Coalition’s Roundup of Remaining ISIS Forces Moves into Final Phase
The US-led coalition has moved into its final phase of the war against ISIS and is preparing for a “difficult fight” to finish off the rest of the group. The effort, called Operation Roundup, is now aimed at the last segments of the group east of the Euphrates River valley in Syria in cities such as Abu Kamal, UK Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, the deputy commander of strategy and support for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a Tuesday briefing. The third and final phase will include the clearance of the last areas, and coalition-backed fighters do not expect to encounter Syrian regime forces, Gedney said. “What we do expect to encounter is a hard core of ISIS fighters who have been digging in and preparing their battle space, holding civilians as human shields,” he said. “We fully expect to see a high proportion of foreign fighters who represent the biggest threat to our nations.” Coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have watched some civilian convoys flee, though ISIS is stopping many from leaving the city so they can be used as human shields, Gedney said. Following this effort, the coalition and its allied forces will move to a phase of stabilization in that area. Only after that is completed “will we have ensured lasting defeat” of ISIS, Gedney said. —Brian Everstine
Guard MQ-9, HC-130s Fighting California Fires
The Air National Guard has begun flying an MQ-9 Reaper to assist firefighters in the fight against the massive Carr Fire, while specially equipped C-130s are airdropping retardant in the effort. The Air Force effort includes the MQ-9 and members of the California Air National Guard’s 195th Airlift Wing serving as a reconnaissance and surveillance unit, according to a Guard release. “We’re able to provide real-time eyes on in any area where the fire’s at,” said Maj. Nicholas Edwards, an intelligence analyst manager, in the release. “We can provide information to where CAL FIRE can direct resources. We give information to the decision makers in a timely manner.” The fire has spread across nearly 90,000 acres, destroying more than 500 structures, and killing at least six people, according to the Guard. Video from the California Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing shows the unit’s specially equipped C-130 dropping retardant over the massive fire near Mendocino, Calif., over the weekend. —Brian Everstine
CYBERCOM Chief Stresses importance of Interagency, Industry Partnerships
The head of the US Cyber Command Tuesday pointed to government and private-sector partnerships as a key element in the government’s cyber security efforts. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone, who is both the commander of the US Cyber Command and the director of the National Security Agency, made his comments at the Homeland Security Department’s National Security Summit in New York. Interagency, intelligence community and industry partnerships are “our asymmetric advantage in cyberspace,” he told the gathering. Understanding what is happening in industry, “where roughly 90 percent of our critical infrastructure lies,” is “really important for us to understand what we’ll do to enable our partners and, if necessary, to act in defense of the nation.” —Steve Hirsch
Lakenheath Eagles Deploy to Iceland
Thirteen F-15s and about 280 airmen from the 493rd Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, deployed to Keflavik, Iceland, on July 30 for an air surveillance mission in support of NATO. The Eagles will stay in Iceland until Aug. 23, with four flying the surveillance mission and the other nine flying training missions, according to US Air Forces in Europe. The 606th Air Control Squadron from Aviano AB, Italy, will also deploy a command and control team. The Air Force has conducted the mission every year since 2008.
Pentagon Reportedly to Start Space Force Planning
The Defense Department plans to spend the rest of the year putting together a legislative proposal for the establishment of a Space Force, according to a draft of a report set to be released Wednesday, Defense One reported. President Trump has called for establishment of such a military service, and the Pentagon was set to send Congress a report Wednesday on the review and recommended structure for Defense Department space components. Defense One, citing a July 30 draft of the report, said the document says officials will be spending the remainder of 2018 working on a “legislative proposal for the authorities necessary to fully establish the Space Force.” The draft also calls for establishment of US Space Command as a unified combatant command, a Space Operations Force drawn from the services and the National Guard and Reserve, and a new procurement agency for space. The Pentagon on Tuesday afternoon postponed a planned Wednesday press briefing on the report and said it was still coordinating with Congress on the report. “We are in the final coordination stages of the report to Congress on the recommended organization and management structure of space components for the Department of Defense. We will release the report when coordination is complete which we anticipate will be soon,” Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said in an emailed statement. —Steve Hirsch
An entry in the July 31 Daily Report misidentified Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex.
—Newly obtained evidence reportedly shows North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US: The Washington Post.
—The Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $96.1 million contract to product 250 Miniature Air-Launched Decoys: Raytheon release.
—Airmen from the 435th Contingency Response Support Squadron at Ramstein AB, Germany, and the 31 Maintenance Squadron at Aviano AB, Italy, deployed to Romania to provide training: 86th AW release.
—The remains of Capt. Lawrence E. Dickson, a Tuskegee Airmen, have been identified in Austria. Dickson crashed Dec. 23, 1944, during his 68th mission over Austria and his family hopes to bury him at Arlington National Cemetery: CBS New York.
—The State Department has approved the possible sale of 300 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles to Kuwait, pending Congressional approval: DSCA release.