ATAC Pilot Safe After Hawker Hunter Supporting Sentry Aloha Crashed Wednesday Off Hawaii

The Hawaii Air National Guard was expected to resume Exercise Sentry Aloha on Thursday after an Airborne Tactical Advantage Company Hawker Hunter aircraft participating in the exercise crashed in the waters a few miles off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii, on Wednesday afternoon. The pilot ejected and was rescued by a civilian sailboat, transferred to a US Coast Guard vessel, and then taken to the hospital. ATAC is one of the companies vying for a piece of USAF’s massive, upcoming adversary air contract, which could be awarded as early as February. Read the full report by Amy McCullough.

Administration’s Africa Policy Cuts Back on Peacekeeping Support, Aims to Counter China and Russia

President Trump’s national security adviser on Thursday unveiled America’s new approach to Africa, with limited military support for broad peacekeeping missions and a reduction in aid for countries that act “counter to US interests.” John Bolton, speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., said instead the US needs to work with select countries to counter terrorism, along with pushing back against rising Chinese and Russian influence across the continent. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Senate Votes Against US Support to Saudi Arabia in Yemen

The Senate on Thursday voted convincingly to oppose the continued US support of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, a largely symbolic step to rebuke Saudi Arabia following continued allegations of civilian casualties and the alleged murder of a Washington Post journalist. The Senate by a vote of 58-41 approved a resolution to pull US military support to the Saudi-led coalition; however, the resolution likely won’t make it to the House floor. The vote is the first time the Senate has voted to end an “unauthorized war,” one that has caused a humanitarian disaster, the resolution’s sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said following the vote. In addition to the House blocking a vote, the White House has threatened to veto the measure if it makes it out of Congress. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said last month that any move to reduce US military support to Saudi Arabia would breathe new life into Houthi combat operations just as peace negotiations have begun. Since 2015, the US military has provided intelligence and targeting support to the coalition, along with in-air refueling from US tankers that ended last month at the request of Saudi Arabia. Also on Thursday, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said the Defense Department failed to properly charge Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for fuel and aerial refueling services conducted from March 2015 to Nov. 11, 2018, saying the Saudi-led coalition now owes US taxpayers $331 million. —Brian Everstine

DOD IG Details Substantiated Claims of Wrongdoing by Senior Leaders

The Air Force has the highest rate of allegations of wrongdoing against senior officials substantiated after a Pentagon investigation, according to a Defense Department Inspector General report to Congress released last week. Forty percent of claims substantiated by the watchdog included USAF generals and senior executive service members, and included sexual misconduct, misuse of government travel, and even wrongfully selling Girl Scout cookies. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.



Tyndall Pauses Humanitarian Assistance Program for Airmen, Families

Airmen and families assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, who applied for a special assistance program may not get an answer for a while as officials grapple with which airmen and missions will return to the base.

Mattis Goal to Make 80 Percent of Military Planes Combat-Ready Tough to Achieve, GAO Tells Congress

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ directive to the military services to bring at least 80 percent of aviation fleet to “mission-capable” status by the end of next year will be difficult to achieve, the Government Accountability Office told Congress Wednesday. Washington Examiner
McConnell Hopes To Get First KC-46 Refueling Tanker By End of December
After nearly two years of delays, the first KC-46 air refueling tankers could be in Wichita by the end of this month, an Air Force official said Wednesday. The Wichita Eagle

Air Force Space Command Officially Takes Over as Chief Buyer of Satellite Communications For the Defense Department

Gen. Raymond: “The new acquisition authority better integrates our military and private satcom sectors, ensuring our warfighters have the communications capabilities they need to fight and win.” Space News

Secretary of the Air Force Accepts CAP Congressional Gold Medal Honoring Grandfather

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and her brothers, Scott and Ian Wilson, accepted a replica of Civil Air Patrol’s Congressional Gold Medal on Monday in honor of their late grandfather, George G. “Scotty” Wilson, a CAP pilot during World War II. CAP News

One more thing …

Virgin Galactic Flies its First Astronauts to the Edge of Space, Taking One Step Closer to Space Tourism

Virgin Galactic completed its longest rocket-powered flight ever on Thursday, taking a step ahead in the nascent business of space tourism. CNBC