JBER Moose Walk

Inside Elmendorf’s Massive ‘Moose Walk’

When rows and rows of aircraft, 35 in total, lined up for the largest display of airpower in recent years at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, they had two audiences in mind: the Airmen on the ground that made it happen, and most importantly, those who would see the photographs from abroad. The May 5 “Moose Walk” included 26 F-22s, two C-12s, two C-130s, two E-3 Sentrys, and three C-17s, in addition to HH-60s and a C-17 already in the air. It was a massive display of readiness by the 3rd and 176th Wings at the Alaska base. Airmen worked in shifts leading up to the event, combining a full day’s worth of takeoffs and landings into one onslaught of aircraft. “The message is that we’re ready. We’ve always been ready,” 3rd Wing Commander Col. Robert Davis told Air Force Magazine in an interview. “And the challenges associated with COVID-19 have not prevented us from being ready to defend the nation in our NORAD alert mission, or to be able to project airpower, to deliver airpower to combatant commanders.”

Roper Sees High-Low Mix for Hypersonic Missiles

The Air Force plans a high/low mix of rocket-boosted and air-breathing hypersonic missiles to give adversaries a troublesome and expensive defense problem, service acquisition executive Will Roper said May 14. While the ARRW missile is on track for operational service at the end of fiscal 2022, a smaller, air-breathing missile will also be developed, he said. The “worst thing” the U.S. could do is “give that adversary the benefit of only having to look up or down, or the benefit of only having to worry about bombers but not fighters,” Roper said.

New Arsenal Plane Still ‘Very Nascent,’ Roper Says

A potential “clean sheet” Arsenal Plane for Air Force Global Strike Command could be done with the Digital Century Series approach, but the budget likely won’t allow for such a new start in the near future, service acquisition chief Will Roper said. Roper said he is working on a “variety of options” for Air Force Global Strike Command, and one of them is potentially a new Arsenal Plane concept, but it is in a “very nascent” form. “My job is to have options so that the number of bombers can be achieved,” Roper said of the goal of 220 bombers USAF leaders have been voicing lately.
USAFE C-130J Support to Italy

Ramstein C-130 Delivers Supplies to Italy as a Part of New NATO Initiative

A C-130J from the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, delivered more than 30,000 pounds of COVID-19 relief supplies to Italy as part of a new NATO initiative to quickly transmit equipment. The C-130J carried KN-95 masks, surgical gowns, and COVID-19 test kits to Italian logistics hubs in Milan and Rome, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe release. The flight was the first in a series of planned operations to Italy to redistribute supplies and was coordinated as part of NATO’s Rapid Air Mobility initiative, which began in March to simplify procedures for relief flights by using NATO call signs to speed up air traffic control clearances across Europe.
Lab testing COVID-19 samples

Eglin Gets Speedy COVID-19 Test-Processing Capability

Eglin Air Force Base’s 96th Medical Group can now get the results of COVID-19 tests within about an hour, instead of waiting up to three days for a lab at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, to process them. The group is using recently acquired test kits in conjunction with a molecular diagnostic analyzer—a system previously used to check for the pathological culprits behind illnesses such as pneumonia—to detect the new coronavirus in patient samples, a base release said.
Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris

Nuclear Weapons Official Nominated to Run AFLCMC

Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center boss Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris is nominated for the top spot at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. Morris is also up for a promotion to lieutenant general. His nomination was sent to the Senate on May 11. If confirmed, he will replace Lt. Gen. Robert McMurry, who has run AFLCMC since May 2017. The Air Force did not say where McMurry will go next.

Radar Sweep

Snapshot: DOD and COVID-19

Air Force Magazine

Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pentagon Fires Its Point Person for Defense Production Act


Jennifer Santos, the Pentagon’s industrial policy chief who oversees efforts to ramp up production of masks and other equipment to help fight Covid-19, was fired from her job this week and will move to a position in the Navy, according to two people familiar with the matter.

OPINION: Why the Military Can Use Emergency Powers to Treat Service Members with Trial COVID-19 Drugs

The Conversation

“Because the COVID-19 virus is new, there are as yet no FDA approved treatments,” writes Jennifer Bard, a visiting Professor of Law at the University of Florida. “As a result, military physicians are turning to either treatments approved for other conditions or seeking access to newly developed treatments, such as the antiviral Remdesivir, which to date has received FDA emergency use approval only for COVID-19 patients with severe conditions.

OPINION: America Needs Spaceplanes Now, and Space-Based Missile Defenses As Soon as Possible

RealClear Defense

“Space planes would do much immediately, as well as in the coming decades, to help America deter and defend against aggression in space,” write consultant Norm Haller and Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security. “A companion layer of space-based missile defenses by the mid-2020s would initiate a robust American ability to deter and defend against ballistic missile attacks.”

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In Remote Alaska, Changes Coming in How the Air Force Prepares for War

The Washington Post

For decades, the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex has been used to prepare for real-world missions, with pilots warned to watch out for bears and moose if they must eject. But the range and its headquarters at Eielson Air Force Base are taking on increasing importance as the Pentagon attempts to pivot to countering China and Russia after years of focusing primarily on ground wars in the fight against terrorism.

Space Force to Begin Specialized Warfare Training for New Officers

Space News

Starting this year, graduates of the Air Force undergraduate space training school who transition to the Space Force will have the option to pursue specialized career tracks such as orbital warfare, space electronic warfare, space battle management, and space access and sustainment. Just like graduates of Air Force pilot training choose a specialized career track flying fighters, bombers, or large airlift planes, space professionals will have their own career tracks focused on space missions.

GAO Faults Pentagon Oversight of Sexual Offenses

CQ Roll Call

Back in 2011, the Government Accountability Office urged the Pentagon to start formally monitoring how military leaders were doing in combating sexual harassment and assault, and the auditors also proposed establishing a Defense Department system for tracking progress in the overall effort. At the time, a top Pentagon official agreed fully in writing with the auditors’ recommendations and said both tasks would be done that year. But, more than eight years later, neither job has been accomplished, GAO reported this week.

3D Mammograms Will Be Covered by TRICARE Starting This Month

Military Times

Starting on May 29, TRICARE will cover Digital Breast Tomosynthesis—known as 3D mammography or DBT—under its provisional coverage program, according to Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.). “This is a major victory for our female service members and veterans covered under TRICARE,” McSally, a former A-10 pilot who served in the Air Force for 26 years, said in a May 12 statement. “Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, but when detected early the overall chances of survival increase dramatically.”

One More Thing

Isolation Tips from a Former Astronaut and Retired USAF Colonel

NATO video

Retired USAF Col. Greg Johnson, a former NASA astronaut, uses his experience in space to give tips on how best to cope during isolation. It comes as many NATO nations are asking people to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He was the pilot of STS-134, the final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour and the penultimate flight of the Space Shuttle Program. He also flew F-15s alongside NATO allies during operations in Iraq.