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​2nd Lt. Jeff Piety, a student pilot at Vance AFB, Okla., prepares for his first solo flight in a T-6A Texan II, Dec. 10, 2018. The T-6 is the first aircraft students fly before moving on to more specialized aircraft. Air Force photo by Airman Zoe T. Perkins.

​How USAF is Tackling Hypoxia-Like Incidents in its T-6, Fighter Fleets

The Air Force Physiological Events Action team has recommended the service stand up two new program offices to help it monitor and reduce the number of hypoxia-like incidents in its trainer and fighter fleets. Senior leaders are expected to consider the proposals “in the next few months,” AF PEAT lead Brig. Gen. Edward Vaughan said. The move comes as both the Air Force and Navy work to overhaul the On-Board Oxygen Generation systems in their T-6 trainer fleets, following a spike in such incidents and an extended grounding last year. Air Force Magazine spoke with Vaughan about the service’s efforts to combat these medical happenings, from training and data collection to aircraft mechanics and maintenance. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

AFRICOM Pushes Back Against Claims of Civilian Casualties as Amnesty International Details Allegations

Amnesty International on Tuesday released a report alleging that civilians were killed in five airstrikes in southern Somalia, a claim based on interviews and photographs of the locations of the strikes. US Africa Command immediately pushed back on the claims, telling reporters that no civilians have been harmed in strikes conducted in support of partner forces in Somalia. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


SDA’s First Five-Year Plan Looks to Spend $525 Million on LEO Project

The Space Development Agency plans to spend $525 million through fiscal 2024 on several studies and prototyping projects aimed at building a new constellation of small satellites in low-earth orbit, according to the Defense Department’s 2020 budget request. SDA, established by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in a March 12 memo, asks for $85 million for research and development in 2020 and ramps up to $140 million in 2024. New budget documents offer new details on the group’s first project, which aims to offer new missile defense, intelligence, location services, and space situational awareness capabilities. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Pentagon Releases List of MILCON Projects That Could be Impacted by Border Wall Funding

Numerous USAF construction projects, especially ones in Europe or those focused on new aircraft, could be on the chopping block if the White House’s request for emergency funding to build a border wall is approved, according to a memo the Defense Department sent to Congress on Monday. In response to questioning during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week, the Pentagon provided lawmakers a long list of military construction projects in each service that are authorized, though a contract has not yet been awarded. However, some of the projects include military housing, which the Pentagon has said would not be impacted by the border wall. The Defense Department is requesting about $7 billion for wall construction in its fiscal 2020 budget. Air Force projects that could be impacted include KC-46 facilities at Travis AFB, Calif., and JB McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; F-35 maintenance and operation facilities at Luke AFB, Ariz.; multiple F-35 and AWACS facilities at Eielson AFB, Alaska; and MQ-9 facilities at Holloman AFB, N.M., among many others. Several of the projects are funded under the European Deterrence Initiative, including upgrades at bases in Estonia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, and Slovakia. The full list is available here. —Brian Everstine

C-17 Delivery of Aid for Venezuela Not Just a “Normal Mission” for Crew

The C-17s that flew aid intended for Venezuela last month touched down at a volatile time in that country. The high-profile mission required an intricate dance on a small Colombian airfield, with increased security and in-depth intelligence briefings of possible threats coming from the hostile Venezuelan regime. But for the JB Charleston, S.C., aircrew, it is all part of what a C-17 does and, “We were more than happy to do it,” the mission commander said. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Debate Continues Over Safety of USAF’s Firefighting Foam

The new firefighting foam the Air Force began using in June 2018 to reduce toxic contamination of groundwater might actually be more harmful to the environment than the chemical agent it replaced, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan, non-profit environmental advocate. But the Air Force says that federal data suggests it’s safer for humans. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Senators last week the service has scoured its installations looking for potential contamination from the older firefighting foam and is taking “mitigating actions,” which she said is, “the responsible thing to do.” Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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RADAR SWEEP


Full-time Reservist Program to Grow
Air Force reservists are about to get a lot more opportunities to go full time — and get the chance to receive the same pay, benefits and retirement as active-duty airmen. Air Force Times

NSA-Cyber Command Chief Recommends No Split Until 2020
That’s another delay for a separation planned several Defense Secretaries ago. Defense One

Air Force One: New Estimate Bumps Total Cost By Nearly One-Third
The $5.3 billion price tag is the Pentagon’s first public accounting to include the new hangars and various other costs. Defense One

Air Force Analysis Sheds Light on Why the Space Force Could Be More Expensive Than Envisioned
How much it will cost to create a new military branch for space remains a central question that lawmakers are pressing the Pentagon to answer as they consider the administration’s Space Force proposal. Space News

Cuts to Military Medical Force Included in Pentagon Budget
Patients at military hospitals and clinics can expect to see far fewer uniformed doctors when they go for appointments on base under a Defense Department plan to convert thousands of uniformed health care billets to civilian positions. President Donald Trump's proposed fiscal 2020 DoD budget introduces a proposal to eliminate "roughly 15,000" uniformed health care jobs within the services, converting them to civil service positions. Military.com

James Mattis returns to Stanford's Hoover Institution
Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has returned to his position as Davies Family Distinguished Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Axios

One More Thing …

War Games: Here's Where Those Huge B-52 Bombers Have Been Flying to From This Gloucestershire Base
On Tuesday at RAF Fairford, a press conference was held by the USAF which gave more details about the stationing of the B-52s and crews at  RAF Fairford. It said: "Operationally, this rotation is the largest deployment of a single bomber platform since 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Gloucestershire Live