The Defense Department has used the Common Access Card, or CAC, for more than 20 years now, and there's no sign, as of yet, that the department is planning on doing away with the ID card. But the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency said he thinks it might be time to look for better ways for department personnel to prove who they are to gate guards, computers, and chow hall personnel.
The Air Force transitioned a squadron that once focused solely on communications into a unit dedicated to cyber defense, the latest tactical pivot that mirrors the department’s broader changes to modernize its force. The 55th Communications Squadron transitioned into the 55th Cyber Squadron in September, according to the Air Force. It’s the most recent squadron—the basic unit of the Air Force that can contain a few dozen to more than a hundred Airmen—to transition from serving in a network or communications role to cyber defense.
The Air Force has successfully completed a series of tests of a new 5,000-pound-class bunker-buster bomb, the GBU-72/B. This included the release of a prototype of the weapon from an F-15E Strike Eagle combat jet over a range associated with Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. The testing of this weapon, developed under a program variously referred to as the Advanced 5,000 Pound Warhead or Advanced 5,000 Pound Penetrator, and abbreviated A5K, took place earlier this year, but the Air Force only announced the results Oct. 12.
The Space Development Agency on Oct. 8 issued a draft request for bids for 18 satellites that will carry experimental payloads. These 18 spacecraft will be integrated with SDA’s planned mesh network of 126 optically interconnected data transport satellites. SDA is already reviewing bids for 126 satellites, projected to launch in 2024.
The United Kingdom plans to increase its presence in the contested South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region, the Royal Air Force Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said Oct. 11. Speaking on board the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth docked in Singapore, Wigston said that there would be a “more regular drumbeat of deployments.”
Half of the companies tapped to show off counter-drone technologies to the U.S. military in September dropped out of the demonstration due to COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing supply chain issues, an Army official revealed Oct. 11. In the end, only five of the 10 companies selected by the Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office actually made it to the three-week demonstration at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., said Army Col. Greg Soule, the JCO’s head of the acquisition and resources division.
The promises of a digital ecosystem—faster development, integrated assembly, and the ability to test systems before they’re built—are appealing to the Department of Defense, which frequently struggles with cost overruns and significant delays for its space systems. Digital acquisitions advocate Will Roper, former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics, has left government, but the digital revolution continues, and the Space Force wants to lead the way.
In episode 43 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, 57th Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Michael R. Drowley joins host John Baum and co-host retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula to discuss how the Weapons School, Red Flag, Aggressors, and other key facets of his team are developing and training the tactics, techniques, and procedures to address future threats, especially peer competitors such as China and Russia. A key part of this comes down to integrating air, space, and cyber capabilities to leverage powerful effects at the right time and place.
When Heidi Shyu was nominated to be defense undersecretary for research and engineering, the longtime Army acquisition executive set out to trim the long list of technology areas set as development priorities. But she found that all of those areas—hypersonics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and at least a half-dozen more—are vital to the Pentagon’s future efforts to deter China. Moreover, the list leaves some key areas off.
The Defense Department has been trying to move the military services and defense agencies to a single, modernized contract writing system for a decade now. And although those efforts have seen major setbacks, DOD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center thinks it might be possible to build one with AI and to have something to show for it as early as March.
The Israeli Air Force has asked the US Air Force to advance the acquisition of four out of eight tankers that are required for long-range missions, with two of them asked to be delivered immediately. The U.S. State Department approved the possible sale of up to eight KC-46 tanker aircraft and related equipment to Israel for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion last March, marking the first time that Washington has allowed Jerusalem to buy new tankers.
The remains of a Maine World War II veteran who gave his life for his country were buried at his final resting place in Millinocket. Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Ernest N. Vienneau was a pilot assigned to the 340th Bombardment Squadron, 97th Bombardment Group, 15th Air Force, based out of Amendola, Italy. A bomber on which he served as co-pilot came under fire over present-day Slovenia and had to be ditched. His body was recovered last year.