ABMS, in New Phase, Prepares To Start Fielding

The Air Force is ready to start buying some of the technology that will make up the Advanced Battle Management System, moving the program from theory to development, according to a May 21 release. First up will be new communications “pods” for the KC-46 Pegasus tanker, which will essentially serve as an internet hotspot allowing the USAF’s fifth-generation fighters—the F-22 and F-35—to communicate in real time.

F-16s Could Still be Flying Into the 2070s

The F-16, in service since the 1970s, could be flying with the Air Force into the late 2030s and with foreign air services into the 2070s, based on recently revealed USAF plans and Lockheed Martin's backorder of jets.
McQuiston Testimony

2 Key Defense Studies Focus on Science, Tech, and Diversity

DOD will release two reports this summer aimed at improving its science and technology enterprise. The master plan for research, development, test, and evaluation infrastructure is due to Congress by June 30, while another report assessing the diversity of the department’s research and engineering workforce is due out Aug. 31, said Barbara McQuiston, acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, during a May 20 House Armed Services subcommittee hearing on cyber, innovative technologies, and information systems. Both reports were mandated by the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.
Redstone Arsenal gate

Congress Questions if All Costs Considered in U.S. Space Command Basing Decision

Some members of Congress are questioning whether the Air Force truly took all costs into consideration when making the decision to relocate U.S. Space Command from Colorado to Alabama. The DAF led the search process, which is now the subject of two investigations: one by the Defense Department Office of Inspector General and one by the Government Accountability Office.

Radar Sweep

'An Honor Long Overdue:' After 70 Years, Ranger Legend Ralph Puckett Receives Medal of Honor


Retired Army Col. Ralph Puckett waited more than 70 years to receive the nation's highest award for combat valor. And when he got word that he'd be presented with the Medal of Honor, he questioned why the White House would go to all the trouble of presenting it to him. "I understand that your first response to us hosting this event was to ask 'why all the fuss ... can't they just mail it to me?'" President Joe Biden quipped at Friday's presentation ceremony. "I'm incredibly proud to give Col. Ralph Puckett's acts of valor the full recognition they have always deserved.’”

VA to Lift All Restrictions on Cemetery Visits Ahead of Memorial Day

Military Times

Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, Veterans Affairs officials are lifting all restrictions on visitors to veterans cemeteries across the country provided that they have been vaccinated against coronavirus. That means no masks, no social distancing, and no limits on group size at any of the 155 national cemeteries, starting May 26. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are expected to continue wearing masks and avoiding crowds, in keeping with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FCAS Developers Chasing the Sweet Spot in Mix of Fighter, Drone Designs

Defense News

Officials developing the trinational Future Combat Air System program are considering multiple combinations of sixth-generation fighter and remote carrier designs, with the intent to settle on a prototype for each in the next three years. As the first part of the first phase of the FCAS program wraps up by the end of 2021, France, Germany, and Spain are weighing three designs for the next-generation fighter prototype and six variations of remote carrier systems, French defense officials told reporters at a May 20 press conference.

The Future of SOF: Exclusive Interview with SOCOM Commander

Military Times

After 20 years of constant deployment as a key element of U.S. military response around the globe, special operations forces are at an inflection point. There are fewer commandos deployed, spending less time downrange that at any point in years. Yet the force continues to be plagued by incidents like the December slaying of a Delta Force NCO at Fort Bragg. And with President Joe Biden ordering all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the question becomes: What now for special operations forces in an era of increasing tension with China and Russia?

Congress to Vet Nominees for Air Force Secretary, Two More Key DOD Positions Next Week

Air Force Times

The Senate Armed Services Committee plans to hold a joint confirmation hearing May 25 to vet President Joe Biden’s nominees for Air Force Secretary and two other key Pentagon posts. Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s former acquisition boss who also spent time in industry, is up for the Secretary job overseeing the Air Force and Space Force. Heidi Shyu, previously the Army’s top acquisition official and a Raytheon alum, is under consideration to become undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. And Susanna Blume, who ran the Center for a New American Security’s defense program, is nominated to direct the Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office.

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Colorado Air National Guard to Break Ground on New Space Force Facility

Colorado Springs Gazette

The Colorado Air National Guard’s 138th Space Control Squadron will host a groundbreaking ceremony for its Space Control Building at Peterson Air Force Base on May 25. The facility will be the “foundation of Colorado’s offensive space control capability,” incorporating training, planning, and maintenance for one of the military’s only deployable space squadrons, officials said.

Space Force CO Fired Over Comments About Marxism in the Military Now Subject of IG Probe


The U.S. Air Force has elevated an investigation into a former Space Force commander who was fired for comments made during a podcast promoting his new book, which claims Marxist ideologies are becoming prevalent in the United States military. A command-directed investigation into Lt. Col. Matthew Lohmeier, who last week was fired as commander of 11th Space Warning Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, will now be investigated by the Air Force Inspector General, officials announced May 20.

Europe Making Progress on Sovereign LEO Constellation as OneWeb and Starlink Race Ahead


The industry consortium devising a satellite network to keep the European Union from falling too far behind the megaconstellation gold rush is weeks away from nailing down key criteria. The group has already made initial proposals on elements including frequency and orbital characteristics, according to Dominic Hayes, frequency manager for the EU space program at the European Commission’s Defence Industry and Space department.

One More Thing

Blue Origin Launches Dinosaur Bones into Space for 'Dream Big' Initiative


Jeff Bezos' commercial spaceflight company recently sent dinosaur bones into space to support its nonprofit's Dream Big Alabama initiative and the Huntsville Science Festival. The fossil fragments, each 65 to 70 million years old, lifted off in April on the 15th and last test flight before Blue Origin plans to start flying people aboard its New Shepard suborbital launch vehicle.