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​The last GPS IIF satellite is encapsulated inside a payload fairing at a processing facility before it was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket Feb. 5, 2016, at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. The new Space Force eventually will oversee Defense Department-wide space missions such as GPS. United Launch Alliance photo.


Lawmakers Question Organizational Overlap in Space Overhaul

House Armed Services Committee members on Wednesday questioned how the various services’ space assets will fit together and whether creating new space organizations like the Space Development Agency will render existing agencies useless, including the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. The SDA has started work with its director and a small staff to create a constellation of sensors in low-earth orbit. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


NATO Secretary General Praises Alliance With US, Plays Down Disputes

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg used his appearance before a joint session of Congress to play down disputes within the Alliance and to emphasize the importance of the organization to US security. Stoltenberg told US lawmakers the close NATO alliances have “made the United States stronger, safer, and more secure. … It’s good to have friends.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Turkey: S-400 is a “Done Deal,” But That Shouldn’t Impact F-35 Participation

Turkey on Wednesday pushed back on the US ultimatum of either the F-35 or a Russian-made missile defense system, reiterating that the S-400 purchase is a “done deal.” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, speaking at an event sponsored by the German Marshall Fund as part of the NATO 70th Anniversary event in Washington, D.C., said Turkey can and should buy both the S-400 and the F-35, arguing the country “doesn’t have to choose between Russia and any others. … Nobody, neither west nor Russia, should ask us to choose,” he said. His comments come one day after Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters he was confident Turkey would change its mind on the S-400 and purchase the US Patriot air defense system instead, enabling them to remain a valuable F-35 partner. The Russian-made S-400 is serving an “urgent need” for air defenses in Turkey, said Cavusoglu, who added that Turkey has also been a long-term partner on the F-35. Even though US officials have repeatedly said the two systems cannot function in the same country, Cavusoglu said the combination wouldn’t cause harm to any countries operating the F-35 and emphasized that Turkey is working to “educate” the US Congress on that. The purchase of the S-400 is part of an increase in trade with Russia, which despite NATO pressure, Cavusoglu says is necessary because “Turkey should have good relations” with Russia. —Brian Everstine

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Boeing Evacuates KC-46 Workers   

Boeing on Wednesday evacuated a few employees from its Everett, Wash., modification center that houses KC-46As after a spark was reportedly seen inside one of the new tankers, a company spokesman told Air Force Magazine. The evacuation was ordered “out of an abundance of caution” even though Boeing found neither fire nor injuries. A Twitter account that tracks happenings at Paine Field, where the Boeing facility is located, noted the spark and that “something arced in the electronics bay” but did not produce smoke or flames. The evacuation comes days after the Air Force announced it had once again stopped accepting KC-46 deliveries after more foreign object debris was found inside additional aircraft compartments. —Rachel S. Cohen

MDA Boss: Successful “Salvo” Test Makes Enemy Plans Ineffective

It will take the Missile Defense Agency about nine months to review the trove of data from last month’s “salvo” test of two ground-based interceptors, but all initial data shows it was a “complete success,” the head of the MDA told lawmakers on Wednesday. On March 25, the MDA and Air Force launched two ground-based interceptors from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., which successfully intercepted an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile-representative missile launched from the Marshall Islands. What made this test different is the first GBI successfully hit the threat, and the second missile then detected the largest piece of debris and collided with that. MDA Director Lt. Gen. Samuel​​​ Greaves told the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee on Wednesday that the test was years in the making, and it is important because the second intercept shows that enemy plans to launch multiple devices or decoys could not work. “The enemy concept of operations that seeks to confuse” missile defenses “would not be successful,” Greaves said. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP


Air Force Operator to Receive Silver, Bronze Star for Same Deployment
The U.S. Air Force will award a special tactics airman two medals for valor for separate missions in Afghanistan in which he risked his life to save others. TSgt. Cam Kelsch, a tactical air control party operator assigned to the 17th Special Tactics Squadron, 24th Special Operations Wing, will receive the Silver Star and Bronze Star with "V" device in a ceremony at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler, Georgia, on April 9, Air Force Special Operations Command announced Tuesday. Military.com

A-10 Warthog Squadron Receives Rare Award for Extraordinary Heroism in Syria
Members of the 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron were accustomed to the conflict conditions of Afghanistan, in which airstrikes aren't often carried out in close quarters. Military.com

Turkish Pilots Will Keep Training on F-35s in Arizona, Despite Possibly Being Cut From the Program
Turkish pilots will continue training on the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter out at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, even though the Pentagon suspended deliveries of F-35 equipment to Turkey over the country’s acquisition of a Russian missile defense system. Air Force Times

Pentagon Pursues Drone-Fired Lasers to Destroy Nuclear-Armed ICBMs
The Missile Defense Agency is engineering air-launched, high-powered, long-range laser weapons to destroy attacking nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles during launch and even as they travel through space- bringing new levels of offensive and defensive layered firepower to existing missile defense technologies. Defense Maven

Satellite Photos Show Chinese Anti-Satellite Laser Base
Images also reveal work on EMP and electronic warfare weaponry. Commercial satellite images have provided the first photographs of a secret Chinese anti-satellite laser base in western Xinjiang province, along with other high-technology weapons facilities. Free Beacon

TV Stars to Help Promote Air Force Resiliency
 A series of six public service announcements featuring big name television stars will be released beginning mid-April as part of an Air Force-wide effort to encourage Airmen to seek help when in need. Air Force Materiel Command News

One More Thing ...

This Roman Soldier's 1,900-Year-Old Payslip Confirms the Green Weenie is Immortal.
A 1,900-year-old scrap of papyrus proves that while warfare may change, the bureaucratic bullshit that comes with military life does not. Task and Purpose