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North Korean Official Claims US Has Declared War, Threatens Bombers

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Monday President Trump’s rhetoric amounts to a declaration of war, and claimed his country is justified in shooting down US aircraft. The statement comes days after USAF B-1Bs and F-15Cs flew a deterrence flight near North Korea’s coast. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


Task Force on Pilot Shortage Meets at Andrews

Dozens of Air Force leaders presented ideas to senior leadership to address the growing pilot shortage that has put the service in a “crisis.” During the 2017 Aircrew Summit on Friday at JB Andrews, Md., more than 60 leaders discussed possible retention initiatives, including non-command 365 day deployments, steps to prioritize flying training, and other ideas to help address the pilot shortage, according to an Air Force release. The service has convened an Aircrew Crisis Task Force to find ways to increase pilot retention. “This is a wicked problem,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Koscheski, the task force’s director, in the release. “The problem is not only ever-changing, it fights back. You can’t just fix one aspect. They’re interrelated.” —Brian Everstine

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US Strike Aircraft Return to Libya

The weekend strikes by US aircraft in Libya was the first time American aircraft hit ISIS fighters in that country since January’s massive B-2 mission. US forces on Sept. 22 hit an ISIS desert camp, killing 17 militants and destroying three vehicles. The strike hit a location about 150 miles southeast of Sirte, where ISIS was moving fighters into the country, stockpiling weapons, and planning attacks, US Africa Command said in a release. The military did not release the type of aircraft that conducted the strike. The mission was the first under President Trump, and the first operation in Libya since two B-2 bombers flew from Whiteman AFB, Mo., nonstop to Libya and back, dropping 85 bombs on a location about 30 miles southwest of Sirte. After that strike, AFRICOM Commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser said about 200 ISIS fighters remained in that country, and the command was ready to provide more military help if requested by the Libyan Government of National Accord. —Brian Everstine

Puerto Rico Asks DOD For More Hurricane Relief

Air Force aircraft and personnel deployed to Puerto Rico after its governor called on the Defense Department to provide more relief as the island reels from Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico has suffered “complete devastation” from Hurricane Maria, which knocked out power to the whole island, destroyed roads, and left residents stranded. “We know that there are capabilities in the surrounding areas, helicopters, planes and so forth. And our petition is for us to be able to use them,” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello told POLITICO. USAF personnel have been deployed to Puerto Rico, including 32 members of the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Contingency Response Group deployed to the island to set up an air cargo hub. JBSA-Kelly Field, Texas, last week set up an Incident Support Base to send relief supplies through a cargo deployment function, according to a base release. —Brian Everstine

USAF Triples Application Timelines for Airmen Seeking Sabbaticals

Airmen now have three opportunities to apply for entrance into the career intermission program, the service announced on Sept. 22. The three annual application windows are: April 1 to May 13, Aug. 1 to Sept. 12, and Dec. 1 to Jan. 12. However, this year, the second cycle started on Sept. 22, the day USAF announced the measure, and ends Oct. 31. Read the full story from Gideon Grudo.

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RADAR SWEEP


—During his Air Force update address at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference last week, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein noted that Tesla sent automatic updates to its cars to allow drivers to more efficiently escape the path of recent hurricanes. Now it turns out the service is planning to buy a Tesla Model X so it can study the car’s self-driving capabilities: The Street.

—A team of economists used Air Force Academy data to figure out how peers affect students’ performance: Washington Post article or PDF of study findings.

—Air Force marathon officials are considering adding more shorter races and allowing runners to participate in more than one event after the 5k and 10k races sold out while the half- and full-marathons were short thousands of runners compared to previous years: WYSO