Air Force Hosts "Ask Me Anything" on AFVentures

Roper: Air Force Shopping for ‘Skyshots’

The Air Force is calling on small businesses to pitch new technologies the service can help nurture into “war-winning” capabilities, service acquisition chief Will Roper said Oct. 26. These “Skyshots”—something short of “Moon Shots”—would be comparable to USAF's flying car initiative: requiring sustained investment that companies might not be able to find commercially, but could give USAF a big edge. Roper also said the service is shifting away from setting requirements to choosing from among arising technology “opportunities” as a quicker and less prescribed way to build future systems.
Military Education Assistance

Enlisted Leaders Defend Abrupt Tuition Assistance Cuts

Top enlisted leaders defended the Air Force's decision to reduce tuition assistance by $750, saying it was the best option available as the manpower directorate scrambled to find money over the summer or risk canceling classes. In late September, the Air Force announced it was only going to pay $3,750 of college tuition for Airmen and space professionals each fiscal year—a reduction from the previous limit of $4,500. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass and Chief Master Sgt. Roosevelt Jones, the senior enlisted leader for the deputy chief of manpower, personnel, and services, speaking during an Oct. 26 town hall said the department had about $163 million allocated for tuition assistance in 2020, but that funding ran out in July. “We wanted to make sure that we covered the majority of Airmen in the United States Air Force to be able to fund how much they normally utilize each year,” Jones said.
421st Fighter Squadron returns to Hill AFB

Hill F-35s, Airmen Return from Middle East Deployment

F-35As and Airmen from the 421st Fighter Squadron returned home to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, within the past week after a six-month deployment for combat operations in the Middle East. The 421st was the third Hill squadron in a row to be tasked with deploying to U.S. Central Command, where they flew close air support, offensive and defensive counter air operations, and flew in multiple exercises with partners in the region, according to a base release. The squadron is a combination of the Active duty 388th and Reserve 419th Fighter Wings at Hill, the service’s only operational F-35 base in the continental United States. Hill F-35s had flown combat missions in CENTCOM non-stop since April 2019, and it is not clear if the squadron returning home means that the region is now without a fifth-generation USAF fighter presence. Prior to the first F-35 deployments, Air Force F-22s had been steadily deployed to the theater.
910th spearheads spray course in Florida

Bug-Spraying C-130s Deploy to Louisiana

The Air Force activated the military’s only large, fixed-wing pest control aircraft to help areas recovering from hurricanes and heavy rains. The C-130s from the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, deployed to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Oct. 20 for several days in support of Environmental Protection Agency-registered aerial spray to control mosquitos that thrive in post-storm conditions across the state. The C-130s are the military’s only aircraft equipped with the Modular Aerial Spray System. It is the first time the unit has been activated for storm response since Hurricane Harvey impacted 1.4 million acres in 2014.

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.

Air Force To Try Space-Based 3D Printing: Roper

Breaking Defense

Figuring out how to create a 3D printing-based supply chain in space will be the focus of one future ‘challenge’ for innovators competing for Air Force prize money, service acquisition czar Will Roper says.

DOD Awards Applied Hypersonics Contract to Texas A&M University

DOD release

The Defense Department awarded Texas A&M University's Engineering Experiment Station a $20 million per year contract to establish and manage a University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics, or UCAH. "This first-of-its-kind consortium will be critical to advancing hypersonics research and innovation, a key priority of the Department of Defense," said Michael Kratsios, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

OPINION: There's No Turning Back on AI in the Military

WIRED

“China’s ambitions far outstrip merely copying or surpassing our military. AlphaGo’s victory was a Sputnik moment for the Chinese Communist Party, triggering its own NASA-like response: a national Mega-Project in AI. Though there is no moon in this digital “space race,” its giant leap may be the next industrial revolution. The synergy of 5G and cloud-to-edge AI could radically evolve the internet of things, enabling ubiquitous AI and all the economic and military advantages it could bestow. It's not just our military that needs digital urgency: Our nation must wake up fast. The only thing worse than fearing AI itself is fearing not having it,” writes Air Force acquisition head Will Roper.

Space Force Official: Launch Scrubs are No Reason to Despair

SpaceNews

A streak of United Launch Alliance and SpaceX launch scrubs has frustrated rocket company executives and space aficionados. But Space Force launch managers are not discouraged, and in fact see scrubs as proof that systems are working like they should, Col. Douglas Pentecost said Oct. 22.

China to Sanction Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Over Taiwan Arms

Bloomberg

China will impose unspecified sanctions on Boeing Co.’s defense unit, Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp. after the U.S. State Department approved $1.8 billion in arms sales to Taiwan last week. The sanctions will be imposed “in order to uphold national interests,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters Monday in Beijing.

One More Thing

We Just Found Water on the Sunlit Moon. That Could Change Everything.

Popular Mechanics

Scientists have revealed that they've discovered traces of molecular water on the sunlit surface of the moon. The discovery could forever change our relationship with our closest cosmic neighbor. “This is exciting because the expectation is that any water present on the sunlit surface of the moon might not survive the lunar day,” Paul Hertz, the Astrophysics division director at NASA Headquarters, said in a press conference Monday. Because the moon does not have an atmosphere, any water on its sunlit surface was thought to be lost to space. "[I]f we find a large concentration of water on the sunlit moon, we may be able to extract it and use it as a resource for exploration," Casey Honniball, a Postdoctoral Program Fellow at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, tells Popular Mechanics via email.