Barrett’s Paperwork for SECAF Nomination Almost Complete
Barbara Barrett’s formal nomination to be the next Air Force secretary remains held up as officials finish the ethics paperwork required to send her name to the Senate for consideration, two sources tell Air Force Magazine. “They are in the final stages of completing all of the ethics paperwork,” a source close to the Barretts said in an email. “There are no showstoppers.” It takes a while to unwind the nominee from her extensive business resume, a Senate aide added. President Donald Trump announced his intent to pick the former chair of The Aerospace Corporation and deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to lead the Air Force in May. Barrett “looks forward to a confirmation hearing as early as possible in September,” the source close to the family said. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Airmen Can’t Take Special "Bereavement Leave." Wright Wants to Change That.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright is leading a push to give airmen designated time off for bereavement, in case of a death in the family or another emergency. Airmen are currently required to use regular leave in those cases, but that doesn’t make much sense to Wright and other Air Force leaders. For some airmen, approved personal leave lasts only a couple of days before they have to return to work. This does not give an airman enough time to, for example, get an estate in order for a parent who died, or set up funeral and burial arrangements, Wright said. He suggested airmen should be allowed to take up to 14 days of bereavement leave on top of other forms of time off. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Three Wright-Patt Airmen Injured Near Dayton Shooting
Three Active-Duty airmen assigned to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, were treated for minor injuries sustained while evacuating the area near a mass shooting that killed at least nine people and injured at least 27 in Dayton early Aug. 4, according to Col. Thomas Sherman, 88th Air Base Wing and Wright-Patterson installation commander. No Air Force personnel were reported dead. "While we are profoundly grateful that none of our fellow airmen were seriously injured, the base and the entire community are heartbroken over this senseless taking of life," Sherman told Air Force Magazine through a spokesman. "This community came together after the recent tornadoes and we will rise above once again. The entire Wright-Patt family will keep all in our thoughts and prayers as this community comes together to heal." ––Rachel S. Cohen
STRATCOM Stresses Need for Awareness as US Leaves INF Treaty
A top US official who oversees strategic forces is concerned about growing uncertainty in nuclear arms control, as America’s withdrawal from a major Cold War-era treaty took effect Aug. 2. “There are many challenges, but there’s two main ones,” Vice Adm. Dave Kriete, US Strategic Command’s deputy commander, told reporters during a July 31 roundtable. “The first is to continue to understand and stay ahead of and adjust as needed in the face of changing threats.” The second challenge lies in keeping nuclear forces modernization on track. Kriete said STRATCOM would have to find new ways to verify how many nuclear weapons Russia owns or what capabilities they wield if the New START Treaty lapses. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Block 4 Upgrades Prompt Rise in F-35 Program Cost
The total cost of the F-35 program grew by $25 billion in 2018—or about $95 billion when adjusting for inflation—in part because of a new slate of upgrades known as Block 4, the Pentagon said in an annual acquisition report
published Aug. 1. Acquisition alone—including research and development, procurement, and military construction costs—rose by $15.3 billion compared to the 2012 baseline, or $22.2 billion when adjusted for inflation. The Pentagon also noted a dispute between its cost assessment and program evaluation shop, which believes Joint Strike Fighter operations and sustainment costs are rising, and the F-35 Joint Program Office, which argues those costs are shrinking. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
Eglin Test Pilots Prepare for New Helicopter
Two test pilots from Eglin Air Force Base’s 413th Flight Test Squadron became the service’s first airmen to receive Federal Aviation Administration ratings to fly the AW-139 helicopter––the civilian version of the helicopter that will replace the UH-1N Huey. Since a Boeing-Leonardo Helicopter team is still developing the military MH-139, getting an FAA “type rating” moves pilots “one step closer to flight testing” the aircraft once it is built, Maj. Zach Roycroft, the squadron’s lead test pilot for the MH-139, said in an Aug. 1 release
. Airmen are also being trained in AW-139 maintenance and getting familiar with the helicopter to prepare for the MH-139’s arrival. The squadron plans to receive its first MH-139 in November. The Air Force is buying 84 helos to phase out the Vietnam-era Huey. ––Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory
DOD Reports Higher Costs for National Security Space Launch Program
In a new update to its annual report on major acquisition program spending, the Defense Department estimates the total cost of the National Security Space Launch program is up by $4.1 billion since December 2018. Space News
Defense Department Reviewing Industrial Base for Hypersonic Weapons
The Pentagon is developing a strategy to ensure the defense industrial base has sufficient capacity to produce hypersonic weapons, according to a department official. National Defense Magazine
Will Four-Star Strapped Navy Pass on STRATCOM Command
The Navy has eight four-stars in its ranks—a number that will stay steady when presumptive CNO Gilday is confirmed and gets his fourth star, and current CNO John Richardson steps down. The Air Force, by contrast has 13 four-star generals. Breaking Defense
Japan Allows F-35A Fighters to Fly Again After Deadly April Crash Halted Operations
The Japan Air Self-Defense Force on Thursday resumed flights of its F-35A Joint Strike Fighters, which were grounded after one crashed into the Pacific Ocean in April, defense officials said. Stars and Stripes via Military.com
OPINION: Putin and Xi’s Buddy Act Could Blow Up East Asia
A tense aerial standoff is the latest sign of growing Chinese-Russian military ties, according to Katie Stallard-Blanchette, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Foreign Policy (partial paywall)
One More Thing
9/11 and Every-Day Heroism | TEDxChelseaPark
On 9/11, 24-year old rookie fighter pilot Heather "Lucky" Penney––now a senior resident fellow at AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies––was sent on a suicide mission. Without any live weapons on board her aircraft, she and her flight lead were scrambled to ram Flight 93 to protect Washington, D.C., only to find that the passengers on Flight 93 has overcome the terrorists and crashed the airliner. Reflecting on her experience, Penney shares her realization that everyone has the potential and capacity for heroism. In fact, there are certain qualities––bravery, service, and belonging––that we can practice on a daily basis to connect with and strengthen our own inner hero. TEDx Talks on YouTube