BREAKING NEWS: No Tanker Protest

EADS North America has decided not to protest the Air Force’s award of the KC-X tanker contract to Boeing, senior EADS officials announced Friday at a press conference in Washington, D.C. They said the Air Force did not deviate from...

Airmen Killed in Frankfurt Shooting Attack Identified

SrA. Nicholas J. Alden and A1C Zachary R. Cuddeback are the two airmen who died from a gunman’s bullets during an attack Wednesday in Frankfurt, Germany, the Defense Department announced. Alden, 25, of Williamston, S.C., was assigned to the 48th...

We’ll Be Watching

The Chinese J-20 fifth generation fighter will bear watching, but isn’t a near-term threat, said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz in an interview. “Is that a demonstrator or a prototype? My sense is … it’s more the...

Farewell, Tactical Fighter Wings

The Air Force is no longer using any kind of force-sizing metric as it has throughout its history, says Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. At one time, service officials counted the inventory in terms of tactical fighter wings, and...

US Military Aircraft will Evacuate Egyptians from Libya

President Obama announced on Thursday that he has “approved the use of US military aircraft” to help Egyptians seeking to flee the unrest in Libya return home. These Egyptians have fled to Libya’s western border with Tunisia. An Air Force...

New Stopgap Spending Measure

President Obama has signed a new continuing resolution into law that will keep the federal government running at least through March 18, giving lawmakers more time to try to hash out a spending bill for the remainder of Fiscal 2011....

KC-135 Defensive Suite Validated

Testing with a Kansas Air National Guard KC-135R tanker has proven the feasibility of incorporating Northrop Grumman’s Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system on the aircraft type for defense against small-sized anti-aircraft missiles, Air Force officials announced this week. Air Guardsmen...

Pilot Error Cited in T-6 Mishap

Air Force investigators have determined that instructor pilot error led to the crash of a T-6A trainer aircraft on Sept. 24, 2010, near Laughlin AFB, Tex. During formation flight training, the instructor pilot, flying with a student, inadvertently shut down the airplane's single engine, according to the newly released findings of Air Education and Training Command's accident investigation board. This pilot then "incorrectly executed" procedures for engine restart, resulting in "catastrophic" engine damage, stated AETC officials in a release. Since the instructor and student were "overly focused on restarting the engine," they missed the opportunity to attempt a forced landing at an auxiliary airfield, they said. Both ejected from the aircraft; one of them sustained a significant back injury during ejection. The accident resulted in the aircraft's total loss—about $5 million—and incidental damage to a fence on private property.

Strategic Outlook

Gen. Robert Kehler, US Strategic Command boss, outlined the command’s priorities this week. First, he said, STRATCOM must “guarantee a safe, secure, effective, and ready nuclear deterrent force.” That includes providing tools “to combat proliferation and assure our scientific and...

Questioning Fundamental Defense Assumptions

China's growing anti-access capabilities should be considered a "matter of urgency" and call into question some of the fundamental assumptions upon which the United States has based its defense planning for the Pacific region since World War II, said Thomas Mahnken, professor at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. The belief that "US bases in Guam, Japan, and elsewhere will be secure from attack is in question," as is the view that "in a crisis, US information networks will remain secure," he told House readiness overseers Thursday. The United States also can no longer rely on the fact that it "will enjoy an operational sanctuary in space," states Mahnken's written testimony. To address these issues, the United States should consider "developing a coalition intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance network in the Western Pacific," hardening and diversifying its Pacific bases, and helping to bolster allied submarine forces, he wrote. (Mahnken prepared statement)

Impacting Future Military Readiness

The US is right to focus its national security resources on the war in Afghanistan and stability operations in Iraq, for now. But issues surrounding the Asia-Pacific region, energy, and US economic competitiveness will no doubt affect future military readiness, said Rudy deLeon, senior vice president of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. For example, "Emerging powers of the previous decade" in Asia "are now key regional geopolitical players and global economic powers," deLeon told the House Armed Services Committee's readiness panel Thursday in prepared remarks. As for energy, "Without changes to our energy infrastructure, disappearing 'friendly' foreign oil will cause the United States to grow more reliant on countries that have different values and relationships," he wrote. He added, "This situation will be less than ideal" as many of these nations "are plagued with instability and hostility toward the United States." (deLeon's prepared remarks)