racial Review

USAF Launches New Review of Racial, Gender, Ethnic Disparities

The Department of the Air Force Inspector General is launching an additional review looking at racial, gender, and ethnic disparities in the ranks as the military continues to reckon with issues of racism and equality. The Air Force released the 2020 Racial Disparity Review in December, citing wide-spread issues across the department. That 150-page Inspector General report included feedback from 123,000 survey responses and 138 in-person sessions, with Black Airmen reporting distrust of their chain of command, military justice inequalities, and other administrative issues. The Air Force announced Feb. 19 the next review will expand to additional racial categories: Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander. It also will look at gender disparities, as well as disparities with Hispanic/Latino Airmen and Guardians.

USAF Instructor, Japanese Student Pilot Killed in T-38 Crash

A USAF instructor pilot and Japan Air Self Defense Force student pilot were killed when their T-38C crashed Feb. 19 at Dannelly Field near Montgomery, Ala. The aircrew and aircraft are assigned to the 50th Flying Training Squadron at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss. Col. Seth Graham, commander of the 14th Flying Training Wing, said the pilots were on the first leg of a two-leg, overnight training mission when the crash occurred.
F-35 Lightning II takes off during Red Flag 21-1

Steady F-35 Price Reductions Likely at an End

After years of Lot-over-Lot price reductions on the F-35, it will be hard to drive them much lower in the next negotiation, Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin executive vice president for aeronautics, told defense writers on Feb. 19. Ulmer said the next three lots will include about 100 fewer airplanes than the current three lots, and they will be more advanced, making the goal simply to keep the cost “neutral.” He also discussed Turkey's involvement in the program and offered perspective on the Air Force's upcoming tactical aircraft study.
Redstone Arsenal gate

Decision to Base US Space Command Headquarters in Alabama Under Review

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General will review the Department of the Air Force’s decision to base U.S. Space Command headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., according to a Feb. 19 memo. The review will gauge how well the Air Force “complied with DOD and Air Force policies during the location selection process; used objective and relevant scoring factors to rank the six candidate locations; and calculated costs and other scoring factors accurately and consistently," Assistant Inspector General Randolph R. Stone wrote in the memo addressed to Acting Secretary John P. Roth.

Indonesia Could Be First Non-USAF Customer for F-15EX

The head of the Indonesian air force said his service plans to order the Boeing F-15EX, which would make Indonesia the first country beyond the U.S. to order the jet in that configuration. The aircraft is based on the F-15QA being built for Qatar. The U.S. Air Force expects to accept the first F-15EX in the next couple of weeks, a Boeing spokeswoman said.
C-130J Council

Here’s How USAF’s C-130J Wings Are Chasing ACE

For the Air Force’s C-130J wings, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to gear up for agile combat employment, since the different theaters in which they operate—specifically, Europe and the Pacific—come with unique challenges, 19th Airlift Wing Commander Col. John M. Schutte told Air Force Magazine in a recent interview. However, wings across the globe traded notes on ACE during a recent C-130J Super Hercules Virtual Weapons System Council. During the event, Active-duty, Guard, and Reserve wings shared updates on all things C-130J—from fleet readiness to training—and collectively made decisions impacting the whole enterprise.
Austin briefing

Austin Highlights China Threat in First Briefing

As a Pentagon task force begins reviewing the department’s approach toward China, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III used his first media briefing to reiterate that Beijing is the top “pacing threat” for the military and the U.S. needs to ensure its deterrence can remain credible. “From the Department of Defense standpoint … my No. 1 concern and my No. 1 job is to defend this country and protect our interests,” Austin said. “And so, we in this department are going to do everything possible to ensure we have the right operational concepts, the right plans in place, and that we have resourced the plans with the right capabilities to present a credible deterrence not only to China, [but to] any other adversary who would want to take us on.”
Top Aces F-16

Top Aces Brings 1st Israeli F-16s Back to the US

Top Aces Corp., the first company to operate the F-16 commercially, imported its first four of 29 jets from Israel late last month, President Russ Quinn told Air Force Magazine. The company plans to bring the fighters back in batches of 12, depending on market conditions, with two jets coming in every other month. The goal is to be on contract and flying for the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Navy in 2021.

