Daily Report

Dec. 7, 2021
Austin China

Austin Warns of Yearlong CR as China Invests Heavily in Military Technology

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III outlined Dec. 4 the vital importance of U.S. defense investment keeping pace with that of China before issuing a statement warning that such competition would suffer “irreparable” damage if Congress opts for a yearlong continuing resolution, a real possibility being discussed by lawmakers after a second short-term fix that funds the government until mid-February. “Some have even suggested a CR could last an entire year,” Austin said in a statement released by the Pentagon on Dec. 6.

China’s Impact on the Evolving US Footprint in CENTCOM

The recently completed Global Posture Review directed further analysis to determine the right force mix in the U.S. Central Command area of operations, but one thing is certain, the command’s director of operations said Dec 6: The U.S. footprint won’t look like it has in the past. Through its Belt and Road Initiative, China intends to grow its overseas military capabilities, with the overall objective of “adjusting the global order,” said Maj. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich, U.S. Central Command director of operations, during an AFA Air and Space Warfighters in Action virtual event. “China cannot achieve their objectives without going through the U.S. CENTCOM AOR,” Grynkewich said. “So, as we look at what our posture is in the Middle East, we need to recognize China as an aspiring global power—they're not just a regional problem."
Guardian Orientation Course

Space Force Focuses on Culture in ‘Intimate’ New Orientation Course

The Space Force’s orientation course for people transferring into the new service—civilian and military alike—draws from the “welcoming and intimate” formats that the Air Force’s major commands offer in their chiefs’ orientation courses for chief master sergeants. Space Training and Readiness Command held the first Guardian Orientation Course the week of Nov. 15-19. The course is “expected to be offered to all current and future transferees within a year of their transfer” in hopes of “accelerating their contributions," according to a Space Force release.

Radar Sweep

Thompson: China is Developing Space Capabilities at 'Twice the Rate' of US


Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson said China is developing its space capabilities at "twice the rate" of the U.S. "The fact that, in essence, on average, they are building, and fielding, and updating their space capabilities at twice the rate we are means that very soon, if we don't start accelerating our development and delivery capabilities, they will exceed us," Thompson said, adding, "2030 is not an unreasonable estimate.”

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Austin: Chinese Military Flights Near Taiwan Look Like 'Rehearsals'


Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said Chinese military flights near Taiwan look like "rehearsals," though he did not indicate that he expected Beijing to actually carry out such operations. "I don't want to speculate, but certainly ... it looks a lot like rehearsals," Austin said. Military training flights, by definition, are rehearsals for potential operations.

Two New Secret Combat Drones Are in the Works, Air Force Secretary Says


The Air Force will seek funding to develop a pair of classified combat drone programs that are designed to operate alongside fighter planes and bombers, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in an interview. “I’ve got two that I’m going to have in the ’23 budget in some form,” Kendall said. “They’re both unmanned air combat vehicles, unmanned platforms that are designed to work in conjunction with fighter aircraft like [the Next Generation Air Dominance fighter] or F-22 or the F-35. On the other hand, they work in conjunction with bombers like the B-21.”

Biden to Phone Putin, Lay Out the Economic Consequences of Invading Ukraine

Defense One

The United States and European allies have a plan to impose “significant, severe harm” on the Russian economy if Moscow decides to invade Ukraine, a senior administration official told reporters. In a planned video call Dec. 7 with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Joe Biden will lay out the economic consequences if Russia takes military action against Ukraine, the official said.

PODCAST: Fighter Force Recommendations for the Next Decade

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 53 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, “F-22, F-15EX, F-35, NGAD, and Beyond: Fighter Force Recommendations for the Next Decade,” host John "Slick" Baum and members of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies team explore an Air Force fighter force that is in crisis and look to future solutions. After three decades of canceled, curtailed, and delayed investment in modernization, the nation now finds itself in major need of these capabilities with far too few advanced fighter aircraft to meet demand.

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Pentagon Kicks Off Spectrum Sharing Experiments in Utah

Breaking Defense

The Department of Defense has completed a private 5G cellular network at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, where it will start experimenting on how to share the “highly scarce resource” that is the 5G spectrum with the commercial sector. The completion of the 5G network will allow the department to “evaluate the technical feasibility, methodologies, and utility of spectrum sharing and coexistence” with commercial entities in the mid-band spectrum, or 3 GHz to 4 GHz, according to the Pentagon.

US Military Launches Investigation After Possible Civilian Casualties in Syria Strike


U.S. Central Command has launched an investigation after a drone strike against a senior al Qaeda leader in northwest Syria on Dec. 3 may have killed civilians, according to a spokesperson for U.S. Central Command. The strike in Idlib, Syria, was carried out with an MQ-9 Reaper, targeting a senior al Qaeda leader and planner, Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement.

Racism Plagues US Military Academies Despite Diversity Gains

The Associated Press

The nation's military academies provide a key pipeline into the leadership of the armed services and, for the better part of the last decade, they have welcomed more racially diverse students each year. But beyond blanket anti-discrimination policies, these federally funded institutions volunteer little about how they screen for extremist or hateful behavior or address the racial slights that some graduates of color say they faced daily.

Updated B61 Nuclear Warhead Enters Production

Breaking Defense

The National Nuclear Security Administration announced that it has completed the first production unit of the B61-12, an updated version of the nuclear warhead used on weapons dropped from fighters and bombers. The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency located within the Department of Energy. While the Defense Department has oversight of developing the delivery systems for America’s nuclear arsenal—the planes, ships, and missiles—the NNSA is in charge of producing the actual nuclear payload.

The Latest on Missile Warning & Defense

Air Force Magazine

Recent Russian and Chinese missile launches raised the stakes in space. Find out the latest news on sensing, tracking, and defending against enemy missile strikes.

Finland Chooses F-35A as Its Next Fighter

The Drive

The F-35A stealth jet looks to be Finland’s choice for a new multirole fighter, according to initial media reports from the country. While the Finnish Ministry of Defense has yet to comment, an official decision on the roughly $12 billion competition is due before the end of the year, with signs already pointing to another victory for the Joint Strike Fighter, which was selected by Switzerland earlier this year.