Headlines – March 4, 2019



Border wall casts long shadow over FY20 defense budget — and that’s not all –
Even before it arrives, President Donald Trump’s defense budget proposal is already taking flak from lawmakers over the bookkeeping gimmickry that’s likely to accompany it.
‘We are not winning’ counterterror war in Sahel, U.S. military leader in Africa says –
“I would tell you at this time, we are not winning,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Marcus Hicks, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, said Feb. 28 on the sidelines of Flintlock, a major U.S.-led military exercise in the region.
Space Force to cost $2 billion, include 15,000 personnel in first five years –
The Trump administration plans to spend $2 billion in new funding over a five-year period to create its Space Force, during which roughly 15,000 space-related personnel will transfer from existing roles.
Major military exercises with South Korea to end: report –
The Trump administration is set to announce the end of large-scale drills the U.S. military conducts with South Korea every spring, according to a new report.


Malaysian pilot details A400M missions, midair refueling experience –
Malaysia has detailed its experience with the Airbus A400M airlifter to Defense News, discussing recent disaster relief operations where it successfully operated on a compromised runway and touting the aircraft’s air-to-air refueling certification with the country’s fighter jets.
Singapore moves to buy four F-35s, possibly eight more afterward –
Singapore will seek to buy four Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters for a start, with an option to purchase eight more, according to the southeast Asian nation’s defense minister.
U.S. Air Force suspends KC-46 tanker deliveries –
Boeing’s deliveries of its KC-46 tanker to the U.S. Air Force have been suspended as the service investigates a series of problems with foreign object debris, its top acquisition official confirmed March 1.
U.S. Air Force issues draft RFP for new Open Skies aircraft –
The draft RFP, released on Feb. 28, sets out the preliminary requirements for two aircraft to replace the U.S. Air Force’s current pair of Boeing OC-135B platforms that have performed the role since 1996.
U.S. military changing ‘killing machine’ robo-tank program after controversy –
The Army is moving quickly to adopt new technologies. That comes with public relations pitfalls.
Russian T-90M MBT expected to finish trials in 2019 –
“Having confirmed the main specifications drafted in its technical terms of reference, the [T-90M] vehicle is now completing its state trials,” a Russian Ministry of Defence source said Feb. 24.


DOD rethinking what defines a major aviation accident –
The Pentagon is considering revisions to the dollar amounts and damage levels that qualify an aircraft accident as a major mishap to better reflect the expense of repairing advanced jets. But such changes could lead to less visibility into the actual state of aviation safety, government watchdogs cautioned.
Nothing projects power like an aircraft carrier. Does the Pentagon think otherwise? –
New details emerge of how former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis fought against the Navy’s plan to buy more carriers.
Army wants mobile nuclear reactors for FOBs, but some scientists say that’s ‘naive’ –
The Army wants to bring back mobile nuclear reactors to power forward bases and is asking industry how to make that happen.
Most problems found in Joint Light Tactical Vehicle have been fixed, officials say –
Most of the deficiencies found with the military’s newest ground combat machine, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, have been addressed, officials said after a recent report found the vehicle “not operationally suitable.”
Two LPD amphibious ships cut from 2020 budget plan –
Wary of bringing big, expensive warships full of sailors and Marines in missile range of hostile coastlines, the Pentagon plans to cut two new amphibious warships out of the 2020-2024 budget plan to be released later this month, defense officials confirmed.
Border wall funding fight likely won’t impact Tyndall, but what about Air Force readiness? –
It’s highly unlikely that the president’s plan to repurpose military construction dollars for his southern border wall will impact the more than $3 billion the Air Force will spend to rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base over the next five years, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael on Oct. 10.
Facial recognition may be coming to the gate of an Air Force base near you –
Facial recognition using artificial intelligence may be coming to the gates at Air Force bases in the near future.
Taliban fighters try to storm base in Helmand province housing U.S. Marines, Afghan forces –
Early morning on March 1, Taliban fighters attempted to storm a major Afghan military base in southern Afghanistan that houses Afghan forces and U.S. Marine advisers, according to military officials.
Marine Corps steps up winter-warfare training as global threat shifts –
Hunkered down behind a wall of snow, two U.S. Marines melt slush to make drinking water after spending the night digging out a defensive position high in the Sierra Nevada. Their laminated targeting map is wedged into the ice just below the machine gun.


Remains of three missing World War II airmen recovered, half a world apart –
The remains of three U.S. airmen whose planes went down in World War II, one in Europe, one in what is now Vietnam and the third on Tarawa, a Pacific atoll, have been recovered.
VA Secretary Rejects Push for Gender-Neutral Motto –
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said his reverence for the majestic language of Abraham Lincoln will not permit a change to the department’s iconic motto to make it more gender neutral.

Space & Tech

NASA and SpaceX put their most ambitious partnership into orbit –
A SpaceX capsule designed to carry astronauts for NASA has taken flight on an uncrewed test mission from Cape Canaveral, lifting with it the promise of NASA astronauts launching into space from American soil again.