Goldfein and Wright

USAF’s Diversity Task Force is Already Making Changes

The Department of the Air Force is tackling the issue of systemic racism in the same way as it does many others: by standing up a task force. The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, created June 9, will look at how racial, ethnic, and other demographic disparities affect the Air Force and Space Force, USAF said in a July 8 release. A group of Airmen from various demographic groups and at different ranks are mulling the policies, procedures, and various other barriers that keep minority Airmen from advancing through the ranks and from feeling included in their units. Members are focusing on five areas: culture and policy; education, training, and testing; recruiting and accessions; workforce diversity; and aircrew diversity.
Mitchell Report Rollout Option 2

Report: Cost-Per-Effect Is Best Way to Compare Weapons’ Value

The Air Force should replace traditional metrics like cost per flying hour and unit price when calculating the cost of weapon systems with metrics that instead account for weapons' efficiency and effectiveness. By focusing instead on cost-per-effect, a new study argues, the Air Force can better compare options for how best to invest in the future. AFA's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies unveiled the paper—“Resolving America’s Defense Strategy-Resource Mismatch: The Case for Cost-Per-Effect Analysis”—at an online event July 8.

Okinawa Troops Create Communication Center for COVID-19 Information

When COVID-19 became a threat in early 2020, US military leaders in Okinawa quickly realized they needed a way to communicate and share resources among the services. Discussions began in January, and by late April, the Joint COVID-19 Response Center, or JCRC, was fully operational. “Being out here in Okinawa, we’re limited sometimes, especially if the supply chain is constrained, or with the travel restrictions… so with our services being able to work together, we can actually utilize our resources in a way that helps benefit the greater population of our U.S. forces,” explained Capt. Brandon Longstreet, the Air Force medical representative for the JCRC.
pentagon budgeting

Lord: COVID-19 Highlights Need for US Independence in Manufacturing

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted fragility within the defense industrial base and an overreliance on Chinese manufacturers that present a security risk, prompting U.S. policymakers to look at potential changes. Without COVID-19, the Pentagon wouldn't be as aware of problems in its supply chain or of China's outsized impact, Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said during a July 8 Brookings Institution event. “Now we have interest in actually making sure that we understand the fragilities in our supply chain, and that we make sure we reshore as much as possible, and also have partners and allies supporting us wherever possible,” Lord said.
Rep. Mac Thornberry

Proposal to Roll Over Some Pentagon Funds Could Help Save Money

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) hopes a small addition to fiscal 2021 defense legislation will make a big difference in how the Pentagon spends its money. The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee argues Congress should let the military roll over as much as half of its annual operations and maintenance funding to the next year. O&M money, by far the Pentagon’s biggest account, expires at the end of each fiscal year, prompting a scramble to spend the entire pot by Sept. 30 every year. The Defense Department wants to spend nearly $290 billion on operations and maintenance in 2021, about $125 billion more than the next-largest category of personnel. If Thornberry’s proposal is implemented, the move could help the U.S. shrink defense spending over time.

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.

Here’s Where the Air Force’s Pilot Shortfall Is the Worst

Air Force Times

Despite the Air Force’s full-court press in recent years to close its persistent and troubling pilot shortfall, the gaps in crucial categories remain—and in some cases, have worsened. The Air Force closed out 2019 with roughly 1 in 10 bomber, fighter and special operations pilot billets vacant, according to statistics the service provided at Air Force Times’ request.

US General Skeptical that Bounties Led to Troops’ Deaths

Associated Press

The top U.S. general for the Middle East said Tuesday that the intelligence suggesting that Russia may have paid Taliban militants to kill American troops in Afghanistan was worrisome, but he is not convinced that any bounties resulted in U.S. military deaths.

Thousands of Contracts Highlight Quiet Ties between Big Tech and US Military

NBC News

On July 8, newly published research from the technology accountability nonprofit Tech Inquiry revealed that the Defense Department and federal law enforcement agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, have secured thousands of deals with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Dell, IBM, Hewlett Packard, and even Facebook that have not been previously reported. The report offers a new window into the relationship between tech companies and the U.S. government, as well as an important detail about why such contracts are often difficult to find.

Calspan Awarded DARPA Air Combat Evolution Contract

Calspan press release

Calspan Corporation has been awarded a $14.1 million, four-year contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop full-scale air combat experimentation infrastructure for its Air Combat Evolution program. The overall focus of the program is to develop and measure human trust in artificial intelligence. The technologies developed within the ACE program will ultimately enable future pilots to confidently offload some high workload tactical tasks like visual air-to-air engagements so they can better focus on managing the larger battlespace.