Trump Announces His Way Forward in Afghanistan

President Trump on Monday night announced his strategy toward America’s longest war: no public announcements of troop numbers or timetables, coupled with fewer restrictions on rules of engagement, with an overall goal of an “enduring victory” in Afghanistan. Read the full report by Brian Everstine

US, South Korean Exercise Begins as North Lashes Out

Joint military exercises between US and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces began Monday with computer-simulated war scenarios. The annual war games, called Ulchi Freedom Guardian, will continue until Aug. 31 and involve about 17,500 US forces and 50,000 ROK personnel, as well as troops from seven partner nations. While North Korea said the drills are “aimed to ignite a nuclear war,” Defense Secretary James Mattis insisted they are defensive in nature. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.

Iraq Kicks Off Tal Afar Offensive

Iraqi Security Forces have begun their advance on the last ISIS holdout in the country, retaking villages on the outskirts of Tal Afar. Five villages have been “liberated” as of Monday in the area west of Mosul, according to the BBC. US and coalition aircraft over the weekend hammered ISIS units, vehicles, weapons caches, and supply routes with eight strikes over two days, US Central Command said in a release. USAF officials hailed the advance, with Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein saying on Twitter the “partnership & advances in Iraq are impressive.” Liberation of the city would move Iraq one step closer “to being free from ISIS,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson added. US officials are expecting a tough fight in the city where ISIS has been able to dig in. —Brian Everstine

Failed Turnback Procedure Caused Fatal March U-28 Crash

A U-28A crew lost control of the aircraft during a practice turnback emergency landing pattern and crashed in March near Cannon AFB, N.M., an Air Force investigation found. Three airmen, all from the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon, were killed in the crash. The results of an Air Force Accident Investigation Board report released Tuesday found that the U-28A stalled when the crew entered the turnback procedure with zero degree flaps, instead of the recommended 15 degree flaps. This difference created an increased nose-down attitude and allowed the aircraft to stall at a higher than normal speed. While the crew attempted to correct the nose-down attitude, they inadequately addressed the problem of an increased bank angle required to regain the runway, the report said. The crew also made no attempt to abort the procedure, not recognizing their high level of risk. The resulting stall led the crew to lose control of the aircraft, which impacted the ground. The crash killed pilot Capt. Andrew Becker, copilot Kenneth Dalga, and weapons systems officer 1st Lt. Frederick Dellecker. The aircraft was destroyed at a loss of $18.3 million. —Wilson Brissett

An Air Force B-1 launches the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile on Aug.17 over Point Mugu Sea Range in California. (U.S. Navy photo)

B-1B Successfully Tests Anti-Ship Missile

Lockheed Martin announced Friday that it has completed initial testing of its Long-Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) configured for use on the Air Force’s B-1B bomber. A B-1B from Edwards AFB, Calif., test-dropped a LRASM over the Sea Range at Point Mugu, Calif., the company said in a press release. The missile, which is based on the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) and is designed to operate in contested environments, successfully tracked and intercepted a moving naval target. Lockheed also said that deployment of LRASM on both the B-1B and the Navy’s F/A-18 is one year ahead of schedule. B-1B integration should be complete in 2018 and the F/A-18 version by 2019, the company said. Lockheed is developing the missile on a 2016 Department of Defense contract. —Wilson Brissett

First Enlisted RPA Pilot Class Completes Check Rides

The first class of enlisted pilots training on the RQ-4 Global Hawk finished their initial check rides this month, a major step to qualifying on the aircraft. The check ride let the students “demonstrate everything they have learned” throughout basic qualification training on the remotely piloted aircraft at Beale AFB, Calif. The next step for the pilots is mission qualification training, where they will learn the mission requirements of the aircraft and how to fly high-altitude surveillance, according to a Beale release. That phase of training is expected to be completed in October, when crews will then move into their operational units. The Air Force in 2015 announced it was opening some RPA pilot positions to enlisted airmen in addition to officers to help address the need for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. —Brian Everstine


A German air force Tornado and an F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 314th Fighter Squadron fly in formation together during the last joint flying mission at Holloman Air Force Base, Aug. 17, 2017. Air Force photo by Maj. Bradford Brizek

Holloman’s Luftwaffe Mission Ending

A major part of the international partner training mission at Holloman AFB, N.M., is drawing to a close. The 49th Fighter Wing there has hosted German air force pilots through a basic weapons course, an instructor course, and a fighter weapons instructor course since 1992. Now Holloman says the mission will be complete by mid-2019. On Aug. 17, a German air force Tornado and USAF F-16 flew together for the last time. “After more than 20 years of joint operations with the US Air Force we are all feeling sad about leaving Holloman AFB and the Southwest,” said Col. Stephan Breidenbach, German air force Flying Training Center commander, in a press release. Over 25 years, hundreds of pilots have been trained and thousands of sorties with the German air force’s Tornado fighter, according to Holloman.



—The Chief of Naval Operations has ordered a fleet-wide safety review after the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker, with 10 sailors still missing. The Washington Post

—The Afghan National Army’s special operations forces transitioned to a corps from a division. VOA News

—Almost three quarters of top Pentagon posts are still vacant. Defense News

—President Trump over the weekend signed a bill approving a Global War on Terror Memorial.

—Air Force EOD crews train during Operation Llama Fury 3.0. Air Combat Command release

—Crews fight a large brush fire near Beale AFB, Calif. KCRA