Daily Report

Oct. 14, 2021
air force trainer jet

New Air Force Trainer Jet Program Supports ‘Reforge’ Concept

The Air Force’s just-announced program to buy a new jet trainer is meant to support the “Reforge” overhaul of the fighter training enterprise put forward by Air Combat Command last year, but the program is in its earliest stage, and no timing for acquiring the airplane has been set, according to ACC. "Reforge" would consolidate some phases of pilot training and shift some instruction, previously done at receiving fighter training units, back to the undergraduate pilot phase.
army space

Why the Army Clings to Its Space Troops: ‘Translating Geek to Grunt’

On Jan. 8, 2020, Iran launched a barrage of 14 rockets at Al Asad Air Base, where American troops were stationed in Iraq. The 20th Theater Missile Warning Company, part of the Army's 1st Space Brigade, was in Qatar receiving direct downlink data from a Space Force constellation at the time of the launch. “Well before those theater ballistic missiles were warhead events on Al Asad base, we had Soldiers sitting in bunkers,” Col. Donald K. Brooks, 1st Space Brigade commander, told Air Force Magazine. “That’s where we work at the tactical, operational level, [employing] strategic capabilities that the Space Force" provides.

USAF’s Three Priorities: China, China, China 

The alarming speed of China’s military advance is fueling new urgency in the Air Force to accelerate modernization and deter Beijing from military aggression. American primacy is in jeopardy, service leaders warned at AFA’s 2021 Air, Space & Cyber Conference. China’s air force is at parity and in some cases holds an edge over the U.S., said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, noting that China’s nuclear forces are “acquiring a first-strike capability." China has the largest air force in the Indo-Pacific and the largest inventory of conventional missiles in the world, said Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. It is also advancing its power-projection capability with new bases worldwide.

Radar Sweep

VC Firm Signs Cooperative Agreement With US Space Force

SpaceNews

Embedded Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in space startups, has signed a cooperative agreement with the Space Force, the company announced Oct. 13. Under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, Embedded Ventures will work with SpaceWERX, a new Space Force organization created to build ties with commercial industry and startups. The terms and the length of the agreement were not disclosed.

Top Pentagon Arms Sales Official, Heidi Grant, Exits Post

Breaking Defense

Heidi Grant, the head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, has “announced her transition from the federal government,” according to an Oct. 12 release. She will continue to serve until Nov. 7, when Jed Royal, the DSCA deputy, will take over as acting director.

Catholic Troops Can Refuse COVID Vaccine, Archbishop Declares

Defense One

Catholic U.S. troops should be allowed to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine based solely on conscientious objection and regardless of whether abortion-related tissue was used in its creation or testing, the archbishop for the military declared in a new statement supporting service members who are seeking religious exemptions.

Military Retirees, Disabled Veterans to See Largest Pay Raise in Decades for 2022

Military.com

Military retirees and veterans receiving disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs will see their paychecks go up by 5.9 percent for 2022, triggered by inflation and an annual adjustment to the federal Cost of Living Allowance. That annual adjustment has averaged around 1.5 percent for the last 10 years.

Thurgood: Hypersonic Missile Program Demonstrates How Fast Army Can Move

Defense News

The Army is moving quickly to develop an offensive hypersonic missile—and it doesn’t plan to revert back to its slower ways for future weapons development efforts, according to one senior official. Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, who oversees Army rapid acquisition efforts, likened the four-year timeline to design, test, and field a hypersonic weapon to the space race of the 1950s, saying the U.S. hasn’t been so united around a rapid technology development program since then—nor so willing to ditch common practices for revolutionary ones.

Small Numbers of Military Extremists Can Still Pose a Large Threat, Experts Warn

Military Times

Experts studying violent extremist organizations warned that even if the number of veterans and military members who participate in such groups is small, they can still be very dangerous to the country. The comments came at a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing Oct. 13 on the targeting of veterans by extremist groups, an issue that drew national headlines after a significant percentage of rioters involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol Building were found to have military experience.

Air Force Rescue Personnel Support NEO Weeks Before the Fall of Kabul

Air Force release

“The hair on the back of your necks should be standing up; this is not the Afghanistan we all knew,” Col. Russell Cook, HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue pilot and 23rd Wing commander, told his young A-staff as they prepared to synchronize the Secretary of Defense's vocal order to deploy a personnel recovery task force, including rescue units from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to provide combat search and rescue during the U.S. non-combatant evacuation operation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

One More Thing

William Shatner Gets Emotional After Historic Blue Origin Flight: 'I Hope I Never Recover'

USA Today

William Shatner can now say he's gone boldly where no man (his age) has gone before. He's certainly not the first person to visit space, but as of Oct. 13, the "Star Trek" veteran is the oldest. At 90, the actor joined Blue Origin for its second human spaceflight. Shatner and three others were launched in a New Shepard rocket from the aerospace company's West Texas launch site just before 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The crew landed safely back on Earth several minutes later, when Shatner could be heard saying the experience was "unlike anything they described."