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Airmen assigned to Dyess AFB, Texas, and Abilene community members participate in the “Out of the Darkness Walk” at Grover Nelson Park in Abilene, Texas, on Sept. 14, 2019. More than 100 people from Dyess and the local community came out to participate in support of those affected by suicide. Air Force photo by A1C Colin Hollowell.​

​Air Force Mulls Further Help For Airmen as Suicides Continue

The Air Force is using feedback from daylong stand-downs across the service, ordered by Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein to address an ongoing suicide epidemic, to drive further considerations about how to help airmen. As of Sept. 21, 100 airmen had killed themselves this year. Goldfein recently discussed what wing commanders are learning from their conversations with airmen, telling Air Force Magazine in an interview the service wants to spread an Air Force Special Operations Command counseling effort to more bases and grow the interaction between airmen in dorms. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

USAFE Eyeing NATO-Russia Hotline to Deconflict Air Tensions

A direct line of communication between NATO air commanders and their Russian counterparts could be helpful in de-escalating tensions, especially when Russians fly too close to NATO aircraft and ships, US Air Forces in Europe Commander Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian said at AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference. A “deconfliction” hotline similar to the one between US Central Command and Russian forces operating out of Syria is “something we ought to consider,” Harrigian said. He has raised the idea with Supreme Allied Commander Europe Gen. Tod Wolters, who is considering it. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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AMC Wants to Turn C-5Ms Into Flying Hospitals

The Air Force is vetting its biggest aircraft as a new option for large-scale aeromedical evacuation. Air Mobility Command is evaluating how the massive C-5M Super Galaxy airlifter could carry more than 100 patients out of harm’s way—possibly doubling the Air Force’s current medevac capacity for a single aircraft. AMC currently flies C-130s, C-17s, and KC-135s for aeromedical evacuation missions. The C-17 can hold the most patients at once, accommodating 60 people on stretchers. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.

Bunch: Bigger Testing, Training Spaces Needed for Hypersonic Weapons

As the Air Force closes in on flight tests of its hypersonic Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon and the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, the service has to figure out ways to expand its traditional test and training ranges to accommodate the missiles’ high speeds, Air Force Materiel Command chief Gen. Arnold Bunch said in a recent interview. “As we look at testing advanced systems, on the ranges we have, I can’t get the standoff [needed] in some cases,” Bunch told Air Force Magazine at AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.

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USAF Clears Some Pregnant Airmen for Flight Duties Without Waivers

Certain female airmen no longer need medical waivers to carry out flight duties while pregnant, according to a Sept. 23 Air Force release. Instead, they can consult with their health care providers and decide on their own whether to fly. Read the full story by Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory.

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RADAR SWEEP


Army Vaguely Warns of “Potential Mass Shooting” at Premiere of New “Joker” Film
Soldiers and families at Fort Sill and installations around the country are being made aware of a credible mass shooting threat targeting "an unknown movie theater" on October 4, an Army official told Task & Purpose on Sept. 19. A memo from Fort Sill posted on Facebook says that there has been "disturbing and very specific chatter in the dark web" regarding targeting a theater during the release of the new Joker film next week. Task & Purpose

OPINION: Hands Off, Budgeteers! DOD Must Fund Our Small Bomber Fleet
“If an aircraft like the B-1 was taxed so hard due to high demand, the appropriate lesson is that the nation needs more bombers, not less,” write retired USAF Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and Douglas Birkey, the institute’s executive director. Breaking Defense

Unsafe Intercepts Involving NATO Aircraft Have Decreased, and Often are the Result of a “Hot-Dogging” Pilot, Top General Says
While alarming, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and commander of US European Command, USAF Gen. Tod Wolters said unsafe intercepts between NATO and Russian aircraft have decreased over the past two years, and are in most cases safe. Military Times

Pentagon to Investigate Air Force Over KC-46A Refueling Arm
The Pentagon will investigate the Air Force's handling of the development of a remotely operated boom on its newest refueling tanker, which has been plagued by a host of problems. The Defense Department’s Inspector General is expected to begin evaluating “whether the Air Force adhered to DOD and Air Force systems engineering processes” during the design and development of the refueling boom on the new Boeing KC-46A Pegasus, the IG’s office said in a statement last week. Stars and Stripes (subscription required)

The Space Development Agency’s Plans Have Changed. Here Are the Revisions.
“There’s a lot of small changes,” Derek Tournear, the agency’s director, told reporters Sept. 18 during AFA’s 2019 Air, Space & Cyber Conference. “The biggest overall change is the ability to operate in a slightly higher LEO [low-Earth orbit] environment.” Defense News

Pentagon’s Non-Lethal Weapons Office Pushing Gray-Zone Warfare Tools
The Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate is hoping to reframe the talk about non-lethal weapons amid a push by the Defense Department to boost lethality for high-end warfare. USNI News

F.E. Warren Security Forces Commander Relieved Following Investigation
The Air Force has removed the commander of the 90th Security Forces Squadron at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., over a loss of confidence in his ability to maintain a healthy work environment. Officials with Air Force Global Strike Command's 90th Missile Wing announced Sept. 23 that Col. Damian Schlussel, commander of the 90th Security Forces Group, relieved Lt. Col. Nicholas Petren, head of the 90th SFS, "due to a loss of confidence" in his leadership. Military.com

Trump Attacks Globalism and Urges Action on Iran at UN
President Donald Trump stood before world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24 and rejected “globalism” and liberal immigration policies while exhorting the world to act against Iran’s “bloodlust.” Associated Press

How VA Implements Predictive Analytics to Help Prevent Veteran Suicides
The Veterans Affairs Department has put technology to use in recent years to promote suicide prevention efforts and curb the higher rates of self-harm that veterans face compared to their civilian counterparts. In recognition of September as suicide prevention month, an agency insider detailed how VA is leveraging predictive analytics and other evolving technologies through its REACH VET program to help health care providers identify those most at risk already in the department’s system before it’s too late. Nextgov

One More Thing …

This Hero Airman Saved a Child’s Life on the Way to Pick Up an Award for Doing a Bunch of Other Heroic Things
USAF TSgt. Kenneth O’Brien was named one of the 2019 Outstanding Airmen of the Year after serving as a member of the president’s security detail during one of the historic summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saving a civilian from a burning vehicle in Korea, helping rescue a group of Thai soccer players trapped in a cave, and saving the life of a Thai Navy SEAL. On his flight to the US, he stepped up when a child lost consciousness due to an airway blockage, saving the child’s life. Business Insider