Golden Horde

Air Force to Test Weapons Swarming Software in October

Air Force researchers in October will test whether a software version of the service’s developmental weapons swarm can make its way through a combat mission and reroute itself as conditions change. The demonstration is part of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Golden Horde initiative, a high-profile project to create munition swarms that autonomously work together when fired and “think” on their own to attack targets that match criteria given to the software. “We’re actually going to be demonstrating digital twin-enabled operations ... where we’ll be using a software variant of a collaborative weapon flying out in a swarm mission, encountering some issues along the way that it did not expect, and collecting that data,” Craig Ewing of AFRL said during a Sept. 21 presentation on digital systems engineering in the Air Force.

USAF Wants Promotions to Be More Equitable, Brown Says

USAF is exploring ways to make promotions less biased based on Air Force Specialty Codes and other demographics, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown Jr. told reporters on Sept. 16. “We started to look at how we bring folks in and open up the candidate pool in certain areas and look to see if there are biases that we have in our promotion system, biases in our accession systems, and biases in the testing that qualifies you for certain career fields … because some of those haven't changed in a long time,” he told reporters at AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference.
BMT Graduation at Keesler

BMT Is Ending at Keesler—for Now

Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., will welcome its final Basic Military Training flight of 2020 in the last week of September, with graduation slated for before Thanksgiving, 2nd Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Andrea D. Tullos told reporters on Sept. 21. “We'll then take about 90 days to do an after-action and a reassessment of how that operation went, and we will have plans, if asked and if necessary, to resume BMT probably no earlier than February of next year,” she told said during an Air Education and Training Command conference call. The fiscal 2021 production targets that 2AF received from USAF aren't high enough to merit the use of two BMT locations next year, Tullos said, though she noted that “COVID gets a vote.”
Virtual Air, Space & Cyber conference Aerospace Power Today and Tomorrow panel

Space Force Focuses on Threat as It Builds Training

The U.S. Space Force is leveraging what has been learned at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and using the Air Force model as it works to determine how best to train space professionals going forward, Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt, director of operations and communications for the Space Force, said during a panel discussion as part of AFA's virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. “We talk about preparing for the future. I think it’s important that folks understand as we stand up the United States Space Force, all of that preparation is really steeped in training and culture, and foundationally, I think everyone understands that warfighting is warfighting. The kinematics and the domain may be different, but how we fight, and the doctrine, and the way we get offense and defense … are no different from one domain to the other,” she said, adding that what is needed to “fight and win” in space is a focus on the threat.
Total Force team supports BMT, technical training tent city during COVID-19 crisis

How Social Distancing Helped the Air Force Fix Lackland’s Dorms

A tent city erected at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, on April 28 not only gave Air Education and Training Command “swing space” to ensure its Basic Military Training recruits and tech school students heeded COVID-19-era social distancing mandates, but it also gave the command a chance to make much-needed dorm repairs, AETC boss Lt. Gen. Marshall B. “Brad” Webb said Sept. 16. The system, which is slated to deactivate on Oct. 1, is on loan from Air Force Materiel Command and staffed by Airmen from the base's 433rd Airlift Wing and the Texas Air National Guard's 149th Fighter Wing. Since May 1, engineers from the 502nd Civil Engineer Squadron have performed “critical maintenance” on 11 buildings at Lackland, finished over 2,500 work orders, and resolved a maintenance backlog, Brig. Gen. Caroline M. Miller, commander of Joint Base San Antonio and the 502nd Air Base Wing, told Air Force Magazine on Sept. 18.
353rd SOAMXS Airmen swap MC-130J engine, maintain readiness

Rolls-Royce, Air Force Nearing Deal on VR Engine Training for Some C-130Js

The Air Force and Rolls-Royce are finalizing a contract for new Virtual Reality Maintenance Training Software for the C-130J’s AE 2100 engines, giving Airmen the chance to virtually “break open” and train on power plants as opposed to working on an aircraft’s real engine. The software system, combined with off-the-shelf virtual reality headsets and computers, will first be provided to the 58th Maintenance Group at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., which flies HC-130Js and MC-130Js, according to a Rolls-Royce release. Currently, Airmen who want to train extensively on the AE 2100 need to go to a Rolls-Royce facility in Indianapolis and work with company representatives. A contract is expected to be finalized within the next few weeks. “We must transform the way we learn,” said Col. J.B. Baquet, commander of the 58th MXG, in a Rolls-Royce release. “The VR maintenance system will enhance training efficiency, shorten the learning curve, accelerate skill levels, and improve fleet readiness.”

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.

Move Over COVID, IC Says Influence Operations Will Be Next Big Disrupter

Federal News Network

Disruption is usually spoken of in positive terms: Breaking through stagnation, forcing a reevaluation of assumptions, and promoting innovation. But for the Intelligence Community, it also means new challenges in gathering and analyzing data that could have profound national security implications.

Russian Military Says US Flights near Crimea Fuel Tensions

The Associated Press

The Russian military on Sept. 18 accused the U.S. and its allies of provoking tensions in the Black Sea region with a sharp increase in the number of bomber patrols and intelligence flights. Col.-Gen. Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Russian General Staff’s main operational department, charged that the U.S. and other members of NATO have significantly increased the scope of their military activities in the region.

Mitchell Institute Nuclear Deterrence Forum Featuring Brad Roberts

Mitchell Institute on YouTube

Drawing on a five-year effort to understand Russian and Chinese strategic thought, their approaches to conflict with the United States and its allies, and the requirements of integrated strategic deterrence, Brad Roberts, director of the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, joins AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies to discuss the U.S. and its allies’ need for a coherent and robust theory of victory against great power competitors, the obstacles that have hindered past progress, and where the U.S. should go from here.

The JADC2 Revolution

Air Force Magazine

U.S. forces are redefining joint operations to be more tightly integrated. Joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) accelerates the speed and complexity of warfare by tying forces together across the air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains. For the latest on what this means to operators and the industry, check out our JADC2 landing page.

Pentagon Considers Operating Independent 5G Networks under New Dynamic Spectrum-Sharing Effort

Inside Defense

The Pentagon is considering owning and operating its own fifth-generation wireless networks to support its domestic operations under a new dynamic spectrum-sharing effort. In a Sept. 18 request for information, the Defense Department asks for responses on "innovative solutions and alternative approaches to enable [dynamic spectrum sharing] within the department's currently allocated spectrum with the goal of accelerating spectrum-sharing decisions and 5G deployment."

One More Thing

VA-Made ‘Smart Bandage’ Can Track Chronic Wounds—and Treat Them


A team of researchers led by a Veterans Affairs Department biomedical engineer produced a high-tech “smart bandage” that uses electrical stimulation to treat chronic wounds and can provide information about how they are healing. The bandage, now named “Exciflex," is equipped with a chip, sensors, and more, incorporating electrotherapeutic technology developed by Dr. Kath Bogie and her research colleagues in Cleveland, Ohio, at the VA Advanced Platform Technology Center and Case Western Reserve University.