Building a Virtual Caliphate
ISIS has lost nearly all of the 105,000 square kilometers of territory it once held in Iraq and Syria and there are only about 3,000 fighters still alive, but the terrorist organization continues to thrive in its virtual caliphate. The coalition must not forget that ISIS is “adaptive and savvy as it is cruel and evil,” said Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, in a Monday briefing. “Although ISIS’s physical caliphate has crumbled, we fully expect the enemy to make a concerted effort to maintain their presence and influence in the virtual domain,” said Dillon. “While ISIS has been defeated as a conventional fighting force, we cannot forget their terrorist roots.” Dillon emphasized that the ultimate defeat of ISIS cannot happen solely on the battlefield. As such, the coalition working with “many governments and nongovernmental partners around the world to counter the terrorist group’s efforts to radicalize, recruit, and inspire people to violence.” Still, the air campaign continues and coalition aircraft have killed three senior ISIS leaders in the last three weeks, further disrupting the organization’s ability to plan and conduct terrorist attacks, said Dillon. Abu Faysal, a senior ISIS leader, and his deputy, Abu Qudamah al-Iraqi, were killed Dec. 1 in a coalition strike in the middle Euphrates River valley region of Syria. And Mustafa Kamal Jasim Muhammad al-Zawi, a senior leader courier, was killed in an operation on Nov. 28 near al-Sharqat, Iraq. —Amy McCullough
Lockheed Gets $110 Million for Secretive Cruise Missile Demonstration Program
The Air Force on Monday awarded Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control $110 million for a classified demonstration of affordable missiles to defeat enemy air defenses. The program, called Gray Wolf, focuses on cheap cruise missiles and advanced network operations to defeat air defenses. Lockheed’s offer was one of seven received by the Air Force Research Laboratory for the program, according to a Pentagon announcement. Work will be conducted in Dallas, Texas, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 17, 2022.
Longest-Serving “Rosie” Gets Her First Flight in a C-17 She Helped Make
Elinor Otto, the longest serving “Rosie the Riveter” from World War II who worked in the aerospace industry for 68 years, flew in a C-17 for the first time on Monday. Otto helped make every C-17 Boeing produced over her lengthy career, before retiring in 2014 at the age of 95. Read the full story by Brian Everstine. (Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Dec. 19 Daily Report, but the hyperlink was broken.)
DLA Sending Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds of Food to Troops for the Holidays
The Defense Logistics Agency is sending hundreds of thousands of pounds of food, much of it through USAF mobility aircraft, to ensure deployed troops can have festive meals this holiday season. “Our warfighters spend a lot of holidays away from their families and miss out on some of their favorite family traditions,” said Robin Whaley, with the DLA Troop Support’s Subsistence supply chain, in a release. “We take great pride in ensuring a taste of home is delivered to every warfighter.” This year, the menu includes 112,092 pounds of turkey, 59,430 pounds of beef, 38,430 pounds of ham, and 29,304 pounds of shrimp. For dessert, DLA is sending 690 cases of cookies, 16,002 cakes and pies, and 6,564 pounds of marshmallows. To drink there’s 3,743 gallons of juice and 2,145 gallons of eggnog, according to the agency. The food is sent to troops deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, and Kuwait. —Brian Everstine
C-17s Deliver Donated School Buses to Haiti
USAF C-17s and airmen delivered six school buses to Haiti on Dec. 16 and 17, part of an ongoing program focused on humanitarian aid deliveries by available military aircraft. Reserve airmen and C-17s from the 317th Airlift Squadron at JB Charleston, S.C., along with airmen from the 514th Air Mobility Wing at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., flew the buses from Charleston to Port-Au-Prince, where they will help 300 school children, according to an Air Force release. Those Angels Foundation and Sister Cities International coordinated the donation, and used the military’s Denton Program to organize the delivery. Under this program, military aircraft transport humanitarian cargo when space is available.
—According to unconfirmed reports, North Korea may have executed the head of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site: Newsweek.
—Space is becoming a “common domain for human endeavor,” prompting the Air Force to train for contingencies where space assets, such as GPS, are taken away, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in an interview: Los Angeles Times.
—The Japanese government on Tuesday formally declared it would expand its ballistic missile system through the purchase of US-made Aegis radar stations: Reuters.
—The Reserve 507th Air Refueling Wing at Tinker AFB, Okla., is testing the new Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures pod-based defensive system for KC-135s: 507th ARW release.
—The 879th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron military working dog teams wrapped up 12 years of service at Eskan Village Compound in Saudi Arabia earlier this month, handing off the mission to the US Army: AFCENT release.