WSINT take offs

Air Force May Be About to Make Another Big Force Structure Mistake

Cutting needed capabilities to pay for modernizing the force is a management tactic that has failed every time the Air Force has tried it, according to a new paper from AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Authors Mark Gunzinger and Carl Rehberg said the Air Force, which already has shrunk by strategy reviews over the last 25 years, can’t bear to be any smaller as it has become “indispensable” to the US defense enterprise. They propose an end to the “pass-through” accounts unique to the Air Force that make the service’s budgets look artificially larger than they really are, and cross-service cost trades informed by USAF’s disproportionate contribution to US military capability.
12032019 Barrett Housing

Congressional Delays Slow DOD’s Tenant Bill of Rights

Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett on Dec. 3 told senators the service is ready to roll out a new “bill of rights” for airmen living in privatized military housing as soon as Congress passes a fiscal 2020 defense policy bill, now two months overdue. “We’re ready to go—could have issued it earlier but don’t want to issue something today that then lies in contrast with what the [National Defense Authorization Act] might come out with,” she told Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on substandard housing. Rather than issue the tenant bill of rights now and reconcile the differences with the law later, Barrett said the Air Force would rather wait and be consistent. The bill of rights would offer tenants a range of protections as service members battle rodents, mold, structural defects, and other problems in homes managed by private companies.
12032019 Kunsan Update

Kunsan AB Resumes Flying Operations After F-16 Crash

The runway at Kunsan AB, South Korea, reopened “for all civilian and military flying operations” around 3:00 p.m. local time on Dec. 3, a day after an F-16 pilot was forced to eject during a routine landing at the installation, according to an 8th Fighter Wing release. “A safety board is continuing to investigate the incident,” the wing wrote. The release neither identified the pilot, whom the base said was brought to a medical center for treatment on Dec. 2 after having sustained “minor injuries,” nor did it provide an update on the pilot’s condition or the status of the aircraft.
Hill AFB 5G graphic

Hill AFB to Host Experiment for 5G, Airborne Radars

The Defense Department looks to build and run a full-scale, fifth-generation wireless network at Hill AFB, Utah, to learn more about how it would interact with radars. In October, DOD announced it would launch experimentation and prototyping programs at four bases exploring how the next leap in connectivity could affect training and logistics. A recent project notice says the Pentagon and the Air Force need to develop hardware and software that allow airborne radars and 5G cellular systems to share bands on the radio spectrum, particularly focused on the 3,100-3,450 MHz band.
12032019 ARRW

Lockheed Martin Gets $988.8 Million ARRW Contract Modification

The Air Force on Dec. 2 awarded Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control a $988.8 million modification to a contract for critical design review of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW. The hypersonic AGM-183 ARRW has been undergoing initial tests at Edwards AFB, Calif. The service plans the first operational flight test of the weapon by the end of 2020 with initial operational capability by 2022.
Hurricane Hunters pilot

Hurricane Hunters Finish Busy Hurricane Season

The “Hurricane Hunters” of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron wrapped up the 2019 hurricane season at the end of November, having flown more hours this year than the previous year. The WC-130s, of the Keesler AFB, Miss.-based unit flew more than 684 hours, totaling 80 missions into nine storms. While the hurricane season is over, the squadron will stay busy flying into winter storms, among other missions.

Radar Sweep

US Troops and A-10s Return to Marjah Fight

Military Times

The Afghan government said Nov. 30 its forces cleared the opium rich and volatile district of Marjah, Afghanistan, after four years of control by the Taliban, but some remain skeptical of the claim and question whether Afghan forces can truly hold the territory.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Talks Turkey’s Erdogan, and ‘the Hole He’s Dug Himself into’

Defense News

A key gatekeeper on US foreign military sales, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho.) opposes F-35 sales to ally and NATO member Turkey, and he practically personifies Turkey’s strained relations with Congress. In a recent interview with Defense News, he discussed upcoming committee action to sanction Turkey, his opposition to renewing the New START Treaty and his support for proposed sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

OPINION: Three Tweaks to Foster Innovative Defense Products

Defense One

“Pentagon brass fretting about their dwindling technological advantage should take a look at Palantir and Anduril—two innovative companies that are applying commercial tech to military problems—and ponder: how can we help non-billionaire-backed companies do the same?” writes Jeff Decker, a Beall postdoctoral fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School. “Although the Defense Department cannot give promising young startups millions of dollars, as Peter Thiel and Palmer Luckey did, it can make three tweaks to help the US realize an American brand of ‘military-civil fusion.’”

Air Force Test Center Activates Cyber Lab Detachment

Inside Defense

The Air Force Test Center officially activated a new detachment within the 47th Cyberspace Test Squadron at Edwards AFB, Calif., on Nov. 19. "The detachment provides the Air Force with a secure avionics cyber test laboratory and fields cyber test capabilities to evaluate the Air Force's premiere weapons systems," a news release published on the service's website states.

Cheap Cyber Weapons Threaten Unintended Consequences

Signal Magazine

A new report on the commoditization of cyber weapons suggests that the easy availability of inexpensive offensive cyber tools is reshaping the cyber threat landscape. The report is being briefed to officials across the federal government, including elements of the Defense Department, Homeland Security Department, FBI, Senate Cyber Caucus, and the Secret Service.

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NATO Signs AWACS Upgrade Contract with Boeing

Jane’s Defence Weekly

NATO has signed a $1 billion contract with Boeing to upgrade the Alliance's 14 E-3 Airborne Warning and Control (AWACS) aircraft. The AWACS Final Lifetime Extension Programme (FLEP) contract was signed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Boeing International President Michael Arthur at Melsbroek, the military part of Brussels airport, on Nov. 27, the Belgian Ministry of Defence said on its website.