B-1B in Guam

PACAF: China, Russia Have Taken Notice of Increased USAF Bomber Ops

China and Russia have noticed an increase in USAF bomber missions in the Indo-Pacific, and they are starting to respond in their own ways, the top USAF officer in the region said. The Air Force in April stopped permanently basing bombers at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and started deploying short-term “dynamic force employment” task forces of bombers in the region on short notice. Since the shift to dynamic force employment, “We’ve actually flown more of the bomber-type missions than we did in the last nine months of the continuous bomber presence,” Pacific Air Forces boss Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach told reporters Nov. 18 in a virtual roundtable. As a result, USAF is seeing more Russian and Chinese intercepts in the region.
81st FS graduates final AAF class

Moody’s Afghan Air Force A-29 Training Program Ends

Moody Air Force Base, Ga., will no longer train Afghan pilots to fly the A-29. Instead, Afghan instructor pilots in Afghanistan will take over training, with that schoolhouse expected to be fully operational by April. Over the last five years, more than 30 student pilots and 70 maintenance technicians were trained at Moody. The base's 81st Fighter Squadron, a geographically separated unit assigned to the 14th Flying Training Wing, oversaw initial training for A-29 aircrews, who have gone on to become the foundation of the nascent Afghan Air Force. “The 81st truly built this program from the ground up—developing both the (tactics, techniques, and procedures) and the syllabus, and then delivering full-spectrum training that not only produced combat-ready attack pilots, but also a mindset that prevents civilian casualties to the greatest extent possible,” said Kelli L. Seybolt, deputy under secretary of the Air Force for international affairs, in a Moody release.

USAF Wants to Use Wearable Tech to Detect COVID-19 Cases Sooner

USAF is interested in information about “commercially available wearable technologies” that can allow it to monitor service members’ “biometric data”—such as changes in heart rate and oxygen levels—to help it detect COVID-19 early, according to a Nov. 10 request for information published by Air Force Materiel Command’s Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. The data can be used to flag cases of the new coronavirus disease early, potentially sickened troops can be alerted to the medical danger they might be in, and commanders can use the information to make “personnel and unit readiness decisions,” the RFI states.
Gordan Kordyak Space Force

Space Agencies Aim to Gather Trustworthy Orbital Data

The U.S. is looking to piece together military and commercial data on orbital traffic and potential threats for a better idea of what’s hanging out in space. To get there, federal agencies and companies need to get over a basic hurdle: trust. In the beginning, the government wants to take over the work of sending conjunction data messages—information about objects passing near each other in space—for civil and commercial groups. The Defense Department will handle that mission with its own military-grade sensors at first, then consider how to add in data from commercial companies and academic institutions as well, said Mark B. Daley, deputy for operations in the Commerce Department’s Office of Space Commerce.
ASD Miller at Bragg

Acting Defense Secretary Directs Changes in Special Ops Civilian Oversight

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller on Nov. 18 directed the top civilian leader of special operations report directly to him instead of the previous bureaucratic chain of command. The move, which specifically states the assistant secretary of defense for low intensity conflict will report to the Defense Secretary instead of to the under secretary of defense for policy, means SOCOM will now be on equal footing with the military services for the first time, Miller said during a speech at Fort Bragg, N.C. “This reform will immediately improve agility to the department and to the command, and will enable us to streamline information flow, enhance decision making, and will more adaptly and adeptly support our commanders and their superb Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines,” Miller said.
Berlin Airlift

Petition Aims to Win Berlin ‘Candy Bomber’ the Presidential Medal of Freedom

A petition on WhiteHouse.gov is looking to get retired Air Force Col. Gail S. “Hal” Halvorsen—a 100-year-old veteran who flew the C-47 and C-54 aircraft in Germany during the Berlin Airlift—the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Halvorsen is often referred to as the “Candy Bomber,” because he used to attach candy to parachutes constructed from handkerchiefs and string and drop them from his C-54 to try to bring cheer to the children below. “Anyone who believes in freedom and the power of good to triumph over tyranny will join me in making the case for Gail Halvorsen, an incredible Airman and an inspiration for us all,” Air Force Association President and retired USAF Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright said.
C-130 Hercules Wedding

Dobbins Reservists Tie the Knot Aboard a C-130

Two Air Force Reservists from the 700th Airlift Squadron got married on the back of a C-130 Hercules on the flight line at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., on Nov. 10, according to a 94th Airlift Wing release. “I think when he brought up the idea of us getting married in the back of the plane, he threw it out there as a joke,” said 1st Lt. Lyndsy Harrison, a navigator, in the release. “But when I approved and was just as stoked about it as he was, we didn’t want to do it anywhere else.”

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.

Subscription Required

Premature US Exit Could Embolden Terrorists, Afghans

Stars and Stripes

Reports this week of potential U.S. troop cuts met with warnings from Afghanistan security officials that a rapid drawdown would embolden terrorists and hamper Afghan military efforts to fight its enemies.

Subscription Required

Iraqi F-16s Log First Combat Mission Since Return of Contractor Support

Janes

Iraqi Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons have undertaken their first combat operation since the recent return to the country of contractors who had been evacuated earlier in the year. Both the Iraqi Air Force and U.S. Central Command announced on Nov. 17 that an undisclosed number of F-16s had participated in air strikes against the Islamic State group north of the capital Baghdad.

Subscription Required

Pentagon Plan Calls for Pulling All Troops from Somalia

Stars and Stripes

A White House plan to reduce the number of U.S. forces in conflict areas includes removing more than 700 troops based in Somalia, where the military in recent years has expanded operations against al-Qaida-linked fighters, news reports say.

Anti-War Groups Take Aim at Space Force, ICBMs, Missile Defense

SpaceNews

A group of progressive and anti-war organizations in a memo to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team ask the incoming administration to make deep cuts to military budgets, and to specifically target the U.S. Space Force, the next-generation ICBM, and missile defense programs.

NGAD Strategy Faces Hill Headwinds

Breaking Defense

Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper’s novel acquisition strategy for the Next-Generation Air Dominance program has been approved by service leaders, just in time for the Defense Department’s 2022 budget. But the decision may be too late to stave off a congressional whack to the current $1 billion request, much less convince lawmakers to bump up funding in 2022.

US Air Force Prepares for Its First Information Warfare Exercise

C4ISRNET

At a newly created information warfare training facility in Playas, N.M., the Air Force is planning what it calls an information warfare flag in spring 2021, said Lt. Gen. Chris Weggeman, deputy commander of Air Combat Command, during a virtual conference Nov. 17 hosted by AFCEA’s Alamo chapter.

Mitchell Institute Nuclear Deterrence Forum Featuring Retired USAF Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz

Mitchell Institute on YouTube

The Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies hosted retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, a senior RAND corporation fellow and former under secretary of energy for nuclear security, for a discussion about the decision over extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the state of play of nuclear deterrence in great power competition, and the future of nuclear weapons programs in a world without New START.