rocket cargo vanguard

‘Rocket Cargo’ Becomes Latest Vanguard Project to Get Priority from Air Force

The Air Force wants to soon be able to deliver cargo from space, and it is putting real money behind the effort. The Department of the Air Force announced June 4 that the Rocket Cargo effort is the department’s fourth Vanguard program, joining the Skyborg wingman drone, the Golden Horde weapon swarming initiative, and the Navigation Technology Satellite 3 as top priorities to move from science and technology development to real-world programs. “Together with the Space Force, we will research commercial capabilities for DOD logistics,” said Maj. Gen. Heather L. Pringle, commander of the Air Force Research Laboratory, in a briefing. “Rocket Cargo is envisioned as a DOD interface with commercial capabilities, where we will deliver up to 100 tons of cargo anywhere on the planet in tactical timelines.”
b-21 costs

Ray: B-21 Program Structure Keeps it On-Track and On-Cost

The success of the B-21 program so far is due to its modular approach and incremental changes to its technology, not its requirements, Air Force Global Strike Command head Gen. Timothy M. Ray said. “We’ve codified the approach … of open mission systems [and] modularity of design, and that allows us to keep very stable requirements” on the B-21, Ray said during a June 3 virtual Air Force Association Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event. Ray also touted the B-52 re-engining program as a tanker-saver, saying that giving the Stratofortress a digital backbone is another necessary part of the bomber portfolio.
Gen. Arnold Bunch

Air Force Seeks Quicker ABMS Increments Despite Reduced Funding

Despite reduced funding for the Advanced Battle Management System in the fiscal 2022 budget request, the Air Force is aiming to field increments of the system more quickly, Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., head of Air Force Materiel Command, told reporters. The Air Force will also do better at “outlining what we’re doing and pushing increments out,” he said. The Air Force will continue to do ABMS experimentation to “look at the art of the possible” for capabilities that will be included in future increments, and those new increments will be fielded more regularly than they have been, Bunch said.

Space Force Wants Extra $832 Million for Unfunded Priorities

The Space Force is asking for an additional $832 million to protect existing assets, make its space architecture more resilient, better train Guardians as warfighters, and grow new missions in its unfunded priorities list submitted to Congress. The list details priorities not funded in the service's $17.4 billion budget request for 2022 and comes on the heels of the Air Force’s $4.2 billion unfunded priorities list.
buckley space force base

From Air Force to Space Force Base, Buckley Takes ‘Important Step’ With Renaming

The military installation in Aurora, Colorado, has cycled through several names in its 82-year history. On June 4, it received a new one—Buckley Space Force Base. Buckley was already home to Space Force’s Space Delta 4 and Buckley Garrison before the official renaming ceremony June 4. With the switch, it now becomes just the fourth base to take on the Space Force name, a key step in aligning the base's title and mission, said Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, Space Operations Command boss.

Radar Sweep

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‘Find Him and Kill Him’: An Afghan Pilot’s Desperate Escape

The New York Times

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.

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Exclusive: U.S. to Give Ransomware Hacks Similar Priority as Terrorism


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.

DOD Outlines Tenets of Responsible Artificial Intelligence

Defense One

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.

Defense Firms Quietly Resume Political Giving After Post-Insurrection Pause

Defense News

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.

Civilian-Trained Pilots May Get Leg Up in Air Force Career Through New Program

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.

Multibeam Antenna to Improve Communication Passes First Air Force Trials


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 Korea’s Air Force Chief Resigns over Woman’s Death

The Associated Press

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.

Scientists, Generals, Policy Experts Ponder Future Role of Space Force

Space News

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.

DOD Seeks $2.3B To Bolster US Chip Making

Breaking Defense

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.

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PETA Brings Protest of Military’s Cobra Blood Drinking to Thai Embassy, Austin’s House

Stars & Stripes

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.