Biden Afghanistan withdrawal

Biden: Afghanistan Mission Will End Aug. 31

The U.S. mission in Afghanistan will conclude Aug. 31 with almost all American personnel and equipment withdrawn from the country, said President Joe Biden on July 8. He also promised that Afghan interpreters will have a place in the United States after the U.S. leaves the country. “Thanks to the way in which we have managed our drawdown, no one—no U.S. forces, or any forces—had been lost,” Biden said. “Conducting our drawdown differently would have certainly come with increased risk of safety to our personnel. To me, those risks are unacceptable.”
East Afghanistan

Space Command Supports CENTCOM Mission as Troops Exit Afghanistan

As the last Americans leave Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command will look to space to support its continued counterterrorism mission against al-Qaida and Islamic State group remnants, U.S. Space Command confirmed to Air Force Magazine. America’s eyes in the sky will form the only intelligence picture until a new agreement is worked out with the Afghan government. Space-based capabilities include space control; position, navigation and timing; satellite communications; and missile warning, the command said.

Costello: No Going Back on USAF’s Digital Acquisition Journey

The Air Force is still in the infancy of its push toward digital acquisition systems, but it won’t go back to traditional methods because the threat, the need for speed, and increasing costs demand a new way of doing business, acting Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Darlene Costello said. Speaking during a virtual Air Force Acquisition forum July 8, Costello said the old ways of doing business—using paper, ponderous development and test methods, and lengthy sustainment programs—won’t allow USAF to keep up with China, has shrunk the supplier base, and is costing far too much. Digital methods are the fix for all of those, and more, she said.
Iceland Air Policing

Lakenheath F-15s Take Over Icelandic Air Policing Mission

F-15s from the 493rd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, have deployed to Iceland to take up the NATO Air Policing mission there for the second time in less than a year. The three F-15C/Ds, plus an F-15E from the 493rd’s sister unit, the 494th Fighter Squadron at Lakenheath, arrived at Keflavik Air Base for the mission, which protects NATO’s airspace in the northern Atlantic. U.S. Air Forces in Europe, in a statement, said the tail swap typically occurs because of maintenance issues or similar factors. While deployed, the Eagles will fly in Icelandic airspace for familiarization and will be certified by NATO’s Combined Air Operations Center to conduct the policing mission.
Thompson AWS

AFA Board to Delegates: Give Every Member a Vote

AFA’s Board of Directors voted to approve new bylaws in a bid to strengthen organizational leadership and open voting to every member. The vote must be ratified by delegates to AFA’s convention in September for the changes to take effect. “We voted to replace our complex and outdated Constitution with simplified Bylaws that will enable AFA to be more agile and responsive to opportunities and risks; more accountable to our members and stakeholders; and more effective in our mission to educate and advocate for American air power and space power and to support Airmen and Guardians and their families,” wrote AFA Chairman Gerald R. Murray, the 14th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, in a letter to members.  

Radar Sweep

Warhead For Air Force's First Hypersonic Missile Tested for the First Time

The Drive

The U.S. Air Force says it has conducted its first test of the high-explosive blast-fragmentation warhead that will go inside the boost-glide vehicle that sits at the tip of its AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon hypersonic missile, or ARRW. This comes as the service is expected to try again to conduct a live-fire test of the weapon's rocket booster later this month, following its first failed attempt back in April.

OPINION: New Tools to Create Time and Information: ‘Building the Bike While We Ride It’

War on the Rocks

“Two things I can never have enough of as a commander are information and the time to consider it. Unfortunately, today’s strategic landscape offers me less of both than I’ve had in the past. For much of the past three decades, the U.S. military was able to project power across the globe without worrying about a conventional attack on its homeland. This level of security was unique, and it allowed the United States to address threats while they remained far away from U.S. shores. However, America’s adversaries have not been standing still. The country now faces competitors capable of striking discrete military targets or critical infrastructure in the United States using cyber weapons, hypersonic missiles, or other limited conventional means of attack. This makes the country less safe, limits the options available to senior U.S. leaders in a crisis, and could rapidly degrade the military’s ability to surge forces from the homeland into other theaters,” writes Gen. Glen D. Van Herck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Space Force Opens Facility to Improve War-Fighting Capabilities

The U.S. Space Force opened a new satellite operations center July 7 at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico designed to advance the still nascent service’s space war-fighting capabilities. The Rendezvous and Proximity (REPR) Satellite Operations Center was established by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Innovation and Prototyping Directorate as a new workspace to drive on-orbit experimentation and demonstrations with prototype satellites and payloads.

Air Force Officer Invents Low-Tech Body Armor Cooling System to Help You Chill Out

Task & Purpose

When Troy Carter was an infantryman with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, he spent many hours standing in the heat of a concrete watchtower overlooking Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Beneath the blazing sun, Carter wore heavy body armor, a helmet, and a long-sleeved battle dress uniform, but the Army would not let him take off any of it. Countless other American service members have been in Carter’s situation over the past two decades of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries where the summer heat is unbearable. But the Air Force may have a solution.

Meet the Airman Who Got a Surprise Promotion from the Air Force’s Top Enlisted Leader

Task & Purpose

Senior Airman Ivanna Jenkins won a lot of hearts last week when Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, the service’s top enlisted leader, surprised her with a promotion at Edwards Air Force Base, California. In a viral video of the promotion, Bass made Jenkins panic for a second by asking, “Jenkins, did you know you’re out of uniform?” which would be quite embarrassing in front of such a senior Airman. But a moment later, Bass cleared the air by presenting Jenkins with the rank badge of a Senior Airman. To make it even more special, the promotion was below-the-zone, a program where a skilled Airman First Class such as Jenkins can be promoted to the E-4 rank of Senior Airman six months earlier than usual.