More Air National Guard Units Deploy for Puerto Rico Relief
Air National Guard units from across the country are deploying to help relief efforts in Puerto Rico as a majority of the island lacks power, and many residents are still without drinking water. The deployments come as President Trump, on Twitter, says the military help cannot last “forever.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
2016 Death of Filipino Parachuter Due to Lapse in Safety Procedures
The death of a Filipino air force parachuter who was jumping from a USAF C-130H during a joint exercise at Subic Bay International Airport in the Philippines on April 7, 2016, was caused by failure to follow safety procedures, an accident investigation board report found. The parachuter was jumping as a participant in Operation Baliktan 2016, when he drifted from the drop zone and landed in Subic Bay 50 yards from shore. The parachuter was found unconscious, without a flotation device and still wearing his helmet and waistband. The AIB report found that the parachuter’s death was due primarily to a failure to “properly execute water landing procedures,” which includes removing the helmet and detaching the parachute’s quick release waistband. Contributing causes included the failure of the exercise planner to ensure that all foreign personnel followed US safety procedures, which require the use of a flotation device for jumps completed within 1,000 meters of a body of water. The report also found that the exercise jumpmasters failed to brief foreign jumpers on safety procedures, relying instead on safety spot checks during the flight. The C-130H was assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota AB, Japan.
House Introduces Bipartisan AUMF Bill
A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill into the House on Thursday that would provide a new Authorization for Use of Military Force for the US-led campaigns in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. The bill is sponsored by Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Reuben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.). The US Congress has not approved a new AUMF since the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The new bill would repeal those previous AUMFs and authorize US military actions “against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS], and any associated persons engaged in hostilities against the United States, and for other purposes.” The new AUMF would authorize the use of US armed force “to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the United States” for a five year period. In March, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said a new AUMF, while not legally necessary for current US campaigns, would provide “a statement of the American people’s resolve” in the nation’s ongoing wars.
Coalition: ISIS Fighters Surrendering in Huge Numbers, Fleeing to Syria
ISIS fighters have been surrendering in massive numbers, with some trying to flee to Syria, as they realize that “defeat is at its door” inside Iraq, the US-led coalition’s ground commander said Thursday. “Their days are numbered, and Iraqi security forces have reclaimed 95 percent of the territory previously controlled by ISIS, and the enemy is collapsing and surrendering in record numbers,” said US Army Maj. Gen. Robert White, commanding general of Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command-Operation Inherent Resolve, during a Thursday briefing. The coalition has conducted more than 13,000 strikes in Iraq to support Iraqi security forces and “we continue to take a little bit from ISIS each day, and we share in Iraq’s triumphs.” While there are ISIS members going back and forth with Syria, there is no intention by the Iraqi government to drive them into the bordering nation. “Their intent is to kill them or capture them,” White said. Going forward, the coalition is focusing on enduring training institutions to further grow army and police capability, he said. There will also be a large need to rebuild infrastructure in cities such as Mosul, where it will take years to get back to “some form of normalcy,” White said. —Brian Everstine
1st Fighter Wing F-22s Return From Deployment
More than 100 members of the 1st Fighter Wing returned to JB Langley-Eustis, Va., on Thursday after a six-month deployment. The F-22s of the 1st FW were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and they were joined by personnel from the 27th Aircraft Maintenance Unit as well as Virginia Air National Guard airmen from the 192nd Fighter Wing. Some of the 1st FW’s F-22s redeployed to Europe to support the European Deterrence Initiative and have not yet returned home. That mission will involve forward deployment from the United Kingdom and other NATO bases to take advantage of opportunities to train with NATO allies.
DOD Launches 21st Century Deterrence Website
The Department of Defense this week launched a new website dedicated to explaining the strategic deterrence mission to the public. The site provides an overview of the deterrence mission, including the various components—like space, cyber, missile defense, command and control—that support US Strategic Command. The site also collects transcripts of congressional testimony and major speeches on deterrence by senior DOD officials, as well as significant DOD reports on matters relating to strategic deterrence. There are videos of speeches on deterrence by STRATCOM commander Gen. John Hyten and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, as well as a section that collects tweets on deterrence missions from around DOD. Air Force leaders have also been working recently to highlight the deterrence mission, which is in the midst of a restructuring effort intended to better align STRATCOM with US combatant commands. At AFA’s 2017 Air, Space & Cyber conference, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said defense of the homeland “starts with the nuclear enterprise” and that winning the wars of the future will require Air Force leaders to better articulate what “defines deterrence in the 21st century.” —Wilson Brissett
White House Nominates Lockheed Exec for Pentagon Under Secretary
The White House on Wednesday nominated a senior Lockheed Martin executive to be the Pentagon’s under secretary of defense for policy. John Rood recently served as a senior vice president for Lockheed, where he oversaw the company’s international business. Previously, Rood was a senior leader at Raytheon and served in governmental positions such as acting under secretary of state for arms control and assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation, according to a White House announcement. He has also worked in the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency. If confirmed, Rood would take over for acting Defense Department undersecretary for policy Robert Karem.
State Department Approves AIM-120 Sale to Netherlands
The State Department on Wednesday approved a possible $53 million Foreign Military Sale of 26 AIM-120 C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles to the Netherlands. The deal also includes 20 training missiles, parts, and support. The Netherlands will use the missiles to provide for “mutual defense, regional security, force modernization, and US and NATO interoperability,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release. The AMRAAM is produced by Raytheon and used on a variety of attack platforms, including the F-16, F-22, and F-35 fighters. _
—The Australian defense industry minister said on Thursday a hacker stole about 30 gigabytes of data in a cyber attack on a defense contractor last year, including details on the F-35 strike fighters and P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane: Business Insider.
—DARPA will hold a “proposer’s day” on Oct. 18 for its Geospatial Cloud Analytics program, which seeks to harness existing commercial satellite data to improve global situational awareness, as well as event detection, monitoring, and tracking: DARPA release.
—The remains of Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Richard M. Horwitz, a member of the 716th Bomber Squadron, 449th Bombardment Group, arrived at Logan International Airport in Boston on Wednesday. Horwitz was 22 years old when his B-24J Liberator was shot down during a bombing mission over Italy in 1945: Boston Globe.
—The remains of Army Air Forces 1st Lt. George W. Betchley arrived Wednesday at Tampa International Airport. Betchley, a B-17G navigator assigned to the 428th Bombardment Squadron, 2nd Bombardment Group, went missing on March 22, 1945 when his aircraft crashed in southwest Poland after two of its engines were damaged by German anti-aircraft fire and fighters: ABC Action News.