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​President Donald Trump and Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt, commander of the 10th Mountain Division (LI), discuss an air assault and gun raid demonstration at Fort Drum, N.Y., on Aug. 13. The demonstration was part of President Trump's visit to the 10th Mountain Division (LI) to sign the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019. Army photo by Sgt. Thomas Scaggs.


Trump Signs Defense Authorization Bill, Plugs Space Force

President Trump Monday signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, a $716.3 billion bill that received final congressional approval earlier this month with an 87-10 Senate vote, following a 359-54 House vote. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) lauded Trump’s “commitment to strengthening our military, as evidenced by his signing this bill,” a measure he said “continues to rebuild and repair our military while making needed reforms in the Pentagon.” He called on Congress to follow the legislation with “matching appropriations before the beginning of the fiscal year.” Trump used the opportunity, at Fort Drum Army Base, N.Y., to promote his administration’s Space Force proposal, outlined last week by Vice President Mike Pence. “Our foreign competitors and adversaries have already begun weaponizing space, developing new technologies to disrupt vital communications, blind satellites,” said Trump. “You look at what they’re doing, they’ve given me rundowns, I’ve seen things that you don’t even want to see, what they’re doing and how advanced they are … We’ll be catching them very shortly. They want to jam transmissions, which threaten our battlefield operations and so many other things … We will be so far ahead of them in a very short period of time your head will spin,” he added. It is not enough to merely have a US presence in space but American dominance is needed, which is why, Pence outlined the Space Force proposal last week, added Trump. —Steve Hirsch

Mattis Endorses Space Force Creation

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Sunday said he believed setting up a Space Force as a new military service is the proper path to follow. Mattis had written a letter to Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) last year backing a Turner proposal to block formation of a separate Space Corps within the Air Force. However, speaking with reporters on his way to Brasilia, Brazil, Mattis said he had not been against establishing a Space Force but was against “rushing to do that” before defining the problems involved. “We've had a year, over a year, in defining. And the orbitization of this solution in terms of institutionalizing forward momentum is very important,” he said. “We're in favor of warfighting capability organized along the lines of what the President has laid out, along those lines,” he told reporters. —Steve Hirsch

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F-22s Forward Deploy to Greece

Two F-22s landed in Greece on Aug. 10 for local training at Larissa Air Base as part of the Raptor’s deployment to Europe. The F-22s, from the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., first arrived in Europe on Aug. 8 and are based at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, for the deployment. The two F-22s are accompanied by a KC-135 from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, which landed at Naval Support Activity Souda Bay, Greece, according to US Air Forces in Europe. The deployment to Greece demonstrates the Air Force’s “commitment to field and operate fifth-generation aircraft in the US European Command area of responsibility,” USAFE said in a release.  —Brian Everstine


Air University Creating New Squadron Commander Course as Part of Revitalization Effort

Air University is standing up a new squadron commander foundational course, one of the latest steps in the Air Force’s push to revitalize its squadrons. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has made this initiative a main effort for his command. USAF established a task force to conduct a service-wide review aimed at finding ways to improve squadrons This included input from almost 4,000 people at 25 different bases, including the Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard, according to an Air Force release.  Following the review, the Air Force has been rolling out steps, including the new course, authorizations to rebuild command support staffs, removing some performance report requirements, reducing some computer-based training requirements, and an active push to drive down the decision-making authority to the “lowest practical level.” “This is incredibly humbling and exciting to be a part of because if we can get this right, we can hopefully impact the lethality and effectiveness of the entire Air Force,” said Col. Russell Williford, current director of the revitalizing squadrons task force, in the release. “We can also make airmen’s lives better and more fulfilled.” —Brian Everstine


US Officer to Investigate Yemen Airstrike that Killed Children

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has dispatched a three-star general to Saudi Arabia to investigate the Thursday airstrike in Yemen that struck a full school bus, killing dozens of children. The airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition is the worst attack on children since that war began in 2015, according to UNICEF. Mattis told reporters on Sunday the US military, in addition to the officer traveling to Riyadh, supports the US State Department’s call for an investigation into the incident. “Wars are always tragic, but we’ve got to find a way to protect innocents in the midst of this one,” Mattis said. The US military has actively supported the Saudi-led war on Houthi rebels in Yemen since 2015, providing aerial refueling and targeting support at an operations center. Mattis said Sunday the US support does not include dynamic targeting, instead “we try to assist them in how they protect certain locations, that sort of thing.” —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP

—Pilots flying T-6s are continuing to report hypoxia-like incidents, at a rate of about eight per month from February through June, though the Air Force maintains the plane is safe to fly: San Antonio Express-News


—How an Air Force C-5M transports a billion-dollar satellite: Quartz.

—The first class of the Air Force’s Aviation, Character, and Education flight program recently graduated. The new program aims to combat the pilot shortage by exposing prospective aviators to military careers: USAF release.

—The United Kingdom Joint Forces Command’s Zephyr-S unmanned aerial vehicle has broken the world flight endurance record by staying airborne for more than 25 days without refueling: UK Ministry of Defence