Biden Reverses Ban on Transgender Individuals Serving in the Military

President Joe Biden on Jan. 25 reversed the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, opening the door to thousands barred from service and correcting the service record of anyone affected by the ban. The executive order, announced before Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s swearing-in ceremony at the White House, reverses an order from former President Donald J. Trump that cited “tremendous medical costs and disruption” from transgender individuals serving in uniform. The order reverts to the Pentagon’s prior position of allowing transgender people into the military, enabling DOD to recruit and retain “those who can best accomplish the mission.” “President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and America’s strength is found in its diversity,” the White House said in a statement.
Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.

Brown on Capitol Riot: ‘I Struggled on That Day’

On Jan. 6, as a throng of supporters of former President Donald J. Trump and right-wing extremists mobbed the U.S. Capitol, the Air Force Chief of Staff couldn’t tear himself away from the television. Brown, teleworking away from the Pentagon, said he watched in shock and disbelief as events unfolded that killed five people and sent hundreds of lawmakers, staffers, and journalists running for cover. “I was very disappointed, and it hurt,” he said in a live conversation with The Washington Post on Jan. 25. “I struggled on that day to understand what was going on and where we were going to go as a nation.”
National Guard Provides Security for 59th Presidential Inauguration

About 5,000 Guard Troops to Stay in D.C. Through Mid-March

Approximately 5,000 National Guard troops will remain on the streets of Washington, D.C., with most protecting the U.S. Capitol for almost two more months, in response to requests from federal agencies and local police who anticipate additional unrest. As of Jan. 25, there were about 13,000 Guard personnel still in the District, down from the more than 25,000 protecting the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The U.S. Park Police, U.S. Secret Service, Capitol Police Department, and Washington, D.C., Metro Police Department all made requests for National Guard help in the coming weeks, and those requests have been approved, Acting Army Secretary John E. Whitley told reporters in a Jan. 25 briefing.
Ceremonial Swearing-In

Austin Ceremonially Sworn in at the White House

Vice President Kamala Harris on Jan. 25 ceremonially swore in new Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III at the White House, days after he started the job and has already announced multiple changes to the Defense Department. “Secretary Austin’s integrity, experience, and intimate knowledge of the issues facing our military make him the right leader for this moment,” Harris said in a Twitter statement. Austin was already sworn in administratively on Jan. 22 at the Pentagon, and had served in the role for about three days before the White House ceremony.
USAF bombers

All Three USAF Bomber Types to Fly Over Super Bowl

The Air Force will fly all three of its bomber types—a B-1B, B-2A, and B-52H—over Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 7, the service announced. The mission marks the first time the three bomber types have flown formation over such an event, and is meant to showcase the bomber fleet's reliability, timing, and ability to rendezvous from several directions at once. Aircraft from Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and Minot Air Force Base, N.D., will participate.

30 Years After Desert Storm: Jan. 26

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.

Why Was The U.S. Air Force B-21 First Flight Delayed?

Aviation Week

For the B-21, the Air Force would like to move faster. So it was always curious that the Air Force’s original first-flight date for the B-21 was set more than six years after contract award. And the schedule delay to mid-2022, as reported first by Air Force Magazine, puts the start of flight testing nearly seven years after Northrop Grumman won the Long-Range Strike-Bomber competition. So what gives? On Jan. 19, the day before Will Roper resigned as assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, he spoke to Aviation Week and explained some of the mystery over the length of the interval between contract award and first flight of the B-21.

Five Takeaways from the Developing Space War Between China and the US

Forbes India

The stars of the new space age include not only famous entrepreneurs but a rising generation of dreamers and doers. Small companies, developing states and even high schools now loft spacecraft into orbit. But Beijing is intent on dominating the democratized space age. It is building ground-based lasers that can zap spacecraft and rehearsing cyberattacks meant to sever the Pentagon from its orbital fleets. Seven years ago, Washington seized on a new strategy for strengthening the U.S. military’s hand in a potential space war. The plan evolved during the Obama and Trump administrations and, it is expected to intensify under President Joe Biden.

OPINION: Rethinking the Air Expeditionary Wing

Air Force Times

“As DFE [dynamic force employment] becomes the preferred engagement option, shouldn’t it also inspire an evolution in our existing AEW [air expeditionary wing] deployment model? AEWs of the future, which may resemble AEWs of the past, need to become more agile, adaptable, and perhaps be deployed episodically. Remember the importance of operational unpredictability? Our adversaries do. The Air Force Chief of Staff continues to challenge Airmen to ‘accelerate change or lose.’ The Chief’s mandate certainly applies to how we generate combat airpower and deploy the force. Consequently, rethinking how we deploy AEWs should also be on the table. I’m confident there’s a better model for AEWs in the minds of our young Airmen, one that balances readiness with the increasing demands of great power competition. Making that model a reality will help secure our future,” writes Brig. Gen. Larry R. Broadwell, commander of the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates.

SPONSORED—VIDEO: 4 Principles of Agile JADC2 Development

Air Force Magazine

Innovation has always been a hallmark of the U.S. Air Force. But with the accelerating pace of technology development, the service needs a new approach to modern design to make the latest technologies profoundly more accessible.

Israelis Say They’ll Attack Iran If US Eases Sanctions

Breaking Defense

Israel has said openly that it will attack Iran if the U.S eases sanctions against the Shiite regime and agrees to go back to the nuclear agreement the Jewish state claims is “the biggest hoax in recent history.” “Israel needs to know — and fast — whether Washington plans to stop Iran’s race to the bomb or take some action to do this,” a source told BD.

To Defeat Enemy Drone Swarms, Troops May Have to Take a Back Seat to Machines, General Says

The Army's top modernization official said Monday that the Pentagon may have to relax its rules on human control over artificial intelligent combat systems to defeat swarms of enemy drones that often move too fast for soldiers to track. All branches of the U.S. military have expressed interest in using artificial intelligence, or AI, for faster target recognition; however, the Defense Department until now has stressed that humans, not machines, will always make the decision to fire deadly weapons.

SpaceX Just Broke a World Record

The Motley Fool

On Jan. 24 at 10:01 a.m. EST, SpaceX launched another 10 Starlink satellites into orbit, making the company's globe-spanning "internet broadband from space" satellite constellation the largest one in orbit by a factor of five. And that's the least significant bit of today's news. Adding Starlink satellites to orbit, you see, was only a small part of Sunday's mission. The larger part was reducing the cost of putting satellites in space—dramatically—with the first successful demonstration of SpaceX's Smallsat Rideshare Program ... and setting a new record for most satellites put in orbit by a single rocket.

One More Thing

‘An Over-Patterned Couch‘—Airmen Can’t Wait to Say Goodbye Forever to Their Tiger Stripe ABUs

Task & Purpose

In a few short months, the Air Force will say goodbye to one of its stranger fashion choices: the tiger stripe-patterned Airman Battle Uniform (ABU), which was the branch’s official uniform from 2011 to 2018. From its grey-blue stripes to its stiff material and baggy look, there was a lot not to like about the ABUs, and many airmen celebrated their branch’s decision to switch over to the woodsy Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform in 2018. Still, as the last day of the ABU approaches on March 31, one airman, Master Sgt. Mike Smith of the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, Tenn., took the time to ask his peers for their memories of the uniform, both good and bad. The results are pretty great.