Successful GPS Satellite Launch

The Air Force and its industry partners on Saturday launched, GPS IIF-2, the second Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite, into space aboard a Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla. "I am extremely proud of the tremendous efforts that hundreds of people on the launch team have expended for today's launch," said Col. Bob Hodgkiss, the GPS IIF-2 mission director. This spacecraft is expected to be available for navigation users worldwide next month, according to Air Force space officials. Boeing is under contract to build 12 Block IIF satellites for the Air Force. The first one, IIF-1, went into orbit in May 2010 and has been operational since last summer. Block IIF satellites are designed to provide greater navigation accuracy to users and have more robust military and commercial signals. (Los Angeles release)

Confessions of a “Bomber Hater”

Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, Joint Chiefs vice chairman, remains “not . . . convinced” that the Air Force’s approach to long-range strike is the right one, indicating that requirements for the next bomber are still the subject of intense...

Weapon Design May Have to Change after Cyber Attack

Pentagon officials are considering whether they will have to redesign a weapon system after a cyber attack presumably launched by "a foreign intelligence service," against an undisclosed defense contractor in March, said Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn. Speaking Thursday at the unveiling of the Pentagon’s first-ever cyberspace strategy in Washington, D.C., Lynn said 24,000 data files were stolen in this intrusion. While the data breach "did not necessarily" set DOD back in this weapon system's development, it "compromised information relative to the design of military equipment," he said. He declined to identify the weapon system. If a foreign intelligence service was the culprit, that means, "in other words, a nation-state was behind it," explained Lynn. He did not say how the United States responded. Lynn said the intrusion was just the latest in a series of attacks that have been growing in number in recent years. "It's hard to quantify these [cyber attacks], but the number of significant intrusions is much, much smaller than the number of scans that are done on our systems each day," he said. More recently, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton reportedly were the targets of cyber intrusions. (Lynn remarks) (Lynn-Cartwright transcript) (Cyberspace strategy full document; caution, large-sized file.)

Lightning Sighted at Eglin

The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., on Thursday welcomed the arrival of AF-9, the first production-model F-35A strike fighter to join the F-35 joint schoolhouse there. The aircraft touched down after a ferry flight from Fort Worth, Tex....

Lynn Unveils DOD Cyberspace Strategy

Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn unveiled the Pentagon's first-ever cyberspace strategy Thursday during an address on the National Defense University campus in Washington, D.C. "The cyber environment we face is dynamic. As such, our strategy must be dynamic as well. So while today is an important milestone, it is only one part of the department's efforts to learn and adjust through time," said Lynn. Although it's not yet clear exactly what role cyber will play in 21st century warfare, he said it's clear that "bits and bytes can be as threatening as bullets and bombs." The new strategy, which comes on the heels of the White House's own cyberspace policy, has five pillars: treating cyberspace as an operational domain; employing new concepts to protect DOD networks; partnering with other US agencies; building relationships with allies, and leveraging an exceptional cyber workforce and rapid technological innovation. (Lynn remarks) (Cyberspace strategy full document; caution, large-sized file.) (See also DOD release.)

Bombers aren’t Quick Enough

Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright is a big fan of the prompt global strike concept. Speaking with reporters Thursday in Washington, D.C., Cartwright said he believes that if the United States were to convert...

Ambiguous Attacks

The most common cyber attacks today—theft of government and/or commercial information and intellectual property—rarely have an immediate effect, such as a conventional military attack, said Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn Thursday. But, they are enabling foreign competitors to steal the designs of US weapon systems, he said during a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. According to one recent estimate, such thefts have cumulatively cost the government and private sector a whopping $1 trillion, said Lynn. Attribution, or lack thereof, remains one of the biggest challenges in the cyber world, he said. "A missile comes with a return address. A cyber attack does not," said Lynn. “We are getting much better [at identifying attackers], but it's still a laborious process." He used the occasion to unveil the Pentagon's first cyberspace strategy, which attempts to outline both an offensive and defensive approach to protecting the Defense Department's newest domain. (Lynn remarks) (Cyberspace strategy full document; caution, large-sized file.)

Dances with Bears

The Obama Administration’s pursuit of missile defense cooperation with Russia endangers US security and invites a diplomatic rupture in the future, said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) Thursday. “The danger of pursuing cooperation . . . is that it’s going to...

Firefighting C-130s Conclude Mission

After flying 242 sorties and dropping 609,960 gallons of fire retardant over wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico since June 16, airmen and their specially equipped C-130s concluded their mission. On Thursday, personnel and two Modular Airborne Firefighting System-carrying C-130s...

Air Force Tankers to Train with South Korean Fighters

Air Force tankers will begin regular in-flight refueling drills by September with South Korean air force fighters, according to press reports. “The F-15K and KF-16, our two main air force fighters, are capable of refueling in mid air, but have...

Ich Bin Ein Hollomaner

Ralph Jackson, 49th Wing historian at Holloman AFB, N.M., recently came across a forgotten gem of base history while doing some research in the history office vault: a VHS tape with footage of President Kennedy’s visit to the base on...