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​An E-8C JSTARS assigned to Robins AFB, Ga., prepares to take off Jan. 24, 2019 at Nellis AFB, Nev. Air Force photo by A1C Bailee A. Darbasie.

​USAF Selects “Architect” for Airborne Battle Management System Program

The Air Force’s progress in developing the new Airborne Battle Management System—a networked, multiple aircraft approach to handling the mission currently flown by the E-8C JSTARS—has been slower than it could be, the service’s top acquisition official said. However, the service this week picked a new official to take over this development, which should speed up the process. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright Named AFA’s New President

Retired Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright has been named AFA's new president, effective March 1. Wright, a fighter pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours, spent 34 years in the Air Force, having last served as commander of 5th Air Force and US Forces Japan. He will relieve retired Gen. Larry Spencer, who has led the association since 2015, AFA Chairman Whit Peters announced in a news release. After the Air Force, Wright was vice president of cyber and S&T at Lockheed Martin Government Affairs, where he worked on a range of joint forces, intelligence, advanced technology, and cyber programs. "General Wright has had a distinguished career and his success in the Air Force and in industry will serve AFA very well,” said Peters, a former Secretary of the Air Force. “As a great AFA supporter and member of our board, we have seen the dedication that he brings to AFA.” Spencer will turn over the reins to Wright at the conclusion of AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. “The Board is very sad to be losing the highly successful leadership of Gen. Larry Spencer,” Peters said. In his new role, Wright will direct the association's professional staff, be responsible for the management and operations of the association, and serve as publisher of Air Force Magazine. “I am excited to lead the Air Force Association and absolutely dedicated to supporting AFA’s mission of promoting a dominant Air Force and a strong national defense,” Wright said. “General Spencer has made a terrific, positive impact on AFA and I cannot thank him enough for all he has done to lead AFA.”

Air Force Working to Address Remaining KC-46 Deficiencies

The Air Force’s top acquisition official said Wednesday that one design flaw in the KC-46 system, focused on the refueling boom, will be a relatively “simple” fix. The service recently accepted delivery of the first KC-46s despite three outstanding problems, and the boom fix is similar to changes the Air Force has done historically. However, the fixes to the remote vision system are more complex and will take longer to figure out. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Anti-ISIS Coalition Gathers in Washington to Figure Out Way Forward

ISIS will be kicked out of 100 percent of the territory it once held, President Trump told a meeting of the US-led coalition on Wednesday. While a formal announcement will come in the next week or so, Trump said, the coalition met in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to discuss ways to prevent a resurgence of the group and the plans for a US withdrawal from Syria. Read the full story by Brian Everstine and Rachel S. Cohen.

AFRL Cancels Manned-Unmanned Flight Test Series Set for Late 2018

Military researchers canceled a set of 16 flight tests that were supposed to pair up manned and largely autonomous, unmanned aircraft to learn more about teaming technologies and how the platforms can work together. The Air Force Research Laboratory had planned to start those demonstrations in late 2018 as part of a broader autonomy research effort, but ended up learning what they needed from simulation instead. “They gained significant insight into the control and automation capabilities of interest through a series of in-house simulations, therefore they decided to cancel the flight tests,” service spokesman Bryan Ripple said. “No plans are in place right now to reschedule the flight tests.” A notice posted in fall 2017 called for two unmanned and one manned aircraft that fly at speeds of at least 300 knots for one-and-a-half hours at 20,000 feet above sea level. Manned aircraft may be able to use drones as surrogates to gain situational awareness in areas that are more dangerous or contested, and to increase weapons capacity across the team. —Rachel S. Cohen

USAF Offering Retention Bonuses to Explosive Ordnance Disposal SNCOs

The Air Force is offering retention bonuses to senior non-commissioned officers who agree to reenlist in the explosive ordnance disposal Air Force Specialty Code for at least three more years, according to an Air Force Personnel Center release. The Selective Retention Bonuses of $30,000 for three years, $50,000 for four years, and $75,000 for five years replace the replace the Critical Skills Retention bonus for SNCOs in the 3E8X1 career field who served on Active Duty for more than 20 but less than 25 years. High Year of Tenure for master sergeants who take the bonus may be adjusted up to 25 years, while qualifying senior master sergeants’ HYTs may see a similar adjustment up to 28 years. Edgar Holt, AFPC reenlistments program manager, said these kinds of bonuses are meant “to encourage qualified personnel to reenlist in areas” in which USAF is having trouble retaining personnel or training is particularly expensive. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

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New Mexico Governor Orders Most of Her State’s Guard Troops Away from Border

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grishman on Feb. 5 ordered most of the New Mexico National Guard troops deployed to the state’s border with Mexico to pull out, according to a press release from her office. She said her state would assist neighbors in need and vulnerable individuals crossing into its territory whenever possible, but that it won’t participate in President Donald Trump’s “charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops.” She also ordered Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin Guardsmen deployed to the New Mexico portion of the nation’s southern border to leave the state. “New Mexico National Guard leaders have begun demobilization operations to withdraw the majority of its troops from the southwest border, with the exception of troops in southwestern New Mexico counties where troops will remain in place to assist with the ongoing support requirements,” New Mexico National Guard spokesperson Joseph Vigil said in a Feb. 6 statement shared with Air Force Magazine. Meanwhile, he said, New Mexico Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Kenneth Nava and his team “are working on retrograde operations for other support states’ National Guard troops.” Of the 120 New Mexico Guardsmen deployed to the border, fewer than 10 are from the Air National Guard, according to the National Guard Bureau. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory
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RADAR SWEEP


Seoul, Washington Agree ‘In Principle’ to Cost-Sharing Agreement
Seoul and Washington have reached a tentative deal on sharing the costs of keeping about 28,500 US troops in South Korea. Jane’s

Triage Reveals Urgent Military Space Jobs
U.S. combatant commanders are eager to employ space systems to improve Earth observation, missile warning, space situational awareness and position, navigation and timing, said Chuck Finley, former technical director of the Pentagon’s Operational Responsive Space office and its successor Air Force Space Rapid Capabilities office. Space News

Russia Should Build New Missile Systems After US Treaty Suspension, Defense Minister Says
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his country should begin developing new land-based missile systems within the next two years since the U.S. is no longer recognizing a key arms control treaty, the Associated Press reports. Fortune

Germany’s Plan to Boost Defense Spending Hits a Snag
Germany may be unable to deliver on its pledge to increase the defense budget due to smaller-than-expected economic growth, according to a new Finance Ministry analysis. Defense News

Elon Musk Shows Off SpaceX Raptor Engine Tests
The newly redesigned engine sure looks pretty. Popular Mechanics

One More Thing ….

It’s a Trip. Well, a Virtual Trip, Anyway.
Tour Alien Worlds with New Multimedia Treats. Explore the plethora of planets outside our solar system with new multimedia experiences from NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program. NASA