The Air Force is considering hand-to-hand combat training for air advisors in response to the slaying of eight USAF air advisors and a civilian contractor in late April at Kabul Airport in Afghanistan. “I look at the recent deaths of the air advisors . . . and I wonder if we had had them in here for combatives, if that had been part of the curriculum, if we wouldn’t have had them be able to disarm [the assailant],” said Brig. Gen. William Bender, commander of the USAF Expeditionary Center at JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. “Infiltration and complacency” are the biggest threats airmen’s face in Afghanistan today, Bender told the Daily Report last month during a visit to the center, which supports air advisor training. “If we had the opportunity with those individuals to teach them just a limited combatives course on how to disarm, we probably could have saved many of the lives that were lost there. We didn’t, and now we’re looking at changing the curriculum,” he added soberly. (See also Friendly Fire.)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.