air force space force

Heritage Foundation Ranks Air Force and Space Force as ‘Weak’ in New Report

The Heritage Foundation ranked both the Air Force and the Space Force as “weak” in its 2022 Index of U.S. Military Strength released Oct. 20, citing issues ranging from low readiness and misaligned investment in fourth-generation platforms to insufficient space domain awareness and offensive space weapons to match peer capabilities. Heritage, a conservative Washington, D.C., think tank, rated Air Force capacity and capability as “marginal,” its middle ranking, while scoring readiness and the overall Air Force as “weak” on a five-point scale of very weak to very strong.
diego garcia

B-1s Operate From Diego Garcia for First Time in 15 Years

B-1 bombers operated out of Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia for the first time in more than 15 years recently as part of Pacific Air Forces’ Bomber Task Force missions. The B-1B Lancers, along with around 200 Airmen from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., landed on the small island in the Indian Ocean on Oct. 17, the Air Force announced in a press release.
military AI

In AI Experiment, UK and US Simulate Adjacent Operations

Held an ocean apart but simulating adjacent military forces, a virtual demonstration Oct. 18 gave the U.K. and U.S. militaries cause to project optimism over someday jointly adopting artificial intelligence “that can learn in the field.” The test represented “just the first step” on the way to an “experimental trial environment,” according to the Air Force Research Laboratory, which hosted the test together with the U.K.'s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

Radar Sweep

Eielson to Receive Air Force’s First Nuclear Microreactor

The Associated Press

A base in interior Alaska has been chosen by the U.S. Air Force to receive its first nuclear microreactor. Eielson Air Force Base was selected in a project that began in 2019, when a National Defense Authorization Act requirement to identify potential sites for development and operation of a microreactor by 2027 began, Fairbanks television station KTVF reported.

Air Force Plans AWACS Analysis Contract Award to Boeing

GovCon Wire

The U.S. Air Force has indicated its intent to award Boeing a sole-source contract to study and analyze the E-7A Wedgetail aircraft configuration as the branch looks to replace its current E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system.

China Ambassador Nominee ‘Concerned’ by Beijing’s Nuke Buildup

Defense One

China is rapidly growing its nuclear arsenal in a way that should concern all Americans, according to the nominee tapped to be the top diplomat to Beijing. Nicholas Burns, who has been nominated to be ambassador to China, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Oct. 20 that he’s worried about Beijing’s exponential growth of nuclear capabilities both in terms of missile silos and advanced tools to deliver nuclear weapons.

Colonial Pipeline Hack Shows Peril of Ignoring Military Cyber Vulnerabilities: Kendall

Breaking Defense

The Colonial Pipeline hack should serve as a wake-up call for the U.S. military, which needs to move quickly to protect its logistics enterprise from cyberattacks, two top defense officials said today. In May, Russian-based hackers breached Colonial Pipeline’s networks, causing a gas shortage, skyrocketing fuel prices, and ultimately costing the company $5 million in ransom money—and all those hackers needed was one password, said Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, who spoke at the National Defense Transportation Association conference Oct. 18.

Top Official Says Cyber Operations Are ‘Not Just About the Systems’

Defense News

The Department of Defense is at an “inflection point” when it comes to cyberspace and cyber operations and must consider the role of the people behind cybersecurity systems, according to a top official. With adversaries increasingly using cyber operations to undermine national security, whether by stealing intellectual property or conducting influence campaigns to sow discord among the American public, the Defense Department has moved to a more offensive approach.

China Shows Off Drones Recycled From Soviet-era Fighter Jets

Defense News

China has for the first time showed off retired 1950s-era fighter jets that have been converted to unmanned drones, with satellite photos of two of its east coast bases near Taiwan showing a large number of the jets on site. The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command published the photos of two Shenyang J-6s on its Weibo social media account during a post about the ceremony marking the start of the training cycle for the second half of 2021 for a training brigade.

There’s a Good Reason Why This Air Force General Only Wears 3 Ribbons on His Dress Uniform

Task and Purpose

Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, the brand-new commander of Air Mobility Command, took nearly all of his 32 ribbons off his uniform for his most recent official service photo. Of those 32 ribbons, Minihan left only three on his chest, all of which were unit-based, rather than individual awards. One of Minihan’s public affairs officials said the general’s intent was to signal his commitment to team accomplishments over individual glory.

United Kingdom Tests High-Powered Laser for Shooting Down Drones

National Defense Magazine

The United Kingdom's is the latest military to test a new directed energy weapon developed by Raytheon Technologies to destroy rogue drones. Raytheon will attach its high-energy laser weapon system, or HELWS, to one of the British army’s tactical support vehicles—the Wolfhound—for a six-month experimentation period to demonstrate its ability to take out unmanned systems. The armed forces need greater strength and accuracy to face the growing threat of cheap, highly customized unmanned aerial systems, said Jason Nelsen, senior regional director of Europe and the Americas at Raytheon Intelligence and Space.

OPINION: Why the Pentagon Should Abandon ‘Strategic Competition’

Foreign Policy

“Nearly every child is taught when making a request to ‘say the magic word’: please. The U.S. Defense Department has recently been taught it too needs to say the magic word in every force, capability, or resource request. But the magic word isn’t please; it’s the phrase ‘strategic competition,’” writes Becca Wasser, a fellow in the defense program at the Center for a New American Security, and Stacie Pettyjohn, a senior fellow and director of the defense program at CNAS.

Rhea Space Activity to Develop Cislunar Space ‘Dashboard’ for US Air Force


The U.S. Air Force has extended a research contract with startup Rhea Space Activity to develop a software tool to monitor and predict the trajectory of satellites in cislunar space, the company announced Oct. 20. RSA last year won a Small Business Innovation Research Phase 1 award for a “lunar intelligence dashboard.” The new $697,000 Phase 2 award is to continue the project, which also is being funded by private investors.

One More Thing

Museum Foundation, Aviation Hall of Fame to Honor WASPs at Air Force Museum

Dayton Daily News

The Air Force Museum Foundation and the National Aviation Hall of Fame will honor the legacy of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) Nov. 11 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, WASP pilots flew 60 million miles during World War II in a variety of military aircraft, including fighters and B-17 and B-29 bombers.