upgrades

U.S. Strategic Command is testing out parts of its future nuclear command, control, and communications enterprise in the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System demonstrations, an official tells Air Force Magazine. STRATCOM’s NC3 Enterprise Center got up and running early last year to better plan for future satellites, radios, aircraft, and other systems that connect nuclear platforms and weapons to the military and national leaders. It is working on a wholesale overhaul of the aging NC3 network as the Pentagon buys a new nuclear arsenal, hoping to modernize it for the digital age.
Maintaining standards

Air Force Changes More Grooming Rules to Drive Inclusion

The Department of Air Force on Sept. 15 approved more tweaks to the dress and appearance rules for Airmen and space professionals in an effort to boost inclusion in both services, according to a Sept. 29 release. The changes include higher hair bulk standards for service members of both sexes and letting male troops get a little more creative with their haircuts. The update to Air Force Instruction 36-2903, “Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel,” also clarified that USAF and Space Force personnel may dye their hair in “natural colors”—including “brown, blonde, brunette, natural red, black, or grey”—regardless of what color hair they were born with, the release said.
MQ-9 Reaper

MQ-9 Software Upgrade Doubles Hellfire Capacity

An MQ-9 on Sept. 10 doubled its missile capacity, carrying eight AGM-114 Hellfires for the first time, thanks to a new software upgrade. The 556th Test and Evaluation Squadron flew the Reaper at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., demonstrating the new capability, which is part of the MQ-9 Operational Flight Program 2409—an upgrade that will be fielded by the end of the calendar year, according to a 53rd Wing release. With the new capability, the Reaper can carry two missiles each across four stations, and it is also compatible with 500-pound bombs or fuel tanks. New requirements from Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command drove development of the new capability.

Correction

The story "Air Force to Reduce Tuition Assistance for Troops" that ran in the Sept. 30 Daily Report misstated the new tuition cap for Department of the Air Force military tuition assistance in fiscal 2021, and the change it reflected from fiscal 2020. The new cap is $3,750, and reflects a $750 decrease from fiscal 2020.

Radar Sweep

Speaker Sessions from AFA’s vASC Now Available

Air Force Magazine

Now you can view video and transcripts from the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference, including keynotes from Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett and Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and a conversation with Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew P. Donovan. More videos will be added daily.

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’s in the $2.2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Proposal for Veterans and the Military

Military.com

A $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief package unveiled Sept. 30 by the House contains $2.2 billion for the Defense Department and military services and an additional $613 million for the Veterans Affairs Department for costs related to pandemic response. It also provides funding for the Defense Health Agency to underwrite drug manufacturing capabilities for COVID-19 preventives and treatment, and $320 million for personal protective equipment for medical personnel and patients at military treatment facilities.

Pentagon About to Release New Data Strategy

National Defense Magazine

A new blueprint to guide the Defense Department’s approach to data could be released within the next 30 days, said the Pentagon’s chief information officer Sept. 30.

ATAC Nabs Final Contract For Initial ‘Red Air’ Training Sites

Breaking Defense

The Air Force has awarded ATAC, Textron Systems’ military airborne training unit, a contract to provide adversary air combat training to F-22 and F-35 pilots at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.—making it the biggest winner in the initial round of the service’s overarching effort to outsource pilot training that eventually could be worth billions.

OPINION: The Real F-35 Problem We Need to Solve

Defense One

“Unless its logistics can be improved, the jet’s contributions to a major fight will be far less than Pentagon wargamers are counting on,” writes Scott Cooper, a retired Marine Corps officer who flew the EA-6B.

No, Military Women Are Not Getting Pregnant to Avoid Deployment

Task & Purpose

Multiple government reports and interviews conducted by Task & Purpose show that women across the military are often bullied because of the stereotype that servicewomen get pregnant in order to avoid deployment, despite there being no substantial evidence that that actually happens.

One More Thing

Air Force Partnership Helps Rare Woodpecker Thrive

USAF release

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service highlighted Department of Defense conservation efforts Sept. 25 during a ceremony at Fort Benning, Ga., marking the proposed downlisting of the red cockaded woodpecker from “endangered” to “threatened.”