Air Force Asks Boeing for E-7A Wedgetail Data for E-3 Sentry Replacement

The Air Force has taken the first step toward a rapid acquisition of Boeing’s E-7A Wedgetail airborne warning and control aircraft to replace the aging E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS, according to an Oct. 20 business opportunity announcement. The Wedgetail, which uses a fixed blade-like antenna on a 737 airframe—rather than a rotating radome like on the 707-based E-3 Sentry—was developed for the Royal Australian Air Force starting in 1999 and has operated with that service since 2009. It has also been selected by the U.K., Korea, and Turkey to equip their air services, offering interoperability advantages.

Austin Visits Romania Ahead of NATO Summit, Hints at Future Black Sea Deployments

Walking the flight line occupied by Blackhawk attack helicopters and American troops on rotation at the “MK” air base in Romania, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III highlighted the important strategic value of one of NATO’s newest members Oct. 20 ahead of NATO defense ministerial meetings in Brussels Oct. 21-22. In part, Romania’s investments have been made to lure additional American troops, who act as a deterrent to Russia. Austin then joined NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and defense ministers from the alliance Oct. 21 for two days of meetings that begin NATO’s strategic shift in the wake of the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Pentagon climate change

Climate Change Likely to Lead to Instability, Increased Risks For Pentagon, Report Says

Nearly nine months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Pentagon to incorporate the implications of climate change in its wargaming, analysis, and simulations, the Defense Department has released its Climate Risk Analysis report. The report, out Oct. 21, “provides a starting point for a shared understanding of the mission risks of climate change—and lays out a path forward,” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III wrote in its preface. 
military technology

Pentagon’s Push to Build Up Technology Talent ‘Insufficient,’ DIU Boss Says

Speaking during a virtual panel organized by the Center for a New American Security, director of the Defense Innovation Unit Michael Brown acknowledged that the Defense Department has a number of programs to bring in people necessary to bolster its tech efforts, such as the Technology and National Security Fellowship and the Defense Digital Service. But those success stories “are too small relative to what we need for the challenge going forward,” Brown cautioned.

Radar Sweep

Unwanted Global Hawk Drones Are Being Transformed to Support Hypersonic Missile Tests

The Drive

Northrop Grumman is going to repurpose four ex-U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk drones as Range Hawk surveillance platforms to monitor hypersonic missile tests. The change of role for the drones is part of the Air Force’s efforts to divest itself of the oldest Global Hawks and reflects the rapidly growing importance of the many hypersonic weapons now in development in the United States, across the services.

DOD Civilians Will Be Suspended Without Pay and Then Fired if They Do Not Get Vaccinated

Federal News Network

The Pentagon is preparing to hand down harsh punishments to civilian employees who do not comply with the executive mandate that government workers get their coronavirus vaccine. A memo released by the Defense Department states that civilians will ultimately be fired from their jobs if they are not fully vaccinated. DOD wants all of its civilians to get the shot and go through the required waiting period for antibodies to flourish by Nov. 22.

Investigation Finds Faulty Power Supply Part Caused KC-135 Nosedives

Air Force Times

The Air Force’s KC-135 Stratotanker fleet has returned to regular operations after the service discovered that a faulty power supply was to blame for causing two jets to unexpectedly nosedive earlier this year. Problems with the power supply, a subcomponent of the autopilot system, in May led the tankers to malfunction and suddenly tilt toward the ground. Neither jet crashed because of the issue.

The Military is Preparing for a ‘Space Superhighway,’ Complete With Pit Stops

Defense One

Like any family road trip, future missions to the moon and beyond may require a few pit stops. U.S. Transportation Command and the U.S. Space Force see a future space superhighway system where the United States, commercial partners, and allies would be able to make repeat, regular trips to the moon or beyond by using multiple hubs where they could gas up, have maintenance done, and even throw out their trash.

OPINION: Managing Risk in Force Planning

Heritage Foundation

“The United States is a global power with global commitments. As such, it cannot focus on a single problem or threat to the exclusion of others, nor can it seek to minimize risk across the board. To do so would be financially infeasible. Instead, the United States must seek to manage risk, setting priorities and allocating scarce resources to the most salient threats while accepting risk in other, less critical areas,” writes retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Walmart Out, CVS In: Changes Coming to Tricare's Pharmacy Network


After three years, Walmart is leaving Tricare's pharmacy network—a departure that pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts says is a result of the retail giant's reluctance to offer "more highly competitive discounts" to military health beneficiaries. At the same time CVS Pharmacy will return to the Tricare network after a five-year hiatus, a change Express Scripts spokeswoman Jennifer Luddy said would expand choice within the network.

Battle Brews Over Creating Space National Guard


The Space Force is here to stay. But the debate over whether the military's newest branch should have its own weekend warriors has turned into the latest space-based political brawl. Lawmakers from Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, and other states that are home to space operations are pushing for a dedicated Space National Guard that can provide a talent pool for the technical space branch. But the White House “strongly opposes” the move, arguing it “would not deliver new capabilities” and only “create new government bureaucracy.”

Iran Holds Nationwide Air Force Drill, Latest Armed Exercise

The Associated Press

Iran on Oct. 21 kicked off an annual air force drill across the country, a week after holding another massive exercise in air defense, state TV reported. The report said bombers, jet fighters, and attack and surveillance drones will participate in the drill, using heavy weapons including laser-guided missiles.

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US Holds Three Tests to Advance Hypersonic Weapon Programs, Pentagon Says


The U.S. Navy and Army tested hypersonic weapon component prototypes Oct. 20 that will inform development of new weapons, the Pentagon said, calling the three tests successful. The tests occurred the same day that President Joe Biden said he was concerned about Chinese hypersonic weapons.

‘Uncharted Waters’: With No Hyten Successor in Sight, DOD Prepares to Delegate Vice Chair Jobs

Defense News

With one month before the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, retires, the Biden administration has yet to name a successor. Experts are growing increasingly concerned that, even if a nomination were to come in the next few days, time is running out to get a new vice chair approved before Hyten’s term expires Nov. 21. And having a gap in the vice chair position could create multiple problems as the Pentagon does crucial work on future budgets and resource allocations, they say.