Tyndall Proposes New Construction Projects Amid 2019 Spending Sprint

Officials at Tyndall AFB, Fla., on Aug. 5 sent Congress a list of projects the Air Force will tackle to rebuild the Panhandle base destroyed by Hurricane Michael last fall, the 325th Fighter Wing’s commander said Aug. 14. Rebuilding about half of the buildings that were damaged is estimated to cost about $3 billion over five to seven years, the the wing’s commander, Col. Brian Laidlaw, said at a Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing in the Florida Panhandle. Air Force Magazine reported in April that new military construction would cost about $2.5 billion, about half the cost of the total restoration. Tyndall plans to spend about $650 million more on recovery and repair contracts by the end of September. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Air Force Researchers Call for National Electromagnetic Attack Preparation

The second annual report from the Electromagnetic Defense Task Force urges the US to launch a national campaign to teach the public, the government, and industry about the potential threat of electromagnetic attacks so the country can better prepare for and recover from such events. The report’s authors noted that China is planning to include such attacks in its arsenal, though experts differ on the damage those incidents could do. Americans should also be prepared for individually targeted microwave attacks, like those that affected staffers at the US embassies in China and Cuba within the past few years. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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Wing Commander Calls for Kindness After Shaw Airman’s Suicide

The commander of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., is calling for kindness and feedback after a local airman died by suicide this week. The airman’s death comes about two weeks after Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein ordered wing commanders to pick a day to halt operations and focus on the growing issue of suicide. In an Aug. 14 video, Col. Derek O’Malley said he hopes people “feel comfortable speaking up” about what Shaw and the wider Air Force can do differently to help airmen. “We are not going to solve this by talking. Those words have to translate into action,” O’Malley said. “There is no one thing we can do to solve this, but there are thousands of things we can do that can help.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

USAF-CAP Program Aims to Lessen Pilot Shortage

The Air Force and Civil Air Patrol are trying out a new joint approach to help tackle the service’s pilot shortage. The Pilot Prep Program aims to get 52 airmen from 38 installations across the globe ready for the Air Force’s fiscal 2020 undergraduate flight training selection board this fall, according to a recent CAP release. Pentagon Aircrew Crisis Task Force boss Brig. Gen. Christopher Short created the initiative as part of his effort to dig the service out of an approximately 2,000-pilot shortfall. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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Lockheed Gets $99 Million for Foreign JASSM Sales

The Air Force on Aug. 13 awarded Lockheed Martin a $99 million contract to provide lifecycle support for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile and its variants to Finland, Poland, and Australia. The contract runs through August 2024, according to a Pentagon announcement. JASSM and its extended-range and extreme-range variants were developed for use against heavily defended or high-value targets from a standoff range. —Brian Everstine



Hackers Just Found Serious Vulnerabilities in F-15 Fighter Jet

In a Cosmopolitan hotel suite 16 stories above the Def Con cybersecurity conference, a team of highly vetted hackers tried to sabotage a vital flight system for a US military fighter jet. And they succeeded. Stars and Stripes (partial paywall)

Five Takeaways from Pentagon Chief’s First Major Trip

Defense Secretary Mark Esper recently returned from his first major international trip as Pentagon chief—a seven-day whirlwind tour of five countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Esper stopped in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Mongolia and South Korea, stressing alliances and the importance of combating Chinese aggression in meetings with military counterparts and heads of state. The Hill

BAE Wins DARPA Contract to Develop Machine Learning Technology for Space Operations

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BAE Systems the second phase of an existing $12.8 million contract to develop digital tools to test and evaluate technologies for space command and control. The second phase focuses on the use of machine learning for space and situational awareness, the company announced Aug. 13. Space News

Two US Warships, Marines Denied Port Visits to Hong Kong Amidst Protests

Chinese officials are denying two US warships port visits to Hong Kong amidst ongoing protests against the government in Beijing. USS Green Bay (LPD-20) and USS Lake Erie (CG-70) were denied requests to visit Hong Kong, US Pacific Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Nate Christensen told USNI News on Aug. 13. USNI News

OPINION: Fighting and Winning in Space—Today and Tomorrow

“Whether [the] solution is a ‘Space Corps’ or ‘Space Force’ matters little in the grand scheme; what’s important—essential, in fact—is that the US answer the rising threats posed by China and Russia against commercial, military, and intelligence satellites with unparalleled military capability to deter and, if necessary, defeat enemy threats in space,” writes AFA President retired Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright in the Aug. 14 installment of his President’s Perspective column on AFA.org. “This is a national imperative.” AFA.org

Air Force Says No Airmen Have Been Booted Over the Deploy-or-Out Policy
The US Air Force says that no airmen have been kicked out under the Defense Department’s deploy-or-out policy since it took effect last year. And it adds that it has lowered the number of airmen who are ineligible for deployment due to injury, medical disability, or other reasons this year. Military.com

Pence Press Secretary Expected to Become New Pentagon Spokeswoman

Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Alyssa Farah is expected to become the next Pentagon spokeswoman, CNN has learned. Farah worked in Pence’s office for nearly two years after being poached from her post as the spokesperson for the House Freedom Caucus. CNN

JE Dunn Wins Bid for $158M Air Force Chapel Renovation in Colorado

JE Dunn Construction has received a contract from the Defense Department for a $158 million renovation of the famous Air Force chapel in Colorado Springs, the company announced Aug. 8. The renovation of the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel will be extensive, and the company plans to create an enclosed structure around the chapel as they disassemble the building. Kansas City Business Journal

Russian Fighter Jet Wards Off NATO F-18 Nearing Minister’s Plane

A Russian fighter jet warded off a NATO military aircraft that approached a passenger plane carrying Russia’s defense minister Aug. 13, according to media reports in Russia. Associated Press via Military.com

One More Thing

An Explosion. A Radiation Spike. Evacuations Planned and Canceled. What’s Happening in Russia

At around 6 a.m. GMT on Aug. 8, seismic and acoustic sensors in Sweden, Finland, and Norway detected an explosion. The sensors are operated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, and on Aug. 12 the group—which monitors the globe for prohibited nuclear tests—said four stations identified an event “coinciding” with an explosion in Nyonoksa, Russia. Defense News