US-backed fighters on Tuesday claimed they have taken
the city of Raqqa from ISIS, routing the group from its self-proclaimed
capital after about four months of operations.
The Air Force is trying to accept more risk at all levels, but it will take some time to prove to the acquisition corps that individuals won’t be punished for reasonably trying new things and not succeeding, said USAF’s top uniformed acquisition chief at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast Tuesday.
On Tuesday, SSgt. Richard Hunter, a combat controller
assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla.,
will receive the Air Force Cross for his actions directing airstrikes
and fighting off an enemy ambush in northern Kunduz province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 2, 2016.
Iraqi forces claimed Kurdish-held territory in and
around the city of Kirkuk on Monday as US officials encouraged both
Iraqi leaders and the Kurdish Peshmerga to avoid any conflict and return
their attention to defeating ISIS.
The former head of the Air Force Academy and retired
three star general has been tapped for a new position of
power—overseeing the National Basketball Association’s referees.
Security forces at the Air Force’s missile squadrons
recently changed their operational structure, the latest in a series of
steps to improve the service’s nuclear capability.
More Air National Guard units from across the country
are deploying to help the continuing relief efforts in Puerto Rico,
where still just a fraction of the island has seen power return and many
are still without water.
Two B-1Bs flew for the first time at night alongside South Korean and Japanese fighter aircraft on Tuesday, as President Trump called top Pentagon leaders to the White House to discuss military options for North Korea.
Congress needs to “turn off autopilot” and take
responsibility on budgetary planning because the US military’s readiness
continues to decline and the need for stable funding is becoming ever
more critical, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Tuesday.
Lockheed Martin announced Tuesday the Air Force has given its GPS III satellites the final thumbs up, declaring it “available for launch.”
The Air Force recognized four airmen as winners of the
2016 Lance P. Sijan US Air Force Leadership Award at a Pentagon ceremony
Oct. 5. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson presented the
awards, which are given annually to airmen who demonstrate
Before the Defense Department can elevate the profile
of its air advisory role in Afghanistan, it needs to find airmen with
advising experience—a capability currently easier said than done.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson made it clear
Thursday that she is focusing her tenure significantly on space. “I
spend about a third of my time … focused on space,” she told the
audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in
The Defense Department is delaying the deployment of
additional US forces to Afghanistan as a result of the “finite number”
of US transportation aircraft, which are currently in high demand
Stateside following the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto
Rico, the Pentagon said Thursday.
In the first meeting since the re-establishment of the
National Space Council, Vice President Mike Pence promised that,
“America will lead in space once again.”
In order to navigate a new era of broader activity and
greater belligerence in space, the US needs to talk more about space in
unclassified settings and establish clear thresholds for adversary
behavior, according to a new Center for Strategic and International
Leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee
criticized top Pentagon officials Monday over their reluctance to share
information with Congress about ongoing US wars and clarified that
senators have been delaying confirmation of Department of Defense
nominees over the complaint.
The US-led coalition is not close to winning the war in Afghanistan, but the Trump administration’s new strategy there is making a difference already, top Defense Department leaders told Congress Monday.
The US military’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto
Rico could be so lengthy it may impact the deployments of the units
that have responded, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told lawmakers
The Air Force is reaching out to retired pilots in the
hopes they will return to service to fill rated staff position, the
latest in a series of steps to address the growing pilot shortage in the
The 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron has a saying: “Just give OIR four weeks and it’ll be different.” Lt.
Col. Shell, the commander of the F-22 squadron, who asked to be
identified only by his rank and call sign for security reasons, said the
Raptors’ mission changes as Operation Inherent Resolve changes.
A quarter of the Air Force’s KC-10s and the largest fuel bladder farm in the DOD are based at Al Dhafra AB, UAE. With that fuel, the tankers are able to extend sorties for a variety of US and coalition aircraft, and allow missions that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
The Defense Department is ramping up its response
operation in Puerto Rico to help the Federal Emergency Management Agency
meet its resource distribution needs.
The top leader of the US Air Force Academy (USAFA) on
Sept. 28 gathered all Academy personnel to tell them that he would not
tolerate racist slurs at the school.
In a row of arched sand-colored tents behind a
chain-link fence, hundreds of airmen, soldiers, marines, and coalition
troops watch and control the air battles over Iraq, Syria, and
The Trump administration’s ongoing Nuclear Posture Review
(NPR) offers an opportunity to fundamentally reshape US nuclear policy,
experts in deterrence and arms control said at a Task Force 21-Minot
event in Washington, D.C., Thursday.
Units from across the Air Force responded in support of
FEMA efforts to bring relief to Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and
other Caribbean islands struggling to recover from the devastation of
Warning that many countries could have hypersonic
weapons within 10 years—and that there is currently no defense against
them—a quartet of specialists from the RAND Corporation are urging the
US, Russia, and China to adopt policies that would restrict the transfer
of hypersonic technologies and components to other nations.
A return to sequestration levels of funding “would
break this service,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said
The commander of NORAD and US Northern Command
expressed concern Wednesday about Russia’s “ability to hold targets at
risk at ranges we’re not used to.” Gen. Lori Robinson said the worry emerges from US observations of Zapad 2017, a major Russian military exercise held in September.
One of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board’s two
main studies in 2018 is a parallel effort to the service’s recently
announced science and technology strategy review.
A U-2 pilot sits in a white Camaro at the edge of the
runway, peering into the hazy desert sky. A jet appears in the distance,
and as it nears, the car’s driver hits the gas, testing the sports
car’s acceleration capabilities as he chases the Dragon Lady.
The 3,000 airmen of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing
here are supporting all five of the Air Force’s core missions, and
leaders say they work hard to make sure each airman is connected to
those missions, no matter their job.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
expressed disappointment on Tuesday in the Trump administration’s
leadership in matters of national defense.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) is again pressing his case
for an independent Space Corps, saying the move is needed to ensure the
domain can get the attention and funding it needs and that it would be a
win for the Air Force, too.
The top US military officer told Congress Tuesday that
repeated continuing resolutions to fund the federal government are
limiting the nation’s ability to project power, reassure allies, and
prevent conflict around the globe.
Airmen will now have three opportunities every year to apply for a break from Active Duty status.
North Korea’s foreign minister on Monday accused the US
of declaring war through President Trump’s Twitter feed, and said it
now is justified in taking steps in self defense including shooting down
The head of Air Education and Training Command wants
all Air Force training content to be available to every airman at any
Nineteen months into the highly classified B-21 stealth bomber program, things are moving as planned with drawings being completed and released and a Preliminary Design Review completed, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office Director Randall Walden said at ASC17.
The Air Force is exploring three deficiencies on the
KC-46 tanker, one of which is considered serious and could affect the
jet’s ability to refuel stealth aircraft without compromising their low-observable features and thus their ability to complete their mission.
The Air Force Reserve and Army Corps of Engineers
continue to provide a range of disaster relief support to the states of
Georgia and Florida as well as the US territories of Puerto Rico and the
Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The United States needs to catch up in the realm of
strategic deterrence, US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten told the
audience at AFA's Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Wednesday.
CMSAF Kaleth Wright offered some potential paths forward during ASC17
to take “as many things off your plate as possible,” so airmen have
more time to take care of the mission, of each other, and of their
The United States is in danger of losing longstanding
military advantages because the nation simply takes too long to respond
to threats and develop new capabilities, the commander of US Strategic
Command said Wednesday at ASC17.
Air Education and Training Command will stand up a new
battlefield airman recruiting squadron on Oct. 1 in an effort to bring
in the right kind of recruits, capable of making it through the grueling
training pipeline, Air Education and Training Command boss Lt. Gen.
Darryl Roberson said.
Congress wants airmen to be able to move from back and
forth from the Active Duty to Guard to Reserve, but policies are
holding such fluidity at bay, said Lt. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., Chief of
Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements.
The Air Force has decided in principle that it will go
ahead with re-engining the B-52 bomber force, but is still trying to
figure out when, and with what money.
Global Strike Command chief Gen. Robin Rand emphasized
that while the “floor” of the requirement for the B-21 bomber is 100
aircraft, the eventual number is likely to be higher, but there’s no
need to set that level now.
Rather than state a requirement for “at least” 100 new
B-21 bombers, the Air Force ought to be requesting 174 of the jets, in
order to field a dozen deployable bombers with each of 10 Air &
Space Expeditionary Forces (AEFs), said retired Lt. Gen David Deptula,
dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute.
