Donovan to Become Acting SECAF June 1
Air Force Undersecretary Matthew Donovan will take over as acting Secretary June 1 after Secretary Heather Wilson steps down, the Pentagon announced May 15. The announcement makes official, what has been expected since Wilson announced her intent to become the next president of the University of Texas-El Paso. “In her two years as Secretary, Heather defined the Air Force the nation needs and made incredible progress in implementing the strategy to get us there,” Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said in a statement. “It is fitting that a key member of her leadership team will assume her role to keep the momentum going. Matt will do a fantastic job.” Donovan took over as under secretary of the Air Force in August 2017. He was previously the major policy director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, and he is a former command pilot with more than 2,900 flight hours in the F-5E and F-15C. —Brian Everstine
USAF Announces Possible Space Command Bases
The Air Force on May 14 officially announced the six candidate bases to potentially host the headquarters of the new US Space Command. The bases are: Buckley AFB, Colo.; Cheyenne Mountain AFS, Colo.; Peterson AFB, Colo.; Redstone Arsenal, Ala.; Schriever AFB, Colo.; and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. The new combatant command was approved by Congress last year and established as the 11th COCOM in December. In March, President Donald Trump nominated USAF Gen. Jay Raymond to serve as SPACECOM commander and continue to be the commander of Air Force Space Command. The Pentagon, in its fiscal 2020 budget request, calls for $83.8 million for the new command. It is expected to include about 620 military and civilian staffers. The Defense Department will now conduct site surveys and analysis of each location, with the preferred location expected to be announced this summer, according to an Air Force release. —Brian Everstine
Seymour Johnson F-15s, Airmen Demonstrate New Expeditionary Concept
F-15Es and airmen from Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., recently proved a new type of deployment for the Air Force, with a small team of jets and multifunctional airmen standing up a small operating location. Three teams of 30 airmen stood up an operating airfield at Kinston Regional Jetport, N.C., last week and flew operations simulating an austere environment. The concept, called the Combat Support Wing, was developed by AFIMSC in its 2017 conference and last week’s event was the final event of the rollout. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
US Pulls Diplomatic Personnel from Iraq, Allies Stop Training as Iran Tensions Continue
The State Department on May 15 pulled non-emergency US personnel from its embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil while allied training of US-backed forces inside Iraq also was canceled as tensions with Iran continue to rise. The State Department ordered the personnel to leave Iraq by commercial transportation “as soon as possible,” and to avoid US facilities inside the country. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Boeing Sees Market for 2,600 T-X, Derivative Aircraft
The Boeing T-X trainer will compete for a market as large as 2,600 aircraft, including not only advanced trainers but light combat aircraft, companion trainers, Aggressors, and in other roles, Boeing officials said May 14. They also explained some of the thinking that went into their winning T-X concept, development, production plans, and workshare with partner Saab of Sweden. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
B-52H “Wise Guy” Comes Back from the Boneyard
The Air Force has brought back another B-52 from the boneyard. Tail No. 60-034, known as “Wise Guy,” touched down at Barksdale AFB, La., on May 14. The B-52H was decommissioned in 2008, and sent to the 309th Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. The bomber’s paint is faded, but it still has the “Wise Guy” nose art and MT tail flash for Minot AFB, N.D. Once refurbished and brought to mission-capable status, the B-52 will bring the Air Force’s total Stratofortress fleet to 76. The Air Force in 2015 also brought back a B-52 from the boneyard, tail number 61-007, after a mishap with another bomber. Wise Guy comes back about three years after a fire destroyed a B-52 on the flightline at Andersen AFB, Guam. —Brian Everstine
Joint Staff Evolving its Planning to Implement National Defense Strategy
The Joint Staff is overhauling how it wargames in an effort to keep the National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy from becoming academic studies that just sit on a shelf, the head of planning of the Joint Staff said Wednesday at an AFA Mitchell Institute event. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
What are Ninja Bombs? Pentagon’s New Secret Missiles Kill Target with Blades
The US government is using a new secret weapon to kill high-value targets across the world with brutal precision and a lower risk of civilian casualties, an investigation has revealed. According to The Wall Street Journal, both the Pentagon and the CIA have employed the R9X to kill targets in vehicles and buildings without endangering bystanders. Newsweek
McSally to Introduce Military Sexual Assault Reform Bill
Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) said on Tuesday that she will introduce legislation to address how the military handles sexual assault claims, including making sexual harassment a standalone offense under the military’s criminal justice system. The Hill
Persistent Engagement, Partnerships, Top CYBERCOM’s Priorities
As it embarks on its second year as a unified combatant command, U.S. Cyber Command is taking stock of its first year and looking toward the future. DOD release
Florida Cadet Wins Air Force Junior ROTC, AFA Cadet Leadership Award
Cadet Maj. Sydney Cloutier, an Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet from Pensacola High School, Pensacola, Fla., has been awarded the Air Force Junior ROTC and Air Force Association Cadet Leadership Award for the 2018-2019 academic year. USAF release
One More Thing …
Gator Gets Comfortable Along Flight Line at MacDill Air Force Base
“Your friendly, #TeamMacDill gator—preparing for take-off,” read a MacDill Facebook post. Miami Herald