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​US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten speaks at AFA's Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Sept. 20, 2017. Staff photo by Mike Tsukamoto.


As Deterrence Mission Changes, STRATCOM Assumes Combat Structure

The United States needs to catch up in the realm of strategic deterrence, US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten told the audience at ASC17 Wednesday. “Strategic deterrence in the 21st century does not equate to 20th century deterrence,” he said. To tackle the challenge, Hyten has embarked on a full reorganization of STRATCOM to give it a structure more like geographic combatant commands. But he has also launched a nationwide search for new thought leaders who can help develop “multi-polar, multi-domain” deterrence approaches for the 21st century. Read the full report by Wilson Brissett.

US Needs Clarity on Threats and Faster Responses, STRATCOM’s Hyten says

The United States will fall behind its potential adversaries, including China and Russia, if it takes too long to respond to threats and develop new capabilities, said Gen. John Hyten, commander of US Strategic Command at ASC17. Hyten lamented that the nation has “lost the ability to go fast.” Read the full report by Adam J. Hebert.

Hyten Thinks Space-Based Sensing for Missile Defense Can be Fast, Cheap

The decision to deploy more missile defense systems “has to be a threat-based decision,” and the US has a number of good options to do so, US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten told Air Force Magazine at ASC17. But more important to defending the nation against ballistic missiles, Hyten said, is developing “a sensor architecture that is effective for wherever the threat emerges.” US missile defense has a key “weakness,” Hyten warned, as long as “the sensor architecture is really ground-based radars focused on a singular threat, which is North Korea.” Transitioning to space-based ballistic missile sensors “will allow us to effectively respond to wherever the threat emerges,” Hyten explained, and he said the Air Force, the Missile Defense Agency, and STRATCOM are “all advocating for the capability,” which is still “a couple of years away from being able to execute.” When it is ready, Hyten said the Department of Defense should be able to develop and field the program quickly and relatively cheaply. “The satellites that they’re going to have to build are very simple,” he said, and if DOD takes advantage of  “commercial practices,” then “we can actually build it very quick and not too expensive.” He said the acquisition authorities of the Operationally Responsive Space program could be an appropriate vehicle for the space-based sensing capability. “But if we build them like we’ve done the traditional satellites for the last 30 years, they’ll be too expensive, too slow.” —Wilson Brissett

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CMSAF Wright Reducing Enlisted Reviews, Awards Requirements

While CMSAF Kaleth Wright knows he can’t “reform our entire system,” he’s taking specific actions to mitigate the impact time-consuming reports and evaluations ahve on enlisted airmen. Specifically, he said during ASC17, he’s aiming to “remove [EPRs] as a requirement just for A1Cs” and has reduced the required amount of lines in Airmen of the Year evaluations from 27 to 16. Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.

Travis C-17 Joins Mexico City Relief

A C-17 from Travis AFB, Calif., joined the relief effort for the Mexico City earthquake, flying an elite search and rescue team in on Sept. 20 to help with the response. At least 245 people were killed after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City the day before, collapsing buildings across the city. The C-17 ferried a US Agency for International Development elite disaster team, which included 60 members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department urban search and rescue team, five canines, and 62,000 pounds of equipment and medical supplies, according to a Travis release. —Brian Everstine

US, Russian Generals Meet Face-to-Face on Syrian Deconfliction

US and Russian general officers met face-to-face in recent days at an undisclosed location in Syria to discuss deconfliction and avoid possible incidents in the region of Deir Ezzor, the US-led coalition said Thursday. The meeting came as a Russian general publicly threatened the US-led coalition that it would target areas of Syria where US special forces are operating if their forces came under fire from US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Any attempts “to open fire from areas where SDF fighters are located would be quickly shut down,” Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, according to Reuters. SDF fighters, along with US advisers, are operating against ISIS in the Deir Ezzor province, while Russia and Syrian regime fighters are in the city itself, said US Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, in a Thursday briefing. The face-to-face meeting was the first time a discussion like this had occurred, and included maps and graphics to try to clearly show deconfliction areas, Dillon said. “As we have seen, the convergence of forces next to each other increases the need for deconfliction measures,” he said. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP


—Newbegin Enterprises Inc. has received a $90.5 million contract for an internet-based, contractor-operated parts store for 5,500-6,500 vehicles based in Air Forces Central Command: DOD contract announcement.  

—A four-man team of airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron arrived in St. Croix on Sept. 21 and a three-man team from the same unit recently arrived in St. Thomas where they will “open airfields for humanitarian aid deliveries and resident evacuations in the wake of Hurricane Maria:” USAF release.