US Cyber Command commander and NSA Director Adm.
Michael Rogers believes preparing the US against cyber attack shouldn’t
focus solely on networks, but rather on a combination of networks,
platforms, weapon systems, and data.
Budget uncertainty born and bred in Congress not only
threatens the readiness of the US military, it raises doubts on the
survivability of America itself as new adversaries plan around perceived
weaknesses in the country’s defenses, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis
The Air Force has put together a joint experience
working group to evaluate joint assignments and make sure the service is
recording them and weighing these assignments with the importance they
The Air Force isn’t going to get its buy rate on the F-35 above 60 by 2022, as had been hoped.
Over the next year, the Air Force Research Laboratory
is going to travel to almost a dozen research centers as part of the Air
Force’s newly announced science and technology (S&T) strategy
Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing boss, credited SpaceX with helping USAF launch into space faster.
The Air Force is planning to award the T-X advanced
trainer contract by the end of the year, but the Continuing Resolution
only lasts until Dec. 10. What if there’s no budget by the time T-X is
ready to award? “We’ll look at our options,” USAF’s top acquisition
chief, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, told reporters on Tuesday.
Senior Air Force leaders assured attendees at ASC17 that the JSTARS Recapitalization program is—for now—going head, but they acknowledged that they’re looking at alternatives.
Air Force tankers have returned to Afghanistan as part
of a build up of US forces in the country to help support an increasing
air support role.
The Air Force needs more space operators in order to complete its transition to a combat-focused mission.
Air Mobility Command is considering giving airmen approval to spend their entire careers in the pilot’s seat.
Air Mobility Command, while it is pushing for delivery
of the next generation KC-46 tanker next year, is moving forward on
continued upgrades for its KC-135 fleet to keep the aging aircraft
Several of the Air Force’s top uniformed officials on
Tuesday called for a change in mindset for planning and acquiring
next-generation USAF systems.
Northrop Grumman has acquired aerospace technology company Orbital ATK for $7.8 billion in cash.
The Air Force will award SSgt. Richard Hunter the Air Force Cross—the service’s highest award for valor in combat, second only to the Medal of Honor.
Textron Airborne Solutions has acquired 63 F1 Mirage
aircraft formerly owned by the French Air Force, making it the “world’s
largest private supersonic air force,” said Jeffrey Parker, chief
executive officer of the Airborne Tactical Advantage Company (ATAC),
which was bought by Textron last year in anticipation of a rapidly
growing contracted Red Air market.
Northrop Grumman and Boeing will focus producing a Minuteman III replacement system that is
adaptable and affordable in maturing the Air Force’s Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD).
Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of Air Forces Central Command, said, during ASC17, airmen are facing a “contested and congested” air space over Syria, forcing them into tough decisions.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson used her first State of the Air Force briefing to both praise the capability and strength of the service and, conversely, sound an alarm.
The training syllabus for the Lockheed Martin/Korean
Aerospace Industries T-50A is so common to that of the F-16 that Air
Combat Command could offload 50 percent of tasks taught on the F-16 to
the T-50A, Lockheed Martin consultant retired Gen. Don Cook said Monday
in promoting the jet.
From sorting through and reinvigorating boneyard
components to networking command and control logistics centers
worldwide, USAF is digging into every corner of its infrastructure in
search of an affordable, efficient, and innovative future.
Chasing tools to solve cybersecurity and space
vulnerabilities is futile, said Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, who heads the Air
The Air Force Association's annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference
Technology Exposition runs Sept. 18-20, 2017, in National Harbor, Md.
USAF will now be preparing more airmen for chemical
warfare than in the past, with a specific focus on a Korean conflict,
said USAF’s top enlisted senior leader.
President Donald Trump offered 70th birthday greetings
and praise to the Air Force on Friday, saying the service is the “most
technologically advanced fighting force on the planet” and pledging to
help it remain that way through targeted funding.
Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) is making plans to
roll out a new advanced space studies program within the next year,
John Terino, chairman of the department of airpower at ACSC, told Air
As two historic storms made landfall in the south, the
Air Force had two missions: get its aircraft out of harm’s way as the
hurricanes made landfall, and get its airmen on the ground to help out
as soon as possible.
Rolls-Royce is “seeing a lot of momentum building”
within the Air Force for the idea of re-engining the B-52 fleet, company
senior vice president for customer business Tom Hartmann said
Thursday, laying out the company’s offering of the BR725
powerplant—military designation F130—for the job.
Boeing’s entry for the JSTARS recapitalization
program—a modified version of its 737-700 business jet—demonstrates the
necessity of using a manned platform to meet the Air Force’s airborne
surveillance and battle management mission, Rodney Meranda told
In the near future, space will become a “domain for common human endeavor,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Tuesday.
A continuing resolution to fund the federal government
will produce losses in readiness, cancelled or reduced training, and
delays in new starts and military construction, Secretary of Defense Jim
Mattis said in a Sept. 8 letter to congressional leaders.
The Senate began floor debate on the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act Monday.
President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law a continuing resolution to fund the federal government at current levels through Dec. 8.
Maj. Jeremy DeHart and a handful of airmen assigned to
the Air Force Reserve’s 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron had less
than 10 minutes to get what they needed from the eye of Hurricane Irma
before they would punch back into the storm through its wall.
US aircraft set record highs in both the fight against ISIS and in Afghanistan in August.
A weapons loader was killed after a bomb rack unit was
misaligned and fell during unloading operations in March in the Middle
East, an Air Force investigation found.
Air Force continues to evacuate airmen and aircraft as the Catagory 5
Hurricane Irma barrels toward Florida.
The Air Force will let certain aircrew remain at select
bases as a way to improve quality of life for its pilots in the face of
a growing fighter shortage in the service.
When a natural disaster hits, it’s critical that
nations are prepared to respond. Aeromedical evacuation is a key part of
that response, and a recent African Partnership Flight in Nigeria
focused on planning for just that scenario.
US aircraft are closely watching an ISIS convoy that has been stranded in the Syrian desert for more than a week.
The Air Force has “recognized” it has “a big data
problem,” said Kenneth Bray, Air Combat Command’s associate director for
The first production version of the F-22 Raptor
completed its first flight 20 years ago, but Lockheed Martin analysis
shows the fifth generation fighter should be able to keep flying until
The creation of a Space Corps within the Air Force
would lead to “enormous upheaval” without solving the key problems faced
by the national security space enterprise today, former Secretary of
the Air Force Deborah Lee James said Wednesday.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said the formation of a
separate US military space force is inevitable. “Whether it’s this year
or next year, we will be successful,” he told an audience at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., on
The continued nuclear tests and threats by North Korea post a “threat to all nations in the region and beyond,” the governments of both the US and South Korea said in a joint statement on Tuesday announcing regular meetings on deterrence strategy.
The Air Force is again preparing for another major
storm to make landfall, with specially-equipped aircraft keeping an eye
on Hurricane Irma as it approaches and at least one base prepare to
relocate its aircraft.
Four US Marine Corps F-35Bs from MCAS Iwakuni, Japan,
joined two B-1B bombers deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, Wednesday in a
show of force mission conducted “in direct response” to North Korea’s
Aug. 28 launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japanese
Hundreds of Guard, Reserve and Active Duty airmen from
have deployed for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas and Louisiana,
carrying aid, rescue helicopters, and other equipment to help with the massive search and rescue effort.
President Donald Trump said dialogue with North Korea
is “not the answer” to that country’s nuclear provocations in a
Wednesday morning Twitter message posted two days after Pyongyang’s
latest ballistic missile test flew over Japanese territory.
The National Guard is posturing up to 30,000 Guardsmen
to deploy to the Houston region to help in recovery efforts following
record rainfall and flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, with
even more Active Duty troops available if necessary.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that “all options
are on the table” for his administration in responding to North Korea’s
latest ballistic missile launch.
With the Air Force announcement last week of two design contracts to replace the Minuteman III ICBM system, “the United States is back on track to modernize its entire nuclear deterrent,” according to an op-ed written by AFA Mitchell Institute leaders and published in The Hill.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday activated the
entire Texas National Guard to help respond to tropical storm Harvey as
record rain and flooding continue to inundate the Houston area, and USAF
pararescue crews and aircraft are positioned to respond if needed.
