air force diversity

Kendall, Air Force, Space Force Leaders Discuss Gender and Racial Disparity Review

Six of the the Department of the Air Force’s top leaders appeared together virtually Sept. 16, discussing the results of a recent racial and gender disparities survey released by the Air Force Inspector General. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall was joined in the town hall by his No. 2, Undersecretary Gina Ortiz Jones, as well as the heads of both the Air and Space Forces, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. and Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, along with the services’ top enlisted leaders, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass and Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman.

Austin Announces Increased Air Operations, Force Deployments to Australia

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III revealed Sept. 16 further air defense cooperation measures with Australia and that more U.S. troops will be heading there, going beyond President Joe Biden’s announcement a day earlier that the United States and United Kingdom will share nuclear submarine technology with the Pacific ally in the face of a growing threat from China. Speaking alongside Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and their Australian counterparts at the State Department, Austin said the U.S. and Australia will increase exercises, training, and sharing of defense technology.

Outstanding Airmen of the Year: Senior Master Sgt. Marcus Banks

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2021 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference from Sept. 20 to 22 in National Harbor, Md. Air Force Magazine is highlighting one each workday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor Senior Master Sgt. Marcus Banks, an installation management flight superintendent with the 316th Civil Engineer Squadron. Banks led 162 engineers in the sustainment of 1,000 facilities and Kunsan Air Base, South Korea’s power projection platform. His actions propelled 6,000 multinational F-16 sorties that helped quell North Korean aggressions.

Radar Sweep

AFRL, Defense Innovation Unit Launch New Phase of Golden Horde Vanguard Program

Air Force release

A collaborative effort called Operation Protovision is unveiling a new competitive phase of the Department of the Air Force’s Golden Horde Vanguard program. Launched by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Defense Innovation Unit and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, the new live and virtual components allow a variety of competitors to showcase technologies in a Golden Horde Colosseum where so-called gladiators compete.

Former SECAF James, Others Tapped for Defense Business Board


The Pentagon has selected new members of the Defense Business Board as it moves to revive several dozen advisory bodies after Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III’s house clearing removed last-minute appointees during the Trump administration. The board, which is designed to provide “independent advice on business management issues,” will now be chaired by former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.

Leonardo Progresses Tempest Large-Body Test Aircraft


Leonardo has progressed the large-body test aircraft it is developing as part of the Team Tempest initiative, contracting 2Excel Aviation to commence the next stage of the flight test aircraft (FTA) program. Announced at the DSEI defense exhibition in London on Sept. 15, the award authorizes the UK-based 2Excel to undertake the preparatory work needed to integrate Tempest representative systems aboard the FTA.

COMUSAFE Hosts Arctic Air Chiefs Symposium

Air Force release

U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa has been actively taking steps to employ the Air Force Arctic Strategy since the inception of the plan nearly a year ago and hosted the first Arctic Air Chiefs Symposium at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on Sept. 15. The conference hosted senior defense representatives from seven of the eight Arctic nations, including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S. to discuss a variety of Arctic-focused campaigns and initiatives.

C-130s Operate From a Wyoming Highway to Train to Fight Against a Major Adversary

The Drive

A U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules airlifter landed on and then took off from a four-lane highway in rural Wyoming recently in the latest roadway landing exercise to take place in the United States. The maneuvers, which follow a previous drill conducted on a strip of Michigan highway last month, involving A-10 Warthog attack jets and C-146 Wolfhound special operations transports, reflect the service’s renewed interest in ways to operate in high-threat environments where access to conventional runways may be impossible, or at least greatly reduced.

Air Force Begins Construction of Simulation and Wargaming Facility for Space and Lasers

Defense News

The Air Force Research Laboratory is marking the next step in the development of its space-related infrastructure at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., beginning construction on a facility dedicated to simulation and analysis last week. The $6 million, 10,685-square-foot Wargaming and Advanced Research Simulation (WARS) Laboratory will house wargaming and simulation branches for both the directed energy and space vehicles directorates.

ICBM Modernization And Sustainment: Getting Minuteman III to the Finish Line

Air Force Magazine

With the aging Minuteman III ICBM system staring down obsolescence in the near future, the Air Force and its partners are looking to develop the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. At the same time, they will have to sustain the legacy platform until the end of the decade. Find out how they’re managing the delicate balance.

US Air Force Picks Same Bomb-detecting Robot Used by the British Army

Air Force Times

L3Harris Technologies is providing robots to the U.S. Air Force to replace the service’s aging explosive ordnance disposal systems. The award, announced by the company Sept. 14, includes a 10-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract worth $85 million to build up to 170 of its T7 robots for the Air Force. In addition to the robots, the contract includes support, maintenance, and training. Initial deliveries are expected in 2022.

Air Force Wants to Move Fast on Boat Plane for Special Operators

The Air Force is moving forward with an amphibious, pontoon-equipped version of the MC-130J Commando II used by its special operators—and hopes to be able to fly a prototype of the aircraft in less than a year and a half. A U.S. Special Operations Command official said at a conference in May that the military was considering developing an amphibious MC-130 but that concerns about feasibility meant the Air Force would take a hard look at the idea before proceeding.

Space Force Calls for ‘Trash Trucks’ for All the Orbiting Junk

Breaking Defense

There is a need for industry capabilities to clean up burgeoning amounts of space junk and at the same time an urgency to getting a civil authority for managing orbital traffic up and running, according to Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt, vice commander of Space Force's Space Operations Command. “We need to pick up debris—we need trash trucks. We need things to go make debris go away,” she told the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference on Sept. 15. “That’s definitely a need, and I think there is a use case for industry to get after that as a service-based opportunity.”

Raytheon to Acquire Space Electronics Supplier SEAKR Engineering

Space News

Raytheon Technologies announced Sept. 14 it intends to acquire SEAKR Engineering, a privately owned supplier of space electronics based in Centennial, Colo. Pending regulatory approvals, SEAKR will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Intelligence & Space. This acquisition follows Raytheon’s takeover in December of Blue Canyon Technologies, a Colorado-based satellite manufacturer.

One More Thing

SpaceX Launches All-civilian Crew on Inspiration4 Mission

CBS News

An all-civilian crew streaked into space atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket Sept. 15 on the first privately funded, non-government trip to orbit, a historic three-day flight devoted to raising $200 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Strapped in along with billionaire Jared Isaacman, who chartered the mission, were Chris Sembroski, an "everyday" aerospace engineer; Sian Proctor, an artist-educator who will become only the fourth Black woman to fly in space; and Hayley Arceneaux, a St. Jude cancer survivor who now works at the hospital.