Space Force human capital plan

Space Force Releases First Ever Human Capital Plan

The Space Force has released its first ever human capital plan, touting it as an “aspirational” document aimed at bolstering and developing the U.S.'s newest, smallest military branch. “It's really cutting edge. It's forward leaning, forward looking. It’s pushing the boundaries,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond said at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference. “It's uniting all aspects of personal development, from assessments to recruiting to development, for all Guardians—officers, enlisted, and civilians.”
hypersonics air force

‘Unsatisfied’ with Hypersonics Progress, Kendall Questions USAF’s Strategy

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said he's "unsatisfied" with the pace of progress in Air Force hypersonics programs and even "the degree to which we’ve figured out what we need from hypersonics." Speaking to reporters at AFA's Air, Space & Cyber Conference, he said he's “pretty clear” on how China and Russia plan to use their hypersonic missiles, which experts say are ahead of U.S. programs. He acknowledged progress but concluded, “I would like to see it be better.”
ASC 2021 John Raymond Space Force

New Guardians, Unit Transfers Will be Delayed With CR, Space Force Says

The incorporation of 350 new Guardians into the Space Force and the transfer of units and missions, including satellite communications capabilities from the Navy and Army, will be delayed if a defense budget does not pass by Sept. 30, Space Force leaders indicated. Space Force Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson cited the required new budgetary authority from the pending National Defense Authorization Act, which is still moving through Congress.
russia threat

VanHerck: ‘Russia is the Primary Military Threat to the Homeland Today’

Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, said Russia remains the most urgent and immediate threat to the homeland even while China captures the attention of defense policymakers. VanHerck explained that while China is the “long-term existential threat” to America, Russia is the stronger warfighting threat today.
munitions

Longer Ranges, More on an Airframe: Imagining a New Era of Weapons Needs

Munitions needed in a near-peer competition, especially with China, may call for longer ranges, and aircraft may need to be able to carry more of them. Defense industry executives made these projections among others in a panel discussion Sept. 20 at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference. The executives also said they expect more testing to take place in virtual environments, partly in the interest of efficiency also in that of secrecy.

AI Algorithms Deployed in Kill Chain Target Recognition

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall alluded to an event in which artificial intelligence helped to identify a target or targets in "a live operational kill chain” in his remarks at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Sept. 20. Kendall offered the description as an example of his “No. 1 priority,“ which he said is investing in “meaningful military capabilities that project power and hold targets at risk anywhere in the world.”
Weapons School Exercise kicks off

Contract for New B-52 Engines ‘Imminent’

The contract to re-engine the B-52 bomber should be awarded by the end of this month, senior service acquisition officials reported Sept. 21. The B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program seeks to replace the B-52’s original-equipment TF30 engines with new powerplants that should improve fuel burn and range while requiring far less maintenance.
First ANG F-35 Pilot Graduates from USAF Weapons School

Air Force Wants New Engine for F-35—If It’s Affordable

The Air Force wants to use propulsion developed under the Adaptive Engine Technology Program in the F-35A but may not be able to afford doing so on its own if the Navy doesn't also underwrite some of the integration effort, Department of the Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Sept. 20. The F-35 Joint Program Office has said the Air Force alone would have to bear the cost for changing the engine if it chooses to.
afghanistan drone strike

Kendall Asks IG to Investigate Afghanistan Drone Strike

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall has ordered an investigation into the facts and circumstances related to the erroneous Kabul drone strike Aug. 29 that killed 10 civilians. The effort will be led by Air Force Inspector General Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, who will report directly to Kendall.
zero-trust

Air Force Turns to Startup for Help Implementing Zero Trust Tech

The Air Force is trying out a new tool to help implement its zero trust information technology architecture through an AFWERX research contract with Silicon Valley startup Illumio. The company is working with the Department of the Air Force Zero Trust Task Force to identify key pilot projects. Any Air Force or Space Force base would be able to access the tools.

Radar Sweep

Pentagon's Top Nuclear Policy Official Ousted in New Reorganization

Politico

The Pentagon’s top official overseeing nuclear and missile defense policy, including a review of America’s atomic weapons posture set to be completed early next year, is leaving her post at the end of the month after only eight months on the job. The Defense Department is reportedly eliminating her job in a reorganization effort.

Pentagon Stays Mum on Troop Housing Allowance Boost to Offset Pandemic Pinch

Military.com

U.S. service members living in locations gripped by housing shortages and ballooning rental costs worsened by the coronavirus pandemic may get some relief through an increase in their Basic Allowance for Housing as early as Oct. 1. Or maybe they won't. So far, the Pentagon has declined to say whether the increase will be approved, despite an apparent memo circulating online and percentage increases posted by one service.

Our Best Look Yet at ‘Rapid Dragon’ Cargo Plane-Launched Stealth Cruise Missiles in Action

The Drive

The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin have provided new looks and additional insights into a recent full demonstration of the Rapid Dragon air-launched palletized munitions concept. On this occasion, surrogate weapons were delivered from the cargo holds of a C-17A Globemaster III airlifter and an EC-130J Super J, a psychological warfare platform based on the classic Hercules transport.

ICBM Modernization And Sustainment: A Comprehensive Approach to Building GBSD

Air Force Magazine

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 cybersecurity, digital engineering, and other new technologies has never been greater, and that will require integrated support like never before.

The Promotion Outlook: What Lies Ahead for Air Force Officers and Enlisted Airmen

Air Force Times

A major overhaul to the Air Force’s officer promotion system last year has improved diversity and bolstered readiness, with more updates planned in the next six months. The service is moving toward a system that incentivizes a baseline set of leadership qualities as well as the skills and tasks that spell success in each profession, rather than judging all Airmen on accomplishments most often garnered by pilots and other frontline troops.

AFRL’s Golden Horde ‘Gladiator’ Drones to Compete Virtually

Breaking Defense

Virtual “gladiators”— digitally designed, highly autonomous drones—will spar in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s new Golden Horde Colosseum to test technologies enabling them to swarm a target or pair with piloted aircraft. The aim of the contests, under an initiative called Operation Protovision, “is to provide a virtual environment where we can bring the best of breed that industry has in collaborative weapons, whether it’s autonomous software or networked radios, and look for opportunities for them to have a virtual environment and have a bit of a virtual face off,” Maj. Gen. Heather L. Pringle, AFRL director, said.

Trump’s Red, White, and Blue Air Force One Paint Job is Not Final, General Says

Defense One

The red, white, and blue paint scheme selected by former President Donald Trump for the next Air Force One has not been finalized, a top Air Force general said Sept. 21. A final decision about the color will be made closer to when the planes enter service, which is now even later than planned due to supply chain issues, according to Lt. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, the Air Force military deputy for acquisition.

Israel Wants to Put New Equipment Inside the F-35

Breaking Defense

Israel’s air force has asked the U.S. to allow greater access to the core avionics of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters with the goal of installing new Israeli-developed systems onto the stealth fighter, according to a top Israeli officer. “The effort is to find the right balance between the U.S. restrictions and the Israeli operational demands,” Brig. Gen. Nir Barkan, Israeli Air Force chief of the air staff and the No. 2 officer for the IAF, said in an exclusive interview with Breaking Defense.

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Tequila Bottles Found on New Boeing Air Force One Jet in Development

Wall Street Journal

Two empty liquor bottles were found this month on one of Boeing’s new Air Force One planes under development in San Antonio, people familiar with the matter said. The discovery of miniature bottles of tequila on one of the future U.S. presidential jets is under investigation by the company, these people said. It couldn’t be determined where on the plane the bottles were discovered.