US, Withdrawing from Much of Syria, Flexes Military Muscle in Flyover

The Pentagon is withdrawing most US troops from Syria as Turkey’s invasion across the border to fight the Syrian Democratic Forces has created an “unacceptable level” of risk for American forces, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Oct. 15. About 1,000 Americans are leaving as the US military faces being “engulfed in a broader conflict,” Esper said on Twitter. The Pentagon and White House previously said withdrawal would affect around 50 troops. Some will remain at the al-Tanf base near Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan. F-15 fighter jets on Oct. 15 flew in a show of force over Turkish-backed fighters that drew near to American troops by the Syrian village of Ain Issa, where US forces were stationed with Syrian Kurdish forces, Fox News reported. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

New Global Hawk Wing Charts Path to Maturity

JBSA-LACKLAND, TEXAS—The RQ-4 Global Hawk enterprise has more work ahead to grow into its new wing headquarters at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., four months after it split from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB, Calif., to form the 319th Reconnaissance Wing. While that shift hasn’t affected how RQ-4s operate out of Beale, Grand Forks, or other installations, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mike Holmes noted that 319th RW headquarters staff needs to grow in order to manage its responsibilities. The wing is fleshing out new capabilities for its remotely piloted aircraft as well. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Goldfein: USAF, Navy Experimenting with Multi-Domain Operations

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein told reporters Oct. 11 that his service and the Navy are trying to connect combat assets in new ways as the Defense Department ramps up its effort to improve joint, software-driven warfare. “We did some pretty cool experimentation with space linked to [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] linked to [command and control] linked to shooter, and then wrote the algorithms, put the common architecture in place, and then worked the kill chain machine-to-machine, where the only human that was actually on the loop was the shooter.” Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Civil Air Patrol Begins Deploying Small Drones for Search and Rescue

Civil Air Patrol is now using small drones to aid in search and rescue missions, according to an Oct. 10 release. Unmanned aerial systems already capture images to support local, state, and federal emergency management agencies, but a recent search in South Dakota marked the first time the drones were used in a “real-world SAR mission,” Austin Worcester, CAP’s senior program manager for small unmanned aerial systems, or sUAS, told Air Force Magazine on Oct. 11. CAP’s South Dakota Wing in late September deployed sUAS to help track down a lost hiker, according to the release. CAP used small drones again in October when searching for a missing hunter. CAP now owns and operates about 1,500 sUAS stations across the US and Puerto Rico, Worcester said, making the organization “the largest civilian owner of [Federal Aviation Administration]-registered sUAS in the country.” Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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US Arms Sales Top $55 Billion in Fiscal 2019

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Oct. 15 announced that US arms sales to foreign countries totaled $55.4 billion in fiscal 2019, marking a slight drop from 2018 but remaining much higher than in 2017 and earlier. The US has averaged $51 billion in foreign military sales over the last three years. Partner nations bought more than $48 billion in military goods in fiscal 2019, according to a DSCA statement. Nearly $4 billion of the remaining sales were funded by State Department assistance programs, such as foreign military financing and global peacekeeping operations initiatives. Another $3.5 billion were paid for by Pentagon grant programs like the Afghan Security Forces Fund. —Brian Everstine



Russia Seeks to Cement Its Role as Power Broker in Syria

Russia moved to fill the void left by the United States in northern Syria on Oct. 15, deploying troops to keep apart advancing Syrian government forces and Turkish troops. At the same time, tensions grew within NATO as Turkey defied growing condemnation of its invasion from its Western allies. Associated Press

Tyndall AFB Continues Rebuild Effort One Year after Hurricane Michael

In the early hours of Oct. 10, 2018, many communities in Northwest Florida prepared for a storm expected to make landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. Tyndall Air Force Base was also preparing for the storm named Hurricane Michael. USAF release

Air Force Want to Make Its Moves More Stealthy by Hiding in Plain Sight

In the social media age, US military planners know it is near impossible to move large equipment, like ships and aircraft, without being spotted and having the activity broadcast to the world. As the Defense Department continues to posture itself to counter China and Russia, one Air Force command is strategizing ways to throw off the enemy by doing everything in plain sight, according to the top general for the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command.

Air Force Academy Launches New Airmanship Next Program

The US Air Force Academy redesigned its Airmanship program to give cadets more opportunities to experience the Air Force’s flying mission and produce the best pool of rated candidates. Launched at the start of the fall semester, Airmanship Next augments live-flight at the airfield with virtual reality training to reach cadets who may have been excluded in the past by scheduling conflicts and infuses more aviation training into the four-year cadet developmental model. USAF release

Canadian Snowbird Plane Crashes at Atlanta Air Show

One pilot ejected from a Canadian Snowbird plane that later crashed at the Atlanta Air Show on the afternoon of Oct. 13. The pilot, Kevin Domon-Grenier, was safe after the ejection and crash. CBS46

Army Plans to Field Battery of New Hypersonic Missiles by 2023

The Army plans to deploy a new long-range hypersonic weapon system no later than fiscal 2023, a program leader said Oct 14. The service plans to deliver a battery of eight missiles, which will launch from a mobile ground platform, breaking speeds of Mach 5, he said. National Defense Magazine

Inside the NSA’s New Cybersecurity Directorate

For decades, the National Security Agency went by the unofficial nickname “No Such Agency” as it gobbled up international communications and surveillance data and provided super-secret intelligence to policymakers. The agency avoided headlines and publicity in all but the rarest circumstances, but it’s taking a different approach with its Cybersecurity Directorate, which it launched last week to unify its foreign intelligence and cyber defense missions in one still-very-secret and state-of-the-art facility on its Fort Meade, Md., campus. Nextgov

OPINION: Moving Forward after the Crash

“No one, with the potential exclusion of National Transportation Safety Board investigators, knows what happened to cause the crash,” writes Collings Foundation Board Member Frank Dworak of an Oct. 2 B-17G crash at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut. “Clearly something went wrong and that knowledge, when it is understood, must be applied to make aviation safer. In the meantime, I think it is important to help people understand the broader context behind the B-17’s flight. It comes down to two simple aims: honoring veterans and educating the public.” CTpost(subscription required)

One More Thing

The First African-American Fighter Pilot Now Has a Statue at an Aviation Museum in Georgia

His father was born into slavery, but he would live to have a dogfight with German pilots in the skies over Europe. Eugene Bullard, who became known as the Black Swallow of Death, was the first African-American pilot to fly in combat. He now has a statue in his honor, unveiled Oct. 9 in Warner Robins, Ga., at the Museum of Aviation next to Robins Air Force Base, and about 100 miles south of Atlanta. CNN