B-52s to Train in Australia
USAF B-52s are headed down under to conduct joint training with the Australian Defense Force. Up to three Stratofortresses are deploying to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, where they will fly alongside RAF F/A-18A Hornets and PC-9s, along with Australian joint terminal attack controllers, according to an Australian Defense Force release. This is the fourth time B-52s have deployed to Australia for training since 2012, most recently in 2016. The B-52s will stay until mid-April, though specific dates were not provided. The aircraft are deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, from Barksdale AFB, Guam, for the Air Force’s continuous bomber presence in the Pacific. —Brian Everstine
Trump Nominates Marine University Leader to Pentagon Assistant Secretary Position
The White House on Tuesday nominated James Anderson, a former Marine officer and military educator, to be the next assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities. If confirmed, Anderson would take over a position currently held, in an acting capacity, by Todd Harvey. Anderson served in the Marines from 1986 to 1989, and currently is the vice president of academic affairs at Marine Corps University. He previously was the director of Middle East policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the director of the program of advanced security studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, according to a White House announcement.
Coalition Concludes Additional Civilians Killed in Anti-ISIS Airstrikes
Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in February determined 14 more civilians were killed as a result of coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, bringing the total number of civilians killed in the war against ISIS to at least 855. The latest total comes from a monthly report from the coalition on its investigations into allegations of civilian casualties, which usually stem from media or non-governmental organization reports. At the end of February, the coalition has conducted a total of 29,225 strikes on ISIS targets, according to a US Central Command release. In February, the coalition concluded 84 total claims of civilian casualties, with 78 deemed to be non-credible. Six were determined to be credible, with the total of 14 civilians killed in those incidents. There are 522 open investigations, according to CENTCOM. —Brian Everstine
Lockheed Unveils First F-35A for South Korea
Lockheed Martin on Wednesday rolled out the first of 40 F-35As for the Republic of Korea Air Force. The new jet solidifies the “special bond” between the US and South Korea, and will help deter aggression in a time where South Korea’s neighbor to the North is threatening stability on the Korean Peninsula, Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said during the ceremony at the company’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility. Four years ago, South Korea concluded its F-X III fighter acquisition program by signing a letter of acceptance with the US for the F-35A. South Korea is expected to begin pilot training at Luke AFB, Ariz., this spring. F-35As will begin to deliver to Chongju Air Base next year. “The introduction of the F-35 will bring great changes to our air force’s existing concept of operations and will strengthen the status and the role of the Republic of Korea Air Force as the highest power defending Korea,” said Lt. Gen. Seong-Yong Lee, the vice chief of staff of the Republic of Korea Air Force. —Brian Everstine
Control of ORS-5 Satellite Passes to 1st SOPS
Control authority over the Operationally Responsive Space-5 satellite system has been passed to the 1st Space Operations Squadron, part of the 50th Space Wing, at Schriever AFB, Colo., the Air Force said Tuesday. The Air Force launched the ORS-5 satellite in August. It is designed to help track other satellites and space debris. According to this week’s announcement, the period between the launch and the transfer allowed the Space and Missile Systems Center to make sure the satellite was working properly before shifting command and control to the 1st SOPS. —Steve Hirsch
—Vermont’s congressional delegation is still backing the basing of F-35s at the Burlington Air National Guard Base, even though the City Council voted to ask that the Air Force base a quieter aircraft there: Associated Press.
—A senior Russian defense official said Moscow is deploying cruise missiles in all strategic directions. The first deputy defense minister, Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said March 24 that, “Specific attention is being paid to precision weapons to increase effectiveness”: IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.
—The Air Force has named 11 individuals and a team as winners of this year’s Nuclear Deterrence Operations Award and Nuclear & Missile Operations Award: Air Force release.
—Air Force Capt. Alea Nadeem appeared on NBC’s “Megan Kelly Today” Wednesday to recount how she was kidnapped in Iraq at 8 and how her mother and the FBI helped rescue her: Today release.