The Defense Department has selected US semiconductor giant Intel to diversify designs and increase onshore manufacturing of chips used in Defense Department electronics and IT systems. The contract award is the first phase in the DOD’s Rapid Assured Microelectronics Prototypes—Commercial (RAMP-C) program, which is intended to bolster U.S.-based commercial foundries, the manufacturing facilities for high-end chips. Intel Foundry Services, launched this year, will lead the work, parent company Intel announced Aug. 23
A veteran-led effort called Task Force Dunkirk is working to evacuate Afghans who have worked with the United States. They’re up to about 150 people, mostly veterans of the infantry, Special Forces, or other special operations units. These volunteers are like “battle captains” in a virtual tactical operations center, which they manage via a variety of apps. The battle captains have been working in shifts of three or four, 24 hours a day. “We have evacuated about 116 people already,” said Joe Saboe, the founder of Trendlines, which provides consulting and software to help develop workforces. “We have [communications] with 800 individuals right now. They’ve all passed through vetting and evaluation process so we can get them out.”
With the Air Force aiming to develop, deploy and maintain the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent at a rapid pace starting in 2029 and lasting for decades, the need for a broad strategy encompassing cyber security, digital engineering, and other new technologies has never been greater, and that will require integrated support like never before.
With Defense Department leaders pushing to declassify and demonstrate an existing US anti-satellite weapon, the question becomes what kind of system might be revealed. Considering that whatever the system is, it has long been covered by the deepest, darkest cloak of secrecy—i.e. under a so-called Special Access Program, or SAP—it is impossible to say for sure. As the old saying attributed to the Tao Te Ching goes: “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”
The scene at the Kabul airport continues to be chaotic more than a week after the Taliban captured Afghanistan’s capital, with throngs of people so desperate to escape the country that some are passing babies over barriers to help get them out. But just three miles away, it’s business as usual at the Chinese embassy. China is one of only a handful of countries that have kept their embassies in Kabul open amid the Taliban takeover. Beijing’s interest in Afghanistan, at least in the short term, is more focused on preventing instability.
Drone pilots beware. Authorities at one of the nation’s top nuclear weapons laboratories issued a warning Aug. 23 that airspace over Los Alamos National Laboratory is off limits. The birthplace of the atomic bomb, Los Alamos lab reported that recent unauthorized drone flights have been detected in restricted airspace in the area. Officials said if you fly a drone over the lab, you likely will lose it.
“Recently confirmed Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, a former chief weapons buyer for the entire Defense Department, has returned to the Pentagon charged with leading the Air Force and the Space Force. When he served as chief of Pentagon acquisitions during the Obama administration, Kendall put great emphasis on competition, fixed price contracting, and on leveraging defense contractors’ internal research and development. As it turns out, this is exactly what is desperately needed to catapult the newly minted Space Force into an American space century, and it cannot come too soon,” writes Charles Beames, chairman of the SmallSat Alliance.
The Pentagon has confirmed that U.S. forces at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul could destroy any weapons and other equipment that they cannot take with them as they withdraw at the end of the ongoing evacuation operations. This comes as the planned deadline for the conclusion of this mission, Aug. 31, looms ever closer. To be completely gone by that date, American troops will have to begin packing up sooner than that, which only raises further questions about how many evacuees will actually be able to depart safely in the end, especially now that the Taliban says it has actively begun blocking Afghan citizens from leaving the country.
Delayed by the pandemic in 2020, a long-awaited homecoming for the remains of U.S. Army Air Force 2nd Lt. George M. Johnson is tentatively set for Oct. 2, with reinterment in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Seaford, Del.