Air Force Releases ISR Feed of Chapman’s Final Fight

The Air Force on Thursday released video showing TSgt. John Chapman’s final moments as he fought, alone, to the death against approaching Taliban fighters on a remote Afghan mountaintop in March 2002. The video feed played a key role in the decision to upgrade Chapman’s Air Force Cross to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest honor for valor in combat. The ceremony, which will take place at the White House later this month, will mark the first Medal of Honor awarded to an airman for actions since the Vietnam War. Read the full story by Brian Everstine and watch the recently released video.

Administration Wants Space Force by 2020, Pence Says

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday outlined the Trump administration’s plan to establish a sixth military service dedicated to space, saying the goal is to stand up the US Space Force by 2020. The move will require a significant cultural and organizational shift at the Pentagon—and in the Air Force specifically—and will be the first time the US has established a military service since the US Air Force was created in 1947. Also on Thursday, the Pentagon released a congressionally mandated report detailing five actions the department will take to begin building the new service. “Just as in the past, when we created the Air Force, establishing the Space Force is an idea whose time has come,” Pence said, pointing to a space environment that has become “crowded and adversarial.” US adversaries, he said, have turned space into a warfighting domain, and “the United States will not shrink from this challenge.” Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

What Does it Take to Create a Space Force?

The Defense Department is still trying to determine exactly what it will take to establish a new Space Force as a sixth branch of the Armed Forces. Speaking to reporters on Thursday after Vice President Mike Pence rolled out the plan at the Pentagon, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the administration has not yet put together a legislative proposal for the change, though he noted it would probably consist of options of varying expense. “The costs associated with standing up the additional structure, we’ll probably know by the end of the year. We haven’t done that cost estimation yet,” he said. Asked about the impact of the proposed changes on the Air Force Space Command, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva said the first step in the shift is to “do no harm to the missions that are being accomplished today,” so part of the job would be to figure out how to move missions, such as GPS, subject to approval by Congress. Read the full story by Amy McCullough and Steve Hirsch.

Mitchell Institute Outlines Conditions for Creating a Space Force

“The creation of a US Space Force is the right decision, but a conditions-based approach to determine timing provides a higher likelihood of success,” according to a recent policy paper by AFA’s Mitchell Institute. In the paper, the dean of the Mitchell Institute, retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, and Lt. Col. Michael Martindale, associate director of the Institute for National Security Studies at the US Air Force Academy, argue the space community needs “time to fill intellectual gaps and avoid significant risks,” and cautioned against potential risks to “prematurely” standing up a separate space service. Read Mitchell’s full policy paper.

Columbus Briefly Grounds T-38s After Ejection Seat Issue This Week

T-38s were temporarily grounded earlier this week at Columbus AFB, Miss., after an ejection seat in a Talon fired while the jet was on the ground, injuring three contract workers. At about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, the workers were inspecting the T-38 when a rear cockpit seat fired. The workers were taken to the hospital and released. The base grounded its T-38s as a routine precaution following the incident, and the jets returned to flight Wednesday morning, according to Columbus public affairs. Air Education and Training Command said the grounding was local to Columbus and other T-38 locations were not impacted. It is the second T-38 grounding within a year. Talon operations at Laughlin AFB, Texas, were briefly halted in November after a T-38 crashed near Del Rio, killing a pilot. —Brian Everstine

PACAF Boss Visits Japan, Inspects Missile Defenses

The new commander of Pacific Air Forces used his first trip in the post to observe ballistic missile defense in Japan and meet with leaders of the country. Gen. Charles Brown, who took command of PACAF last month, visited Yokota Air Base Aug. 6-7, and watched a demonstration of the ballistic missile defense system as “recent tensions have refined not only our readiness, but the readiness of our allies and partners throughout the region,” he said, according to a PACAF release. While in Japan, Brown met with the country’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, the Japan Self Defense Force’s top uniformed officer, Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, Japan Air Self Defense Force Chief of Staff Gen. Yoshinari Marumo, among other senior Japanese and US Forces-Japan leaders. “The challenges we face are complex,” Brown said. “However, I am confident in our abilities to work together, to build upon the cooperation that has existed between the US and Japan for more than 60 years to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.” —Brian Everstine

Reserve Deploys Another C-130 to Fight California Fires

More Air Force Reservists and another specially equipped C-130 has deployed to California to help fight the massive Mendocino Complex fire raging in that state. The Reservists and aircraft from the 302nd Airlift Wing left Wednesday to operate out of Sacramento, Calif., and replace one of the four C-130s that has been flying regularly to fight the fire. Since July 26, four C-130s have flown more than 150 fire suppression sorties against both the Mendocino and Carr fires, according to a 302nd AW release. The Mendocino fire, as of late Wednesday, had burned more than 302,000 acres and was just 47 percent contained, according to CAL Fire. —Brian Everstine

Pentagon Rebrands DIUx to Show Permanent Focus on Innovation

The Pentagon is rebranding its technology startup in an attempt to show its permanent focus on innovation, by removing the “x” from DIUx. The Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental is now just the Defense Innovation Unit, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced in a memo last week. “Though DIU will continue to experiment with new ways of delivering capability to the warfighter, the organization itself is no longer an experiment,” Shanahan wrote in the Aug. 3 memo. “DIU remains vital to fostering innovation across the department and transforming the way DOD builds a more lethal force.” Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the office in July 2016 as a way to increase outreach between the Pentagon and the tech community. —Brian Everstine


—A video of a C-5 Galaxy, which has had problems with its landing gear, making a landing with its nose gear up at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, has surfaced on the Internet: The Drive.

—Estonia on Wednesday called on NATO to look into the accidental air-to-air missile launch in its airspace by a NATO aircraft: Reuters.

—During a recent visit to F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson emphasized the importance of the 90th Missile Wing’s deterrence mission: Wyoming Tribune Eagle.