Philippines

PACAF Watches Closely as Philippines Considers Military Ties With China

Newly elected Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has indicated he desires warmer relations with Beijing, saying he is even open to military ties with China, a move that would complicate Pacific Air Forces' efforts to protect U.S. interests with a forward presence in the South Pacific. “We have our relationship not only on one dimension,” Marcos said. “Let’s add to that: Let’s have cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, even military, if that will be useful.”
space weather

2nd Weather Squadron ‘Listens’ to the Sun as It Approaches Peak of 11-Year Cycle

KAENA POINT SPACE FORCE STATION, Oahu, Hawaii—At the rocky edge of a cliff on Hawaii’s Oahu island are poised three antenna dishes that rotate with the sun. Together, they form part of a global network to warn warfighters of solar activity that can disrupt radio signals and potentially send false data to the battlefield, a rising concern as the sun enters a cycle of increased activity. “We listen to the sun—we don't look at the sun,” said Maj. Matthew Ferguson, commander of Detachment 5, 2nd Weather Squadron, at Kaena Point Space Force Station, Hawaii.
Atomic veterans

New “Atomic Veterans” Medal Honors Those Involved in Nuclear Weapon Tests, Operations

Veterans who performed the secret, often dangerous work of testing nuclear weapons deserve new recognition and may now call themselves “Atomic Veterans,” according to the Defense Department. The department announced the Atomic Veterans Commemorative Service Medal on July 5 to recognize that “the service and sacrifice of the Atomic Veterans directly contributed to our Nation’s continued freedom and prosperity during the period following World War II.” Veterans qualify for the medallion-only award who served between July 1945 and October 1992. The dates coincide with those of nuclear testing in the U.S.

Radar Sweep

US and South Korean F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets Team Up for First Time in Message to North Korea

CNN

Top-of-the-line F-35 stealth fighter jets from the United States and South Korea are teaming up for the first time in a 10-day exercise meant to send a message to North Korea. Six U.S. Air Force F-35As from Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska arrived in South Korea and will fly with F-35s from the host nation in a series of exercises, the two militaries said. "This deployment is aimed at enhancing the interoperability of (our air forces) while demonstrating the strong deterrence and joint defense posture of the alliance," the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

Northrop Grumman Selects Airbus to Supply Satellite Buses for U.S. Military Constellation

SpaceNews

Northrop Grumman selected Airbus as its satellite bus supplier for the U.S. Space Development Agency’s low Earth orbit constellation. Northrop Grumman won a $692 million contract from SDA, one of three companies selected by the Pentagon’s space agency to each produce 42 satellites projected to launch in 2024. Airbus U.S. Space and Defense, headquartered in Arlington, Va., will produce satellite buses for the Transport Layer Tranche 1, a mesh network of small satellites to support military communications, surveillance, and tracking of enemy targets. SDA plans to launch Tranche 1 satellites in late 2024.

U.S. Military’s Newest Weapon Against China and Russia: Hot Air

Politico

The Pentagon is working on a new plan to rise above competition from China and Russia: balloons. The high-altitude inflatables, flying at between 60,000 and 90,000 feet, would be added to the Pentagon’s extensive surveillance network and could eventually be used to track hypersonic weapons. The idea may sound like science fiction, but Pentagon budget documents signal that the technology is moving from the Defense Department’s scientific community to the military services.

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NATO Chief Expects Speedy Approval of Swedish and Finnish Membership Bids

Stars and Stripes

NATO’s top official said he wants swift approval of Sweden’s and Finland’s application for alliance membership, as allies launched a ratification process that demands the backing of all 30 members. Historically, entry into NATO is a lengthy endeavor, taking years in some cases. But for Finland and Sweden, “we speak about months,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. Stoltenberg said he expects a speedy entry for the two Nordic states, even as Turkey says it remains willing to derail alliance plans if its demands aren’t met.

The Military Offers to Transfer Troops Affected by Anti-LGBTQ Laws, But the Process Isn't Easy

NPR

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott calls it "child abuse" for parents to provide transgender children with medical care that supports their gender identity. In February, he told state officials to investigate them and called on the public to report instances of minors getting such care. It brought panic to one Air Force family living in San Antonio. “We didn't know whether it was just going to be a witch hunt immediately, or if they really had any legal standing,” said B, a military spouse who asked to go by her first initial for fear of retaliation. “Did that mean they could come to our door and take our child away from us? We just didn’t know.”

Aerojet Chief Wins Out Over Former Board Chairman, Selects New Board Members

Defense News

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s chief executive, Eileen Drake, has won control of the embattled company after several months of turmoil. The contractor’s shareholders elected an independent slate of candidates to serve as directors on its new board. The group includes Drake, who will continue as chief executive.

NIST Picks 4 ‘Quantum-Resistant’ Encryption Algorithms to Protect US Data

Breaking Defense

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has chosen to standardize four “quantum-resistant” cryptographic algorithms that are meant to protect sensitive data, several months after the White House warned of national security risks posed by quantum computers. NIST picked the CRYSTALS-Kyber algorithm for general encryption, used when accessing secure websites, and CRYSTALS-Dilithium, FALCON and SPHINCS+ algorithms, used when needing to verify identities during a digital transaction or signing a document remotely. But there’s a difference between choosing the algorithms and implementing them, according to Duncan Jones, head of cybersecurity at commercial quantum research firm Quantinuum.

Air Force CIO: ‘We’re Not Waiting’ for JWCC

FedScoop

While the Department of Defense hopes to award contracts to cloud providers later this year for its enterprisewide Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), the Air Force is planning to continue building out its Cloud One platform as its cloud environment of choice. “The short story is we’re not waiting; we haven’t waited; we will continue to not wait for anybody else to come and provide us with capability,” Air Force CIO Lauren Knausenberger told FedScoop during an interview for the Let’s Talk About IT podcast when asked about the service’s plans for cloud adoption with JWCC awards looming. “We’re moving forward; we’re moving out; we’re continuing to improve” Cloud One, she added.

One More Thing

How Games Like ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Strengthen the Military

Task & Purpose

When I returned to the United States last fall, I left behind the closest group of friends I’ve ever had back in Germany. One of them, an avid D&D player who I also reintroduced to Magic the Gathering — a D&D-adjacent card game with similar appeal — brought me doughnuts and coffee at the Ramstein Passenger Terminal right before my flight. When I finally received my shipment of household goods, one of the first things I dug around for was a 3D printed crab that another D&D friend painted for me a few months earlier, as a reference to the name “BattleCrab” that I use on most of my gaming accounts. Someone else I met through my original D&D group proofread this article (she’s an English teacher and I work in a technical field, so I thought I’d call in an expert). And most importantly, I met my current partner through the same group.

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