Daily Report

May 3, 2021
INDOPACOM Change of Command

Aquilino Assumes Command of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

Adm. John C. Aquilino assumed command of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command from Adm. Philip S. Davidson during an April 30 ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. Aquilino, who relinquished command of U.S. Pacific Fleet earlier the same day, takes over as the Defense Department shifts its focus to great power competition after decades of counterterrorism operations. Davidson retired after four decades in uniform, the last three at the helm of INDOPACOM, and was the U.S. Navy’s longest serving surface warfare officer, said Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III during the ceremony.
DSD Hicks speaks with National War College

Hicks: Technology Will Enable Continued Support of Afghanistan After Withdrawal

U.S. aircraft will continue to provide support for Afghan forces through the withdrawal process beginning May 1. The Pentagon’s No. 2 official said she is confident that modernized technology and processes mean “over-the-horizon” support from outside the country will be effective. “It’s not 2001—it’s 2021,” Pentagon Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks said during an April 30 Aspen Institute event.

Radar Sweep

Biden Budget Delay Blows Up Hill Defense Schedule

Defense News

Senate work on the annual defense authorization bill will be delayed until midsummer because of the ongoing wait for President Joe Biden’s federal budget outline, a delay that could complicate a host of military personnel policy and procurement plans.

Harris to Chair the National Space Council

CNN

The Biden administration will maintain the National Space Council, and Vice President Kamala Harris will chair it, according to senior administration officials, adding another item to the vice president's portfolio. Harris confirmed her new role on May 1, writing in a tweet, "As I've said before: In America, when we shoot for the moon, we plant our flag on it. I am honored to lead our National Space Council.” Harris "intends to put her own personal stamp on the Council," a senior administration official said. The official listed her personal priorities as STEM education, cybersecurity, supporting sustainable development of commercial space activity, diversity in the workforce and advancing peaceful norms and responsible behaviors in space, among others.

Yearlong Delay Hits Operational Test of Alaska-based Missile Defense Radar

Defense News

The U.S. Air Force’s ballistic missile defense radar being installed at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, won’t have its only operational flight test for another year, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report. The Long Range Discrimination Radar was supposed to have its flight test in the third quarter of fiscal 2021 after two ground tests, but the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected the program overall, has resulted in the need to move the test back to the final quarter of fiscal 2022. The Missile Defense Agency said earlier this year that the LRDR was on track to reach initial operational capability in FY21, which the GAO indicated in its own report is the case.

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USAF Logistics Chief Raises Urgent Warning On Surge Capacity

Aviation Week

A recent internal study shows more than nine out of 10 repairs performed by the defense industry on U.S. Air Force aircraft are by a sole-source vendor, the service’s top logistics official said on April 28. The Air Force’s reliance on single sources for nearly all aircraft repairs outside of military-operated depots raises stark concerns about the defense industry’s ability to support the needs of combat forces in a time of war, said Lt. Gen. Warren Berry, deputy chief of staff for logistics, engineering, and force protection.

Solar Power Sats Help Drive DOD Deep Space Push

Breaking Defense

"[W]e don't have a military reason to go to the Moon today, but we do have long term-objectives that include the expansion out to the Moon and beyond," Space Force Chief Scientist Joel Mozer says.

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The US Military is Testing a Microwave Anti-Drone Weapon Called THOR

Popular Science

For military experts tasked with securing bases against assault, preventing damage from a swarm of explosive-laden drones means stopping the entire swarm, not just removing a few moving pieces. That is why the Air Force is testing a new weapon, one that targets the electronics that makes the swarm work, all at once.

Watchdog Expresses Concern Over Using US Navy Interceptor for Homeland Missile Defense

Defense News

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is skeptical the Navy’s SM-3 Block IIA Interceptor would work as part of a new plan for a layered homeland defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles. In a recent report, the GAO said the SM-3 Block IIA could “introduce considerable cost, schedule, and performance uncertainty to a program that has just entered initial production.”

One More Thing

Fighting Aliens with 'Space Force' and Clovers at HI-SEAS—Commander's Report: Lunar Day 6

Space.com

“The alien dust machine—that is what the Selene IV crew has been blaming for the bad weather that we have been having during our analog lunar mission. Today is our sixth day on mission and we have barely been able to see anything outside our window due to the massive dust storm raging outside the habitat (aka a thick fog outside the HI-SEAS habitat on the volcano Mauna Loa in Hawaii).”