Today's Top 5
1. Pentagon says ‘Stop Loss’ order is unlikely — but is an option if needed
(Military Times) Pentagon officials say they hope to avoid any “stop-loss” orders that would involuntarily keep service members in uniform beyond their current contracts. But that may be necessary if the coronavirus pandemic continues to limit the Defense Department’s ability to recruit and train new troops.
2. Troops fighting COVID-19 will get Tricare and BAH boost after Trump extends Guard Title 32 orders by one day
(Military Times) Reacting to concerns that National Guard troops fighting COVID-19 under Title 32 orders were being denied Tricare and increased housing benefits, President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order extending those activations by one day.
3. Former SECNAV’s trip to Guam for in-person speech to sailors cost $243,000
(Navy Times) Thomas Modly’s resignation as acting secretary of the Navy came less than one day after he told sailors aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt that their recently-fired commanding officer was either “too naïve or too stupid” to command.
4. Army Corps of Engineers “beginning to run out of time” to build medical facilities ahead of peak infections
(Military Times) With projections estimating that coronavirus cases in many cities will hit their apex this month, local and state governments are scrambling to build out facilities to take hospital overflow, with design and contracting help from the Army Corps of Engineers.
5. Afghanistan frees 100 Taliban, but group hasn’t verified
(The Associated Press) Afghanistan released 100 Taliban prisoners Wednesday, claiming they were among 5,000 detainees to be freed under a deal between insurgents and the U.S. The Taliban said, however, they have yet to verify those released were on the list they handed over to Washington during negotiations.
Seeking the Military Suicide Solution Podcast, Episode 13: Kim Ruocco from Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
(Military Times) This podcast from Military Times examines the alarming rate of military and veterans suicide, offering new insights based on research and effective clinical and peer support practices in suicide prevention.
ISIS claims responsibility for rocket attack on US base in Afghanistan
(Fox News) ISIS claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan early Thursday morning.
Pentagon releases new guidance for COVID-19 testing and treatment
(Military Times) The Pentagon released two separate sets of guidelines Wednesday in an effort to keep up with a medical landscape that continues to evolve as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pentagon reports nearly 1,000 new troops with coronavirus in last five days
(Military Times) The Pentagon on Wednesday reported its largest 24-hour jump in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among service members, bringing the force-wide total to nearly 2,000, a number that has doubled in the past week.
Some DoD medical facilities found vulnerable to ‘violence, sabotage or terrorism'
(Military Times) An audit of eight military hospitals and clinics found security flaws that allowed unauthorized access to patient records and pharmacies, and left the facilities vulnerable to incidents of violence, sabotage or terrorism, according to a Pentagon inspector general report released this week.
Pentagon delays budget deadline to help staff work from home
(Defense One) Service officials had complained that a June 1 deadline was preventing them from implementing coronavirus-related social-distancing guidelines.
Esper lobbies Senate to quickly confirm new Navy secretary
(Politico) Defense Secretary Mark Esper is pushing senators to rapidly confirm Kenneth Braithwaite, the ambassador to Norway, to lead the Navy after the service’s acting secretary resigned on Tuesday, current and former defense officials tell POLITICO.
As Army calls on medics to return to service, Congress considers new skills reserve
(Military.com) The U.S. military should develop a new emergency weapon: a national roster of individuals with specialized training, experience and clearances, ready to don a uniform at their nation's call.
Ex-Husker Terrell Newby trades football for an opportunity to serve his country
(Omaha World-Herald) Terrell Newby wants to jump out of planes. He’s had a hunger to do that most of his life, actually, hoping to be part of an Army airborne infantry unit on a mission somewhere in the world.
Nimitz sailor tests positive for COVID-19 as carrier preps for deployment
(Navy Times) A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier Nimitz tested positive last week for the novel coronavirus as the ship continues to ramp up in preparation for a deployment this summer to the Pacific.
US Navy’s top officer: Health and safety of sailors the top priority
(Defense News) The U.S. Navy’s top officer said keeping the force safe and healthy was his top priority after a wild six days that saw the downfall of the popular commanding officer of the Theodore Roosevelt and the resignation of the Acting Secretary of the Navy who fired him after a letter in which the CO raised concerns about the pace of the Navy’s aid to his crew leaked to the media.
Navy prepares to send another aircraft carrier to sea amid coronavirus concerns
(Washington Post) The Navy is preparing to send an aircraft carrier to sea after a coronavirus scare among its crew, the service’s latest challenge in dealing with a disease that has crippled another aircraft carrier now at port in Guam.a
The U.S.N.S. Comfort is now taking Covid-19 patients. Here’s what to expect.
