Austin confirmation hearing

Austin Becomes 1st Black Defense Secretary

Lloyd Austin was sworn in as Defense Secretary on Jan. 22, shortly after the Senate confirmed his nomination, becoming the first Black person to hold the position. He assumes the top Defense Department job just one day after Congress approved a waiver allowing him to lead the Pentagon five years after he retired from Active duty. Austin, who retired in 2016 as the four-star commander of U.S. Central Command after 40 years in service, becomes President Joe Biden’s Defense Secretary after a quick and relatively easy confirmation process, despite consternation from many lawmakers about the further erosion of civilian oversight of the military.
china nuclear modernization

COVID-19 Delays Pentagon’s New Joint Warfighting Plan

The coronavirus pandemic has delayed release of the Pentagon’s new joint combat guidelines until the spring, complicating efforts to put the armed forces on the same path to better communication and speed up decision-making, the military’s No. 2 officer said Jan. 22. Gen. John E. Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during an event hosted by the National Security Space Association that even after a year of development, the joint warfighting concept hasn’t reached “the first level of maturity” needed to publish an initial plan.
F-35A Eielson

Next F-35 Contracts Under Negotiation, Deal Expected by Late September

Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon are negotiating the next three lots of F-35 production, expecting a contract by the end of the fiscal year, the Joint Program Office reported. The negotiating strategy calls for a “base year” contract followed by two options, likely to allow time for development to be declared complete. That milestone was postponed to later this year by former Pentagon acquisition and sustainment boss Ellen Lord.
E-11A "BACN"

Air Force Projects Halted by Continuing Resolution Now Move Forward

A three-month continuing resolution that ended in December inflicted less pain on the Department of the Air Force than it had expected, as procurement and construction continue in the new year. The federal government operated under a stopgap spending measure that stretched from the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 to Dec. 27, when former President Donald J. Trump signed a fiscal 2021 funding bill into law. Officials have indicated they will need to work through the CR's ripple effects with the Biden administration and a new Congress.
Air Force One refuels

New Paint Job for Air Force One Not on Biden’s To-Do List, Yet

Want to know what the next Air Force One Will look like? You’ll have to wait. Deciding on the color scheme for the VC-25B, which is under development to replace the current VC-25As that serve as Air Force One, is not on the immediate to-do list for President Joe Biden. Former President Donald J. Trump in June 2019 displayed a proposed new livery for the next Air Force One, which would replace the famous white, gold, and light blue with a red, white, and blue scheme. “The President has not spent a moment thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a Jan. 22 briefing, adding that “certainly, we’re aware of the proposal.”

30 Years After Desert Storm: Jan. 23-25

In commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, Air Force Magazine is posting daily recollections from the six-week war, which expelled Iraq from occupied Kuwait.

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.

Defense Chief Orders Review of Military Sex Assault Programs

Voice of America

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in his first directive since taking office, has given his senior leaders two weeks to send him reports on sexual assault prevention programs in the military, and an assessment of what has worked and what hasn’t. Austin’s memo, which went out Saturday, fulfills a commitment he made to senators last week during confirmation hearings. He had vowed to immediately address the problems of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.

Hackers Hijacked Cloud Accounts of High-Tech and Aviation Firms, Hid in Systems for Years

SC Media

A sophisticated threat actor gained illegal access into the networks of high-tech and aviation companies by initially hacking into their cloud-based services. Attacker dwell time on the secretly infiltrated networks sometimes lasted as long as three years. In a recently released report, the NCC Group and its subsidiary Fox-IT said researchers encountered this threat actor during numerous incident response engagements between October 2019 through April 2020. But the initial infections preceded this timeframe, in at least one case dating back to 2017.

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Coronavirus Kills Reserve Sailor and National Guard Airman

Stars and Stripes

Petty Officer 2nd Class Abdigafar Salad Warsame, 52, was a Navy Reserve logistics specialist assigned to Navy Operational Support Center in Columbus, Ohio, when he died Jan. 8 at a local hospital due to complications associated with the coronavirus, Cmdr. Ben Tisdale, a Navy Reserve Force spokesman, said in a statement on Jan. 21. The other service member who died from the virus was a member of the New York Air National Guard, according to the Pentagon. Due to the wishes of the airman's family, the Guard will not release any information about the service member, said Eric Durr, a spokesman with the New York National Guard.

National Guard Identifies 3 Soldiers Killed in Helicopter Crash in New York

Task&Purpose

The New York Army National Guard has identified the three soldiers who died in a helicopter crash in upstate New York as Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Skoda, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christian Koch, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Prial. The three men were flying in a UH-60 medical evacuation helicopter on Wednesday during a routine training mission when the aircraft went down in Mendon, New York.

PODCAST—Flying the Missions: The Desert Storm Air Campaign 30 Years Later.

Mitchell Institute podcast

In the third installment of the Mitchell Institute’s Aerospace Advantage podcast retired Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright, AFA’s president and a former F-16 pilot; B-52 pilot retired Lt. Gen. Michael R. Moeller; F-117 pilot retired Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Feest; F-15C pilot Col. Rico Rodriguez; Air Force Special Operations retired Col. Randy O’Boyle; and Dale Burton, who was the technical lead for JSTARS, discuss their role in the Gulf War. Each brings unique experiences to the conversation, ranging from Feest, who dropped the first bomb in Iraq from an F-117, or Rodriguez, who scored multiple air-to-air kills against Iraq MiGs.

Aerospace Nation: Never Mind We’ll Do it Ourselves—Book Launch

Mitchell Institute YouTube

The Mitchell Institute hosts an Aerospace Nation event with 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. Retired USAF Col. Mark Cooter, former CIA case officer Alec Bierbauer, and co-author Michael Marks provide an inside-look into the story behind the armed Predator program and the dawn of unmanned aerial warfare. Listen to the discussion as we look at how RPAs became a critical airpower asset. 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 will be available on Amazon on Jan. 26.

As 5G Auction Continues, Pentagon Turns to Safety Planning

Defense News

The Defense Department will focus on preventing interference to aviation instruments rather than trying to stop the Federal Communications Commission from auctioning C-band spectrum used for 5G communication, officials tell Defense News.