White House Proposes DOD Budget Increase Through Huge Jump in War Funding Level

The White House on Monday proposed a large increase in Pentagon funding, largely coming from an almost $100 billion jump in the overseas contingency operations fund, in its fiscal 2020 budget request. The Office of Management and Budget laid out its plans in the budget request, which was light on details and immediately received criticism from both sides on Capitol Hill. The request calls for $750 billion in total defense spending — up from $716 billion in fiscal 2019 — made possible by cuts to other governmental departments. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen and Brian Everstine.

KC-46 Deliveries Resume After Inspections, Corrective Plan Begins

The Air Force on Monday resumed receiving KC-46 tankers, with a Pegasus flying to Altus AFB, Okla., after a foreign object debris inspection at Boeing’s production facility. Air Mobility Command in a statement Monday evening said the tanker was delivered after FOD sweeps on KC-46s going through the acceptance process, and USAF leaders were briefed on the corrective plan going forward. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

White House Doesn’t Rule Out Nominating Shanahan to Serve as Permanent Defense Secretary

The White House on Monday would not deny rumors that President Trump plans to nominate Patrick Shanahan to be the permanent defense secretary. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, when asked about the possibility, said “I am not going to make any personnel announcements at this time,” but “I can tell you the president has a great deal of respect” for Shanahan. “He likes him,” she said. Shanahan took over as acting defense secretary in late December after Trump fired former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, shortly after Mattis announced his intent to resign. Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, previously served as the undersecretary of defense under Mattis. Sanders said Monday the president would make an announcement on the nomination when he is ready. —Brian Everstine

Panel Recommends Expanding Women’s Transition Program

An Air Force pilot program that introduces women leaving Active Duty to health services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs should be replicated across the armed forces, according to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services’ latest report. The committee also found the Navy and Marine Corps should give children’s “secondary caregivers” 21 days of leave to match the Air Force. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

USAF MQ-1, MQ-9 Fleet Reaches Four Million Hours

The Air Force’s remotely piloted aircraft community hit a milestone March 1 as the combined MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper fleet surpassed four million flight hours. The two aircraft, which have been the backbone of USAF intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance since the Predator was introduced in 1996, are the main component of 24-hour ISR and persistence attack, along with search and rescue. The aircraft hit the two million flying hour mark in 2012, and the MQ-9 itself is expected to reach two million hours this summer, according to an Air Force release. By comparison, the RC-135 Rivet Joint has flown about one million hours, and the U-2 has flown 485,000 hours, according to the Air Force. The Predator retired last year as the Air Force moved toward an all MQ-9 fleet. —Brian Everstine

USAF Partnering with Unisys on Second IT Experiment

The Air Force will hand off its computer networks’ end-user services to Unisys Corp. as part of a second experiment exploring whether commercial industry should oversee the military’s information-technology enterprise. “This agreement will deliver standardized, innovative and agile IT services to airmen through modernization of their infrastructure with resilient IT solutions and cloud services,” Maj. Jonathan Demers, a program manager in the command, control, communications, intelligence, and networks portfolio, said in a March 7 release. “We’ll also stabilize services by instituting industry best practices and advances in technology that you are used to at home.” Under the $76 million contract issued Feb. 27, Unisys will offer “information-technology service management, enterprise service desk, and end-user device management” at eight bases: Buckley AFB, Colo.; Cannon AFB, N.M.; Maxwell AFB, Ala.; Offutt AFB, Neb.; Hurlburt Field, Fla.; Pope Field, N.C.; JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Spangdahlem AB, Germany. A first “Enterprise IT as a Service” experiment with AT&T and Microsoft also launched last fall, aiming to offload IT management so cyber airmen can focus on defense missions. —Rachel S. Cohen

Video: How Lockheed Martin Fosters Innovation

The Air Force is almost obsessed these days with innovation and unleashing the inner inventor in every airman. But how do others cultivate an innovative culture? At Lockheed Martin, innovation centers in Dallas, Texas, and Orlando, Fla., provide employees tools, spaces, and encouragement to spark their imaginations. On our recent visit to Lockheed’s Orlando Innovation Center, Operations Manager Matthew Bartoe explained how employees transform ideas into action. Watch the interview here.—Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory


Key Piece of F-35 Logistics System Unusable by US Air Force Students, Instructor Pilots

The F-35 fighter jet’s logistics backbone has proven so clunky and burdensome to work with that the U.S. Air Force’s instructor pilots, as well as students learning to fly the aircraft, have stopped using the system. Defense News

Chinese Carriers, Ethiopian Airlines Halt Use of Boeing 737 MAX 8 Aircraft After Crash

China’s aviation regulator on Monday grounded nearly 100 Boeing Co 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by its airlines, more than a quarter of the global fleet of the jets, after a deadly crash of one of the planes in Ethiopia. Reuters

Air Force Expansion Spurs Concern for Nevada Wildlife Refuge

Conservationists are rallying around a pair of legislative resolutions opposing the U.S. Air Force’s proposed expansion of a bombing training range they say would threaten big horn sheep and other wildlife at a national refuge in southern Nevada. San Francisco Chronicle

JBER’s Oldest Military Working Dog Retires After 8-Year Career

After nearly eight years of military service, the oldest military working dog at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson will, for the first time, become somebody’s pet. Anchorage Daily News via Air Force Times

Ammo Teams Selected to Compete For Title at Annual Munitions Competition

Munitions teams from around the service have been officially selected to compete in the second-annual Air Force Combat Operations Competition set to take place here, May 13-17, at the Air Force Combat Ammunitions Center. DVIDS

One More Thing …

Russian Su-27 Intercepts US RC-135 Intel Plane Over Baltic Sea

The Russian Defense Ministry published a short video of the interception and escort taken from the cockpit of an Su-27 fighter aircraft. The video is undated. UPI