Shaw and Whiting trade places, both Space Commands win big

Due Date Looms for Space Force’s First Org Chart

The Space Force has three weeks to come up with an initial organization plan that Congress wants by Feb. 1, a service official said Jan. 10. Maj. Gen. John Shaw, who serves as both US Space Command’s combined force space component commander as well as the Space Force’s Space Operations Command boss, said at an AFA Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies breakfast that they’re considering who the Space Force should recruit and how, what new groups should comprise the service, and how doctrine will shape the path forward.
AIB T-6A Texan II Crash Sheppard

Investigation: Instructor Pilot Error Caused May T-6 Crash

An instructor pilot’s lack of spatial awareness and a failure to follow a stall recovery checklist caused the May 1 crash of a T-6 Texan II during a training flight at Sheppard AFB, Texas, the Air Force states in a recently released investigation. The pilots were able to eject and sustained minor injuries, and the T-6 was completely destroyed in the crash at a loss of about $5.7 million, according to the Air Education and Training Command accident investigation board report released last month.
Esper Leads Presidential Delegation for 75th Anniversary of Battle of the Bulge

Esper Pushes Readiness, Reform in New Year’s Message

Defense Secretary Mark Esper rallied the troops for the New Year in a letter telling Pentagon employees to work hard, spend money wisely, and prioritize their time well to maintain global military dominance. In a Jan. 2 memo to all Defense Department personnel, Esper urged the armed forces to accept that they will need to make sacrifices for the sake of the National Defense Strategy and the “aggressive reforms” it requires.

Walter Boyne, 1929-2020

Aviation author Walter Boyne, who wrote more than 50 books, had a noteworthy Air Force career, and was a former director of the National Air & Space Museum, died Jan. 9, at the age of 90. Boyne flew mainly bombers in the Air Force and, as part of a special unit, was a “nuclear ace,” dropping five nuclear weapons for testing. Several of his books made the New York Times bestseller list, and he did foundational work creating the downtown Washington, D.C., National Air and Space Museum, as well as its annex at Dulles Airport in Virginia. He also worked in aviation-themed cable television, was chairman of the National Aeronautic Association, and received numerous awards, including induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Active shooter exercise strengthens MacDill's response

MacDill Resumes Normal Ops After Active Shooter Scare

MacDill AFB, Fla., resumed normal operations around 9:14 a.m. on Jan. 10 after reports of an active shooter on the base prompted a lockdown about two hours earlier. After a search of the base, no suspect was found, and base officials emphasized that no shots were fired and no employees were harmed in the situation, according to a Facebook post.

52nd Fighter Wing Identifies 2 Airmen Found Dead in Spangdahlem Dorm

The 52nd Fighter Wing identified the two airmen whose bodies were discovered “unresponsive” Jan. 9 in a dorm at Spangdahlem AB, Germany. Pronounced dead soon after were A1C Xavier Leapheart and A1C Aziess Whitehurst, both 20. The two airmen were assigned to the wing’s 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, according to a Jan. 12 release. The causes of death were still under investigation as of Jan. 11, according to the wing.

Radar Sweep

Subscription Required

On the Day US Forces Killed Soleimani, They Launched Another Secret Operation Targeting a Senior Iranian Official in Yemen

Washington Post

On the day the US military killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, US forces carried out another top secret mission against a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, according to US officials. The strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, a financier and key commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been active in Yemen, did not result in his death, according to four US officials familiar with the matter.

The Eagles Have Landed

USAF release

US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles with the 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, deployed from RAF Lakenheath, UK, found a new home in the 378th Expeditionary Operations Group. These F-15Es, known as the “Mighty Black Panthers,” are capable of executing strategic attack, interdiction, and counter air missions in support of joint and coalition combat operations.

REPORT: The American AI Century: A Blueprint for Action

CNAS report

This report from the Center for a New American Security offers sensible ways to ensure US leadership in the coming “AI century.” The recommendations provide a framework for a national strategy for AI leadership.

Air Force Announces Spark Tank 2020 Selectees

USAF release

The Air Force has selected six more ideas to be shared directly with Air Force senior leaders at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium, Feb. 28 in Orlando, Fla. The selection process looked at the need for specific capabilities as well as concerns of safety, policy, Air Force-wide implementation, technical feasibility, and scalability.

New Mexico Fines Air Force $1.7 Million Over Groundwater

Associated Press via US News & World Report

The New Mexico Environment Department on Jan. 10 assessed the US Air Force a nearly $1.7 million fine for not complying with rules aimed at protecting groundwater. The agency claims Cannon Air Force Base has released wastewater despite not having a permit since March 2019.

Subscription Required

‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020

The New York Times

Groups linked to Russia’s intelligence agencies have recently been uncovered boring into the network of an elite Iranian hacking unit and attacking governments and private companies in the Middle East and Britain—hoping Tehran would be blamed for the havoc. For federal and state officials charged with readying defenses for the 2020 election, it was a clear message that the next cyberwar was not going to be like the last.