Bomber Task Force Europe

USAF Releases New Airpower Doctrine

The Air Force on April 22 released a new doctrine that outlines the basic tenents of airpower, how and why the service fights, and reiterates the Air Force core values of “integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.” In an email to retired and active general officers, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., said the doctrine serves as a “new cornerstone of airpower philosophy.” The updated document highlights the critical role of joint all-domain operations, looks to empower Airmen to challenge the status quo by rapidly putting innovative new ideas into action, and makes the Air Force’s new Agile Combat Employment strategy a foundational operating concept. Notably, the new doctrine focuses solely on the importance and role of airpower, leaving space doctrine to the U.S. Space Force.
56th Fighter Wing hosts U.S. Rep Adam Smith

HASC’s Smith: U.S. Should Abandon Quest for Military Preeminence

The U.S. military needs to wake up to the fact that global dominance is no longer a viable strategy for national defense, because pursuing that unrealizable goal is making the country less safe, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said April 22. Emerging defense technologies like swarms of cheap, attritable drones have ended the era of unipolarity and U.S. military preeminence, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash) told the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute. “You can't just be so big and bad that no one's going to take you on, because they can take you on with a tiny little drone,” he said.

HASC Won’t Plus Up F-35 Request in Fiscal 2022 Budget

House Armed Services leaders say they'll move to block adding more F-35s than requested in the fiscal 2022 budget, in hopes of letting the overtaxed sustainment system for the fighter “catch up” to the fleet already in place. Without action on sustainment costs, the Air Force would only be able to afford about half the 1,763 F-35s they say they plan to build.
B-52 AGM-183A captive carry test

Strike Options Should Compete on Cost Effectiveness, Study Says

The proliferation of long-range strike options under development across all the U.S. armed forces should prompt a comprehensive review by civilian leaders, a new report by two influential think tanks concludes. Titled “Understanding the Long-Range Strike Debate,” the report by AFA's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and the Hudson Institute argues that while a mix of options is always advantageous, the true cost of those options must be well understood and the opportunity cost of pursuing more options could deprive commanders of better options over time.

Military Officials Defend Triad, Warn Lawmakers That Nuclear Modernization Can No Longer Be Delayed

With upcoming budget deliberations and an expected Nuclear Posture Review, Air Force and U.S. Strategic Command leaders are making the case that the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent is a critical program and is actually cheaper than extending the life of the aging Minuteman III. Other modernization programs, such as nuclear command and control and the B-21 Raider, are expected to face less scrutiny but are still just as necessary, said Lt. Gen. James C. Dawkins Jr., the deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, during an April 22 Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies virtual event. “The challenge is because our nation has deferred modernization several times over the past 20-30 years, delivering these programs on time is critical to our strategic deterrent,” Dawkins said.
Joint Task Force Quartz repositions U.S. forces in East Africa

After Leaving Somalia, U.S. Troops Now ‘Commuting to Work’ From Other Nations

Since U.S. forces withdrew from Somalia earlier this year, they have been “commuting to work” via aircraft to help train Somali troops, but without a ground presence there is limited intelligence understanding, the head of U.S. Africa Command told lawmakers. In December 2020, former President Donald J. Trump ordered U.S. troops to leave Somalia and reposition at other bases in the region. There is still a “limited footprint” of less than 100 troops remaining in Somalia with the U.S. embassy, and other forces are based at locations outside the country, such as Kenya and Djibouti, AFRICOM boss Gen. Stephen J. Townsend told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Afghan air force maintainers

CENTCOM Looks to Help Afghans Maintain Aircraft After Withdrawal

U.S. Central Command is searching for “innovative” ways to help the Afghan Air Force turn wrenches on their planes after U.S. and coalition forces withdraw from the country, though the command’s boss acknowledges it’s not going to be easy. “The U.S. contractors will come out as we come out. That is part of the plan [to] withdraw that we have in place right now,” CENTCOM boss Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said during an April 22 Pentagon briefing. “We’re examining alternatives to assist the Afghans in their maintenance effort from a distance. I don’t want to minimize that problem or make it appear to be easier than it’s going to be.”

Radar Sweep

70 Years of the PLA Air Force

Air University

The China Aerospace Studies Institute at Air University has published a history of the People's Liberation Army Air Force, examining China's air force strategy, doctrine, organizational structure, personnel, education, training, and military diplomacy and exchanges. Written by retired Maj. Ken Allen, former U.S. assistant air attaché in Beijing, and analyst Cristina Garafola, it also explores future directions the PLAAF may pursue before it turns 80 in 2029.

Developing Self: Airman’s Foundational Competencies Category

USAF release

The Air Force has identified 24 foundational competencies for all Airmen, as part of a systematic competency-based approach to develop the force. These competencies are universally applicable to all Airmen and are categorized into four groups: Developing self, developing others, developing ideas, and developing organizations.

Opinion: US Space Command's Mission: ‘Preparing for the War Not Yet Fought’

The Hill

Militaries are sometimes criticized for planning to fight the last war. The criticism is occasionally warranted, as might be the case in analyzing the efficacy of the World War I-inspired Maginot Line against a World War II-style Blitzkrieg, or planning for anticipated force-on-force set piece battles in Vietnam in the midst of a guerilla war. However, the criticism is often misguided.

Afghanistan: The Long, Painful Retreat

Breaking Defense

“I think the countries to the north of Afghanistan such as Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan are also going to be worried about the flows of refugees and perhaps fighters to the north. All of them will see what happens after we leave, how the United States postures itself, and then they’ll decide what to do," Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, U.S. Central Command boss, said.

Space Force Pushing Procurement Reforms But Culture Change is a Slow Go

Space News

The Space Force is standing up a new procurement organization and taking other actions to speed up acquisitions of cutting-edge technology from the commercial space industry. But change won’t happen overnight due to the military’s deeply ingrained culture, said Gen. David Thompson, vice chief of space operations of the U.S. Space Force.

Space Force Eyes Buying Commercial Satellite ISR

Breaking Defense

The Space Force is working to expand acquisition of commercial space services from satellite communications to include intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data and analysis, officials say.

Germany: Earlier Afghanistan Withdrawal Being Considered

The Associated Press

Discussions are underway among military planners with the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in Kabul for a possible withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan as early as July 4, Germany’s Defense Ministry said April 21.

One More Thing

Weighing In on Space Shuttle Legacy

Aerotech News

Marking the 40th anniversary of the first space shuttle orbital launch and landing, the Los Angeles–Las Vegas Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics convened an online panel of authors and editors to offer their evaluations on the Space Shuttle era.