kendall confirmation hearing

Kendall Says Countering China is Why He’s Coming Back to Pentagon

China's meteoric rise in military capability—and the urge to do something to contain it—is the chief reason Frank Kendall, the Biden administration's pick to be Air Force Secretary, agreed to return to Pentagon work, he said in his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing. Kendall supported continued buys of the F-35 and keeping the A-10 and MQ-9 aircraft in the inventory, and he also pledged to fix any problems with USAF culture as it relates to sexual harassment or assault.
cq brown

Brown on Future Combat: ‘I Can’t Predict the Future, But I Can Shape It’

The defense budget coming out May 28 will contain few big surprises. Plans to retire some older planes have already been reported, and the longer-range plans typically surfacing at budget time—known as the Future Years Defense Plan, or FYDP—are still being debated. But inklings of the service's direction will be sprinkled throughout, all of them designed to maximize options going forward. "I can’t predict the future," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. in a virtual conversation hosted by the Center for New American Security on May 25. "But I can help shape it.”
Draken Mirage F-1

Contract Red Air Jet Crashes at Nellis, Killing Pilot

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fatal Mirage F1 crash on the south side of Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, around 2:30 p.m. May 24. The Mirage was owned and operated by Florida-based Draken International, which has flown contract Red Air at Nellis since 2015. The pilot’s name has not yet been released. No one else was on board at the time of the crash, according to a release. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and families affected by this event. We are doing everything in our power to assist them in this time of need, and we are working closely with federal, state, and local authorities. Draken US is also cooperating with investigating agencies to determine what led to this tragic accident," the company said in a statement.

Radar Sweep

Thousands of Air Force Families are Waiting Months for Child Care, According to Report

Federal News Network

The Air Force was unable to place thousands of children in daycare for months on end last year and continues to have a sizable need for more childcare as Airmen are slowly returning to in-person workplaces. In a report obtained by Federal News Network, the Air Force stated that demand for child care currently exceeds the capacity of the Department of the Air Force. “Unmet demand and wait time for care have both increased since last year’s report due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors of the report wrote.

Nonpartisan Budget Report Says Future Nuke Costs Are Rising

The Associated Press

The projected cost of modernizing the U.S. nuclear force is escalating, including billions of dollars more to operate nuclear-armed submarines and to update Energy Department nuclear weapons laboratories and production facilities, according to a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. Critics of nuclear modernization are likely to seize on the new figures to bolster their argument for more modest upgrades. The nonpartisan CBO said that operating and modernizing the nuclear force will cost $634 billion in the 2021-2030 period.

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‘Our Pacing Threat is the Chinese,’ US Space Command Leader Says in Tokyo

Stars and Stripes

China is the primary challenge not only on the surface but also for U.S. forces preparing to fight and win in any future conflict in space, according to the chief of the U.S. Space Command. “Our pacing threat is the Chinese, so we are watching how they are growing their space capability,” said Army Gen. James H. Dickinson, who oversees the command based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, during a stop at the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo on May 22. The Army’s senior air defense artillery officer has led the military’s 11th and newest combatant command since August.

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The U.S. Air Force’s New F-15EX Fighters Could Double As Jamming Planes


The Air Force’s new F-15EX—a 21st-century update of the classic Eagle fighter—isn’t just a potentially powerful, long-range shooter with plenty of underwing room for bigger air-to-air and hypersonic missiles. It’s also a jamming platform. Fitted with the new Eagle Passive Active Warning Survivability System, or EPAWSS, the twin-engine, two-seat F-15EX in theory could project a protective bubble of radar-muddling noise around itself and nearby warplanes.

After Coming Out, a Soldier was Allegedly Raped by Another Military Member and Died by Suicide. Her Family Says it's a Hate Crime

USA Today

"I opened the door, and I looked right at those two chaplains and I said, 'My daughter committed suicide,'" Harris said. "She's dead." The chaplains confirmed what she'd dreaded. Her daughter had become withdrawn. Over a few short months, their close relationship had turned distant. Harris knew something was wrong, but she didn't know what. She would learn in a blur of briefings that her daughter had filed a sexual assault complaint against a fellow service member, that it occurred 10 days after her daughter had disclosed her sexual orientation on Facebook; that she'd expressed thoughts of suicide and been under counseling and a do-not-arm order. And that a misstep by the military led to her daughter coming into contact with her alleged assailant.

New ‘Lead Wing’ Deployment Plan for Combat Aircraft is Being Tested, Refined

Air Force Times

The Air Force is mulling a major overhaul of how it deploys fighter jets and other combat planes overseas in an effort that could eventually expand to its entire inventory. Over the next two years, the service plans to hold a series of exercises that will help it decide how to bring that vision, known as “lead wing,” to fruition. Last year, the Air Force released a directive to rethink how the service heads overseas—specifically, to mature new air expeditionary task forces that can smoothly jump around the world as threats arise. The lead wing concept is part of that broader effort.

Air Force Set to Award $490M Contract to Counter Small Drones

Defense News

By the end of this fiscal year, one company could rake in a contract worth up to $490 million to provide the Air Force with technologies to counter the threat of small, commercially made drones. On April 13, the Air Force released a request for proposals for the “rapid research, development, prototyping, demonstration, evaluation, and transition” of technologies that can be used to counter small unmanned aerial systems. Responses to the solicitation are due May 14.

With Artemis Accords on the Table, South Korea, U.S. to Widen Cooperation in Space Exploration, Security


President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and his U.S. counterpart President Joe Biden have promised to cooperate toward South Korea signing the Artemis Accords, a set of principles governing norms of behavior for those who want to participate in the NASA-led Artemis lunar exploration program. Nine nations, including the United States, have signed the Artemis Accords since the pact’s unveiling last year. The commitment to work toward South Korea becoming a formal signatory of the Artemis Accords was part of a broader agreement.

A Race Against Time to Replace Aging Military Weather Satellites


The Defense Department may finally be on track to replace its aging polar-orbiting weather satellites more than a decade after pulling the plug on an ill-fated effort to cram civil and military requirements into a single system. Work is underway on two new military satellite systems designed to replace the most critical capabilities of the venerable Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP). But the new satellites aren’t slated to begin operations until 2024 and 2026, a timeline just barely in sync with how much longer the U.S. Space Force thinks it can keep DMSP going.

One More Thing

You May See This Break-dancing American Soldier in the 2024 Olympics

Task and Purpose

By day, Staff Sgt. Brianna Pritchard is a mechanic who fixes Black Hawk helicopters for the Alaska National Guard. But off the clock, Pritchard breaks it down hard: break dancing, that is. The Anchorage, Alaska, native has 14 years of break dancing experience, and now she has a shot at competing in the first Olympic break dancing competitions in 2024. That’s right, break-dancing (called ‘breaking’ by people in the biz) was made an Olympic sport in December 2020, and it will make its debut at the 2024 Olympics in Paris. For Pritchard, who has competed in breaking competitions across the U.S. and internationally, it could be a shot at a dream come true.