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​Top Aces, one of the companies awarded part of a new Air Force adversary air contract, operates a fleet of A-4N and TA-4J jets. Top Aces photo by Geert Van de Put.

​Seven Companies Split Adversary Training Contract Worth up to $6.4B

The Air Force is moving forward with a plan to further privatize Red Air services with a contract worth up to $6.4 billion. Seven companies are receiving a piece of the Oct. 18 award: Air USA, Airborne Tactical Advantage Company, Blue Air Training, Coastal Defense, Draken International, Tactical Air Support, and Top Aces Corp. Eight companies bid on the contract, which is expected to provide more realistic threat training to airmen than blue-suit pilots outside the dedicated aggressor squadrons currently offer. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.


House Armed Services Committee Forms Task Force to Study Future Defense Needs

The House Armed Services Committee is standing up a panel to look at future military capabilities, addressing what some lawmakers see as a lack of people asking the right questions about how the Pentagon should evolve. HASC’s Future of Defense Task Force, first unveiled Oct. 18, will hold its first hearing Oct. 29 to discuss the “theories of victory” that the Pentagon could need in the coming decades. The task force plans to produce a report in about six months that will review “defense assets and capabilities and assess the state of the national security innovation base to meet emerging threats,” according to the committee. The task force is co-chaired by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.). Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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ANG Preparing to Launch Three-Year Tuition Assistance Pilot

The Air National Guard plans to roll out a new tuition assistance pilot program that offers Guardsmen in 12 states and two US territories up to $4,500 a year. The three-year beta test, which is slated to begin Oct. 1, 2020, covers eligible members at 24 wings. The ANG-run initiative “allows our drill status Guardsmen the chance to pursue funded off-duty educational opportunities,” according to Army MSgt. W. Michael Houk, a National Guard Bureau spokesman. The program applies only to the ANG. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

Esper Visits US Troops in Saudi Arabia as American Presence Grows

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Oct. 22 met with F-22 aircrews and other US military personnel who are deployed to Saudi Arabia as the Pentagon looks to continue building its footprint at Prince Sultan Air Base there. The BBC reported in July the US planned to send an F-22 squadron to Saudi Arabia in the face of tensions with Iran. At Prince Sultan, Esper visited airmen from the 27th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at JB Langley-Eustis, Va., which deployed to Al Udeid AB, Qatar, over the summer. Esper’s visit comes weeks after the Pentagon announced it is deploying two fighter squadrons, one air expeditionary wing, two Patriot batteries, and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System to Saudi Arabia. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

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Global Hawks Return to Andersen

A squadron of RQ-4s that deployed to Yokota AB, Japan, from Andersen AFB, Guam during peak typhoon season has returned home. The Global Hawks from 319th Reconnaissance Wing spent three months on mainland Japan during the late summer, when storms are most likely to disrupt theater-wide operations, according to a Pacific Air Forces press release.Read the full story by Jennifer Hlad.

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RADAR SWEEP


Russia, Turkey Reach “Historic” Deal on Syria Border
Russia and Turkey agreed on Tuesday to ensure Kurdish forces withdraw from areas close to Syria's border with Turkey and to launch joint patrols, in a deal hailed as "historic" by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. AFP via Yahoo News

Boeing Could Be Out of the Air Force’s Competition for Next-Gen ICBMs for Good
Boeing’s risk reduction contract for the Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program is functionally cancelled, the company announced Oct. 21. Defense News

6th CTS Activates New TACP Training Detachment
The Tactical Air Control Party formal training unit officially activated during a ceremony at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland's Medina Annex Oct. 17. The TACP FTU will synchronize, standardize, and streamline training to ensure readiness of TACP maneuver and command and control force multipliers in order to meet the needs of the Air Force, joint force, and coalition partners. USAF release

Esper to Recuse Himself From JEDI Decisions Due to Son’s Employment with IBM
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has recused himself from making decisions on the Pentagon's controversial Joint Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure program due to his son’s employment with IBM. Inside Defense

South Korea Scrambled Jets to Warn Russian Warplanes in Air Defense Zone
South Korea scrambled fighter jets October 22 to warn Russian warplanes it said had entered its air space identification zone on Tuesday, the latest in a series of such incidents. Reuters

Jeff Bezos Enlists Lockheed, Northrop in NASA Moon Bid
Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, has teamed up with aerospace giants Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to compete for NASA’s project to return humans to the moon by 2024, the rocket company announced Tuesday. Politico

After Courts Martial Dropped, Cadets Fight Expulsions
Two years after what Air Force Academy leaders call a hazing incident on the school’s swimming team, three cadets are still fighting to become officers after administrative expulsions followed the school dropping criminal charges. Associated Press

One More Thing …

Researchers Find Second Warship from WWII Battle of Midway
A crew of deep-sea explorers and historians looking for lost World War II warships have found a second Japanese aircraft carrier that went down in the historic Battle of Midway. Associated Press