Snapshot: DOD and COVID-19
Here's a look at how the Defense Department is being impacted by and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Service Members Injured in Syria after Skirmish with Russian Forces
Four troops have been diagnosed with mild concussion-like symptoms after the incident, according to a draft Pentagon statement reviewed by POLITICO. A second U.S. source briefed on the matter confirmed that multiple U.S. troops were injured.
For US Air Force Pilots, the Toughest Training Flights Are Going Virtual
A new simulator campus at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., could be key for the U.S. Air Force as it grapples with the question of how it can train pilots against complex threats like Russia and China at a budget-friendly cost. On Aug. 17, the Air Force opened the doors of the Virtual Test and Training Center, or VTTC, a new, $38 million building where pilots will practice advanced tactics in a simulated environment that replicates war against a near-peer nation.
New START’s Demise Could Cost DOD $439B, or Nothing: CBO
The Congressional Budget Office study finds that one B-21, with 10 Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) cruise missiles and eight nuclear warheads, would cost $500 million, and $40 million a year (in 2020 dollars) to maintain.
White House Announces $1B Investment for AI and Quantum Computing Hubs
The White House’s new initiative will fund a series of academic and private sector research and development hubs linked to federal agencies to work on foundational problems and “pursue transformational advances” across topics like quantum computing, machine learning, and computer vision.
Trump Administration Sends Mixed Signals on Nuclear Weapons Budgeting
Defense hawks in Congress are pushing a contentious plan to give the Pentagon a stronger hand in crafting nuclear weapons budgets, but the Trump administration has been sending mixed messaging over recent weeks about whether the change is needed.
Air Force Taps Machine Learning to Speed Up Flight Certifications
Machine learning is transforming the way an Air Force office analyzes and certifies new flight configurations. The Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office sets standards for safe flight configurations by testing and looking at historical data to see how different stores—like a weapon system attached to an F-16—affect flight. A project AFSEO developed along with industry partners can now automate up to 80 percent of requests for analysis, according to the office’s Chief Data Officer Donna Cotton.
OPINION: How to Compete in Cyberspace
U.S. Cyber Command boss, National Security Agency Director, and Central Security Service Chief Gen. Paul M. Nakasone and his Senior Adviser Michael Sulmeyer outline CYBERCOM’s new approach.
USAF Issues $90M Contract for Counter-Drone Systems and Support
SRC Inc. has won a $90 million contract to support the U.S. Air Force’s counter-small unmanned aerial system efforts, the service announced Aug. 24. Under the indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract, which is not to exceed the $90 million ceiling, USAF will purchase SRC’s C-sUAS and related components. SRC will also provide upgrades, sustainment, installation support, and design and analysis support.
Federal Court Strikes Down Service Requirement Policy Blocking Citizenship Path
A federal court has struck down a Pentagon policy requiring immigrant troops to serve for six months to a year before they are eligible for expedited citizenship. In an Aug. 25 ruling, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sided with arguments that the minimum service requirement is “arbitrary and capricious” and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
In Conversation about Race, Air Force Warns Troops to Avoid Microaggressions
As part of efforts to continue discussion of race and inequalities across the force, the U.S. Air Force has launched a new series of educational videos designed to promote understanding and meaningful dialogue.
OPINION: What the Heck Is Wrong with You, Space Force?
‘When you unveiled the Space Force logo, many immediately saw it as an homage to ‘Star Trek‘ (even though our Delta was an homage to the previous military space insignias),” writes “Star Trek” actor William Shatner. “Why not borrow back from ‘Star Trek‘ and adopt our ranks as well? We took them from the Navy for good reason, even though Gene Roddenberry was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps. They made better sense when talking about a (space) ship.”
45th Space Wing on Pace for 39 Space Launches in 2020
Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Doug Schiess said that if the current manifest holds, the Florida Space Coast will see 39 launches in 2020, compared to 18 launches in 2019 and 24 in 2018. “And so the launches are continuing to increase, that’s due to national security space missions and a huge part due to our commercial missions,” said Schiess.
Send a Question to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper!
Secretary Esper will speak at AFA’s virtual Air, Space & Cyber Conference and is taking questions from the audience! Click the link above to submit your question by Friday, Sept. 4, then listen to see if he answers it on Sept. 16 at 10 a.m. EDT.
That Time the Air Force Tossed Cats in Zero Gravity
It's been a pretty lousy year, so it’s time to break out a truly powerful mood corrector: the government's proud legacy of space cats and cat physics.