Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Across the military, uncertainty about future jobs or college opportunities is driving more service members to re-enlist or at least postpone their scheduled departures. As unemployment, layoffs and a historic economic downturn grip the nation, the military—with its job security, steady paycheck, and benefits—is looking much more appealing.
Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Department and University of California-Los Angeles are studying whether a chemotherapy drug for prostate cancer can help reduce the severity of COVID-19 in men. The VA announced last week that it will test degarelix, also known by its brand name Firmagon, in nearly 200 veterans hospitalized with the novel coronavirus at VA medical centers in Los Angeles, New York City, and the Puget Sound area of Washington state.
A member of an elite Canadian air force squadron died May 17 after a jet crashed into a British Columbia home during a celebration for front-line workers in the coronavirus pandemic, authorities said. The Royal Canadian Air Force identified the deceased as Capt. Jenn Casey, a public affairs officer who joined the "Snowbirds" in 2018. Another team member, Capt. Richard MacDougall, was seriously injured.
"Space is crucial to modern American life whether viewed from an economic, information, or national security vantage," writes retired USAF Lt. Gen. David Deptula, dean of AFA's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. "Accordingly, it is crucial to ensure the new military service is aligned for success. This demands an honest assessment of its needs and key challenges, with full recognition that establishing the new Space Force as a separate service was just the first step of many that need to be taken."
For the last five years, Air Force Special Operations Command has been working toward incorporating a high-energy laser weapon on its newest AC-130J gunship. It now plans to test-fire a 60-kilowatt laser in 2022, according to a program officer affiliated with the program.
Two senators from key committees have asked Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett to rethink plans to terminate existing partnerships with companies if they do not win a National Security Space Launch procurement contract. In a May 13 letter to Barrett, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) call on the Air Force to continue funding agreements signed with three launch companies in October 2018. The Air Force plans to terminate the agreements except those with companies that win a National Security Space Launch Phase 2 procurement contract.
The Army wants to do a tech demonstration in the southwestern desert—COVID permitting—of how the new weapons systems it’s developing can share data.
This simulator will familiarize you with the controls of the actual interface used by NASA astronauts to manually pilot the SpaceX Dragon 2 vehicle to the International Space Station.