Camp Taji

3 Killed, at Least 12 Wounded in Rocket Attack on Base in Iraq

Two Americans and one coalition service member were killed and another 12 people were wounded in a March 11 rocket attack on Camp Taji, Iraq. Eighteen 107mm Katyusha rockets, which are traditionally linked to Iranian-backed militias, struck the base, located north of Baghdad. Iraqi Security Forces located the launcher, on the back of a truck, “a few miles” from the base, which hosts coalition personnel as well as rotary wing aircraft, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement.
Roper Testifies on March 11

USAF Touts Promising Research Despite Flat S&T Budget

Air Force acquisition chief Will Roper said March 11 the Air Force is still working on promising research despite a largely stagnant science and technology budget request for fiscal 2021 that is worrying some lawmakers. As the U.S. looks to develop advanced military systems like improved hypersonic weapons and enabling technologies such as artificial intelligence faster than Russia and China, Roper lamented that the service’s research fund lost ground to more pressing priorities. Nuclear modernization, joint all domain command and control, and the effort to stand up a Space Force pulled money and resources away from basic research in the 2021 request released last month. “Sometimes the innovation voices did not win at budget closeout,” Roper said. “[There are] a lot of things on the Air Force’s plate … and unfortunately when we had to make the budget balance, we had to look for areas to take risk.”
VC-25B Artist Rendering

First New Air Force One Begins Modification Process

The first 747-8 aircraft has begun the modification process to become a VC-25B, or the next Air Force One. The process, which began Feb. 25, will include cutting out parts of the aircraft’s skin and structure in the forward and aft lower lobes to install new “superpanels” with structural upgrades and cutouts for doors, according to a March 11 release. The service expects to deliver the two VC-25Bs in 2024 to replace the two existing VC-25As. The aircraft are expected to serve for 30 years.
SMC WGS-10 Launch Team

Space Force Mulls Future SATCOM Acquisition

The Space Force aims to release details of its new satellite communications acquisition strategy this summer as the service considers how to combine government and privately owned technologies into one seamless enterprise. Space Force boss Gen. Jay Raymond last month signed off on a vision to overhaul how the service handles SATCOM. Clare Grason, head of the USSF’s commercial SATCOM office, said they have contracted help to figure out how to move to a service-based model, where the military can pay for comms by how much it uses, like per byte. The Pentagon wants to rely on a mixture of military-specific and commercial SATCOM to grow the amount of data it can pass around the world, share the cost of global comms with companies, and fall back on the growing pool of satellites and ground terminals if some malfunction or are attacked or destroyed.

Radar Sweep

Space Force ‘Not Rushing’ to Create National Guard Branch, Top Civilian Says

Defense News

“We anticipate very much that there will be a Guard and reserve presence [in the Space Force], but that isn’t something we’re rushing to. We have, from Congress, an expectation of a design next year,” Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett, who is also the civilian leader of the Space Force, said during a March 10 AFA Mitchell Institute event.

Hypersonics, AI Top Indo-Pacific Command's Tech Wishlist

National Defense Magazine

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has a list of cutting edge capabilities that it aims to acquire to stay ahead of peer competitors such as China, according to a senior official. At the top of the list is hypersonic weapons that can travel at speeds of Mach 5 or faster and are highly maneuverable.

DARPA’s ACE Wants to Automate Dogfighting to Empower AI

Aviation Week

A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program to build pilot trust in artificial intelligence in combat by automating dogfighting has taken a step forward with the award of the first contract and the release of a solicitation to develop algorithms for close-in air combat.

How Minot Plans to Protect America’s ICBMs from Drones


The concerns of unmanned systems against nuclear facilities, both civil and military, are clear. The devices make excellent little spies, can be weaponized and are cheap to procure—all attributes that have become obvious to U.S. forces who have encountered them while deployed in Syria or Iraq. But, security officials at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota believe they at least have a plan in place for dealing with unmanned intrusions.

Military Housing Tenants Should Have Complete Protections by May 1, DOD Nominee Says

Military Times

Military families should have the three missing tenant protections in the tenant bill of rights by May 1, the administration’s nominee for the Defense Department position that oversees housing told senators March 10. Those protections, which have been key to military families, are a dispute resolution process between the tenant and privatized housing landlord; a process for withholding rent during the dispute; and a maintenance history of the house before the family moves in.

AFRL Scientist Named DOD Scientist of the Quarter

USAF release

Air Force Research Laboratory scientist Khanh Pham has been honored as the Defense Department Laboratory Scientist of the Quarter, for the third quarter of fiscal 2019. Pham is revered for his contributions to the Air Force and DOD missions, and has accumulated numerous awards throughout his illustrious career.

Faster Acquisition

Air Force Magazine

The Air Force is leveraging emerging technologies and new legislation to accelerate acquisition decisions and streamline sustainment. Read more here.

Iranian, Russian, Chinese Media Push COVID-19 ‘Bioweapon’ Conspiracies

Defense One

Disinformation about the coronavirus is spreading as quickly as the outbreak, fueled by Iranian, Russian, and Chinese government-backed campaigns blaming and attacking the United States as the source for the scourge. “One narrative all three countries [including China] highlight is the notion that the United States is weaponizing the crisis for political gain and thus worsening its spread globally,” Rachel Chernaskey, a project manager for the Foreign Influence Election 2020 Project with the Foreign Policy Research Institute, wrote March 9.

Global Snapshot of COVID-19

Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University

The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on March 11, setting in motion further international controls as the spread of the new coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease continued to increase around the world. Here’s the state of the pandemic from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.