CMSAF visits MacDill, empowers Airmen to accelerate change

Source: United States Air Force

Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass arrived on the MacDill Air Force Base’s flight line where she was welcomed by Col. Adam Bingham, 6th Air Refueling Wing commander, Aug. 3-4.

Bass held an all-call for members of MacDill AFB and the base’s tenant units and toured the base to witness the 6th ARW Airmen executing the mission.

Bass spoke about readiness and retaining enlisted members during her address to the wing.

“I’m focused on people, I’m focused on our readiness, and I’m focused on culture, because that matters,” Bass said. “There is nothing that is important to you and important to your families that, I promise you, we are not looking at. We have to be thoughtful on how we are going to retain the best, and how we are going to be the Air Force our nation needs when called upon.”

Bass last visited MacDill for the CORONA South summit in June 2021 where she spoke about future policy changes for enlisted and commissioned officer talent management, Total Force structure, and the importance of innovation from junior enlisted members and young company grade officers to accelerate change. Bass reinforced her message from CORONA South during her recent visit. 

“Our adversaries pay attention to the things we say and do,” Bass said. “We have got to focus on what our Air Force needs to look like in 2030, 2040 and beyond. I think you are going to see more changes in the next four to six years than I’ve seen in my entire almost 30-year career, and it’s about time.” 

After the all-call, Bass stopped by U.S. Special Operations Command, Airman Leadership School and the 6th Maintenance Group to engage with Airmen. 

“Chief Bass brought a lot of energy with her to MacDill,” Bingham said. “We are committed to prioritizing the needs of our Airmen and contributing towards accelerating the change she spoke about.” 

Dyess Rapid Airman Development Program bolsters skills, improves sense of community

Source: United States Air Force

When it comes to developing the future force, leaders need to account for training, development, recruitment and retention of personnel. 

Developing Airmen for the future fight takes a combination of completing official career field training requirements and building an Air Force community to socialize the joint and foreign skills needed to meet upcoming demands. At Dyess Air Force Base, Maj. Jeremy Martin, 7th Bomb Wing deputy judge advocate, noticed in his work that Airmen who struggled to find community often found themselves in trouble in the legal office instead. He decided to take action by establishing Rapid Airman Development. 

Dyess AFB RAD was created as an answer to the Defense Department’s need for joint trained warfighters and Dyess AFB’s local need for Airmen’s sense of community. RAD henceforth became a program built for Airmen across ranks, career fields and background to bolster skills through a combination of physical challenges, academic programs and culturally immersive partnerships. 

“The Air Force has so many resources available to Airmen when it comes to professional development, fitness and education, but until now, there was no integrated community for our Airmen to encounter these resources in tandem,” Martin said. 

Airmen across Dyess AFB have had the chance to engage in a variety of opportunities to include Marine Martial Arts training, Norwegian Ruck Marches, language training classes, Army Air Assault, Army Airborne and even the German Proficiency Badge since the program’s inception. 

Tech. Sgt. Hayden Kroff, noncommissioned officer in charge of RAD, has been stationed at Dyess AFB for over six years. He first learned of the Norwegian Foot March in fall of 2021 and said, “When I learned about RAD, I was all over it. This program has reinforced my warrior ethos and enabled me to build critical networks inside and outside of the 7th (Bomb Wing).” 

Kroff has earned two foreign badges and two sister service qualifications including Army Airborne and Army Air Assault since joining RAD. 

“Most importantly, these opportunities have postured a group of everyday Airmen to communicate effectively in the joint environment and offer skills that inherently support the agile combat employment concept,” Kroff said. 

There are currently 20 active members involved with RAD and according to the officer in charge of the program, Capt. Manuel Lamson, interest has only increased. 

“Many Airmen are interested in bettering themselves outside of the workplace while becoming better leaders and people,” Lamson said. “We are glad to see interest in the program grow, not only at Dyess, but at other military bases too.” 

Most recently RAD sponsored a capstone trip to the Netherlands where Airmen learned battle history in a staff ride and competed in the Vierdaagse Four Days March challenge at Kamp Heumensoord, Netherlands. 

While in Holland, Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Coltrin, 7th BW command chief, witnessed the growth of Dyess AFB Airmen. 

“RAD drives pride and confidence in Airmen,” Coltrin said. “By going on the staff ride, Airmen got to analyze the philosophy behind warfighting. Then, when we took on the arduous task of the 80-mile ruck march, I got to see our Airmen translate philosophy into action.” 

I’ve seen RAD set a foundation in leadership that Airmen will build upon the remainder of their careers,” Coltrin added. “In accomplishing what they did, they are bringing international acclaim to the warriors of West Texas.”     

RAD started as a 7th BW sponsored program, but that does not mean it has to stay there. Col. Joseph Kramer, 7th BW commander, sees RAD as an opportunity to enhance the quality of life for Airmen across the installation. 

