Wisconsin Guard F-16 Pilot Killed in Dec. 8 Crash

The 115th Fighter Wing announced Dec. 10 that the F-16 pilot, missing since his jet crashed late Dec. 8, has died. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” 115th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Bart Van Roo said in a release. “Today is a day for mourning. The 115th Fighter Wing and the entire Wisconsin National Guard stands with the pilot’s family as we grieve the loss of a great Airman and patriot.” The name of the pilot is being withheld, pending next of kin notification. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Will Roper AFWERX

Could COVID-19 End the Next Generation Air Dominance Program?

The Air Force's top weapons buyer is worried the top-secret Next Generation Air Dominance program might become an “unintended casualty” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lawmakers in the final draft of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill are cutting $70 million from the NGAD program for a total authorization of $974 million, while also calling for the Pentagon’s cost-assessment office to review NGAD and the Air Force's Digital Century Series. Will Roper, USAF’s assistant secretary of acquisition, told Air Force Magazine in a recent interview the department is struggling to share the successes of NGAD as well as the effectiveness of digital engineering, in part, because of social distancing. “The thing that’s the big delineator on NGAD is whether we’re able to talk with folks on the Hill in a classified level or not,” Roper said. “It’s a difficult program to say anything on without being able to get in the SCIF.”
Gen. Timothy M. Ray

Ray: Great Power Competition Is an ‘Infinite Game’ with Russia, China

In order to more effectively compete with Russia and China on the great-power stage, the United States must change the way it perceives—and plays—the game, Air Force Global Strike Command boss Gen. Timothy M. Ray said Dec. 10. “We're in a long-term, strategic competition with two realist, autocratic nations with existential arsenals at their disposal, and they do not share our worldview about how things should operate,” Ray said in pre-recorded remarks that aired during the 20th Nuclear Triad Symposium, noting that this contest has “significant stakes.”
Reenlistment

Here Are the USAF and Space Force Jobs That’ll Qualify for Retention Bonuses Next Year

The Department of the Air Force on Dec. 10 announced which Air Force Specialty Codes will be included in the fiscal 2021 Selective Retention Bonus program. The SRB program aims to keep experienced Air Force and Space Force troops in career fields that are undermanned or that come with high training price tags, the department wrote. This year’s program added nine new career fields, but dropped 40 others from eligibility, according to a release from the department.
U.S. Bombers Operate in CENTCOM

B-52s Fly Direct to the Persian Gulf from Barksdale

Two B-52s flew directly to the Persian Gulf from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., in what the military says is a message of deterrence to Iran. The bombers, from the 2nd Bomb Wing, took off from their home base Dec. 9 and integrated with other U.S. Air Force and partner nation aircraft during the long-range mission, according to a U.S. Central Command release. The tasking came on short notice, with the goal of proving the U.S. can send bombers anywhere, anytime. “The ability to fly strategic bombers halfway across the world in a non-stop mission, and to rapidly integrate them with multiple regional partners, demonstrates our close working relationships and our shared commitment to regional security and stability,” U.S. Central Command boss USMC Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie said.
Mitchell Institute EW/EMS panel

EMS Wing Will Exploit New Architecture, But Don’t Expect a Silver Bullet

As software-based radios and sensors become the norm, the Air Force's new electromagnetic spectrum warfare wing will be able to quickly adapt software to answer EMS challenges, the unit's incoming commander said in an AFA Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies live-streaming event. The goal will be to develop broad-based defensive applications across many kinds of systems, but there's no silver bullet capability that can solve them all, he said.
ASAB Flightline Operations

U.S. to ‘Focus’ Support in Afghanistan, Iraq as Drawdown Continues

The U.S. military is on pace to meet the Jan. 15 deadline to withdraw forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, and though the head of U.S. Central Command said American forces can still meet their main goals, the “margins will be less” because of the smaller footprint. President Donald J. Trump ordered the Pentagon to draw down to 2,500 forces each in the two countries, and CENTCOM boss Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said Dec. 10 that it will be “no trouble” to reach that level. Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, speaking to Air Force Magazine on Dec. 9, said existing airlift capacity in the region will meet the demand, with a likely increase in operations tempo. “We’re already doing missions there,” she said, adding that the upcoming drawdown will not be on the same level as previous reductions in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We’ve already stretched down the airfields out there. We’ll be doing, probably, a little more flying hours. I don’t see a massive mobilization.”
Shawn Barnes

USAF Space Adviser Eyes Spring Exit from Top Job

A top space policy official in the Department of the Air Force said Dec. 10 he plans to serve in his role until next spring, unless the Trump or Biden administrations nominate someone to fill his post sooner. Shawn Barnes is performing the duties of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration, a job created in December 2019. “Given where we are at this point in the administration, it's unlikely that we would see a nominee for ... the assistant secretary position,” Barnes said at a Via Satellite conference on military satellite communications.

