February 1, 2019

Headlines – February 1, 2019


Trump targets intel chiefs over threat assessment of North Korea, Iran, ISIS –
President Donald Trump is pushing back on his top national security advisers’ assessments of the threats posed by North Korea, the Islamic State group and Iran.
Bipartisan House group introduces two bills to stall Syria, South Korea troop withdrawals –
A bipartisan group of eight House lawmakers on Jan. 30 introduced two bills to make it more difficult for the Trump administration to withdraw troops from Syria and South Korea.


Israeli Air Force starts training German Heron TP drone pilots –
The initial class of German Air Force drone pilots began their training on the Heron TP drone at the Israeli Tel Nof Airbase near Tel Aviv on Jan. 28.
General Dynamics to invest $1 billion in production facilities upgrades with focus on subs –
General Dynamics Corp. plans to invest $1 billion in 2019 in upgrading and retooling its manufacturing operations company-wide, with a focus on its growing submarine construction business.
U.S. Air Force eyes KC-46A aerial refueling boom redesign –
The U.S. Air Force will redesign the problematic boom on the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aerial refueling tanker to better accommodate lighter aircraft such as the Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II.
China’s AT200 cargo UAV readies for operational evaluation –
Star UAV System, a Chengdu-based developer of unmanned aerial vehicles, has begun production and initial deliveries of its AT200 cargo UAV following a series of successful airworthiness trials in 2018, Jane’s has learnt.
Stakeholders: Recent commercial space industry layoffs don’t spark wider concerns –
Commercial space industry members and a top Air Force Space Command official this month downplayed the idea that a recent spate of layoffs—including about 600 SpaceX employees—may indicate deeper sustainability problems in the nearly $400 billion global space sector.


Peace with the Taliban? Trump warned of Afghan pullout risks –
Trump administration claims of progress in talks with the Taliban have sparked fears even among the president’s allies that his impatience with the war in Afghanistan will lead him to withdraw troops too soon, leaving the country at risk of returning to the same volatile condition that prompted the invasion in the first place.
House Armed Services Dems demand Pentagon offer more complete climate change report –
The head of the House Armed Services Committee is urging acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to revise a study on climate change and its impacts on national security that lawmakers say was incomplete.
U.S. Army may cut its boat fleet even as Navy faces critical wartime transport ship shortage –
The Army is looking to reduce or even eliminate much of its fleet of boats that is tasked with moving equipment to distant shores for battle, even as they acknowledge that the Navy’s role in that mission is suffering from a lack of funding and priority.
U.S. Navy is planning for its new frigate to be a workhorse –
The U.S. Navy is looking to get a lot of underway time out of its new frigate and is eyeing a crewing model that swaps out teams of sailors to maximize the operational time for each hull.
As Russia, China threaten, Navy SEALs get a new focus –
Having spent 17 years conducting counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, the Naval Special Warfare community is shifting its focus to threats from China, Russia and aspiring adversaries.
U.S. Air Force’s light-attack experiment could mix in drones, helos –
The U.S. Air Force’s light-attack experiment is set to get a lot bigger, with the service considering adding drones, helicopters and more sophisticated aircraft to the mix in the future, the service’s top general told Defense News.


Iraq, Afghanistan vets are split on whether wars were ‘worth it’ –
Veterans who fought in recent wars hold conflicting views over the value of that fight, according to the latest membership survey from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
‘I plead with you to look at this very closely,’ retiree tells panel studying health effects of anti-malarial drugs –
As experts begin their study of the long-term health effects of anti-malarial drugs on service members and others, retirees and other veterans are urging them to consider case studies and medical records.
New VA plan: Vets facing 30-minute drives, 20-day waits for appointments could get private-sector care instead –
Veterans who live more than 30 minutes from a Veterans Affairs medical clinic or face a wait of more than 20 days for most health care appointments would be eligible for expanded private-sector medical options under new proposed guidelines unveiled by department officials on Jan. 30.
Lawmaker vows to protect student loan forgiveness program for troops, others –
A controversial Republican proposal from last Congress to eliminate a student loan forgiveness program for public servants, including military service members, may be off the table.
Supporters push for blue water Navy bill after court ruling –
A bipartisan push in Congress on a bill to get Agent Orange benefits for “Blue Water Navy” veterans of Vietnam gained traction Jan. 30 from a court ruling that went against opposition from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Poor leadership set back VA data center consolidation efforts, watchdog says –
The Veterans Affairs Department fell far short of data center consolidation requirements set by the Office of Management and Budget, according to an internal watchdog.

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Headlines – February 15, 2019

News Former Air Force tech sergeant who defected to Iran charged with spying – A former Air Force counterintelligence specialist, a technical sergeant, who defected to Iran about five years after leaving the Air Force, has been charged with revealing classified information as well as research about her former colleagues to representatives of the Tehran...

News Briefs – February 15, 2019

Pentagon official assures Iraqis of limited U.S. military role The top Pentagon official assured Iraqi leaders Feb. 12 that the U.S. will stick to its limited military role in Iraq, a message aimed at recent talk by some Iraqi politicians of forcing a U.S. troop withdrawal. Pat Shanahan, the acting secretary of defense, said that...
Courtesy photograph

High Desert Hangar Stories: Tony LeVier and the wall

Courtesy photograph Tony LeVier and ground crew with the XF-90. With all due respect to the rock group Pink Floyd, back in 1950 there were very few “bricks in the wall” known as the sound barrier. Today, a multitude of pilo...