US Arms Sales Shoot up Nearly 50 Percent in 2022, Driven in Part by Ukraine
Meet HASC’s New Members and Subcommittee Chairs
Cheap UAVs Exact High Costs
Biden Says US Will Send 31 Abrams Tanks to Ukraine in Major Boost to Firepower
President Biden announced Jan. 25 that the U.S. will send 31 top-of-the-line M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, delivering on a key request from Kyiv that will provide a major boost to Ukrainian firepower over the coming months. The move comes after Germany said it would quickly provide 14 of its own Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and allow Western partners to re-export their own, a move that Biden praised. France, the U.K., Finland, the Netherlands and other nations are also sending key security assistance, Mr. Biden noted, emphasizing that the United States' move is part of a concerted effort by Western allies.
Fighter Jets For Ukraine: Kyiv Pushes West to Break Final Taboo
This week has been dominated by debates and news regarding Western armor deliveries to Ukraine. American, German, and British heavy tanks will soon be on their way to Ukrainian battlefields, making a major diplomatic victory for Kyiv almost one year in the making. Eleven months of unprecedented Western support has broken many military taboos. One year ago, proposals to supply shoulder-launched man-portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons were controversial. Now, Ukraine's armed forces are operating some of NATO's most advanced systems to devastating effect.
What It Was Like for US Troops at Kabul Airport When the Chaotic Withdrawal Began: ‘I Thought I Was Going to Die’
It was there, on the airfield in Kabul, Afghanistan on a hot day in the middle of August, that Air Force Master Sgt. Brian Cantu felt certain he was about to die. Three days ago, Cantu had been eating dinner with his family at his home in New Jersey, but now he and a few other service members were all that stood between a crowd of thousands of terrified Afghan refugees and the operations center for the last U.S. troops in the country. It was Aug. 16, 2021, about two weeks before the U.S. military was due to leave Afghanistan after twenty years of war there.
Commerce’s Draft Space Traffic Management Service Goes Beyond DOD’s Baseline
A draft version of Commerce Department’s long-awaited plan for a free space traffic management service for commercial and civil space operators goes beyond the data and analysis currently provided by the Defense Department, including margins of error regarding satellite orbital paths and “more advanced” calculations of the probability of crashes.
GOP Revives Push to Reinstate Troops Discharged over COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate
Congressional Republicans are renewing their push to reinstate troops who were discharged over their refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when the shot was required by the military services. Republicans last year successfully repealed the military's COVID-19 vaccine mandate despite the Pentagon's support for the requirement but fell short in their effort to get the more than 8,000 troops discharged under the mandate reinstated with back pay.
Defense Innovation Unit Aims to Build Upon Last Year’s ‘History-Making’ Deliveries in 2023
The Defense Innovation Unit transitioned a record 17 prototypes to fully fielded military capabilities in fiscal 2022 according to a new annual report that broadly spotlights how the Silicon Valley hub is steadily boosting the Pentagon’s adoption of commercial technologies. And in 2023, DIU fully expects to build on that momentum, acting Director Mike Madsen told DefenseScoop in conjunction with the report’s release.
When May a Robot Kill? New DOD Policy Tries to Clarify
Did you think the Pentagon had a hard rule against using lethal autonomous weapons? It doesn’t. But it does have hoops to jump through before such a weapon might be deployed—and, as of Jan. 25, a revised policy intended to clear up confusion. The biggest change in the Defense Department’s new version of its 2012 doctrine on lethal autonomous weapons is a clearer statement that it is possible to build and deploy them safely and ethically but not without a lot of oversight.
NASA and DARPA to Partner on Nuclear Thermal Propulsion Demonstration
NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will cooperate on the development and flight demonstration of a nuclear propulsion system with applications for both national security and space exploration. During a special session of the AIAA SciTech Forum Jan. 24, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that the two agencies would work together on DARPA’s existing Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations (DRACO) program to demonstrate nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP), a technology that offers more efficient propulsion than conventional chemical rockets.
Famed Airman CMSgt Paul Kerchum Laid to Rest with Full Military Honors
On his way to becoming one of the U.S. Air Force’s most legendary—as well as courageous and inspirational—Airmen, retired Chief Master Sgt. Paul Kerchum, who died Dec. 17 at age 102, traveled some unexpected and difficult roads. Now in death, Kerchum’s distinguished record and contributions to the Air Force and the nation are coming into focus once again. In addition to his long active-duty service, first in the Army after enlisting in 1938, then an additional 21 years following World War II in the newly born U.S. Air Force, Kerchum also claimed notoriety as a POW and one of the last—if not the last—survivors of the gruesome Bataan Death March during World War II.
National Guard Pushing for Health Insurance, Better Pay, More Training
The National Guard is in a bit of a turnaround period. After two decades of high operational tempo during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that at times made Guard service as much of a commitment as Active duty status, the component is taking stock of what it does and what it can offer. At the top of the National Guard Bureau chief’s priority list is getting guardsmen covered by no-cost military health insurance, regardless of their duty status, as well as pay and training that would put them more on par with their Active-duty counterparts. Today, 60,000 Guardsmen are uninsured, receiving no health benefits from their civilian employers.
Marine Dad’s ‘Periodic Table of Military Slang’ Decodes Grunt-Speak
What’s the difference between a PX ranger and a geardo? Is it better to be a hard-charger or an eight ball? Should you call your summer footwear “shower shoes” or “Jesus slippers?” The military services all have their own languages, seemingly designed to confuse or embarrass new members and outsiders. But one military dad is on a mission to demystify the jargon―and maybe spare a future private from heading out to retrieve a box of grid squares.