Virtual Events: USAFA Superintendent on Mitchell’s ‘Aerospace Nation,’ and More

On Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. EST, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark on the next installment of its “Aerospace Nation” series. Clark will share his insights into how the Academy is preparing cadets to face today's global challenges, the implications of the creation of the Space Force for the Academy, what it means to accelerate change in an educational institution, and other Academy priorities. Advanced registration is required. Sign up 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.

One-on-One Interview with US Space Force Commander

NewsNation

General John “Jay” Raymond, Chief of Space Operations for the U.S. Space Force, sat down with NewsNation for an extensive interview, his first major television appearance, to discuss what the Space Force does, common misperceptions in pop-culture about the newest branch of the Armed Service, and about the politics surrounding its creation.

CSAF Releases Action Orders to Accelerate Change Across Air Force

CSAF letter to the force

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. released the CSAF Action Orders to Accelerate Change Across the Air Force Dec. 4. While the Action Orders provide the “what,” the “how” represents the answers to these problems, according to the document. Airmen will provide these answers, cutting through bureaucracy with global competition in mind, to reshape the design of the future.

SPONSORED—Extending Human Performance Through Technology: The Promise of JADC2

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force’s vision for the seamless, networked warfighting concept known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, is all about using information to dominate the battlespace: By interconnecting systems across every domain, U.S. forces would seek to increase the operational decision space for all U.S. commanders, overwhelming adversary commanders and shortening decision-making cycles for any opponent that must react.

Subscription Required

US Air Force Gives Lift to Flying Taxis

The Wall Street Journal

The Air Force has issued a first-of-its-kind safety endorsement of an electric-powered vehicle similar to a helicopter, opening the door to using such commercially developed equipment for military missions. This initial stamp of approval is meant to lay the groundwork for eventual civilian certification of the technology and even approval of autonomous flights crossing American cities, industry and military officials said. The current version does require a pilot.

Free 3-Year Memberships!

Air Force Association

The Air Force Association is your voice to elected officials to ensure you receive the pay and benefits you deserve. Airmen and Space Professionals—Active, Guard, Reserve, and civilian: Join AFA today for free and receive a 3-year membership!

Navy’s New Controversial Shipbuilding Plan Raids Air Force And Army's Piggy Banks

The Drive

In its latest 30-year shipbuilding plan, the Navy is looking to halt its purchases of future Ford class aircraft carriers and begin development of a new type of flattop, step up the acquisition of new Constellation class frigates, and acquire more unmanned surface and underwater vessels, among other things. Criticism has already been leveled at the proposal, which would see a major Navy budget increase fueled, in part, by cuts to the Army and the Air Force.

AFRICOM Conducts 50th Airstrike in Somalia Amid US Troop Relocation in Africa

Military Times

U.S. Africa Command conducted two airstrikes in Somalia on Dec. 10 against al-Shabab explosives experts—bringing the total number of strikes the command has conducted in Somalia this year to 50. The command’s initial assessment is that the strike killed eight al-Shabab terrorists and injured another two, AFRICOM spokesman Air Force Col. Chris Karns told Military Times. Those targeted were “known to play important roles” in producing explosives like vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices for al-Shabab, and noted that the devices are often employed against civilians, according to a release.

One More Thing

Air Force Recruiters Take Part in CMT Hot 20 Holiday Salute

USAF release

A couple of Air Force recruiters will be on national television as part of the Country Music Television Hot 20 Holiday Salute program Dec. 12-13. The show featured Cody Allen as the host and singer Lee Brice with several surprise guests. Two recruiters and a host of other service members were featured on television screens via Zoom behind the entertainers.