Here Are Some of the New PT Test Exercise Options the Air Force Will Offer

The Department of the Air Force will resume revamped physical fitness testing on July 1 after a lengthy, COVID-induced delay, but still more changes are coming as the service is set to debut new alternative options for the test in January 2022. In a virtual "Coffee Talk" with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly offered a sneak peak on what's being considered.

USAF Fighters Strike Iranian-Backed Militias on Iraq-Syria Border

U.S. Air Force F-15E and F-16 aircraft on June 27 struck three facilities on the Syria-Iraq border, where the Pentagon said Iranian-backed militias were building and storing the small drone weapons used to attack U.S. and partner bases in recent months. The strikes hit buildings in As-Sisak, Al Hury, and Qasabat in Syria, with video released June 28 showing the buildings in rural areas destroyed by airstrikes. The buildings are linked to militias such as Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Air Force’s First Helicopter-Only Training Class Since 1993 Graduates

For the first time in more than a quarter century, Air Force pilots have earned their wings from a helicopter-only training course. “Today, you’ve established a new helicopter-only training,” Lt. Gen. Marshall B. "Brad" Webb, commander of AETC, told the new pilots at their graduation ceremony. “But, the focus for pilot training will always be, regardless of where you are in training, quality and competence. In many ways, the Helicopter Training Next program is the vanguard for all our other Air Force pilot training programs. That’s how successful you all have been.”

New Mexico RED HORSE Commander Dies at Al Udeid

The commander of a New Mexic-based RED HORSE squadron died June 26 in a non-combat related incident at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, the Pentagon announced. Lt. Col. James C. Willis, 55, of Albuquerque, N.M., died during a deployment to support Operation Inherent Resolve. He is the commander of the 210th RED HORSE Squadron of the New Mexico Air National Guard, at Kirtland Air Force Base. The incident is under investigation.

ACC Activates the First Spectrum Warfare Wing

Air Combat Command on June 25 activated the first-of-its-kind 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing, which will provide electronic warfare maintenance and expertise for Combat Air Forces. The wing, which is temporarily based at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., while the Air Force does an environmental study for its permanent location, has long been previewed by service officials as a key step to ensure the U.S. military has superiority in spectrum. “The competition in the electromagnetic spectrum is more important than ever before. The joint force is connected by and delivers effects in and through the EMS,” said Col. William Young, 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing commander, in a release.

Radar Sweep

Nuclear Deterrence Forum: Retired Maj. Gen. Michael Fortney

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

The Mitchell Institute will host a live virtual Nuclear Deterrence Forum event with retired Maj. Gen. Michael E. Fortney, former vice commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, and former director of operations and nuclear support at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, on June 29 at 10 a.m. EST. Fortney will share his insights into how the GBSD and B-21 programs will enhance nuclear deterrence capabilities, as well as how the principles of deterrence have not fundamentally changed, despite a rapidly changing global nuclear landscape.

US ‘Retains Clear Superiority’ In Cyber; China Rising: IISS Study

Breaking Defense

The U.S. stands alone as the only tier-one cyber power in the world, but China will rise as a highly capable peer competitor over the next decade, a new International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) report concludes. “Dominance in cyberspace has been a strategic goal of the United States since the mid-1990s,” the report notes. “It is the only country with a heavy global footprint in both civil and military uses of cyberspace, although it now perceives itself as seriously threatened by China and Russia in that domain.”

GOP Senator Jams Up Pentagon Pick Over Biden’s Navy Plan


Republican Sen. Roger Wicker is holding up a high-level Pentagon nominee in an attempt to push the Navy to commit to buying more amphibious ships, according to two people familiar with the situation. The nominee on hold, Susanna Blume, had been tapped to run the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office, which would give her a central role in assessing new weapons systems proposed by the armed services.

‘It’s Always a Long Game’: Inside Kirsten Gillibrand’s Campaign to Overhaul Military Justice

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, a bill that would shift the decision to prosecute rape, sexual assault, and many other felonies from the chain of command to actual prosecutors, now has 66 cosponsors, and 70 total supporters, including lawmakers who opposed her earlier efforts. Gillibrand told she isn't done adding supporters. The wide bipartisan backing is virtually unheard of on Capitol Hill with bills of any real consequence.

Italian Forces Kicked Out of Middle East Base over UAE Arms Embargo, Lawmaker Says

Defense News

The United Arab Emirates is evicting Italian aircraft and personnel from a key military base in retaliation for an arms embargo slapped on the UAE by Rome in January, an Italian politician said. Matteo Perego Di Cremnago, an Italian member of parliament and member of the parliamentary defense commission, said Italy had been given until July 2 to leave the Al Minhad air base in the UAE.

Moderate Democrats Rebuke Defense Budget Cuts

Defense News

In the upcoming budget debate, a group of moderate Democrats are trying to set a floor for 2022 defense spending before progressive Democrats try to push it lower. Leaders of the House’s Blue Dog Coalition say they oppose calls to fund any less than the requested $753 billion national defense budget for fiscal 2022—which included $715 billion for the Pentagon. The stance adds fuel to an already complicated budget debate, where Democrats are split and key Republicans are pushing for a boost.

Hypersonic Missiles: A New Arms Race

The Diplomat

The Biden administration is making a big push for hypersonic-related research funding in the fiscal year 2022 budget. The administration has requested $3.8 billion, almost 20 percent more than the Trump administration’s allocation of $3.2 billion for fiscal year 2021. There is no guarantee that this will encounter smooth sailing in Congress, considering that one of the two hypersonic missile prototypes had to be cancelled last year after criticism from the House appropriations defense subcommittee. This is the latest indicator of a spiraling arms race in this new technology.

China’s Fusion Research Is Heating Up

Defense One

China’s investment in and progress toward the sustained superhot conditions necessary for nuclear fusion is key to Beijing’s strategic push to sustainable energy self-sufficiency. The country's economic growth requires reliable sources of energy and creates new vulnerabilities, as recently highlighted by straining electric grids in Guangdong provinces, one of China's economic powerhouses, writes Thomas Corbett, a research analyst with BluePath Labs, and P.W. Singer, a strategist at New America.

OPINION: Physics Gets a Vote: No Starcruisers for Space Force

War on the Rocks

“Wars in space will never be like Star Wars. “Starfighters” will not engage in dogfights with unlimited maneuverability and range. An actual conflict in space would be slow and deliberate, requiring prepositioning of weapons and meticulous planning ... Policymakers and defense planners need to have a realistic understanding of what is physically possible and practical ...In any space war, physical limitations will constrain both the movement of assets and overall strategy,” writes Rebecca Reesman, project engineer at the Aerospace Corporation, and James Wilson, an engineering manager in the Astrodynamics Department at the Aerospace Corporation.

One More Thing

Air Force Combat Controller Breaks Down that Wild Desert Airstrike Scene from ‘Transformers’

Task and Purpose

Believe it or not, somewhere in the middle of the spectacular explosions of the 2007 science fiction movie Transformers is a decent depiction of Air Force combat controllers, the special operations Airmen whose job is to bring in air support and coordinate air traffic in support of other special operations troops such as Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces, and British and Australian SAS.