Gen. Glen D. VanHerck

NORAD: Advanced Cruise Missile Threat Requires Better Awareness

Advanced cruise missiles and potential hypersonic weapons will challenge North American Aerospace Defense Command’s legacy warning systems, so the command needs to improve awareness to provide earlier warning. USAF Gen. Glen. D. VanHerck, commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 16 that the cruise missile threat from Russia is a considerable challenge and leaves decision makers with few options. “We don’t want to be in a situation … where end game defeat is our only option,” he said.
Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller

SOUTHCOM Looking at New Intelligence-Gathering Ops to Counter ISR Shortfall

U.S. Southern Command is turning to big data and artificial intelligence to gain more leverage on transnational criminal organizations, while also keeping an eye on China’s expansion in the region and monitoring Russia’s disinformation efforts. SOUTHCOM boss Adm. Craig S. Faller, both in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee and in a press conference March 16, repeatedly sounded the alarm on Beijing’s expansionist moves into Central and South America, such as assessing deep-water port access, 5G development, and recently the use of “mask and vaccine” diplomacy to exert their influence.
Air Warfare Symposium 2020

Space Force Must Move Faster to Counter China

While the U.S. is still the world’s leader in space, China can move much faster and the U.S. Space Force needs to adapt with new acquisition processes to stay ahead, the new service’s No. 2 said March. 16. Gen. David D. Thompson, the Space Force’s vice chief of space operations, said during a Foreign Policy Research Institute event that America’s lead is shrinking because Beijing is “moving forward rapidly … and investing heavily.” The Space Force’s acquisition process, largely a remnant from Air Force Space Command, is a cycle that takes a long time to develop, while China’s cycle time to build and fly new capabilities is three times as fast.
A B-2 Spirit Stealth and 393rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chiefs prepares for a training sortie

B-2s Head to Lajes Field for Bomber Task Force

B-2s deployed to Europe on March 16, conducting a hot-pit refeuling at Lajes Field, Portugal, before taking off again to conduct bomber task force missions in the region. The undisclosed number of B-2s took off from Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., and did the hot-pit refueling and crew swap with its engines running at the base, according to a U.S. Air Forces in Europe release. B-1s from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, also are operating in the theater, after deploying to Norway for the first time earlier this month.
The Pentagon

SECDEF Directs Pentagon to Champion LGBTQI+ Rights

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III on March 12 directed the Defense Department to “take steps to rescind any directives, orders, regulations, policies, or guidance” that doesn’t line up with President Joe Biden’s Feb. 4 memorandum that charged multiple U.S. government organizations with championing and safeguarding the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) individuals by April 15. In the same memo, Austin charged all parts of the Pentagon to analyze and report back on how the military is implementing Biden’s memo, and to recommend more ways they can help advance the population’s human rights on a global basis by the same deadline.

Virtual Events: Scowcroft Group’s Miller on Mitchell’s Nuclear Deterrence Series, and More

On March 23, the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies will host a virtual Nuclear Deterrence Series event featuring Scowcroft Group Principal Frank Miller. At a time when nuclear modernization programs are accelerating around the world, proposals to recapitalize the U.S. nuclear arsenal are at the forefront of debates over defense spending. Miller will share his insights into the prospects for U.S. nuclear modernization programs and the value of nuclear deterrence in today's competitive security environment. The think tank will post event video on its website and YouTube page after the live event.

Radar Sweep

Checking DOD’s Homework on Acquisition Reforms Top of Mind for Sen. Kaine

Federal News Network

Changes to the defense acquisition systems are likely to be at the top of the list for things the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee will investigate in the coming year. Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who is taking hold of the gavel for the first time, says he wants an update on where the Defense Department is on implementing the hundreds of reforms Congress sent the Pentagon over the past five years.

Aerospace Nation: Airborne Augmented Reality

Mitchell Institute on YouTube

Watch the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ “Aerospace Nation” virtual panel discussion on Airborne Augmented Reality with long-time SASC staffer Robert “Otis” Winkler and Red 6’s retired USAF Gen. James M. “Mike” Holmes and Dan Robinson. This discussion examines how augmented reality and artificial intelligence can help transform the way the Air Force prepares pilots for future conflicts and ultimately enhance our national security.

Veteran Scientist Stefanie Tompkins Takes the Helm at DARPA


Tompkins is a former military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army and previously worked at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for nearly a decade. From 2007 until 2017 Tompkins served as program manager and deputy director of the agency’s Strategic Technology Office, DARPA chief of staff, as director of the Defense Sciences Office, and as the acting deputy director of the agency.

DARPA Explores Tech to Boost 5G Signals

Breaking Defense

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking novel ways to boost the strength of radio signals to help DOD expand 5G wireless connectivity around the globe, without just pumping out more electrical power, says Tim Hancock, program manager for the effort.

Guard Officials Say Troops’ March on Republican Congresswoman’s Office Wasn’t a Political Statement

Military Times

National Guard officials are insisting that a march on a controversial congresswoman’s office by a large group of uniformed members wasn’t a political statement but instead an effort to raise awareness about their operations. But the stunt is once again raising questions about the politicization of military members by advocates and elected officials, at a time when tensions over the military’s continued role on Capitol Hill remain high.

One More Thing

The Pentagon Finally Wants to Make Jetpack Soldiers a Reality

Task & Purpose

Forget hypersonic missiles and AI drones, the Pentagon is finally looking into the real future tech we’ve always wanted: jetpacks! In a bid for research proposals released earlier this month, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency requested ideas for a “portable personal air mobility system” that could be used for special operations, search and rescue, urban combat, maritime interdiction, and even logistics missions.