Warren Lifts Hold on Kendall Nomination After Ethics Agreement Extension

Air Force nominee Frank Kendall is one step closer to a major procedural hurdle after agreeing to extend his industry recusal from two years to four years at the behest of Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren. Kendall’s May 25 nomination has been on hold for weeks due to holds by Warren, Michigan Democrat Gary Peters and Utah Republican Mike Lee. With Congress’s August recess approaching, the potential for an even longer delay in Kendall’s nomination was feared by many defense watchers eager to get the longtime industry and acquisitions expert on board at the Pentagon.

AMC Officially Clears KC-46 for Centerline Drogue Operations

Air Mobility Command on July 9 officially opened up the KC-46 to some limited operations, clearing the Pegasus to use its centerline drogue. The move is an official green light to conduct activities the Pegasus has been doing for months—using its secondary refueling system to pass fuel to aircraft such as Navy F/A-18s. The tanker is still years away from reaching initial operational capability as the Air Force and Boeing work to overhaul the aircraft’s problematic Remote Vision System.

DOD’s Artificial Intelligence Efforts Gain Momentum as US, Allies, and Partners Look to Counter China

The Defense Department’s push to operationalize artificial intelligence, which leaders say will change the way the military conducts war but not the laws of war, is gaining momentum. More than 600 AI efforts are in progress across the department, “significantly more than just a year ago,” Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III told a live audience at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence’s Global Emerging Technology Summit in Washington, D.C., on July 13. “In today’s department, innovation cannot be an afterthought. It is the ballgame."

Afghans Promise Comeback vs. Taliban as US Delivers New Aircraft

Afghanistan’s American-trained, equipped, and financed military has lost dozens of provinces to the Taliban in “tactical retreats” in the 10 weeks since the U.S. began its withdrawal, but an Afghan government official promised July 13 that his country would not succumb to the Taliban rebels and that it's counting on aircraft the U.S. will give it to help defeat its nemesis. “We are going to take it back, and we have that capability,” the official said July 13, dismissing the possibility that the Taliban might ultimately seize Kabul and the Afghan air force's assets.
Dr. Will Roper speaks to NYIT students and faculty about innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and Air Force Pitch Day

Former Air Force Acquisition Chief Lands CEO Job with Drone Company

The Air Force’s former acquisition boss has landed a new job as the CEO of a Silicon Valley-backed startup that specializes in many of the same technologies he championed during his time with the service. Will Roper was announced as the new chief executive officer of Volansi, a logistics and drone building company, July 8. He had previously joined the company’s board of directors in March after leaving his job as assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics in January.

Larson Takes Command of Reserve’s 22nd Air Force

Maj. Gen. Bret C. Larson took over as commander of 22nd Air Force on July 10 during a ceremony at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga. Larson assumed command from Maj. Gen. John P. Healy, who has led the numbered air force since July 2019. The 22nd Air Force is responsible for Air Force Reserve Command’s C-130 units, which provide airlift, aeromedical evacuation, undergraduate pilot training, civil engineering, and flight testing, among others.

Radar Sweep

Inglis Sworn in as First National Cyber Czar

The Record

Chris Inglis was sworn into office on July 12 as the country’s first ever National Cyber Director, according to a White House spokesperson. Inglis, a former NSA deputy director, was unanimously confirmed by the Senate last month. He will advise President Joe Biden on digital issues, as well as play a key role in coordinating the federal government’s response to hacks and other digital threats.

Lawmakers Pan Biden’s First Space Force Budget

Roll Call

The Space Force, created by Congress in 2019, is off to a rocky start in its first full budgeting cycle as its own branch of the military. In the report accompanying the fiscal 2022 defense appropriations bill, members of the House Appropriations Committee expressed concern and frustration over the lack of a coordinated strategy in the Pentagon’s budget request. The panel seems particularly concerned about how the Space Force, which is now a separate service within the Air Force —akin to how the Marine Corps operates within the Navy — goes about buying equipment.

Israel To Seek ‘Advanced’ Tech From US in Case of New Iran Deal

Breaking Defense

Should the US and Iran reach a new nuclear agreement, Israel will request new military compensation from Washington — including technologies that have not previously been exported to Israel, sources say. Israel is weighing a request for “advanced systems” that would enable a preemptive strike on Iran should intelligence show Tehran has crossed the nuclear enrichment threshold needed to create a bomb, sources tell Breaking Defense.

House Appropriators Want to Shave $44M off Air Force’s Flagship Hypersonic Program

Air Force Times

House appropriators hope to slash funding for the U.S. Air Force’s leading hypersonic missile effort in fiscal 2022, citing increased risk as the program moves from flight testing into production. The Air Force is seeking about $161 million in FY22 to produce the first 12 AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) missiles, which would become the first hypersonic weapons fielded by the U.S. military for operational use. However, the House Appropriation Committee’s version of the spending bill would shave $44 million from that total, allowing the Air Force to purchase only eight missiles that year.

Danger from China ‘Clear and Present Already,’ INDOPACOM’s Top Intel Officer Warns

Defense One

Rear Adm. Mike Studeman has an urgent message from the middle of the Pacific Ocean: The threat from China is more pressing than leaders in America’s capital seem to realize. “I'm wondering in Washington how many folks are truly persuaded by the warning which the intelligence community has already provided, regarding the dangers that exist within this decade, soon, now, with regard to the nature of the Chinese threat, and how it manifests, and what to do about it,” said Studeman, the U.S. military’s top intelligence officer for the Asia-Pacific region. “We would say the danger is clear and present already.”

Germany Establishes New Military Space Command

Defense News

The German military has announced the creation of a separate command dedicated to space, becoming the latest of a handful of nations prioritizing more resources and missions among the stars. The Ministry of Defence introduced the new space command in a July 13 ceremony at the German Space Situational Awareness Centre in Uedem, located in the country’s North Rhine-Westphalia region.

No Plans for Space Force PT Test Yet


Space Force guardians must wait a little longer for physical training standards unique to their service as it figures out what requirements best match its needs. The service won't debut PT policy guidelines until late this year at the earliest, spokeswoman Lynn Kirby told Military.com on July 12, adding that they might not come until next year.

Information Warfare Looms Larger in Russia’s New Security Strategy

Defense One

The Russian government sees itself as increasingly vulnerable to foreign and domestic subversion, according to a July 3 update to the Kremlin’s 2015 national security strategy, and is moving to shield Russian citizens from outside voices and improve its influence-warfare capabilities.

Subscription Required

F-35 Closes In on New Timeline for Combat Test Once Set for 2017


The Pentagon is close to deciding on a new schedule for completing crucial simulated combat testing of the $398 billion F-35 jet against advanced Russian and Chinese air defenses, according to a spokesperson. The long-delayed 64-sortie exercise in a “Joint Simulation Environment” run by the Navy was last supposed to have been completed in December, though it was originally planned for 2017.

Lawmakers Pitch New Voting System for US Troops Stationed Overseas


A bipartisan group of lawmakers is seeking to increase the number of U.S. service members who exercise their right to vote -- especially those stationed in combat zones or deployed overseas. Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced a bill July 13 that would establish a secure electronic voting system for those assigned to hazardous duty stations or on a rotational deployment.

One More Thing

Hawaii Chaplain to be First Woman, First Person of Color to Lead Air National Guard Chaplain Corps


A chaplain for the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing is spreading her wings and message to service members across the country. Col. Leah Botona Boling was selected to be the next director of the Air National Guard Chaplain Corps—the first woman and first person of color to hold the title. The Filipina immigrant joined the guard in 2002, worked her way up through the ranks and will now provide counseling and support for more than 108,100 air guardsmen.