Kendall Nomination Held Without Explanation by Three Senators

The nomination of Frank Kendall to serve as President Joe Biden’s Air Force Secretary is being held by three senators who have declined to publicly state the reason for their hold, Air Force Magazine has learned. A legislative aide confirmed that the three senators holding up the nomination are Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, Michigan Democrat Gary Peters, and Utah Republican Mike Lee. The Senate is due to return from their Independence Day recess on July 12, and the August recess is scheduled for Aug. 9 to Sept. 15, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is threatening to take away the August 9-13 week if no progress is made on Biden’s infrastructure package.

Davis-Monthan to Get Close Air Support, Rescue ‘Centers of Excellence’ if A-10 Cuts Approved

The Air Force wants to move A-10s and HH-60s to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and create close air support and rescue “Centers of Excellence” at the base if it gets the greenlight from Congress to retire 42 Warthogs. The aircraft and related units would come from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., beginning in 2022. The change would add personnel to the Arizona base, a proposal that would aim to win over a state’s Congressional delegation that has moved to block proposed A-10 cuts for years. “Under this plan, Davis-Monthan will play a critical role in reshaping U.S. airpower as home to the Air Force’s close air support and rescue Centers of Excellence,” Acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth said in a release. “This realignment will consolidate all A-10 and HH-60 test, training, and weapon school activity at one location, allowing Airmen in these mission areas to train together for future threats.”

Space Force Selects First 50 Officers to Transfer from Other Services

Out of a pool of more than 3,700 applicants, the first 50 Active-duty Army, Navy, and Marine Corps volunteers were announced for transfer to the Space Force beginning in July. A second tranche of 350 transfers will be announced in July to match Space Force specialties including space operations, intelligence, cyber, engineering, and acquisition. “We are overwhelmed by the number of applicants, and the outpouring of support our sister services have provided as we’ve partnered together to design the Space Force,” said Gen. David D. Thompson, vice chief of space operations, in a June 30 press statement.

Donald Rumsfeld, Two-Time Defense Secretary, Dies at 88

Donald H. Rumsfeld, who made history as the first man to serve as Secretary of Defense for two Presidents and oversaw the beginning of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, died June 30 in Taos, N.M., his family announced on social media. He was 88. "Over the decades of his remarkable career, from Congress to the White House to the Pentagon, Secretary Rumsfeld was propelled by his boundless energy, probing intellect, and abiding commitment to serve his country," Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement.

DOD Concerned About Spread of COVID-19 ‘Delta’ Variant

The Defense Department is beginning to see the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 among service members. Officials are urging more troops to receive vaccinations, saying health protection conditions could increase if cases rise. The new variant, which emerged from India and is expected to become the predominant type of COVID-19 in the United States, “poses a threat to the return to normal,” particularly in areas of the country that have lower vaccination rates, said Dr. Terry Adirim, the acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “We anticipate health protection conditions could change at some of our installations in the future,” Adirim said.

Radar Sweep

Swiss Pick F-35 to Replace F-5 Fighter Jets

Defense One

The Swiss Air Force has chosen the F-35 stealth fighter in a $5.5 billion deal to replace its aging F/A-18 and F-5 fighter jets. The Lockheed Martin-made F-35 beat out the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, and Eurofighter Typhoon. Switzerland also announced it would buy five Patriot missile batteries from Raytheon Technologies.

USSF's Lt. Gen. Armagno Inspires Arnold Air Society Interns at AFA's Doolittle Leadership Center

Air Force Association release

Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno, Space Force Director of Staff, described the national security imperative for creating the U.S. Space Force, including descriptions of Chinese and Russian space threats, as well as the day-to-day detail work someone in her position must worry about, such as basics like finding enough Pentagon office space to accommodate 600 Space Force staff members.

Crews Find More Partial Human Remains from 1952 Alaska Crash

The Associated Press

The solemn task of sifting through rocks, twigs, and ice to find human remains as small as a fingernail continued this month on a glacier north of Anchorage, nearly 69 years after all 52 members of a military transport flight were killed when the plane slammed into a mountain. Wreckage from the plane was spotted by the Alaska National Guard in 2012 during a training mission, setting up annual trips by military officials to recover remains of the crew and passengers of the C-124 Globemaster, which was en route from Fort McChord in Washington state to Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage when it crashed in bad weather on Nov. 22, 1952.

Skyborg AI Flies Second Drone; Demos ‘Portability’

Breaking Defense

The Air Force’s AI-based Skyborg ‘brain’ successfully flew a General Atomics MQ-20 Avenger on June 24, marking the second time the software package has piloted a drone—and proving that it can be integrated into different drones. The first flight of the Skyborg Autonomous Control System (ACS) took place April 29 aboard a Kratos UTAP-22 Mako.“Flying the Skyborg ACS on platforms from two different manufacturers demonstrates the portability of the Government-owned autonomy core, unlocking future multi-mission capabilities for the Joint Force,” Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Commander Maj. Gen. Heather Pringle said in a statement.

Moving Data Through Space a Linchpin of DOD’s Strategy for Winning Wars

Space News

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed off last month on a strategy document that tells the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Space Force to figure out how to share data on the battlefield. Space-based communications will be at the core of this strategy known as Joint All-Domain Command and Control. JADC2 is the latest attempt by the Pentagon to speed up the military’s transition into the digital age. The plan is based on the idea that the United States can gain an advantage over enemies if U.S. commanders can see what’s happening across the battlefield in real time.

Draken Becomes The Next Red Air Private Contractor To Acquire F-16 Fighter Jets

The Drive

Draken International, the adversary air support contractor which boasts one of the world’s largest private tactical jet air force, is now set to add F-16A/B fighters to its roster after the Dutch government announced it had agreed to transfer 12 of the jets to the North American company. Draken will join fellow private contractor Top Aces in operating F-16s for “red air” adversary support, which is now in great demand, especially to fulfill the U.S. Air Force’s mammoth adversary air contract.

New Systems For Navigation In GPS Denied Combat Environments Tested In Air Force's Agile Pod

The Drive

The U.S. Air Force's Strategic Development Planning & Experimentation Office, or SDPE, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, has announced a successful demonstration of a new concept of operations for Precision, Navigation, and Timing, or PNT. The concept combines new software architectures with existing PNT technologies that could allow the services to operate in GPS-denied environments, which is becoming a growing concern as peer-state rivals continue to advance GPS spoofing and denial techniques.

One More Thing

Air Force Academy Distributes George Takei’s ‘They Called Us Enemy’ to Cadets

NBC News

The U.S. Air Force Academy has distributed actor and activist George Takei’s graphic memoir “They Called Us Enemy,” which recounts his family's incarceration during World War II, to cadets as part of a new reading initiative. In the bestselling book, Takei, known for playing Lt. Hikaru Sulu in the original “Star Trek” TV series, describes what it was like to be a 5 year old who was one of the approximately 120,000 people of Japanese descent who were forcibly removed from their West Coast homes and put into concentration camps in the 1940s.