“We are professional, innovative Airmen delivering decisive combat power for our nation – Rapid Airman Development strengthens our Airmen to deal with the adversity and uncertainty of the next fight,” Kramer said. 

To get involved in RAD, Dyess Airmen can visit the Air Force Connect App, add Dyess AFB as a “favorite” and sign up for events under “Airman Development” module.

Tactical care makes casualties rare

Source: United States Air Force

As of July 2022, Self-Aid Buddy Care, a series of techniques used to provide basic care to wounded Airmen before they get to a medical facility, is no longer being taught. SABC was replaced by Tactical Combat Casualty Care, a training which implements the best medical practices in battlefield trauma care.

TCCC was created by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care. The committee is composed of 42 voting members across the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. These members utilize research data and real-world expertise to develop the best practices to be used for medical response.

“The committee sits down and looks at what is and isn’t working,” said Staff Sgt. Ashley Madry, 325th Medical Group noncommissioned officer in charge of education and training. “They do research and compare it to (previous wartimes). After evaluating the numbers, TCCC is shown to save more lives.”

The actions of first responders or a fellow wingman are often the difference between life or death after an Airman is injured on the battlefield.

“Switching to TCCC gives us a wider variety of skills that can be utilized on the battlefield,” said Senior Airman Bertrand Vicks, 325th Fighter Wing safety technician. “It’s not just because this can be better used in real-world scenarios, but because there may not always be medics available. This allows the average Airman the ability to provide a basic level of life-saving care.”

Looking at previous versions of pre-hospital care, it shows massive hemorrhages are the leading cause of preventable deaths across the Department of Defense. Because of this, TCCC trainers use the acronym “MARCH” when teaching the necessary life-saving skills. MARCH helps members remember which order to provide care to increase the chances of survivability.

“The five skills associated with TCCC are ‘M’ for massive bleeding, ‘A’ for airway and resuscitation, ‘R’ for respiration, ‘C’ for circulation and ‘H’ for hypothermia,” Vicks added. “Because people can die from massive bleeding and hemorrhages at a faster rate, that needs to be addressed first. There’s no point in treating hypothermia if someone dies from blood loss.”

Another change associated with the switch to TCCC is the teaching style. Aside from some instructional videos, TCCC is primarily taught hands-on.

“My favorite part of training TCCC is the hands-on skills training,” Vicks continued. “Personally, I think you learn more from a hands-on environment versus written training. I will work with you until you pass and have the necessary skills.”

While SABC and TCCC are both designed to provide immediate care, Staff Sgt. Eric Dowell, 325th MDG NCOIC of education and training, described TCCC as SABC “on steroids.” Since TCCC has been developed, the U.S. military currently has the best casualty survival rate recorded in history. TCCC is now the accepted pre-hospital care across the DoD and 100% of active-duty members are slated to be trained on TCCC by August 2023 with a goal of zero preventable deaths.

Poland takes charge of NATO high readiness force

Source: NATO

The Polish army will take the lead of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) on Wednesday (1 January 2020), placing thousands of soldiers on standby and ready to deploy within days. Poland takes over from Germany, which provided the core of the VJTF’s land forces in 2019.

“I thank Poland for leading NATO’s high readiness forces this year”, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “The Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, our Spearhead Force, is a substantial contribution to our collective defence and a strong display of Poland’s capabilities. This force is available to move immediately to defend any Ally against any threat. At a time of unprecedented security challenges, it is more important than ever”, the Secretary General added.

The core of the VJTF in 2020 will be Poland’s 21st Podhale Rifles Brigade, supported by units from Poland’s 12th Mechanized Division, the 3rd Transport Aviation Wing, Military Police, as well as logistics experts and Counter-Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (C-CBRN) specialists. Around 6,000 soldiers will serve on the Spearhead Force, including around 3,000 from Poland. Units from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Turkey and the United Kingdom will also serve on the force. The United States stands ready to support the VJTF with airpower and other combat support.

The VJTF is made up of land, air, maritime and special forces, and is part of the Alliance’s 40,000-strong NATO Response Force. Exercise Trident Jupiter 19, which took place in November 2019, certified the forces and commands for the 2020 NATO Response Force. NATO’s Joint Force Command in Brunssum has command of the NRF in 2020.  NATO heads of state and government agreed to create the VJTF at the Wales Summit in 2014 in response to a changed security environment, including Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and turmoil in the Middle East. Turkey will lead the VJTF’s land forces in 2021.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s end of the year video message to NATO troops

Source: NATO

Holiday greetings to all NATO servicemen and -women around the world.

This year we have celebrated the 70th anniversary of our Alliance.

Our solemn commitment to defend and protect each other has brought unprecedented peace to our countries.

