China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, in a brash new geopolitical challenge by Beijing to the U.S., according to U.S. officials familiar with highly classified intelligence.
U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are making a renewed push for the Biden administration to send Ukraine controversial long-range munitions, as Kyiv’s long-expected counteroffensive appears to get underway. With a range of 190 miles, nearly four times that of Ukraine’s existing rockets, the Army Tactical Missile System has been the subject of intense debate for months. Nearly a year ago, national security adviser Jake Sullivan feared that sending ATACMS could make the conflict eventually spiral into World War III, because Ukraine could use the weapon to attack deep inside Russian territory. More recently, there are growing concerns inside the Pentagon that the U.S. doesn’t have many to spare anyway.
With much of the world focused on the impending Ukrainian offensive and continued belligerence from China, U.S. troops continue to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria long after the fall of ISIS’ caliphate. U.S. troops conducted a total of 38 missions against ISIS in Iraq in Syria during May, according to U.S. Central Command. Twenty-one of those missions took place in Iraq and 17 were conducted in Syria, all with partner forces.
The Space Development Agency awarded a $64 million contract to Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) to develop a software applications factory for the agency’s low Earth orbit constellation. The contract, announced June 8, is for the agency’s BMC3 application factory, short for Battle Management Command, Control and Communications.
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.
Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville said in a tweet June 7 that the top general in charge of U.S. Space Command told him during a meeting that Huntsville, not Colorado Springs, Colo., is the preferred location for its new headquarters. Tuberville’s tweet, which his office also issued in a press release, is the latest twist in the ongoing brawl over where U.S. Space Command should be located. The decision that has become entangled in a far larger political fight between Tuberville and the Defense Department over reproductive health care for service members, which is now jeopardizing the promotions of hundreds of military officers.
“When leaders first called for an independent Space Force, the need for mission consolidation stood as one of their most compelling arguments. Even the most casual observer recognized that 65 separate entities trying to execute the national security space mission in their respective stovepipes was a recipe for disaster. Three years since the founding of the service, more work needs to be done to realize this focused vision. At the top of the list is the need to align the Space Force with its National Guard components,” writes Tim Ryan, senior resident fellow for spacepower studies at Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
The Air Force’s next intercontinental ballistic missile will arrive at least a year behind schedule, according to the Government Accountability Office’s annual evaluation of Pentagon weapons programs. “Initial capability” for the LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM is now slated for April to June 2030, the report says—a year later than the May 2029 date given in the Pentagon’s most recent Selected Acquisition Report.
The Space Force’s acquisition command today announced that it has awarded contracts to launch 12 new satellite payloads into orbit—six each to SpaceX and United Launch Alliance—for national security missions, including two spy satellites for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). In addition to the spy sats, the launches will loft two classified Space Force satellites, dubbed USSF-31 and USSF-114, as well as a total of seven satellites to low Earth orbit for the Space Development Agency’s data relay network and its missile warning/missile tracking constellation.
U.S. Cyber Command has deployed a team of defensive operators to a Central or South American nation for the first time, according to a CYBERCOM official. The deployment is part of so-called hunt-forward operations, which involve physically sending defensively oriented cyber protection teams from the U.S. military’s Cyber National Mission Force (CNMF) to foreign nations at their invitation to look for malicious activity on their networks.
Permanent change of station assignments to Air Force and Navy bases on Guam have been temporarily paused at least through the end of this month as the Pacific island territory recovers from a historic typhoon that hit late last month. Military families and other island residents were still without power this week after Typhoon Mawar, a massive Category 4 storm, hit the U.S. territory. It caused widespread damage and power outages that sparked clean-up efforts at Andersen Air Force Base, Naval Base Guam and Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz.
Pregnant women at Kadena Air Base in Japan are being notified they won’t be able to deliver their babies at U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, the only full-servce medical center on the island, due to a staffing shortage. Women at Kadena whose estimated due date is from August through November are being given a choice: Either go to a Japanese medical facility or be placed in a “Stork Nesting” program in which they’ll be flown to a location in the continental United States, according to a June 7 memorandum signed by Air Force Lt. Col. Travis C. Russell, chief of the medical staff at Kadena’s 18th Medical Group.
Brooke Army Medical Center commissioned a new four-legged staff member to the rank of Air Force major during a ceremony held June 6. Maj. McAfee, a golden retriever, joins Army Maj. Budd, a Labrador retriever who was commissioned in 2022, as one of BAMC’s two facility dogs. McAfee is owned and provided to BAMC by America’s VetDogs, an organization which trains and places facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals.