Tackling Battlefield Airmen Attrition Rates

The Battlefield Airmen graduation rate has jumped from 10 percent to 21 percent since the Air Force activated a new training group in 2016 in an effort to streamline and improve recruitment and training of the service’s most elite warriors. The Battlefield Airmen Training Group is now looking at how it can ensure even more airmen successfully make it through the rigorous training pipeline by utilizing research and technology to reduce the number of injuries that occur while training. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

White House, Pentagon Deny Report USAF Secretary May be Fired Over Space Force

The Trump administration Friday categorically denied a report that President Trump is considering firing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson over her handling of the administration’s Space Force proposal. ForeignPolicy.com reported Thursday that Trump is considering firing Wilson after next month’s mid-term elections and replacing her with Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), a proponent of a separate space force. “There is no discussion by the President to oust Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson—all reporting to the contrary is simply false,” said White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters in a statement emailed to Air Force Magazine Friday. Added chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White in a statement: “This is nonsense. The Department of Defense leadership team is focused on defending our great nation and working together to be worthy of the blood, treasure, and faith entrusted to us by the American people.” Wilson last month sent a proposal to the Defense Department for creating the responsibilities and structure of a future space force, with its own secretary and chief, which Wilson estimated would cost some $13 billion over five years. But the plan was widely criticized by Rogers, who chairs the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, as well as by the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ budget director Todd Harrison, who called Wilson’s pricetag “the highest estimate I think you could possibly come up with.” Inside the Air Force, however, Wilson is seen as an advocate for the split, but only as long as the new service gets all the resources it truly needs to be an equal and independent military branch. —Steve Hirsch

Missile Defense Review May Be Complete, But Will it be Released

The Defense Department’s long-awaited missile defense review is complete but it is not clear when it will be released, said Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Oct. 3. In May, Defense spokeswoman Dana White said the review, originally set for release by the end of last year, was expected in “the next few weeks.” In August, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) called for the document’s release in a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, citing increasingly complex missile threats. When asked about the review by reporters last week, Shanahan said he doesn’t know when the review will be released, but he emphasized that the “strategy’s been done for quite some time.” —Steve Hirsch

B-2s Complete First Deployment to JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam

Three B-2s and some 200 airmen from Whiteman AFB, Mo., recently wrapped up the type’s first deployment to JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. During the Aug. 15-Sept. 27 deployment in support of US Strategic Command’s Bomber Task Force, the bombers “conducted routine air operations and integrated capabilities with key regional partners,” Maj. Gen. Stephen Williams, Pacific Air Forces’ director of air and cyberspace operations, said in a release. The deployment came during hurricane season, but the bombers carried out hundreds of local and long-duration sorties and regional training. The deployment gave USAF’s B-2s and F-22s from the Air National Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron an opportunity to work together. The F-22’s virtual invisibility to threats suits it to escorting the stealth B-2 and providing situational awareness, according to the release. During the training, KC-135s from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron provided aerial refueling, and airmen also practiced loading inert 500-pound bombs into the Spirit’s bomb bay. “This weapons load is the first stepping stone to loading live munitions from this location,” said MSgt. Nicholas Lewis, 393rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons section chief. “Furthermore, it provides pilots and load crews valuable training necessary to accomplish future BTF missions.”—Steve Hirsch

Operation Colony Glacier: Recovering, Identifying Remains More Than Half a Century After Crash

On Nov. 22, 1952, a C-124 Globemaster carrying 52 US military service members crashed into Mount Gannett, located near Alaska’s Colony Glacier. An ensuing avalanche and other foreboding weather conditions dashed any hopes of locating survivors. More than six decades later, a USAF-led and Army National Guard-supplemented mission is continuing the search for the victims’ remains, with its most recent recovery announced on Oct. 1. Read the full story from Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

AFA Seeks New President

The Air Force Association is seeking a new president to succeed retired Gen. Larry Spencer, AFA’s current president and the former vice chief of staff of the US Air Force, who announced plans to retire from the association early in 2019. AFA’s president is the leader of the nation’s premier independent nonprofit advocate for the US Air Force, air power and a strong national defense. The role requires a deep understanding and close working relationship with the Air Force at its highest levels. The president will oversee AFA’s diverse activities, which include major conferences and professional development events, the Mitchell Institute think tank, the Cyber Patriot and Stellar Explorers education programs, Air Force Magazine, and numerous local, regional, and national programs. For a detailed job description, click here.


—Operational test and evaluation of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II will start in November, with full production tentatively slated for Summer 2019: Breaking Defense

—The Boeing/Saab USAF T-X trainer contract win has crushed the South Korean defense sector’s spirits due to a missed chance at boosting the nation’s arms exports: Defense News

—Lockheed Martin has selected Raytheon and a Northrop Grumman-Ball Aerospace team to face off for the chance to be the mission payload provider for USAF’s Next Gen OPIR Missile Warning System: Lockheed release

—Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan nixed a proposed alteration to how the Pentagon pays industry, blaming the rule’s public release on “some sort of process breakdown” in Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord’s “shop”: Defense News

—Tony Kurta, President Trump’s nominee for Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, was withdrawn from consideration for the post on Sept. 28, the Senate said: Washington Examiner