Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Some in the Air Force may assume that the service’s pilot manning problems may be over due to the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” writes Tobias Switzer, a Special Operations Airman who currently works as a military fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “During recessions, Air Force pilots are less likely to leave the service for jobs with commercial airlines. As expected, airline pilot hiring went to almost zero when the pandemic began, and Air Force pilot separations and airline hiring are strongly correlated. This time is different, though, as demographic and licensing trends for airline pilots will significantly shorten the period before companies start recruiting military pilots again.”
Though the service has not announced exactly how many B-21 Raiders it expects to purchase, it will no longer need as many WSOs—commonly referred to as "wizzos"—the aircrew who manage the delivery of bombs as well as intelligence-gathering sensors. It plans to retrain them to become pilots in the years ahead, according to Maj. Gen. Mark E. Weatherington, 8th Air Force commander.
“It’s time to take stock of the Pentagon’s various rapid-acquisition efforts,” write Jamie Morin, executive director of The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy, and Bill LaPlante, a former assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition who now serves as president and CEO of the nonprofit Draper Laboratory.
The Defense Department wants to make major improvements to its biometric surveillance capabilities, starting with moving its databases and entire operational system to a cloud environment hosted by Amazon Web Services.
Industry experts continue to raise serious concerns about the way forward for the Defense Department’s cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) program. A technology industry representative told reporters on Oct. 20 that the interim rule the Defense Department published in September didn’t offer enough clarity about the certification process, the costs to become certified, and whether there will be reciprocity with other cyber standards. Comments on the interim rule are due Nov. 30 and so far more than two dozen people or organizations have submitted analysis.
A pair of Democratic senators has introduced a bill aimed at constraining the Trump Administration’s effort to sell F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates. The bill, introduced Oct. 20, would require the administration to certify that Israel’s military advantage in the region would not be jeopardized before it can move forward with selling the United States’ most advanced military aircraft to other Middle Eastern countries.
“The Space Force’s Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. ‘Ray’ Raymond is taking a ‘clean sheet approach’ to building a new service,” writes Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Eric Fanning. “One of his most important tasks is recruiting and developing the workforce required to meet the challenges of this ultra-modern domain.”
The F-117s have become highly active as of late, but they've never staged out of a base like Miramar since their retirement.
Naval Air Station Lemoore confirmed an F/A-18E Super Hornet experienced a mishap during a routine training flight in the Superior Valley, just south of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Calif.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper announced Oct. 21 that President Donald J. Trump has nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael T. Plehn to receive a third star and serve as president of National Defense University.
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers today announced the creation of the Space Force Caucus, which will be focused on advocating for the new service and educating lawmakers and staffers about the military service on its objectives and priorities.
This year, 181 veterans are running for Congress in 162 House and Senate races spread around the country. That number is a slight increase from the 173 veteran candidates who won major political party primaries in 2018.
On Nov. 2, NASA and its 14 international partners will mark 20 years of continuous human presence aboard the International Space Station. Here are some of the key milestones along the way.