U.S. Capitol with Flag

Congress Overturns Trump’s NDAA Veto to Start New Year

Congress voted to enact a $741 billion defense policy bill over the objections of President Donald J. Trump, who vetoed the long-running annual legislation on Dec. 23. The Senate overrode Trump’s veto 81-13 on New Year’s Day, following the House’s 322-87 vote on Dec. 28. Their rare bipartisan move greenlighted billions of dollars for troop pay, weapons programs, and military construction, plus hundreds of provisions directing how the military should spend that money and detailing reports due to Congress. “Not only does this bill give our service members and their families the resources they need, but it also makes our nation more secure,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a Jan. 1 release.

How Dover Air Force Base is Accelerating Change

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.—When new Air Force and Air Mobility Command leaders called on Airmen to “accelerate change” and expand their capabilities beyond their sole duty, Airmen here were already working on two major efforts to broaden their skill sets. The 436th Airlift Wing opened two facilities and training programs within six months of each other in 2020—the Tactical and Leadership Nexus training facility and the Bedrock innovation hub, aimed at pushing Airmen to improve their combat skills and to innovate in new, high-tech ways. “I think that the culture has been shifting, and the empowerment is there,” Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Jaqueline D. Van Ovost said during a recent visit here. “And they’re excited when they’re empowered.”
communication flyaway kits

Communicating on the Fly

As the Air Force leans in to the agile combat employment concept—in which smaller groups of Airmen can deploy rapidly to locations with varying degrees of austerity— communications and cyber Airmen must find ways to be lighter and leaner as well. Enter “communications flyaway kits”: light packages that can “fit into a few transit cases” and be “called upon at a moment’s notice to provide DOD networks and voice services to environments ranging from something extremely expeditionary to something more modern and built up,” Lt. Col. Daniel Waid, commander of the 18th Communications Squadron, told Air Force Magazine in a phone interview.

Lockheed Aeronautics VP Michele Evans Dies

Lockheed Martin Aeronautics division leader Michele A. Evans died Jan. 1, the company announced Jan. 2. Evans went on medical leave Nov. 17 due to an unnamed illness, which the company said was unrelated to COVID-19. Gregory M. Ulmer, Lockheed F-35 VP and program manager, has been performing Evans' corporate duties as well as his own since Dec. 1, and will continue to do so until Evans' permanent successor is named.

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.

2021: Air Force’s Nuke Mod Efforts Service’s Biggest Challenge

Breaking Defense

"Not sure if this is a black swan, but I would not be surprised if the next administration kicks off an internal review of the services’ roles and responsibilities, with an eye toward reducing excessive redundancy in force structure and capabilities," said Mark Gunzinger, director of future projects at AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

New in 2021: Are Your Latest Housing Protections in the Tenant Bill of Rights Under Threat?

Military Times

Military housing tenants are still waiting for four of the 18 rights promised as part of a tenant bill of rights, aimed at fixing core issues with unsafe and unhealthy conditions in their privatized housing. DOD officials gave the privatized housing companies a deadline of Dec. 15 to say whether they will commit to the bill of rights, according to one source. In October, lawmakers were pressing defense officials for more information on what was holding up progress. As of Dec. 15, the senators hadn’t received a response from DOD. With the transition to a new administration, it’s unclear when the processes will be complete.

Guam, US Military Agree to Guidelines to Prevent Site Damage

The Associated Press

The governor of Guam, a military official and the island’s historic preservation officer have signed off on a new agreement that outlines how to mitigate damage to historic and culturally significant sites on the island during military training.

'We Don't Have a Choice:' Military Exercises in 2021 Will Focus on This Big Problem


Wargaming how and where data moves may not sound as exciting as planning a top-secret infiltration mission. But leaders must understand how quickly troops and their equipment can communicate when up against an enemy. For the next year, the services will be running data-heavy exercises to determine how much and how fast data can be pushed through to warfighters.

Air Force Persistent Logistics: Sustaining Combat Power During 21st Century Competition and Conflict

Mitchell Forum paper

“Adaptability, agility, and resilience are key attributes that will dominate the 21st century security environment. Persistent logistics—posture, sense, and respond—provides our strategic approach to delivering those attributes for the Air Force, and it solves the key operational problem of conducting logistics under attack in an era of great power competition,” writes Lt. Gen. Warren Berry, USAF deputy chief of staff for logistics, engineering, and force protection, in a December forum paper released by AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

One More Thing

Raise the Black Flag: Nellis Launches New Air Force Operational Test Event

Air Force Times

The 53rd Wing has consolidated its series of large-scale tests at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada into a new event called Black Flag. Black Flag aims to be the testing equivalent of the Air Force’s Red Flag training exercise, the wing said in a press release. Instead of building readiness, as Red Flag does, Black Flag is designed to build capability.