Maj. Naiem Asadi, an Afghan Air Force helicopter pilot, was forced to go into hiding with his family for seven months, then leave Afghanistan entirely after the Taliban threatened his life. Asadi is a member of the Hazara ethnic minority, which has been repeatedly targeted by the Taliban and ISIS, and said he faced discrimination even within the Afghan military. And in his attempt to come to the United States, he was declared AWOL and ordered to report for duty, only to refuse.
In the wake of several high-profile ransomware attacks on key industries, the U.S. Department of Justice is elevating investigations into the matter to a similar priority as terrorism, according to a senior department official. The attacks, in which hackers access systems and lock them down until companies agree to pay a ransom, will now be treated as matters of national security after the Colonial Pipeline was hit by one, leading to massive gas shortages on the East Coast.
In a department-wide memo signed last week, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks enumerated foundational tenets for responsible AI, reaffirmed the ethical AI principles the department adopted last year, and mandated the JAIC director start work on four activities for developing a responsible AI ecosystem.
Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman are all among defense contractors who have begun to once again donate money to political candidates and action committees after announcing pauses following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Some of those funds have gone to senators and representatives who voted against election results certifying President Joe Biden’s win.
The Air Force’s Civil Path to Wings program has accepted 33 aspiring pilots with previous flight experience, as part of the service’s effort to accelerate the training of those with a background in civilian flight. Those in the program will still have to undergo training, but individuals identified as “exceptionally well qualified” will get to bypass a portion of the traditional undergraduate pilot training. The program only applies to fixed-wing and heavy aircraft—those who wish to fly fighter jets still must attend UPT.
A prototype antenna developed by Isotropic Systems in conjunction with satellite operator SES Government Systems and funded by the U.S. Air Force has passed two early tests in its quest to connect with multiple satellites in multiple constellations simultaneously, even if they are in vastly different orbits. Such a development would ensure the Air Force’s systems can communicate even if one satellite is disabled. The new prototype has successfully connected with multiple satellites and shown it meets military requirements for acquiring and tracking satellites. A second round of tests will determine if it can do so with satellites from different orbital layers.
South Korean Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lee Seong-yong submitted his resignation on June 4 in the face of public criticism over the death of a female master sergeant under his command. The woman’s family says she was molested by a fellow master sergeant, reported the case to her superiors but killed herself in May after they tried to cover up the incident and pressured her to reach a private settlement with her abuser. A petition signed by more than 340,000 people is calling for punishments for anyone involved in a cover-up.
Over the course of a three-day retreat from June 2-4 titled “U.S. Space Force Space Futures Workshop,” leading academics, military leaders, and space experts gathered to discuss the future of the newest service branch, with the year 2040 as the group’s time horizon. USSF hosted a similar event in 2018 focused on the year 2060 and published a report on the retreat, and another report is expected from this week’s meeting as officials discussed the likelihood of an increasingly congested domain, especially with the rise of private and commercial enterprises.
The Pentagon’s 2022 budget request included more than $2 billion to boost its ability to manufacture specialized semiconductors, as well as investments in next-generation chip technology. The Defense Department gets semiconductors for its most important technology from U.S. “foundries,” facilities that manufacture microchips, but much of its other tech relies upon foreign foundries, particularly those in Asia, which could be more vulnerable to disruption.
Animal rights activist group PETA protested in front of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s Virginia home on June 3, as well as on the steps of the Thai embassy in Washington D.C., expressing outrage over the Marines tradition of killing and drinking blood from King Cobras during the U.S.-Thai military exercise Cobra Gold, images of which were distributed by the U.S. Army Pacific’s public affairs office on March 2, 2020.