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Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, speaks to a crowd of small businesses, venture capitalists and airmen during the inaugural Air Force Pitch Day in New York, March 7, 2019. Air Force photo by TSgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.

Getting the Most Out of Commercial Technology

A revived push for commercial technology is underway within the Air Force, but the service has more to learn before it can make the most of that industry. Experts say the Air Force can do more research to understand what’s available, consider which products would stand up in combat environments, and possibly even create a Rapid Capabilities Office for commercial tech. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

ISIS Tries to Regroup in Iraq

US and coalition aircraft went two weeks without conducting airstrikes in Syria this month, a first since the anti-ISIS campaign began in 2014. While no strikes in Syria took place from April 7-20, US and coalition aircraft conducted 18 airstrikes in Iraq, showing that the group still remains a threat in the region. During the same time span, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve detected 42 strikes from other actors, such as Russia, according to a US Central Command release. On March 23, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces declared victory over the ISIS physical caliphate after defeating its last holdout in the Syrian city of Baghouz. According to OIR, ISIS is attempting to move its remnant fighters and equipment into Iraq to form a resurgence. US and Iraqi forces are conducting operations to combat this including April 24 airstrikes in the area of Wadi Ashai, according to a CENTCOM release.

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EW Strategy Due Out by Early Fall   

The Defense Department plans to craft a new electronic warfare strategy for the first time in two years over the next five months, a Pentagon official recently told Congress. “The Secretary of Defense appointed a [senior designated official] on Feb. 2, 2019, and we are now establishing the [cross-functional team],” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Kevin Fahey told lawmakers in a Feb. 6 letter viewed by Air Force Magazine. “To perform the requested EW strategy update and develop a comprehensive roadmap, which addresses all the required reporting elements, is a significant effort, requiring extensive analysis and coordination in the department.” The new strategy and an initial roadmap are expected to wrap up by the end of September. As part of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed DOD to stand up a cross-functional team to explore EW and address personnel, capability, and capacity issues in that area. The Air Force recently wrapped up its own yearlong electronic warfare review and is planning to restructure to better address electromagnetic superiority in the coming years. —Rachel S. Cohen

New York Guard Begins Missions in Greenland

The New York Air National Guard began its yearly mission to Greenland on April 23, with three LC-130s and 80 airmen flying to a former Air Force base in the country. From April to August, about 200 airmen will take part in the mission, which supports National Science Foundation research in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, according to a 109th Airlift Wing release. The specially equipped LC-130s, with ski landing gear, will fly passengers, fuel, and cargo to camps throughout the country. Last year, the wing flew 92 missions, carrying 780 passengers, 1.6 million pounds of cargo, and almost 68,000 gallons of fuel, according to the release. The wing recently wrapped up its support of Operation Deep Freeze, which supports NSF research in Antarctica. The Kangerlussuaq airport is the site of the former Sondrestrom Air Base, which was a USAF base until 1992. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP


Opinion: It’s Time to Advance America’s Asymmetric Advantage by Equipping the Air Force
Former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley (ret.) writes: Success demands smart, realistic preparation. Too often, World War II airmen unnecessarily sacrificed their lives because the nation had failed to invest in and build the air force our nation would need. Today’s airmen find themselves facing eerily similar circumstances. Defense News

North Korea Angered over New US Training Event in South Korea
Aircrews and aircraft from the U.S., Republic of Korea (RoK) and Australia are participating in a new exercise on the Korean Peninsula in an effort to maintain military readiness with Pacific partners. Military.com

Congressional Panel Looks at National Security Implications of China’s Space Ambitions
Are the United States and China inevitably headed to a war in space? That was the central question posed by members of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission at a hearing on Thursday on Capitol Hill. Space News

Can the Pentagon Sell Silicon Valley on AI as Ethical War?
Silicon Valley is wrestling with a Pentagon-shaped ethical question, and on April 25, the arena for this particular fight was a a wood-panelled ballroom at Stanford University, which hosted a listening session of the Defense Innovation Board. C4ISRNET

Pollution Study at Former Michigan Air Force Base Needs More Time, Pentagon Official Says
A Pentagon official has told northern Michigan residents four more years of study are necessary to get a handle on toxic chemicals from a former U.S. Air Force base that are polluting drinking water. Associated Press via Air Force Times

USAF Selects Slingshot Aerospace for AI Space Situational Awareness
The US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded a contract to analytics company Slingshot Aerospace to provide an artificial intelligence (AI) solution for next-generation space situational awareness and enterprise space battle management. airforce-technology.com

Japan Expands the Hunt for F-35 Jet That Went Missing During Exercise
Japan expanded its search for a missing F-35 stealth fighter on Thursday with a maritime survey vessel joining a navy ship and a U.S. Navy salvage team is expected in the area in coming days, a Japanese air force spokesman said. Reuters

One More Thing …

P-51 Mustang returns home to Kentucky Air Guard after 63 years
A P-51 Mustang arrived back on the flight line of the Kentucky Air National Guard Base here April 12, more than six decades after departing. The Mustang, serial number of 44-74202, was once assigned to the unit as a military fighter aircraft from 1953 to 1956. Now, it was returning home as a fully restored civilian warbird to fly in the 2019 Thunder Over Louisville air show. DOD release