Austin Visits Non-NATO Partner Georgia to Tout New Russia Deterrence Efforts

Before Russia took NATO by surprise in 2014, invading Ukraine and taking the Crimean peninsula, some 200 miles from NATO shores was Georgia. In the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2006, Russian President Vladimir Putin spurred a frozen conflict, and Russia still occupies some 20 percent of Georgian territory. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III visited Tbilisi on Oct. 18 ahead of the NATO ministerial meetings in Brussels Oct. 21-22. He assured the aspiring NATO member that the U.S. is at its side. During the visit, he signed a defense memorandum to enhance deterrence amid continued Russian hybrid warfare, including disinformation and cyber attacks.

As National AI Panel Shuts Down, New Think Tank Emerges to Continue Its Work

The congressionally chartered National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence has completed its work, but the team that created its 756-page report will continue, backed this time by its former chair, Eric Schmidt, who is committing his own money to the new effort, dubbed the "Special Competitive Studies Project." Schmidt was chief executive officer, then executive chairman, at Google and its parent company, Alphabet, from 2001 to 2017, then served as a technical adviser to Alphabet until 2020. He ranks 30th on Forbes’ 2021 list of “400 wealthiest Americans” with a fortune worth $23.5 billion.

Radar Sweep

Turkey: US Proposed to Sell It F-16 Fighters

Defense News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Oct. 17 that the United States has proposed the sale of a batch of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey to compensate Turkey’s $1.4 billion investment in the U.S.-led multinational F-35 program. Turkey committed to buy more than 100 F-35s but was removed from the program after it decided to purchase the Russian-made S-400 long-range air and anti-missile defense system.

Air Force to Launch Munitions From C-17s

National Defense Magazine

The Air Force is planning a live-fire demonstration before the end of the year that could transform C-17 and C-130 airlifters into strike aircraft. During the experiment, called the Rapid Dragon campaign, the rear cargo door of a C-17 will open for a high-altitude air drop of a large roll-on/roll-off pallet loaded with munitions, according to the service’s strategic development planning and experimentation office.

Russia Suspends Military NATO Office Amid Espionage Accusations

Breaking Defense

Russia announced Oct. 18 it is suspending its military liaison mission to NATO in retaliation for the alliance kicking out eight Russian diplomats it claims were really spies. In announcing the move, the Russian foreign ministry alleged NATO’s “policy towards Russia is becoming increasingly more aggressive” and called the expulsion of its officers, as well as the downsizing of the liaison mission, “unfriendly gestures.”

US Vows to Pay Relatives of Afghans Killed in Drone Strike

The Associated Press

The U.S. Defense Department said Oct. 15 that it is committed to offering condolence payments to relatives of the 10 people who were killed in an errant U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said in a statement that the Defense Department was also working with the State Department to help surviving family members relocate to the United States.

OPINION: Small States in Outer Space: Monaco’s Ambitions for the NewSpace Age


“Previously seen as a source of national pride reserved only for superpowers, space exploration has now become the focus of emerging and smaller nations due to its economic and strategic importance. But defining where commercial interests end and where military interests begin is no easy task. These are often overlapping areas, which are slowly transforming space into a geopolitical "contested domain." It is exactly in this ambiguous reality that microstates could play a determining role,” writes Massimo Passamonti, CEO and founding partner of investment firm Privatam.

South Korean Air Force Chief Meets With US Officials Ahead of Major Defense Exhibition

Yonhap News Agency

South Korean Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Park In-ho met with a delegation of senior U.S. military and defense officials in Seoul on Oct. 18 to discuss bilateral cooperation. The talks with the U.S. delegation, including Heidi H. Grant, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, and Space Force Maj. Gen. DeAnna M. Burt, deputy commander of Space Operations Command, came a day before the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2021 begins its five-day run at Seoul Air Base, just south of Seoul.

This Silicon Valley Startup Could Design an Unmanned Supersonic Plane for the Air Force

The National Interest

Supersonic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can help combat pilots during training by acting as a near-peer adversary fighter, but sonic booms present an obstacle for these exercises. The U.S. military is looking for ways to reach supersonic speeds without the accompanying noise. This month, the U.S. Air Force awarded supersonic transport company Exosonic Inc. a direct-to-Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contract award that will fund the development of a low-boom supersonic UAV demonstrator.

One More Thing

Veteran Takes Flight, Sets Adaptive Paragliding Record at Age 103

Jackson Hole News & Guide

Fred Miles first piloted a plane 81 years ago after joining the United States Army Air Corps, which eventually became the Air Force. He joined the force after graduating from Syracuse University with an engineering degree and flew in World War II, again in the Korean War, and afterward for some time, for a total of 30 years. This past summer, he flew again, seated in a wheeled cart with a paraglider behind him, setting the record for the oldest adaptive paraglider to fly in the United States.