Facing Down Semiconductor Supply Chain Threats

The lack of domestic chip supplies is a growing threat. John Abbott, an analyst at S & P Global Market Intelligence, said the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry lends itself to booms and busts, “with dips in the market having occurred roughly every five years since 1980.” This cycle has seen a double dip, both in 2019 and again now. Major aerospace contractors haven’t faced the extent of shortages that slowed automotive production, at least not yet. But regional breakdowns in the supply chain have highlighted concerns.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III

Austin Streamlines Authority to Deploy DC National Guard

Ahead of the anniversary of the January 6th Capitol Riots, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III issued a memo to streamline authority for deploying the DC National Guard. The December 30, 2021 memo would give the Defense Secretary sole authority to authorize the deployment of the DC National Guard in lieu of the Secretary of the Army, who previously had that authority. National Guard forces in the 50 states are commanded by the governor of the state unless activated under title 10, which federalizes the Guard to serve under the commander-in-chief. The DOD executive secretary is the single point of entry for DC government requests and the authority may not be further delegated, the memo states.

US Repels Attacks in Iraq, Syria on Anniversary of Soleimani’s Death

The danger faced by American troops training Iraqis and those fighting the Islamic State group in neighboring Syria remain high with U.S. Central Command repelling a drone strike Jan. 3 and destroying a rocket site Jan. 4. Two armed drones flew near an Iraqi military base hosting U.S. forces near Baghdad International Airport Jan. 3 when they were detected and shot down, according to press reports. The attempted attack came on the second anniversary of the assassination by a U.S. drone strike of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. Deir ez-Zour, Syria known as Green Village observed several launch sites of indirect fire rockets that posed “an imminent threat,” according to a Coalition official.
south korean f-35

South Korean F-35 Conducts Emergency ‘Belly Landing’

A South Korean air force F-35 pilot was forced to make an emergency “belly landing” but managed to escape unharmed Jan. 4, according to multiple media reports. The incident was caused by “avionic system issues,” South Korean air force officials told news agency Yonhap, which caused the landing gear to malfunction and resulted in the pilot landing on a runway with its gear up.

Radar Sweep

New in 2022: A Coming Debate Over Military Pay Could Lead to Troops’ Biggest Raise in 20 Years

Air Force Times

The pay raise is based on a federal formula called the Employment Cost Index which tracks private sector wages. With the exception of three years in the mid-2010s, that has served as a baseline for all pay discussions, and lawmakers in several cases have voted to go even higher. The ECI calculation for next year’s pay formula is 4.6 percent, up significantly because of increased inflation and wages across the country.

Lockheed Martin Beat its F-35 Delivery Goal for 2021

Breaking Defense

Lockheed Martin delivered three more F-35s than planned in 2021, handing over a total of 142 Joint Strike Fighters to US and international customers as the company continues to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic. The company was able to exceed its goal of 139 F-35s for 2021 due to the “efforts and dedication” of its suppliers and workforce “combined with the efficiencies of digital engineering,” Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed’s vice president of the F-35 program, said in a statement to Breaking Defense.

Angst Over China, Russia Lessens Chance of US Nuke Changes

The Associated Press

Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House nearly a year ago seemed to herald a historic shift toward less U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons and possibly a shrinking of their numbers. Even an American “no first use” pledge — a promise to never again be the first to use a nuclear weapon — seemed possible. Then China happened — revelations about its expanding nuclear force and talk of potential war with Taiwan. And then Russia happened — signs that it might be preparing to invade Ukraine. Now, major shifts in U.S. nuclear weapons policy seem much less likely.

The Latest on Missile Warning & Defense

Air Force Magazine

Recent Russian and Chinese missile launches raised the stakes in space. Find out the latest news on sensing, tracking, and defending against enemy missile strikes.

Raytheon Intelligence & Space Announces Leadership Updates

Raytheon Intelligence and Space release

Raytheon Intelligence & Space announced, effective today, that Kristin Robertson is joining the RI&S team as president of the Space & C2 strategic business unit. Robertson will serve on the RI&S senior leadership team and report directly to Roy Azevedo, president, RI&S.

Airmen Hand-paint F-35s for High-tech Stealth

USAF release

The F-35A has several panels that are frequently removed for routine maintenance and there are various fasteners that keep body panels in place. Without this maintenance, the jet’s ability to avoid radar and various defense systems using specialized materials can deteriorate. “The panels undergo a very in-depth process of different coatings just to remove the latches and cover the fasteners. In the end, there has to be a balance of covering the panel with the proper material while also maintaining full functionality,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Hicks, 419th Maintenance Squadron low observable craftsman. “This is the most frequent job done in the shop, while encompassing the processes of many of their tasks within the unit.”