Lawmakers from both parties are putting increasing pressure on the Pentagon to fix the recruitment crisis that threatens to leave the military well short of its goals to bring new troops aboard this year, in what is widely considered the worst recruiting environment since the end of the Vietnam War. While leaders from the different military branches have all acknowledged the problem, they also have been unable to move the needle in a positive direction, as the desire of young Americans to join the military falls off the statistical cliff.
Pentagon Official: Chinese Military Actions Against Foreign Ships, Aircraft Are No Accidents—They’re Policy
The increasingly frequent aggressive actions by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force such as “chaffing” an Australian patrol aircraft in international waters and causing a Canadian patrol aircraft to alter its course to avoid a collision off North Korea “look like a pattern and policy” dictated by Beijing rather than random acts by pilots, the Pentagon’s senior official on Indo-Pacific security said. Ely Rattner, speaking at a Center for Strategic and International Studies talk, described these acts as “really new, really worrisome.” These “unsafe intercepts … are growing by order of magnitude,” he said.
The Air Force has integrated hundreds of immersive training devices that allow physical and visual interaction with flight controls and avionics into its pilot training system as it prepares to divest its fleet of aging T-1A Jayhawk training aircraft. More than 200 immersive training devices (ITDs) have been delivered throughout the Air Force pilot training system, according to an Air Force Air Education and Training Command spokesperson.
“America’s hypersonic enterprise appears to be crossing a key juncture this summer. After years of struggle, including numerous test failures, programs like the Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon and Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept appear to be hitting their strides—including full-up test flights at hypersonic speed. This concrete progress, paired with continued support from Congress and the Biden administration’s decision to sign Defense Production Act initiatives targeting the hypersonic industrial base, give reason for optimism. However, it’s far too early to claim victory, and we must stay focused on the end objective,” writes Douglas A. Birkey, executive director of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
The Air Force is transitioning to more virtual training to give pilots an edge, saying some higher-end maneuvers cannot be replicated in real-time training. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Live, Virtual & Constructive Training page.
Following complaints made by the Army’s top acquisition official about the Pentagon’s disparate joint all-domain command and control efforts, the Air Force’s principal cyber adviser added her voice to the calls for a centralized JADC2 office.
Rocket Lab announced that its solar power business will supply solar cells for three missile-warning satellites that Lockheed Martin is building for the Space Force. The agreement with Lockheed Martin is to supply solar cells and radiation-hardened assemblies for the geostationary Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) satellites, the first of which is scheduled to launch in 2025.
There is an aphorism among political pros that process often equals policy. If true, it goes some way toward explaining the inherent Defense Department difficulties in space acquisition reform, given not just the legal and regulatory complexities, but also the byzantine and often opaque Pentagon bureaucracy involved.
Radha Plumb, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the Pentagon’s No. 2 acquisitions and sustainment official, pledged to find ways to bring down the costs of the systems it buys. “If confirmed, my focus would be on making sure we can identify as early as possible key issues and drivers of sustainment [costs] and then include that in early negotiations [with vendors],” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee at her confirmation hearing.
Archaeologists working for the Air Force have discovered 88 human footprints preserved in the alkali flats on the Utah Test and Training Range that they believe date to more than 12,000 years ago. Additional confirmation research is being done, but this would be only the second such discovery of footprints in the United States. White Sands National Park in New Mexico is the other place where Pleistocene-age human footprints have been identified. “We found so much more than we bargained for,” said Anya Kitterman, Hill Air Force Base’s Cultural Resource Manager. Kitterman is overseeing archaeological work on the UTTR that includes a 5,000-acre archaeological survey and a pilot study on the use of non-invasive archaeological techniques, including use of a magnetometer and ground penetrating radar.