Air Force Chief Technology Officer Position to Oversee S&T

The Air Force plans to appoint a new chief technology officer to direct its $2.8 billion science and technology enterprise and consider which future tech areas would benefit the service the most. A “design agent” will plan what the CTO’s responsibilities would be, whether that persopn is uniformed or civilian, and where within the service he or she would sit, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters Wednesday. The plan is part of the Air Force’s “Science and Technology 2030” strategy released this week, which aims to “develop and deliver transformational strategic capabilities,” “reform the way science and technology is led and managed,” and “deepen and expand the scientific and technical enterprise,” according to the report. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Fairchild to Receive More KC-135s, Reactivate Squadron as KC-46s Come Online

The Air Force is restructuring its KC-135 fleet as it brings on more KC-46s, moving 12 of the legacy tankers from McConnell AFB, Kan., to Fairchild AFB, Wash. The service recently announced the 92nd Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild will be the new home to the KC-135s beginning in fiscal 2020, a shift that will add 1,000 airmen and families to the base, according to a Fairchild release. The move will necessitate the reactivation of Fairchild’s 97th Air Refueling Squadron, which was inactivated in 2004, and related maintenance unit. “Fairchild is the perfect fit for these new tankers because of our demonstrated capability to provide responsive air refueling across the globe,” Col. Derek Salmi, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, said in the release. “Through hard work and dedication, our airmen have established Fairchild as the Air Refueling Center of Excellence and we will continue to carry forth this legacy as the world’s largest tanker wing.” McConnell will be the first main operating base for the KC-46. —Brian Everstine

Next-Gen OPIR Needs $623M for Speedy Prototyping

Defense officials are meeting this week to discuss a $623 million reprogramming request needed to buy parts for the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared missile warning program so they can keep prototyping moving quickly, the Air Force’s acquisition executive recently told reporters. Failing to secure more funding would push back integration, testing, and fielding. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Lockheed Gets $879 Million for Minuteman III Work

Lockheed Martin on Tuesday received a $879 million contract to maintain the re-entry system on Minuteman III missiles, an extension larger than previous contracts to keep work going through 2030. The contract covers “sustainment engineering, maintenance engineering, aging surveillance, modification of systems and equipment, software maintenance, developmental engineering, production engineering, and procurement” of the re-entry system and re-entry vehicle, according to a Pentagon release. Lockheed previously received a $386 million contract in 2017 for re-entry vehicle support, though that contract covers five years of work. The recent award follows on to that contract’s timeline and covers work to be completed by June 4, 2030. Lockheed developed the first re-entry systems for the missile in the 1960s and has sustained them since, said John Snyder, vice president of Air Force programs for Lockheed Martin Space, in a statement. “The men and women supporting this program … bring an in-depth understanding of re-entry technology and a strong appreciation for the mission, and we look forward to continuing our support into the next decade.” The Air Force is modernizing its Minuteman III system to keep it ready while it moves forward on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent system. —Brian Everstine



Iran Parliament Brands US Troops in Middle East as Terrorist

Iran’s parliament has overwhelmingly approved a bill labelling US forces in the Middle East as terrorist, a day after Washington’s terrorism label for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard formally took effect. The Guardian

Satellite Images May Show Reprocessing Activity at North Korea Nuclear Site: US Researchers

Satellite images from last week show movement at North Korea’s main nuclear site that could be associated with the reprocessing of radioactive material into bomb fuel, a U.S. think tank said on Tuesday. Reuters

Proposal Would Randomize Air Force Fitness Testing Schedule

Could the Air Force implement a new policy requiring troops to be ready for a physical fitness assessment at all times, pop-quiz style? It’s one of several ideas proposed by the Air Force scientist instrumental in creating the current PFA.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk visits N&NC and AFSPC

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses US space operations with Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command. NORAD

Space Threat Assessment 2019

An interactive summary of Space Threat Assessment 2019, a featured report from the CSIS Aerospace Security Project. Center for Strategic and International Studies

One More Thing …

Journal Claims Russian Troops Have Psychic Powers

Did Russian soldiers, working with telepathic dolphins, learn how to interrogate captured enemies and see through space and time? Probably not. Popular Mechanics