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​Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, left, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, Col. Matt Allen, center, commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing, and CMSgt. Chris Grove, a Special Tactics combat controller assigned as the 720th Special Tactics Group superintendent, face the crowd during a Silver Star Medal presentation ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Florida, Nov. 15, 2019. Air Force photo by SrA. Rachel Williams.

​USAF Upgrades Combat Controller’s Bronze Star to Silver Star

The Air Force on Nov. 15 awarded an Air Force combat controller the Silver Star for his actions in Afghanistan in November 2007, following a USAF review of Air Force Special Operations Command valor awards. CMSgt. Chris Grove, the superintendent of the 720th Special Tactics Group at Hurlburt Field, Fla., was originally awarded the Bronze Star for his actions in the battle, but that award was upgraded following the review. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

How AFSOC Plans to Use Its Light Attack Aircraft

Air Force Special Operations Command plans to use its small buy of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft, under the service’s light attack experiment, to bolster its air advisers’ ability to train and, in the long term, improve the armed overwatch capability it can provide to other services. Brig. Gen. David Harris, AFSOC’s director of strategic plans, programs, and requirements, said air advisers will be better prepared to train allied forces if they can work locally on the aircraft before deploying. AFSOC also will be better able to understand how the A-29 can help protect friendly forces under fire in austere locations. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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US Space Command is Starting to Figure Out How to Fight

US Space Command is beginning to pull together the budget and operations plans that will shape how it defends US systems in space and provides services like GPS navigation and communications to military personnel around the world. SPACECOM is in the process of forming a campaign plan that will be done in early 2020, AFSPC boss Gen. Jay Raymond said. “We’re beginning to have much more of an influence on the budget,” Raymond added during a Nov. 18 appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That’s … a much more heightened voice at the combatant command level than we were at a component level.” He added that SPACECOM headquarters is set to grow from about 400 employees to around 500 over the next few months. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

US Cancels More Exercises with South Korea

The US and South Korea are canceling more exercises, including a recently announced small scale “flying training event” to allow for more discussions with North Korea, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. While Esper said the move is an “act of goodwill to contribute to an environment conducive to diplomacy and the advancement of peace,” a North Korean spokesman said that country is not interested in more talks with the US. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Lockheed to Receive Billions to Support USAF Satellite Programs

Lockheed Martin on Nov. 15 received a contract worth up to $3.3 billion from the Air Force to operate and improve multiple space programs for the next 10 years, according to a Defense Department announcement. The funding pays for orbital operations, logistics, and resiliency support services for the Advanced Extremely High Frequency communications program and the Milstar satellites it is replacing, as well as the Defense Satellite Communications System III. The Air Force will dole out money under the sole-source contract through forthcoming task orders. “The satellite constellations will provide secure nuclear command and control for the president of the United States, and communications for warfighters across the globe,” the Air Force said in a 2015 release on an earlier iteration of the contract, worth more than $735 million. —Rachel S. Cohen

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RADAR SWEEP


With an Eye Toward China, Pentagon Weighs Slashing Global Hawk Drone
Just months after Iran shot down an expensive US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz, the Defense Department is weighing scrapping about two-thirds of the Air Force’s roughly three dozen Global Hawk unmanned aircraft as part of a shift toward building the new capabilities needed to counter China and Russia. Foreign Policy

Eielson Airmen Develop, Test New F-35A Arctic Survival Kit
US airmen assigned to the 354th Fighter Wing tested a new arctic survival kit for the F-35A Lightning II in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska, Nov. 5. USAF release

DOD’s Second Financial Audit Uncovers 1,300 New Deficiencies
The results of the Pentagon’s second-ever full financial audit are a decidedly mixed bag: Although officials were able to point to some areas of significant progress in managing the Defense Department’s finances over the past year, overall, auditors are uncovering new problems faster than the department is fixing them. Federal News Network

Multi Domain Drives NATO Industry To Craft New Air Power Interoperability
As it grapples with the advent of multi-domain operations, NATO is asking industry how companies can help ensure interoperability among allied fighters, tankers, and airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms. Breaking Defense

One Way for the Pentagon to Prove it’s Serious About Artificial Intelligence
Department of Defense officials routinely talk about the need to more fully embrace machine learning and artificial intelligence, but one leader in the Marine Corps said those efforts are falling short. “We’re not serious about AI. If we were serious about AI we would put all of our stuff into one location,” Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, commander of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, said at an AFCEA Northern Virginia chapter lunch Nov. 15. C4ISRNET

Goldfein Visits Israel
Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein met on Nov. 15 with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and Israeli Air Force Commander Amikam Norkin, who presented Goldfein with the Chief of Staff Medal of Appreciation. Goldfein was participating in the Blue Flag joint military exercise, a 10-day exercise in which 70 combat planes from five air forces fly against each other in 19 sorties across six different locations around the country. The Jerusalem Post

Air Force Engineers Invent a “Fortress” Against Mass Shooters
An Air Force engineer and his team are offering one idea in an era of school and workplace shootings—a sturdy, portable, yet affordable door barricade. Dayton-based S9 Engineering Technology Corp. last month completed a patent license for the commercial rights to the device—dubbed the "Fortress"—invented at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), which is headquartered at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The Dayton Daily News via Military.com

One More Thing …

Kim Jong Un Oversees Huge Gathering of His Country's Antiquated Air Combat Force
As the prospects of an ongoing dialogue with the US over its ever-growing nuclear and missile programs continue to decline, Kim Jong Un visited North Korea’s Wonsan-Kalma International Airport to oversee what appears to be an unprecedented, at least in recent years, gathering of North Korean air power. Satellite images from Nov. 11 showed a very large number of aircraft at the airfield, which pointed to some sort of high-profile event being imminent. The Drive