Ukraine

DOD Air Defenses to Ukraine Still ‘Several Months’ Away as Aid Planning Turns to ‘Years’

The Pentagon announced a new $400 million aid package to Ukraine to include four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and high-precision ammunition, but a senior defense official said delivery of promised air defenses is still “several months” away. The aid package consists of four additional HIMARS to add to the eight already on the battlefield; three tactical vehicles to recover equipment; 1,000 rounds of high-precision 155 mm artillery rounds; and spare parts to keep previously donated equipment operational.
Vaught

Wilma Vaught, Who Shattered USAF Glass Ceilings, Honored With Medal of Freedom

President Biden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught at a White House ceremony. Vaught is only the eighth distinguished Airman to earn the honor. Over the course of a 28-year Air Force career, Vaught, 92, was "the first woman to hold every job she ever had," her medal citation states. Over a 28-year career, she became the first woman to deploy with an Air Force bomber unit, serving in Vietnam, and was among the first women to break into the general officer ranks, retiring as a brigadier general in the Air Force. She also helped found the Military Women's Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

X-37B Space Plane Eclipses Its Record for Longest Flight

A Space Force X-37B reusable space plane surpassed 780 days in space July 7, eclipsing its prior endurance record. X-37B missions have grown progressively longer over time. OTV-1 lasted 224 days in 2010. OTV-5 had set the record of 780 days, remaining in space from September 2017 to October 2019. OTV-6 launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., on May 17, 2020.
Shakey

Air Force Mascot ‘Shakey’ Is a Guam Mainstay

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam—In a small, fenced-in operating location deep in the Pacific theater lives an honorary Airman who snorts at the threat posed by China. She doesn’t worry about living on Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, surrounded by 4,400 acres of munitions, either. A ready supply of fresh apples weighs heavier. Not the kind with bruises. This fourteenth-generation Andersen resident will sniff and walk away from sub-par-quality treats.

Radar Sweep

U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Killed on D-Day Laid to Rest in Normandy

CBS News

A 23-year-old who was killed during the World War II invasion of Normandy has been laid to rest nearly eight decades later. U.S. Air Force Lt. William J. McGowan was buried at Normandy American Cemetery "with full military honors,” according to the American Battle Monuments Commission. McGowan's P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft was shot down over France's Moon-sur-Elle on June 6, 1944. In 2018, McGowan's remains were found during an excavation by a team from the St. Mary's University Forensic Aviation Archaeological Field School from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Air Force to Promote Fewer NCOs in Bid to Rebalance Enlisted Corps

Air Force Times

The Air Force said it will slow enlisted promotions for the next two years as it tries to spread Airmen more evenly across the ranks. The service hopes the move will help resolve some of its recent workforce challenges, such as rebuilding institutional knowledge in a young and understaffed maintenance corps. More people than usual are staying in the enlisted force, but the number of jobs is remaining essentially flat. Without Airmen leaving to make room for more junior troops to rise, the workforce stagnates. And without more jobs in the pipeline, the Air Force needs to shrink its cohort of midlevel enlisted so that higher tiers aren’t overwhelmed by demand.

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The Air Force Is Retiring Most of Its Global Hawk ISR Drones to a Test Role for Hypersonic Missiles

Forbes

Most of the Air Force’s RQ-4 Global Hawk high-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance drones, best known for collecting intelligence over the Middle East and more recently Ukraine, are set to become “Range Hawks,” tasked with monitoring U.S. hypersonic missile tests over the Pacific. Twenty Global Hawks will be converted to Range Hawks at Northrop Grumman’s Grand Sky facility at Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Over its career, the Global Hawk’s extended flight endurance and broad area surveillance capabilities (it can survey as much as 40,000 square miles of terrain per day using high-resolution synthetic aperture radar and electro-optical/infrared sensors) have alternately been perceived as too costly, critical to national defense, unreliable, and superior or inferior to the manned U-2.

DOD Reprograms Nearly $1B for Mounting Fuel Costs

Inside Defense

Congress has given the Defense Department approval to reprogram $969 million toward the Defense Logistics Agency to cover the rising cost of fuel, according to a Pentagon document. “The Defense Logistics Agency has experienced cash losses caused by significant increases in prices for refined fuel products above the Standard Fuel Price budgeted for these products,” the June 2 Pentagon reprogramming notice states. Congress has agreed to allow DOD to reprogram $969 million from the department’s foreign currency fluctuations fund to address the shortfall.

Space Force Coming to Grips With Cybersecurity Threats

SpaceNews

Satellite operators are dealing with the reality that the ground systems and network equipment used to operate space systems provide many entry points for cyber attackers. Cyber and malware attacks can be pulled off at a relatively low cost, making these types of weapons far more accessible than missiles or lasers. This is an issue of growing concern for the Space Force, said Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, commander of Space Operations Command.

New Medical Support Team Reduces Muscular-Skeletal, Mental Health Issues

Air Force release

One of the first multidisciplinary medical operational support teams in the Air Force is working to reduce muscular-skeletal and mental health issues at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The five-person team consists of an exercise physiologist, clinical psychologist, clinical social worker, physical therapist, and strength conditioning coach. The team embeds with high-risk units for up to six months to accomplish desired results. “What we’re really trying to do is observe for the broader, longer-term things that are causing muscular-skeletal and mental health issues so we can help the unit make adjustments to prevent future injury or mental health crises,” said Bill Goins, Base Operations Support Team specialist. Risk data, collected from the 75th Medical Group over the past year, identifies high-risk units on the installation.

Space Force Rapid Capabilities Office to Deliver First Project

C4ISRNet

The U.S. Space Force’s rapid development organization is on track to deliver its first system this year, a timeline that leaders say demonstrates the value of its unique role in the space acquisition ecosystem. Congress created the Space Rapid Capabilities Office in fiscal 2018 to develop high-need operational prototypes as part of a push to speed up space acquisition. The office received its first projects in early 2019 and today manages 14 classified programs with the goal of transitioning them to operations within five years.

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Dawgin’ It: Airmen Test Real-World Skills in ‘Port Dawg Rodeo’

Stars and Stripes

Staff Sgt. Gerdon Jacobs knocked down six of 10 cones as he quickly maneuvered a forklift carrying a bucket of water filled to the brim. That was all part of the plan, as he raced against the clock and competed against Airmen from seven bases in the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing’s Port Dawg Rodeo at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. “That’s all we were focused on—the speed, not the cones,” said Jacobs, a member of the team from the 726th Air Mobility Squadron. The event tested the five-member squads’ skills and abilities in aerial port operations, whose practitioners proudly call themselves “port dawgs.”

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