Two lawmakers who hold senior appointments on defense
committees criticized President Donald Trump’s directives limiting
transgender individuals from serving in the US military over the
weekend, and advocacy groups filed two separate federal lawsuits Monday
challenging the constitutionality of the President’s new policy.
The Air Force is increasing maximum officer incentive pay by just under 20 percent and enlisted force maximum incentive pay by a clean 50 percent, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said Friday. The service also wants to recruit retired airmen to take up staff positions so that current pilots can stay in their cockpits.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon on Wednesday were each awarded $900 million technology maturation and risk reduction contracts for the Long Range Standoff weapon (LRSO), the Air Force’s program to replace the air-launched component of the nation’s nuclear triad.
The Department of the Treasury announced expanded sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday as the US seeks to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program.
The Pentagon is still evaluating the possible troop
increase in Afghanistan even after President Trump announced his
strategy toward America’s longest war in that country.
The Air Force announced Monday that it has awarded contracts
to Boeing and Northrop Grumman to design the next-generation
Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missile
President Trump on Monday night announced his strategy
toward America’s longest war: no public announcements of troop numbers
or timetables, coupled with fewer restrictions on rules of engagement,
with an overall goal of an “enduring victory” in Afghanistan.
Joint military exercises between US and South Korean forces began Monday with computer-simulated combat scenarios.
The Air Force named two senior staff members for its
new space operations directorate Thursday. Shawn Barnes will serve as
the senior civilian for the directorate, and Maj. Gen. Pamela Lincoln
will be the mobilization assistant to the deputy chief of staff for
space operations, who has not yet been named.
The US is not currently considering a Chinese proposal
that would see North Korea halt its nuclear weapons program in exchange
for the cancellation of annual military drills between the US and
Republic of Korea forces.
The United States and Japan are accelerating the
implementation of a defense security agreement, focused specifically on
missile defense, in light of the increased threat posed by North Korea,
the heads of both nation’s militaries and diplomatic corps said
The Air Force has made progress in improving oversight
of its nuclear command, control, and communications in the short term,
but the service must improve its long-term needs, the Government
Accountability Office says in a new report.
As the country contemplates the meaning of the violence
and turmoil in Charlottesville, Va., the heads of the military have
come out unambiguously opposing it.
The increasingly bellicose rhetoric of President Donald
Trump is being heard loud and clear in North Korea, a panel of experts
from the RAND Corporation told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.
North Korea is holding off on announced plans to test
fire missiles into international waters near Guam, that country’s leader
Kim Jong Un said while inspecting the North’s army on Tuesday.
An A-10 pilot with the 107th Fighter Squadron at
Selfridge ANGB, Mich., successfully landed his Warthog on its belly with
the landing gear retracted under emergency circumstances on July 20.
The US is pushing for a diplomatic solution to
heightened tensions with North Korea, but it is preparing “viable
military options” to be used only if diplomatic and economic pressure
fails, the top US uniformed officer said during a Monday visit to South
The Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) awarded Lockheed Martin a $45 million contract for work on early use military code, or M-Code, capability for current and future GPS satellites.
MQ-9 trainers are still facing a task to increase the
output of pilots and sensor operators, on track to reach a high of 700
this year with even more needed.
In the last 12 months, suicide was the single largest cause of death for Active Duty airmen.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate
Armed Services Committee, released a new strategy for the US war in
Afghanistan on Thursday that calls for the deployment of an unspecified
number of additional US troops and acknowledges the need for “an
enduring US counterterrorism presence” in that country.
The Air Force’s light attack experiment isn’t just a way to test multiple aircraft before a possible purchase, it’s a way to change how the service does acquisition.
During a nearly month-long hacking competition, 272
vetted hackers descended upon a set of USAF sites, doing their best to
Air Force crews are “test driving” four commercial
aircraft for a possible new light attack weapons system, testing it
against a series of points focusing on what the jet could possibly bring
to the fight.
If not adequately restructured in the near future, the
cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s follow-on modernization effort
could see unexpected cost increases, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office released Tuesday.
Air Mobility Command’s largest exercise is giving its
crews the chance to practice their tactics, and on the flight line here,
actually build the procedures for an emerging mission set.
A number of thorny challenges in Congress make it
“difficult to see how a substantial buildup” of military spending could
be enacted for Fiscal 2018, according to new analysis from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA).
The Pentagon has issued “very specific but classified” guidance detailing how service members can counter threats provided by small unmanned aircraft.
For Air Mobility Command’s biggest exercise, Washington
state’s Columbia Basin is an austere setting and the focal point of
inserting airpower. And the airmen of the 621st Contingency
Response Wing are currently holding the airfield and moving aircraft,
just like they would if they were in Syria or Iraq.
The Air Force closed a deal Friday to buy two stored
Boeing 747-8s as the next presidential transports, and it's possible
that buying the already-built jets could speed the process of replacing
the VC-25As now serving that role.
Air Mobility Command on Wednesday returned five C-5M
Super Galaxies to flight following last month’s stand down at Dover AFB,
Del., due to issues with the air lifter’s landing gear.
The four countries currently posing, or projected to
pose, a nuclear threat to the US are China, Russia, North Korea, and
Iran, said Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USAF Gen. Paul
Nuclear deterrence is the Defense Department’s “most
important mission,” according to the US military’s second
More than 60 mobility aircraft took to the skies of
Washington state Wednesday, linking with fighters from across the
Northwest to fight their way into the Inland Northwest in the first day
of Air Mobility Command’s largest-ever exercise.
The Pentagon outlined its plan to reorganize its
acquisition, technology, and logistics organization in a new report
presented to Congress on Tuesday, emphasizing the importance of quickly
getting capabilities to the warfighters at an affordable cost.
“Stealth” technology hasn’t been rendered obsolete by
new radars and detection methods, and has, if anything, become even more
of a critical design consideration for future combat aircraft,
according to stealth veterans and experts at an AFA Mitchell Institute program at the US Capitol Wednesday.
The Afghan Air Force recently requested to take full
responsibility for the flightline maintenance of it’s A-29 fleet, a
major goal of USAF advisers in the country.
The Air Force is in the final stages of buying two
mothballed 747-8i aircraft in storage in the Mojave desert to serve as
the basis for the new Air Force One aircraft, the service confirmed
Effective deterrence on a global scale requires
sustained international collaboration, the chief of US Strategic Command
Gen. John Hyten said at STRATCOM’s 2017 Deterrence Symposium, held in
Omaha, Neb., July 26-27.
Deployment of the next-generation ground control system (OCX) for the GPS III satellite constellation has been delayed
nine months beyond the Air Force’s most recent estimate, and
congressional critics of the Air Force’s management of space operations
are pouncing on the news.
President Trump awarded former Spc. 5 James McCloughan
the Medal of Honor—the nation’s highest honor for valor in combat—during
a White House ceremony on Monday.
As chief of US Strategic Command’s elevated joint space component,
Gen. Jay Raymond will be better positioned to integrate space power
across acquisitions, testing and evaluation, and operational functions.
Air Mobility Command on Monday will kick off its first, large-scale exercise designed to practice all facets of its mission.
Iraqi forces on Tuesday did not suffer any casualties in Mosul for the first time since October, while coalition jets have not conducted airstrikes in the city for two weeks. Coalition officials have also reported a massive reduction in the group’s online propaganda.
Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, will also become the joint space component commander for US Strategic Command, STRATCOM boss Gen. John Hyten told reporters during a conference call Wednesday. The move comes as Hyten works to restructure his entire command, consolidating 18 component commands under four components for air, space, sea, and missile defense, each with its own four-star commander.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted that the military would not allow transgender individuals to serve, a change in Defense Department policy ahead of Defense Secretary James Mattis’s plan to review the decision.
Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said a new bomber roadmap will be out in September which will go well beyond simply a plan for how USAF will invest in and evolve its bomber fleet. It will be a broader “global strike” plan knitting together all the enablers for the mission of striking any target on earth. Also coming is a new white paper laying out USAF’s priorities during the tour of Goldfein and Secretary Heather Wilson. He touched on the five priorities, and also discussed with Air Force Magazine how modernization priorities will shift to accommodate increased funding for readiness.
The Air Force’s star stealth aircraft—the B-2, F-22 and F-35A—had their first-ever joint missions in Red Flag 17-3, exercise officials reported Wednesday, practicing against “strategic targets” equipped with the toughest integrated air defenses the Nellis AFB, Nev. Test and Training Range could muster. They were joined by Marine Corps F-35Bs, and the commanders of the USAF and USMC units found their training and tactics to be highly similar and easily integrated.
