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​​Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson gives a keynote speech at the 2017 Air Force Association Air, Space, and Cyber Conference on Sept. 18, 2017. Wilson, during this speech, explained how the Air Force was reviewing thousands of its instructions and regulations, and this week the service announced it has cut hundreds of these publications. Staff photo by Mike Tsukamoto.

​USAF Cuts Instructions and Directives in Ongoing Red Tape Review

The Air Force has reduced its directive publications by more than 15 percent as part of USAF leadership’s push to eliminate redundant and overbearing regulations and streamline its policies. Last year, the Air Force called for a 24-month review of every publication, and so far the service has eliminated more than 226 of its total 1,484 publications, along with 4,795 compliance items, the service announced in a Wednesday release. “We view this as a warfighting imperative, empowering commanders to use good judgment to accomplish the mission,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright said in a letter to airmen. In addition, 212 publications have been updated and another 309 are in coordination. —Brian Everstine


Trump Says No Reason for Exercises with South Korea

President Trump renewed doubts about future military exercises with South Korea, shortly after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the US does not expect to suspend upcoming exercises. In a Wednesday tweet, Trump said he believes North Korea is under Chinese pressure because of US trade disputes with China, although China is providing North Korea with "considerable aid," including money, fuel, fertilizer, and other commodities. "This is not helpful!" he wrote, before going on to describe his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "a very good and warm one," and saying "there is no reason at this time to be spending large amounts of money on joint U.S.-South Korea war games." In addition, he said, "the President can instantly start the joint exercises again with South Korea, and Japan, if he so chooses. If he does, they will be far bigger than ever before." The Pentagon on Wednesday clarified Mattis's remarks by saying that US military posture has not changed since Trump's June summit with Kim, and that there have been no decisions about suspending future exercises. —Steve Hirsch​

Guastella Takes Command of AFCENT

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella Jr. took command of US Air Forces Central Command during a Thursday ceremony, taking over control of the air wars against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and ongoing operations in Afghanistan. Guastella took command from Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, who will be the next deputy commander of US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa. Guastella most recently served as the director of integrated air, space, cyberspace, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations for headquarters Air Force Space Command. A pilot with experience in the F-16 and A-10, Guastella has also been the director of operations for AFCENT and commanded the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. "To our Airmen, Joint warfighters, and men and women of coalition who get the job done: it's our youngest Airmen who have signed up to serve our nation who inspire me," Guastella said at the ceremony, according to an AFCENT release. "From aircrews flying missions to maintainers on the flight line in extremely hot temperatures to logisticians moving supplies to and from the fight to support Airmen, you guys are why I continue to serve, so I'm honored to be your new commander and to be a partner with you in this fight." —Brian Everstine​

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Anti-ISIS Coalition Updates its Investigations into Alleged Civilian Casualties

The US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria has conducted a total of 29,920 airstrikes from the beginning of the war in 2014 through the end of July 2018, and Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve now assesses 1,061 civilians have been unintentionally killed in these strikes. The coalition releases a monthly tally of its ongoing investigations into allegations of civilian casualties. In July, the coalition found three additional reports determined to be credible and 15 more deemed to be non-credible. There are 216 total open reports, according to the coalition. The strikes that resulted in civilian casualties include a July 4, 2017 strike on an ISIS facility in Raqqa where a civilian was unintentionally killed. On Feb. 9, 2018, a civilian on a motorcycle entered the impact area moments before a strike on an ISIS-held building. On June 13, 2018, a civilian was killed during a strike on an ISIS supply route. —Brian Everstine​


CENTCOM Discloses Airstrikes in Yemen

US aircraft conducted six airstrikes on al Qaeda targets in Yemen from late to July to mid-August, US Central Command announced Thursday. The strikes bring the total conducted in Yemen to 34. US Central Command announced the actions on Thursday, months after many of them took place. The command had previously disclosed airstrikes shortly after they took place, and did not disclose why these were announced later. The strikes took place May 25, June 23, June 30, July 22, July 24, and Aug. 14 in the Shabwah, Hadramawt, and Al-Bayd governorates, according to CENTCOM. —Brian Everstine​

Space Operations School at Peterson Redesignated as Combat Training Squadron

The Air Force Space Command has redesignated its Advanced Space Operations School at Peterson AFB, Colo., as the 319th Combat Training Squadron, a move the command said would shift the training to prepare professionals for exercises such as the Space Flag series begun last year, and for the kinds of space operations the military will face in the future. The move comes as the Air Force is taking a number of steps to strengthen its approach to military space. “The knowledge we impart is the guarantor of our nation’s dominance of the space domain now and into the future,” Lt. Col. Paul W. Contoveros, commander of the 319th CTS, said in a release. –Steve Hirsch


Air Force Launches Survey on Organizational Climate

The Air Force this week began its periodic survey of Active Duty, Reserve, Guard and civilian personnel to give senior leaders a picture of the organizational climate throughout the service, it was announced Wednesday. The voluntary 2018 Total Force Climate Survey is aimed at gauging the attitudes and opinions of members about their work environment and organizational climate. It is also aimed at measuring leadership support, satisfaction, unit cohesion, recognition, and such other topics as information related to major commands and perceptions of organizational value. The Air Force Survey Office started sending email invitations to total force personnel Aug. 27 in the survey, which runs through Oct. 30. The Total Force Climate Survey has been held every two to three years; the last one as held in 2015, which a participation rate of 23 percent. –Steve Hirsch

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RADAR SWEEP


—Air Force and Homeland Security Department investigators searched a Sanford, Fla., tomato warehouse Wednesday, although they would not say what the investigation was about: Orlando Sentinel.
—The US Army Golden Knights parachute demonstration team has cancelled its planned opening performance for the McConnell AFB, Kan., air show in September to attend the funeral of team member  Staff Sgt. Aliaksandr “Alex” Bahrytsevich, who died in an off-duty small plane crash: Wichita Eagle.
—US Pacific Command’s 2019 Northern Edge exercises, involving all of the military branches and other agencies, will be held in the Gulf of Alaska in May, in spite of calls to reschedule it later in the year on environmental grounds: Stars and Stripes.
—The air traffic control tower at Midland International AIr & Space Port helped guide the crew of a B-1B that experienced an in-flight emergency on May 1 to a safe landing, according to audio published by Military Times: Military Times.
—The Air Force Selection Board Secretariat has released next year’s selection board schedule for the roughly 100 annual boards, including the master, senior master and chief master sergeant evaluation boards, senior noncommissioned officer supplemental boards, officer selection boards and the colonel command screening board: Air Force release.