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​Recapitalizing the JSTARS fleet is high on the Air Force's unfunded priority list, the service's top uniformed acquisition officer told members of Congress on June 7, 2017. Here, an E-8C JSTARS taxis down the runway after completing a mission June 7, 2016, at Al Udeid AB, Qatar. Air Force photo by SrA. Janelle Patino.

​A Budget Full of Tough Choices

The fiscal year 2018 Air Force budget request represents “the best balance of our readiness and modernization” given “the fiscal constraints we face,” Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch told Congress on Wednesday. “We had to make tough choices,” said Bunch, the top USAF uniformed acquisition official. Readiness is not funded as he would like, for starters. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.

Special Operations Aviator Receives Distinguished Flying Cross

TSgt. James McKay was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross on June 2 for his role as a special missions aviator over Bor, South Sudan, on Dec. 21, 2013. Read the full story by Wilson Brissett.

Coats, Rogers Say They Never Felt Pressure to Interfere in FBI Investigation

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, told members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday they never felt pressure to interfere with the ongoing FBI investigation into whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. However, both intelligence leaders also repeatedly refused to say whether the President asked them to intervene in the investigation, saying they would not discuss private conversations with the President in a public hearing. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.

image of advertisementNSA Leaker was Decorated Air Force Veteran

Reality Leigh Winner—the first person to be prosecuted by the Trump administration for leaking classified information—was a decorated Air Force veteran. The 25-year-old federal contractor was arrested and charged with leaking a Top Secret memo to The Intercept detailing Russian meddling in the presidential election just a few months after she was discharged from the Air Force. Winner previously served as a linguist assigned to the 94th Intelligence Squadron, 707th Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Wing, at Fort Meade, Md. She was was proficient in Pashto, Dari, and Farsi, languages spoken in Iran and in Afghanistan, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She received an Air Force Commendation Medal in October 2016, just two months before she was discharged, for assisting in airstrikes that killed hundreds of enemy combatants. “Airman Winner provided over 1,900 hours of enemy intelligence exploitation and assisted in geolocating 120 enemy combatants during 734 airborne sorties,” reads the citation, which was provided to the paper by Winner’s mother. “She facilitated 816 intelligence missions, 3,236 time sensitive reports, and removing more than 100 enemies from the battlefield.” Her work aided in the capture of 650 enemy combatants, “600 enemies killed in action, and [in] identifying 900 high value targets,” states the citation, according to the Journal. Winner is being held in a county jail about 40 miles outside of Augusta, Ga.


SpaceX to Launch Fifth X-37B Mission

SpaceX will launch the Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle on its fifth mission later this year. The launch will mark the program’s first use of the Falcon 9 Upgrade launch vehicle. SpaceX launched its first national security payload in May on a mission for the National Reconnaissance Office. OTV-5 will carry the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader, which is meant to “test experimental electronics and oscillating heat pipes in the long duration space environment,” according to a press release. X-37B returned from its most recent mission, which was 718 days long, in May. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson told Congress on Tuesday that OTV-5 is scheduled to launch in August of this year. She said the program’s use of a “reusable vehicle”—as well as the ability to launch “on multiple different platforms”—is “very exciting.”

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RADAR SWEEP

—The Defense Department unveiled a new Blended Retirement System comparison calculator, intended to help eligible service members and their family make an informed decision about whether to opt in to the new system.

—US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten presented the 2016 Omaha Trophy to the 5th Bomb Wing during a June 6 ceremony at Minot AFB, N.D. It's the fifth time the wing was recognized as the command's premier strategic bomber wing: AFGSC release

—Air University stood up the eSchool of Graduate PME on June 1, which is part of a 10-year effort to revitalize officer professional military distance education: AETC release.