Pence to Visit Vandenberg

Vice President Mike Pence plans to visit Vandenberg AFB, Calif., for the first time July 10, a White House official tells Air Force Magazine. “He will travel to Vandenberg Air Force Base to address airmen and women, tour the Combined Space Operations Center, and discuss Trump administration efforts to modernize our nation’s space infrastructure and create Space Force,” the official said July 9. Pence, who chairs the National Space Council, is one of the Trump administration’s top advocates pushing to revamp the military space enterprise and achieve new milestones in civilian space research and travel. He announced President Donald Trump would revive US Space Command in a speech last December, and is a proponent of creating a new military service to oversee space. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

SOUTHCOM: Build Regional Partnerships to Fend Off Adversaries

US Southern Command chief Adm. Craig Faller this week argued for daily US presence in his region to push back against Chinese, Russian, and Iranian influence, saying American military operations need to continue alongside efforts to train local troops. At a July 9 Senate Armed Services emerging threats and capabilities subcommittee hearing, Faller pointed to recent collaboration between the South Carolina National Guard and the Colombian military as an example of enduring partnerships that can strengthen the Southern Hemisphere. “Our strategic bomber force and F-16 fighter aircraft from the South Carolina Air National Guard are training with the very capable Colombian Air Force,” Faller said. “This mission takes place in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Colombia’s air force and builds interoperability and readiness in the face of regional and global challenges.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Pentagon Lays Out Road Ahead for Leadership Nomination Process

The Pentagon on July 9 laid out the complicated succession plan that will unfold once Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper is officially nominated to take over the Defense Department. Esper, who cannot serve in the role in an acting capacity while awaiting confirmation, will step down and resume his position as Army secretary during the confirmation process, according to the Pentagon. Once that happens, Navy Secretary Richard Spencer will take over as acting defense secretary. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Travis Airmen Design, 3D Print Safe Attachment for Tankers

Airmen with the 60th Air Mobility Wing’s Phoenix Spark Lab at Travis AFB, Calif., have taken it upon themselves to address a unique problem that KC-10 crews face: how to secure classified information and documents on an aircraft that can deploy to locations without proper facilities for that data. The airmen designed a way to attach a safe to the aircraft itself to store the information and documents on board, which has garnered interest from both Air Mobility Command and Boeing, according to a Travis release. “This safe will provide them the means of securing weapons and other materials if they need it,” said Maj. Matthew Ables, the director of staff for the 9th Air Refueling Squadron. “Aircrews will have more time to mission plan or enter into crew rest earlier without having to run around looking for a place to store the items.” The airmen took an already-approved safe and 3D-printed fittings to attach it to the aircraft. AMC and Boeing are now following suit and designing prototype storage safes, according to the release. —Brian Everstine

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Seymour Johnson Strike Eagles Head to Europe

The Air Force has deployed more fighter aircraft to Europe for training with both allied and other USAF units in the region. F-15Es and airmen from the 336th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., arrived at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, this week for training, according to a US Air Forces in Europe release. The F-15Es join F-35s from Hill AFB, Utah, which are already stationed at the German base, and F-16s from NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas, that have deployed to Romania as part of a theater security package. Aircraft are moving around within Europe as well: C-130Js from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, flew to Powidz AB, Poland, for joint training in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, according to USAFE. —Brian Everstine



US Air Force’s Acquisition Chief Talks New B-52 Engines and the Future of Battle Management

Will Roper, the US Air Force’s acquisition executive, wants the service to shift to a faster, more modern approach for buying software and hardware. But that’s easier said than done. Defense News

OPINION: Space Force is More Important than Space Command

“The conventional wisdom is that resurrecting a separate unified combatant command for space, namely the US Space Command that previously existed from 1985 to 2001, is a sensible decision, but splitting off current Air Force, Army, and Navy service-level efforts into a separate space force might cause more problems than it solves,” Brian Weeden, a former USAF nuclear and space operations officer who now leads program planning at the Secure World Foundation, writes. “A deeper dive shows the case is likely the exact opposite: establishing a space force with the right culture is likely to yield more benefits for the United States and avoid creating more overhead and complications, while bringing back US Space Command may make things worse.” War On The Rocks

Air Force Anti-Jamming Efforts Get a Boost

The Air Force will see two major satellites launched from Florida in late July following the delay of an advanced anti-jamming communications satellite launch in June. C4ISRNET

LogX: DARPA Aims to Fix Supply Chain

DARPA plans to use machine learning and agile software development to remake the Defense Department’s logistics and supply chain operations. The goal of the $55 million, 43-month program is to move from a lumbering behemoth that often puts the wrong parts in the wrong place or doesn’t have what’s needed at all, to one that is driven by real-time warfighter demands, provides situational awareness through diagnostics, and can predict future state needs through prognosis. Breaking Defense

Why Gambling Addiction Among Active-Duty Troops May Pose National Security Risks

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is again pushing military officials to screen for gambling problems among active-duty troops, estimating that tens of thousands may be struggling with addiction and posing a potential national security risk. Military Times

NSA Isn’t Always Following Its Own Cybersecurity Policies, Watchdog Says

The NSA Inspector General on July 8 revealed the organization, which collects and analyzes some of the government’s of the most sensitive intelligence, doesn’t always follow its own rules for keeping that information secure. Auditors also found the agency held onto some of that data for longer than the law permits and failed to implement protections against insider threats. Nextgov

US State Department Approves Possible $2.2 Billion Arms Sale to Taiwan

The US State Department has approved the possible sale to Taiwan of M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles and related equipment at an estimated value of $2.2 billion, the Pentagon said on July 8, despite Chinese criticism of the deal. Reuters

Can Iran Deal Be Saved? If Donald Trump Doesn’t Want War, His Own Staff May Be His Biggest Problem, Experts Say

Iran’s latest suspension of certain commitments outlined in a 2015 nuclear deal and the United States’ refusal to abide by the agreement at all by imposing strict sanctions against the Islamic Republic have left what was once hailed as a landmark diplomatic breakthrough strained to the point of crisis. Experts who have engaged in such high-level talks believe dialogue is still possible—but only if President Donald Trump ignores some of his staff’s more bellicose tendencies. Newsweek

OTA Agreements Exploding in Popularity

The Defense Department is ramping up spending on other transaction authority agreements, according to a recent report by big data analytics firm Govini. The agreements are a contracting mechanism intended to cut through bureaucratic red tape associated with the Pentagon’s standard acquisition practices, and help the department tap into innovation from nontraditional suppliers. National Defense Magazine

Crew of Russian Nuclear Sub Prevented ‘Planetary Catastrophe,’ Officer Says

The 14 sailors who died during a fire last week on a nuclear-powered Russian military submarine prevented a “planetary catastrophe,” a top naval officer said at their funeral, according to media reports. Bloomberg

One More Thing

Pompeii: 10 Unexploded World War II Bombs Hidden Within Foundations of Archaeological Site, Italian Newspaper Reports

Ten bombs dropped by Allied forces during World War II still lie unexploded in the ruins of Pompeii, it has been reported. A total of 165 explosives were dropped on the site during nine bombing runs on August 24, 1943, ahead of the Allied invasion of mainland Italy. However, a new investigation has shown that unexploded bombs still lie in vast parts of the 66-hectare site, located near present-day Naples. Newsweek