30 Years After Desert Storm: Feb. 22

In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.

Radar Sweep

AFA Appoints Space Steering Group

AFA release

The Air Force Association has formed the AFA Space Steering Group to recommend ways the Association can strengthen its long-time advocacy for space capabilities and increase its support for U.S. Space Force Guardians and their families. “The mission of the Air Force Association is to support dominant Air and Space Forces,” said AFA President, retired Lt Gen Bruce “Orville” Wright. “We now have two separate and distinct military services in the Department of the Air Force, and both are foundational to Joint Force operations. Both also are key to deterring and, if necessary, defeating any threat to our nation’s security, and are as important in today’s global strategic environment as at any time in the history of our Association.”

Air Force Adds to DOD Mask Guidance

Dayton Daily News

Acting Secretary of the Air Force John Roth issued a memorandum Feb. 16 that supplements the Defense Department’s new mask policy on military installations while performing official duties. This updated Department of the Air Force order continues the COVID-19 fight and ensures military preparedness is maintained, he said. The secretary’s memorandum supersedes all previously issued guidance.

Aviano Pays Tribute to Airman Who Died While in Coronavirus Quarantine

Stars and Stripes

An Airman who died last month while in coronavirus quarantine was remembered on Feb. 19 for his fatherly sense of humor, his loyalty, his off-duty “shenanigans” and on-duty mentorship to others. The base ceremony was a chance for colleagues of Tech. Sgt. Michael W. Morris to celebrate his life and service after his death more than a month ago.

National Guard Says Mission in Washington Will Conclude By Mid-March

The Washington Examiner

“The mission is to go through mid-March as planned,” D.C. National Guard spokesman, Capt. Tinashe Machona told the Washington Examiner on Friday. “We are not aware of any changes to that plan.” The Guard is scheduled to draw down March 14 with a total expected price tag of $483 billion for the overall operation.

MQ-9 Begins Flying Missions From Romania

USAF release

The 25th Attack Group began flying the first active-duty operated U.S. Air Forces in Europe MQ-9 Reaper sorties in Romania via remote-split operations as of Feb. 1. Until now, the 25th ATKG specialized in counter-terrorism missions in United States Central Command area of operations. They are now building capacity in the United States European Command area of responsibility to support great power competition while maintaining a persistent presence in USCENTCOM.

F-16s From ‘Triple Nickel’ and 510th Train with First European Air Unit to Acquire F-35s

Air Force Times

The exercise, known as an Agile Combat Employment, took place at the Amendola Air Base in Italy and was designed to "ensure U.S. Air Forces in Europe, along with allies and partners, are ready for potential short- or no-notice contingencies by allowing forces to operate from locations with varying levels of capacity and support,” according to the release.

Kirtland AFB Female Defenders Get New Female Body Armor

USAF release

After years of wearing the standard tactical vest originally designed for a male body frame, female Airmen from the 377th Security Forces Group at Kirtland Air Force Base were among the first Air Force defenders to receive the new issue of female body armor starting January 2021.

Governor's Order On Licenses Aims to Ease Military Family Transitions

Cape Cod Times

Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday signed an executive order to direct the Division of Professional Licensure to improve license portability for military personnel and their spouses so that they can continue their civilian careers and provide for their families without interruption.

Mitchell Institute’s ‘Aerospace Advantage’ Podcast: Episode 11

Mitchell Institute's ‘Aerospace Advantage’ podcast

On this episode, "Flying and Fighting with the F-35: Pilots’ Perspective,” F-35 pilots Air Force Maj. Justin “Hasard” Lee and USAF Capt. Kristin “Beo” Wolfe discuss how the F-35's stealth and information dominance capabilities are changing combat aviation.

One More Thing

NASA's Mars Helicopter Reports In

NASA’s Mars Exploration Program

The technology demonstration has phoned home from where it is attached to the belly of NASA’s Perseverance rover.