U.S. Capitol

Department of Air Force Funding Takes Hit in 2021 Spending Bill

Senate appropriators on Nov. 10 released a $696 billion defense funding bill for fiscal 2021 that offers the Department of the Air Force less money than it requested for most spending accounts. The proposal comes more than a month into the fiscal year, as the federal government is operating under a stopgap spending measure. A funding bill must be signed into law by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown. Lawmakers could also pass another continuing resolution to keep agencies open while they seek compromise. Senators are offering the Air Force and Space Force $200.4 billion for personnel, procurement, operations, maintenance, and technology development in the base and Overseas Contingency Operations accounts.
Maj Gen. William Cooley addresses SBIR Pitch Day

Former AFRL Boss Faces Sexual Assault Charge

A military court will consider a sexual assault charge levied against former Air Force Research Laboratory boss Maj. Gen. William T. Cooley at an Article 32 preliminary hearing in January 2021, the Air Force said Nov. 10. Cooley is accused of making “unwanted sexual advances by kissing and touching a female victim” on Aug. 12, 2018, in Albuquerque, N.M., according to a USAF release. He was removed from his post amid an Air Force investigation in January.
Computerized Canines to join Team Tyndall

Tyndall is DOD’s First Base to Adopt Robot Dogs

Robot dogs will soon patrol U.S. Air Forces bases. The 325th Security Forces Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., will be the first unit in the Defense Department to start using Ghost Robotics robot “dogs” to semi-autonomously patrol the base. The unmanned ground vehicles, which walk on four legs and are outfitted with sensors and cameras, will not replace the squadron’s military working dogs, but will have a set patrol “path” on the base where personnel and cars can’t easily access. “We are very excited. ... These robot dogs will be used as a force multiplier for enhanced situational awareness by patrolling areas that aren’t desirable for human beings and vehicles,” said Maj. Jordan Criss, commander of the 325th SFS, in a release.
Eielson F-35As hit 100 sortie milestone

USAF Program Costs Up Largely Due to Increased Units, Services Purchased

The Air Force's major acquisition programs collectively increased in cost $3.7 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, according the Pentagon's latest Selected Acquisition Reports. Most of the increases were due to buying more units and services. The F-15 Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System electronic warfare suite, for example, will equip 140 more aircraft than previously planned, and Department of the Air Force will buy 12 more launch services than previously expected. In addition, the joint-service F-35 program cost $206 billion less in base-year and $32.8 billion less in then-year dollars, “driven by incorporation of the Lot 11 actuals as well as the negotiated values for Lot 12-14 procurement.”
Kathleen Hicks Tri-Service Panel at CSIS

Biden’s DOD Transition Team Taps Think Tanks, Cross-Agency Experience

Presumed President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Nov. 10 revealed the first Pentagon transition team members who will review the agency’s operations and begin the process of handing it off to new leaders in January. Kathleen H. Hicks, director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, will lead the Defense Department agency review team (ART). Several other members come from CSIS and other prominent research institutions, including the Center for a New American Security, RAND Corp., and New America. Their work experience spans years in the defense, foreign policy, energy, technology, and other sectors.
U.S. F-35As, UAE Desert Falcons and Mirage 2000s fly in formation

State Department Approves F-35, MQ-9 Sale to UAE

The State Department on Nov. 10 formally approved a potential $23.37 billion arms sale to the United Arab Emirates, including up to 50 F-35s, 18 MQ-9s, and both air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions. The move, which is opposed by some on Capitol Hill, comes on the heels of the White House-brokered agreement between the UAE and Israel. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement, said the potential sales recognize “our deepening relationship and the UAE’s need for advanced defense capabilities to deter and defend itself against heightened threats from Iran.”

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.

OPINION: Putting Combatant Commanders On A Demand Signal Diet

War on the Rocks

“In a series of articles on combatant commands, the Washington Post came to a sobering conclusion about the outsized power wielded by these globe-spanning military bureaucracies: They had ‘evolved into the modern-day equivalent of the Roman Empire’s proconsuls—well-funded, semi-autonomous, unconventional centers of U.S. foreign policy.’ These powerful commanders are routinely ‘received by heads of state who offer gifts, share secrets, and seek advice.’ That was in 2000. The power, influence, and sway of combatant commanders has only grown since,” writes Mackenzie Eaglen, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, in an opinion piece.

Air Force Pilots Honor their Comrade and Supporter

Las Vegas Review-Journal

He wasn’t an Air Force pilot. He was never stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. He hadn’t been in the military since his Navy days during the ’50s. But to a generation or two of U.S. Air Force pilots flying out of Nellis, Evan Thompson was a brother in arms as beloved as any with whom they served, even if most of them knew him only from a distance.

Ellsworth, Minneapolis St. Paul are 'Red' Air Force Bases

Associated Press via Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and the Minneapolis St. Paul Air Reserve Base in Minnesota are among nine U.S. Air Force bases in the world that have been categorized as a "red" installation due to the rise of active COVID-19 cases in areas surrounding the bases.

Andersen AFB holds Exercise Sling Stone 21-1

36th Wing release

Andersen Air Force Base personnel conducted an antiterrorism/force protection exercise dubbed Sling Stone 21-1 with its Joint Region Marianas partners to strengthen the base’s ability to respond to security threats Nov. 5.

One More Thing

National Air Force Museum Celebrates Veterans

Air Force Magazine

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, offers visitors from near and far a chance to learn more about the Airmen who built the service and to honor their time in uniform. On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, visitors can hear from Air Force veterans who will be on hand to share their stories and bring exhibits to life. Can’t get to the museum? You can still hear from Air Force veterans: A dozen new podcast interviews introduce listeners to the the service’s first female pilots, who provide a behind-the-scenes look at their lives and share the story behind “Women in the Air Force: From Yesterday into Tomorrow,” a new exhibit and series of installations spread throughout the museum that will fully open in 2021.