Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III visits soldiers for the holiday

Former CENTCOM Boss Lloyd Austin to be Nominated for SECDEF

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate retired Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III to be his Defense Secretary, the transition team announced Dec. 8. Austin, who left the military in 2016 as the four-star head of U.S. Central Command, would be the first-ever Black man to hold the Pentagon’s top civilian job if confirmed by the Senate. The milestone comes shortly after Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. took over as the first Black Air Force Chief of Staff, amid a reckoning on racial inequality in the military and society at large. “With a distinguished record of military service spanning four decades, Secretary-designate Austin is a deeply experienced and highly decorated commander who has served with distinction in several of the Pentagon’s most crucial positions,” the transition team said in a release.
Guastella on "Aerospace Nation"

Guastella: Base Defense is the ‘Tax’ Other Services Should Pay for Airpower

The other military services should defend USAF's air bases as the “tax” to enjoy the many benefits the Air Force provides them in terms of communications, mobility, and protection, Deputy Chief of Staff for operations Lt. Gen. Joseph T. Guastella Jr. said Dec. 8. The Air Force is more engaged than the other services because its roles are in play whether there are hostilities or not, and other branches should help enable the benefits they derive from USAF. Guastella also argued that while the other branches' push for long-range fires could be helpful, they may not be cost-effective in the long run.

Mach-Buster and World War II Ace, Chuck Yeager: 1923-2020

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager died Dec. 7, at age 97. Yeager was a World War II fighter ace and most widely remembered as the first man to fly through Mach 1—the speed of sound—in 1947. He tested numerous research aircraft in the 1940s through the 1960s, and is regarded as one of the most accomplished test pilots of all time.
Air Force conducts latest hypersonic weapon flight test

Draft NDAA Offers More Money, Oversight to Air Force Tech Priorities

Lawmakers weighed in on three of the Air Force’s top-priority technology development efforts in the final draft of the fiscal 2021 defense policy bill, offering more money and more oversight as the programs mature. The Low-Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology initiative, hypersonic weapons, and the Next-Generation Air Dominance program all got a closer look this year. The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House 335-78 on Dec. 8, and is expected to pass in the Senate as well. President Donald J. Trump must still approve the bill for it to become law, but has promised a veto over priorities that did not land in the final version.
Tirpak Strategy Policy wingman Skyborg

Three Companies Win New Skyborg Prototyping Contracts

Three companies will move on to flight experiments as part of the Air Force’s Skyborg drone program, the service said Dec. 7. Kratos earned $37.8 million, Boeing earned $25.7 million, and General Atomics earned $14.3 million to continue on in the program, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center said. Each contract will last two years. The announcement indicates Northrop Grumman did not make the cut after receiving a contract to become part of the vendor pool in July.

Virtual Events: Bierbauer, Cooter, Marks on Mitchell’s ‘Aerospace Nation’

On Jan.22, The Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host an installment of its “Aerospace Nation” series featuring the authors of the new book “Never Mind, We'll Do It Ourselves: The Inside Story of How a Team of Renegades Broke Rules, Shattered Barriers, and Launched a Drone Warfare Revolution.” Former Central Intelligence Agency case officer Alec Bierbauer, retired USAF Col. Mark Cooter, and co-author Michael Marks give us an inside look into the story behind the armed Predator program and the dawn of unmanned warfare. 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.

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OPINION: Why I Chose Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense

The Atlantic

“The fact is, Austin’s many strengths and his intimate knowledge of the Department of Defense and our government are uniquely matched to the challenges and crises we face,” President-elect Joe Biden writes. “He is the person we need in this moment.”

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Biden National Security Adviser Sees US Rejoining Iran Nuclear Deal

The Wall Street Journal

President-elect Joe Biden’s national security adviser said the incoming administration wants to put Iran “back into the box” by rejoining the nuclear deal and forcing Tehran to comply with the terms of the original agreement. In return, the U.S. would be prepared to honor the terms of the 2015 deal, said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s choice for national security adviser, at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit on Dec. 7.

OPINION—Instructors Wanted, Apply Within: Why the Air Force Is Failing to Change Its Culture and What to Do About It

War on the Rocks

“Squadron Officer School has an instructor recruitment problem that is not going away, in spite of the attempted cultural change,” write Bradley Podliska, an assistant professor of military and security studies at Air University’s Air Command and Staff College, and Donnie Hodges, an instructor in the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Department of Military and Strategic Studies. “The survey data we conducted confirms and explains why officers do not want to work there—for many officers, working at the Maxwell Air Force Base is not an attractive option. But it does not need to be this way.”

Former Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway Appointed to Air Force Academy Advisory Body

The Gazette

Kellyanne Conway, a former senior advisor to President Donald Trump, has been appointed to the Air Force Academy's advisory body, according to the White House. Conway's appointment to the academy's Board of Visitors—which reports to the president and the Pentagon—was one of nearly 30 appointments to "key positions" on various boards announced Dec. 8 in a White House press release, and the most prominent.