The Missile Defense Agency’s $9.6 billion fiscal 2023 request seeks to expand regional and homeland defenses against increasingly complex and capable missile threats. The MDA asked for $8.9 billion in fiscal 2022 but received an additional $1.5 billion from Congress for a total of $10.4 billion. Congress has boosted the MDA two years in a row, arguing there’s a disconnect between the agency’s requests and its ability to meet the requirements of the National Defense Strategy.
The Pentagon warned March 29 that Russia’s announcement that it was “drastically reducing hostilities” in Kyiv and Chernihiv is not a real withdrawal and said Russian leader Vladimir Putin still hopes to take all of Ukraine. “Nobody should be fooling ourselves by the Kremlin’s now recent claim that it will suddenly just reduce military attacks near Kyiv, or any reports that it’s going to withdraw all its forces,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said.
The White House is requesting an 11 percent boost to the Department of Veterans Affairs' budget for 2023, money that would fund anticipated increases in medical costs, expand the family caregiver program, and provide for several capital improvement projects at medical centers and cemeteries. The $301 billion proposal marks the first time the VA's budget would exceed $300 billion—more than six times what it was in fiscal 2001 just before the 9/11 attacks and subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—and moves the department second only to the Defense Department in discretionary spending.
The beefed-up Joint Requirements Oversight Council’s newfound influence is apparent in the fiscal 2023 budget’s orientation toward joint warfighting, according to Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Christopher W. Grady, who leads the council. “I’m very confident that the JROC is having a significant impact, which is what I’m responsible to help with,” Grady said.
Despite reform efforts by the Trump administration and a major push from the defense industry, American unmanned aerial vehicle exports remain limited to a handful of countries. With the conflict in Ukraine proving the benefit of such systems, a new reform push is needed to be able to supply allies in Europe and elsewhere with the best American equipment, argues Heather Penney of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies in this new op-ed.
Burn pits are well known within the military community, but the reasons for using them and the dangers that accompany them are less familiar to the American public. With the topic gaining prominence in recent months, here’s a look at the issues surrounding burn pits and the help veterans could receive in dealing with their effects.
The Pentagon's latest budget request, released March 28, includes an ask for another $1 billion to help the Navy deal with the Red Hill fuel spill that has sickened and displaced thousands of military families in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The money would go toward a new recovery fund that would let the department "quickly and flexibly address the health, environmental, and national security needs of the community."
Defending against missile threats launched in, at, or through space has never been more challenging—or important. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Missile Warning & Defense page.
The Sukhoi Su-34 was supposed to change the Russian air force. The twin-engine, twin-seat, supersonic fighter-bomber—a highly-evolved variant of the Su-27 air-superiority fighter—promised to usher in a new era of high-tech, precision bombing. Instead, the Su-34s have flown into Ukraine lugging the same old dumb bombs. A lack of precision-guided munitions—not to mention Russian doctrine that conceives of aircraft essentially as flying artillery—forces the $50 million warplanes to fly low through the thickest Ukrainian air defenses in order to have any chance of delivering their bombs with any degree of accuracy. As a result, Su-34s are falling from the sky in numbers that must be startling for air force commanders. Their newest planes are suffering the same fate as their oldest.
In 2015, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to office promising to cancel a planned purchase of the F-35. Seven years later, the Trudeau government has decided the F-35 is the best solution for Canada’s needs. The announcement, made March 28 by Minister of Public Services and Procurement Filomena Tassi and Defense Minister Anita Anand, serves as a culmination of years of political wrangling between Canadian political parties and lobbying from the U.S. defense industry. The planned procurement of 88 jets could be under contract before the end of the year, with negotiations between Ottawa and prime contractor Lockheed Martin set to begin.
If the E-3 is too old to serve, what might take its place? Senior Air Force officials have their heart set on the E-7A Wedgetail, an airborne early warning and control system based on the Boeing 737 that the Royal Australian Air Force has flown for about 10 years. A better AWACS will make both fifth-generation fighters such as the F-35 and fourth-generation fighters such as the F-15 and F-16 stronger, Air Combat Command boss Gen. Mark D. Kelly said.
Airman and Guardian Olympians now have a new home, as the Department of the Air Force relocated its World Class Athlete and Air Force Shooting programs to Colorado Springs, Colo. Moving the programs from Air Force Services Center headquarters in San Antonio to Colorado puts Air Force and Space Force athletes in the heart of the U.S. Olympic training grounds, said Dale Filsell, DAF WCAP program manager. The move should improve program management and strengthen collaboration between the Air Force and the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, he added.
Turkey is negotiating the purchase of up to 100 South Korean-made engines and transmissions to power its first indigenous tank in the making, the Altay. Turkey’s top defense procurement official, Ismail Demir, said negotiations with two South Korean companies are focused on the quantity of power packs (which the engine and transmission make up) that would be supplied for the Altay program.
How the Legendary Ukrainian Pilot ‘Grey Wolf’ Earned His Call Sign, According to a US Air Force F-15 Driver
Few military pilots ever become household names, but one was heard around the world shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. Col. Oleksandr Oksanchenko, a retired Ukrainian Air Force pilot also known as “Grey Wolf,” joined back up to fight for his country when the war began Feb. 24. In the intensity of the fighting, Oksanchenko was killed by Russian anti-air defenses Feb. 25. One person who felt the loss personally was U.S. Air Force Col. Rob Swertfager, an F-15 fighter pilot with the California Air National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing, a unit that has worked closely with the Ukrainian Air Force since 1993. Among those friends was Col. Oksanchenko, who Swertfager described as a remarkable pilot, a clever fighter, and a buddy of the 144th Fighter Wing. But like many military callsigns, the origin of Oksanchenko’s “Grey Wolf” is not quite as badass as you might think.