Pence at Yokota Says USAF, Japan Ready for Any Eventuality With North Korea

The airmen and aircraft at Yokota AB, Japan, are a “citadel of strength” ready for any eventuality as North Korea continues its aggression in the region and development of nuclear weapons, Vice President Mike Pence said during a brief stop at the base on Thursday. “The American people, the people of Japan, and freedom-loving people across the wider world long for the day when peace and prosperity replace Pyongyang’s belligerence and brutality,” Pence said in a Yokota hangar surrounded by airmen and other service members. “Together with our allies and partners, we will continue to strive to peacefully dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of its people.” Pence stopped at Yokota on his way to South Korea, where he is leading the US delegation to the Winter Olympics. While at the base, he praised the US alliance with Japan, which is “bound together by an unshakeable commitment to freedom.” —Brian Everstine

US Strikes Syrian Pro-Regime Forces After Attack on US Special Operations Forces, Allied Fighters

US aircraft responded to an “unprovoked attack” on US-backed fighters in Syria with multiple airstrikes from fighter jets and gunships on Wednesday, killing scores of fighters aligned with the country’s regime. US advisers embedded with Syrian Democratic Forces about five miles east of the Euphrates River deconfliction line watched for about a week as Syrian forces built up a battalion-sized force complete with artillery, tanks, and mortars near their position, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Air Force Convenes Team to Study Electronic Warfare

The Air Force recently put together a team, led by a one star general, to look at how the service can integrate electronic warfare. The enterprise capability collaboration team is tasked with determining the Air Force’s role in leading, operating, and integrating electronic warfare throughout the electronic spectrum. “The Air Force and our nation need to maintain superiority in the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Brig. Gen. David Gaedecke, director of cyberspace operations and warfighting integration, who is leading the team, in a release. “The spectrum is so broad, relied upon by all, and increasingly congested; so the first challenge of this effort is to scope the issue.” The electromagnetic spectrum, defined as the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiations to include radio waves and microwaves, is an increasingly important part of Air Force efforts, including multi-domain command and control, which is one of the Chief of Staff’s three main focus areas, according to the Air Force. The new team will spend 12 to 18 months researching and developing recommendations for the Air Force to keep its advantage in the spectrum, according to the release.

Extended-Range Version of JASSM Now Fully Operational on F-15E Strike Eagle

The extended-range version of Lockheed-Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, the JASSM-ER, has achieved full operational capability on the F-15E Strike Eagle, flown by US and allied air forces, the company said Tuesday. The JASSM is already used in a variety of US Air Force aircraft, including the B-1B, B-2, B-52, F-16, and F-15E. The JASSM-ER, with more than two and a half times the range of the JASSM, is also integrated on the B-1B and is in the process of integration on the F-16C/D and the internal bay and wings of the B-52H. —Steve Hirsch

Lockheed Martin Effort to Aims to Bring New Technologies into Satellite Program

Lockheed Martin has released the specifications for its satellite platforms for the first time in an effort to increase cooperation with other companies and put more innovative payloads into space. As part of the Lockheed Martin Open Space effort, the company said it is publishing technical details on payload accommodation for its LM 2100 satellite platform, used for weather, missile-warning, and commercial communications satellites; the LM 400 satellite, which can quickly be launched into either geosynchronous Earth orbit or low Earth orbit ; and two versions of the LM 50 nanosat series, that can be used for remote sensing, communications, and scientific payloads. Lockheed, at an event Wednesday, invited start-ups, researchers, and established companies to propose technologies that could be used in space. Possible applications for nonproprietary technologies in the effort include aiding first responders, environmental study, creation of ultra-high-capacity communications links, and adapting low-cost commercial technology to the space environment. Interested companies have until May 11 to submit ideas. —Steve Hirsch

Pentagon Creates New Policy Aimed at Ending Harassment

The Pentagon has crafted a new harassment policy aimed at stopping “all forms” of harassment in the military, including offensive jokes, cyber bullying, stereotyping, and violence. The Defense Department’s goal with the policy is to create a formal and binding framework wherein a service member’s career progression could be impacted if they are found responsible for harassment through a formal complaint process. “Harassment has no place in our military,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday. “This policy brings us one step closer to eliminating these behaviors.” The Pentagon is now giving the individual services 60 days to create an implementation plan, after which Robert Wilkie, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, will look at these standards and determine if they are consistent with the DOD policy, White said. “We are doing this because we owe our all-volunteer force every protection,” White said. —Brian Everstine

Mattis: Current, Honorably Discharged Troops in DACA Protected from Deportation

US military members that are a part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Immigration that are about to serve, currently serving, or have received an honorable discharge from the military will not be deported if DACA is not renewed, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday. The DACA program, which protects people brought to the US illegally as children, expires on March 5 and Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday that about 900 current US service members are a part of the program. Mattis said he has spoken with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and those who are delayed enlistment, Active Duty, in the reserve component, or have received an honorable discharge will be protected from deportation. There are two exceptions, however: If the service member has been convicted of a felony, or has received a final order of deportation from a judge, Mattis said. —Brian Everstine

Northrop Grumman Lands $428.8 Million Contract for Polar Communications Satellites

Northop Grumman Systems Corp.’s Aerospace Systems has received a contract worth up to $428.8 million for two extremely high-frequency extended data rate payloads for the recapitalization of the Enhanced Polar System, the Defense Department said Wednesday. The EPS provides protected communication in the north polar region using two communications payloads hosted on classified satellites. The sole-source contract procures the payloads to prevent a military satellite communications mission gap in the region. Work is to be done in Redondo Beach, Calif., and completed by 2022. —Steve Hirsch


—Air Force ISR leaders hosted an industry day at the National Reconnaissance Office on Feb. 2, during which hundreds of members of industry met to discuss “agile, rapid development of capabilities that connect and learn:” USAF release.

—The Air Force is eliminating selective re-enlistment bonuses for 17 Air Force Special Codes and is reducing retention bonuses for 19 career fields in Fiscal 2018:

—Poland is looking to procure the Insitu Integrator small tactical unmanned aircraft system through a foreign military sales agreement to replace its ScanEagle system: Jane’s.