Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this June 11 virtual event, Gordon Chang and Rick Fisher joined AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies to discuss Chinese political, economic, and military objectives in the context of its nuclear policy and, in particular, the nature and extent of China’s nuclear weapons modernization. They also explored China's No First Use policy, the country’s role in proliferation, its view on nuclear deterrence, and Chinese nuclear coercion. Additionally, they shared what they believe the U.S. policy should be in response.
The Pentagon cannot afford all of the new weapons it wants to buy and will be forced to choose winners and losers, absent an influx of cash, according to a new assessment from data and analytics firm Govini.
Army scientists have a vaccine candidate that they believe has the potential to fight COVID-19—and that may be able to protect individuals from future coronaviruses, “from season to season, for decades to come.” The scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research chose SpFN, for Spike Ferritin Nanoparticle, after testing dozens of variants of vaccine candidates in more than 1,000 mice.
Air Force acquisition czar Will Roper says he is considering taking over the Defense Department’s artificial intelligence experiment, Project Maven, to make it operational while the service pushes its own AI capabilities into the field.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced on June 10 it awarded Blue Canyon Technologies a $14.1 million contract for satellite buses for the Blackjack program. DARPA on June 9 also announced a $16.3 million contract award to SA Photonics for Blackjack payloads. The Blackjack program is an experiment to show the military utility of low Earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of low-cost satellites.
“As the nation now positions to compete against high-end peer threats, American success depends upon leveraging unmanned aerial systems across the spectrum of combat,” Heather Penney, senior resident fellow at AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, writes. “This means that our allies and partners must also have access to these same systems.”
Plans for a Senate-crafted version of the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a new military fund to boost deterrence against China in the Pacific, is one step closer to becoming law.
As it seeks to harness the technology for military use, the service is hosting a "Quantum Collider" virtual pitch day on June 15. Topics to be explored will include quantum timing, sensing, information processing/computing and communication/networking.
National Guard troops remained in a supporting role during recent civil unrest in Washington and steps to prepare active-duty forces to deploy into the nation’s capital proved to be a precautionary measure, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley said in a letter to Congress on June 10. The letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, comes amid a showdown between Defense Department leadership and Democrats on the committee, who are pushing Esper and Milley to testify about the military’s role in responding to recent unrest triggered by the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody last month in Minnesota, and other instances of police brutality against African Americans.
A bill introduced in Congress last month would require TRICARE to cover the services of doulas—trained professionals who provide physical and emotional support for pregnant women throughout labor, delivery and the postpartum process. The proposed legislation, sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), aims to help service members and dependent spouses who are stationed away from family and friends or delivering alone because their partners are deployed.
The helmets are part of a laser tag-like training system that offers a way for Chinese troops to eliminate each other during exercises.