NORAD Boss Asks Congress for Better Domain Awareness, Faster
DAF Outlines a New ‘Battle Network’ as Its Contribution to JADC2
Kendall Says Budget is Adequate to Counter China; HASC Vice Chair Says It’s ‘Not Enough’
Pentagon: Budget Readies US for Possible China Confrontation
The U.S. military must be ready for possible confrontation with China, the Pentagon’s leaders said March 23, pushing Congress to approve the Defense Department’s proposed $842 billion budget, which would modernize the force in Asia and around the world. “This is a strategy-driven budget—and one driven by the seriousness of our strategic competition with the People’s Republic of China,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in testimony before the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense.
Universal Pre-K at DOD Schools, Flexible Spending Accounts for Child Care: DOD Unveils New Family Initiatives
New benefits are coming for U.S. service members with families, including programs designed to ease the financial burden and stress of raising children in today's tough economic environment. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced new initiatives March 22 to help cut into the cost of child care and broaden spouse employment, including universal pre-kindergarten at Department of Defense Education Activity Schools in the next five years and flexible spending accounts for child care expenses, allowing service members to set aside $5,000 in pretax income.
Northrop’s $96 Billion Nuclear Missile Risks Delays, the US Air Force Finds
The U.S. Air Force and Defense Department are facing potential schedule delays for the new intercontinental ballistic missile that’s central to efforts to modernize the nation’s nuclear arsenal, less than three years into its development. The $96 billion Sentinel ICBM, to be built by Northrop Grumman Corp., may miss its goal of initial deployment in May 2029 by as much as two years, according to information presented at a high-level Pentagon review last month. Among the causes cited: A shortage of skilled engineers and supply-chain problems. The potential delays haven’t previously been disclosed.
Using Starlink Paints a Target on Ukrainian Troops
Operating behind enemy lines, one soldier fighting for Ukraine knows the Russians will hunt for him the second he sets up his portable Starlink internet dish. He and his team set up the device only in urgent situations where they need to communicate with their headquarters. The Russians “will find you,” the soldier said, who goes by the call sign Boris. “You need to do it fast, then get out of there.”
COMMENTARY: What Difference Will Polish, Slovakian Fighter Jets Make to Ukraine?
“The news that Poland and Slovakia are to deliver MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine—some of which have reportedly arrived—signals their departure from the long-standing stance of the international community, which had hitherto resisted Kyiv’s calls for more combat aircraft to help fight off Russia’s invasion. While this donation will be welcomed in Ukraine, it could raise political and practical issues the West must address to maximize the benefits—and mitigate the risks—of this latest move to bolster Ukraine’s defenses,” writes James Black, assistant director of the defense and security research group at Rand Europe.
Go Deeper on Operational Imperatives
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has defined seven Operational Imperatives for the Department of the Air Force to work on, warning that “if we don't get them right, we will have unacceptable operational risk.” From a resilient space order of battle to the development of next-generation tactical air dominance and global strike platforms, these imperatives will define the Air Force for decades to come—Dive deeper into each one with our new “Operational Imperatives” pages highlighting all the latest news and developments on these critical efforts.
Pentagon Seeks to Jumpstart ‘Nascent’ Biomanufacturing Industry with New Strategy
Imagine body armor made from spider silk, three times the strength of Kevlar. Frontline airfields made of self-healing concrete, full of bacteria that grows crystals to fill cracks as fast as they appear, or using cement alternatives grown like coral to simplify supply lines. Tiny, wearable sensors that use microbes to detect natural toxins or biochemical attacks. These are just some of the applications researchers are actually working on in the field of biomanufacturing, the use of biological and biologically inspired processes to build new materials. Today, it’s a young but promising field, with lots of intriguing experiments but little that’s on a commercially or militarily useful scale.
Air and Space Forces Lean into Data-Informed Decision-Making
Air and Space Force components continue to make meaningful progress in diverse pursuits to apply data as a strategic asset that enhances their operations, senior military leaders told DefenseScoop in multiple briefings this month. “I think more and more—not just the Air Force, but the Department of Defense in general—is relying more and more on data and realizing the value of data,” Gen. James Hecker, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, explained in a media roundtable at the annual AFA Warfare Symposium.
US RC-135 Surveillance Jet Has Flown Unprecedented Mission Over Finland
AU.S. Air Force RC-135V/W Rivet Joint has conducted a sortie inside Finnish airspace for the first time, at least in recent memory, flying opposite the border with Russia. These flights look set to become routine as Finland continues to move through the process of joining NATO, something the country's leadership decided to pursue following the Russian military's all-out invasion of Ukraine last year. The sortie highlights how the Finnish ascension to the alliance will allow for expanding already robust efforts to surveil Russia from the air.
Pentagon Probes Why Boeing Staff Worked on Air Force One Planes Without Security Credentials
Pentagon officials are scrutinizing why Boeing Co. employees worked on current and future Air Force One planes without security credentials required for the highly classified jets. The Defense Department and Boeing have also been examining for how long many workers with access to the jets now in use by the U.S. president, and under development in San Antonio, lacked certain current security credentials, according to a Pentagon official and a person familiar with the matter.
The Speed Project: Vet Team to Run in Lawless, Invite-Only Ultramarathon
For Kevin Shears, separating from the military left a “do hard s***”-shaped hole in his life. Only months into becoming a civilian, he plugged that gap with running—the kind that leaves you sleep-deprived, blistered, and with black-and-blue toenails. The former Airman wanted long, hard miles, not the local Turkey Trot. Now, Shears and the eight other runners on the Bolt & Dagger team eagerly await the 4 a.m. start of an invite-only ultra March 24. The relay race is an event of almost mythological status with speakeasy vibes. There isn’t an online application or an audience. (“No spectators,” a sort of call-to-action for radical participation, serves as one of the event’s taglines.)