Webb Assumes Command of AETC

Lt. Gen. Brad Webb took over as the head of Air Education and Training Command on July 26. Webb, the former commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, took the guidon from Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast during a ceremony at JB San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Kwast leaves AETC after less than two years in the top job, though the Air Force has not announced his next role. Webb is a command pilot with more than 3,700 hours in several aircraft, including the CV-22, MH-52, and MC-130. This is his first posting in AETC, after spending most of his career in special operations. He takes over AETC as it reshapes basic military training, revamps pilot training to include virtual reality and other changes under the “Pilot Training Next” initiative, and addresses hypoxia episodes pilots experience in training aircraft. —Brian Everstine

Townsend Takes Command of AFRICOM

US Army Gen. Stephen Townsend on July 26 took the reins of US Africa Command, a 10-year-old command of growing importance to the US and its allies. Townsend, who formerly led the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, took over for retiring Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser during a ceremony in Germany. Townsend comes to AFRICOM as regional combat operations grow, particularly focused on strikes and raids against al-Shabab in Somalia. AFRICOM is also expanding its presence in West Africa, as MQ-9 operations at Niger Air Base 201 in Agadez are expected to begin within months. During his confirmation hearing in April, Townsend said that while the fight against violent extremism is the top concern, AFRICOM will have to remain a steady presence on the continent to counter Russia and China’s growing influence. “To our partners and allies both in Africa and Europe, AFRICOM is known for its diverse organization and partnerships,” Townsend said during the July 26 ceremony. “I promise you, you can continue to count on AFRICOM to continue to work side by side with you to advance our shared interests for security, stability, and prosperity across Africa.” —Brian Everstine

USAF Looking for Feedback to Redesign Maternity Uniforms

The Air Force wants input from female airmen on how to improve its maternity uniforms and will survey all women in the service on new designs via email next month, according to an Air Force release. “Our goal is to make uniforms more comfortable and provide a uniform that will sustain airmen through their entire pregnancy,” said Tracy Roan, head of the Air Force Uniform Office. The survey of Active Duty, Reserve, and Guard personnel will run until Sept. 23. The Air Force is in the process of finding uniforms that are a better fit for all types of airmen, an effort Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein outlined during a speech at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in March. —Brian Everstine

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Goodfellow Training USAF’s First “Target Analysts”

Goodfellow AFB, Texas, is training airmen to be the service’s first “target analysts,” expanding on the existing targeteer field. Targeteers traditionally scrutinize aerial images to determine where to drop munitions. The new career path “will specialize in everything that deals with air-to-ground munitions and some surface-to-surface capabilities,” according to a 17th Training Wing release. “Students will be expected to utilize concepts learned throughout the course in order to explain their reasoning for a decision.” A new curriculum is 40 days longer than targeteer training and includes more hands-on technical training over 138 days. The curriculum also streamlines training by giving airmen all the initial certifications they need before their first duty assignment. ––Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

USAFE Wraps Up Eastern European Exercise

Several USAF units on July 25 wrapped up Operation Rapid Forge, a large-scale exercise across Eastern Europe that included several firsts for the F-35. The US and NATO exercise included F-35As deployed from Hill AFB, Utah, along with F-15Es from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., an MC-130J from RAF Mildenhall, England; C-130Js from Ramstein AB, Germany, and Dyess AFB, Texas; and KC-135s from Mildenhall, according to a US Air Forces in Europe release. Throughout the exercise, aircraft practiced missions such as refueling fighters from the MC-130J, rapid refueling and rearming, and tasks outside of airmen’s regular jobs—security forces helping with refueling, weapons loaders driving trucks, maintainers providing security, and more. Rapid Forge marked the first time F-35s landed in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, according to USAFE. —Brian Everstine

