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USAF SSgt. Dylan Elchin, a combat controller assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon AFB, N.M., was among the US service members killed when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle in Afghanistan on Tuesday. Courtesy photo via USAF.​


Combat Controller Killed by IED is First Airman to Die in Afghanistan Since 2015

A USAF combat controller and two US Army Special Forces soldiers were killed on Tuesday when an improvised explosive device struck their vehicle in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. The blast killed SSgt. Dylan J. Elchin, 25, of Hookstown, Pa., who was assigned to the 26th Special Tactics Squadron at Cannon AFB, N.M. He is the first airman killed in action in Afghanistan in 2018, and the first since a suicide attack killed six airmen near Bagram Airfield in late 2015. Also killed were: Army Capt. Andrew Patrick Ross, 29, of Lexington, Va., and Sgt. 1st Class Eric Michael Emond, 39, of Brush Prairie, Wash. They were both assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


Minot B-52 Squadron Commander Relieved

The commander of the 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D., has been relieved of command due to a loss of trust and confidence, the base announced in a terse news release Tuesday. Lt. Col. Paul Goossen lost his job because of a failure to maintain a professional work environment, and Lt. Col. Dennis Zabka, the former director of operations for the 5th Operations Support Squadron, assumed command. “The Air Force values and encourages a positive work atmosphere where all airmen are treated with dignity and respect and leadership actions that do not reflect those ideals are not condoned,” the Minot release states. Goossen, who previously served as the inspector general for the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot, commanded the squadron when it recently deployed to Al Udeid AB, Qatar. —Brian Everstine

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Mattis, Senate at Odds Over Continued Support to Saudi Arabia

Despite ongoing allegations of civilian casualties and the recent, high-profile alleged murder of a Washington Post journalist, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday said the US military must continue to support the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and Congress should support the continued sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is an important ally and an end to the civil war in Yemen would help the US target al Qaeda in the country, urged Mattis. However, shortly after the briefing, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to open floor debate on a resolution to end US support to the Saudi coalition. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

RAND Report Provides Insight into China’s Military Strategy, Capabilities

A new RAND Corporation report looks at how and why China decides to play copycat with foreign militaries’ aerospace power capabilities and concepts. The report, “Defeat, Not Merely Compete: China’s View of Its Military Aerospace Goals and Requirements in Relation to the United States,” found that China’s military seems to mimic other militaries when it’s able to track down “low-cost hardware, organization, or operational concepts” that it can tweak to meet its operational needs, according to a summary of the report. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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Airman Found Dead at Osan
Capt. Joonki Min, an emergency room nurse assigned to the 51st Medical Operations Squadron, was found dead November 26, 2018 at Osan Air Base, ROK. Osan Air Base

The 2020 Defense Budget—Risk Trumps Security
AFA’s Mitchell Institute Dean, retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, says the administration’s plan to cut defense funding could be detrimental to US troops. “Cuts that save money in a single budget year often drive significant problems into future years. They make no sense if they undermine the ultimate objective of providing America’s men and women in uniform what they need to fight and win against the high-end threats that have now emerged,” wrote Deptula. Forbes

Mattis Orders US Troops to Set Up Observation Posts in Northern Syria
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has ordered U.S. troops to set up observation posts in northern Syria with a dual purpose—to warn Turkey of threats and to stop the Turkish military from attacking U.S.-backed opposition forces. Military.com

New ‘Air Force One' Completes Preliminary Design Review
The US Air Force’s forthcoming Boeing VC-25B, popularly known by the call sign “Air Force One" when the president travels aboard, recently completed its preliminary design review. Flight Global

United Technologies is Breaking Into Three Independent Companies
United Technologies is breaking itself into three independent companies now that it has sealed its $23 billion acquisition of aviation electronics maker Rockwell Collins. Defense News

Russia vs. Ukraine War: This is How West Would Respond to Russian Invasion
As tensions mount between Russia and Ukraine, many observers are starting to wonder what a war between the two countries would look like. Newsweek

Air Force to Buy Legion Pod Infrared Sensors for F-15C Eagle Fighters
Lockheed Martin received two contracts from Boeing to produce and integrate infrared Legion Pod sensor systems into the F-15C Eagle air superiority fighter. UPI