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​Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg speaks Thursday at a ceremony before the delivery of the first two KC-46 tankers to the Air Force in Everett, Wash. Staff photo by Brian Everstine

​Boeing Formally Hands Over Two KC-46s to the Air Force, Delivery on Friday Morning

Boeing on Thursday ceremoniously handed over the keys to two KC-46s—one more than previously announced—to the Air Force. On Friday morning, the service will fly the two tankers to McConnell AFB, Kan., to begin training and operational test and evaluation for the Pegasus program. “We’re ready to take the next step, which is to get it in the hands of the airmen and to start operational test,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

USAF Wants to Study More Powerful Airborne Laser to Follow F-15 Pod

The Air Force this month proposed a six-month study to look at the laser weapon technology that could follow the Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator, one of the Air Force’s major directed-energy development efforts, according to a recent Federal Business Opportunities post. SHiELD aims to put a podded laser on Boeing’s F-15 in the 2020s, but the “Compact High-Energy Laser Subsystem Engineering Assessment” would consider how to significantly scale up the laser’s power by 2024. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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USAF Changing The Way It Evaluates Enlisted Airmen

The Air Force is reforming how it evaluates enlisted airmen. The policy changes, which will impact both performance evaluations and referral evaluations, come in response to feedback from the field, and are meant to give commanders more flexibility and to empower “performance within the enlisted corps,” according to a Jan. 23 release. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Bilateral Air Contingent Training Underway in the Philippines

More than 100 US airmen from around the Pacific and Washington, D.C. are in the Philippines this week for the seventh iteration of Bilateral Air Contingent Philippines (BACE-P), a bilateral training exercise and subject matter expert exchange. Read the full story by Jennifer Hlad.

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RADAR SWEEP


Space Development Agency to be Part of Griffin’s Defense Research Organization
Although not as controversial as the Space Force, the Space Development Agency has caused internal friction in the Pentagon because it could disrupt current organizations and lead to a redistribution of military space dollars. Space News

New Strategy Encourages Innovation, Better Intel Sharing
The latest iteration of the National Intelligence Strategy aims at encouring innovation and sharing information and intelligence among like-minded nations, the director of national intelligence said. Department of Defense

Canada to Keep Paying for F-35 Development as Fighter Jet Competition Ramps Up
Canada is poised to contribute tens of millions of dollars toward further development of the F-35 stealth fighter even as the federal government wrestles with whether to buy the plane or not. National Post

Russia Defends New Cruise Missile That US Says Violates INF Nuclear Treaty
The Russian military has released the specifications of its new missile, seeking to dispel the U.S. claim that the weapons violates a key nuclear arms pact. The military insisted Wednesday that its new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile (also known as the Novator 9M729) conforms to the limits of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. CBS News

One More Thing …

Here’s How Some Military Spouses Could Get Potentially Thousands of Dollars in Tax Refunds
Some military spouses could receive potentially thousands of dollars in state tax refunds for tax year 2018, thanks to a new law that took effect Dec. 31 — and lessen or eliminate their tax bill in the future. Military Times