Space-based sensors are the most urgent need for US missile defense systems, Gen. John Hyten, chief of US Strategic Command, told reporters during a conference call Wednesday. While political leadership will ultimately decide on how many interceptors the US needs and where to place them, Hyten is focused on improving STRATCOM’s ability to characterize threats originating from anywhere on the globe.
The Department of Defense Inspector General has
launched a criminal investigation into the procurement of Afghan
National Army uniforms,” the Pentagon’s top investigator for Afghanistan
reconstruction told a House panel Tuesday.
US-backed fighters have moved deeper into ISIS-held
Raqqa, claiming more territory as coalition airstrikes have continued to
batter ISIS targets in the city at a high rate.
DARPA wants to mitigate the risks inherent in the
global spread of gene editing and is willing to pay $65 million for
solutions over the next four years.
House and Senate Democrats this week expressed concern about the Trump administration’s ongoing Nuclear Posture Review and raised questions about the Pentagon’s plans for modernizing the entire nuclear triad.
President Trump on Thursday met with Defense Secretary
James Mattis and other top Defense and State Department officials during
a rare meeting at the Pentagon as the White House and DOD officials
mull sending more troops to Afghanistan.
An Air Force investigation found that a sheared rotary
crank and the boom operator’s failure to turn off a boom control switch
caused a KC-10 Extender’s refueling boom to completely fall off the
aircraft and crash into an Idaho field in November.
Three major Air Force acquisition programs saw greater
than 10 percent decreases in cost from 2015 to 2016, while the overall
F-35 program and key weapons acquisition program saw costs jump,
according to a new Pentagon report.
The US has both diplomatic and military options to respond to Russia’s violation
of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty within the scope
of the treaty itself, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen.
Paul Selva told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
A new Space Corps would complicate the command and
control of US satellite constellations and waste resources, vice
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USAF Gen. Paul Selva told the
Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday morning.
The military’s reliance on airpower in the ISIS fight
has been effective in enabling ground forces to retake territory, but it
has long-term impacts on the Air Force’s availability of weapons and
the availability of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance
assets, according to new Government Accountability Office report.
Air Mobility Command on Monday stood down all C-5
operations at Dover AFB, Del., following two nose landing gear issues
within the past 60 days.
The death of the emir of ISIS in Afghanistan is a
“victory on our side” for the time being, but the setback is only
limited and there’s a lot more to do in the fight, Defense Secretary
James Mattis said.
Gulfstream wants skeptics to shed their notions of business jets as too small, slow, or underpowered to serve as the platforms for a variety of special missions the Air Force must recapitalize in the coming years.
The House voted 344-81 to approve its version of
the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act on Friday. The bill contains
$621 billion in base budget spending and $75 billion in the overseas
contingency operations (OCO) fund, of which $10 billion will pay for
July in the Middle East means triple-digit temperatures and extreme humidity that makes the outside air feel more like a solid than a gas. It’s a challenge for everyone in the region, but the heat really takes a toll on the U-2, a pilot told Air Force Magazine.
The Air Force is working to change the way it develops
new software through several pathfinder programs that are focused on
business and logistics systems, Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Air
Force Materiel Command, said Friday.
The Air Force “terminated” a four-year-old contract
with Northrop Grumman Thursday aimed at upgrading the software used in
the service’s air operations centers that for more than two decades has
received, hosted, and parsed incoming data used in fusion warfare.
The House on Thursday rejected proposed amendments to
the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have
delayed development of the Long Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO) and allowed
another round of base realignment and closure (BRAC).
The House Rules Committee on Wednesday voted against a proposal by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) to block efforts to create a separate Space Corps within the Air Force.
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.
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
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 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
Air Combat Command needs to grow, but can’t afford to,
and so it will likely wind up cutting more legacy fleets, ACC chief Gen.
Mike holmes said Tuesday at an AFA event on Capitol Hill.
Air Combat Command needs “help” on getting the
authority to better defend against small drones, because they’re proving
to be an increasingly dangerous threat even in peacetime operations,
ACC commander Gen. Mike Holmes said Tuesday.
The full version of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s markup of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been released, offering a first indication of new military policies the Senate may want to enact in 2018.
The F-35 program’s cost grew $11 billion in base year
2012 dollars because the Air Force has decided to buy the jets more
slowly, the F-35 Joint Program Office reported late July 11.
While Iraqi forces still need to clear ISIS holdouts from recently liberated Mosul, coalition aircraft will look more to liberate the group’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria.
US-led coalition aircraft in June set another record
for the most airstrikes in its ongoing campaign against ISIS in Iraq and
Syria, dropping 4,848 weapons last month. The spike in
airstrikes came as coalition forces assisted Iraqi Security Forces in
liberating ISIS from Mosul. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
proclaimed victory from the city on Sunday.
The list of proposed amendments to the draft 2018
National Defense Authorization Act shows that key provisions may still
have hurdles to clear before becoming law. Members of the House of
Representatives were required to submit individual proposed amendments
to the House Rules Committee by noon Friday. That committee is set to decide Tuesday on which amendments it will allow for floor debate before the full House on July 12 and 13.
The next air superiority platform—the Penetrating
Counter Air aircraft—is “not a fighter,” insists the Air Force officer
whose team came up with the concept, but will rather be a key flying
sensor platform with lots of weapons and long range that will enable
USAF’s existing fighters.
Lockheed Martin on Friday received a $5.58 billion
contract modification for the next low-rate initial production lot of 74
F-35s, the Pentagon announced.
Two B-1B bombers flew a nighttime training mission on
July 6 over the East China Sea in coordination with Japanese forces. The
historic mission is part of an accelerated air operations campaign in
the Pacific, where the number of higher headquarters-directed tanker and
bomber sorties has nearly tripled in the past two years.
Air Combat Command’s premier exercise will integrate two variants of the newest fighter for the first time.
North Korea’s July 4 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile does not bring the US and that country closer to war, as diplomacy is still leading the US effort to avoid a nuclear conflict in the region, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Thursday.
The US-led coalition fighting ISIS has worked with Iraqi officials to create a rapidly deployable police station “in a box” to quickly stand up security stations in previously ISIS-held areas.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order re-establishing the National Space Council on Friday. The move to create such a Council for the first time since 1993 “sends a clear signal to the world,” Trump said, “that we are restoring America’s proud legacy of leadership in space.” Vice President Mike Pence will chair the space advisory group.
North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile test on Tuesday was of a type unseen before by the Pentagon, and traveled further than any previous test in a dramatic escalation of that country’s nuclear ambitions.
The Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC)
awarded a $191 million launch services contract to United Launch
Alliance (ULA) to launch the Space Test Program-3 mission atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., in June 2019.
NATO on Thursday announced it will increase its troop
level in Afghanistan, as the US mulls a surge of its own to help Afghan
forces fight a resurgent Taliban and ISIS.
Iraqi officials on Thursday declared the end of ISIS’s
so-called caliphate as security forces reclaimed a symbolic mosque in
the heart of Mosul.
The provision establishing a separate Space Corps
within the Air Force survived a challenge at the House Armed Services
Committee’s FY18 National Defense Authorization Act markup Wednesday and
will be included in the full legislation.
The Air Force on Tuesday said it “strongly objects” to language in the House Armed Services Committee’s chairman’s markup of the FY18 NDAA that would restrict the way the service invests money in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.
President Trump announced his intent to nominate the
former president and CEO of Textron Systems, Ellen Lord, to be the next
under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics.
The House Armed Services Committee marked up its version of the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act Wednesday.
A herd of 900 goats will spend the summer gobbling up invasive weeds that have taken over large sections of the base, including some used for ground training. Over the course of six weeks, the goats are expected to work through as much as 1,000 acres.
Of the many improvements the Defense Department should
implement in its remotely piloted aircraft enterprise, one of them is
putting someone specifically in charge of RPAs, said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA's Mitchell Institute.
The House is set to propose $621 billion in base budget
defense spending—more than the $574 billion requested by President
Donald Trump, but short of the $640 billion baseline championed by
congressional leaders, including Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman
of the House Armed Services Committee, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.),
chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The White House is warning Syria to not launch a chemical attack, saying the regime would “pay a heavy price” if its warning is ignored.
