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Black Airmen Talk Race in the Air Force

Black Airmen are wrestling with their own reality in an Air Force that still suffers from its own racial blind spots and systemic discrimination, as civil unrest sweeps the nation following the May death of George Floyd. A dozen Black Airmen—including current and former officers, enlisted members, and civilians—shared their experiences with Air Force Magazine in June, describing how race has influenced their lives and careers, and how the Air Force still needs to evolve.
1st Lt. David Schmitz

Shaw Identifies Pilot Killed in F-16 Crash

The F-16 pilot killed in the June 30 crash at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., has been identified as 1st Lt. David Schmitz. Schmitz, assigned to the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw, was flying a local training sortie as his squadron is preparing to deploy when his F-16CM crashed on the base at about 11:30 p.m. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Schmitz is a prior enlisted Airman, who served as a C-17 loadmaster before earning his commission through Officer Training School, 20th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Larry Sullivan said in a video. He earned his pilot’s license at 17 years old, before enlisting in the Air Force.

House Armed Services Committee Passes 2021 Policy Bill

The House Armed Services Committee argued its way through its version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill on July 1, ultimately approving the annual legislation 56-0. The unanimous vote is a stark departure from the committee’s 33-24 vote last year, which largely fell along party lines after a contentious marathon debate. In comparison, this markup lasted only about 14 hours. One of Congress’s most traditional lawmaking processes is taking place under the least traditional circumstances, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Civil Unrest 2020

Lengyel: Military Should Stay Out of Civil-Unrest Missions

Civil-unrest response efforts should be undertaken by law-enforcement authorities, not U.S. troops, National Guard Bureau Chief Air Force Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel said July 2 during an event hosted by the Brookings Institution think tank. “In my opinion, uniforms, I don't care what flavor they are—Title 10, Active-duty, National Guard, Reserve—uniforms being out there in law-enforcement situations is not optimal,” he told Brookings Senior Fellow Michael E. O’Hanlon during a live-streamed conversation about the state of the Guard. “We should do as little of it as we can, and it should be predominantly a law-enforcement, police operation and when they need us, we can and we will come. But we should do what we can to avoid that.” As of the morning of July 2, approximately 570 Guard personnel—including about 60 Air Guardsmen—were still activated in six states and the nation's capital to back up law enforcement in case unrest broke out, down from nearly 41,500 at the beginning of June.

DOD: Afghan Air Force Airstrike Ops Improving, Struggles in Maintenance

The Afghan Air Force has made major strides in its ability to plan and conduct operations, especially on its A-29 Super Tucano fleet, but it is overly reliant on contractor support to keep flying, according to a new Defense Department report on progress in Afghanistan. The Afghan Air Force, alongside the country’s special forces, are the most capable components of Afghanistan’s military, the Pentagon said in a report to Congress released July 1. The AAF’s strike aircraft, which was “almost nothing” in 2014 now conducts nearly half of all airstrikes in the country even as U.S. airstrikes have surged. The AAF comprises three flight wings and 18 detachments, flying A-29s, C-208s, AC-208s, C-130s, Mi-17s, and MD-530s.
Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark

Clark Nominated to Lead Air Force Academy

President Donald J. Trump has nominated Lt. Gen. Richard M. Clark to be the next U.S. Air Force Academy superintendent. If confirmed, Clark will replace Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria, who graduated from the Academy in 1985 and has led the school since August 2017. Silveria plans to retire later this year, according to a USAFA release. Clark, who currently works as the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, is a 1986 USAFA graduate and a former commandant of cadets, according to his service biography. Prior to his arrival at the Pentagon, he led 3rd and 8th Air Forces, and served as vice-commander of Air Force Global Strike Command.

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.

Democrats Say Troop Threats Should Be Pursued ‘Relentlessly’

The Associated Press

The two top Democrats in Congress said July 2 that any threats to U.S. troops must be pursued “relentlessly,” rebuking President Donald Trump after receiving a highly classified briefing about intelligence that Russia offered bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

House Slides Money into B-21 Bomber Procurement Account

Defense News

An amendment to the House version of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill would move some funding for the secretive B-21 bomber program from its research and development account to procurement, a sign that production activities could be picking up. The amendment transfers $20 million into “Long Range Strike Bomber advanced procurement” and would “allow the program to begin some procurement activities ahead of schedule,” according to the legislation.

Rapid Acquisition & Sustainment

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force and U.S. defense establishment are breaking down barriers and injecting speed, innovation, and creativity into the procurement system. Check out our new page to learn more about these efforts.

OPINION: Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles Still Matter

RealClear Defense

"On July 1st, the House Armed Services Committee derailed an effort to kill funding for the U.S. Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) replacement, the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD)," write Adam Lowther, a professor at the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies; William Murphy, director of senior leader education for nuclear command, control, and communications at the Louisiana Tech Research Institute; and retired USAF Brig. Gen. Gerald Goodfellow, executive director of the Louisiana Tech Research Institute. "This was a big win for the Air Force because the arms control community has set its sights on GBSD and its primary target."

Mitchell Forum Paper: ‘The RAF Eighty Years on from the Battle of Britain’

AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

“With the anniversary of the Battle of Britain upon us, reflecting on that time 80 years ago and where we are today, the similarities between the Royal Air Force of 1940 and that of 2020 are striking,” writes Kevin Billings, a senior visiting fellow at AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “It is worth considering that now, as then, control of the air—and today space—remains the vital enabler of everything the total force does. As Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery observed, “If we lose the war in the air, we lose the war, and we lose it quickly.”

WATCH: Military Aircraft Fly over NYC for Fourth of July Celebration

NBC New York

Before the big nighttime fireworks show filled the skies above New York City, another boom of celebration could be heard as jets flew over the city. The Defense Department announced plans of a flyover event with aircraft from the Air Force and Marine Corps recognizing New York City's role "in the birth of this great nation." The event, expected in other major cities as well, was coined "Salute to the Great Cities of the American Revolution."