US Airstrikes in Afghanistan at Highest Pace Since Late 2010
US aircraft in Afghanistan have tallied the highest number of airstrikes in that battle in almost eight years as resurgent Taliban and ISIS fighters have increased their operations in the county. Meanwhile, US and coalition aircraft have continued to slow anti-ISIS operations inside Iraq and Syria, according to the Air Force. In Afghanistan, US aircraft released 746 total weapons throughout the month, the highest total since November 2010, according to numbers released by Air Forces Central Command. So far this year, US aircraft have flown 4,398 total sorties, 500 of which included at least one weapons release. In Syria and Iraq, US and coalition aircraft released just 292 weapons in July, the second lowest of the entire campaign behind April’s total of 294. So far this year, coalition aircraft have flown 481 sorties with at least one weapons release, a dramatic reduction from last year’s total of 9,944. —Brian Everstine?
Defense English Language School Sees Changes as a Result of Global Shifts
The evolving international situation and shifts in US policies have spurred changes, including changes in the curriculum and who attends, at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at JBSA-Lackland in Texas, the Defense Department’s center for teaching English to foreign military officers as well as US recruits. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
Mattis: Budget Increase Will Raise Readiness in All Components
The Defense Department’s budget increase, supported by a strong bipartisan majority, will be a “rising tide” that will raise readiness in all parts of the military, including the National Guard, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday. Speaking at the National Guard Association of the United States conference in New Orleans, Mattis said the “historic” two-year budget deal will first focus on the readiness on the forces that are “out the door” and deploying to fight first, but will eventually help increase the readiness and improve the equipment for the strategic reserve. The “lack of readiness in the past characterized all of our forces,” not just the Guard, and fixing that decline is “going to take some years,” Mattis said. —Brian Everstine
Goldfein: USAF Pushing to Streamline Information Warfare Functions
The Air Force is working on combining the components of information warfare under one roof so that it has a logical structure reporting in a coordinated way to the combatant commands, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein on Saturday told the National Guard Association of the United States convention. Goldfein said the service is working to use the 24th Air Force and the 25th Air Force now both in the Air Combat Command, to combine cyber, intelligence and electronic warfare capabilities. He noted the Navy is combining intelligence and cyber information warfare functions, saying “we’re actually looking at that same model” and added that in the future, there will be a substantial amount of the Air Force, Navy, and Army “pushing forward together” in the information domain. So, he said, “’we’re doing that together, we’re trying to get the phone book aligned … so it’s under a single component, that component is staffed to be able to do information warfare, and then we report to all the combatant commands with an organizational model that makes sense.” –Steve Hirsch?
Wilsbach Takes Over as Commander of 7th Air Force
Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wllsbach took over command of 7th Air Force during a Monday ceremony at Osan AB, South Korea. Wilsbach, who previously served as the commander of 11th Air Force and Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, takes over for Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, who has been nominated as the deputy commander of US Central Command. In his new position, Wilsbach will also serve as the deputy commander of US Forces-Korea and the air commander of South Korea/US Combined Forces Command. —Brian Everstine
Air Force F-15s Support British RAF Exercise
The Air Force earlier this month lent a hand to the British Royal Air Force’s premier air combat training exercise, sending several F-15E Strike Eagles from the 492nd Fighter Squadron, to support Typhoon Warrior, held at RAF Coningsby, England, Aug. 14-23. The RAF’s Typhoon Qualified Weapons Instructor Course was a critical part of the training, focusing on offensive and defensive counter-air operations, dynamic targeting, air interdiction, close air support and joint personnel recovery. The benefits to the wing of participating in the exercise included improving interoperability tactics with the RAF. –Steve Hirsch
Lyons Assumes Command of TRANSCOM
US Army Gen. Stephen Lyons took over as the first non USAF-officer to lead US Transportation Command in a ceremony on Friday, replacing retiring USAF Gen. Darren McDew. Lyons, who previously served as the director of logistics for the Joint Staff and had served as the deputy commander of TRANSCOM, is now the 13th leader for the command and the first to not wear a blue suit. “As the primary guardian of the most responsive strategic mobility capability in the world, I trust you to tend to that stem, for it will continue to be the backbone of our military success. I have no doubt your command will remain the best in the world,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Lyons during the ceremony at Scott AFB, Ill. —Brian Everstine
Benin-Born Airman Reported Dead at Keesler
First Lt. Sonagnon Dabli, a bioenvironmental engineer assigned to the 81st Aerospace Medicine Squadron who had joined the Air Force in January, died last Tuesday, Keesler AFB, Miss., said last week. According to the announcement, Dabli, 29 and originally from Benin, died at 8:45 a.m. Aug. 21. The announcement said an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Dabli’s death is in progress. A spokesman for the base said Monday no further information is available. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lt. Dabli,” Col. Lance C. Burnett, 81st Training Wing vice commander, said in a statement. –Steve Hirsch
A story posted Friday misstated the number of Air Force Medal of Honor recipients. MSgt. John Chapman is the first Air Force Special Tactics airman to receive the medal and the first since the Vietnam War, there have been 19 total USAF recipients.
—The late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who served as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, left a public statement that, in addition to declarations of the importance of having been an American and having lived a life of public service, contained calls for Americans to rise above the current divisive political climate; “We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe,” he wrote: McCain’s website.
—The head of ISIS in Afghanistan was reportedly killed in an airstrike on one of the group’s hideouts in Nangarhar province on Saturday: Reuters.
—Two Afghan Air Force helicopter pilots were reportedly assassinated by two armed men as the pilots were walking to work in Kabul: TOLO News.
—Air Mobility Command is inspecting the entire KC-10 fleet for slide-raft deployment issues. The issue has not prompted a stand-down or operational pause: Military.com.
—Twenty USAF pilot students are participating in an experimental program using virtual reality and artificial intelligence to prepare them for flight: KPBS.
—The first USAF GPS III satellite on Aug. 20 arrived in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to prepare for launch: Lockheed Martin release.
—Wallace C. Higgins, 92, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, died Wednesday in Alfred Station, N.Y.: Olean Times Herald.