There will still be a requirement for a presence of US forces in Southwest Asia post 2014 after the withdrawal of American combat troops from Afghanistan and the US military’s shift in focus to the Asia-Pacific region, Air Combat Command chief Gen. Mike Hostage told airmen at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. “We as a nation have a strategic national interest in the peace, security, and stability of this region,” said Hostage during his visit to the coalition installation earlier this month, according to Kandahar’s Nov. 25 release. He added, “We are not leaving.” Hostage also said there would continue to be efforts to partner with Afghan forces after the last US combat troops leave Afghanistan. “Post 2014, there will still be a presence here, although we don’t yet know what that will look like,” he said. He told the airmen during his Nov. 14 visit that his trip was in part to meet with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and reassure them of the US military’s commitment to the region. (Kandahar report by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.