USAF to Unveil Future Force Structure, Squadron Levels at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference
Wilson: Complete Alignment on Space Force Plan, Details to Come in Budget Request
The Pentagon will lay out its plan for creating a Space Force in the Fiscal 2020 budget request, with full support from the Air Force to ensure that it is “done right,” USAF Secretary Heather Wilson said Wednesday. Wilson, who previously spoke out against the creation of a separate service for space before the proposal was officially announced by President Trump, said there is “complete alignment” between her and the President, and that she expects to see the new service’s Secretary take over the “full array of authorities and responsibilities” for space like she has for air as a domain. The Fiscal 2020 budget proposal will be complete, to “make sure we don’t do this with half measures,” she said at a Defense News conference in Arlington, Va. HASC ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said Wednesday there is bipartisan support behind the creation of a separate service for space, or at least a separate combatant command for the domain, but “details matter.” Smith emphasized that space is important, and a large-scale change will happen, however, there will need to be heavy debate on how it is accomplished. —Brian Everstine
USAF Increasing Role of Simulators, Live-Virtual Construction to “Get Reps” Before Deployments
DARPA Director Sets Course for the Future
Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, outlined strategic priorities to ensure the agency remains “the global vanguard of leading-edge science and technology,” and carries on its legacy of inventing the future and safeguarding global security in a Wednesday keynote at the agency’s D60 Symposium. “DARPA’s mission—to develop breakthrough technologies and capabilities for national security—has held steady for decades,” Walker said. “But the world around DARPA has not remained constant.” Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.
Scobee Confirmed to Take Over Air Force Reserve
Maj. Gen. Richard Scobee on Tuesday was confirmed to receive his third star and take over as commander of Air Force Reserve Command and chief of the Air Force Reserve. Scobee, who is currently the deputy commander of Air Force Reserve Command, will take over for Lt. Gen. Maryanne Miller, who will take over Air Mobility Command and receive her fourth star as the first Reservist to command an Air Force major command. Scobee is a command pilot with more than 3,800 hours, including 248 combat hours, in the F-16. He has commanded at the squadron, group, wing, and numbered Air Force level. —Brian Everstine
Lord: Selling More, Stronger Weapons Systems to Allies Will Help Prepare for Great Power Competition
HASC Ranking Member Lays Out Priorities if House Majority Flips
If the Democrats build on momentum and flip the House, the House Armed Services Committee Democrats plan to increase the committee’s oversight of ongoing Defense Department operations and expect to see a decrease in the spending and growth of strategic weapons, the committee’s current ranking member said Wednesday. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who would take over as HASC chairman if the Democrats gain the majority in the midterm elections, said there is a “lot of commonality” between both parties on the committee to get the most out of the money that is spent, though there are major difference in spending priorities. The “biggest area of difference” is nuclear weapons, Smith said at a Defense News conference in Arlington, Va. The current Nuclear Posture Review and National Defense Strategy emphasize the importance of modernizing the nuclear triad and the development of a new, low-yield weapon. These are both “extremely problematic,” Smith said, and in his view not realistic based on budget realities. The current budget level is “too high” and is “not going to be there in the future,” with a budget deficit, he added. Going forward, the Congress and the Defense Department need to realize it can accomplish deterrence with a smaller number of weapons and prioritize which missions are most important instead of trying to face every threat. In addition, the Pentagon, under the current administration, has had too much leeway in special operations missions in areas such as Yemen and Niger, and if the majority switches, HASC needs to increase its oversight, said Smith. “The military is as expansive as it’s ever been,” Smith said, and in “a lot of our places our guys our getting out front” when it should be a train and equip mission, he said. —Brian Everstine
—Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Carlton Everhart, who will soon retire after 35 years in uniform, penned an op-ed offering his parting thoughts on everything from laser-equipped tankers to an aviator technical track program: Air Force Times.
—The Air Force’s new KC-46A tanker has completed FAA certification: Boeing release.
—Lockheed Martin is conducting a $2 million “drone race” that pits humans against drones driven solely by artificial intelligence: BNN Bloomberg.
—The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has awarded Sierra Nevada Corp. a contract worth up to $1.8 billion for “potential procurement, sustainment, modifications, ferry, and related equipment” for A-29s for the Afghan Air Force: DOD contract announcement.
—The Air Force opened its first Invisible Wounds Center at Eglin AFB, Fla., in late August. The center will treat Total Force and retired US military personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and other invisible wounds: USAF release.