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​A 28th Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron boom operator positions a drogue for an incoming Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet during a mission in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel over Afghanistan, Dec. 14, 2018. Air Force photo by SSgt. Jordan Castelan.

​US Aircraft Finished 2018 With Huge Increase in Operations in Afghanistan and in ISIS Fight

US aircraft in Afghanistan had their busiest year in more than a decade, while coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria increased at a pace not seen since last summer. The operations tempo in Afghanistan is increasing to put pressure on “irreconcilable” parts of the Taliban while peace discussions continue, US officials said. At the same time, US aircraft are putting pressure on ISIS to drive them from their last remaining territory. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


Altus Receives Its First KC-46s

The first two KC-46s for Air Education and Training Command touched down Friday at Altus AFB, Okla., home of the Air Force’s KC-46 schoolhouse. Airmen now will train on the next-generation tanker alongside the C-17 and KC-135 schoolhouses. Friday’s delivery brings the Air Force’s total KC-46 fleet to six. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Service Branches Want Fiscal 2020 Budget Passed on Time To Maintain Momentum

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on Friday pointed to the training and procurement momentum the service has gained under the fiscal 2019 defense budget, which Congress passed on time for the first time in a decade. “We were able to do new starts of programs and cut contracts, and our flying hours in the first quarter were slightly above 100 percent of plan,” she said at a panel discussion with her fellow service Secretaries at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Each service’s top civilian wants Congress to know they want future funding legislation to be timely and consistent as well, even though the Trump administration missed its early February deadline to submit a fiscal 2020 request. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Wright Outlines Air Force Plan to Combat Non-Deployability

CMSAF Kaleth Wright outlined the Air Force’s four-point plan to shrink the number of non-deployable airmen in the Total Force from 6.8 percent to less than 5 percent, according to his written testimony submitted to the House Appropriations Committee’s military construction, veterans affairs, and related agencies subcommittee on Feb. 7. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Service Secretaries Sign Joint Memo on Communications Standards

The Air Force, Army, and Navy Secretaries signed a joint memorandum directing their acquisition executives to pursue common communications standards to ensure all future combat systems are built to share data. Their agreement comes as the Pentagon continues its push toward multidomain operations and looks to eliminate a problem with legacy systems that requires workarounds like the Link 16 data link network and Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

GAO: The Air Force has Improved Promotion Rates for RPA Pilots

The Air Force has improved the promotion rates for remotely piloted aircraft pilots, once a cause of low morale inside the RPA community, to a rate similar to that of other types of aircraft, the Government Accountability Office states in a new report. Changes to the community, such as making the RPA career field permanent and improving pilot selection, have helped airmen progress in their careers even though some limitations, such as a lack of staff jobs, continue. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Jamieson Nominated for New Position Overseeing ISR, Cyber Operations

Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, was nominated to lead a newly combined branch of the Air Staff overseeing ISR and cyber effects operations, the Defense Department said Feb. 8. The service is combining ISR and cyber leadership to better posture itself for “information dominance,” reflecting an earlier merger of the operations-level 24th and 25th Air Forces. Bringing together the A2 and A6 will also create further distinctions between combat uses of information—like ISR, electronic warfare, and cyber—and the Air Force’s evolving information technology enterprise. —Rachel S. Cohen
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RADAR SWEEP


Cannon’s Catalyst Program To Help Airmen Develop Best Version of ‘Self’
Mental and physical. Mind and muscle. Airmen need to be fit, throughout their will and body. The success of the 27th Special Operations Wing’s mission depends on our Special Operations Forces Airmen solidifying their unwavering 24/7 commitment to the Air Force. DVIDS

Pentagon Report Calls for Changes to How the US Measures Civilian Deaths
A newly released study on civilian casualties resulting from recent US military operations calls for a series of changes to how the US measures civilian deaths. CNN

Pentagon Pushes for Speed in Cloud Strategy
Amid two high-profile, multibillion cloud procurements, the Defense Department released its cloud strategy Monday, laying a path forward for how the military branches and Pentagon components will adopt cloud technology. Defense One

Air Force to Cooperate With Investigation
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson is pledging cooperation with the state of Michigan over toxic chemical pollution near a former military installation, despite a continuing dispute about cleanup responsibilities. Fox 17

One More Thing …

The US Military Is Chopping Up Its Iron Man Suit For Parts
SOCOM’s much-anticipated super suit won’t be here for Christmas. Defense One