An Air Force Thunderbirds’ pilot and a member of the
Thunderbirds’ enlisted team are in “good condition” after the F-16D they
were flying in flipped over after landing in Dayton, Ohio, during high
winds early Friday afternoon.
An Air Force Thunderbirds’ pilot and a tactical
aircraft maintainer, who was a member of the Thunderbirds’ enlisted
team, are in “good condition” after the F-16D they were flying in
flipped after landing in Dayton, Ohio, during high winds early Friday
The US and Russia communicated via the established
deconfliction line in advance of Russia’s large cruise missile strike on
ISIS depots inside Syria, the coalition said Friday.
The Air Force recently released the criteria for the
"R" device, to be awarded for meritorious achievement during a combat
mission that is controlled by someone who is not on the battlefield.
USAF’s light attack experiment comes with no promises. But for Textron, placing two aircraft in OA-X is a great opportunity for the aircraft to strut their stuff as the world watches.
How do you keep a state of the art F-35 stealth fighter safe in a crowd? By following procedures and responding to your instincts. Read the full story by Adam J. Hebert who is reporting from the Paris Air Show.
The Defense Department will likely wrap up its analysis
of alternatives on a new Penetrating Electronic Attack aircraft within a
month, Pentagon electronic warfare guru Bill Conley told attendees at
an AFA Mitchell Institute program June 22.
Designs for the seventh generation Perdix unmanned aircraft vehicle should be completed by this summer, William Roper, the director of the Defense Department’s Strategic Capabilities Office, said in an exclusive interview with Air Force Magazine.
The Marine Corps on Thursday temporarily suspended F-35
flight operations at its Arizona base due to concerns with the jet's
logistics systems as USAF investigators continue efforts to find the
root cause of hypoxia-like incidents in its variant.
Twenty-two House Democrats, led by Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), introduced new legislation Thursday aimed at responding to a range of Russian aggressions against the US and its allies.
When foreign nations seeking new military equipment “Buy American,” they’re not just buying hardware. They also buy into a long-term relationship with the United States.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) forcefully reasserted his intention to create a separate military Space Corps Thursday during the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee markup session for the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.
Congress may be ready to hold Russia accountable for its violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
The Air Force may be required to establish a separate Space Corps within the service by 2019, according to the House strategic forces subcommittee markup of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, released Tuesday.
commander of US Air Forces in Europe would like to see “more growth and
more fighter squadrons,” as USAF increases end strength, brings on new
equipment, and improves the training and readiness of its existing units.
Raytheon anticipates that company sales in the special
mission aircraft (SMA) area will steadily grow over the next few years
as demand for multispectral ISR continues to expand.
Gen. John Hyten, commander of US Strategic Command, said he would “strongly urge Congress not to slow down any element of the triad” Tuesday at an AFA Mitchell event in Washington, D.C. “When I look at each element, we cannot slow them down,” he told the audience. “We actually need to accelerate them, not decelerate them.”
Afghan forces are at a “critical point” in their fight against insurgency, as Taliban gains in rural areas have prompted US officials to recently say the US, NATO, and Afghan forces are “losing” the war.
The F-35A’s airshow debut was impressive to watch, but also showcased the aircraft’s performance and capabilities.
An Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian-made drone flying near US-backed fighters inside Syria, marking another dramatic escalation in the air war and increasing tensions with Russia.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) sharply questioned Deputy Defense Secretary nominee Patrick Shanahan over his answers to senator’s questions and his background as a Boeing executive at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.
The stealthy F-35A strike fighter made its demonstration-flight debut at the Paris Air Show Monday as production rates, aircraft in service, and international interest in the fighter all ramp up.
This month’s largely simultaneous Saber Strike and BALTOPS exercises brought in a big Air Force presence for realistic training along NATO’s eastern frontiers. Veterans of multiple BALTOPS and Saber Strike exercises said this year’s iterations really ramped up the realism and intensity.
The communications link between the US Combined Air Operations Center and Russian officials remained open Monday morning, after Russia said it was pulling out of the agreement after a US Navy jet shot down a Syrian Air Force plane.
Experts from more than 30 think tanks have written an open letter to Congress urging lawmakers to approve another round of base realignment and closure (BRAC) in an effort to save money by reducing excess Department of Defense capacity.
A US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet on Sunday shot down a manned Syrian Air Force jet after it dropped bombs on US-backed fighters.
Developing multi-domain command and control (MDC2) for the battlefield of the future is one of the Air Force’s top priorities. However, congressional leaders speaking at an AFA Mitchell Institute event on Friday said the Fiscal 2018 budget shows the service is not taking the requirement seriously.
The Air Force wants to be the lead service in US military space operations, but Congress is growing impatient with the service’s efforts to deliver long-promised reforms to unify leadership and streamline acquisitions.
The Air Force announced Friday it is flight testing its AgilePod, a first-of-its-kind and lego-like structure allowing operators to answer various missions demands with multiple sensors on a single platform.
The cause of five physiological incidents among F-35A pilots at Luke AFB, Ariz., remains a mystery, but the Air Force is contemplating an “initial” return to flight status as early as June 20, 56th Fighter Wing commander Brig. Gen. Brook Leonard told reporters Friday.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis reminded Congress on Thursday that it has the power to authorize more money than President Donald Trump requested for the Defense Department in his Fiscal 2018 budget.
Five years ago, B-1 aircraft availability reached a historical low point. But thanks to the maturation of the bomber’s upgrade program, the timely assistance of stopgap civilian maintainers, and a recent increase in military manpower, B-1 availability is rebounding.
The Pentagon’s expanded authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, granted Tuesday by the White House, will be guided by strategy set by the State Department and will not immediately impact the current number of boots on the ground, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Wednesday.
Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday would not
commit to recapitalizing the Air Force’s Air-Launched Cruise Missile
inventory, and said he is reviewing all legs of the triad to determine
the most effective, and cost-conscious, nuclear deterrent.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis told Congress Tuesday the US is “not winning the war” in Afghanistan.
The Government Accountability Office has identified five major problem
areas for the Department of Defense, including readiness, threats in the
cyberspace domain, controlling escalating costs of weapons systems and
medical care, managing human capital, and improving the efficiency of
The current missile defense system protecting the United States will hold ahead of threats at least through 2020, Defense Department officials told members of the House Armed Services strategic forces panel on June 7.
As part of its transition to a new concept of the space situational awareness mission, the Air Force is in the process of adding sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) to its installations with ground-based space surveillance radars to allow operators to share certain types of classified information.
The Air Force on Friday temporarily grounded F-35As at
Luke AFB, Ariz., after five separate incidents where pilots reported
Space operators need to be ready to fight in the Pacific, but they are not prepared to do so currently, commanders of three of the Air Force’s space wings said Friday at an AFA Mitchell Institute event on Capitol Hill. Air Force Space Command has been so focused on supporting US Central Command that they have work to do—in technology, training, and manpower—to be ready for potential operations in the US Pacific Command area of responsibility.
The Air Force doesn’t believe Boeing will meet its December 2017 deadline to deliver its first KC-46 aircraft delivery, saying in a statement released Thursday it thinks that actual delivery will take place in Spring 2018.
US forces on Thursday shot down a suspected pro-regime
drone inside Syria, the third time US forces have taken kinetic action
against forces allied with the regime.
The attack on the 2016 US presidential election was directed from the highest levels of the Russian government, Former FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Thursday.
Canada’s Department of National Defense pledged to increase its military spending by 70 percent over 10 years in a defense policy review released Wednesday. The document offers no further clarity on which aircraft Canada’s DND will choose as a long-term replacement for its aging fleet of CF-18 fighters, but the plan does note that the long-term goal is to procure 88 advanced fighters to allow Canada to “deliver on NORAD and NATO commitments without compromise.”
The fiscal year 2018 Air Force budget request represents “the best balance of our readiness and modernization” given “the fiscal constraints we face,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch told Congress on Wednesday. “We had to make tough choices,” said Bunch, the top USAF uniformed acquisition official. Readiness is not funded as he would like, for starters.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Adm.
Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, told members of
the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday they never felt pressure
to interfere with the ongoing FBI investigation into whether there was
collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
TSgt. James McKay was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross on June 2 for his role as a special missions aviator over Bor, South Sudan, on Dec. 21, 2013.
