Air Force PT testing

Air Force PT Testing Delayed Until Jan. 1, 2021

The Air Force will not resume physical fitness testing across the service until at least Jan. 1, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the military, top service leaders announced. The service early in the pandemic suspended PT testing, and repeatedly delayed resumption until Oct. 1. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass said Sept. 16 that the new target is Jan. 1, and the service is also determining what PT testing will look like in the future. “That’s really for the safety of our Airmen and, all across our Air Force … every installation is kind of in a different COVID environment, so it just makes sense to do so,” Bass said.
Teleworking upholds Incirlik mission

Air Force Vice Chief: Nearly One-Third of Employees May Permanently Telework

About one-third of Air Force employees may remain largely out of the office even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen W. “Seve” Wilson said Sept. 16. “There'll be a portion of our workforce that never comes back to working as we knew it in the past. I don't know what that number is—is it 30 percent of our workforce?” Wilson said at AFA’s virtual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. “They may show up to work in a work environment once a day, once a week type of thing, but ... because we've got everything connected, because we've got this workforce that can now work from wherever they are, whenever they want, it's changed the paradigm on how we're going to do work.” The service must now give people the same quality of technology in an office that they’re used to at home.

New AEF Focuses on Small Groups, Multitasking, Burden Sharing

The new AIr and Space Expeditionary Force will see airmen doing multiple specialties, deploying in groups instead of as individuals, and going less frequently to built-up bases and more often to austere locations, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said in a September 16 press conference. He also said he may engage the other services to pick up some of the load to avoid burning out airmen in high-demand specialties. The new AEF technically goes into effect October 1, but won't be felt for several months.
Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly Gives Air Force Personnel Update

Air Force to Launch Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

The Air Force's Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, which launched June 9 to investigate the impact of demographic-related disparities on USAF and the Space Force, will transition into a new office dedicated to cultivating these qualities across both services, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel, and Services Lt. Gen. Brain D. Kelly announced Sept. 16. “This task force that's created now will transition to a new Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging that will work directly for the Secretary of the Air Force [and] service the two service chiefs—both on the Air Force side and the Space Force side,” Kelly said during a panel on Air Force talent management and culture issues that was held as part of the Air Force Association's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
Ali Al Salem Air Base

Two Airmen Killed in Separate Crashes at Ali Al Salem Within Days

Two Airmen have died in two separate single-vehicle crashes within three days of each other at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait, the Pentagon announced. Staff Sergeant Ronald J. Ouellette, 23, of Merrimack, N.H., died Sept. 14 in a single all-terrain-vehicle crash on the flightline at the base, the Pentagon announced Sept. 16. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Ouellette was assigned to the 42nd Aerial Port Squadron at Westover Air Reserve Base, Mass. The crash comes days after Senior Airman Jason Khai Phan, 26, of Anaheim, Calif., died Sept. 12 in a single-vehicle, non-combat-related crash while patrolling outside the perimeter of the base.

Ligado May Jeopardize Future of Experimental Space Force Navigation Satellite

Officials overseeing a promising new satellite venture warned this week that Ligado Networks could jeopardize the future of next-generation positioning, navigation, and timing alongside the current GPS enterprise. “As we interface with our [Air Force headquarters] staff counterparts, the message we communicate is basically, ‘Well, we are going to be collateral damage if this moves forward,’” Arlen Biersgreen, Navigation Technology Satellite-3 program manager at the Air Force Research Laboratory, told Air Force Magazine on Sept. 16. “GPS is going to be harmed, and certainly the work that we're doing will be harmed as well.” The Space Force’s NTS-3 program is an experimental effort to offer more reliable, accurate location data via satellites that complement GPS.

