Daily Report

Oct. 3, 2023

JSTARS Flies Its Last Operational Mission Ahead of November Retirement

A crew of Airmen at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, flew the final operational sortie of the E-8C JSTARS aircraft on Sept. 21, paving the way for the last of the fleet to be retired early next month. A spokesman for the 116th ACW told Air & Space Forces Magazine that two JSTARS aircraft now remain at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. The tentative plan is to send the last one to the “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in the first week of November. 

Watch, Read: CSO Saltzman on ‘The State of the Space Force’

Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman delivered a keynote address on “The State of the Space Force,” detailing the young service’s progress and upcoming initiatives at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference on Sept. 11, 2023. Watch the video or read the transcript.

Radar Sweep

Space Force Goal of a Multi-Vendor Space Network Called Impractical


A plan floated by military agencies to interconnect commercial and government satellite networks into a “hybrid” space architecture seems impractical, industry executives said. The concept, sometimes referred to as the “outernet,” has been embraced by the U.S. Space Force and the Defense Innovation Unit. The idea is that, in a hybrid network, communication would flow seamlessly across disparate government and commercial systems.

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The US Military’s Weighty Challenge: ‘Skinny-Fat’ Recruits

The Wall Street Journal

Twice a year, all members of the U.S. armed forces must pass a physical fitness test. When tape measures meet bellies, though, things can get complicated. Can fit people have large waists? Are skinny people automatically in shape? Is it OK to suck in the gut? Will the measuring tape go belly-up? These matters have been prompting considerable navel-gazing in the nation’s military, along with such questions as—where should the tape measure even go, and is it the right tool for modern days?

US to Send More Aid to Ukraine ‘Soon’ Amid Funding Concerns, WH Says


The U.S. will be sending another aid package to Ukraine “soon,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Oct. 1, in an effort to assuage concerns about diminishing support for the embattled country. “There is [a] strong, very strong international coalition behind Ukraine. And if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin thinks he can outlast us, he’s wrong. He’s wrong. And so we will have another package of aid for Ukraine soon to signal our continued support for the brave people of Ukraine,” Jean-Pierre said during a White House press briefing. The latest aid package will come later this week, according to a U.S. official.

US Launched Two Raids Against ISIS Within a Week

Task & Purpose

The U.S. military captured two suspected Islamic State group leaders during separate helicopter raids in northern Syria during the last week of September, according to U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM. On Sept. 23, U.S. troops captured Abu Halil al-Fad’ani; and five days later, American service members captured Mamduh Ibrahim al-haji Shaykh, CENTCOM announced in separate news releases.

Future Air Combat Drone Performance Focus Areas Emerge

The War Zone

New details about the requirements for the U.S. Air Force's Collaborative Combat Aircraft drone program show an emphasis on range and speed, as well as being able to take off from shorter runways. The service is now looking at jet engines in the 3,000-to-8,000-pound thrust class to help the highly autonomous uncrewed aircraft achieve the desired performance and meet other capability demands.

Britain Pumps Nearly $5 Billion into Future AUKUS Submarine Pipeline

Defense News

The British Government has committed nearly £4 billion, or $4.9 billion, to the next phase in the development of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the tri-national AUKUS program with Australia and the United States. BAE Systems, Babcock Marine, and Rolls-Royce received contracts with that combined total sum, with work aimed at developing a nuclear attack submarine for Britain and Australia.

AFRL Picks 3 Contractors for JETSON Effort to Develop Fission Powered Spacecraft

Breaking Defense

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has awarded contracts to three companies—Lockheed Martin, Westinghouse Government Services, and Intuitive Machines—for its two-track program to mature technologies needed to develop spacecraft that use nuclear fission, rather than solar panels, to provide electrical power to their subsystems such as on-board sensors, communications payloads, and computers.

The Pentagon Warns Congress It Is Running Low on Money to Replace Weapons Sent to Ukraine

The Associated Press

The Pentagon is warning Congress that it is running low on money to replace weapons the U.S. has sent to Ukraine and has already been forced to slow down resupplying some troops, according to a letter sent to congressional leaders. The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, urges Congress to replenish funding for Ukraine. Congress averted a government shutdown by passing a short-term funding bill over the weekend, but the measure dropped all assistance for Ukraine in the battle against Russia.

Military Pay, Benefits May Be Better Than You Think, Report Says

Military Times

One key to boosting military recruiting may be convincing the public—and troops themselves—that military pay is actually better than they think. Officials from the Congressional Budget Office late last month released a new analysis of service member compensation, including basic pay, medical benefits and housing support. Their conclusion: “On average, enlisted personnel receive cash compensation that is higher than that received by about 90 percent of civilians of the same age and education.”

One More Thing

Why The Army’s 1950s Hovercraft Platform Failed


Soldiers suspended in the air in moon boots and sniping unsuspecting targets on the ground might sound like a battle tactic from a future war, but such a concept for an Army hovercraft actually traces its roots to the 1950s. That’s when a rotor-propelled standing platform was picked up by Office of Naval Research, which based its design on National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics engineer Charles Zimmerman’s invention known as the “Flying Shoes.”