Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
President-elect Joe Biden has named six leaders of his foreign policy and national security teams, showing a continued push for historic firsts in his administration.
“The world is not getting safer, for the United States or for U.S. interests. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the  National Defense Strategy described an international environment of increased global disorder, long-term strategic competition, rapid dispersion of technologies, and eroding U.S. military advantages. Protecting the United States requires a strategy of defense in depth—that is, of identifying and dealing with global problems where they occur rather than waiting for threats to reach American shores,” write American Enterprise Institute Director of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies Kori Schake; Stanford University Hoover Institution fellow, former Defense Secretary, and retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis; Hoover Institution Fellow, former U.S. Strategic Command boss, and retired Navy Adm. James O. Ellis Jr.; and Hoover Institution Fellow Joe Felter.
At the 2020 Halifax International Security Forum, top national security, foreign policy officials, and activists issued a call for democratic nations to revitalize international institutions and pursue new, more flexible ways for governments to band together to confront China’s economic and technological warfare and aggressive military buildup.
“China has laid out the broad goals and objectives for its 14th Five Year Plan (FYP), which will extend from 2021 to 2025, and one of the priorities is ‘elevating the level of national security,’” writes Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow in the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are hoping to provide more clarity and structure to the services’ individual efforts to develop combined joint all-domain command and control with a new 60-page campaign plan, says one U.S. Air Force official.
Joint all-domain command and control is driving change throughout the Air and Space Forces. Check out our latest on the quest for greater interconnectedness across the battlefield.
This year, “We put [out] machines that are sacrificial, that are what we call honeypots or honeynets,” said Alberto Domingo, a technical director for Cyberspace at the NATO Supreme Allied Transform Command, on a call with reporters and other observers Nov. 20. “The idea is that the adversary will find it easier to attack these machines without knowing and they will do that and we will be preserving the information for NATO and interacting with this adversary.”
Some progressive groups have recently called on President-Elect Joe Biden to eliminate the Space Force after he takes control of the executive branch Jan. 20. However, Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond pushed back on the notion Nov. 21.
Despite a lull in orbital launch activity at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., officials with the Space Force foresee a “very promising future” for both commercial and government launches there. The Falcon 9 launch of the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich ocean science satellite Nov. 21 was the first orbital launch from Vandenberg since another Falcon 9 launched the Radarsat Constellation Mission for Canada in June 2019.
The Defense Department Office of Inspector General is planning several oversight efforts involving space programs and operations, including a review of DOD's space testing strategy and an audit of launch facility maintenance efforts. The four projects are outlined in the IG's recently released, department-wide fiscal year 2021 oversight plan.
A U.S. Navy investigation has determined that the Saudi pilot who killed three people when he opened fire on Florida's Naval Air Station Pensacola last year was self-radicalized. However, it also found that Navy leaders could have picked up on a pattern of negative behaviors exacerbated by the "toxic" command climate at the base.
The Defense Department’s latest financial statement shows the Pentagon made nearly $5 billion worth of improper payments in its civilian payroll accounts last year, a massive increase from previous years in which the department reported virtually none.
This holiday season will look different in military stores, but the deals are still there. Stores are taking extra COVID-19 precautions, such as limiting the number of people inside, acrylic shields at cash registers, continuing the extra sanitizing, and requiring masks.
At any given time Disneyland and Disney World have three to four officially sanctioned coins, which are used in much the same way as they are in the military, Disney confirmed to Task & Purpose.