Mattis, Wilson Register Opposition to Space Corps

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis each sent letters to Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday expressing support for his proposal to block the formation of a separate Space Corps within the Air Force. The letters arrived the day before the House is set to begin floor debate on the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which in its current form would require the Air Force to build a Space Corps with its own Chief of Staff by 2019. Wilson said Air Force Space Command is currently too small to merit “a headquarters element similar to the Marine Corps.” The Air Force today has only 2,500 “true space operators,” she wrote. While Mattis said a separate Space Corps would not address “our nation’s fiscal problems,” and he blamed “the impact of 30 continuing resolutions over a 10-year period” for creating a budgetary environment where the DOD has been “unable to take steps that would have assuaged congressional concerns” over the organization of the national security space enterprise. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett, which includes links to both letters.

Tailwind Caused Sept. F-35 Engine Fire

A strong tailwind caused the engine of an F-35A to catch fire last fall, prompting checklist revisions and new precautions and procedures to be put in place to change how F-35s are handled on the ground. Read the full story by Brian Everstine and John A. Tirpak, which includes a link to the AIB report.

Bipartisan Lawmakers Call for New AUMF

The inability to pass a new authorization for use of military force shows the lack of a “backbone” in Congress and the inability to show lawmakers’ support for the ongoing military operations, the bipartisan supporters of a new authorization said Wednesday. Read the full report by Brian Everstine.

Trump Administration Wants NDAA to Balance Increase and Constraint

The Trump Administration expressed support for the spending increases in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Tuesday, but also asked Congress to find more ways of balancing those hikes with fiscal constraint elsewhere in the federal budget in order “to ensure that our military is not rebuilt on the backs of future generations of Americans.” The OMB policy statement wants BRAC back on the table, wants Congress to stop funding base requirements with OCO, and says DOD is not ready for a Space Corps. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.

Northrop Gets Contract for Future Thermal, Power Research

Northrop Grumman Tuesday joined Lockheed Martin in receiving matching $409 million contracts to develop “revolutionary and innovative” thermal and power control technologies for next generation aircraft. The Northrop was announced Tuesday, with Lockheed receiving its contract on June 30. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract calls for the companies to develop next generation thermal, power, and controls, with a deadline of July 2024 for demonstrations. The Air Force Research Laboratory received seven offers, the announcement states. The research coincides with the Air Force’s push for next-generation air superiority, including the use of directed energy and lasers, driving a requirement for a next generation thermal and power research. The contract is part of an ongoing Next Generation Thermal, Power, and Controls (NGT-PAC) program, which involves multiple government agencies in addition to the Air Force, the announcement states. —Brian Everstine

This entry was updated July 13 to accurately reflect the company awarded the contract.



—The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on July 18 for Gen. Paul Selva for appointment to a second term as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

—Five B-1 bombers from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., have arrived to participate in Red Flag: press release.

—The FBI has arrested a person of interest in the pipe bomb explosion outside an Air Force recruitment center in Tulsa, Okla: CBS News