Second USAF White Hat Hacking Program Breaks Another Record

The Air Force paid out $12,500 in the highest single bounty award in the history of federal bug bounty programs. The award went to a vetted, white hat hacker who submitted a vulnerability during Hack the Air Force 2.0. It’s part of DOD’s collaboration with HackerOne, a security platform that also ran Hack the Pentagon, Hack the Army, and notably Hack the Air Force 1.0. Hackers submitted 106 valid reports in total, for which USAF paid a total of $103,883 in bounties. HackerOne told Air Force Magazine the record-breaking bug would’ve allowed a “malicious attacker” to run harmful code on an Air Force network and manipulate other data within it. Unique to this hackathon sequel was a kickoff, live event in New York City on Dec. 9, 2017. Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.

North Korea “Most Immediate” Strategic Threat, Northern Command Head Says

Gen. Lori Robinson, commander of US Northern Command, pointed to North Korea as the most immediate strategic threat to the United States in testimony Thursday to the Senate Armed Services Committee. She also acknowledged that Russia, China, Iran, and terrorist groups are significant threats. Read the full report by Steve Hirsch.

Pentagon Outlines New Policy Reducing Number of Non-Deployable Personnel

The Defense Department will start kicking out service members who have not been able to meet deployment criteria for an extended period of time in an effort to increase readiness. Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Robert Wilkie on Wednesday sent a memo to service personnel officials stating that beginning in October, all personnel who are non-deployable for 12 months will immediately be processed for administrative separation or referred to a disability evaluation system. “DOD requires a department-wide policy establishing standardized criteria for retaining non-deployable service members,” Wilkie wrote. Under the new policy, the only exempt personnel are pregnant and postpartum troops, or those who have been granted a waiver by a service Secretary, the memo states. Services have until Oct. 1 to begin processing, and must provide monthly non-deployable reports to Wilkie. The policy is the result of a July directive from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to find ways to increase the readiness of the military services, Wilkie wrote. —Brian Everstine

First Two Candidates for USAF Cyberspace Direct Appointment Program Picked

The first two candidates have been picked for the Air Force’s new cyberspace officer direct-appointment pilot program, the Air Force said Wednesday. Similar to programs for chaplains, attorneys, and doctors aimed at bringing in candidates with advanced skills and degrees, the cyberspace officer program was authorized in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. MSgt. Anthony Bustamante, 92nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron flight chief, and MSgt. Micheal Locke, 91st Cyberspace Operations Squadron superintendent, will go to officer training school to become cyberspace operations lieutenants. Bustamante will be a first lieutenant with two years of constructive service credit and Locke will be commissioned as a second lieutenant with one year’s credit. If this pilot effort works, it will be used to recruit others with advanced cyberspace education and skills into the Air Force’s cyberspace officer corps. —Steve Hirsch

SOCOM Forces Stretched Thin, Hurting for Qualified Recruits

US Special Operations Command is stretched so thin as it combats ISIS and al Qaeda across the globe that it has had to turn down some combatant commander’s requests for forces, SOCOM Commander Gen. Raymond Thomas told lawmakers Thursday. This means conventional forces and partner nations must play a bigger role in stability operations. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.



—Medal of Honor recipient and retired Col. Leo Thorsness was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Feb. 14: USAF release.

—Pacific Air Forces on Wednesday kicked off Exercise Cope North 18, consisting of 2,000 US personnel along with 850 Japanese and Australian personnel. More than 100 aircraft will train together through March 2 at Andersen AFB, Guam: PACAF release.

—The Air Force on Wednesday awarded ASES LLC. an $18.5 million contract to replace the avionics in its fleet of T-1 trainers: Defense Department release.

—The 944th Fighter Wing at Luke AFB, Ariz., recently stood up a maintenance group as the base transitions to more F-35 operations. The Reserve 56th Maintenance Group is expected to provide more than 1.1 million hours of maintenance per year on F-16 and F-35 aircraft: 994th FW release.