Space Force Flag

Space Force Finalizes Organizational Changes

The Space Force announced June 30 it will organize its personnel into three levels: squadrons at the bottom, then newly named “deltas” instead of wings, and field commands at the top. Each will start standing up as smaller organizations this summer. The decision is an initial step toward building the Space Force differently than the Air Force, a five-tiered bureaucracy of squadrons, groups, wings, numbered Air Forces, and major commands. Space Force officials argue a flatter organizational chart will make it more flexible than its predecessor, Air Force Space Command.

Trump Approves Plan to Withdraw Troops from Germany, as Senators Vie to Block the Move

A bipartisan group of senators are attempting to block the White House’s effort to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Germany, saying such a step would be a “gift” to Russia. On June 29, a group of senators led by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) introduced an amendment to the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill to limit the use of Defense Department funds to reduce the amount of troops in Germany. The measure was also supported by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). President Donald J. Trump has said he wants the Pentagon to withdraw about 10,000 forces from Germany and cap the total that could be deployed to the country at one time at 25,000. Some of these forces would move to Poland, though most would come home or instead go to the Indo-Pacific Command theater.
063020 S-400

Thune Plan for Turkey: Sell U.S. the Triumf, All Will Be Forgiven on F-35

If Turkey sells the U.S. the advanced S-400 air defense system it bought from Russia, Ankara could resume its lucrative role in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, under provisions inserted in the Senate's version of the 2021 defense policy bill by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). Turkey's insistence on going through with the purchase caused it to be expelled from the F-35 program, costing it potential billions in manufacturing and support work. Meanwhile, another amendment would compel the Trump administration to punish Turkey for the S-400 deal.
U.S. Capitol

Republicans, Democrats Find Common Ground with NDAA

The head of the House Armed Services Committee calls himself an optimist. This year, he also has to be a realist. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), tried to pack Democratic priorities into his committee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill—though not enough, according to some progressives and policy advocates—and ultimately came up with legislation that will spark fewer fireworks than last year. “By and large, those have been resolved,” Smith told reporters during a June 30 Defense Writers Group event. “Not all of them have been resolved to my satisfaction, but nothing has changed in terms of the control of the Senate, the control of the White House, control of the House. We fought those battles, we see the outcome, and so there is not the necessity to fight them again, in many instances.” Ranking member Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) recently noted the 2021 bill "is not the bill I would have written, but on the whole, it is one I agree with and can support."
The Pentagon

Travel Restrictions Lifted for Nearly All States, Some Installations Increase Protection Measures

The Pentagon is giving the green light for personnel movement to more states and countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic, though some installations are retightening restrictions as cases increase in specific areas. The Defense Department on June 29 updated its list of “green locations,” where personnel are allowed to travel, leaving just three states—California, Michigan, and Florida—off limits. Additionally, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico are “green,” along with the countries of Bahrain, Belgium, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Pentagon policy states travel to locations can continue with the removal of shelter-in-place orders or other restrictions, there’s a 14-day downward trajectory of flu-like and COVID-19-like symptoms, and a 14-day downward trajectory of new COVID-19 cases.
F-35A fleet doubles at Eielson

Eielson F-35A Deliveries Continue on Schedule

Three F-35A Lightning IIs arrived at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, on June 25, doubling the size of the base’s F-35A fleet. Eielson will receive 48 more aircraft by December next year, giving Alaska the highest concentration of combat-coded, fifth-generation fighter aircraft of any state. “Alaska is poised to become a premier training range for the Pacific Air Forces, sister DOD services, and international partners across the theater,” Lt. Col. James Christensen, the 356th Fighter Squadron commander in a June 25 press release.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

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.

SCO, Air Force Shaping Plans for Arsenal Plane Experimentation

Inside Defense

The Air Force is working with the Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office to develop a plan to prototype and experiment with stand-in/stand-off weapons delivery and recently released a technology survey seeking information from industry and academia about existing technologies that could help the service mature its Arsenal Plane concept.

Faster Acquisition

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force is leveraging emerging technologies and new legislation to accelerate acquisition decisions and streamline sustainment. Read more here.