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​Air Force TSgt. Michael Perolio, shown during a 2014 US Special Operations Command exercise, will receive the Silver Star on July 18, 2019, for helping his team during a "green-on-blue" attack in Afghanistan last year. Photo by SrA. Justyn Freeman.

​Combat Controller to Receive Silver Star for Actions in 2018 “Green-on-Blue” Attack

Air Force TSgt. Michael Perolio on July 18 will receive the Silver Star for his actions in a January 11, 2018, attack in Afghanistan. Perolio was assigned to an Army Special Forces team that was attacked by a friendly militia after a meeting in Nangarhar Province. He provided life-saving medical aid to his team leader and interpreter, led them to safety, and directed five airstrikes to kill the 12 militia members and destroy their position. “Faced with intense enemy fire, Sergeant Perolio immediately took charge of the element by rendering aid, arming his wounded comrades, and establishing fields of fire,” the award citation states. “Realizing that the ground force commander was gravely injured and required immediate care, Sergeant Perolio repeatedly exposed himself to the enemy’s kill zone, attempting to identify a route of advantage or cover to maneuver back to friendly lines.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Air Force Begins Final Search for Next ICBM Builder

The Air Force is moving ahead with its program to replace Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles amid congressional debate about future nuclear weapons. On July 16, the service said it issued an industry solicitation that will ultimately help choose which company builds the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent, the new generation of ICBMs. Boeing and Northrop Grumman have been refining and prototyping their missile designs under government contracts for the past two years, and the Air Force next year will pick a single contractor to provide more than 600 weapons. Funding cuts to the GBSD program has played into a larger argument on Capitol Hill about how much money to spend on new nuclear weapons and which ones the US needs. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


ANG Suicide Analysis Board Urges Increased Gun Safety

The Air National Guard wants to rely more heavily on chaplains to help combat suicides, following a recent analysis that discovered easy access to guns and a lack of preventative information contributed to most ANG suicides in 2018. Ten of 12 ANG suicides that occurred from January to September 2018 were linked to guns, according to the first Suicide Analysis Board findings, which were presented July 11 during a training session for psychological health personnel at JB Andrews, Md. Hoping to identify trends that could help ANG leaders better combat suicide in their ranks, the board considered factors that preceded each airmen’s death, how they died, and what actions leaders took afterward. Current suicide prevention training is seen as “watered down,” according to the presentation, which noted “significant barriers to reporting mental health issues still exist.” Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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DOD: Relocating F-35 Supply Chain Costs Up to $600 Million

The Pentagon is working through the financial and geopolitical ripple effects of Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program even as US officials reiterate that Turkey is still a valued partner. Turkey is now receiving the Russian-built S-400 air defense system, which the US argues is incompatible with the F-35. In the department’s first briefing since S-400 deliveries began last week, Pentagon acquisition chief Ellen Lord said July 17 the US is spending $500 million to $600 million in one-time engineering expenses to move parts of the supply chain out of Turkey by March 2020, and that officials are discussing whether Turkey will be reimbursed for the jets it bought. Turkey stands to lose $9 billion in local work pulled out of the country over the life of the program, Lord said. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Two USAF Missions Delayed as ULA Investigates Repeat Component Problem

United Launch Alliance is looking into a rocket component issue that has now delayed two Air Force missions this year and may affect others. The component in question is built and tested at an undisclosed ULA supplier and is used on the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, which carry Air Force assets into space. “During final acceptance testing of the component, the support equipment measured off-nominal voltage,” ULA spokeswoman Heather McFarland told Air Force Magazine on July 17. “The team is reviewing the data and inspecting the hardware to determine root cause.” This week, the company announced the voltage problem will delay the second GPS III satellite launch from July 25 to Aug. 22 or later. The Air Force’s fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite launch has also been pushed from June to August. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

More F-35s Head to Europe

Four USAF F-35As touched down in Poland on July 16 as part of an exercise, giving the Polish Air Force an up-close look at the fifth-generation aircraft it is planning to buy. The F-35As from the 421st Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, are deployed to Europe this summer for a series of training exercises. They are based out of Spangdahlem AB, Germany, and have trained in Italy, Spain, Norway, and the UK, among other locations. The four jets deployed to Powidz AB, Poland, for Operation Rapid Forge, a US Air Forces in Europe exercise that also includes F-15Es and a C-130J at the Polish base. Additionally, F-15Es and C-130Js are at Siauliai AB, Lithuania, and more Strike Eagles and an MC-130J Commando II are at Amari AB, Estonia, for Rapid Forge, according to USAFE. Last month, Poland requested to buy F-35As through the foreign military sales program. Shortly after the announcement, the US showcased the F-35 to Polish President Andrzej Duda with a White House flyover. Elsewhere in Europe, four more Hill F-35As deployed to RAF Marham, England, for bilateral training with Royal Air Force F-35s, USAFE announced July 17. —Brian Everstine

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RADAR SWEEP


Esper: F-35 Won’t Hit 80% Readiness, Cites Stealth Parts
Presumptive Defense Secretary Mark Esper says flatly the F-35 “is not expected” to meet the 80 percent readiness goal set for it this year because of problems with a cockpit part that improves stealth performance. Breaking Defense

US House Votes to Block Saudi, UAE Arms Sales, Bucking Trump Veto Threat
The US House voted Wednesday to block White House plans for select sales of smart bombs and related components to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, baiting President Donald Trump’s veto. Mostly along party lines, the House passed three Senate-passed measures in three votes, venting frustration over civilian casualties in the Saudi air campaign in Yemen and the Trump administration’s declaration of an emergency to bypass the congressional review process for $8.1 billion in weapon sales to the Mideast. Defense News

Pentagon Redirects $282M to Close ISR Gaps
The Defense Department redirected more than $282 million to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance programs in the past two months, largely from a defense-wide operation and maintenance account. C4ISRNET

DISA Turns to Government-Wide Contract to Manage Security of Classified Network
The Pentagon will be awarding the DCMA Cybersecurity Center support contract through the National Institute of Health’s government-wide contract instead of a full and open competition. Nextgov

OPSEC: Why This Retired One-Star Says Service Members Should Trash Their Chinese Huawei Smartphones
If you have a Huawei smartphone, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Spalding has a message for you. Throw it out. Air Force Times

Lawmaker Orders Investigation into 'Pink Tax' on Women's Military Uniforms
In the ranks, it's sometimes called the "pink tax," a slang reference to the long-standing complaints of military women that they're paying more for various uniform items than their male counterparts are. Military.com

NATO Seeks Next-Gen Electronic Warfare Database
A senior official in NATO's electronic warfare community told Jane's that the next-generation NATO Emitter Database is slated to be operational by 2020. Jane’s International Defence Review

One More Thing…

Ed Dwight Was Set to Be the First Black Astronaut. Here’s Why That Never Happened.
For a brief moment, the civil rights movement and the space race came together. The New York Times