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff David Goldfein faced a skeptical Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, defending the administration’s Fiscal 2018 budget request, the current pace of acquisition, and the need to rebuild readiness.
In one of her first speeches since becoming Air Force Secretary, Heather Wilson said she wants to speed up acquisition, bringing on more people and restoring readiness to an Air Force that is older and smaller than ever. Wilson reiterated the service’s top priorities as the F-35 fighter, KC-46 tanker, and B-21 bomber, alongside boosting the number of fighter pilots as near-term priorities, though she is awaiting the results of various strategy reviews to make firm plans about force sizing and content.
The Air Force is moving to a tiered pilot bonus system that will pay fighter pilots more because they are in greater demand. The service is also adding more flexibility and options when pilots of various specialties sign up for additional contract lengths.
crews deployed to US Central Command have several missions to support,
with an endless supply of thirsty aircraft requiring air refueling. It
all takes delicate planning to ensure enough tankers and airlifters are
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, and other Muslim nations on Monday cut diplomatic ties as well as air, sea, and land connections with Qatar, saying the Gulf Cooperation Council country supports terrorism. However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he did not expect the move to impact the fight against terrorism in the region.
The Air Force’s big push to replenish its depleted
stocks of munitions, as well as the rate at which it will buy F-35s, are
both tied to the Strategic Defense Review and other ongoing reviews,
Undersecretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow said Friday.
The Air Force does not want a separate space force right now because it is focused on developing and delivering new capabilities to stay ahead of adversaries, Undersecretary Lisa Disbrow said in an editorial board.
The need for readiness in the information war is
“critical,” Undersecretary of the Air Force Lisa Disbrow said, and USAF
is figuring out how to address its “shortcomings” in that struggle.
A small team of USAF security forces are deployed to a
Kabul air base to help Afghan National Army soldiers learn to protect
and defend their own air wings.
new administration’s push to “annihilate” ISIS in Afghanistan, loosened
rules of engagement, and support from B-52s caused a massive spike in
the number of US airstrikes inside Afghanistan this spring. As the
number of strike sorties increase, the Air Force is considering once
again basing tankers in Afghanistan.
A sudden failure of the primary control module (PCM),
or flight computer, caused an MQ-1B to crash in the US Central Command
area of responsibility on Jan. 7, 2016, according to an accident
investigation board report released
half of the entire sortie count tallied by the Afghan Air Force in 2016
came on the wings of 24 nondescript, single-engine Cessnas that are
constantly taking off and landing on airstrips across the country.
Sixty-one airmen participated in the Department of Defense’s Career Intermission Pilot Program (CIPP) in 2015 and 2016, at a total cost of $1.2 million, a new Government Accountability Office report found. While no pilots have participated in CIPP so far, the Air Force thinks the military sabbatical program could help resolve its growing pilot shortage.
NATO’s decision to joint the counter ISIS coalition
means its members will increase their presence in the fight, but not
necessarily engage in combat, the organization’s deputy secretary
general said this week.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has released an Indo-Asia-Pacific security bill that calls for increased US military posture and more than $2 billion in new defense spending in the region.
The Afghan Air Force A-29 fleet is experiencing growing pains, but it has become a cornerstone of the Afghan Air Force’s combat operations in the country, thanks to a team of USAF advisers.
A massive bomb hidden in a tanker truck ripped through
the Wednesday morning commute in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter, killing more than 80
and injuring more than 460, including almost a dozen Americans.
The successful test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system on Tuesday validated key system upgrades and ensured the US can defend its homeland against ballistic missile threats through 2020.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House
Armed Services Committee, criticized President Donald Trump’s proposed
spending on nuclear modernization programs in a statement released Wednesday.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford told
the 979 graduates in the 2017 US Air Force Academy graduating class that
their success will no longer be based solely on their individual
merits, but what they are able to accomplish as a team, and flexibility
will be key as they navigate today’s ever-changing security environment.
Rep. Mike Gallagher on Thursday questioned whether the
Air Force is low balling the actual number of B-21 Raiders it will need
in the future, citing a 2015 AFA Mitchell Institute study that found the service would as many as 258 bombers if conflict were to erupt with Russia.
Boeing filed a protest with the Government
Accountability Office on May 19 alleging the Air Force’s acquisition
strategy regarding the EC-130 Compass Call recap “seems to ignore
inherent and obvious conflicts of interest.”
Thursday is Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan’s last day as the Program Executive officer for the Joint Strike Fighter. In an exclusive exit interview with Air Force Magazine,
he discusses why he’s been able to remain in charge for five years on a
project where, by law, he should have been gone in two.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has
chosen Boeing to collaboratively develop and fly the XS-1 spaceplane, a
reusable launch vehicle capable of lofting a 3,000-pound payload to
orbit at an “aircraft-like” tempo.
President Donald Trump’s budget proposes a 20 percent
increase in Air Force space investment over President Barack Obama’s
F-22s have played a key role in the fight against ISIS,
helping protect aircraft from Syrian air defenses and coordinating
strike packages. Their pace has increased, and Raptors are now flying in
their “full capacity” in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
One of the areas where the Air Force’s Fiscal 2018
budget request sees a sharp increase is in munitions. The war against
ISIS has drained USAF stocks, particularly precision munitions that are
the preferred weapon in a war where extreme accuracy is needed to
prevent civilian casualties.
Despite its pleas to modernize and grow its smallest
fleet ever, the Air Force isn’t buying many new airplanes, relative to
the many missions it now undertakes.
President Donald Trump is requesting $574 billion in
base funding for the Department of Defense and $65 billion in overseas
contingency operations (OCO) funding for fiscal year 2018.
Research, development, test, and evaluation gets a
more than 25 percent increase in the Air Force’s Fiscal 2018 budget
request to Congress.
The Air Force isn’t boosting its buy of F-35s in the Fiscal 2018 budget, and chances are, it won’t for a few years.
The Air Force’s Fiscal 2018 budget, released on
Tuesday, requests $132.4 billion in the baseline “blue budget” and $13.9
billion for overseas contingency operations.
When F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen.
Christopher Bogdan took over the project, he had doubts that such a
massive effort would actually work. In an interview with Air Force
Magazine, Bogdan, who turns over the program to his deputy on Thursday,
explained the technical, programmatic, and military/political turning
points that convinced him the F-35 had a chance of success.
Five years after making headlines saying the
relationship between Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon over the F-35
program was the “worst I’ve ever seen,” Joint Program Office director
Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan said things are improving, but there’s more
work to be done.
Though the F-35’s price has been coming down
consistently, it will start to rise in the early 2020s as the services
and partners begin applying a series of upgrades, Joint Program Office
director Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, who is stepping down from the job
Thursday, said in an interview with Air Force Magazine.
The Department of Defense briefed
reporters on the Trump administration’s new strategy for an “accelerated
operation against ISIS” Friday afternoon, and speed of operations took
Air Force Research Laboratory technology was on
display during DOD’s Lab Day Thursday, showcasing some innovative ideas,
and some old ones, too.
At the military service academies, transgender cadets
are being allowed to graduate but not to commission as officers this
spring. The decisions are in line with current Department of Defense
policy, but that is likely to change soon.
The Pentagon’s ponderous acquisition system has gone
from being a red tape headache to a genuine security threat, as US
adversaries step on the gas and field new technologies and systems far
faster than the Pentagon can stay ahead of them.
During the type’s first deployment to Europe, F-35As
maintained a mission capable rate higher than a concurrent F-16
deployment, while forward deploying to the Baltics and training
alongside fourth generation jets.
The Air Force completed the first programmed depot maintenance of a nuclear launch facility since its activation in the 1960s.
Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes is a believer
in the idea of a light attack aircraft fleet for the Air Force, if the
money can be found to buy one.
Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday in latest clash
between the Intelligence Community (IC) and the White House. The IC itself is composed of departments within various agencies, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, and others.
The Air Force has settled on the slate of companies to
be invited to participate in this summer’s OA-X Light Attack Aircraft
experiments, a service spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
The Air Force is looking for some friendly hackers to
find vulnerabilities its public websites in an effort to bolster cyber
security. Hackers from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada,
Australia, and New Zealand are invited to participate in the Hack the
Air Force contest, which will run from May 30 to June 23.
