Trump at Gold Star Families Reception

Top USAF, DOD Officials Test Negative for COVID-19 After White House Event

Senior Department of the Air Force leaders have repeatedly tested negative for the coronavirus within the past several days, as news emerged early Oct. 2 that President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump contracted COVID-19. Top military officials, including Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond all attended a White House event on Sept. 27 to recognize Gold Star families. The officials all tested negative before that event, Air Force spokesperson Brooke Brzozowske said Oct. 2. Brown and Raymond again tested negative on Oct. 1 before meetings at Joint Base Andrews, Md., and Barrett tested negative on Oct. 2 as well, Brzozowske said.
Resilience Tactical Pause

DOD Report: Nearly 500 Troops Died by Suicide in 2019

The Defense Department lost 498 service members to suicide in 2019, according to the Pentagon's annual suicide report, released Oct. 1. The report provides a snapshot of suicide’s impact on personnel from the Active component, Reserve force, and National Guard in the previous calendar year. According to the report, the troops who took their own lives in 2019 were predominantly male, under the age of 30, enlisted, and Caucasian. Firearms played a role in most of those incidents.
JTACs enable aerial reaction force mission

DOD Warns Against Lapse in Counterterrorism, ‘Irregular Warfare’ Skills

“Irregular warfare” isn’t just for special operations forces. A newly published summary of an annex to the 2018 National Defense Strategy argues that after decades of asymmetric conflict—wars where enemies have exploited weaknesses in U.S. technology and tactics—the Pentagon is still underprepared for that kind of combat. The Defense Department says the entire military must get better at irregular warfare to not just fend off the rise of nonstate terror groups and cyber attackers, but to stymie Russia and China as well. “Our department’s shift towards great power competition does not signal an abandonment of the critical competencies we have developed to prosecute irregular warfare,” the summary said. “Instead, this shift gives us a vital opportunity to update our approach to irregular warfare and meet the full range of challenges posed by our adversaries and competitors today.”
0218_Grier_Rare_H100

Trump Declares National Emergency on Rare-Earth Elements Supply

President Donald J. Trump on Sept. 30 issued an executive order declaring U.S. dependence on China for rare-earth elements a “national emergency,” directing a multi-agency review and action before the election to establish domestic sources of the materials, which are used in a range of crucial defense and commercial applications. The order provides for loans and grants to domestic and possibly foreign mining companies and relaxation of environmental safety standards, aimed at reducing U.S. “vulnerability” to China and other suppliers.
Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw

Shaw Nominated for SPACECOM’s No. 2 Job

Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, the head of the Space Force's operations organization, is up for a promotion to be the deputy commander of U.S. Space Command, the Pentagon said Oct. 1. He would also rise to the rank of lieutenant general if confirmed by the Senate. Shaw currently holds complementary roles in the Space Force and SPACECOM.

Virtual Events: Bierbauer, Cooter, Marks on Mitchell’s ‘Aerospace Nation’

On Jan.22, The Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host an installment of its “Aerospace Nation” series featuring the authors of the new book “Never Mind, We'll Do It Ourselves: The Inside Story of How a Team of Renegades Broke Rules, Shattered Barriers, and Launched a Drone Warfare Revolution.” Former Central Intelligence Agency case officer Alec Bierbauer, retired USAF Col. Mark Cooter, and co-author Michael Marks give us an inside look into the story behind the armed Predator program and the dawn of unmanned warfare. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

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 Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Space Force Senior Enlisted Adviser Chief Master Sgt. Roger A. Towberman, and a panel on Air Force talent management and culture issues. 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.

Special Ops Command Focusing on AI Education

National Defense Magazine

Special Operations Command is making a push to better educate leaders and other key personnel about artificial intelligence, the organization’s top acquisition official said Oct. 2. SOCOM Acquisition Executive Jim Smith envisions a wide range of special ops missions and capabilities that AI could be applied to including next-generation intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; next-gen mobility; precision fires and effects; biotechnology; hyper-enabled operator; and data and networks.

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.

Defense Policy Board to Discuss China Strategy, Space Deterrence

Inside Defense

During the Oct. 6-7 meeting, the DPB "will have classified discussions on the development of a long-term China strategy and to review the [National Defense Authorization Act]-mandated study on 'Deterrence in Space,'" a notice in Oct. 2’s Federal Register reads.

US Military Patch Depicting Drone and China Stirs Anger in Beijing

The Japan Times

The most recent incident hurting the countries’ deteriorating ties came after U.S. airmen publicly showed off a special uniform featuring a patch of an MQ-9 Reaper drone superimposed over a red silhouette of China. The badge was worn during a simulated island assault exercise that wrapped up Sept. 29 in California.

US Army Discontinues Rapid Equipping Force

Defense News

The U.S. Army has discontinued its Rapid Equipping Force stood up during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to get urgently needed capabilities into the field in 180 days or less.

Senators Call for Comprehensive Report on Use of Security Cameras at All VA Hospitals

Nextgov

A bipartisan Senate bill would direct the Veterans Affairs Department to steer and submit a comprehensive report to Congress spotlighting its policies for, installments and uses of security cameras across VA medical centers. The bill comes more than two years after a series of troubling reports revealed a string of suspicious deaths at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, Va.—which the lawmakers pinpointed in a statement as inspiration behind the legislation’s introduction.

One More Thing

The Legendary Military Test Pilots Who Became America’s First Astronauts Are Getting a TV Series with ‘The Right Stuff’

Task & Purpose

Premiering Oct. 9 on Disney+, the legendary military test pilots who became America's first astronauts will be getting their own series on the streaming platform. The first season will kick off with a two-episode premiere set against the backdrop of the Cold War, amid fears that the United States' place as a dominant world power is on the decline. The solution? Put a man into space, and eventually, on the moon.