VanHerck Nominated to be Director of the Joint Staff

Air Force Maj. Gen. Glen VanHerck has been nominated for his third star and to be the next director of the Joint Staff. VanHerck is currently the vice director of the Joint Staff, and his previous positions include commander of the Air Force Warfare Center and operations director at Air Force Global Strike Command. He’s a command pilot with more than 3,200 hours in aircraft such as the B-2, B-1, F-35, and F-15. If confirmed by the Senate, VanHerck would take over for Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, who is awaiting Senate consideration to be the next chief of naval operations. —Brian Everstine

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Are Fighter Pilots at Greater Risk for Prostate Cancer? The Air Force is Now Asking

The Air Force has begun to look at whether there’s increased risk for prostate cancer among its fighter pilots. A new investigation by McClatchy shows just how serious the problem may be. McClatchy

OPINION: Boeing’s Exit from ICBM Bid Shouldn’t Become Another Excuse to Delay Modernizing US Nuclear Deterrent

According to retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute, a further delay to the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent “could equate to a unilateral decision to downsize the US nuclear triad at a time when China and Russia are already fielding multiple new nuclear weapon systems,” with the more advisable option being a joint effort between the Air Force, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman to figure out “what would be needed to address these concerns.” Forbes

Turkey Is Cozying Up to China after F-35 Expulsion, Israelis Warn

The expulsion of Turkey from the F-35 program could lead to closer relations for the NATO ally with China, a move likely to have far-reaching implications in the Middle East, Israeli national security experts say. Breaking Defense

“I Have a Moral Responsibility to Come Forward”: Colonel Accuses Top Military Nominee of Assault

Gen. Hyten denies Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser’s allegations of being inappropriately touched several times in 2017, and an Air Force official charged with investigating her complaint declined in June to refer Hyten to a court-martial. New York Times (paywall)

Esper: US Will Provide Intel to Allies to Keep Middle East Merchant Ships Safe, Not Warship Escorts

American forces are willing to provide allies with intelligence on potential maritime threats in the Middle East, but countries will need to bring their own escorts, defense officials told USNI News on Wednesday. USNI News

Military Charges Marine Accused of Bringing Modified Weapons to Offutt Air Force Base

Preliminary military charges have been filed against a Marine from Nebraska who was arrested May 31 for attempting to carry modified weapons and ammunition onto Offutt Air Force Base in his personal pickup truck. Omaha World-Herald

US, Botswana Forces Complete Final Training Exercise

More than 170 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from North Carolina, Alabama, and New Jersey traveled to Botswana to partner with approximately 300 Botswana Defense Force service members at Thebaphatswa Air Base, July 9-18, as part of Operation Upward Minuteman 2019. Upward Minuteman 2019 was a US Africa Command exercise promoting the US National Guard’s State Partnership Program on the African continent. USAF release

Leonardo Contracts Tempest Large-Body Test Aircraft

Leonardo has contracted 2Excel Aviation to provide a large-body test aircraft as part of the Team Tempest initiative. Announced by the UK Ministry of Defence at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, UK, on July 19, the contract will see the company provide a modified Boeing 757 testbed aircraft to test systems and sensors destined for the future Tempest fighter, as well as supporting capability enhancements for the current Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning. Jane’s Defence Weekly (partial paywall)

AFA CyberCamps Make Headlines Across the Country

AFA CyberCamps, summer camps hosted by the CyberPatriot program that introduce middle- and high-school students from across the US to the world of cyber, were profiled by Michigan CBS affiliate WWTV/WWUP-TV 9&10 News and Georgia ABC affiliate WJBF NewsChannel 6.

One More Thing

Kentucky Air Guard Home to DOD’s Only Search and Rescue Dog

After several months of preparation, the unit acquired its newest member, Callie, a 26-month-old Dutch shepherd, making her the only search and rescue dog in the Defense Department. She has now earned multiple qualifications to accommodate the specific skill set of the 123rd STS, including helicopter exfiltration and infiltration, mountain rescue (rappelling plus ice, snow, and alpine maneuvers), and static line and free fall parachute insertion. USAF release