The Senate confirmed Heather Wilson as the 24th
Secretary of the Air Force on Monday with a vote of 76-22. Wilson has
extensive experience with the Air Force, Congress, and in education and
since she is only the second of President Trump’s nominees to be
confirmed, she will likely wield significant influence in the new
USAF’s push to bring its air operations center into
the modern era is years in the works, hundreds of millions of dollars
over its initial budget, and currently paused for lack of FY17 funding.
And the service’s senior uniformed acquisition official, Lt. Gen. Arnold
Bunch, told Air Force Magazine he will get it done—with or without its
current and main contractor, Northrop Grumman.
Since operations commenced against ISIS in August 2014, the Coalition has dropped nearly 80,000 weapons against
ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Of that figure, USAF alone has delivered
approximately 70 percent of all the weapons. In the last week of April,
the Air Force dropped an even larger share, 80 percent, of the nearly
700 weapons delivered against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. The Navy,
while flying a smaller share of the total strike effort, also offers
valuable surge capacity and flexibility to the overall war effort. Air
Forces Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said Navy air
assets are “a crucial part of enabling the coalition to quickly adapt to
the dynamic environment in which we operate. … The coalition is
stronger because of each service and coalition partner’s unique
capabilities that they bring to the fight.”
Medal of Honor recipient retired USAF Col. Leo
Thorsness died Tuesday in Florida, according to the Congressional Medal
of Honor Society. He was 85.
A recent war game conducted by US Transportation
Command revealed that US military lift is “distinctly vulnerable”
because of its heavy reliance on commercial partners, TRANSCOM boss Gen.
Darren McDew told the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.
The number of sexual assaults of Active Duty troops
decreased in Fiscal 2016, while the percentage of troops who reported
those sexual assaults increased, according to a report released Monday by the Pentagon. However, sexual assault reporting in the Air Force remained “unchanged,” the report states.
The Defense Department awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.377
billion contract on April 28 to start the process of the so-called
“block buy” program, expected to save $2 billion over three lots of
Air Force’s fifth generation F-22s and F-35s flew alongside the best
British and French fighters for the first time in a large-scale exercise
here, but the aircraft is not the focus of the event. For USAF commanders planning and
flying regularly in Exercise Atlantic Trident 2017, the pilots and
maintainers themselves are the important focus of the trilateral
Lockheed Martin announced Wednesday that the newest
version of its Autonomic Logistics Information System, or ALIS, which
the company calls “the IT backbone of the F-35,” has been approved for
installation on Air Force and Navy F-35s.
Gen. William Kirk, one of the USAF leaders credited as a
“father” of the Aggressors and the Red Flag exercise, commander of US
Air Forces Europe, a two-time MiG killer and a noted expert in
electronic warfare, died April 26 in Florida.
The F-35 Joint Program Office disputes several of the
conclusions in the Government Accountability Office’s second annual
assessment of the project, released Monday.
Two US F-35A strike fighters arrived
Tuesday at Amari
AB, Estonia, but then returned to their deployed location at RAF
Lakenheath, England, a couple hours later. “The purpose was to show
their presence,” Col. Jaak Tarien, the Chief of the Estonian Armed
Forces, told Air Force Magazine.
About two dozen American airmen and about 60 airmen
from several African nations recently participated in an African
Partnership Flight in Burkina Faso designed to share best practices for
maintenance and logistics in a humanitarian assistance or disaster
The F-35 program should wait until the all-up Block 3F
software version is fully developed before asking industry to offer
upgrades for future iterations, known as Block IV, and before
significantly increasing the fighter’s production rate, the Government
Accountability Office said Monday.
Two retired special tactics airmen were awarded the
Air Force Cross at the same ceremony here Thursday for heroic actions in
separate battles in Afghanistan more than a decade apart.
The movement of eight F-35As to Lakenheath,
England—the first overseas deployment of the Air Force’s newest
fighter—isn’t meant to send any kind of political message, and the
aircraft won’t be available for operational missions during their
weeks-long stay in the UK.
Air Force revelations in recent weeks that it’s
beginning to think about the phaseout of the F-15C/D Eagle has raised
eyebrows and concern on Capitol Hill, potentially setting the stage for a
replay of the controversy over USAF’s attempt to retire the A-10. But
the move is inevitable, sooner or later, and is being considered in
light of anticipated budgets and force structure.
It appears that some of our nation’s lawmakers might surrender to the idea that the Department of Defense can operate on a continuing resolution for defense appropriations the remainder of this fiscal year. To be clear, it won’t be an enemy that grounds the world’s best Air Force—this would be a self-inflicted wound.
The US military needs to get better at using existing
acquisition regulations more flexibly, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff Gen. Paul Selva said Thursday at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force
breakfast. This means taking risk, staying out of the safe middle-ground
of the rules, and looking for the “corners” that allow unexpected
arrangements. It may also mean working with “kids that wear flip-flops,
worn-out jeans, and bleached t-shirts to work every day.”
Thirty-six years ago, NASA sent humans into space in a brand new type of shuttle—one with wings and wheels.
Eighteen months after engaging in a 96-hour-long
battle in Afghanistan, Tech. Sgt. Brian Claughsey received a Silver Star
Medal on April 7.
The April 6 attack on a Syrian airfield was not
intend to destroy the airfield, but was aimed at limiting the Syrian
government’s ability to conduct operations “in the short term.”
A reconstituted National Space Council can “help
streamline” space decision making and support needed legislative
changes, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) said Tuesday at the 33rd Space
Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo.
US needs a separate military service to handle space, separating it
from the Air Force, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) said Tuesday.
An AFRL department is working to figure out what a person may be concealing—among other things—just by looking at them.
Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.
Lockheed Martin is hoping to demonstrate the full capabilities of its virtual prototyping lab if it wins a contract to develop the next Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. Lockheed also thinks its digital tapestry approach can help accurately pinpoint the total cost of the system, estimates of which have varied widely within the Department of Defense. “The more you can mature a cost model the better,” John Karas, vice president and GBSD program manager told reporters at the Lockheed Martin facility in Littleton, Colo., Monday.
As the Air Force works to retire its fleet of MQ-1
Predators, Air Force Magazine spoke with the man whose engineering feats
of the 1970s and 1980s first made unmanned systems reliable.
Congress has helped mitigate serious damage to the Air Force’s top-priority programs, but dozens of projects would be severely hampered if Congress continues to substitute continuing resolutions for approved long-term spending plans, top service officers told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airland panel Wednesday.
Air Force Secretary nominee Heather Wilson, in her
nomination hearing Thursday, pledged to focus on cost effectiveness on
the Air Force’s major acquisition programs and urged lawmakers to repeal
sequestration, giving the service more budget certainty to face issues
such as a growing pilot shortage.
Artificial intelligence is much more powerful when a
human is helping it think outside the box, said William Roper, head of
the Defense Department’s Strategic Capabilities Office, at an AFA
Mitchell Institute event on Tuesday.
a five-year tour, Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan will retire in
the coming weeks, to be succeeded by his deputy, Navy
Rear Adm. (selected for Vice Admiral) Mathias Winter.
DARPA has chosen two finalists for its Gremlins
program’s second phase, taking the UAV recovery program past its first,
proof-of-concept phase. The 12-month long, second phase of the project
started in March and is worth up to $21 million.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry
(R-Texas) described a military in disrepair after eight years of the
Obama Administration. In a conversation with reporters on Wednesday,
they laid out a defense budget plan to restore readiness and discussed
the need for further acquisition reforms.
The Lockheed Martin’s T-50A entry in the T-X advanced
trainer competition is so low-risk that the company believes it could
achieve initial operational capability with the jet two years ahead of
the Air Force’s requirement, should the service wish to do that, company
Skunkworks chief Rob Weiss claimed Tuesday.
China is set to modernize its nuclear arsenal and accelerate a path toward regional deterrence—maybe even adjusting current nuclear policy, according to a recent RAND study.
The inaugural F-35 symposium at JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, was a “who’s who of the F-35,” with more than 100 participants from the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps as well representatives from Pacific F-35 partner-nations South Korea, Japan, and Australia, Brig. Gen. Craig Wills, Pacific Air Forces director of strategic plans, requirements, and programs, told Air Force Magazine. The two-day event focused primarily on the aircraft itself, rather than the broader picture of F-35 command and control, with topics including bed down, integration, logistics, sustainment, and combat operations.
Flintlock, an annual special operations training
exercise in Africa, wraps up Thursday. More than 20 countries and 2,000
people participated in the exercise, which included events in Chad,
Niger, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, and Mauritania.
