Afghanistan’s Close Air Support Workhorse is Growing, But More Progress Needed

The Afghan Air Force A-29 fleet is experiencing growing pains, but it has become a cornerstone of the Afghan Air Force’s combat operations in the country, thanks to a team of USAF advisers.

Read Brian Everstine’s full report from Kabul.

Massive Bomb Kills Scores of Civilians in Kabul’s Diplomatic Quarter

A massive bomb hidden in a tanker truck ripped through the morning commute in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter on Wednesday, killing more than 80 and injuring more than 460, including almost a dozen Americans. The blast, which occurred just days after Air Force Magazine left the city, devastated the Afghan capital, and signaled a violent start to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as well as the fighting season throughout the country.

Read the full story by? Brian Everstine.

Upgraded Ballistic Missile Defense Can Protect US Through 2020

The successful test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system on Tuesday validated key system upgrades and ensured the US can defend its homeland against ballistic missile threats through 2020.

Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.

F-35A Flying with Upgraded ALIS, Completes 3,000th Sortie

An F-35A, tail number 5079, completed the type’s 3,000th sortie after taking off from Hill AFB, Utah, on May 22. Maintainers from the 388th Fighter Wing and the Air Force Reserve’s 419th FW supported the milestone mission. “Our 3,000th sortie is important because it highlights how fast the program at large is moving forward,” said Col. Michael Miles, the 388th Maintenance Group commander, in a press release. He said Hill’s F-35s generated an average of 17 sorties each in the month of March. F-35s at Hill are also now flying with the updated Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS), which automates many maintenance requirements on the F-35. Maintainers of the system have been training on the new configuration. “The biggest improvement is the incorporation of the propulsion system within ALIS,” said SMSgt. Jory Cyr, 34th Aircraft Maintenance Unit lead production superintendent, according to the release. The new ALIS integration reduces the time maintainers must put into performing manual checks of the system.

Leading Democrat Criticizes Trump Spending on Nuclear Weapons

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, criticized President Donald Trump’s proposed spending on nuclear modernization programs, which he said could spur “a dangerous nuclear arms race,” in a statement released Wednesday. Smith said the US already has enough nuclear weapons “to destroy the world several times over” and that lawmakers need to “prioritize … more essential defense programs.”

Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.

Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze Lifted

The federal government-wide hiring freeze enacted by President Donald Trump in January has been lifted, and the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) is working to resume normal hiring procedures. Their first order of business, however, is to make progress on the backlog of tentative job offers left over from the freeze period. AFPC said it is currently working on “more than 12,000 requests for personnel action,” according to an AFPC press release. “We are continuing to work with leadership from the major and combatant commands regarding critical hires and actions already in the works here at AFPC,” said Christine Armstrong, civilian sustainment and transitions programs division chief. A memorandum from the Office of Budget and Management directed government agencies to produce a “reform plan” to fit with the Trump Administration’s goal to “reduce the size of the federal civilian workforce,” according to the release.

See also: Right Sizing the Force of the Future.

Radar Sweep

-An Air Force veteran was sentenced to 35 years in prison for attempting to join ISIS: Reuters

-A recent Gallop poll found the majority of Americans have a high opinion of each of the military services, though the largest percentage thinks the Air Force is the most important service.

-Eight buildings locked down at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, on Tuesday after report of a bomb threat: San Antonio Express-News

-Heather Wilson highlights importance of space, cyber during first trip as Air Force Secretary: USAF release