Holmes: USAF Can’t Get Complacent With Readiness Gains

DAYTON, Ohio—Overall Air Force readiness grew by about 15 percent over the past year, but the service must revamp its approach to managing aircraft and other weapon systems to handle less predictable, more complex combat environments, Air Combat Command’s chief argued here. If the US goes to war with China or Russia, the Pentagon won’t be able to enjoy its typical supply chain and maintenance structure that depends on built-up, centralized bases. Growing the service by 24 percent to 386 operational squadrons as envisioned would further stress resources, he suggested. “The Life Cycle Management Center has worked to squeeze the fat out and to focus on the things that are required to meet those daily requirements in a very predictable set of conflicts that are based on sending rotational units over periodically,” Holmes said. “Great power competition will be demanding in ways that require different approaches to overcoming these constraints.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

House Passes $690.2 Billion Defense Appropriations Bill

The House on June 19 approved a $690.2 billion 2020 defense spending bill as part of a larger four-bill appropriations package that also funds the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, State, and Energy for a total package worth $982.8 billion. The defense portion of the legislation marks a $15.8 billion increase from 2019 enacted funding, but it’s still $8 billion less than the President’s Budget request. Of the $690.2 billion, $622.1 billion will go to base defense programs, while $68.1 billion will fund overseas contingency operations. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

B-52 Deployed for Exercises in Europe Experiences Emergency

A B-52 operating in Europe experienced an in-flight emergency and landed at RAF Mildenhall, England, on June 17. The bomber is deployed from Minot AFB, N.D., for three exercises across Europe, including in the Baltic and Black Sea regions, according to US Air Forces in Europe. Eyewitnesses told the BBC that once the aircraft touched down, emergency services hosed down engines that had failed and were overheating. The Air Force regularly rotates bombers through Europe, including a B-52 that flew roundtrip from Barksdale AFB, La., to participate in an exercise in Italy earlier this month. —Brian Everstine

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Goldfein’s Father, a 33-Year Air Force Vet, Dies

Retired Col. William Goldfein, father of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, passed away quietly after a long illness June 18. He was 87. Goldfein flew F-16s, F-4s, RF-101s, RF-80s, RF-84Fs, and RF-86s over a 33-year career. He completed 216 missions in Southeast Asia as part of the 555th Fighter Squadron, known as the Triple Nickel. Read the full story.

USAF Acquisition Head Praises Sikorsky’s Response to CRH Issues

LE BOURGET, France—The HH-60W Pave Hawk II faced a series of problems recently, pushing back the development schedule and first flight earlier this year. But, Sikorsky was determined to get the program back on track and “owned a level of rigor that had been missing,” Will Roper, Air Force assistant secretary for acquisition, said at the Paris Air Show. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Air Force Brings in Chief Software Officer to Oversee Coders

DAYTON, Ohio—Nicolas Chaillan, a cybersecurity adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense with roots in commercial industry and the Department of Homeland Security, has joined the Air Force to oversee daily software development as chief software officer. Chaillan started as CSO in May, and concurrently serves as co-lead of the Defense Department’s enterprise-wide coding security initiative, according to his LinkedIn page. His appointment is among the positions the Air Force has created in the past few years to better harness its data and develop software faster, including a chief data officer and a digital program executive officer. The CSO’s job is to look across the Air Force’s growing number of software development efforts and coding factories like Kessel Run for the Air Operations Center, Kobayashi Maru for the space sector, Bespin for business systems, and LevelUP for the cyber Unified Platform, foster each, and share technical lessons learned between teams. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Raytheon Pitching its Precision Landing System for USAF Expeditionary Aircraft

LE BOURGET, France—As Raytheon begins work under the first production contract for its Joint Precision Approach and Landing System, it is planning more displays to convince the Air Force the system can help USAF aircraft touch down in austere locations. The $235 million May contract award covers 23 systems for Navy carriers and amphibious ships, but Raytheon is pushing a portable version for the Air Force. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.



Major Power Shift Underway at Pentagon as Army Leaders Step Up

President Trump’s tweet on Tuesday that Army Secretary Mark Esper will take over as acting Pentagon chief could mean a dramatically altered power landscape in the U.S. military, with Army leaders in charge of the Joint Chiefs and the Defense Department. Military.com

OPINION: A Department Of Defense Leadership Crisis

While the departure of Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan from the Pentagon is sudden, it is not a crisis. America’s defense preparedness faces no imminent risk, writes retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute. Forbes

‘Start Finding Me, Boys’—Inside the Rescue of Lt. Col. Dave Goldfein

High above Serbia, Lt. Col. Dave Goldfein’s F-16 has just been hit by a surface-to-air missile. His breathing accelerates as warning alerts blare, but with an even voice he informs his wingmen of his trajectory as the Fighting Falcon goes down. The mad dash to save the life of a US Air Force pilot was on. Now, 20 years later, that pilot is chief of staff of the Air Force. But he still vividly remembers everything that happened that day—and the men who saved him. Air Force Times

House Votes to Block Trump’s Transgender Troop Ban

The House voted June 18 to block the Pentagon’s new transgender troop policy, taking a swipe at President Donald Trump’s move to ban transgender service in the military. Politico

Air Force Secretary’s Space Adviser Stopher to Step Down

John Stopher, principal assistant to the secretary of the Air Force for space, is stepping down from his post effective July 19. On June 18, he submitted his resignation letter to President Donald Trump. Space News

Russia Moves Closer to Pulling Out of Arms Treaty with US

Russia has moved closer to suspending its participation in a key nuclear arms treaty. The State Duma on June 18 voted overwhelmingly to support President Vladimir Putin’s decree to suspend Russia’s obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with the United States. Associated Press via Stars and Stripes

Ecuador: US Military Could Use Galapagos Island for Flights

A plan by Ecuador to let the US military use a Galapagos island for aircraft on anti-drug trafficking flights is drawing criticism that the agreement would damage the archipelago’s unique animal and plant life. Associated Press

Army Buys 9,000 Mini-Drones, Rethinks Ground Robots

Ground robots still lag drones, but the Army thinks both technologies are ready to field to frontline units, just at different levels. Breaking Defense

Russia’s MiG Developing Drone Wingman Concept for Fighters

Beyond supplying new MiGs to the Russian air force, MiG is currently designing and developing drones to pair up with the new combat-capable aircraft, said spokeswoman Anastasia Kravchenko. Military.com

Should the US Declassify Intel to Counter Growing Chinese Threats

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee is calling on the Intelligence Community to declassify more information as a way to combat the growing threat the Chinese government poses to American businesses. C4ISRNET

One More Thing

Conspiracy of Silence: After Atomic Blasts, a Dangerous Cleanup Scarred Troops for Life

Before he died, Army veteran Paul Laird had an urgent message for his wife, Vicki. For nearly a decade, Laird battled to expose servicemember illnesses that followed a secret US military cleanup operation of radioactive sites in the Pacific Ocean. He didn’t want his mission to end with his life. Stars and Stripes