(New York Times) The Navy ship’s mission in New York now comes with a new level of complexity, raising questions about whether it’s equipped for the task.
Air Force BMT shortened in response to COVID-19 pandemic
(Air Force Times) The Air Force’s Basic Military Training based out of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas is being shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the service.
Goldfein predicts stop movement order halting military moves will continue past May 11
(Air Force Times) The stop movement orders the Pentagon issued last month to suspend PCS and temporary duty moves will likely be extended into the summer, according to Air Force Chief of Staff Dave Goldfein.
Air Force sees small decline in suicides for the first quarter of this year compared to same point in 2019
(Air Force Times) The Air Force saw a small drop in total force suicides for the first quarter of 2020 when measured against this point of the year in 2019, according to the service.
Boeing’s KC-46 tanker now has a pathway for autonomous aerial refueling
(Defense News) Last week’s deal between Boeing and the U.S. Air Force on a fix for the KC-46 could pave the way for the tanker to refuel other aircraft without a person needed to manually control the process, a top service official said Thursday.
The Corps starts fielding new lightweight plate carrier to grunts
(Marine Corps Times) Grunts and infantry-like Marines will be the first to get their hands on a new lightweight plate carrier that’s been in the works for the last several years, according to Marine Corps Systems Command.
The Marine Corps wants to transform JLTVs into aircraft-killing trucks
(Military.com) The Marine Corps wants to know whether the defense industry can transform its heavy weapons-mounted Joint Light Tactical Vehicles into mobile air defense systems for tracking and killing enemy drones, helicopters and fighters.
This is what the Space Force will use to jam enemy satellites
(C4ISRNET) Shrouded in secrecy, the Counter Communications System is the tool the U.S. Space Force will use to jam adversaries’ communications in a conflict.
Latest Guard COVID-19 update: More than 28,400 troops mobilized
(Military Times) The number of Guard troops mobilized in the effort to cope with the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to grow.
Congress & Politics
US military can do more to help with coronavirus, House Armed Services chief says
(Defense One) The House Armed Services Committee’s top Democrat says the Pentagon needs to “get creative” in its response.
Trump says voting by mail is bad. US troops do it all the time
(Task & Purpose) Despite the fact that most service members and their families cast their ballots by mail during every election, President Donald Trump feels that voting by mail poses a threat to holding fair elections in November.
House Democrats propose bill to let sidelined Pentagon watchdog stay on coronavirus oversight panel
(The Hill) The leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee is proposing a bill to allow the Pentagon's former top watchdog to lead a panel overseeing the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief effort despite President Trump removing him from his role as acting Department of Defense inspector general.
Seven VA health care workers dead from coronavirus as cases mount
(Military Times) Seven Veterans Affairs health care staffers have already died from coronavirus complications and more than 1,100 more forced into quarantine in recent weeks, adding further stress to the already taxed medical system.
VA gets new acting no. 2 official after predecessor's firing
(Military.com) Pamela Powers, chief of staff of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been assigned to take on the duties of deputy secretary, after the firing of predecessor James Byrne.
Cyber, Space & Surveillance
DHS releases new network security guidance for telework
(Fifth Domain) The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released temporary guidance April 8 for federal network cybersecurity as a way to increase protections during the spike in telework from the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S., UK cyber officials say state-backed hackers taking advantage of outbreak
(Reuters) American and British cybersecurity officials are warning that state-backed hackers and online criminals are taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak to further their operations, echoing concerns from digital safety experts.
Syrian Air Force responsible for 2017 chemical weapon attacks: International watchdog
(Washington Examiner) An international watchdog group linked the Syrian military to sarin and chlorine attacks against civilians three years ago.
Commentary & Analysis
Three obstacles are slowing space sensors for hypersonic threats
(C4ISRNET) A space sensor layer represents a central component of both reinvigorated attention in space operations and the reality of renewed great power competition.
The coronavirus threatens NATO. Let’s move to protect the alliance.
(Defense News) The global fight against COVID-19 has devastating economic consequences which might soon be felt in the defense sector.
Where is Trump’s Missing War Powers Report?
(Defense One) The administration is ignoring its legal requirement to explain how it would use military force, and undermining Congress in the process.
When duty goes AWOL: Military leaders must take a stand on civil-military relations
(The Hill) Recent events have shone a bright light on civil-military relations and the profession of arms.