Esper Highlights USAF Modernization, Force Employment Changes as Near-Peer Threats Rise

The U.S. Air Force is leading the way within the military on adopting new technologies and adapting how it operates to be ready for “great power competition,” both with technological advancements such as the Advanced Battle Management System and new ways to deploy aircraft such as bomber task forces, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said. In a Sept. 16 keynote address as part of AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference, Esper warned that with countries like China and Russia making advancements, “we cannot take for granted the United States’ long-held advantages,” such as air superiority and the ability to operate without threats in space. Rivals “seek to erode our long-standing dominance in airpower through long-range fires, anti-access area denial systems, and other asymmetric capabilities designed to counter our strengths,” Esper said.
AFSOC awards

AFSOC’s Review of Valor Awards ‘Winding Down’

Air Force Special Operations Command’s review of valor awards for possible upgrades, including potentially to the Medal of Honor and Air Force Cross, is still ongoing, though it is “winding down,” with a handful of cases still under review. A Defense Department-wide review of valor awards began in 2016, and notably resulted in the Air Force’s only Medal of Honor for the Global War on Terrorism with the upgrade of Master Sgt. John Chapman’s Air Force Cross in 2018. Air Force Special Operations Command, the major command with most of the service’s overall valor awards, has been reviewing the cases and presenting them to Air Force Secretary Barbara M. Barrett. “We have worked our way through the bulk of that review, and there are just a handful of awards that we’re still reviewing as perhaps being eligible for upgrades based on either new evidence or the criteria being re-evaluated,” AFSOC boss Lt. Gen. James C. Slife said Sept. 15. “Yes, it is still underway, but I would say it’s probably winding down.”
COVID-19 Operational Impacts

Here’s How COVID-19 Has Changed the Air Force

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people around the world work, travel, and live. The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force are no different. When the threat of the virus became clear, leaders throughout the Department of the Air Force sprung into action to change how—and where—work is done, and there’s no going back now, panelists said Sept. 16 at AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. “As we started this, I looked around the office for the book on how to operate the command in a pandemic, and, surprise surprise, there wasn’t one,” Bunch said. “We just knew that we were going to have to” figure it out, making adjustments along the way, “because of what we need to do to support the nation.”
Scobee & White at vASC

Air Force Reserve Helping DOD Assess Space Force Reserve Component Options

The outlook for a Space Force reserve component is still hazy, but Air Force Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Richard W. Scobee said leaders from his command are among a group of Defense Department decision-makers who are contemplating different possibilities for integrating Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard space functions into the military's newest service. “What they're looking at is how do they create a 21st century model ... that will really work for who America is now, and so, what they want to do is create a model for the personnel that includes both ... full- and part-time people as we go forward,” he told reporters during a media roundtable held as part of AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Scobee said his priority is ensuring that whatever plan is finally picked carves out a place for part-time Reservists. He also expressed excitement at the unique opportunities the Space Force could theoretically offer these personnel.

Radar Sweep

WATCH: Virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference Day Three Highlights

Air Force Magazine

Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen W. “Seve” Wilson says teleworking may be here to stay for a large portion of the Air Force population, even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass said the service is looking at new ways to track experience when it comes to promotion … and more. Air Force Magazine Editor-in-Chief Tobias Naegele and News Editor Amy McCullough highlight the key takeaways from AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.

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.

US Air Force Adds Electronic Warfare to New Intel, Cyber Office


The U.S. Air Force’s fresh intelligence and cyber entity at the Pentagon is adding electronic warfare to its profile, continuing to build out a more robust information warfare portfolio. In 2019, the deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance added in cyber effects operations when creating the A2/6. Its leader, Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien, said Sept. 15 that while cyber and ISR are the primary focus, there are other capabilities that must converge to deliver effects in the information environment.

Military Commanders Could Use More Satellites for Tactical Surveillance


Pacific theater Air Force commander Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach said one of the items on his wish list are low-orbiting surveillance satellites to help track targets on the ground, at sea, and in the air. “Yes, I am absolutely in favor of more space-based ISR,” said Wilsbach, the commander of Pacific Air Forces at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. ISR is the military abbreviation for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

Lockheed Martin Ventures Invests in Hidden Level

Inside Defense

Jeff Cole, Hidden Level's CEO, said that "providing scalable solutions to low altitude airspace security remains an issue in defense and commercial spaces. Our mission is to deliver innovative solutions to help our customers keep the public safe and advance airspace safety within defense and civil arenas alike. Working with Lockheed Martin, who understands the value of our technology, is important."

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House to Vote on ‘Transformational’ Change for Reporting Military Sexual Assault

Stars and Stripes

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has committed to scheduling a vote before the end of the congressional session on the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act—a bill that would revamp the military’s system for reporting and investigating military sexual harassment and assault. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), introduced the legislation Wednesday, along with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and 71 other cosponsors.