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​Members from 19th Air Force, the surgeon general’s office, and a 99th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot conduct a cockpit assessment on a pilot candidate from a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps detachment who does not meet minimum height standards to be an Air Force pilot. Air Force photo by Jennifer Gonzalez.

​19th AF Commander Hopes Pilot Height Waivers Can Increase Air Force Diversity

Nineteenth Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Craig Wills is doubling down on publicizing pilot height waivers to encourage a more diverse population of USAF aviators, he told Air Force Magazine in a Nov. 14 interview. “The reason for now is that we want to get the word out because we want to have more female aviators, we want to have more aviators from ... underrepresented groups, and we want to make sure that our Air Force looks like our nation to the max[imum] extent because we think that that leads to a more combat-capable force,” he said. Wills acknowledged that the service’s pilot height standards may change, but said the extent of those changes and the timeline for their implementation is as of yet unclear. But he said he takes heart in the fact that the current waiver process’ design means no airmen will fall through the cracks in the meantime. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

New Space Organization Bolstering International, Industry Ties as Ops Evolve

A newly formed organization under US Space Command is looking to strengthen its ties to foreign nations, other parts of the federal government, and commercial industry, its boss said Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C. Maj. Gen. Stephen Whiting, who runs the Combined Force Space Component Command under SPACECOM at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., is in charge of providing military officials around the world with space services from GPS-enabled navigation to communications and missile warning. The CFSCC was created in August when SPACECOM stood up as the military organization that manages daily space operations. Since then, Whiting has made a “deliberate effort to widen our support to international, interagency, and commercial partners,” he said at an industry breakfast hosted by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Hill Unveils New Runway for F-35 Operations

The Air Force’s biggest F-35 operating base recently unveiled its new $45 million runway, bringing to a close a nine-month project that sent the base’s F-35s to other locations across the world. While construction was underway, Hill sent its F-35s to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, along with deployments to the Middle East and Europe. The new runway is expected to help F-35 operations through a reduction in foreign object debris. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.


Barksdale B-52s Return from Task Force Deployment to Europe

Four B-52s and about 300 airmen returned to Barksdale AFB, La., after a four-week task force deployment to Europe that included training exercises throughout Europe and the Middle East. The bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing flew 32 sorties at its deployed home base of RAF Fairford, England, and trained with 13 total partner nations since first deploying last month. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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USAFA South Gate Reopens After Bomb Scare

The US Air Force Academy’s South Gate was reopened after an explosives scare at the Academy prompted an approximately three-hour closure on the morning of Nov. 15. The closure came after an ion scan falsely detected nitroglycerine in a dump truck during a vehicle inspection, Academy spokeswoman Maureen Welch told Air Force Magazine via email. “A thorough investigation revealed no actual trace of nitroglycerine,” Welch wrote. “The vehicle was released to the driver.” South Gate Boulevard has since reopened to traffic, she said. The incident was first reported by the Colorado-based KOAA News5. —Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory

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RADAR SWEEP


This Obscure, Costly Air Base Is the New Front in the Battle Against Violent Extremism
US Africa Command on Nov. 1 announced that the new base in Agadez, Niger—designed to house armed drones and other aircraft that have been operating out of an international airport in Niamey, Niger’s capital—had begun flying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions that week. Critically located in central Niger, Air Base 201 is positioned to strike terrorist groups and extremist militants—including fighters affiliated with al-Qaida and the Islamic State group—in countries throughout the Sahel region, which spans the width of the African continent south of the Sahara and includes parts of Mali, Sudan, and Chad. Air Force Times

Pentagon's Esper Says It Is Crucial South Korea Pays More for US Troops
Defense Secretary Mark Esper pressed South Korea on Nov. 15 to pay more for the cost of stationing US troops in the country and to maintain an intelligence-sharing pact with its other Asian ally, Japan, that Seoul is about to let lapse. Reuters

Pentagon, NATO Warn European Union about Defense Spending
As the European Union releases plans for new ships, drones, and missile defense systems, Washington, D.C., and NATO worry the organization's new weapons may not work seamlessly with the alliance's. Breaking Defense

AWS Files Protest of JEDI Award in Federal Claims Court
Amazon Web Services is protesting the Pentagon’s award of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract to Microsoft. The company submitted a pre-filing notice Nov. 8 with the Court of Federal Claims, according to an AWS spokesperson. FedScoop

Air Force: SSA is No More; It’s “Space Domain Awareness”
The Air Force Space Command has introduced a new buzz phrase for space professionals: Space Domain Awareness. SDA is the new term for what used to be SSA, or Space Situational Awareness, Air Force Space Command’s deputy commander Maj. Gen. John Shaw wrote in an Oct. 4 memo. Space News

US Military Academy Athletes Can Now Delay Service, Go Pro
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued new guidelines that will allow athletes attending the nation's military academies to seek waivers to play professional sports immediately upon their graduation. Associated Press via ABC News

RAND Shares Lessons Learned from 2017 US Air Force Community Feedback Tool
A new report from the RAND Corp. think tank presents findings and lessons learned from the USAF-sponsored 2017 Air Force Community Feedback Tool, which it describes as “a self-reported needs assessment of Air Force community members” that was aimed at helping service “leaders and service providers in identifying the needs of their communities and prioritizing efforts to address them.” RAND Corp. report

One More Thing …

Air Force Chief of Staff Takes in NASCAR Race with Total Force Recruiting
The Air Force and Air Force Total Force Recruiting were on full display at the Bluegreen Vacations 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix for Veterans Day weekend. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein spent a day at the track visiting with Air Force recruiters, including Air Force Recruiting Service Commander Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt. Goldfein also administered the oath of enlistment to 20 of the newest members of the Air Force inside the track’s infield and met with members of Richard Petty Motor Sports, which Air Force Recruiting has been sponsoring for 11 years. USAF release