Daily Report

Sept. 1, 2023

Editor’s Note

The Daily Report will not publish Monday, Sept. 4, in observance of the Labor Day holiday. We will back in your inboxes on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Pentagon: No ‘Drop’ in Iran Threat to Ships, As F-35s and Harriers Keep Flying over the Gulf

More than a month after the Pentagon announced it was sending Air Force F-35s, thousands of U.S. Marines and Sailors, and American warships to the Persian Gulf region in response to Iran’s attempted seizures of commercial vessels, officials say they see no signs the situation is calming down. “We have not seen that threat drop, I would say, so we haven't seen a reason to move our forces out," Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters Aug. 29.
Air force intel leak security review

Kendall: USAF ‘Not as Ready as We Need to Be’ for China Challenge

The U.S. could find itself in a near-peer conflict with an adversary like China and Russia “tomorrow,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in a recent livestreamed Facebook event—and if that happens, the department is “not as [ready] as we could be by a significant margin.” To get more ready, Kendall said during a “Coffee Talk” with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, the Air Force must “re-optimize.” And that will go beyond simply buying new weapons and equipment. 

Outstanding Airmen of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Micaela R. Mahan

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2023 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference from Sept. 11-13 in National Harbor, Md. Air & Space Forces Magazine is highlighting one each weekday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor Tech. Sgt. Micaela R. Mahan, the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of Military Justice, with the 7th Air Force, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Radar Sweep

Japan Unveils Defense Budget, Seeking Hypersonics, Frigates, F-35s

Defense News

Japan’s Defense Ministry has requested another record defense budget, with the agenda featuring naval vessels, F-35 fighter jets, hypersonic weapons development, and armored vehicles. The ministry announced Aug. 31 that it submitted a request for $52.9 billion to the Finance Ministry for the coming fiscal year, which starts April 1, 2024.

Go Deeper on Operational Imperatives

Air & Space Forces Magazine

Virtually every part of the Department of the Air Force’s drive to modernize is being shaped by Secretary Frank Kendall’s seven Operational Imperatives—lines of effort that address the most important and urgent challenges facing the Air Force today. Now, the department and industry are working together to develop solutions for each imperative, and the results will likely change the Air Force and Space Force for the next generation. Keep up with all the latest news on each Operational Imperative.

A Year after China Cut Mil-to-Mil Contacts with US, a Hint of Thaw?

Defense One

U.S. Indo-Pacific commander Adm. John Aquilino spoke with Chinese defense officials at a conference this month, a potential breakthrough in military-to-military communications more than a year after China suspended most such interactions. When Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder was asked on Thursday to respond to a Chinese defense ministry spokesman’s comments about communication between the two militaries, the Pentagon press secretary cited Aquilino’s meeting as an example of U.S. willingness to keep avenues of communication open.

SILENTBARKER ‘Watchdog’ to Be ‘Exponential’ Leap in DOD Monitoring of Chinese, Russian Sats

Breaking Defense

The Defense Department’s next-generation, classified space monitoring constellation, called SILENTBARKER, will provide an “exponential” leap in America’s current capability to keep tabs on potentially threatening Russian and Chinese satellites once it reaches full operational capability in 2026, according to senior officials. Jointly developed by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and the Space Force, SILENTBARKER will be a “watchdog” in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), NRO Director Chris Scolese said in a press conference on Aug. 28.

Air Force Releases BAA on Artificial Intelligence for Next-Gen Command and Control


The Department of the Air Force released a broad agency announcement on Aug. 31 covering eight technical areas related to AI and new capabilities for distributed command and control. About $99 million in total funding has been allotted, with most individual awards expected to range from $200,000 to $20 million, according to the BAA.

US Air Force Selects Fast Microreactor for Nuclear Power Pilot

Power Magazine

The U.S. Air Force’s first nuclear microreactor planned for Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska under a federal nuclear microreactor pilot program will be an Oklo liquid metal-cooled fast reactor. The Defense of Logistics Agency (DLA), acting on behalf of the Department of Air Force (DAF), on Aug. 31 issued a Notice of Intent to Award (NOITA) that selects the Santa Clara, Calif.–based nuclear technology firm Aurora Powerhouse for its Eielson Air Force Base pilot and initiates an acquisition process to potentially award Oklo a 30-year, firm-fixed-price contract to pilot the advanced nuclear energy technology.

Pentagon Launches ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Declassified Info on UFOs

NBC News

The Defense Department on Aug. 31 unveiled a website that's intended to serve as a clearinghouse for declassified information on unidentified aerial phenomena. The site is being billed as a "one-stop shop" for publicly available records on UFOs, and is expected to shed light on the work of an office created by Congress last year that coordinates efforts across federal agencies in detecting and identifying what the Pentagon officially refers to as unidentified anomalous phenomena, or UAPs.

One More Thing

This ICBM-Launched Satellite Could Transmit Nuclear Codes When Nothing Else Was Left To

The War Zone

During the Cold War, the U.S. became concerned with the question of how it could initiate the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and nuclear-armed bomber strikes should its land-based and airborne command and control systems be destroyed during a nuclear attack. The AN/DRC-8 Emergency Rocket Communications System (ERCS) was the solution.