New USAF Base in Niger Begins Limited Operations

The Air Force’s new operating base in central Niger is set to begin its first regular operations this month, with C-130s flying limited missions into the facility, the service announced Aug. 15. Unmanned MQ-9s are slated to start flying missions at “Air Base 201,” near the village of Agadez, by the end of the year as well. The Air Force launched its largest-ever construction project in 2016. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Air Operations Against ISIS Increase as Group Lingers

US and coalition air strikes against ISIS nearly tripled between May and June as it lingers in Iraq and Syria and ramps up activity in the region, according to the latest figures from Air Forces Central Command. Blue forces conducted 135 strikes in June before falling to 105 strikes in July—both notable spikes over May’s total of 54 strikes, the least of the campaign so far. As of July 31, US and coalition aircraft had conducted nearly 4,000 strikes in 2019. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Facilities, IT Issues at the Forefront of AFMC Improvement Efforts

Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Arnold Bunch said in a recent video town hall that his organization is digging into the specifics of which facilities problems to address and how to fix them as part of command- and service-level initiatives. In March, the Air Force unveiled a plan to address a $33 billion backlog in base maintenance and demolish 5 percent of facilities that aren’t essential to missions. Bunch said Aug. 8 that AFMC is working through the budget process to address facilities issues, and is mulling how to improve information technology infrastructure across the command. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Heritage Foundation: The Time is Right to Call for BRAC

The Pentagon should use its next budget request to call for another Base Realignment and Closure round, the conservative Heritage Foundation writes in a new white paper. Because lawmakers are mindful of the impacts of BRAC on their local communities, the Defense Department can convince Congress of the need to shut some bases by pointing to potential cost savings and the push to reshape the military under the National Defense Strategy. Heritage sees an upcoming, congressionally mandated DOD report as the right opportunity for the department to state its case for BRAC, after two previous reports found DOD has as much as 22 percent excess capacity. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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First Enlisted Woman to Attempt Air Force Special Recon Training Dropped from Program

The first enlisted woman to attempt the Air Force’s special operations weather career field—now known as special reconnaissance (SR)—has not been selected to proceed further in her training, according to Air Education and Training Command. The trainee, unidentified for privacy reasons, was the eighth woman to try any kind of battlefield training in the Air Force since the Defense Department opened combat career fields to all in December 2015.

Air Force Chief Grapples With Suicide Scourge: “I Don’t Have a Solution”

Suicide in the decades since then has become particularly problematic for the military, including the Air Force, which Goldfein now oversees as chief of staff. Since 2010, almost 1,000 airmen have killed themselves. US News & World Report

Gate Runner at Andersen AFB Shot Dead after Attacking, Stabbing Security Forces

Security forces at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam on the morning of Aug. 15 shot and killed a gate runner who “aggressively" attacked officers who tried to arrest him, and stabbed a civilian security forces member. Air Force Times

Tension Between South Korea and Japan Could Hurt US Goals in the Pacific—and China Is Watching

The tweet came Aug. 2, following an emergency meeting of the South Korean government. It was a photo of President Moon Jae-in, sent out from the government’s official Twitter feed, with text plastered over it and a succinct message: “We will never again lose to Japan.” Defense News

New Supercomputer Will Help Prevent Nuclear Weapon Testing

Dubbed “El Capitan,” the supercomputer is part of the Exascale Computing Project, a DOE effort to increase computing power so that the department can run highly advanced simulations and modelling of the United States’ nuclear arsenal. These simulations help alleviate the need for underground testing. C4ISRNET

DOD Inspector General Clarifies Office’s Role in JEDI Cloud Decision

The Defense Department Inspector General’s office sought to clear up confusion regarding its review of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract on Aug. 13, offering reporters a public statement days after Defense officials referenced the IG in statements to the press. Defense One

FedBizOpps Will Be Gone Before the End of the Year

The federal contracting opportunity website is being decommissioned. Here’s what you need to know about the transition. Nextgov

Ex-Blackwater Contractor Sentenced to Life in Iraq Shootings

A former Blackwater security contractor was sentenced Aug. 14 to life in prison for his role in the 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq that left 14 people dead. Federal judge Royce Lamberth issued the sentence after a succession of friends and relatives requested leniency for Nicholas Slatten, who was found guilty of first-degree murder by a jury in December. Associated Press

One More Thing

Why the US Abandoned Nuclear-Powered Missiles More Than 50 Years Ago

President Donald Trump says the US has a missile like the one that killed seven in the Russian Arctic. That’s untrue, because the US abandoned the idea decades ago. Popular Mechanics