CDC coronavirus

First USAF Service Member Dies of COVID-19

A member of the Texas Air National Guard died of COVID-19-related issues, the first uniformed member of the Department of the Air Force and ninth service member overall to die of the disease. The Air National Guardsman has not been identified. The death was reported in a Defense Department tally of COVID-19 cases on Nov. 4. As of Nov. 5, there have been a total of 58,968 cases of COVID-19 reported among service members. The Air Force has reported 15,744 cases, which include Active Duty Air Force, Space Force, and Air Force Reserve Command personnel, along with civilians, dependents, and contractors. There are currently 32 USAF personnel hospitalized with the new coronavirus, according to statistics released Nov. 3.
Advanced Battle Management System Onramp 2

ABMS Project Nears 100 Participating Companies

Two dozen more companies have joined the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System effort to network its aircraft, sensors, and computer systems, the Pentagon said Nov. 4. Nearly 100 contractors are now part of that project, which offers hundreds of billions of dollars for technologies that can crunch combat information, share it across the force, and display it in new ways. The Air Force is casting a wide net to work with startups and other companies that don’t typically do business with DOD, and has started procuring some of their products for longer-term use.

Fire at Eglin Explosives Lab Injures One

One person was injured in a Nov. 5 fire at an explosives development laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., the base announced. The fire broke out in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s High Explosive Research and Development Facility at about 11:30 a.m., and emergency services from the base’s 96th Test Wing were able to contain and clear the blaze. One person was taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center with an undisclosed injury, the base said in a statement. There is no detail on what caused the fire, which remains under investigation.
Airpower over Afghanistan

Watchdog Report: Airstrike Pace Increasing in Afghanistan Despite Talks

The number of U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan has increased despite ongoing peace talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the 19-year-old war. U.S. Forces-Afghanistan in October reported that airstrikes supporting Afghan forces on the ground have increased from the second to third quarter—a step that is permitted under the February agreement with the Taliban, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction quarterly report released Nov. 5. Enemy-initiated attacks in Afghanistan jumped 50 percent in the same period, from July to September, when compared to the previous quarter of April to June. If the Taliban violence continues at this “unacceptably high” rate, it would undermine the agreement, the DOD said.

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.

Boeing Wins Chance to Reenter Hypersonic Weapons Race

Aviation Week Network

The Defense Department has revived Boeing’s hopes for a near-term win in the hypersonic weapons market by inserting the company into a competition to build a Mach 6 cruise missile and reviving a decade-old concept based on dual-combustion ramjet technology. The Joint Hypersonic Transition Office, which was established by Congress this year, has funded a Boeing-led team to complete a preliminary design review and ground testing for a dual-combustion ramjet, Gillian Bussey, the office’s director, told reporters on Oct. 27.

DOD’s Space Development Agency Shows How Fast the FAR Can Be

Federal News Network's "On DOD with Jared Serbu" podcast

The Defense Department’s new Space Development Agency is showing that the boring old processes embedded in the Federal Acquisition Regulation don’t have to be synonymous with slowness. Late last month, SDA awarded a somewhat complex systems integration contract to help build the first elements of a brand new architecture of low-Earth orbit satellites. The total time from final request for proposals to contract award: three-and-half months.

The Space Force Is Now in Charge of the Secret X-37B Space Plane

Military.com

The U.S. Space Force has created a unit dedicated solely to orbital warfare—and it includes the secret experimental X-37B space plane. Space Force members overseeing the unmanned spacecraft are part of the newly established mission delta unit known as Delta 9, according to the service.

Moon Patrols Could be a Future Reality for Space Force

SpaceNews

U.S. military space activities today are confined to Earth orbit. That could change in the coming years as NASA begins to establish a permanent presence at the moon and works with the private sector to develop a cislunar economy. The military foresees playing a role protecting those interests if they were challenged by a foreign power.

Military AI Is Bigger Than Just The Kill Chain: JAIC Chief

Breaking Defense

The military must not get so fixated on using artificial intelligence to find targets that it neglects its wider applications from deployment planning to escalation control, warns the new director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

Joint All-Domain Awareness

Air Force Magazine

Get a better sense of the drive for greater connectedness between air, space, cyber, land, and maritime forces. Catch up on all-things JADC2 now.