Africa

While Russia-Ukraine Looms Large, Hecker Promises ‘Balance,’ Focus on Africa

When Gen. James B. Hecker, the new commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, got the chance to meet with dozens of other nations’ air chiefs during the Royal International Air Tattoo, the main topic on everyone’s minds was obvious: Russia. But while the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to dominate headlines and concern military and government officials alike, Hecker emphasized that as he settles into his new job, he won’t forget about the other region he’s tasked with overseeing—Africa.
Beyond GPS

Lockheed Military Space Boss: We Have ‘Opportunity to Expand Beyond’ GPS

Military and defense industry officials are proud to say the Global Positioning System of satellites has entrenched itself as the world standard of position, navigation, and timing. But new threats—and some futuristic considerations—are leading some to think bigger than GPS when it comes to the systems that help undergird military operations and daily life.
Truman

Today: The Air Force’s Other Birthday

Seventy-five years ago today, President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, which, among a range of defense and intelligence reorganizations, was the law that created the U.S. Air Force. The service began operating as an independent branch of the military in September of that year.

New Application Lets Airmen Give Feedback on Their Gear

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center has launched a new application allowing all Airmen the ability to provide feedback on their gear beyond the unit level. The hope of the program, called GearFit, is to reduce the number of administrative layers that feedback has to go through before it reaches AFLCMC, giving officials a better sense of the biggest problems Airmen in the field have with certain pieces of equipment or gear.
southcom

Austin Heads to SOUTHCOM, Brazil to Push US Priorities in a Neglected Region

China has made inroads in Latin America in recent years, and Russia has disrupted the information space against America and democracy—and both U.S. competitors provide military assistance to Venezuela. Countering the two countries’ objectives in America’s "neighborhood" are among the challenges Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III will face on his first trip to the region after nearly a dozen combined visits to Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

Radar Sweep

FBI Investigation Determined Chinese-Made Huawei Equipment Could Disrupt US Nuclear Arsenal Communications

CNN

Since at least 2017, federal officials have investigated Chinese land purchases near critical infrastructure, shut down a high-profile regional consulate believed by the U.S. government to be a hotbed of Chinese spies, and stonewalled what they saw as clear efforts to plant listening devices near sensitive military and government facilities. Among the most alarming things the FBI uncovered pertains to Chinese-made Huawei  equipment atop cell towers near military bases in the  rural Midwest. According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, the FBI determined that the equipment was capable of capturing and disrupting highly restricted Defense Department communications, including those used by U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the country’s nuclear weapons.

Army and Air Force Run Out of Female Hot Weather Uniforms Amid Summer Heat Wave

Military.com

Base exchange stores have mostly run out of hot weather uniforms for women due to a contract dispute that has halted production, according to the Defense Logistics Agency. The shortage comes as the Army and Air Force wrangle with Golden Manufacturing Co., which received a $22.6 million contract from the Defense Department in April 2021 to produce trousers for the services.

Russia Tests US Air Defenses in Midst of Ukraine War

Washington Times

Two Russian maritime patrol aircraft tested the U.S. and Canadian air defense zone in a show of force in the midst of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and nuclear saber-rattling, the commander of U.S. Northern Command said. Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, NORTHCOM chief and also head of the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), said the intrusion was less provocative than past incidents involving nuclear-capable Russian bombers.

Pentagon Reviews Removing Morocco as Host of Largest Military Exercise in Africa

Defense News

The Defense Department is looking at alternative locations for the largest military exercise in Africa amid Senate pressure to bump Morocco from its position as an annual host for the drills. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has led the charge against having Morocco host the African Lion exercise to push back against its control of the disputed Western Sahara.

PODCAST: ‘So You Want to Be a Thunderbird?’

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In Episode 86 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, “SoYou Want to be a Thunderbird? Insider Perspectives,” the Mitchell Institute’s John “Slick” Baum is joined by John “JV” Venable of the Heritage Foundation, former commander in the Thunderbirds, and Caroline “Blaze” Jensen, former right wing in the Thunderbirds, to all reflect on their years as members of the Air Force’s famed aerial demonstration unit. We all know the public facade—the incredible flying, polished personas, and famed liveries. However, not many people know what it’s like to execute at this intense pace day after day on a national stage.

Automation Affection: The Defense Department is Learning to Love Bots

National Defense Magazine

Bots have a bad name in no small part because of their role in Russian information warfare. However, the Defense Department is finding that when deployed for good, bots can liberate humans from repetitive tasks and allow people to perform higher-level work.

Tomorrow's 'Top Gun' Might Have Drone Wingman, Use AI

The Associated Press

Maverick’s next wingman could be a drone. In the movies, fighter pilots are depicted as highly trained military aviators with the skills and experience to defeat adversaries in thrilling aerial dogfights. New technologies, though, are set to redefine what it means to be a “Top Gun," as algorithms, data, and machines take on a bigger role in the cockpit—changes hinted at in “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Biden Presses for Chips Legislation in Meeting With Pentagon’s No. 2 and Lockheed Martin

Defense News

President Joe Biden and Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks met virtually with the chief executive of Lockheed Martin and other companies to advance a bill to boost semiconductor production in the United States. “Semiconductors, it’s not an overstatement to say, are the ground zero of our tech competition with China,” Hicks said, adding that they’re vital for technologies from artificial intelligence to hypersonic weapons to next-generation networking.

New Air Force Information Warfare Commander Wants to Increase Partnerships

Fed Scoop

Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Kennedy, the new commander of the Air Force’s information warfare branch, wants to increase and bolster partnerships to beat back adversaries in the information space, a lesson learned in his previous role at U.S. Cyber Command. Cyber Command has worked with several partner nations to build their capacity in cyberspace and share threat information that benefits the broader cybersecurity community.

Space Force Wants a ‘Bloodhound' to Sniff Out Cyber Threats

Washington Technology

The Space Force has begun development of a seven-year contract for cybersecurity services to protect the ground networks that manage its space assets. Space Force’s cyber operations division has dubbed the contract Digital Bloodhound, and it will be a multiple-award task order contract. The solicitation is expected before the end of 2022 with an award by the end of March 2023.

Canadian Air Force Establishes New Division to ‘Protect Canadian Interests in Space’

The Canadian Press

The Royal Canadian Air Force’s newest division is focused on extraterrestrial matters. A reorganization of the existing space-focused team will now be known as 3 Canadian Space Division, with Brig.-Gen. Mike Adamson in command. He said the new division is not Canada’s answer to the U.S. Space Force. “They stood up this entire new service, and they’ve got new uniforms and the whole nine yards, and a Netflix show. I’m not going to get my own Netflix show, I don’t think,” Adamson said with a laugh.

One More Thing

Why a KC-135 Stratotanker Fuel Plane Became a Baseball Mascot

Task & Purpose

Move out of the way, Mr. Met and the Phillie Phanatic, there’s a new iconic baseball mascot in the mix. The Spokane Indians, the minor league team playing in the High-A Northwest League, unveiled their brand new mascot. Meet KC the Stratotanker.

This Day in Airpower
Celebrating 75 Years of Air and Space Power