U.S. Bombers Operate in CENTCOM

US Could Put Bombers Back on Alert if it Moves Away from Triad, STRATCOM Boss Warns

As the new administration and Congress prepare. to take a critical look at the nuclear triad and overall need for nuclear modernization, the head of U.S. Strategic Command warned lawmakers that a reduction in the overall force could mean a return to Cold War norms. During testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Adm. Charles A. Richard said that while he welcomes a renewed review of the nuclear posture, cutting the intercontinental ballistic missile force and shifting to a “dyad” approach would require the military to completely reshape operations. “If you don’t have intercontinental ballistic missiles, we can’t meet that criteria. You are completely dependent on the submarine leg, and I’ve already told the Secretary of Defense that under those conditions I would request to re-alert the bombers.”
McKenzie HASC

Future Ops in Afghanistan Could Rely on New Bases in Nearby Nations

U.S. Central Command and American diplomats are working with nations surrounding Afghanistan on agreements to base troops and aircraft for counter terrorism inside the country following the military’s withdrawal. CENTCOM boss Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on April 20, said the command is going through “detailed planning” on what future operational plans and force laydowns could be after the withdrawal, which will be completed by Sept. 11, 2001. The ability to base aircraft and counter terrorism forces in nearby nations would make this easier, though there’s “no agreement with neighboring nations yet,” McKenzie said.

U.S. Forces Operating ‘Without Complete Air Superiority’ Due to Small, Armed Drones

The proliferation of small unmanned aerial systems, usually commercially available drones that can be outfitted to drop weapons, is the most “persistent and dangerous” threat to troops in the Middle East in decades. “These small- and medium-sized UAS proliferating across the [area of operations] present a new and complex threat to our forces, and those of our partners and allies,” U.S. Central Command boss USMC Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. told the House Armed Services Committee on April 20. “For the first time since the Korean War, we are operating without complete air superiority.”

Defending Forward Bases

China and Russia made huge strides in missile technology, while U.S. air base defense has languished. Now the United States is playing catch-up.
F-35 survivable

Sustainment Becoming Most Profitable Part of F-35 for Lockheed Martin

Sustainment of the F-35 is rapidly becoming the most profitable part of the program, as growing numbers of jets, bases and depots drive a greater demand for parts and services, top Lockheed Martin officials said in an April 20 corporate earnings call. The comments come against a backdrop of criticism of the F-35 for its high sustainment costs. Top executives also said the government needs to shift to a different, “80 percent” paradigm in testing to achieve needed acquisition speed.

Radar Sweep

DARPA Nuke Sat to Target Cislunar Monitoring Mission

Breaking Defense

DARPA’s effort to develop nuclear ‘engines’ for far-roving satellites also hopes to demonstrate the capability to keep “timely” tabs on spacecraft operating near the Moon, says program manager Maj. Nathan Greiner.

Repeated National Guard Missions in DC Trigger Frustration, Denials

Associated Press

Three months after more than 25,000 National Guard troops poured into the nation’s capital to secure President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Defense Department and Guard officials are losing patience and are denying some of the city’s recurring requests for troops to protect D.C.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., America’s First Black Air Force Chief, on Race, Tech, and the Trouble with AI

Fast Company

General Charles Q. Brown Jr. became the first Black chief of staff of the Air Force during a perilous moment for the United States. In the time between Brown’s nomination and his unanimous confirmation by the Senate, George Floyd died under the knee of officer Derek Chauvin on the street in Minneapolis. While angry protests and a national reckoning over race unfolded around the country.