ANG airlifts troops nationwide to DC for 59th Inauguration

How the Air Force Is Protecting the 59th Inauguration

The Air Force's role in Joe Biden's inauguration will look much different from past inaugurations, with a historic national airlift bringing in thousands of Guardsmen to protect the Capitol and surrounding areas and a ceremonial component that is much smaller than previous events because of the security situation in Washington, D.C., and the ongoing pandemic. The Air Force activated the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing as the USAF service component of the Joint Task Force-National Capitol Region—the military effort that contributes to the overall inauguration security effort led by the U.S. Secret Service. And, on Jan. 20, about 400 USAF personnel will support inaugural events, including flying VIPs, Honor Guards and bands, and communications and other support.
Pentagon Holds Briefing About Transition Activities

At Least 12 Guard Troops Banned from Inauguration After Vetting

Twelve National Guard personnel who deployed to the nation’s capital to support the presidential inauguration have been sent home after they were vetted by the Army and Federal Bureau of Investigation, though only two were pulled over concerns about extremism, defense officials confirmed in a Jan. 19 Pentagon press briefing. The number of Guardsmen removed from inauguration duty may grow as their deep-dive continues.
Lloyd Austin SASC

Austin Emphasizes Importance of Civilian Control as Defense Secretary

Lloyd Austin, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Pentagon, spent his Senate confirmation hearing on Jan. 19 pressing his civilian bona fides to lawmakers, with some pledging opposition to the waiver Austin would need to become the nation’s first Black Defense Secretary. Austin spent 40 years in the military before retiring in 2016 as a four-star general, which means he is still within the seven-year cooling off period required for former military officers to serve in the top Defense Department job, requiring a waiver from both the House and Senate for confirmation. “If confirmed, I will carry out the mission of the Department of Defense, always with the goal to deter war and ensure our nation’s security,” Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “And I would not be here asking for your support if I felt that I was unable or unwilling to question people with whom I once served, in operations I once led, or [if I was] too afraid to speak my mind to you or the President."

National Garden of American Heroes to Honor Aviation, Aerospace Pioneers

In the midst of nationwide protests and the tearing down of Confederate statues last year, President Donald J. Trump promised to build a “National Garden of American Heroes.” On Jan. 18, he revised his July executive order and listed out the luminaries he hopes to honor, among them aviation and aerospace pioneers including Benjamin O. Davis Jr., James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and William “Billy” Mitchell—to name just a few.
Scud missiles

30 Years After Desert Storm: Jan. 20

In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.

Radar Sweep

Register for AFA’s Virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium

Air Force Association

Registration is now open for the Air Force Association's 2021 Virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium (vAWS) being held Feb. 24-26, with access to view the platform opening on Feb. 22. The theme of the symposium is “Accelerate and Innovate: Actualizing the Nation’s Need for Dominant Air and Space Forces.” The event will provide Airmen, Guardians, and industry leaders direct insights into the plans, policies, and vision of Air Force and Space Force leadership, and emerging trends and developments in aerospace technology.

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.

PODCAST—A Strategy for Success: The Desert Storm Air Campaign 30 Years Later

Mitchell Institute podcast

Gain an insider's perspective on Operation Desert Storm from the Airmen who planned and executed the 1991 air war in the latest “Aerospace Advantage” podcast from AFA's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Retired Air Force Gen. Mike Loh joins the architect of the air combat plan, Mitchell Institute Dean and retired USAF Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, along with retired USAF Col. John Warden, to explain the key actions the Air Force took in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. This episode is the first of three "Aerospace Advantage" podcasts devoted to the story behind Operation Desert Storm, each featuring Airmen who contributed to the historic air campaign.

Department of the Air Force Offers Limited Active Duty Service Commitment Waivers

USAF release

The Department of the Air Force will implement several voluntary officer and enlisted force management programs for fiscal year 2021, including an expanded PALACE CHASE program and limited Active Duty Service Commitment waivers. These programs provide provisions for both enlisted and officer members who meet specified criteria. The application window runs Jan. 20 – April 2. “Voluntary force management programs provide Airmen with flexible options to retire, separate or affiliate at times that suit their personal circumstances and allow the Department of the Air Force to balance certain specialties to ensure we meet the needs of the high-end fight,” said Col. Richard Cole, Military Sustainment and Transition Program Division chief.

Iran Kicks Off Ground Forces Drill on Coast of Gulf of Oman

The Associated Press

Iran’s military kicked off a ground forces drill on Jan. 19 along the coast of the Gulf of Oman, state TV reported, the latest in a series of snap exercises the country is holding amid escalating tensions over its nuclear program and Washington’s pressure campaign against Tehran.

Air Traffic Controller at Kirtland Air Force Base Credited With Saving Lives of Osprey Crew

Task & Purpose

The $90 million Osprey was operating under low-light conditions and doing full “brownout” landings in which the crew, wearing night vision, had zero visibility of the landing zone. Further inspection found a bearing that controls the pitch of the blade was falling apart, which Lt. Col. Brett Cassidy, the commander of the 71st Special Operations Squadron, estimated would have broken down completely after roughly an hour in the air. “If the aircraft had continued not to report, and the aircrew hadn’t noticed the vibrations, it would’ve been a catastrophic failure,” he said. “That would’ve been a loss of the aircraft and crew.”

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Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit Reaches Space With Unconventional Rocket-Launch System

The Wall Street Journal

A venture to launch small satellites using a rocket fired from a converted jumbo jet deployed 10 tiny ones into orbit for the first time Jan. 18, providing a big boost for the startup founded by entrepreneur Richard Branson. The successful demonstration flight by Southern-California-based Virgin Orbit, nearly eight months after a botched test, lifts the company into the select group of small-satellite launch providers able to offer flight-proven hardware.

Maxar Adds Wilson to Board

Inside Defense

Maxar Technologies said Jan. 19 it has named Heather A. Wilson, the former Air Force Secretary, to its board of directors.