Disbrow Addresses Future Challenges During Air Force Magazine Editorial Board
Air Force Undersecretary Lisa Disbrow, who will retire after 32 years of service on June 30, sat down with Air Force Magazine‘s editorial board on Friday to talk about a variety of issues, ranging from the push from some on Capitol Hill to create a separate space force, the pending bow wave of modernization, efforts to rebuild readiness and replenish depleted weapons stockpiles, and cybersecurity challeges. Disbrow spent 23 years in uniform both on Active Duty in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a colonel in 2008. She has served in multiple roles on the Joint Staff as a senior civilian, as the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, and most recently as acting Secretary of the Air Force from January to May 2017, prior to Heather Wilson’s confirmation. Read our coverage from the editorial board below.
—The need for readiness in the information war is “critical,” Disbrow said, and USAF is figuring out how to address its “shortcomings” in that struggle. Read the full story by Gideon Grudo.
—USAF’s big surge in munitions production in Fiscal 2018 is only the beginning of a years-long push to replenish stockpiles drawn low by wars in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. How long the munitions building surge will go on will depend in part on the Strategic Defense Review and a periodic services-wide review of munitions needs, coupled with efforts by the Air Force and its weapon suppliers to increase production beyond the “max rate.” Disbrow likewise said the base budget buy of F-35s—46 were requested in Fiscal 2018—will depend on the “force sizing construct” that emerges from the strategy review. Read John A. Tirpak’s story.
—The Air Force does not want a separate space force right now because it is focused on developing and delivering new capabilities to stay ahead of adversaries, Disbrow said. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.
Loosened ROE, B-52 Presence Leads to Huge Spike in Afghanistan Airstrikes
The new administration’s push to “annihilate” ISIS in Afghanistan, loosened rules of engagement, and support from B-52s have caused a massive spike in the number of US airstrikes inside Afghanistan this spring. As the number of strike sorties increase, the Air Force is considering once again basing tankers in the country. Read Brian Everstine’s report from Kabul.
US Airmen Train Afghans to Defend Their Bases
A small team of USAF security forces are deployed to a Kabul air base to help Afghan National Army soldiers learn to protect and defend their own air wings. Read the full report by Brian Everstine.
Flight Computer Malfunction Caused 2016 Predator Crash
A sudden failure of the primary control module (PCM), or flight computer, caused an MQ-1B to crash in the US Central Command area of responsibility on Jan. 7, 2016, according to an accident investigation board report released June 1. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.
Proximity Fuse Helps Stinger Missiles Take Down Drones
The Army recently demonstrated the ability of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down small, unmanned aerial systems in a series of tests performed at Eglin AFB, Fla. In order to adapt the missiles, which are designed for larger targets like aircraft, Raytheon added proximity fuses, which “allow missiles to destroy targets by making contact or by detonating in close range,” according to a company press release. The Stinger is already used by all four US services, and can be deployed on a ground vehicle, air-to-air by helicopter, or in a man-portable version. US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten raised the alarm on the drone threat earlier this year, saying the US has been too slow to develop a defensive counter to the possibility of attacks on the homeland—including the nation’s nuclear installations—from small UAS. The North American Aerospace Defense Command has also called off-the-shelf unmanned systems a “leading-edge technology that causes us concern.”
—A USAF E-3 AWACS will participate in this year’s Baltops exercise, marking the first time the type has participated in a NATO exercise in two decades: USAF release
—Maj. Gen. Mary O’Brien assumed command of 25th Air Force during a ceremony at JBSA-Lackland: USAF release
—Lt. Gen. Giovanni Tuck assumed command of 18th Air Force during a ceremony at Scott AFB, Ill.: USAF release
—U-2s and airmen from the 5th Reconnaissance Squadron temporarily relocated to Kadena AB, Japan, while the runway at Osan AB, South Korea, is under construction: USAF release