Daily Report

Sept. 22, 2023

Zelenskyy Visits Pentagon in Push for Breakthrough on Long-Range Weapons

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy renewed his push for long-range missiles and F-16 aircraft in a whistle-stop trip to Washington on Sept. 21. "We had great dialogue,” Zelenskyy told reporters on Capitol Hill. But unlike his trip in December, which culminated in a U.S. pledge to send a prized Patriot air defense system and JDAM guided bombs to Ukraine, Zelenskyy’s latest visit has not been not greeted with a major new arms commitment.

Radar Sweep

Pentagon Exempts Ukraine Operations from Potential Government Shutdown


The Pentagon will exempt its Ukraine operations from a potential shutdown if lawmakers can’t agree on a deal to fund the government by the end of the month, allowing key training and other activities in support of Kyiv’s forces to move ahead uninterrupted, according to a Defense Department spokesperson. Washington is more resigned to the looming government shutdown every day. As the Sept. 30 deadline approaches, congressional leaders showed little progress this week in moving a stopgap funding bill to avert that scenario.

KC-135 Tanker Autopilot Now Safer to Use in Flight, Air Force Says

Air Force Times

Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker pilots are inching closer to normal operations after incremental software fixes to the tanker’s glitchy autopilot have led the service to ease flight restrictions on the jets. Airmen are now allowed to fly KC-135s with the Block 45 software upgrade—which includes the autopilot in question—at altitudes below 10,000 feet, Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Mike Minihan said Sept. 11.

F-35A Has Flown from a Highway for the First Time

The War Zone

Norway has become the first country to demonstrate the ability of the conventional takeoff and landing F-35A Joint Strike Fighter to operate from a highway as part of an exercise in Finland. The U.S. Marine Corps has already shown its ability to use its short and vertical takeoff and landing capable F-35Bs in this way, as The War Zone has previously reported.

Space Industry Shakeups: Aerospace Consolidates, Maxar Breaks Up

Breaking Defense

Two big players in the space market restructured their organizations this week: federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) The Aerospace Corporation; and remote sensing industry behemoth Maxar Technologies. Aerospace announced today that it “will be making significant changes to its organizational structure,” as of Oct. 1, combining “the Space Systems Group and its Defense Systems Group to create a unified organization” to support the FFRDC’s Defense Department customers.

Ransomware Gang Targeting Defense Firms, FBI Warns

Defense One

A five-year-old ransomware gang is upping its game against U.S. defense firms and other companies, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said Sept. 21. A joint advisory says the Snatch group has been learning from others to improve its own ransomware, which locks up a victim's computers until a ransom is paid, and also allows the group to steal sensitive data and threaten to post it online, a ploy called double extortion.

Leaders of Army, Marine Corps, Joint Chiefs Confirmed by Senate Amid Monthslong Blockade by Tuberville


The Senate approved new chiefs for the Army and Marine Corps on Sept. 21 following its approval of the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on late Sept. 20. The trio of military leaders are the first officer promotions the Senate has confirmed in more than six months since Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., started blocking quick approval for all general and admiral nominees in protest of the Pentagon’s abortion policy.

True Anomaly Gets $17 Million Space Force Contract for Space Domain Awareness Software


True Anomaly, a space industry startup based in Denver, was awarded a $17.4 million contract by the U.S. Space Force to provide software tools to better understand the behavior of objects in space and identify potential threats, the company announced Sept. 21. The contract is a four-year Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 3 award to deliver a prototype suite of software products that True Anomaly developed for space domain awareness, or SDA, a term the Space Force uses to describe the ability to track objects, analyze their characteristics, and discriminate benign from aggressive activities in orbit.

Bears Raid Krispy Kreme Doughnut Van on Alaska Air Force Base

The Associated Press

Two bears on an Alaska military base raided a Krispy Kreme doughnut van that was stopped outside a convenience store during its delivery route. The driver usually left his doors open when he stopped at the store but this time a sow and one of her cubs that loiter nearby sauntered inside, where they stayed for probably 20 minutes Sept. 19, said Shelly Deano, the store manager for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson JMM Express.