DOD’s Cyber “Red Teams” Stressed as Security Tests Grow

Cybersecurity threats are proliferating faster than the Defense Department can discover and address them in operational evaluations, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Robert Behler said in his Fiscal 2018 report published Jan. 31. He warned the best “Red Team” members are leaving for higher-paying commercial jobs as their groups are stretched thin by growing testing needs. “DOT&E is working with the DOD Red Teams to close that gap by helping them acquire additional personnel, more advanced capabilities, and training,” Behler wrote. “More resources are urgently needed in this area.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Report: Air Force Academy Has a Sexual Harassment, Unwanted Sexual Contact Problem

Nearly half of all female US Air Force Academy cadets—46 percent—said they were sexually harassed during the 2017-2018 academic year, though only one formal report was received by the school, a Defense Department report on the incidence of sexual harassment and violence at the nation’s three military academies found. The report, which includes service academy self-assessments, school-specific summaries and a DOD survey of students from all three academies, also found that 15.1 percent of USAFA female cadets were victims of unwanted sexual contact—up from 11.2 percent in the 2016 survey—and highlighted a series of “concerning climate-related trends.” In a statement provided to Air Force Magazine, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said, “The data clearly indicates we are falling short of what the nation expects and what our service members deserve from their leaders. Leaders establish culture, enforce standards, and ensure the safety of those entrusted to their care. This data will inform our review and adjustment of programs and policies.” Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

USAFA Growing Hypersonics Research Portfolio Under Professor’s Leadership

An aeronautics professor at the US Air Force Academy will run the Pentagon’s new Hypersonic Vehicle Simulation Institute, bringing 10 to 15 percent of the program’s applied science research to the Colorado Springs, Colo., campus. The service said in a Jan. 31 press release that the HSVI, which launched last year, will work with other universities to improve modeling and simulation for hypersonic weapons using $6 million in grants issued over the next three to five years. “Having inaccurate estimates for designing to mitigate the high heating on hypersonic vehicles impacts the weight and volume of the design, which can take away from the size of the payload,” HSVI Director Russ Cummings said in the release. The school owns two high-speed wind tunnels on campus, which test how systems work when traveling at more than 3,000 mph. USAFA’s boost in hypersonic-capabilities research feeds into the Defense Department’s overall push to develop weapons that can fly five times the speed of sound, in competition with China and Russia. —Rachel S. Cohen

More Active-Duty Troops to Deploy to US-Mexico Border, OSD Confirms

The Defense Department will send about 3,750 more Active Duty troops to the US-Mexico border for a 90-day deployment in support of US Customs and Border Protection, though the service-by-service deployment breakdown has not been determined, the Office of the Secretary of Defense confirmed to Air Force Magazine on Feb. 4. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan approved the deployment on Jan. 11, according to a Feb. 3 OSD statement. This round of DOD support at the border will include “mobile surveillance capability through the end of September 2019, as well as the emplacement of approximately 150 miles of concertina wire between ports of entry,” according to the statement. DOD will continuously assess mission-specific force-composition needs, it continued. Rep. Adam Smith first broke the news of a planned influx of troops at the border—citing a 3,500 figure—in a Jan. 31 press release about a letter he sent to Shanahan criticizing Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood for leaving details about an Active Duty border surge out of his Jan. 29 HASC testimony on DOD border support. “At best this was an error in judgement, at worst this was knowingly withholding information from this committee as it performs its oversight responsibility,” Smith wrote. Approximately 2,250 National Guard troops are also at the border as part of Operation Guardian Support, OSD said, with about 150 of those coming from the Air National Guard, the National Guard Bureau confirmed to Air Force Magazine. Active Duty and Guard deployments to the border will continue through the end of fiscal 2019, Rood testified on Jan. 29.—Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

US, UK Partner in Swarm and Search AI Challenge

The Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Brothers Institute, and University of Dayton Research Institute will release the first scenario for its “Swarm and Search AI Challenge” this week, though teams officially have until Feb. 12 to register. The challenge, which will occur concurrently with a similar challenge being conducted in the United Kingdom, was designed to figure out how to plan and control simulated swarms of small unmanned aerial vehicles as they map a wildfire, Mick Hitchcock, senior technology advisor for AFRL small business, told Air Force Magazine. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.


Response to First Full Pentagon Audit Delayed Amid Staff Shake-up

The Defense Department had planned to brief Congress on the results of its department-wide financial audit in January 2019. Instead, it asked for more time. Washington Post

AFLCMC Aids Kessel Run in Recruiting New Rebels

An innovative effort to speed up talent acquisition for the Air Force compressed a months-long employment process to just weeks, when 28 on-the-spot job offers were made to candidates at the Kessel Run hiring event in Boston, Massachusetts held January 23-24. Air Force News

Number of Foreign ISIS Fighters Held in Syria Surpasses 800 For The First Time

There are more than “800 foreign terrorist fighters” in SDF custody from “over 40 countries,” Department of Defense spokesman Cmdr. Sean Robertson told CNN.

US Asks Western Allies to Help Form Buffer Zone in Northern Syria

None agree to proposal yet, posing another challenge to Trump’s order for a quick troop pullout amid fears of an Islamic State rebound or a war between Turkish forces and Kurdish fighters. Wall Street Journal

DOT&E Says F-35A Gun Accuracy Issues Remain

The F-35A continues to have issues with gun accuracy as identified in last year’s DOT&E report. The programme is considering options for re-boresighting and correcting gun alignments. Jane’s

SpaceX Tests Flight Version of Raptor Engine

SpaceX test-fired Feb. 3 the first flight version of the Raptor engine the company has developed for its next-generation launch system. Space News

One More Thing …

These Marines Were Falsely Accused of War Crimes. Twelve Years Later, They Have Vindication

A Marine veteran who fought the Pentagon for 12 years over a war-crimes case brought against him and six others will have his permanent record wiped clean, an extraordinary affirmation of his claim that their reputations were destroyed by the military’s effort to imprison the men. Washington Post