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​Then-Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson receives a traditional clap-out ceremony on her final workday at the Pentagon on May 28, 2019. Air Force photo by SSgt. Rusty Frank.

​What the Army and Navy Can Learn From the Air Force’s Female Secretaries

The Air Force may soon welcome its third consecutive female secretary at a time when the nation has yet to see a woman as Army or Navy secretary or as secretary of defense. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a Sept. 12 confirmation hearing for Barbara Barrett, President Trump’s nominee to be the next Air Force secretary. Barrett is a former Federal Aviation Administration deputy administrator and former chairman of the board of trustees for the nonprofit Aerospace Corp., and was a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) during George H.W. Bush’s presidency. How did the Air Force come to be the likeliest spot for female senior civilian leaders in the Department of Defense? Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

KC-46 Banned From Carrying Cargo, Passengers Due to Major New Deficiency

FAIRCHILD AFB, Wash.—The Air Force will not allow its new tanker to carry personnel or cargo after several incidents in which cargo locks broke free during flight, prompting the service to issue another Category 1 deficiency for the troubled aircraft. Air Mobility Command, working with the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center and the KC-46 System Program Office, recently issued a Flight Crew Information File restricting the Pegasus from carrying cargo or passengers, AMC spokesman Col. Damien Pickart said in a release. The restriction comes as AMC kicks off its largest-ever exercise here at Fairchild AFB, Wash., which includes all of its other refuelers and airlift aircraft while the KC-46 remains on the sideline. The Air Force had already decided to keep the KC-46 from flying in the exercise when the restraint issue was discovered. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Pitch Day Could Be Coming to a Major Acquisition Near You

Six months after the Air Force hosted its inaugural Pitch Day in New York, its acquisition boss has ideas about how to improve fast-track contracting. Will Roper has talked to program offices about soliciting pitches in more traditional, bigger competitions. Under the current Pitch Day construct, companies come in, explain why the Air Force should pay for their product, and potentially leave the event with funding in hand. If that happens for a more major acquisition, it would signal a major shift away from years-long development and procurement processes that shape the Air Force’s key programs. "Why should we let someone build an airplane or satellite unless they bring in their design team and production team?" Roper told Air Force Magazine at a recent conference outside Washington, D.C. "Show us your passion. Show us your skill set." Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.

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Pew: About Half of Post-9/11 Vets Say Deployment Harmed Mental Health

Nearly half of all veterans who served after 9/11 blame deployment for a decline in their mental health, regardless of whether they saw combat, according to a Sept. 10 Pew Research Center report. That stands in stark contrast to how veterans who served before the terror attacks dealt with mental health, in part because previous generations deployed fewer times. One-quarter of all veterans—with or without combat experience—who finished serving before 9/11 said deploying took a negative toll on their mental health, the report said. The center’s deep dive looked at the effects of deployment and combat experience, the process of transitioning into civilian life, finding jobs after leaving the military, and civilian-military perceptions. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

Airman Dies In Parachute Jump Accident

SSgt. Adam Erickson of Edwards AFB, Calif., died Sept. 10 in a parachute training accident, the 412th Test Wing said in a Sept. 11 release. Erickson was performing a routine military proficiency jump, according to the wing. No other details were released. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss. Adam touched many lives during his time here and our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and coworkers,” Brig. Gen. John Teichert, commander of the wing, said in the release. The Test Wing runs the Air Force Test Pilot School, vets aircraft and other systems, and shapes the design process to ensure new technology meets the service’s requirements. —Rachel S. Cohen


Pawlikowski Appointed to Intelsat Board of Directors

Retired Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, the former head of Air Force Materiel Command, has joined the board of directors at Intelsat, the video and broadband services provider, the company announced Sept. 11. Intelsat appointed Pawlikowski, who left the Air Force in 2018, as well as Jacqueline Reses, who runs the lending division of the payments company Square. “Their breadth of experience in the government, media, and telecommunications sectors will prove instrumental as Intelsat develops its next-generation network and introduces new services to the marketplace,” David McGlade, chairman of Intelsat’s board, said in a release. Pawlikowski also held various leadership positions at the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., the National Reconnaissance Office, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Space and Missile Systems Center. —Rachel S. Cohen

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Outstanding Airmen of the Year Spotlight: SMSgt. Andrew J. Kehl

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2019 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference Sept. 16-18. Air Force Magazine is highlighting one each workday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor SMSgt. Andrew J. Kehl from Air Combat Command.

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RADAR SWEEP


Retired Military Leaders Sign Letter Urging Congress to Bar “Unauthorized” War with Iran
A group of retired military officers, including a chief of staff for Colin Powell,, urged Congress to pass legislation block a war with Iran without congressional approval. Defense News

Turkey Accuses US of Stalling on Syria “Safe Zone” Plans
Turkey accused the United States on Sept. 10 of taking only “cosmetic steps” toward the creation of a so-called “safe zone” in northeast Syria and renewed Ankara’s threat of unilateral military intervention to form a buffer area along its border. Associated Press via PBS NewsHour

Senate Defense Appropriators Support DOD Space Request, Propose “Tactical Responsive Launch” Program
The SAC-D fully funded the $1.2 billion request for the National Security Space Launch program. It also included language to prevent changes to the Air Force launch service procurement schedule. Space News

Scores of Well-Meaning Aviators Clogging Skies Over the Bahamas as Dorian Victims Struggle
With 700 islands spread over 180,000 square miles of bright blue ocean, it’s difficult to imagine the airspace over the Bahamas becoming crowded. But so many US military, government, private, and other aircraft have flown to the rescue in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian that the skies are “tight,” according to one Coast Guard pilot. USNI News

Court Rules VA Must Pay for Veterans’ Emergency Room Care, a Decision That May Be Worth Billions
The Department of Veterans Affairs must reimburse veterans for emergency medical care at non-VA facilities, a federal appeals court ruled Monday—a decision that could be worth billions of dollars to veterans. NBC News

PEO Digital Talks Acquisition Transformation
The program executive officer for digital spoke about the paradigm shift in Defense Department and Air Force acquisition, including how it’s impacting his organization, during a Hanscom Representatives Association meeting Sept. 4 in Lexington, Mass. USAF release

Administration Projects Agencies Will Spend $1 Billion on Artificial Intelligence Next Year
The federal government plans to spend almost $1 billion in nondefense artificial intelligence research and development in fiscal 2020, according to a supplemental report to the president’s budget request. Nextgov

Do Americans Really Want to End “Forever Wars?” Survey Says…
Some surprises, and unsurprising party lines, are revealed in the latest Chicago Council poll on American foreign policy opinions. Defense One

OPINION: 18 Years After Sept. 11, the Terror Threat Remains
“Because the threat posed by terrorist organizations based in Africa is not always in the forefront, Americans must be reminded, even on solemn days, that engagement in Africa is in America’s best interests,” writes US Africa Command spokesman Col. Chris Karns. Air Force Times

One More Thing …

WWII Veteran to Parachute into History with Help of AFRL Researcher
Dayton-area World War II veteran Jim “Pee Wee” Martin will return to the site of a historic battlefield this month when he parachutes into the Netherlands, through the help of Air Force Research Laboratory computer scientist Kevin Price. Martin, 98, of Xenia, Ohio, is a veteran of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, an elite group of paratroopers who were called upon during World War II as the first line of offense against enemy forces. During his time in the war, he took part in three of the largest campaigns—Operation Overlord in Normandy (D-Day), Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands, and the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes region of Europe.  This month he will return to the site that holds a special place in his heart. USAF release