When it comes to implementing modern software development techniques, one of the Defense Department’s biggest problems has been its own budgeting system. The procurement, R&D, and operations buckets the military uses to fund the development of missiles, frigates, and tanks are anything but agile. But Congress has signaled that it’s ready to expand DOD’s use of “colorless” money for software, and Defense officials think it will be critical to future acquisitions, as long as the department doesn’t get in its own way by misusing the new spending authority.
Brush up on your English, enlisted Airmen. You’ll soon need to write in complete sentences. The Air Force is preparing to return to narrative-style writing on enlisted performance reports instead of the bullet lists that have proved more cryptic than clear. Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass announced the forthcoming change at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space & Cyber Conference. Airmen could save time if they aren’t trying to whittle down their responses into the “perfect bullet,” she told reporters.
“With the Defense Department weighing whether and how to change the U.S. military's footprint overseas, it’s time to make the American military presence in the Baltic states durable. Maintaining merely periodic American boots on the ground, sometimes there and sometimes not—especially while a more permanent U.S. presence takes shape in nearby Poland—sends the wrong message at the wrong time to NATO’s most vulnerable allies and to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” writes John R. Deni, a research professor at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.
The Air Force needs to better prepare to defend AI programs and algorithms from adversaries that may seek to corrupt training data, the service’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and cyber effects said Sept. 22. “There’s an assumption that once we develop the AI, we have the algorithm, we have the training data, it's giving us whatever it is we want it to do, that there’s no risk. There’s no threat,” said Lt. Gen. Mary F. O’Brien, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and cyber effects operations. That assumption could be costly to future operations.
The House of Representatives passed its version of the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act by a bipartisan 316-113 margin, paving the way for an investigation into the Afghanistan withdrawal, for women to register for the draft, and for new ships and missiles. The bill—which sets defense spending at $740 billion, $24 billion over what was requested by the Biden administration—now heads to the Senate, where changes undoubtedly await.
China has voiced opposition to Taiwan joining a major trans-Pacific trade deal as it flew 24 planes—including two nuclear-capable bombers—into the self-ruled island’s air defense zone, the biggest incursion in weeks, Taiwanese officials said. Last week Beijing submitted its own application to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Northrop Grumman has two Mission Extension Vehicles in orbit providing station-keeping services for two Intelsat geostationary satellites that were running low on fuel. The company, meanwhile, is preparing to launch a new servicing vehicle equipped with a robotic arm that will install propulsion jet packs on dying satellites. Six still-undisclosed customers have signed up to get their satellites serviced by the Mission Robotic Vehicle, projected to launch in 2024, Joe Anderson, vice president of operations and business development at Space Logistics, told SpaceNews.
Big, slow, and bulky, the C-17 Globemaster III cargo jet may not be the first aircraft that comes to mind for pulling off insane aerial stunts, but that didn’t stop a crew of Royal Australian Air Force aviators from doing it anyway. In a video posted to the unofficial U.S. Air Force subreddit on Sept. 23, you can watch as an RAAF C-17 zooms between skyscrapers in Brisbane, Australia, while some enthusiastic onlookers drop some very colorful commentary behind the camera.