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USAF F-16s, a Republic of Korea Air Force F-15K, and a United Kingdom Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 fly in formation during Invincible Shield on Osan AB, South Korea, in 2016. The recent suspension of joint exercises in South Korea has slightly degraded the readiness of US forces, but was a needed move diplomatically, the nominee to lead US Forces-Korea said Tuesday. Air Force photo by SSgt. Jonathan Steffen.​

​Halt in US-South Korea Exercises Degraded Readiness of Combined Forces

The indefinite ​suspension of military exercises with South Korea slightly degraded combined-force readiness in the region, though it was needed to pave the way for improved US-North Korea relations, the nominee to lead US forces on the Peninsula said Tuesday. But according to US Army Gen. Robert Abrams, commanding general of US Army Forces Command and President Trump's pick to succeed Army ​Gen. Vincent Brooks as United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/United States Forces Korea commander​, “it is too early to tell” whether the decision—which grew out of President Donald Trump's Singapore summit negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un—​has​ noticeably changed the nation's behavior. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.


US Should Act Quickly to Counter Hypersonic Weapons, Former MDA Official Says

The US should move quickly to develop a defense against hypersonic weapons as the threat increases from potential adversaries Russia and China, who are ahead of the US in the development of these weapons, a former deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency said Tuesday. Retired USAF Brig. Gen. Kenneth Todorov, who is now Northrop Grumman’s vice president of missile defense solutions, said at a Mitchell Institute event that the US defense infrastructure cannot meet the growing threat. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

SOUTHCOM Nominee: Cooperation Can Counter Growing Global Influence of Russia, China

Navy Adm. Craig Faller, Defense Secretary James Mattis’ senior military assistant and President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead US Southern Command, said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s International Military Education and Training program can help the US combat great-power competition with Russia and China for global economic influence. Citing China’s strategy of “moving in with low-interest loans with strings attached for ports — the Panama Canal, for example” as evidence of its encroachment on US influence in the USSOUTHCOM AOR, Faller said at his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing that “the best way to counter this competition is the power of our education and our ideas,” and called IMET “one of our best tools to build long-term trust with officers at all levels.” Faller made the comments in response to a question from SASC Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) about China’s efforts to establish “a new type of an IMET program” in Africa that could potentially sway foreign military loyalty away from the US. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory​​

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Air Force to Train with European Countries in Ukraine Next Month

The Air Force will participate in a large-scale, multinational exercise next month at Starokostiantyniv AB, Ukraine, and other training areas and ranges in the region. The first Clear Sky exercise, set for mid-October, will involve 950 personnel from nine countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom, according to a US Air Forces in Europe release. The exercise will stress air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery. It is aimed at increasing regional capabilities through cooperation with NATO countries and other regional allies, according to USAFE. This year is the 25th anniversary of California Air National Guard cooperation with Ukraine under the Guard’s State Partnership Program, and California ANG units, F-15C Eagles, and a C-130J Super Hercules will participate. US aircraft in this year's exercise will also include an F-15D from the 48th Fighter Wing, KC-135s from the Illinois ANG and the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Lakenheath, England, and MQ-9s from Miroslawiec AB, Poland. Joint terminal attack controller instructors from the Pennsylvania ANG will be involved, as will units from California, Maryland, Ohio, New York, Alaska, Washington, and bases in Europe. —Steve Hirsch​

Three Air Force Scientists Selected for DOD Research Program

Three scientists working in the Air Force Research Laboratory were among the 10 scientists in Pentagon laboratories selected to participate in the Laboratory University Collaboration Initiative program, the Defense Department said Tuesday. The selected scientists will receive $600,000 over three years to conduct proposed basic research. The Air Force winners included Nathanial Bridges in cognitive neuroscience, Matthew Dickerson for work in additive manufacturing and self-assembly, and Michael Goodson for work in synthetic biology. The program supports research such areas as applied mathematics, cognitive neuroscience, engineering biology, novel engineered materials, quantum information science, and manufacturing science. It benefits defense activities by funding high-risk basic research projects and allowing Defense Department researchers the time to develop their ideas for potential long-term research. —Steve Hirsch

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RADAR SWEEP


—US Indo-Pacific Command wrapped up exercise Valiant Shield 2018, a large exercise centered around Guam that included about 15,000 US military personnel. The exercise included 160 aircraft, including F-35Bs for the first time: DOD release.

—A B-52 deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, recently tested a 2,000-pound shallow-water mine, dropping it from altitude and at speed at a range. The test was done in conjunction with the US Navy: USNI News.

—Eglin AFB, Fla., recently hosted the beta test of a new, job-specific physical fitness assessment for explosive ordnance disposal airmen. The new test included a mile-and-a-half run and a timed 1,000-meter row: Eglin release.

—Airmen at Kunsan AB, South Korea, recently conducted an operational test flight of the Rapid Airfield Damage Assessment System, a small drone that can help in the initial assessment of a damaged location by identifying damage or unexploded ordnance: Shephard Media.

—Reserve airmen from the 433rd Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, recently helped save the life of a man who reportedly had a heart attack during a flight from Dallas to Maryland: 433rd Airlift Wing release.

—USAF tankers have continued their refueling off the Horn of Africa, including supporting Saudi coalition aircraft, at a steady rate. Since 2015, USAF tankers have conducted 2,919 sorties: Military.com.