USAF Prepares for Hurricane Florence

USAF bases are beginning to relocate aircraft and preparing for Hurricane Florence to make landfall this week. The 1st Fighter Wing at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., is moving its F-22s and T-38s to Rickenbacker ANGB, Ohio, in advance of the storm. As of Monday afternoon, Florence had strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make landfall near North and South Carolina on Thursday or Friday. The South Carolina National Guard on Monday deployed 800 soldiers and airmen from McEntire JNGB to Bluffton, S.C., to help local agencies with storm response. Shaw AFB, S.C., on Monday was operating at Hurricane Condition 5, urging airmen and families to monitor the weather and prepare for the storm. The base canceled events including a Sept. 11 memorial ceremony scheduled for Tuesday and its Air Force Ball on Saturday, but a base spokesperson said there were no plans to move aircraft yet. Seymour-Johnson AFB, N.C., on Monday said it is monitoring the storm and is planning on moving aircraft eventually, but has not determined where or when yet. JB Charleston, S.C., has convened a hurricane preparation center in advance of the storm, but has not announced any aircraft movements. The Air Force’s Hurricane Hunters of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron over the weekend deployed to Savannah, Ga., and began reconnaissance of the storm on Monday. —Brian Everstine

USAF Releases Results from Operational Stand Down, Safety Review

The Air Force has identified areas of potential safety risks that will be addressed from the top down following the service-wide operational pause for flying units in May. The review found that stress from high operations tempos, a lack of time to focus on flying basics, mission activities and training, pressure to accept risk, cultural tendencies to always execute missions, decreased aircraft availability, and potential complacency during routine tasks are all problems that need to be address, according to an Air Force release. “The review proved tremendously helpful as we continue to seek both high levels of safety with intense and realistic training,” Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said in the release. “As air superiority is not an American birthright, our training must continue to be challenging and meaningful. But I also want commanders to have the decision authority to determine how far to push.” To address these risks, the Air Force has added support capabilities into squadrons, reduced additional duties, “enhanced” information processes for aircrew planning, and reduced staff requirements. —Brian Everstine

Work at CSIS: Idea That DOD Ignored Space a “Crock”

Former Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work on Monday dismissed the notion that the Pentagon has ignored space in the past, calling it “a crock” of “smelly stuff.” The US, he said, has the “most capable national security space constellation in the world, bar none, period, stop.” Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

Miller Takes Over Air Mobility Command

Gen. Maryanne Miller took command of Air Mobility Command on Friday, becoming the first female to lead the command since it was established in 1992. Miller, who also is the first traditional Reservist to become a four-star general and to lead an Air Force major command other than the Air Force Reserve, officially took over during a Friday ceremony at Scott AFB, Ill., taking the reins from retiring Gen. Carlton Everhart. “Each and every day, you work tirelessly to deliver the right effects in the right place at the right time,” wrote Miller in her first letter to mobility airmen. She added, “A brief glance at the command over the last three years reveals you have set new boundaries and charted a path forward for Rapid Global Mobility. Time and again, you demonstrate a readiness to tackle any challenge. Air Mobility Command has a bright future, and I am humbled to lead a command that never rests and has a world-class reputation.” Miller previously led Air Force Reserve Command since July 2016, and has commanded the 932nd Airlift Wing at Scott and the 349th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB, Calif. She is a command pilot with more than 4,800 hours in several aircraft, including C-17s, KC-10s, and C-5s. —Brian Everstine

AFWERX Issues Helmet, Pilot Training Challenges

The Air Force’s innovation lab has launched two challenges to the public in search of a replacement for the fixed-wing pilot and aircrew helmets, and for pilot training ideas for the AETC Pilot Training Next program’s v2.0. Both initiatives start in January in Austin, Texas. AFWERX said the aim is to involve as many entrepreneurs, small businesses, and academic representatives as possible. For the helmet challenge, which goes through Oct. 8, the air Force has set aside up to $20 million to redesign the current helmets, and AFWERX is interested in proposals for the entire helmet systems or components. The next helmet must be lightweight, comfortable, stable, have improved noise protection, have better thermal management, and must be modifiable for different needs, according to AFWERX. For the pilot training challenge, which ends Oct. 5, AFWERX said the goal is to use new technology and individualized instruction to improve students’ training on the T-6 Texan. —Steve Hirsch

DOD’s Griffin: American Culture Must Change for Advanced S&T Advocacy to Work

America must change the way it sees science if everyday citizens are going to be sold on the merits of advanced science and technology, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Griffin said Friday. “We can’t successfully advocate for S&T without fundamentally returning our culture to what it was,” he said in a Sept. 7 keynote at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s D60 Symposium in National Harbor, Md. Recalling childhood memories of the 1957 Sputnik satellite launch and Americans’ resulting realization “that we needed to get ahead in S&T,” Griffin said reigniting respect for the scientific community needs to be priority No. 1 when making the case for its work. “We lauded as a culture those people who could speak science and technology; not so much anymore,” he said. “So I think that’s the first step.” Griffin criticized a culture of mediocrity as an aggravating factor in this waning appreciation for S&T fluency. “When somebody calls me a geek, I’m immediately aware that A. it’s true, and B. it’s not a compliment,” he said. Citing widespread public ignorance about the connections between complex technologies and everyday conveniences that people take for granted—like the role of global positioning system satellites in ATM transactions—he challenged audience members to be their own best cheerleaders. “It would be nice if we promulgated what we do,” he said. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory


—Boeing has received a $2.9 billion contract for Lot four of the KC-46A, including 18 aircraft and associated equipment and spares: Boeing release.

—Two B-2s assigned to Whiteman AFB, Mo., departed JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Thursday for routine training near Guam and Hawaii. This was the B-2’s first deployment to Hickam, though it last deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, in January: Pacific Air Forces release.

—Vice President Mike Pence visited Nellis AFB, Nev., Friday for a morale visit, during which he and Brig. Gen. Robert Novotny, 57th Wing commander, surprised SSgt. Vanessa Redman, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, 32nd Weapons Squadron NCO in charge, with a promotion to technical sergeant: DOD release.

—F-16s and airmen from the Arizona Air National Guard have deployed to the Czech Republic to fly in exercise Ample Strike 2018: Arizona Guard release.

—The Air Force on Friday awarded United Technologies a $436 million modification to a contract for designing, fabricating, integrating, and testing flight-weight adaptive engines. The contract is for the next generation propulsion risk reduction for air superiority, according to a Pentagon release: DOD release.

—The CIA is broadening its drone operations against al Qaeda and ISIS insurgents from a newly expanded base in northern Niger, using powers cut back by former President Barack Obama but restored by President Donald Trump: New York Times.