Biden Putin

Biden Says Troops ‘Not On The Table’ to Shore up NATO Eastern Flank, Deter Russia from Invading Ukraine

President Joe Biden said unequivocally Dec. 8 that no U.S. troops would be used to deter Russia from invading Ukraine. Meanwhile, administration and DOD officials said there are no plans for additional defense assistance after a final small arms delivery this week. In the aftermath of a tense videoconference between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin Dec. 7, the White House has sought to de-escalate tensions with Russia and lend credence to a diplomatic solution to the crisis at the Ukrainian border, where Russia maintains more than 100,000 troops. In recent weeks, Russia has consolidated forces on multiple fronts to the north and east of Kyiv and wields a sizable Black Sea fleet to Ukraine’s south.

Congress Wants AETP Engines to be Installed in All F-35As Starting in 2027

Congress wants new engines in the F-35 fleet, with installs starting in 2027, according to language in the conference version of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The Air Force is to use at least one of the engines developed under the Advanced Engine Transition Program, but the Navy and Marine Corps might use a version of the AETP or an upgrade of the F135 that powers the fighter now. Left unsaid is how Congress wants the services to compete production of the new engines; whether a winner-take-all approach or an annual, competitive buy.
space highway

US Needs ‘Resilient, Robust’ Space Highway, Space Force General Says

Within the next five to 10 years, Space Force Brig. Gen. John M. Olson envisions far more than just one mission from NASA to return humanity to the moon—he anticipates a “vibrant commercial focus” led by rapidly expanding space companies. And a key component of that will be a “resilient, robust hybrid space architecture, one which has a vision that is well off to the moon and perhaps beyond,” said Olson, the mobilization assistant to the Chief of Space Operations.

Radar Sweep

F-35 Helmets that Fix ‘Green Glow’ are on their Way—But Not to the Air Force

Air Force Times

An F-35A instructor pilot’s nighttime refueling lesson early this year turned into a midair nightmare when he struggled to see nearby jets and grew disoriented from his helmet’s so-called “green glow.” The problem led to an investigation that found the $400,000 helmet was poorly designed or unsuitable for missions in the Air Force’s premiere fighter jet, according to a safety report obtained by Air Force Times. Despite the risks on display that night, the Air Force hasn’t yet joined the Navy and Marine Corps in updating the helmets for its version of the F-35 Lightning II. If it does, the earliest the new gear could arrive is in 2023.

Air Force Previews Plan to Phase Out Enlisted Drone Pilots

Air Force Times

Four years into an experiment to let enlisted airmen fly reconnaissance drones, the Air Force is signaling plans to wind down the program.The proposed change — outlined in a Nov. 29 letter from Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass—would reroute the careers of about 75 enlisted airmen who fly the RQ-4 Global Hawk, one of the military’s most in-demand platforms.

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‘Greetings, Mr. President’: Biden and Putin Hold 2-Hour Virtual Summit

The New York Times

President Joe Biden warned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Dec. 7 that an invasion of Ukraine would result in heavy economic penalties for him and lead NATO to reposition its troops in Europe, measures that he said would go well beyond the West’s response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea seven years ago.

New Air Force Rules Allow Hands in Pockets, Slew of Uniform and Appearance Changes

Loosened Air Force dress and appearance standards have taken effect, giving Airmen license to put their hands in their pockets and talk on cellphones while walking, among other changes. The rules, which were implemented on Dec. 3, also allow men an extra half-inch bulk of hair or cosmetic scalp tattoos "to create a natural hair appearance" to compensate for thinning hair.

Aircraft Propulsion: The Power of Modern Propulsion

Air Force Magazine

The engines that power the Air Force are the best in the world. But as technology continues to evolve, new improvements promise greater power, range, and other capabilities. Read the latest on advances in aircraft engines and propulsion technology.

Oklahoma Air Force Employees File Legal Challenge Against Federal Vaccine Requirement

The American Federal of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 2586, which represents civilian employees of the U.S. Department of Defense at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma, along with three other individuals filed the lawsuit last week in federal district court. The lawsuit, led by attorney Rachel Bussett, claims the mandate violates the fifth and tenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Tuskegee Airman Celebrates 102nd Birthday at 12th FTW

USAF release

In the coming year, Joint Base San Antonio will hold numerous events to celebrate the U.S. Air Force’s 75th anniversary, and as part of the celebration, this week the 12th Flying Training Wing helped a Tuskegee Airman, retired Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee, celebrate his 102nd birthday. McGee, and several members of his family, visited JBSA Dec. 6 and were treated to a heritage tour of the 99th Flying Training Squadron, where they also saw a T-1A Jayhawk on the nearby flightline with his name painted on the side.

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Ukraine, Explained

The New York Times

Putin believes that Ukraine—a country of 44 million people that was previously part of the Soviet Union—should be subservient to Russia. The two countries share a 1,200-mile border as well as cultural and linguistic ties. But instead of aligning itself with Russia, Ukraine has shifted toward the West, including the toppling of a Putin-backed leader in 2014. Ukraine’s current president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has pushed back against Russia’s attempts to expand its influence.

One More Thing

New Traveling Display Showcases 75 Years of Air Force History

Dayton Daily News

The Air Force Materiel Command History Office has captured 75 years of Air Force highlights with a brand-new traveling heritage display. “I tried to capture overlooked people, places, and things such as lesser-known aircraft, and this display offers many surprises that will instill Air Force Blue within all of us,” said AFMC Historian Jack Waid, project lead. The U.S. Air Force turns 75 years old on Sept. 18, 2022, and the new exhibit showcases significant events throughout the service’s history.