Christopher M. Shank has been selected for appointment to the Senior Executive Service and for assignment as the senior adviser to the secretary and undersecretary of the Air Force.
US Air Force
Warfare, as with technology, is changing quickly and dramatically. The U.S. Defense Department’s most recent Quadrennial Defense Review noted the link between this rapid evolution and “increasingly contested battlespace in the air, sea and space domains—as well as cyberspace—in which our forces enjoyed dominance in our most recent conflicts.”
These assertions have major implications for airpower in future contingencies that will call for the Air Force to emphasize cyber over its five core missions. Already, these missions have been tweaked in content and application—changes that leaders could use to set a course for future cyber dominance.
Telecommunications Support Services Incorporated, Melbourne, Florida, was awarded a $9 million contract modification to provide program management, technical support, logistics support, measurement, analysis and improvement, in support of the mobile air surveillance system operations and maintenance responsibilities of the Colombian Air Force, and the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force - South Mission. U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, Newport News, Virginia, is the contracting activity.
"These materials and electronics ... have the potential to increase the performance and useful life of the next generation of satellites and launch systems."-Col. Stephen Hargis, USAF, director of the Space Test Program and commander, Space Development Group at the Space Development and Test Wing
Every service has faced changes brought about by new technologies and new missions, but the Air Force is wrestling with nothing less than a total overhaul of its structure and activities. Its legacy mission was fairly clear-cut: maintain air superiority and provide support to ground forces where needed. But now, experts are building a new force of unmanned combat air vehicles that vie in importance with piloted craft. And, the Global War on Terrorism and the information technology revolution have struck at the very heart of the Air Force's raison d'etre. SIGNAL takes a look at how the Air Force is changing to meet its new roles and which technologies might play a major role in them.
The U.S. Air Force is redoubling its efforts to reach out to small businesses. David Van Buren, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, and Ronald Poussard, director of the service's small business programs, explain that this effort seeks to remove the "check-the-box" mentality often associated with small business outreach. Innovation, agility, responsiveness and efficiency are some of the attributes small companies offer, but Van Buren also says, "We don't have enough competition now.
U.S. Air Force officials named Barksdale Air Force Base as the preferred alternative for the location of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) headquarters. The AFGSC is a new major command focused on the nuclear and global strike mission. A final decision about the permanent headquarters location is expected this summer and will be made after the environmental impact analysis process required by law is complete.
A U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is part of the joint mission of the U.S. Air Force 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. The new role marks the first operational mission for the BAMS UAS-a maritime derivative of the RQ-4 Global Hawk-although the aircraft has been used in noncombat roles. BAMS' arrival in Southwest Asia is the culmination of more than five months of a joint effort to stand up a maritime surveillance presence in the region. The move came when Navy officials responded to a Defense Department request for more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets in the area.
The U.S. Air Force has created a new Air Staff directorate-aligned as A10-to strengthen the focus on nuclear enterprise. The Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration Office began operations on November 1. The directorate is the second organizational change officials have implemented to improve nuclear focus. The first involved consolidating nuclear sustainment responsibility in the Air Force Materiel Command at the Nuclear Weapons Center. The Air Force also announced plans for a nuclear-only major command called Air Force Global Strike Command as its future field-operating construct for the nuclear enterprise.