This is only possible because of the extraordinary work that you do, each and every day.

All who have served under the NATO flag are connected by a common bond of bravery, professionalism and duty.

The men and women of our armed forces who deterred the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Those who brought to an end bloodshed in the Western Balkans in the 1990s.

Who fought terrorism in Afghanistan after 9.11.

And today, you are willing to stand in harm’s way, wherever that may be, to defend our people from whatever threat may come.

Including from new threats.

From new technologies.

And new, hybrid tactics.

This year I have once again had the honour of meeting many of you.

Be it training local troops in Iraq.

Serving on the ships of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces.

Or at West Point Military Academy in the United States.

In every case I have been deeply impressed by the people I have met.

After 70 years, our Alliance remains strong.

And it is your commitment and your solidarity that makes us strong.

So whether you are on mission in Afghanistan, Iraq or Kosovo.

Sailing the ships of our Standing Naval Forces. 

Participating in one of our Air Policing missions.

Part of our forward presence in the east of our Alliance.

Or based in your own home country or anywhere else in the world.

Thank you for the excellent work you do.

And thanks also to your loved ones, for all the  support they provide.

I wish you all a happy and peaceful New Year.

NATO and North Macedonia strengthen cooperation through consequence management exercise

Source: NATO

“NATO’s consequence management field exercises are highly recognized internationally and are characterized by their inclusive planning process and wide participation. The contributions and involvement of representatives from Allied and partner nations, International Organisations, Non-Governmental and National Organisations are key to its value and its success,” NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations, Mr. Jonathan Parish said today (19 December 2019) in Skopje. “In these exercises, nations come together from across the Alliance, and from around the world, to practise international response to large scale disasters; and next year, from 20 to 25 September, for the first time, they will do so here in this country,” he added.

 Read the Deputy Assistant Secretary General’s statement here

NATO and African Union exchange views on furthering Counter-Terrorism Cooperation

Source: NATO

The first dialogue on counter-terrorism cooperation between NATO and the African Union was held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels (Belgium) on 18 and 19 December 2019. This initiative followed on a Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the two organizations. It built upon an ongoing cooperation through the African Union’s Centre for the Study and Research of Terrorism and is part of NATO’s Action Plan to enhance the Alliance’s role in the International Community’s fight against terrorism.

NATO and African Union representatives shared views on the potential development of a fully-fledged civilian-military partnership in fighting terrorism for the coming years. Discussions focused on gaining a better understanding of requirements for NATO support to the African Union in the counter-terrorism domain, notably in areas where NATO can bring added value, including defence institutional capacity building and reform of security structures.

The African Union delegation was led by H.E. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, Special Representative for Counter-Terrorism and Director of the African Centre for the Study and Research of Terrorism. Mr. Gbevlo-Lartey also briefed NATO Allies on the state of play of NATO-African Union cooperation and on prospects for further strengthening ties in counter-terrorism efforts.

Who is Prof. André Xuereb?

Source: NATO

Six questions to a quantum physicist securing our communications.

What do you do?

“I am a quantum physicist from Malta, and since October 2019 the Head of the Physics Department at the University of Malta. I work a lot on optomechanics, which is the study of how light interacts with moving objects, with the aim to create technologies, i.e., new communications systems, sensors and computers that use light instead of electricity.  Recently I started focusing on quantum-secured communications, which solves the issue of how to communicate securely, with an absolute certainty that no one is intercepting that communication.

One of my research highlights was to implement safe quantum communications technologies in real-world environments. Through an international project involving research teams from Malta, Italy and Austria, we established a quantum communication channel between Italy and Malta over existing underwater optical fibres in the summer of 2017. In the long run, this project will help protect Maltese critical infrastructures and will pave the way for quantum communications to be used between Malta and Italy but also elsewhere.”

What is your biggest challenge?

“In quantum physics it is easy to get lost in the detail and go down the rabbit hole. Balancing the love I have for asking science’s fundamental questions with the realisation that quantum mechanics is increasingly becoming a commodity with which to create new technologies is an interesting challenge.”

What are your most recent achievements?

“Three major recent results of my collaborators and myself are based on the underwater secure communications experiment we made between Malta and Italy.

In the first experiment, particles of light travelled inside an undersea cable connecting the two countries’ telecommunications networks. We demonstrated the possibility of sharing a quantum property, called entanglement, between countries over this distance. Our work set two records for the longest distance over which this has been done: 96 km and 192 km. This work can be exploited to develop international communications networks that cannot be hacked.

During the same period, the team demonstrated that submarine optical fibres are stable enough to send and receive ultra-precise time signals over very large distances. This technique makes it possible to synchronise the most precise clocks known to man, even if these are far away from each other. This can, for instance, assist banks in speeding up transactions and scientists in increasing the precision of their results by conducting simultaneous experiments in laboratories all over Europe.

