Gongji GJ-11 China Stealth Drone

China Now Tops US in Shipbuilding, Missiles, and Air Defense, DOD Says

In its 20th assessment of Chinese military power, the Pentagon said China is leading the U.S. and the world in shipbuilding, ballistic missiles, and air defenses. Its combined air and naval air forces are the third-largest in the world and the largest in the Indo-Pacific region, and China is seeking to develop a system of worldwide bases and power projection capabilities. While its newest bomber is still a retread of the old Soviet “Badger” series, it is working on a new stealth bomber, as well as upgrading its stealth fighter, the J-20, now operational. Along with longer-ranged and precise cruise missiles, China has an effective nuclear “triad,” according to the report.
Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman is sworn in as the first Senior Enlisted Advisor to the U.S. Space Force.

Raymond to Swear in New Space Force Members at AFA’s Virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference

The approximately 2,400 Active-duty Airmen in the space systems operations and space operations career fields selected to join the Space Force will formally swear in to the new service this month in public and private ceremonies, highlighted by a large virtual swearing-in by the Chief of Space Operations. The Airmen, officers and enlisted members in the 13S and 1C6 career fields, were initially selected to join the new service in July. CSO Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond will address the new members and lead a virtual swearing in during the Air Force Association’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 15.
B-52 task force

B-52s Train With 6 Nations Over Baltic Sea

Three USAF B-52s flew through the Baltic Sea region on Aug. 31, training with aircraft from six nations and flying over Latvia just days after a Russian aircraft reportedly violated NATO airspace to intercept another B-52. During the Aug. 31 flight, the B-52s, which are deployed as part of the bomber task force at RAF Fairford, England, trained with aircraft from Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and Portugal, then flew over Riga, Latvia, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa release. A USAF KC-135 from RAF Mildenhall, England, supported the bomber flight.
Chief Master Sgt. Erik C. Thompson

AETC’s Command Chief Talks Priorities, Fighting Sexism

Chief Master Sgt. Erik C. Thompson, Air Education and Training Command’s newest command chief, doesn’t want to reinvent the way the command does business. Instead, he wants to back up its already innovative educators—whom he said are driving training change on a daily basis—in their efforts to reach AETC’s Airmen. Further, he said, the entire service can learn from how 19th Air Force—where he last served as command chief master sergeant—tackled sexism and related climate issues within its 47th Flying Training Wing to foster a healthier culture overall.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

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.

This Air Force Paint Additive Could Help Reduce COVID-19 Spread Indoors


The U.S. Air Force is stepping up its efforts to fight the spread of diseases inside buildings. It has authorized Theriax LLC, a research and development laboratory, to use a patented coating formula that greatly enhances protection against airborne microbes, including COVID-19, inside buildings and homes, the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center announced Aug. 4.

Pentagon's Latest Salvo against China's Growing Might: Cold War Bombers


Since late January, American B-1B and B-52 bombers, usually operating in pairs, have flown about 20 missions over key waterways, including the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan, according to accounts of these flights from U.S. Air Force statements and official social media posts. These missions, military analysts say, are designed to send a crystal-clear signal: The United States can threaten China’s fleet and Chinese land targets at any time, from distant bases, without having to move America’s aircraft carriers and other expensive surface warships within range of Beijing’s massive arsenal of missiles.

Are Overseas Bases Worth the Cost?

Federal News Network’s “Federal Drive with Tom Temin” podcast

The U.S. has tens of thousands of troops permanently stationed overseas—mostly on bases that were established during the Cold War. But in a recent interview, Stimson Center co-founder Barry Blechman said if the goal of the forces is deterring adversaries, the defense budget would go a lot further if it were geared toward quickly sending forces to trouble spots, rather than keeping them in places like Korea and Germany. Those conclusions, by the Stimson Center, are based on a study of more than 100 foreign policy crises.

The JADC2 Revolution

Air Force Magazine

U.S. forces are redefining joint operations to be more tightly integrated. Joint all-domain command and control (JADC2) accelerates the speed and complexity of warfare by tying forces together across the air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains. For the latest on what this means to operators and the industry, check out our JADC2 landing page.

Air Force Buys Raytheon Datalink Radios for Standoff PGMs

Inside Defense

The Air Force has awarded Raytheon a $92.5 million contract to deliver its situational awareness datalink radios for U.S. Special Operations Command to use on its standoff precision-guided munitions, the Pentagon announced Aug. 31.

Russian Navy Conducts Major Maneuvers near Alaska

The Associated Press

The Russian navy conducted major war games near Alaska involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the military said Aug. 28, the biggest such drills in the area since Soviet times. Russia’s navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said that more than 50 warships and about 40 aircraft were taking part in the exercise in the Bering Sea, which involved multiple practice missile launches.

Free Priority Mail Express Military Service for Casted Mail Ballots

USAF release

Effective Sept. 1 through Dec. 8, customers can mail their general elections "Casted Ballots" back to the United States free using priority mail express military service. “The Department of Defense, in collaboration with the United States Postal Service, is again offering this expedited, free service to ensure ballots from American citizens stationed or living overseas arrive in time for the upcoming general federal elections,” said Lionel Rivera, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Air Postal Squadron command postal training manager.

Industry Says ‘Meh’ to DOD Cislunar Space Push

Breaking Defense

The possibility of future military activity around the Moon is en vogue in the national security space community, with a plethora of seminars featuring senior Space Force, Air Force, and Defense Department officials musing on the likely need for the US to counter China in deep space.