Top Pentagon officials and defense industry executives huddled on hypersonic weapons development, marking a new level of attention to the area. But experts say the fiscal 2023 budget will be the true test of whether the Department of Defense is serious about building the necessary momentum to deliver hypersonic capabilities on a faster timeline.
As Air Force Special Operations Command scrambled to address anonymous allegations of foul play in special tactics training, the head of the 24th Special Operations Wing sought to reassure his subordinates that nothing was amiss. In a memo to Airmen, wing commander Col. Jason Daniels acknowledged the female officer did quit a key training phase last spring, but he said a second alleged departure wasn’t so clear-cut and a third was due to an injury the woman sustained. And what the anonymous letter saw as special treatment—including a chance to work for command leaders after she quit—Daniels viewed as a rare opportunity to solicit feedback from a uniquely talented female candidate.
As the Pentagon and the Intelligence Community grapple with how to harness runaway commercial space innovation, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has sent an unsolicited list of suggestions to Vice President Kamala Harris, the chair of the National Space Council, Breaking Defense has learned. The six-page memo was informal—not routed through the Office of the Secretary of Defense, nor directly requested by Harris’s office. Instead, it appears to be an effort by Kendall to put forth ideas that fit into the Dec. 31 United States Space Priorities Framework, which pledged to support the U.S. commercial space industry in global market competition while leveraging “new commercial space capabilities and services to meet national security requirements.”
The last group of Afghan refugees departed Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., on Jan. 26. Refugees lived in temporary housing on the base—the Aman Omid Village—and on several other military facilities before being resettled elsewhere in the United States. “I knew this was going to be a historic mission, but I didn’t realize how historic it would be,” Col. Ryan Keeney, 49th Wing commander, said at a recognition ceremony. “I couldn’t be prouder that the name Holloman remained with this task force. The Afghans that have departed here will remember [the name] for the rest of their lives.”
As of Jan. 5, the resettlement of Afghan evacuees at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., had cost taxpayers at least $626 million since the effort began back in August 2021, says a new Defense Department report. The base is one of eight domestic military bases responsible for resettling more than 75,000 Afghan evacuees in the U.S.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman said changes to buttons, name tags, and insignia will distinguish the Guardians of the newest service from the Air Force's Airmen. The goal is to “space it up a little bit,” Towberman said in a video message released internally last week, explaining that officials were ditching plans to introduce a completely new service dress uniform all at once. For now, “the chassis remains the same,” he said.
Air Force Academy Cadets Used to Learn Military Strategy in Classrooms. Now They’re Using War-gaming Flight Simulators
Cadets at the Air Force Academy are taking their military strategy courses out of the classroom for the first time and into the cockpits of 24 wargame-ready flight simulators as well as six unmanned aircraft simulators. “This is a quantum leap … in war fighter education,” said Col. Tom Swaim, head of the academy’s military and strategic studies department. The nearly $10 million project, dubbed the “Multi-Domain Laboratory,” has been four years in the making, according to Swaim.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass hosted a virtual all-call Feb. 4 for members of the 7th Air Force stationed across South Korea. Attendees included the 51st Fighter Wing of Osan Air Base, the 8th Fighter Wing of Kunsan Air Base, and remote tenant units throughout Korea. The pair made several attempts to visit the peninsula in person, but COVID-19 restrictions made it unfeasible. This was their first all-call with 7th Air Force members since they took their seats in August 2020. Hundreds of members attended the one-hour event.
The Air Force plans to enable and demonstrate a space internet that the military can use to connect and communicate via constellations of commercial spacecraft operating in various orbits. In a presolicitation by the Air Force Research Laboratory, officials confirmed the intent to award two to five contracts worth up to $40 million each for “multi-band, multi-orbit communication experiments.” The work would span a couple years, and AFRL already has sights set on some use cases of interest.
Air Force fans are used to a lot of grey. Grey jets, grey helmets, and sometimes grey skies overhead as the jets blast off down the runway. That’s why when the branch posted photos on Facebook of Airmen wearing bright yellow helmets as they strapped into the cockpit of their F-15E Strike Eagle last week, the color really popped. But that flash of color is not just there for style. In fact, it’s part of decades of tradition at the 336th Fighter Squadron, also called “The Rocketeers,” which has a rich history of defending America going all the way back to World War II.