Finally, we demonstrated how ultra-stable lasers can be used to turn the global telecommunications network into a sensitive microphone for tiny earthquakes in remote regions of the globe. These results could have significant implications for the study of our planet and for earthquake early-warning systems.

The achievements of this seminal work led directly to NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme’s Multi-Year Project ‘Secure Quantum Communication Undersea Link’ or ‘SEQUEL’, which I am currently working on in collaboration with the Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO, Italy) and the Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica (INRiM, Italy).”

What is the value of the NATO SPS Programme in this area?

“The NATO SPS Programme is unique in my experience. It allows a small consortium to push forward specific technologies at a scale that does not easily fit in any other programme supporting scientific cooperation. It also has a broad remit, encompassing cyber security, quantum technologies, sensing and many other areas.”

What is your favourite part of your job?

“Talking about science! I make it a point to visit schools, speak to politicians and give interviews – anything that helps me transmit the message of how important science is to society and how essential it is for science to be funded. Interestingly, schoolchildren often ask the best questions. Perhaps adults should work better to maintain a childlike curiosity in the world around them.”

What don’t your colleagues know about you?

“Despite not having much musical talent, I played guitar in a rock band for several years when I was in high school and at university. I still keep one of my guitars in my office so that students think I am cool.”

Professor Xuereb is a project director from NATO partner country Malta in the Multi-Year Project “Secure Quantum Communication Undersea Link” in the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. This SPS activity brings together scientists from Italy and Malta to establish an undersea quantum key distribution link between the two countries – the first ever on this scale. This link is a key step in setting up a stable and secure communications system.

“Scientists of NATO” introduces some of the experts involved with the SPS Programme. The Programme promotes dialogue and practical cooperation between NATO member and partner nations based on scientific research, technological innovation and knowledge exchange. It offers funding, expert advice and support to tailor-made, security-relevant activities that respond to NATO’s strategic objectives.

Transatlantic unity remains pillar of European security

Source: NATO

On Monday 16 December 2019, the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach attended the Commemorations of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium and in Hamm, Luxembourg.

Representing the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach attended the 75th Anniversary of the “Battle of the Bulge”, an annual commemoration that honours the American, British, Canadian, French, Luxembourgian and Belgian forces who fought Nazi Germany in the Belgian Ardennes, from December 16, 1944 until January 25, 1945.

Being here today is a moment of great personal significance for me as my father fought in this campaign alongside many nationalities, including Americans, French, Belgians and Canadians to deliver liberation. Many of these men paid the ultimate price so that we could stand here today as a free and united people. It is humbling for all of us to meet the veterans. We have a duty to make sure that we are never faced with such a conflict again. In 1944, the 12th Army Group was commanded by General Omar Bradley who was the first Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, a role I am proud to hold today as we in NATO continue to deliver collective security and defence”, underscored Air Chief Marshal Peach.

In an extraordinary show of transatlantic unity, the US and Canada fought alongside Europeans in what would become the largest and deadliest battle in World War II. “More than 500,000 American troops fought in the Battle of the Bulge strengthening the bond between the US and Europe. We have shared History. Over the last 75 years, the US has continuously demonstrated its commitment to Europe. Next year, 20,000 US-based troops will cross the Atlantic for exercise Defender 2020, the biggest deployment of US soldiers to Europe in 25 years, invigorating our great Alliance”, concluded the Chairman.

The annual commemoration took place from 13 to 16 December in the Belgian city of Bastogne and on 16 December in Luxembourg.

NATO, European Union experts review cyber defence cooperation

Source: NATO

Senior officials from NATO and the European Union met at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday (17 December 2019) for discussions on cyber defence.

Over the last years NATO and the EU have intensified their engagement on cyber. We exchange real-time information between incident response teams, participate in each other’s exercises, and work on training and research” said Dr. Antonio Missiroli, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges.

The officials discussed efforts to enhance the security of next generation networks and initiatives to promote cyber stability between states. They also addressed ways to prevent, deter and respond to malicious cyber activities.

The EU welcomes the overall progress we have achieved on the implementation of the common actions in cyber security and defence. We have to keep the tempo, while further deepening our cooperation in the framework of the two Joint Declarations. Coordination on cyber security and defense is at the heart of this strategic partnership”, said Pawel Herczynski, Managing Director for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response at the European External Action Service.

Sharing strategic interests and facing the same challenges, NATO and the EU cooperate on issues of common interest. Cyber defence continues to be an area for increased engagement between NATO and the EU. A Technical Arrangement on Cyber Defence was concluded between the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) and the Computer Emergency Response Team for the EU Institutions, bodies and agencies (CERT-EU), providing a framework for exchanging information and sharing best practices between emergency response teams.