Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"One thing that's clear to us is that the future doesn't look a lot like the present to us," Lt. Gen. James Slife, head of Air Force Special Operations Command, said in a virtual discussion with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
This spring, the service is conducting an experiment in which it will collapse the 690th Cyberspace Operations Group—focused on network operations—the 26th Cyber Operations Group—focused on security operations—and the 38th Cyberspace Engineering Installation Group into a single entity, according to Col. Joshua Rockhill, commander of the 26th Cyberspace Operations Group, who spoke Nov. 18 during a virtual presentation as part of an AFCEA Alamo chapter conference.
B-52 Stratofortress crews assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base conducted a “short-notice, long-range mission” in the Middle East on Nov. 21, according to U.S. Central Command.
Two U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft participated in “Brother’s Shield,” a Colombian Air Force led exercise, and in “UNITAS LXI,” an Ecuadorian Navy led exercise, in the U.S. Southern Command’s area of responsibility Nov. 8.
A $13.9 million restoration of the Munition Storage Area at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., is in the works. The project is replacing aged infrastructure built during the Cold War, to a mission critical facility. “The U.S. Air Force has been spending lots of Operations and Maintenance appropriations to keep this infrastructure going the past few years,” said Darin Bailey, resident engineer at Barksdale AFB. “This base supports over 40 B-52 Stratofortress bombers. Bottom line is they can’t perform their mission without having munitions readily available.”
A Texas-based startup with $22.1 M in funding helps the U.S. Air Force 3D print replacement parts. Elisa Teipel, chief development officer and co-founder of Essentium, said that more than 10,000 replacement part requests are delayed or unfilled each year despite a willingness to pay premium prices.
Sandia National Laboratories, in cooperation with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force, recently completed a round of flight tests as part of the integration of the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb onto the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter. Sandia has also released first-of-its-kind video footage of one of these test sorties, which involved the first-ever release of an inert version of this weapon from an internal bomb bay on a plane flying faster than the speed of sound and that also provides an unprecedented look at the bomb's rocket spin stabilization system.
A contract to build 10 satellites for the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency for $187.5 million is small for a company with $65 billion in annual sales. But Lockheed Martin sees it as a significant win, executives said, because it positions the company for a changing DOD space market that wants access to the latest commercial innovations. Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems each will build 10 satellites for the Space Development Agency’s Transport Layer mesh network that will provide global high-speed broadband to military users.
The different adaptations of the B-70 included recon planes, tankers, transports, and even motherships to launch hypersonic vehicles and spacecraft.
The serving lines and long tables laden with food may be replaced with grab-and-go takeout, but U.S. service members overseas won't be without their traditional Thanksgiving meal, thanks to the Defense Logistics Agency.