Trump Vows to Bring Troops Home from “Endless Wars” in State of the Union Address

One day after the Republican-controlled Senate cautioned against a “precipitous withdrawal” from Syria and Afghanistan, President Donald Trump in his second State of the Union address vowed to bring American troops home. “Great nations do not fight endless wars,” Trump said. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

Second Trump, Kim Summit to Take Place in Vietnam in Three Weeks

President Donald Trump confirmed Tuesday he will meet for the second time with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam, saying the summit is part of a “bold new diplomacy” effort to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula. He also opened the door to negotiating a follow on to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with China and other countries, though he cautioned that if that does not succeed the US will “outspend and out-innovate all others by far.” Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

Votel: New Defense Strategy May Prompt Materiel Shuffle, Reliance on Partners

US Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee his region needs to improve how it shares military assets with commanders in other areas to meet the goals outlined in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. Though the Pentagon is mulling the best way to remove troops from the Middle East to comply with President Donald Trump’s wishes, Votel said fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Taliban, and other terror organizations are expected to regroup unless local militaries continue pressure campaigns on the United States’ behalf. Votel, an Army four-star who has led CENTCOM since March 2016, will hand the reins to Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie once the Joint Staff director is confirmed to his new post. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Schneider Takes Command of US Forces Japan, 5th Air Force

Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider took command of US Forces Japan and 5th Air Force from Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez on Tuesday at Yokota AB, Japan. This is Schneider’s fifth assignment in the region and his second in Japan, and he brings a deep understanding of the area, Gen. C.Q. Brown, Commander of Pacific Air Forces, said during the ceremony. Read the full story by Jennifer Hlad.

Contract Red Air Comes to Eglin

The Air Force’s increasing push for contracted adversary air has spread to a main F-35 training base, with Draken International pilots recently flying as Red Air for student pilots at Eglin AFB, Fla., for the first time on Jan. 24. The instructor pilots and students from the 59th Fighter Squadron conducted air defense training with Draken L-159s, according to an Eglin release. The base is looking to increase its output of pilots after training 68 F-35 pilots and 13 instructors in 2018. “It is a requirement that we have adversaries to support our training,” 58th Fighter Squadron Commander Col. Jon Snyder said in the release. “If we have to support all our missions in-house, that means less student sorties we can fly.” The Air Force is dramatically increasing its reliance on contracted adversary air, with a forthcoming contract worth up to $6 billion to have civilian aircraft make up a most of its red air. For more on that contract and the growing commercial adversary air industry, read Red Air Rising from the January/February issue of Air Force Magazine. —Brian Everstine

USAF Changing Promotion Process for Senior NCOs

The Air Force will change how senior noncommissioned officers are promoted beginning this fall, removing the Weighted Airman Promotion System testing requirement and instead focusing more on performance. Under a Jan. 31 Air Force memo, Active Duty E-7 through E-9 promotions will no longer have the Promotion Fitness Exam and Specialty Knowledge Test in addition to the second phase of a central evaluation board. This board “will continue to give senior leaders and commanders the greatest level of confidence that the right individuals are being selected for promotion to the top enlisted ranks,” CMSAF Kaleth Wright said in a release. The promotion board process will now be similar to the one used for officers, scoring records using the current process as well as reviewing five years of evaluations, awards, and decorations. Additional guidance will be announced in an upcoming memorandum or revised Air Force Instruction, and the change will go into effect in September 2019, Wright said in an announcement on his Facebook page.

Charleston Reservists Deliver Aid to Three Countries

Three C-17s and airmen from JB Charleston, S.C., delivered more than 80,000 pounds of food and aid supplies to three countries in Central America and the Caribbean during a weekend mission Feb. 3 and 4. The Reserve airmen and aircraft from the 315th Airlift Wing delivered $90,000 worth of aid, including medical supplies, an ambulance, and several tons of food to Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras, according to a 315th AW release. The aid is expected to reach about 129,500 people. The mission stems from the Denton Amendment, a State Department and US Agency for International Development program to use space on existing USAF missions to deliver aid.


Former Airman Who Thwarted Terrorist Train Attack is Made a Citizen of France

Former Air Force Staff Sergeant Spencer Stone and two other Americans who thwarted a terror attack on a French train in 2015 have been granted French citizenship. Air Force Times

Check Out Who’s Helping Boeing Build the Next Air Force Training Jet

L3 Technologies, Triumph Group Inc. and Collins Aerospace are among the companies that will work alongside Boeing to create the U.S. Air Force’s T-X trainer. Defense News

State Partnership Program Links DC National Guard and Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso has become the 76th nation to join the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program, following a formal signing ceremony with the District of Columbia National Guard and the National Armed Forces of Burkina Faso Feb. 1. AFRICOM News

732nd OSS Activates, Sets RPA Group Up For Success

The 732nd Operations Support Squadron activated during an assumption of command ceremony at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 23, 2019. Air Force News

One More Thing …

NASA Released this Short Video of the Juno Probe Making a Close Flyby of Jupiter.

Juno is studying Jupiter close up, and unlike recent space missions, this one will be relatively short: Five years after its 2016 arrival, the spacecraft will be flown into the planet. Being so close to Jupiter means Juno will be bathed in intense radiation, so it’s expected to start losing function after only a few years. “End of mission” is expected in 2021. YouTube