US Forces Start to Withdraw from Northeast Syria Following White House Announcement

US forces began to withdraw from northeast Syria following a surprise White House announcement late Oct. 6 that American troops would leave the area, clearing the way for what the Trump administration called a “long-planned” Turkish incursion. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Oct. 7 that despite US troops leaving the area, the Defense Department does not endorse a Turkish operation in northern Syria. Lawmakers swiftly pushed back against the notion of withdrawal. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said doing so would only benefit Russia and Iran, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) would introduce a measure to sanction Turkey if it invades Syria. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Dynetics Planning First Gremlins Flight Test Despite Earthquake

Dynetics is preparing to fly its new drone for the first time as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Gremlins program, taking another step to prove out the futuristic concept of unmanned swarms. Recent earthquake damage to NAWS China Lake, Calif., set back the initial flight demonstration, which was slated for September, according to Tim Keeter, the Gremlins program manager at Dynetics. Instead, the test may move to the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. Keeter said it could be rescheduled to happen by the end of the year. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Three Dead in Robins AFB Gate Crash

Three men died Oct. 5 after ramming their car into a security gate at Robins AFB, Ga., the base said in a release the same day. The men—one driver and two passengers—were not associated with the base, the Air Force said. “The incident happened at approximately 9:30 p.m. when a vehicle approached the gate and the driver failed to stop as ordered by the security forces gate sentry,” according to the release. “When the vehicle accelerated through the gate, security forces activated a barrier which the vehicle impacted at a high rate of speed.” Two died at the scene, the other at a nearby hospital. The Air Force is withholding their names until their families are notified, and an investigation is underway. Air Force Times recently reported that a service review found tactics to secure base entry points are “pretty solid,” but that the Air Force wants to use technology like motion detectors, cameras, or infrared to help keep installations safe. —Rachel S. Cohen

BMT Trainees Issued OCP Uniforms as Uniform Change Process Continues

Trainees in the first week of October began receiving new operational camouflage pattern uniforms as they enter basic military training at JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas—the latest step in a multiyear process to implement the new uniform. The Air Force is issuing the uniforms to BMT personnel, as well as to those entering the Reserve Officer Training Corps, about a year after the service announced it would adopt the OCP pattern as its standard uniform. “Trainees who are here in (Airmen Battle Uniforms) will continue to wear them throughout their time here and will be replaced when they get their clothing allowance,” Bernadette Cline, clothing issue supervisor, said in an Oct. 7 USAF release. The clothing is rolling out over three years, and all must wear OCPs as of April 1, 2021. Boots, socks, and T-shirts must be “coyote brown” as of June 1, 2020, with officer ranks changing to “spice brown,” according to the release. Airmen already receive OCPs when they deploy. The Air Force made the switch for a better fit and feel, as well as to blend in with soldiers during joint deployments. —Brian Everstine

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The article “DOD Releases Inaugural Military Family Suicide Statistics” in the Sept. 27 Daily Report misspelled the first name of Defense Suicide Prevention Office Director Karin Orvis.



Missile Defense Agency Shaping Strategy to Meet Evolving Challenges

The Missile Defense Agency is working to up its game to meet new challenges posed by the next generation of precision-guided weapons, the agency’s director said on Oct. 7. Navy Vice Adm. Jon Hill, four months into his assignment, said the agency is looking at threats from Russia and China, and assessing the technological advances being made by North Korea in launching either an undersea-based or submarine-launched missile capable of striking Japan. USNI News

SOUTHCOM Commander: Foreign Powers Pose Security Concerns

At a Defense Writers Group event in Washington D.C., on Oct. 4, Navy Adm. Craig Faller said he’s seen Russia, China, Iran, and Cuba operating in varying capacities in US Southern Command’s area of responsibility. DOD release

Here’s How Many Foreign Military Sales the US State Department OK’d in FY19

The US State Department cleared $67.9 billion in weapons in fiscal 2019, in an indication that America’s position in the global arms trade remains strong. The number, spread across 64 individual procurement requests from 28 different countries and a NATO consortium, represents the second year in a row that the overall value of foreign military sales requests have slightly declined. Defense News

Space Development Agency Lays Out Five-Year Plan in $11 Billion Proposed Budget

The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency in a draft budget proposal seeks more than $11 billion over five years to plan, design, and deploy large constellations of satellites for military use. The bulk of the funding is to build a 250-satellite or larger communications network that would support a missile defense constellation and other capabilities provided by satellites in low orbits. Space News

Navy’s F/A-18C Classic Hornet Makes Final Flight

The service announced this month that its last twin-engine, multirole C model made its final flight at NAS Oceana, Va., on Oct. 2. The 31-year-old Hornet’s sunset flight included three F/A-18F Super Hornets, marking the Navy’s transition, which began decades ago, to the more capable and advanced fighter.

Air Force CXO: We Don’t Have to Delight the User

The Air Force doesn’t necessarily have to delight its users, but the tech and platforms the service builds, buys, and uses have to get better, according to Colt Whittall, the Air Force’s first chief experience office, or CXO, who joined in July. As he settles into the job, Whittall spoke with Nextgov about how he’s adapting commercial user experience practices and terminology for a military crowd and how the Air Force’s efforts differ from that of the private sector, as well as other areas of government. Nextgov

New Tech Aims to Tell Pilots When Their Plane Has Been Hacked

Raytheon is pitching a product to detect cyber intrusions into aircraft, drones, and even missiles. Defense One

Unemployment Rate for Post-9/11 Veterans Rises Again

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans went up to 4.5 percent in September, standing out as an exception in a Labor Department report that showed overall joblessness at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent.

Air Force Recruiting Service, Air Force Reserve Command Form Recruiting Partnership

Total Force recruiting reached a major milestone Oct. 1 when Air Force Recruiting Service and Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service formed a classic associate partnership to bolster effectiveness and combine strategies. As part of the association, AFRC Recruiting Service will align its four recruiting squadrons to become the 367th Recruiting Group. The 367th RCG will now be the fourth group under the AFRS umbrella. USAF release

A Crash Raises a Question: Should People Really Be Flying 70-Year-Old Planes

The roar of its four engines, the plexiglass nose, the bristling machine guns—for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts, few thrills compare with that of a flight aboard aircraft like the B-17 Flying Fortress, the World War II bomber that helped smash the Nazi war machine. But a deadly crash in Connecticut of the very same B-17 has cast a pall over the band of brothers—and sisters—who enjoy riding in vintage planes and raised questions of whether machinery over 70 years old should be flying passengers. Los Angeles Times (subscription required)

One More Thing

How the Air Force Conducted a Four-Day, 8,000-Mile Mission to Save One Injured Soldier in Afghanistan

When a soldier was critically injured in a blast in Afghanistan, the Air Force quickly mobilized to conduct an unprecedented, four-day mission: REACH 797. Air Mobility Command’s 618th Air Operations Center, along with multiple squadrons and medical teams, conducted an urgent aeromedical evacuation from Bagram AB, Afghanistan, to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio in mid-August. Air Force Times