Lieutenant colonel

First Airmen Get the Nod in New Promotion Process

About 1,200 majors earned a promotion under the Department of the Air Force's new process for advancement that judges Airmen based on performance in their career field rather than comparing the force as a whole. The 2020 lieutenant colonel promotion board is also the first to ditch so-called "below-the-zone" promotions, which offers people a chance to fast-track up the ranks, and puts Airmen up for promotion in an order based on merit rather than seniority.
TRANSCOM Commander visits NAVCENT

DOD, SpaceX May Soon Prove the Military Can Ship Cargo Through Space

A military team is working with SpaceX to flesh out the prospect of shipping routes that pass through space, the head of U.S. Transportation Command said Oct. 7. That group could demonstrate as early as 2021 whether quickly sending cargo around the globe via space is feasible, Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons said. “Think about moving the equivalent of a C-17 payload anywhere on the globe in less than an hour,” Lyons said at a National Defense Transportation Association event. “Think about that speed associated with the movement of transportation of cargo and people. There is a lot of potential here.”
F-35 Turkey

Senators, Demanding Sanctions, Worry Turkey Used S-400 to Track US Jets

A bipartisan pair of U.S. senators are urging the Trump administration to impose economic sanctions on Turkey over buying and activating Russian S-400 Triumf air defense systems, concerned that Turkey is allowing Russia to access sensitive data on NATO aircraft. In an Oct. 7 letter to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Senate appropriators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) raised concerns that Turkey may have used its S-400s “to detect U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets returning from the Eunomia exercise” held in Europe in August. If the S-400 was used to surveil American F-16s, it would be one of the first publicized instances that Turkey has wielded the air defense system's radar against a U.S. asset. Deliveries of the S-400 to Turkey began in July 2019.
Space Force roadshows

Space Force to Lay Long-Term Groundwork in Second Year

The Space Force hasn’t yet turned 1 year old, but it’s already planning for what it wants to be in 30 years. Charting that long-term vision will be a main focus of the newest service in its second year, Pentagon space policy boss Justin T. Johnson said during an Oct. 7 Heritage Foundation event. “Probably the biggest single thing that I know [Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond] is working on ... [is] really fleshing out that long-term vision for the Space Force,” Johnson said. “What's the force design, force development elements of the Space Force? What does that future vision in 10, 20, 30 years need to look like?”
McConnell Elephant Walk

TRANSCOM: Keeping KC-135s, KC-10s Will Avoid Capacity ‘Train Wreck’

The head of U.S. Transportation Command said Oct. 7 he sees new “momentum” to protect some legacy tanker aircraft from retirement. Canceling that proposed divestment would help the mobility enterprise avoid an oncoming “train wreck” of a tanker shortage while the new KC-46 is delayed, Army Gen. Stephen R. Lyons said. The looming tanker shortage is the No. 1 problem facing the command, Lyons said during a virtual TRANSCOM and National Defense Transportation Association 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.

Four-Star Marine General Tests Positive for Covid

Politico

The Marine Corps' No. 2 officer has tested positive for Covid-19, the service announced Oct. 7, the second four-star officer to be affected by the virus this week. Assistant Marine Commandant Gen. Gary Thomas was among top military officers who put themselves under quarantine this week after Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Charles Ray tested positive Oct. 5.

Trump Orders Agencies to Tackle Coronavirus-Related Mental Health Challenges

Nextgov

The order creates a working group that will be co-chaired by the Health and Human Services Department secretary and assistant to the president for domestic policy (or their designees). There will be representatives from the Defense, Justice, Agriculture, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Education and Veterans Affairs departments; Small Business Administration; Office of National Drug Control Policy; Office of Management and Budget; and any other agencies the co-chairs seek.

ISIS Militants Charged with Deaths of Americans in Syria

Justice Department release

According to allegations in the indictment, from 2012 to 2015, Kotey, Elsheikh, Mohamed Emwazi (deceased), and a fourth British citizen (CC-1) currently incarcerated in Turkey, were Islamic State group fighters and participated in the abduction of American and European hostages in Syria. The men also allegedly engaged in a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence against the hostages, including against American citizens James Wright Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller, Steven Joel Sotloff, and Peter Edward Kassig.

Russia Reports Successful Test Launch of Hypersonic Missile

The Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 7 hailed the successful test launch of a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile as a “big event” for the country. Speaking to Putin via a video call, Russian General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov said the test launch took place on Oct. 6 from the Admiral Groshkov frigate located in the White Sea, in the north of Russia.

Democrats Face Internal ‘Fight’ on Defense Spending, Says Smith

Defense News

The Democratic split over the size of future defense budgets will come to a head in the new Congress, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) predicted Oct. 6. The outcome of the long-simmering dispute would take on higher stakes if some pre-election polling becomes a reality and Democrats retake Congress and the White House.

Qatar Makes Formal Request for F-35 Jets

Reuters

Qatar has submitted a formal request to the United States to buy stealthy F-35 fighter jets, three people familiar with the deal said, in a deal that if pursued could strain U.S. ties with Saudi Arabia and Israel.

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Years After They Fought in Afghanistan, US Troops Watch as Their Children Deploy to the Same War

Stars and Stripes

Nineteen years ago on Oct. 7, a generation of Americans deployed to Afghanistan to root out the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, believing that by fighting in the country more than 7,400 miles away, they would spare their children the need to do so too. But as the U.S. war in Afghanistan begins its 20th year, some of those same service members have watched as their sons and daughters have deployed to continue the fight.

The JADC2 Revolution

Air Force Magazine

U.S. forces are redefining joint operations to be more tightly integrated. Joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) accelerates the speed and complexity of warfare by tying forces together across the air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains. For the latest on what this means to operators and the industry, check out our JADC2 landing page.

One More Thing

Up Close and Personal with the Blackbird: An Exclusive Interview with Former Director of Worldwide SR-71 Operations

The Aviationist

TheAviationist.com recently spoke with retired Air Force Lt. Col. Russell Szczepanik, a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. His unique and exceptional service record includes 3 years in Army Special Forces before joining the U.S. Air Force. Szczepanik then went on to become the director of worldwide SR-71 Operations for two years. He also flew numerous missions in the Mach 3+ “Sled” as an SR-71 RSO in the rear seat of the two-person aircraft during operational missions.