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Combined Air Operations Center at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, provides command and control of air power throughout Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and other nations in the US Air Forces Central Command region. Air Force photo by SSgt. Alexander W. Riedel.


Heidi Grant: US Must Have Frank Conversation With Allies About Contributions to Fight

America’s allies who have participated in the anti-ISIS air coalition have still not replenished their stocks of munitions, and the US doesn’t really have any more to lend, the Air Force Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs told reporters Tuesday. Heidi Grant, who will soon take over as Director of the Defense Technology Security Administration, said allies now “understand” the situation and are getting their orders in. She also talked about the impasse with Turkey over that country’s purchase of the Russian S400 air defense system, prospects for review of Saudi arms purchases, expansion of foreign use of the MQ-9 Reaper, and sharp increases in the activity of her office over the last eight years. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.


“Evil Chat Room” Will Supplant JSTARs Capability, Ensure Multi-Domain Dominance

Networking multiple sources of ISR data will eventually prove more effective than the Air Force’s JSTARS program, which is not robust enough to survive against a high-end adversary in a contested environment, the chief information officer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday. That’s why the Air Force opted for the Advanced Battlefield Management System. “If one [platform] goes down, you can switch to another,” said Lt. Gen. Bradford “B.J. Shwedo. Read the full story by Shaun Waterman.

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Colonels’ Council Will Help Decide Requirements for New USAF Cyber Weapons Factory

A colonels’ council bringing together senior operations officers from the cyber components of all four services is meeting regularly to decide the requirements for Unified Platform, the new cyber weapons factory the Air Force is building for US Cyber Command, said Susan Thornton, the director for information dominance programs in the office of the USAF assistant secretary for acquisition, during the Air Force IT Day Tuesday. Read the full story by Shaun Waterman.


With BlueSHIFT, Air Force Aims to Speed Acquisition, Allow Startups into Procurement

The Air Force has a “rollercoaster” problem with its acquisition process, said Maj. Gen. Patrick Higby, the director for devops and lethality in the office of the USAF assistant secretary for acquisition. He compared conventional procurement procedures to an amusement park sign that tells startups and other small companies, “You must be this big to ride.” BlueSHIFT aims to solve that problem by buying technology products and services from small businesses on the basis of a proposal that no more than a few pages long and a 15 minute pitch. Under the program, USAF would then pay for the pitched product the same day with a government debit card. Read the full story by Shaun Waterman.


Wright-Patt Preferred Location for F-35 Hybrid Product Support Integrator

The Air Force announced on Tuesday it has selected Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, as the preferred location for the F-35 Hybrid Product Support Integrator, and that Robins AFB, Ga., was the reasonable alternative. "Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has the trained acquisition professionals with the right fighter aircraft experience to run this organization for DOD’s Joint Program Office," Secretary Heather Wilson said. "We expect this experience to help us drive down F-35 sustainment costs as we build a more lethal and ready Air Force." The current HPSI—established in 2016 in Northern Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.—supports a global fleet of more than 340 aircraft, including US and international jets. HPSI will include representatives from the USAF, Navy, Marine Corps, international partners, and industry, though it will be led by the Air Force and report to the product support manager within the F-35 Joint Program Office. “The F-35 HPSI's primary role is to integrate support across the supply chain, maintenance, sustainment engineering, logistics information technology, and training disciplines,” states a USAF release. “It delivers global support for fielded F-35s while preparing for future force expansion.” The final basing decision will be made after the environmental assessment is complete.

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CyberPatriot, After Reaching 175,000 Students, Turns to Elderly

The Air Force Association’s cyber education program, CyberPatriot, has seen 175,000 students from kindergarten through high school flow through its program, retired USAF Brig. Gen. Bernard Skoch, the program’s commissioner, said Tuesday at the AFCEA IT Day in Northern Virginia. “Next year, I hope to be here to announce our in vitro cyber training program,” he joked. In the meantime, the program is heading in the other direction—it’s latest iteration is Cyber Generation, a program for the over 60’s set. “We are talking about training a generation that didn’t grow up with this technology in the basics of cyber hygiene,” Skoch explained, adding, “It’s not really called Cyber Geritol.” —Shaun Waterman

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RADAR SWEEP


Hurlburt Field Airman Found Deceased
An Airman assigned to Hurlburt Field was found deceased on base early this morning, Dec. 3. USAF release  

Pilot Training Commander Takes T-X for a Spin
Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, commander of the 19th Air Force, last week became the first airman to fly a sortie in the service’s next training aircraft. Doherty flew in Boeing’s T-X aircraft, which will replace the T-38C Talon as the Air Force’s next-generation fighter and bomber trainer, on Nov. 27 at the company’s facility in St. Louis, the Air Force said in a news release Monday. Air Force Times

US General to Congress: War in Afghanistan is at a Stalemate
The fight in Afghanistan is at a stalemate, and the significant number of Afghan troop deaths in the war is not sustainable, the Marine officer nominated to command U.S. forces in the Middle East told lawmakers on Tuesday. Associated Press

SpaceX Just Misses Catching Rocket Nose Cone—But Still Plans to Reuse It
SpaceX didn't manage to catch the rocket nose cone that fell back to Earth during Monday's epic launch, but the company plans to reuse the $6 million piece of equipment anyway. Both halves of the protective payload fairing surrounding the 64 small satellites that were lofted Monday (Dec. 3) by a twice-flown SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket evaded the company's speedy, net-equipped boat. Space.com

The Air Force Wants Electronic Warfare Options, Not More Studies
The Air Force’s in-depth study on the future of electronic warfare and electromagnetic spectrum has not yet been briefed to the service’s leadership, but is already leading to incremental improvements. C4ISRnet

Luke AFB Stands Up New F-35A Lightning II Fighter Squadron
The 308th Fighter Squadron was reactivated in a ceremony at Luke Air Force Base, Nov. 30. The squadron will house the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s and the Royal Danish Air Force’s F-35A Lightning IIs, in a training partnership. USAF release

Hurricane Hunters Close Out Active 2018 Hurricane Season
The 2018 hurricane season, which ended Nov. 30, was an active one for the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, who flew more than 655 hours and 83 missions into 12 named storms over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Air Force News