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​Brock Long, FEMA administrator (left); Robert Salesses, deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense integration (center); and Maj. Gen. Donald Jackson, deputy commander for civil and emergency operations for the US Army Corps of Engineers (right) offer testimony on federal disaster response efforts to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria before the Senate Committee for Homeland Security on Oct. 31. Screenshot photo

​DOD Still Responding as 25 Million Americans Impacted by Hurricanes, Fires

The Department of Defense continues to respond with a comprehensive relief effort to a series of hurricanes that have marked “one of the most logistically complex disasters this nation has faced,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long told Congress on Tuesday. “Each of these events could be truly catastrophic standalone events,” Long told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security in reference to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. When the Northern California wildfires are added to the picture that “over 25 million Americans have been impacted” by natural disasters within a 50-day period of time, Long said. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett

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Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, commander of 3rd Air Force/17th Expeditionary Air Force, and CMSgt. Anthony Cruz Munoz, command chief of 3rd AF/17th EAF, walk toward an MQ-9 Reaper in October at Nigeri Air Base 101 in Niger. Air Force photo by SSgt Joshua R.M. Dewberry

Mattis: ISR Shortfall is Felt Globally, Especially in Africa

The military’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets are insufficient “worldwide,” and in some places that leaves troops at risk, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told lawmakers Monday evening. “You look at how you prioritize it,” Mattis said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the need for a new authorization on military force. “There’s a finite amount of ISR assets and we deal them out, frankly, like gold coins to the various commands.” Mattis was pressed on the shortfall of ISR following the Oct. 4 ambush of US Special Forces soldiers in Niger, which resulted in the deaths of four Green Berets. US Africa Command head Gen. Thomas Waldhauser told lawmakers earlier this year that only between 20 and 30 percent of his command’s ISR requirements have been met. The Special Forces had limited ISR support for their mission because intelligence reports at the time said enemy contact was not expected. “I think in this case Gen. Waldhauser is 100 percent correct, but that force again was in an area where a reasonable person looking at the last several months would say contact was not likely to be imminent,” Mattis said. “And so you look at how you prioritize it.” Mattis placed the blame for the lack of ISR on lawmakers, because funding shortfalls and the stretch of continuing resolutions have meant that “eventually, real capability is insufficient.”—Brian Everstine

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Operation Mongoose was the American military’s plan to invade and occupy Cuba as tensions rose in the early 1960s, largely due to the threat of nuclear power in the country. Newly released documents reveal details about the plan. This CIA map show the range of the nuclear missiles placed in Cuba. Photo: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Libray and Museum

Newly Released Docs Show Heavy USAF Contribution Needed for 1962 Cuba Invasion

Newly revealed information about Cuban military concerns show an extensive outline of what an invasion would cost the US. From mobilization to artillery, the outline asked for more than a quarter million service members to participate, and predicted the operation would take about two weeks. Air Force Brig. Gen. Edward Lansdale, who ran Operation Mongoose—the potential invasion of Cuba— asked for the outline in order to best plan for an operation minimizing casualties, according to the documents recently released as part of the declassification of records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The resulting Aug. 8, 1962, memo calls for 17 USAF tactical fighter squadrons and 53 troop carrier or transport squadrons. Equipment from the Air Force comprised “about 490” troop carriers and transports, 312 tactical fighters, and 65 reconnaissance and refueling aircraft. As for mobilization, the memo shows an original plan would’ve had 14 Reserve “troop carrier squadrons (C-119).” Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.

image of advertisementISIS’s Capital Empty of Fighters, But Intense Clearing Mission Remains

ISIS’s former self-proclaimed capital is void of its fighters, but still unsafe as the group left countless bombs and booby traps in a mounting challenge for US-backed fighters and local residents, the head of the US-led coalition’s special operations forces said Tuesday. Raqqa, Syria, was liberated on Oct. 20, but coalition support continues and there is still “several months of tough work to clear each building,” US Army Maj. Gen. James Jarrard, commander of Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a Tuesday briefing. “For the people of Raqqa at the moment, it is still unsafe for them to return home,” he said. “Although the city is void of [ISIS] fighters, hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of [ISIS] improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, bombs, and booby traps remain.” There is a “low probability” of ISIS sleeper cells in Raqqa and other locations liberated by US-back fighters, and now the focus is on remaining ISIS-held locations such as Abu Kamal in Syria, Jarrard said. It is “getting harder” to locate senior ISIS leaders, and the coalition suspects they are hiding in “basements or holes in the ground” throughout ISIS-held areas. —Brian Everstine

SMC Awards $34 Million for Secondary Payload Adaptor Development

The Air Force has awarded $34 million to Orbital Sciences Corporation for work on a secondary payload adaptor (ESPA) for use in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. The firm-fixed-price and cost reimbursement contract is being managed by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s office at Kirtland AFB, N.M. This award builds on Air Force Space Command’s previous development work on propulsive ESPAs for the EELV program. ESPAs have been used by the EELV program in the past to launch as many as six additional small payloads along with primary mission launches. —Wilson Brissett

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RADAR SWEEP

—US military officials say China has practiced bombing runs on US bases in Guam. Military Times

—US special operations forces have captured another militant linked to the fatal 2011 attack on a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. CNN

—The Afghan government’s control of the districts and population has declined to its lowest level since the Pentagon’s Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction began its oversight. SIGAR report

—Airmen with the 821st Contingency Response Group have helped coordinate the delivery of more than one million pounds of relief cargo in Puerto Rico. Air Force release