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​The commander of US Strategic Command, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, appears at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, July 30, 2019. DOD photo by Lisa Ferdinando.

​Sexual Assault Takes Center Stage at Hyten’s Confirmation Hearing

The confirmation hearing for US Strategic Command boss Gen. John Hyten’s promotion to become vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff veered between strategic military matters and questions about allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by a former member of his staff. “I’m intensely aware of the allegations made against me concerning one of the most serious problems we have in the military: sexual assault,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 30. “It has been a painful time for me and my family, but I want to state to you and to the American people, in the strongest possible terms, that these allegations are false. … Nothing happened, ever.” His accuser, Army Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, told reporters after the hearing that Hyten had lied under oath. SASC Chairman Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) intends to hold a vote July 31 to send Hyten’s nomination to the full chamber. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

PACAF Chief Concerned By China-Russia Cooperation, Antarctic Competition

The recent joint Russian-Chinese bomber patrol in the vicinity of Japan and South Korea is spurring concerns that the two countries may increase their military collaboration, creating a tougher situation for America’s deterrent posture in the region, Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. C.Q. Brown said July 30. Brown also noted that America’s push to put fifth-generation F-35s in the Pacific region will be eclipsed by international partners as they take on the bulk of Joint Strike Fighters in the area. The Arctic and Antarctic are growing areas of concern for PACAF as well, while US adversaries jockey for positions and power at the poles—even though the treaty keeping Antarctica free from ownership doesn’t expire for 30 years. Read the full report by John A. Tirpak.

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Watchdog Praises Afghan A-29 Training as Moody Program Winds Down

The Air Force’s A-29 training program for the Afghan military has largely succeeded at producing capable pilots, according to a new watchdog report, even as the program plans to ditch its most effective feature: flying in the US. “US-based aviation training has resulted in a quantifiable improvement in [Afghan Air Force] capabilities and improved professionalization of Afghan personnel,” the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a July 29 report. That training at Moody AFB, Ga., will end next year. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan Identified

Army Pfc. Brandon Jay Kreischer, 20, of Ohio, and Spc. Michael Isaiah Nance, 24, of Illinois, died July 29 after being wounded in a combat-related incident in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan Province, the Defense Department said July 30. The soldiers were assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. The circumstances surrounding their deaths are still under investigation. Twelve American service members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year, after 13 were killed in all of 2018. —Rachel S. Cohen

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AFCENT, NAVCENT Train Together in Persian Gulf

Air Force F-15Es fighters, a Navy anti-submarine warfare patrol aircraft, and a destroyer practiced using USAF aircraft to defend and support US surface ships during a July 24 exercise in the Persian Gulf. The exercise comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the US and its allies in and around the Strait of Hormuz. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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RADAR SWEEP


Supreme Court Asked to Reverse Military Court Decision Limiting Rape Prosecutions
The US government is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a decision by the military’s highest court, one that the government is arguing was wrongly decided and prevents military authorities from prosecuting some rapists in its ranks. Stars and Stripes (paywall)

CENTCOM: Iran Never Warned RQ-4 Drone Before Shootdown
While more than a dozen US military aircraft flew in international airspace near Iran's borders the day the country downed an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone over the Strait of Hormuz last month, officials with US Central Command say the US was never "warned" before Iran took out the drone, contrary to the regime's statements. Military.com

CSAF Visits Greenland
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein visited airmen at Thule AB, Greenland, July 20. During his visit, Goldfein toured various work centers to learn about the unique mission sets of the 821st Air Base Group and the 12th Space Warning Squadron, and observe how Thule Air Base is currently supporting the safe, stable, sustainable, and secure space domain. USAF release

Wright-Patt Leader Says Active Shooter Scare Made Base “Better”
One year after an active shooter scare plunged Wright-Patterson Air Force Base into hours of chaos, the military installation’s leader is hoping more technology and better communication will prevent such a situation from repeating itself. Dayton Daily News

Congress Reviewing New Request to Reprogram Funds for Next-Generation OPIR Satellites
The Air Force is seeking congressional approval to transfer $160 million from other accounts to fund a new early warning constellation known as the next-generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system, or next-gen OPIR. Space News

Oracle vs. Pentagon: Why Judge Approved a Single Vendor for JEDI Cloud
Recently released court documents reveal that federal judge Eric Bruggink had some doubts about the official justification for awarding the $10 billion JEDI cloud computing contract to a single vendor. But ultimately, he ruled, those doubts didn’t outweigh the Pentagon’s sound reasons for rejecting Oracle’s bid. Breaking Defense

SAS Soldier Was Killed by Friendly Fire, Inquiry Finds
A British Special Air Service soldier who died fighting Islamic State in Syria was killed by friendly fire and not by an enemy roadside bomb, as previously claimed. Sgt. Matt Tonroe, 33, originally from Manchester, UK, died last year alongside US commando MSgt. Jonathan Dunbar while on a joint operation with American special forces. The Guardian

DOD Identifies Navy Casualty
Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana, 24, had been listed Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown following a July 17 non-combat, man overboard incident while underway onboard USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea. DOD release

VA Migrates 23.5 Million Veteran Patient Records to Cerner Data Center
All new patient data will go into the shared Veterans Affairs-Defense Department data center as the two agencies move forward with the massive electronic health records overhaul. Nextgov

One More Thing…

Missile Launcher Confiscated from Luggage at BWI Airport
Transportation Security Administration officers at Baltimore Washington International Airport confiscated a missile launcher from a USAF airman’s checked luggage early July 29. The man from Jacksonville, Texas, told authorities he was traveling home from Kuwait and wanted to keep the spent missile launcher as a souvenir. WTOP