Reports: DOD Planning to Draw Down Forces in Middle East

The Pentagon is reportedly planning to draw down the number of fighter squadrons in the Middle East while also withdrawing missile defense systems as part of a broad shift in the U.S. military’s force posture in the region. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III informed the Saudi regime that Terminal High Altitude Area Defense and Patriot missile defense systems and some fighter aircraft deployed to that country will be withdrawn, The Wall Street Journal reported. Additionally, fighters and missile defense systems in other countries such as Iraq, Kuwait, and Jordan will be withdrawn.

Barksdale B-52s Complete Task Force Deployment

B-52s from Barksdale Air Force, La., on June 18 finished the latest bomber task force deployment to Europe in a dramatic fashion, flying two separate long-distance training missions in the Arctic and in Africa. On June 17, B-52s that were part of the task force took off for a “cross-combatant command” training mission, which included training with Norwegian joint terminal attack controllers, flying through the Arctic Circle and into the northern Pacific, before returning home to Barksdale. On June 18, other B-52s at Moron Air Base, Spain, took off for a different, long-distance training mission that took them south to Africa. The bombers flew to Morocco before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to return to Barksdale.
DAF suicide prevention training

Report: Military Suicides Since 9/11 Far Exceed Combat Deaths

The number of U.S. military service members and veterans who have killed themselves since Sept. 11, 2001, is more than four times the number of service members who have been killed in war operations, according to a report released June 21. Data compiled by the Costs of War Project, founded by researchers at Brown and Boston universities, showed that an estimated 30,177 Active-duty personnel and veterans of the "Post 9/11 Wars" have taken their own lives, compared to 7,057 deaths in combat. The increases in both veteran and Active-duty suicides are also out-pacing those among the general population.

After 5 Million Shots, Military’s Federal Vaccination Sites Are Done

The last federally supported COVID-19 vaccine center staffed by U.S. military personnel closed June 20, wrapping up more than four months of vaccinations at dozens of sites nationwide. While the federally supported sites have closed, National Guard personnel are still supporting state and local vaccination sites, Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby said in a June 21 briefing. Since beginning the vaccination effort earlier this year, service members at 48 sites across the country and territories in the Pacific administered about 5 million vaccines, Kirby said. National Guard sites have administered more than 12 million vaccines, Kirby said.

Radar Sweep

PODCAST: The Aerospace Advantage, Episode 27

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 27 of the Aerospace Advantage, Guiding the Fight: Airborne Command and Control, join battle manager Major Alex Wallis to explore why the information advantage is crucial at the tactical edge of the battle space. For decades, the E-3 AWACS and E-8 JSTARS have defined the command and control mission. However, given the rapid evolution of technology in the information age, the way in which these missions are executed is going to change—whether talking about the power of space-based assets, artificial intelligence, or increased connectivity. It’s all about understanding how to maximize a relative position to best achieve the mission, while avoiding or minimizing threats.

Air Force to Issue $750M IT Contract for Drone Squadron Operation Center


The Air Force is preparing to issue an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for IT and technology services for an operations center dedicated to flying a squadron of drones. The contract has a $750 million ceiling and would be to service network and data curation for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Squadron Operation Center Enterprise at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Hicks Seeks To Unify Service Experiments With New ‘Raider’ Fund

Breaking Defense

The Pentagon needs to create a unified “innovation ecosystem” from the services‘ experiments, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said June 21. So it will create a Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve – RDER, pronounced “Raider.” Organizations across the Defense Department can propose experiments and compete for RDER funding, with winners determined based on how well they bring in multiple services and entities to work on joint concepts.

SPONSORED | Maintain and Modernize: Ensuring the Nuclear Deterrent Remains Ready and Able


As the Air Force transitions its nuclear missile force from the Minuteman III to the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) in the coming decade, the Air Force will have to manage a delicate balancing act: simultaneously sustain the legacy force while developing and deploying its replacement. “The handoff between Minuteman III and GBSD is the most complex [replacement operation] ever undertaken between two nuclear weapon systems,” said Col. Luke Cropsey, ICBM Systems director, in a recent Air Force release. 

The Air Force Knew It Had an Ejection Seat Problem, But Didn't Speed Up a Fix. Then a Pilot Died

According to data and corresponding information provided to, the Air Force did not see a need to hasten inspections or accelerate maintenance on an ejection seat’s sequencer, because work was already underway. But that sequencer malfunctioned during a fatal crash, preventing the pilot from ejecting safely. And even after the tragedy, no comprehensive fast-track has been ordered. While parts from the same production line have been sidelined, it's not certain whether another ejection seat mishap could happen before maintenance work is complete.

Air Force Graduates First Class of New ‘Special Reconnaissance’ Commandos

Task and Purpose

On June 17, an undisclosed number of students became the first to graduate from a new special warfare school, earning the title of Special Reconnaissance Airmen. The new job replaces what used to be called Special Operations Weather Teams, the meteorology experts who infiltrate hostile territory to gather and forecast weather conditions for special operations teams or air support. The SR career field underwent a major restructuring recently that keeps short-term weather forecasting in the job’s skillset, but it is no longer the main focus.

U.S. General: 'Wildfire of Terrorism' on March in Africa

The Associated Press

A senior U.S. general warned June 18 that the “wildfire of terrorism” is sweeping across a band of Africa and needs the world’s attention. He spoke at the close of large-scale U.S.-led war games with American, African and European troops. The African Lion war games, which lasted nearly two weeks, stretched across Morocco, a key U.S, ally, with smaller parts held in Tunisia and Senegal. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, head of the U.S. Africa Command, praised the work accomplished in joint operations, and painted a dark picture of threats besetting parts of Africa.

FAA, Department of the Air Force Sign Commercial Space Agreement

Space Force Release

The Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of the Air Force signed an agreement June 15 aimed at eliminating red tape while protecting public safety during commercial space activities at ranges operated by the U.S. Space Force. The agreement recognizes common safety standards for FAA-licensed launch and reentry activities that occur on, originate from, or return to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. It also removes duplicative processes and approvals for the U.S. commercial space sector.

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Afghanistan’s Air Force is a Rare U.S.-backed Success Story. It May Soon Fail.

Los Angeles Times

Since May 1, the original deadline for the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban military has overpowered government troops to take at least 23 districts to date, according to local media. That advance has further denied Afghan security forces the use of roads, meaning all logistical support to the thousands of army and police outposts and checkpoints — including resupplies of ammunition and food, medical evacuations or personnel rotation — must be done by air. The result is an operational tempo the pilots can’t sustain; their aircraft routinely exceed the maximum number of hours they’re allowed to fly.

Watch This Plane Shoot Down Drones with a High-Powered Laser in a First-of-its-Kind Israeli Military Test

Business Insider

The Israeli military used a plane armed with a high-powered laser to intercept and shoot down several unmanned aircraft in flight in a first-of-its-kind test for the Israeli armed forces, which are constantly searching for new ways to counter airborne threats like rockets and drones from Gaza and elsewhere. The High-Power Laser Weapon System was installed on an aircraft equipped with advanced sensors and tracking systems and used to engage multiple drones at various ranges and altitudes.

One More Thing

Shocking Images: America's Newest Aircraft Carrier Endures Explosive Tests Off Florida

The Drive

The first-in-her-class USS Gerald R. Ford underwent its first shock trials on the afternoon of June 18 off the coast of Florida. Full Ship Shock Trials (FSSTs) are a massive and potentially invasive test of how all of the ships' systems, as well as her crew, fare after large concussive blasts occur in close proximity to the ship. The underwater blast on June 18 registered 3.9 on the Richter Scale.