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​Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown, center, is briefed by 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron crew men after the completion of an aerial mission over the southern panhandle of Vietnam. Giving the report are Maj. Helmuth L. Uken, left, and Lt. Col. Stephen R. Neiley, Jr. USAF photo.

​Harold Brown 1927-2018

Harold Brown, who served as both Secretary of the Air Force and Secretary of Defense, died Jan. 4 at the age of 91. Brown, one of the Kennedy-era “whiz kids,” was the first scientist to head the Pentagon, and was a central figure in US nuclear weapons development, policy, and arms control. He also fostered many of the military technologies—such as stealth and cruise missiles—that underwrote US military dominance from the 1980s through the 2010s. Additionally, he headed the California Institute of Technology, taught at Johns Hopkins University, and was a noted philanthropist. He received AFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, among many other national honors. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.


Lost Satellite Link Leads to Predator Disappearance in CENTCOM

An MQ-1B Predator was lost while supporting a combat mission in the US Central Command area of responsibility on Sept. 4, 2017, after the satellite link connecting the mission control element to the aircraft failed and airmen were not able to re-establish contact, according to an abbreviated accident investigation board report released on Monday. However, officials could not determine what caused the link to break, citing “insufficient evidence of any substantially contributing factors,” according to the report. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

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US Air Strikes Continue, Military Policy Unchanged in Somalia Despite Drawdown Rumors

US Africa Command announced Monday that a Jan. 6 US air strike in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle Region “killed six … [al-Shabaab] militants and destroyed one vehicle” without harming any civilians, according to its current assessment. It was the second strike launched by the US in Somalia so far in 2019, and it comes days after NBC News reported that the Defense Department planned to lessen the US military’s role and number of air strikes in the country. But in an email Monday, a USAFRICOM spokesman told Air Force Magazine that US military policy in Somalia remains unchanged. Read the full story from Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Kessel Run is Looking for a Few Good Software-Minded Men, Women

The Air Force’s Kessel Run Experimentation Lab is looking to hire more civilian employees who will be tasked with tackling some of the service’s “most vexing software issues,” during a two-day “hired on-the-spot” event to be held Jan. 23-24. The new talent could find themselves working on things like the global Air Operations Center Weapon System and the F-35 strike fighter’s Autonomous Logistics Information System, or ALIS, according to the release. “The Air Force is seeing, and I think we’re one of the ones showing them, how important it is to create and sustain your own software,” said Adam Furtado, Kessel Run’s lab director. “As with many small companies, our goal now is to hire the right people, expand our pipeline, and continue supporting the Air Force’s software needs.” Since mid-2017, Kessel Run has spent nearly $140 million and set up shared workspaces for 280 military, government civilian, and contractors. USAF software teams have come up with automated solutions, saving some 1,100 man-hours per month at operations centers in combat zones, according to a USAF release. Applicants should submit material here before the event.

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RADAR SWEEP


Top Russian, US Military Commanders Hold Talks on Syria
Military commanders from Russia and the US held a phone conversation to discuss Syria as U.S. forces prepare to leave the Middle Eastern country. Bloomberg

Legal Experts are Split on Whether Trump Must Name a New Permanent Pentagon Chief
The Trump administration's contention that acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan can stay in his new role "indefinitely" without being nominated as the permanent Pentagon chief could face constitutional challenges, according to legal experts, who were split on whether those protests would go anywhere. Stars and Stripes

Air Force Spending Nearly $27M to Turn Vacant Yokota Apartments into Dorms
The Air Force expects to pay $26.8 million to turn a pair of vacant family housing towers into dormitories for 280 unaccompanied airmen at the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo. Stars and Stripes

GAO Report Confirms Major Gaps In Government Cybersecurity
The U.S. government has gotten pretty good, or at least pretty productive, over the past couple of decades at laying out, in multiple reports, plans, strategies and initiatives under multiple presidents, what needs to be done to improve the nation’s cybersecurity – including the latest from just a month ago called a “Cybersecurity Moonshot.” Forbes

Navy's F-35C on Track to Be Combat Ready Next Month
The U.S. Navy is on track to reach critical milestones and declare its F-35 Joint Strike Fighters ready for combat next month. Military.com

US Air Force Expects to Expand Vertical Fight Training with T-X
The USAF will expand its vertical fight training now that it has Boeing under contract to deliver the T-X trainer. The service performed its first sortie after awarding Boeing the contract. Jane's 360

One More Thing ...

Has the Mystery of 'Britain's Roswell' Finally Been Solved?
Rendlesham Forest incident in Suffolk, has intrigued UFO enthusiasts since 1980. Daily Mail