Russia IL-38 aircraft

F-22s Intercept 2 Russian Maritime Patrol Aircraft Near Alaska

F-22s from the North American Aerospace Defense Command, with help from a KC-135 assigned to U.S. Transportation Command, intercepted two Russian IL-38 aircraft in the Alaska Air Defense Identification Zone late on June 24. While the aircraft got within 50 miles of Alaska's Unimak Island and spent about four hours in the ADIZ, they never crossed into U.S. or Canadian airspace, NORAD announced June 25.
U.S. Capitol

HASC Floats Modest Modernization, New Sustainment Jobs

A year after the House Armed Services Committee passed its fiscal 2020 defense policy bill in an unusually partisan fashion, the panel appears to be taking a step back from major fireworks and aerospace programmatic shifts in its 2021 legislation. The full committee’s version of the fiscal 2021 defense authorization bill remains largely in line with the Air Force’s wish list, while spending less in some areas than senators want. HASC also wants to create a deputy assistant secretary for sustainment position within the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
GSSAP

Here’s What House Lawmakers Want to Know About Military Space

It’s that time of year when Congress rolls out its lists of the data, requirements, and strategies it wants to see from the Defense Department. The House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee’s piece of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill is no different. Here’s what House lawmakers want to know about the rapidly evolving area of space.
Kentucky Air Guardsmen deploy to Persian Gulf

Kentucky Guard C-130s Deploy to the Middle East

About 70 Airmen and C-130s from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel on June 24. The Airmen and aircraft will operate from an undisclosed base in Afghanistan as well as elsewhere in the Middle East and Northern Africa, according to a wing press release. The deployment will last about four months, and comes as the U.S. has drawn down its presence in Afghanistan in accordance with peace talks with the Taliban, and as operations in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State group have largely slowed.

Radar Sweep

Snapshot: DOD and COVID-19

Air Force Magazine

Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump Mulls Ending Heads-Up to Congress on U.S. Weapons Sales

Foreign Policy

The proposal comes amid mounting frustration from senior administration officials over informal holds from lawmakers on arms sales to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two close U.S. partners in the Middle East. Lawmakers have tried to block weapons sales to these countries over concerns about human rights issues and the prospect of civilian casualties, particularly with the Saudi-led coalition’s war against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

FCC Cracks Under Hill Pressure On Ligado 5G Network

Breaking Defense

As opposition mounts from Capitol Hill—as well as a wider swath of civil GPS users—to the Federal Communication Commission’s approval of Ligado’s controversial 5G network, at least one of the five commissioners now says she’d be willing to consider reversing the decision.

Griffin’s Departure Stirs Questions about the Future of the Space Development Agency

SpaceNews

The timing of the resignation has stirred questions inside the Pentagon and in the space industry about what it portends for the future of the Space Development Agency, a 15-month-old organization that Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael D. Griffin pushed hard to get stood up and he characterized as a “personal cause.”

Glitzy Air Force Video Lays Out ‘Skyborg’ Artificial Intelligence Combat Drone Program

The Drive

The U.S. Air Force has released a slick new video regarding its Skyborg program, which is developing a suite of systems that will form an artificial intelligence-driven "computer brain" capable of flying networked "loyal wingman" type drones and fully autonomous unmanned combat air vehicles, or UCAVs. The video offers new insights into what the service wants out of this project, how it sees it fitting into its larger aerial combat ecosystem, and what unmanned capabilities it might serve as a stepping stone toward in the future.

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.

Esper Sending 4,000 Troops to Southern Border This Fall

Inside Defense

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper has approved a request for assistance from the Department of Homeland Security that would authorize the deployment of 4,000 U.S. military personnel at the southern border beginning in October, with more of the force coming from the National Guard.

Same Mission, Different Pay for National Guard

The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline blog

For months, U.S. residents have seen National Guard troops fan out across communities—testing patients for COVID-19, answering calls at state unemployment offices and, more recently, standing in riot gear before Americans protesting structural racism and deaths in police custody. Those troops, many of whom hold full-time civilian jobs outside of their Guard roles, usually are called up for domestic duty by governors, not by the Department of Defense, and—just as with other state workers—their pay and benefits vary widely even as they do similar jobs.

Russia Quits U.N. System Aimed at Protecting Hospitals, Aid in Syria

Reuters

Russia has quit a United Nations arrangement that aimed to protect hospitals and humanitarian aid deliveries in Syria from being hit by the warring parties, according to a U.N. note to aid groups seen by Reuters on Thursday. The Russian move comes after an internal U.N. inquiry in April found it was “highly probable” the government of Syria or its allies carried out attacks on three healthcare facilities, a school, and a refuge for children in northwest Syria last year.