Pence Renews Administration Push for Space Force
Vice President Mike Pence continued the Trump administration’s push for a new Space Force during a National Space Council meeting and at a Washington Post event on Tuesday. “The time has come to write the next great chapter in the history of the armed forces of the United States,” said Pence. The Space Force will “ensure a new era of American supremacy in space, but there is much work to do.” Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
B-2 Makes Emergency Landing in Colorado
Air Force Extends High Year of Tenure for E-4s through E-6s
The Air Force, beginning February, will extend high year of tenure for senior airmen, staff sergeants, and technical sergeants as it looks to keep its ranks full and address shortages in several career fields, especially maintenance. Air Force senior leaders signed a memo on Oct. 18 that extends high year of tenure from eight to 10 years for senior airmen, 15 to 20 years for staff sergeants, and 20 to 22 years for technical sergeants. Airmen in these ranks who reach their high year of tenure before February or are approved for separation can submit a request to extend their service beginning on Oct. 24, according to an Air Force release. “This is just one of the ways we are working to manage the talent we currently have,” said CMSAF Kaleth Wright in the release. “Adjusting the high year of tenure policy will allow us to keep airmen we’ve trained and developed over the course of their careers, and allow them to continue to serve their nation to the best of their ability and pay it forward, by training the next generation of airmen who are right behind them.” The change come as the service faces critical shortfalls in career fields such as cyber and battlefield airmen, and is just now reaching full manning in maintenance, though the service is still working to is still a maintainer “experience gap.” —Brian Everstine
NORTHCOM Kicks Off its Premiere Exercise, Vigilant Shield
US Northern Command will kick off its largest exercise, Vigilant Shield 19, alongside Canadian forces with a focus on improving readiness and better protecting the US and Canada from attack. This year’s exercise will include more than 5,500 personnel from the two countries, with involvement focused in Alaskan and Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command regions and NORTHCOM components. “The homeland is no longer a sanctuary and conducting exercises like Vigilant Shield is just one example of the many active measures taken every day by NORAD and USNORTHCOM as we continue enhancing our ability to defend our nations,” NORTHCOM boss Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said in a release. While Vigilant Shield exercises previously have involved extensive air operations, that will be less of a focus this year as the Continental NORAD Region and US Air Force North continue to conduct the homeland defense mission from JB Langley-Eustis, Va., and Tyndall AFB, Fla., continues to recover from Hurricane Michael. The exercise, which runs Wednesday through Sunday, will largely involve simulated forces and scenarios at command posts. —Brian Everstine
—The 388th and 419th fighter wings recently flew the 10,000th F-35A sortie at Hill AFB, Utah, since the aircraft first arrived in September 2015: Hill release.
—The decision to suspend the Vigilant Ace exercise originated with the Pentagon, and South Korea pushed to have the exercise’s scope changed instead of a full suspension: Asia News Network.
—US Cyber Command recently kicked off its first cyber operation against Russia aimed at protecting the midterm elections: The New York Times.
—US and Turkish forces this week will begin joint operations near the Syrian city of Manbij, the head of US Central Command said Tuesday: Radio Free Europe.
—Taiwan has begun to receive upgraded F-16V aircraft, according to Chinese State Media. The Republic of China Air Force is planning to retrofit 142 F-16A/B to the F-16V Block 70 variant: Jane’s 360.
—Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is continuing to press the Air Force on $1,280 coffee cups that are used on aircraft, saying in response to a letter from Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson that the service needs to find a cheaper alternative: Grassley release.
—Belgium is reportedly picking the F-35 for its next-generation fighter jet, selecting the Joint Strike Fighter instead of the Eurofighter Typhoon: Reuters.