New Basic Training Underway at Lackland With Increased Focus on Readiness

The first class to go through the Air Force’s revamped Basic Military Training program recently graduated. The new 8.5-week curriculum looks to bolster the readiness and lethality of airmen, by increasing the amount of physical fitness training conducted, improving weapons training, and launching a battlefield casualty treatment course, combined with a renewed emphasis on Air Force core values and the “warrior ethos.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Bunch to Get Fourth Star, Lead AFMC

Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, USAF’s top uniformed acquisition official, has been nominated for a fourth star and to lead Air Force Materiel Command, the service announced Wednesday. If confirmed, he would succeed Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, who retired as head of AFMC in September. Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, head of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, has been the acting AFMC commander since Pawlikowski’s retirement. He will return to AFLCMC full time if Bunch is confirmed. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

Edwards Kicked Off F-35 IOT&E With Large Force Flight

The Air Force’s initial operational test and evaluation process for the F-35 kicked off with a Dec. 5 large force employment flight of seven aircraft flying different mission types at Edwards AFB, Calif. The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards has 10 pilots, 145 maintainers, and 11 engineers working on the program, alongside Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office, according to an Edwards release. During the first flight, the seven aircraft flew offensive counter air, suppression of enemy air defenses, and air attack operations aimed at determining “the effectiveness and suitability for the warfighter,” Lt. Col. Nicholas Ihde, commander of the 31st TES, said in the release. The Air Force hopes to finish IOT&E in late summer. —Brian Everstine

Backlog of Security Clearance Investigations Decreasing

The backlog in background investigations for security clearances has fallen almost 17 percent this year, down to 600,000 from a high of 720,000, the head of the National Background Investigations Bureau told lawmakers on Wednesday. The change comes as the NPIB is transferring from the Office of Personnel Management to the Defense Department to further streamline the bureaucratic process of clearance investigations. The total backlog number isn’t the number of individuals’ clearances remaining—there is a backlog of 275,000 people, and 110,000 of those are already at work with a temporary clearance, NPIB Director Charles Phalen told the House Armed Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Wednesday. Earlier this year, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said there are 79,000 airmen and USAF civilians waiting for a clearance. The NBIB is in the process of transferring to the Pentagon from OMB following a White House executive order calling for the move to have the Defense Department take authority over its own investigations. —Brian Everstine

The United States of Arms

Arms transfers from the United States to various countries around the world from 1950 through the modern day are illustrated in this animated map. A steady flow of weapons goes to Europe and major allies in the Pacific, while certain other countries, like Canada and Australia, see fits and starts. A trickle can be seen going to China when the US wanted to bolster China’s ability to present a challenge to the Soviet Union. Southeast Asia gets the lion’s share of arms transfers until after the fall of Saigon, when the flow suddenly thins. The US is again the major arms supplier of the world in 2018, but Russia and China have been steadily increasing their share of the market.


Air Force to Release New ‘Fast-Track’ Cyber Approval Process

The Air Force is about to join the still-small group of federal agencies who’ve found ways to dramatically accelerate the process of granting cybersecurity approvals for IT systems. Federal News Network

Air Force Admits Nearly 2,000 Airmen Under Medical Waiver Policy

The US Air Force has admitted nearly 2,000 recruits on medical waivers for eczema, asthma, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and other learning disabilities since a new medical policy went into effect nearly two years ago, according to recent statistics from the Air Force Surgeon General’s office.

Air Force Mascot Aurora Cleared for Flight After Injury in West Point Prank

Aurora was injured at West Point during an apparent prank before the annual rivalry game between the two service academies on Nov. 3,, but has recovered.

US Stratofortress Bombers Complete Australian Exercises

The RAAF has completed a training exercise with two USAF B-52 Stratofortress Bombers operating from RAAF Base Darwin. Aircraft from RAAF Base Amberley and RAAF Base Williamtown participated in the training exercise with up to 28 F/A-18 Hornets and other RAAF aircraft flying in the activity. Australian Defense

Air Force Academy Research: Cadets Have Role in Creating DOD’s 1st Large Stealth Target Drone

Cadets at the Air Force Academy are working with aerospace instructors and industry partners to develop the Defense Department’s first large stealth target drone to test missile tracking systems. USAFA News

US Air Force Chooses Collins Aerospace GPS Anti-Jam Receiver

The US Air Force has selected an anti-jam GPS receiver from Collins Aerospace (through the division formerly known as Rockwell Collins) for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve F-16 fighter aircraft. GPS World

One More Thing …

Pentagon Do-si-don’t: Selling Girl Scout Cookies in Office Earns General a Demerit Badge

The Air Force scolded a general whose hands were caught in the Girl Scout cookie jar.

The one-star officer ran afoul of ethics rules by selling Girl Scout cookies in the office and encouraging a subordinate to retrieve boxes of Trefoils and Tagalongs from the general’s car for a display in the office. USA Today