Hurricane Season 2019 is Here. Is the Air Force Ready

Heading into peak hurricane season, the Air Force is taking steps to learn from the devastation Hurricane Michael caused in the Florida Panhandle. Multiple studies have spurred changes from command and control to facility requirements, some of which are already in place for the 2019 hurricane season. “Just like any other near-peer adversary that we have, I think the Air Force is starting to recognize weather as an adversary as well,” said Lt. Col. Perry Sweat, commander of the 96th Weather Squadron at Eglin AFB, Fla. “We need to look at it [through] the same lens.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Information Warfare Merger Expected in Fall as USAF Adds Missions

The long-planned merger of 24th and 25th Air Forces into a new information-warfare organization has been pushed from summer into the fall, as its portfolio expands to cover weather specialists and several other activities, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Holmes said Aug. 23. He detailed the functions and expanding responsibilities of the new numbered Air Force during a status check on ACC activities at an AFA breakfast in Arlington, Va. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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USAF Shuffles C4ISR Leaders; Jamieson to Retire

Three Air Force officers will shuffle around to new jobs on the Joint Staff and within the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance community, the service announced Aug. 22. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson, USAF deputy chief of staff for ISR and cyber effects operations, will retire Jan. 1, 2020, according to her official biography. Air Forces Cyber boss Maj. Gen. Robert Skinner is also leaving his post in September to serve as US Indo-Pacific Command’s director of command, control, communications, and cyber, a 24th Air Force spokeswoman recently confirmed. His replacement has not yet been named. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

ROBOpilot Crashes After Inaugural Flight

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s ROBOpilot is now unflyable after a mishap that occurred during an Aug. 22 experiment, a service spokesman told Air Force Magazine on Aug. 23. “This is exactly why we have experimentation programs,” AFRL Commander Maj. Gen. William Cooley said in a release. “We are here to provide cutting-edge technology to the warfighter, meaning at a certain point in the process we need to take calculated risks to move forward. We learn important lessons from every experiment and I’m certain the ROBOpilot team will study this data and chart an appropriate course going forward.” ROBOpilot, a joint Air Force venture with DZYNE Technologies, can be inserted into a manned aircraft to temporarily convert it into a robotically flown version. The system completed a successful maiden flight Aug. 9 in a 1968 Cessna 206. —Rachel S. Cohen

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Defense Secretary Says ISIS Not in a Resurgent State in Syria Despite Pentagon Report Saying ISIS is Resurging

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Aug. 21 that ISIS was not "in a resurgent state in Syria" despite a Pentagon inspector general report saying the terror group is re-surging in that country. "I don’t agree that ISIS is in a resurgent state in Syria, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen them spring up in places like Afghanistan," Esper said in an interview with Fox News, his first since becoming defense secretary. CNN

Strikes on Iran-Backed Militias Threaten to Destabilize Iraq

An Isreali airstrike on an Iranian weapons depot in Iraq, confirmed by US officials, is threatening to destabilize security in the volatile country that has struggled to remain neutral in the conflict between Washington and Tehran. The July 19 attack targeted a base belonging to Iranian-backed paramilitary forces in Amirli in the northern Salaheddin province, and killed two Iranians. The attack was followed by at least two other mysterious explosions at munitions depots near Baghdad belonging to the militias. Associated Press

How Amazon and Silicon Valley Seduced the Pentagon

Tech moguls like Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt have gotten unprecedented access to the Pentagon. And one whistleblower who raised flags has paid the price. ProPublica

Pentagon Expresses “Concern and Disappointment” Over Axed South Korea-Japan Intelligence Sharing Pact

The Pentagon reacted with dismay on Aug. 22 over South Korea’s announcement that is axing an intelligence sharing agreement with Japan, urging the two sides to come to another arrangement quickly, citing safety concerns. The Hill

A New, More Secure GPS Signal Could Be Ready by 2020

A fix that will allow military ground systems to receive a highly secure, military signal from GPS III satellites is on track for early 2020, according to Lockheed Martin executives. The news comes on the eve of the Air Force launching the second GPS III satellite into space. C4ISRNET

OPINION: 5G: Speed Isn’t Everything; DoD, FCC Need to Work on Spectrum

“To protect the content of 5G transmissions, the Pentagon should accelerate development of mobile applications using end-to-end encryption,” writes Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “Today’s military radios or encrypted email only encrypt a message in transit. The message exists in an unencrypted form in the receiving server.” Breaking Defense

High Levels of Toxic Chemicals Found in Water at Air Force Academy, Officials Say

Groundwater at the US Air Force Academy is contaminated with the same toxic chemicals polluting a southern El Paso County aquifer, expanding a problem that has cost tens of millions of dollars to address in the Pikes Peak region. Plans are underway to begin testing drinking water wells south of the academy in the Woodmen Valley area after unsafe levels of the chemicals were found at four locations on base, the academy said Aug. 22. The Gazette

SECNAV Orders Comprehensive Review of Navy, Marine Corps JAGs

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s memorandum ordered the Navy and Marines to study the laws, regulations, policies, resourcing “and any corrective actions necessary” to revamp legal community training and professional development; organization and command relationships and oversight; staffing levels; and career progression of the sea services’ attorneys. Navy Times

Drone War Takes Flight, Raising Stakes in Iran, US Tensions

From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the crowded neighborhoods of Beirut, a drone war has taken flight across the wider Middle East, raising the stakes in the ongoing tensions between the the US and Iran. Associated Press

One More Thing

Here’s Why Growing Antibiotic Resistance is “Serious and Frightening” for the Military

As the military medical community fights the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant germs, a military medical historian painted a stark picture of the worst-case scenario—the stench and agony of field hospital wards in the pre-antibiotic days of World War I. Military Times