MITRE: Air Force Needs New Aircraft, Basing Ideas to Win in Pacific

A prominent defense research organization argues that the Air Force needs to rethink its procurement plans and spread its forces across more bases by 2030 to be a formidable opponent in the Pacific. An unclassified summary of MITRE Corp.’s sweeping inventory study, which Air Force Magazine obtained Aug. 7, calls for buying additional long-range aircraft and “large magazines of long-range standoff weapons,” expanding four bases in the Pacific region to host up to 24 bombers and 18 tankers, and making at least 80 percent of all aircraft fleets mission-capable. The report also says the Air Force should retire the A-10 and F-16 as the service brings on new F-35s, and arm Boeing’s new training jet as an international “light fighter” platform. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

ACC Commissions Study on Long-Term Weather Threats

Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Holmes recently called on the Air Force’s weather forecasters for a long-term look at how its assets could fare against climate change. Airmen with the 14th Weather Squadron produced a weather and climate threat assessment that covered a 50-mile radius around ACC’s main operating bases as well as two others where ACC maintains a significant presence. Their data can help the Air Force invest in strategies to protect itself from strong storms like Category 5 Hurricane Michael that devastated Tyndall AFB, Fla., and that contributed to a historic flood at Offutt, as well as from other effects of climate change. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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DOD Watchdog: ISIS Still Has More Than 14,000 Members in Iraq and Syria

ISIS still retains between 14,000 and 18,000 followers in Iraq and Syria who continue to carry out underground operations despite losing territory, the Defense Department’s watchdog said in a new report. The Defense Department Inspector General’s Aug. 6 report on Operation Inherent Resolve, which covers April through June, states that “ISIS carried out assassinations, suicide attacks, abductions, and arson of crops in Iraq and Syria,” along with creating “resurgent cells” and expanding command and control. ISIS’s continued incidents came as the US partially withdrew troops from the area, shrinking the support available to partner forces “at a time when they needed training and equipping to respond to ISIS resurgent cells.” During this period, Iraqi Security Forces and Syrian Democratic Forces were “unable to sustain long-term operations” against ISIS, the watchdog found. The US withdrawal has prompted its special operations forces to “perform more partnered training, equipping, and reinforcing” work inside Syria with fewer available US conventional forces. —Brian Everstine

Air Force Trying to Rally Congressional Support for NGAD

The Air Force needs to convince Congress about the merit of its Next-Generation Air Dominance program, a “system of systems” aimed at ensuring air superiority into the 2040s, the service’s top planners said Aug. 7. The service is planning to integrate current and future systems into a multi-domain network that takes over the role now played by its highest-end stealth fighters, instead of following fifth-generation aircraft with a single sixth-generation platform. Congress, however, needs some convincing to support the effort. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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Lakenheath Airmen Win USAFE’s First-Ever EMT Rodeo

Emergency medical technician teams from Air Force bases across Europe wrangled a series of simulated medical challenges in US Air Forces in Europe’s first-ever EMT Rodeo, held July 23-24 at Ramstein AB, Germany. Teams of airmen from seven installations across four countries donned helmets and body armor and attended to medical emergencies that can happen on base (like a prescription drug overdose) and on the battlefield (like a gunshot wound or mass casualty situation), according to an 86th Airlift Wing release. Actors, prosthetics, cosmetics, and fake blood helped make the scenes believable. “When we introduce a competitive spirit and realistic scenarios, training becomes a lot of fun and very impactful,” said CMSgt. Jason Oldenburg, USAFE-AFAFRICA command surgeon chief. “At the end of the day, it’s all about being ready to save lives when the flag goes up, and this competition builds medical skills, teamwork, confidence, and resiliency that will be vital attributes of an Air Force Combat Medic in the future.” RAF Lakenheath’s 48th Medical Group, which lassoed the victory, will represent USAFE at this year’s installment of the annual service-wide EMT Rodeo, which will be held at Cannon AFB, N.M.—Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory



OPINION: Section 804 Gives the US an Advantage in Great Power Competition with China and Russia

“The beauty of Section 804 is that you could describe it on a bar napkin,” write Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan and Assistant Air Force Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Will Roper. “It establishes a series of common-sense reforms: Begin prototyping earlier, nearly a year and half earlier than under the old system; give engineers more time for testing and troubleshooting; and keep flawed concepts from entering production and operations—a whopping 70 percent of any program’s total cost.” Defense News

STRATCOM Move to Space Command: 2 Years, Hundreds of People

Maj. Gen. Rick Evans says STRATCOM will have a difficult challenge in identifying which headquarters personnel should transfer to the new SPACECOM when it stands up. Breaking Defense

Pentagon Sees IED Threat from Peer Adversaries

During the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the greatest challenges the US military faced from insurgents was the scourge of improvised explosive devices—low-cost bombs that were deployed on roadsides and other areas frequented by warfighters—that killed or maimed thousands of troops. But as the United States enters an era of competition with advanced adversaries such as Russia and China, the threat from IEDs will endure, an official with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency said Aug. 6. National Defense Magazine

Taliban Say Differences Resolved on US Troop Withdrawal

The United States and the Taliban have resolved differences in peace talks over the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and guarantees from the insurgents that they will cut ties with other extremist groups, a Taliban official said Aug. 6. Associated Press

ULA Receives Contract for What Could Be the Final Delta 4 Heavy Mission

The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center announced Aug. 7 it awarded United Launch Alliance a $156.7 million contract modification for a Delta 4 Heavy launch of the National Reconnaissance Office mission NROL-70, the third and final mission awarded to ULA under an existing Launch Vehicle Production Services contract worth a total of $467.5 million. Space News

Dyess Maintenance Squadron Commander Removed, Under Investigation

Lt. Col. Pete Leija was removed from command of the 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dyess AFB in Texas on the morning of Aug. 5. An investigation into Leija is ongoing, said Dyess spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Kali Gradishar. Air Force Times

Meet the First Female Marine Assigned to Fly the F-35C

Erie, Penn., native 1st Lt. Catherine Stark earned her wings Aug. 2 at a ceremony in Kingsville, Texas, and in doing so became the first female Marine to be assigned to the US Navy’s F-35C fleet replacement squadron. Task and Purpose

Terminally Ill Military Kids Can Now Receive Both Treatment and Hospice

The policy change, ordered by the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), will allow military dependents under 21 to receive both medical treatment for their terminal illness, such as medication, radiation or surgeries; and care that falls under the umbrella of "hospice," which includes pain relief and symptom control. Under previous law and policy, a patient could only receive one or the other.

Streaming Services Cause AAFES to Stop Selling DVDs, Reduce Video Game Sales

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service will reduce its physical video game sales, eliminating them entirely in some locations, and will no longer sell DVDs or Blu-rays in its stores or online by the end of the year, a spokesman said Aug. 7. Stars and Stripes (paywall)

One More Thing

Pentagon Sees Security Threat in China’s Drug-Supply Dominance

China has become the world’s largest supplier of active pharmaceutical ingredients, or API, providing key components to drugmakers worldwide. But a yearlong recall of tainted heart drugs taken by millions of Americans is prompting US national security officials to ask whether China’s growing role in the pharmaceutical supply chain could pose a threat to the health of military personnel. Bloomberg