The social media scandal in which male US Marines
posted nude pictures of female Marines without their knowledge through a
private Facebook group is just one instance of a problem that involves
all the military services.
The J-20 “Mighty Dragon,” China’s first purportedly
stealth combat aircraft, is operational, Chinese state television
reported on March 9, without giving further details.
The Air Force plans to release a draft solicitation to
industry for nearly 40,000 hours of adversary air and support at 12
different bases, including 11,250 hours per year at the US Weapons
School at Nellis AFB, Nev. The multi-award contract, which is expected
in January 2019, has the potential to “consume the entire industry
several times over,” said Russ Bartlett, President and CEO of Textron
The Defense Logistics Agency chose Lockheed as USAF’s
industrial product-support vendor (IPV) for the service’s third
generation logistics program. The major focus of the agreement is
managing rapid replenishment of consumable parts so maintainers can access the components they need when
they need them.
Lockheed Martin’s Paveway redesigned dual-mode
laser/GPS-guided weapon—rebranded as “Paragon”—is slated to complete
flight tests this year, with the aim of competing with laser-guided JDAM
and other precision-guided munitions as early as next year. Lockheed said the weapon will offer the same capabilities of the JDAM, but will be about 30 percent cheaper.
With marching orders from the new administration to improve
readiness first, the Air Force in the near term may have to scale back some of
its enormous and ambitious modernization efforts, senior Air Force leaders said Friday.
Russians are testing fusion capabilities in Syria much like Americans experimented with technology during Desert Storm, but they’re “absolutely not” where USAF is with regard to command and control and fusion warfare, said Brig. Gen. Peter Lambert, Air Combat Command’s director of intelligence.
David Shulkin, the freshly minted Secretary of
Veterans Affairs, said without congressional support, his agency’s
claims backlog will likely “grow.”
Defense Secretary James Mattis got some big overhauls rolling at the Pentagon with a pair of Jan. 17 Department-wide memos with tight deadlines. He wants to fulfill Congress’ direction to abolish the Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics job, replacing it with two and possibly three other posts, and he wants the services to look at consolidating their non-fighting activities, such as healthcare, commissaries, and MWR.
Given its heavy usage and its high operating cost, the
B-1 may be retired sooner than the B-52, which is 20 years older,
according to Air Combat Command chief Gen. Hawk Carlisle.
Twenty years after the Air Force gave up its EF-111
stand-in jamming platform, it is again looking to create an escort
electronic warfare aircraft capability, inheriting the mission from the Navy.
The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, or BACN, will soar above US Central Command for its 10,000th mission this month.
Behind the scenes of the Marine Corps’ historic F-35B
deployment in January was a team of aging tankers, enabling the flight
with 250 total air refuelings. As the next generation fighter force
deploys more, it will rely more on a tanker fleet that is aging and
awaiting its own recapitalization.
Defense Secretary James Mattis, in his first visit to
NATO since his confirmation, warned the alliance that its member
countries must increase defense spending or the US support for the group
The US military must think in terms of managing
long-term outcomes in the global war against terrorism, not decisively
winning the conflict, according to security experts who testified before
the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
The Air Force wants a quick-turnaround additional
source of small, precision-guided, and maneuvering munitions to equip
the F-35 as early as next year. Longer term, the Air Force also is looking to develop a
new class of direct-attack munitions to equip the new Penetrating
Counter-Air jet and other stealthy platforms.
Thirteen F-35As from Hill AFB, Utah, made an impressive
showing at the fifth generation aircraft’s first Red Flag exercise,
notching a 15:1 kill ratio, a mission capable rate of more than 90
percent, and setting the stage for future large-scale exercises and
DARPA is moving ahead with plans to develop
space-faring robots to inspect and fix satellites despite a lawsuit from
Orbital ATK saying those plans violate federal space policy.
Buried deep inside the Pentagon’s sprawling policy bill
is a little-noticed provision that would allow the Air Force to more
quickly hire mechanics and other civilian personnel at its three major
aircraft maintenance facilities, potentially giving the service a big
boost in its readiness rates. But the recent federal hiring freeze could slow efforts
to recruit and hire new workers at the depots, which are tasked with
maintaining the oldest fleet in Air Force history.
USAF has no system in place to figure out if its February loosening of tattoo restrictions will work, though it will be seeking anecdotal data on the impact or success of it.
Readiness within the Air Force is currently worse than
it was in the “hollow force” days of the late 1970s, Vice Chief of Staff
Gen. Stephen Wilson told the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday
morning. He raised the alarm before lawmakers, painting a dire picture
of the service’s state of affairs.
The Pentagon and Lockheed Martin’s handshake deal
on Lot 10 production of the F-35, announced Friday, brings the cost of
the F-35A model, which is used by the Air Force, below $100 million.
The field of competitors in the Air Force T-X contest narrowed again on Wednesday, as Northrop announced it would not bid on the program. Based on comments late last week by Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush, Northrop viewed the T-X as requiring more investment and risk than the business case warranted.
Space and Missile Systems commander Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves said the Air Force is still reviewing SpaceX’s investigation of the Sept. 1, 2016, Falcon 9 explosion, and has not yet made a determination as to whether the company is ready to support National Security Space launches.
Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein may be getting rid of the long-standing and long-lamented 24-year up-or-out requirement for brigadier generals in Air Force.
Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle said the F-35 should get first dibs if a supplemental defense budget is approved, noting the Air Force’s fighter fleet “has paid the bills” for too long and is too small to meet demands.
The Trump Administration announced it’s approving $1.9 billion in foreign military sales to four countries, perhaps signaling an “assertive” attitude toward foreign policy and economic issues.
The Air Force wants more airmen, but exactly how to get there is largely in the works.
Insisting multiple times that the US military needs to become stronger and more lethal, retired Marine Corps Gen. James
Mattis, nonetheless, presented a moderate vision of military leadership
in his Senate confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Defense.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus took aim at joint military programs Wednesday, criticizing the F-35 as slower, more costly, and lacking accountability because of its joint nature. The Navy’s sixth-generation fighter program, F/A-XX, should not become a joint program for these reasons, he told defense reporters in Washington, DC. Mabus also addressed concerns about the safety of the F/A-18 fleet in the wake of a series of deadly crashes over the past year and reflected on the progress made during his tenure in the realm of gender and sexuality inclusion.
Experts on US military-civilian relations recommended to the Senate Tuesday that retired Marine Gen. James Mattis be granted a waiver permitting his confirmation as Secretary of Defense.
The F-35 program probably won’t enter initial operational test and evaluation on-time by August, likely slipping a minimum of 16 months, Pentagon test director Michael Gilmore said in his final test report to Congress Tuesday.
The MQ-1 pilots of the 46th Expeditionary
Reconnaissance Squadron fly every day in support of Operation Inherent
Resolve, taking off and landing remotely piloted aircraft for missions
piloted by operators in the US. And previously, when the deployed pilots
went home, they would only get two weeks off before they were back to
flying missions. Now, because of a new scheduling configuration, these
pilots will get about four months of training and deployment
preparations when they get home.
A Jan. 5 Congressional Research Service report tells Congress if it wants Mattis as the next SecDef, it’ll have to either suspend a law, eliminate it, or just altogether ignore it.
During her tenure as Air Force Secretary, Deborah Lee
James has overseen a significant overhaul of the USAF nuclear community,
which was rocked by a cheating scandal shortly after she began her
tenure. Since then, the Air Force has implemented hundreds of actions
aimed at boosting morale and modernizing aging infrastructure.
The departure of the USS Eisenhower carrier
strike group left an aircraft carrier gap in the Central Command area of
operations. Now, USAF and coalition partners are stepping up to make
sure the fight against ISIS gets all the air power it needs.
Seth Jefferson McKee, who was the
four-star head of North American Air Defense Command from 1969-1973,
headed US Forces, Japan, and was a World War II combat pilot with two
aerial victories, died in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Dec. 26, 2016 at the age
The initial cadre of Air Force and Navy nuclear
officers have nearly wrapped up their part in the Striker program, and
so far the biggest lesson learned is that the grass is not always
greener on the other side.
Air Force Magazine recently spent a few days in the US
Central Command area of operation. Read correspondent Jennifer Hlad’s
first-hand account of a C-130 flight from an undisclosed base in the
region into Camp Taji, Iraq, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
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