Fighters Launch During Exercise Cope North 21

HASC Cites ‘Enormous Concern’ About F-35; Readiness Chair Suggests Buy Cutback

The House Armed Services Committee has “enormous concern” about the F-35 fighter’s sustainment, and suggested Congress may cut back on purchases of the jet to let the sustainment enterprise catch up, Readiness subcommittee chair Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) said March 19. He also said he wants an integrated plan from USAF's sustainment enterprise about how it will care for old systems while waiting for new ones to come online.

Report Details Systemic Issues Among Aircrew Flight Equipment Airmen

Aircrew flight equipment Airmen face deep problems maintaining proficiency, largely stemming from inadequate training and high operations tempo, and the Air Force should respond by expanding the number of personnel and overhauling the career field’s progression, according to a new report. Air Combat Command tasked RAND Project Air Force to investigate the causes of deficiencies within the AFE career field because of continued problems that rose to the level of command leadership, the organization wrote in a 150-page report published March 17. RAND recommends the Air Force adds personnel, overhauls promotions, and creates new officer roles to advocate for the enlisted-only career field.
USSF Lt Gen Saltzman Participates in AIAA ASCEND Summit

Space Force Increasing International Outreach as the Service Grows

As the military’s newest service continues to grow its own ranks, it is expanding collaboration with allies through more exchanges, data sharing agreements, and increased participation in major wargames. Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, the U.S. Space Force’s deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber, and nuclear, said during a March 19 Brookings Institution event that growing these efforts is a major initiative because space-based capabilities are important assets for both the U.S., and international allies. “We recognize that we are far more powerful, from protecting and defending and actually accomplishing space operations and space capabilities, if we do it as an allied, partnered force,” he said.

AFRL Breaks Ground on $3.5 Million Space Environment Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory on March 16 broke ground on a 3,500-square-foot facility located on 72 acres at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., that will allow the Space Vehicles Directorate to test sensor systems before sending them to the field. The Skywave Technology Laboratory is slated to cost $3.5 million, and “will provide the work space our teams needs for space environment research, which involves developing and testing new instrumentation, preparing for field experiments around the globe, as well as collecting and processing data to support ionospheric and radio frequency research,” said Todd Parris, head of the Geospace Environment Impacts and Applications Branch, in a release.

Radar Sweep

OPINION: F-35 in the Crosshairs: Despite Criticism, America Needs the Fighter Jet

Defense News

“The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), recently called the F-35 program a ‘rathole’ and news reports attacked the aircraft’s costs, leaving the public to wonder about America’s newest fighter jet,” writes Douglas Birkey, executive director of the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “Reality dictates a far different conclusion, however: The F-35 is an operational success.”

Rogers: Proposed Cuts to Military Spending ‘My Biggest Concern’


Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said March 18 that he will challenge any proposed cuts to the Defense Department’s budget and called on the U.S. Space Force to invest in advanced technologies to compete with China.

OPINION: Why the F-35 Rules: Study History, Study the Costs, Study the Threats

The National Interest

“Using an F-15EX, a fighter designed in the 1970s, in a hot, high-threat environment today would be suicide—not just for the F-15EX crews, but for the combatants relying on those jets to come through,” writes John “JV” Venable, an Air Force veteran and senior research fellow for defense policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Top Lawmaker: Army Budget Needs ‘Not Even Close’ to Navy, Air Force

Breaking Defense

Speaking at an event sponsored by an amphibious warship lobbying organization, House Seapower Committee Chairman Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) said the traditional one-third breakdown between the Army, Navy, and Air Force budgets doesn’t match the reality of the current global competition, which is increasingly focused on the Pacific.

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Hicks Approves NGI Project

Inside Defense

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks has approved the Next Generation Interceptor project to proceed.

OPINION: What Do We Know About China’s Newest Missiles?

Defense One

“As ‘great power competition’ becomes the lingua franca of American strategy, U.S. policymakers and analysts must build a greater familiarity with the Chinese strategic systems that increasingly worry combatant commanders and which would play an essential role in any Indo-Pacific crisis,” write Peter W. Singer, a strategist at New America, and Ma Xiu, an analyst currently researching the PLA Rocket Force at BluePath Labs, LLC.

One More Thing

The Future of the F-35 and the US Air Force Fighter Fleet

CNBC on YouTube

The Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapons program ever devised. Costing well over a trillion dollars, the F-35 was supposed to replace the frontline fighters for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force. But costly delays and setbacks have potentially pushed the Air Force to look for a cheaper option to help fill in the gaps left by the expensive F-35A.