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​A B-52 Stratofortress bomber assigned to the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron lands at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, April 8, 2018. Air National Guard photo by SSgt. Patrick Evenson.

B-52s to Deploy to CENTCOM Following Iranian Threats

Air Force B-52s will deploy to the US Central Command area of operations along with the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group in response to “recent and clear indications” that Iranian forces were preparing to possibly attack US forces, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. The Pentagon did not clarify how many B-52s would make up the task force, or which squadron they are from. The White House on Sunday said the task force and carrier deployment is a message to Iran that any attack on US forces or interests would be “met with unrelenting force.” Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

DOD IG: US, Coalition Aircraft Facing Interference, Limited ISR Capability in ISIS Fight

The US-led coalition is limited in its ability to collect intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in key regions of the Iraq and Syria border as ISIS forces regroup and plan attacks, a Defense Department watchdog says in a new report. US and coalition aircraft face direct “electromagnetic interference,” maintenance issues, and an overall shortfall in the number off ISR assets available, which has limited the surveillance available to US-backed and Iraqi forces fighting ISIS. ISR is so limited the coalition can only provide ISR targeting support to special operations troops in the area, the Defense Department Inspector General states in its quarterly report on Operation Inherent Resolve. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Hypersonic Weapons: Strategic Asset or Tactical Tool?

As the Pentagon moves ahead in its pursuit of hypersonic weapons, the defense community has mixed opinions on whether the new missiles should be considered as strategic assets—driven by the principle that simply owning them should dissuade adversaries from using their own, and would be devastating if deployed. Those discussions could shape how adding hypersonic weapons to the inventory could affect the broader strategic deterrent as the nuclear triad is modernized in the coming decades. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Tyndall Hosts First Checkered Flag Since Hurricane Michael

F-22s are back at Tyndall AFB, Fla., at least for a two-week exercise. Raptors from the 94th Fighter Squadron at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., touched down at the base this week alongside F-15s from the 67th Fighter Squadron at Kadena AB, Japan, and F-15Es from the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England, for Checkered Flag 19-1. In addition to the aircrew and aircraft, crew chiefs, weapons, and munitions and communications airmen from Moody AFB, Ga.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Whiteman AFB, Mo., are at Tyndall for the exercise. This is the first Checkered Flag exercise since Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm, severely damaged the base in October, according to a Tyndall release. The base recently laid out a 12-part plan to rebuild after the storm, with an expected price tag of about $5 billion. —Brian Everstine

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Mark Gunzinger Joins AFA’s Mitchell Institute

Mark Gunzinger will serve as the director of government programs and wargaming for AFA’s Mitchell Institute. “Ever since its 2013 reinvigoration, Mitchell Institute has been charting an extensive growth vector. Quality analysis, publications, and events focusing on the aerospace domain’s role in the national security sector have formed the foundation of our success, with the Department of Defense, Congress, the policy and budget community, the media, and the broader public the prime consumers of Mitchell’s efforts,” Mitchell Institute Dean retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula said. “Gunzinger’s addition to the Mitchell team marks the latest phase of growth, and we are proud to launch this new partnership.” Gunzinger last served as a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. He also has served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for forces transformation and resources and has led the development of multiple strategic planning documents, which have shaped DOD’s future force structure and capability priorities. During his Air Force career, Gunzinger served as a B-52 senior instructor/evaluator pilot and helped lead multiple assessments of future capability requirements as a member of the Air Force Headquarters staff. He joined the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2004 and was appointed as the principal director of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) staff. Following the QDR, he served as the director for defense transformation, force planning, and resources on the White House’s National Security Council Staff.
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RADAR SWEEP


Weapons Tested by Kim Could Strike Deep into South Korea
The weapons North Korea launched over the weekend traveled into the stratosphere and flew at a distance long enough to strike deep into South Korean territory, according to a South Korean assessment. Bloomberg

US, South Korea Concluded Air Force Drills, Seoul Says
North Korea condemned the drills more than a week before it launched short-range projectiles. UPI

Bahrain Approved for F-16V Weapons Procurement
The US State Department has cleared the Foreign Military Sales purchase of air-to-air and air-to-surface weaponry for Bahrain's 36 new and remanufactured F-16Vs valued at $750 million. Jane’s

Will This Proposal Help DOD’s Water Cleanup Efforts?
The Pentagon is on board with a new proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency aimed at clarifying state and federal cleanup standards to address groundwater and drinking water contaminated by decades of seepage of chemicals — including those used in the military’s firefighting foams. Military Times

NORTHCOM: Arctic Now America’s ‘First Line of Defense’
In order to operate in the Arctic, the U.S. military must spend more money on joint training and cold weather technology and more time on Alaska’s ranges and working with Native American tribes, according to defense officials. Defense News

WWII Veteran, 95, Dies on Final Leg of Honor Flight
In the final moments of his life, Frank Manchel knew that many people honored him for his World War II service. Manchel collapsed Sunday, on the final leg of a trip sponsored by Honor Flight San Diego, a nonprofit that gives World War II veterans all-expense-paid visits to Washington, D.C. The San Diego Union-Tribune via Military.com

One More Thing …

Episode 6: The Families Left Behind
The military strives to improve family life for its active-duty servicemembers. Whether those efforts are successful is a matter of opinion and personal experience, but there are many new initiatives, committees, commander’s policies and service-wide regulations aimed at keeping military families happy, whole and informed. Stars and Stripes podcast