Data Strategy Looks to Harness New Era in Space Tech

A new data repository and the overarching strategy behind it will shape the way the Air Force’s space and ground systems share information, Col. Dennis Bythewood, space development program executive officer at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, said at an Aug. 9 event hosted by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Air Force Space Command rolled out its new enterprise data strategy at the end of July after hiring a chief data officer nearly one year ago. That official, Mark Brady, visited more than 200 people across 82 units at 19 sites to learn about what’s not working in military space operations and how AFSPC can use data better. The Air Force is figuring out how to crunch a growing amount of information, as its space enterprise envisions a coming explosion of military and commercial systems that will collect more data. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

AFSOC C-130s Return to Service Upon Inspection

Two C-130s belonging to Air Force Special Operations Command were inspected for unusual wing joint cracks and returned to service after no defects were discovered, an AFSOC spokeswoman said Aug. 9. The EC-130J Commando Solo, an information and psychological operations plane, and an AC-130W Stinger II gunship were the only two special-operations platforms that required a closer look as the Air Force checks about one-fourth of all Lockheed Martin C-130s for “rainbow fitting” cracks. Air Mobility Command calls the breaks “atypical” because they were seen on one aircraft in a spot where they “had not previously been observed on C-130s,” AMC spokeswoman Alexandra Soika said. She added that one plane in the boneyard that qualifies for an inspection will not be examined. “At the end of the first day of inspections, 23 aircraft had been inspected,” Soika said Aug. 9. “No defects were found and these aircraft have been returned to service.” —Rachel S. Cohen

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Air Force Academy Earns Academic Accreditation for 10 More Years

The Higher Learning Commission has reaccredited the US Air Force Academy through the 2028-2029 academic year. The commission announced its July 30 decision in an Aug. 2 letter to USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria. The school met all standards without comments from the commission, which will allow it to keep renewing its status once every 10 years via a site visit by peer reviewers from the commission, according to an academy release. The reaccreditation process began in April. “This is the best possible outcome for an academic institution and is exactly what we wanted out of this review,” Silveria said in the release. “This is the result of great work and strong partnerships over the years leading into this evaluation.”—Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

McConville Becomes Army’s 40th Chief of Staff

Gen. Mark Milley handed over command of the Army to Gen. James McConville on Aug. 9 as he departs the service to become the Defense Department’s top uniformed officer. The Senate on July 25 confirmed Milley as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, taking over for retiring USMC Gen. Joseph Dunford. The date for that change of command has not been announced. McConville, previously the Army’s vice chief of staff, took over the top post in a ceremony at JB Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. Former Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston became the new sergeant major of the Army at the same event. —Brian Everstine

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Air Force and Oak Ridge Get Supercomputer for Better Weather Forecasts

Through a strategic partnership unveiled on Aug. 7, the US Air Force and Oak Ridge National Lab will acquire a high-performance supercomputing system from Cray Inc. that aims to improve weather forecasting for Air Force and Army operations across the globe. Nextgov
Air Force Cyber Commander Departing
Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner, commander of 24th Air Force/Air Forces Cyber, took over in summer 2018. He will be going to Hawaii to be the J6, command, control, communications and cyber director for Indo-Pacific Command, an Air Force spokesperson confirmed to Fifth Domain. Fifth Domain
Trump Names New Acting Director Of National Intelligence
In a shake-up of the top ranks of US national intelligence, President Donald Trump announced Aug. 8 that he will name Joseph Maguire, the current Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, as the nation’s acting top intelligence official. Trump made the announcement close on the heels of a tweet disclosing the resignation of the current deputy director of national intelligence, Sue Gordon. NPR
Griffin Makes Case for Why SCO Should Live Under DARPA—and Why Its Director Had to Go
The Pentagon’s top technology expert on Aug. 7 defended his decision to move the Strategic Capabilities Office under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in his first comments to reporters since the surprise exit of his handpicked director for the SCO. Defense News
“GEOINT Singularity:” There’ll Be Nowhere for DOD to Hide
America’s adversaries—and the general public—will soon be able to watch US troop movements, top secret weapons development and testing facilities (think Area 51), missile launch sites, and nuclear laboratories as radical transparency is enabled by the nexus of commercial remote sensing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and 5G networks, a new study by the Aerospace Corporation concludes. Breaking Defense
Air Force Says Recent Beard Approvals Have Not Sparked an Influx of Religious Accommodation Requests
For nearly a year, the Air Force weighed a staff sergeant’s request to grow a beard as part of his religious beliefs before granting him a waiver, a decision that balanced personal liberty against military readiness, a Pentagon spokesman said. Stars and Stripes (partial paywall)
Iran Holds Unveiling Event for Precision-Guided Bombs

Iran announced the unveiling of several types of guided bomb on 6 August, although some of the weapons have been seen previously. The one that has not been seen before was a glide bomb with folding wings called the Balaban. Jane’s Defence Weekly (partial paywall)

One More Thing

Dallas Airport Passengers Silently Salute the Return of a Fallen Hero

“Our inbound plane from Oakland was carrying the remains of an American airman, Col. Roy Knight Jr., who was shot down in combat during the Vietnam War in 1967,” Washington Bureau Chief Jackson Proscow writes of the historic homecoming he got to witness while waiting on a flight connection in Dallas, Texas. Proscow learned that its pilot was none other than Knight Jr.’s son, Bryan, who was only five years old when his dad deployed in 1967.