CSAF: F-22 Not in USAF’s Long-Term Plan

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. wants to neck down the Air Force's fighter inventory from seven fleets to four, and the F-22 is not on his short list. The extant seven-fleet mix of fighters will need to be reduced to “four, … plus one,” Brown said. The objective mix will include the A-10 “for a while;” the Next-Generation Air Dominance system; the F-35, “which will be the cornerstone” of the fleet; the F-15EX; and the F-16 or its successor. He did not mention the F-22 or the F-15E.
Pentagon 2022 budget request

Wittman Calls for 3- to 5-Percent Increase in Defense Budget As Some Dems Seek Cuts

The fiscal 2022 Pentagon budget should be $753 billion, $38 more than the Biden administration's proposal of $715 billion, said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia), ranking member of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee. Wittman's proposal is an increase from the $731.3 billion Congress approved in total defense spending for 2021. A 3 percent inflation factor “takes us to $753" billion, Wittman said at the McAleese FY2022 Defense Programs Conference. At a separate event, House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) said many in his party want cuts in defense, with some Democrats calling for cuts of up to 10 percent.
house funding

House NDAA Vote Not Expected Until After August as Infrastructure Takes Priority

The House of Representatives likely won’t get the 2021 defense policy bill on to the floor for a vote until as late as July, as the Biden administration has not yet released its proposed budget and is making a major infrastructure bill its main priority, a key lawmaker said May 12. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland), the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee who serves on both the tactical air and land forces and emerging threats subcommittees, said lawmakers have called for the administration to “expedite” the delivery of the budget to start the process. However, the Democratic leadership have said the proposed American Rescue Plan should be up for a final vote before the August recess, and “if that happens, it will clearly happen before the defense authorization act,” Brown said.

U.S., Partner Space Launches on Track as Importance of International Collaboration Grows

Space and Missile Systems Center boss Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, speaking May 12 during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Space Power Forum, said strengthening ties with allies is increasingly important in both realizing “big-time” cost savings and speeding up the delivery of operational capability. In April, an SMC team went to Japan and “conducted successful interface verification testing” with U.S. optical sensor payloads and Japanese satellite simulators. This means the effort with the Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System is on track for payloads to be delivered to Japan in 2022, with launches scheduled for 2023 and 2024.
Raymond McAleese

Raymond: Expect the Space Force to Provide Tactical ISR

The U.S. Space Force will move more into the role of providing space-based tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance—a role typically filled by the intelligence community—with a new ground moving target indicator capability possibly coming soon. USSF Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond said that since small satellites have become more operationally relevant and the cost of launches has dropped, “there’s a role here for the Space Force and tactical-level ISR.” U.S. Space Command and the Space Force’s predecessor Air Force Space Command have not typically participated in this role, but now is the time to provide the service in a role that is “complementary” to what already exists, Raymond said.
First ANG F-35 Pilot Graduates from USAF Weapons School

Rep. Brown Explains Support for Full F-35 Buy

The F-35 has problems, but its operational success and critical role in future conflicts outweigh them, said Rep. Anthony Brown during the McAleese FY2022 Defense Programs Conference on May 12. He urged that the services' 2022 F-35 request—as well as any congressional adds—be supported by House leaders.

Radar Sweep

Decision on Minuteman to Shape US Nuclear Policy for Decades

The Associated Press

For 50 years the Minuteman missile has been armed and ready, day and night, for nuclear war on a moment’s notice. It has never been launched into combat from its underground silos, but this year it became the prime target in a wider political battle over the condition and cost of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

OPINION: Statistics Don't Support Removing Commanders from Military Justice

The Hill

“Recently, it was reported that the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assaults in the Military, established by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, recommended that it is time to remove commanders from the military justice system and to place in the hands of high-ranking military lawyers the decisions to prefer and refer court-martial charges. … We believe that removing the commander from decisions regarding court-martial charges is drastic and statistically unsubstantiated,” write law scholars Dave Schlueter and Lisa Schenck in The Hill.

OPINION: Redraw the Limits on Lethal Force Against Terror Groups

Defense One

“As the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan began last week, the Biden administration released a redacted version of former President Trump’s policy playbook that governed the use of lethal force against terrorism suspects, including via drone strikes. The new release renews public attention on a program that has been a cornerstone of America’s forever wars for nearly 20 years, and accentuates long-standing public concerns about the legacy of the post-9/11 security apparatus and the impact of U.S. lethal engagements,” write the Stimson Center’s Rachel Stool and Shannon Dick.

Space Force Seeks Bids for Rocket Engine Testing and Space Transportation Technologies

Space News

The U.S. Space Force on May 11 issued three requests for industry proposals on technologies that the military will need to reach space and to operate spacecraft in orbit. The Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise is seeking proposals for next-generation rocket engine testing, launch vehicle upper stage enhancements, and capabilities to maneuver in space. Proposals are due June 10.

Revised JADC2 Strategy Hits DepSecDef’s Desk

Breaking Defense

The Joint Staff has revised the Pentagon’s strategy for joint all-domain command and control (JADC2). Now Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks has to decide if it’s good enough. Also, the Joint Staff is making progress on an implementation plan for the new strategy as well as on a JADC2 reference architecture for sharing data across the services and combatant commands, said Army Brig. Gen. Rob Parker, deputy director of the Joint Staff’s J-6 directorate.

Vandenberg Air Force Base is Getting a New Name


A ceremony on May 14 will redesignate the base near Lompoc, California, and the 30th Space Wing as Vandenberg Space Force Base and Space Launch Delta 30, under Space Operations Command, United States Space Force.

JROC Takes More Control Over Service Weapon Buys

Breaking Defense

The Joint Requirements Oversight Council, led by Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Gen. John E. Hyten, is asserting new powers to direct how the services fulfill combatant commanders’ needs to ensure the future Joint Warfighting Concept is not undercut by competing service imperatives and parochial rivalries.

Germany Goes Hail Mary on Funding Europe’s Next-Gen Fighter

Defense News

German defense leaders have admitted there is no firm financing plan for the Future Combat Air System, but they still plan to submit the project to lawmakers for approval soon. At issue are the next phases for the German-Franco-Spanish, next-generation fighter aircraft, dubbed 1B and 2. The decision to proceed marks something of a point of no return given the billions of euros to be pumped into flyable prototypes.

One More Thing

This VR Tour Takes You into the Trenches of WWI, But Stops Short of Leaving You ‘Fully Traumatized’

Task and Purpose

Time machines don’t exist, but this exhibit might be the next best thing. War Remains, an immersive virtual reality experience at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, takes visitors back to the bloody trenches of World War I during the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele, where about 450,000 Allied and German soldiers were killed, wounded, or went missing outside the Belgian city of Ypres.