Senate Confirms Ortiz Jones for Undersecretary of the Air Force, Hold Remains on SECAF Nomination

The Senate on July 22 confirmed Gina Ortiz Jones to be the next under secretary of the Air Force, giving the service a No. 2 civilian leader while the nominee to lead the service remains in limbo. Ortiz Jones, along with five other Defense Department nominees, were approved by unanimous consent in the Senate. The vote came exactly one month after the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced her nomination. Frank Kendall's nomination to be Secretary of the Air Force remains on hold.
U.S. Capitol with Flag

SASC Completes NDAA Markup With $25 Billion Extra, New Name for Air National Guard

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2022, increasing the top line of President Joe Biden’s defense budget by $25 billion while seemingly nixing the possibility of a Space National Guard. The markup was approved 23-3 on July 22 and a summary released July 23, detailing roughly $740 billion in spending for the Defense Department. Included in both versions of the budget is a 2.7 percent pay raise for troops.
Nahom Senate Appropriations

Secret Global Hawk Successor Due in 2027-2029

The successor to the RQ-4 Global Hawk should be available for service late in this decade, Lt. Gen. David S. Nahom, Air Force deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, told the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 21. Answering questions on divestitures of systems the Air Force wants to make in order to free up funds for new technologies, Nahom said the Block 40 Global Hawk fleet is no longer survivable against modern air defenses and that its replacement is coming, but not swiftly.
Pease receives 11th KC-46

Next Two KC-46 Beddowns Will be Guard Locations

The Air National Guard will get the next two tranches of KC-46 Pegasus tankers, at locations to be decided within the next 12 months, Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs Lt. Gen. David S. Nahom told the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 21. "The next two beddown locations for the Air National Guard, we're actually going to have that conversation in the next year,” Nahom said at a hearing to discuss divestitures of USAF aircraft to pay for modernization. “And of the Air National Guard units flying the KC-135 now, we're going to transition two of those” to fly some of the planned 179 KC-46s, Nahom added.
air force basic military training graduation

After 16 Months, Guests Return to Air Force Basic Training Graduation

For the first time in more than a year, family and friends were able to gather in person July 22 to watch as loved ones graduated from Air Force Basic Military Training. Restrictions were still in place at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the inclusion of several hundred guests in the stands still made for a celebratory atmosphere and a stark change after 16 months of ceremonies without crowds. The last ceremony with guests was March 13, 2020.
afghan military

Watchdog Report Blasts US Military’s Handling of Fuel for Afghan Forces

The Afghan military’s future is in question because of the lack of a reliable source of fuel as the U.S. withdraws. About half of the fuel provided to the country’s fighting forces reportedly is being stolen, and the U.S. military, which has poured billions of dollars into creating a fuel source for Afghan forces, does not have a solid plan for transferring its authority, according to a new watchdog report. The Defense Department, from 2010 to 2020, has spent $3.74 billion on fuel for Afghanistan, with another $1.45 billion expected through 2025, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, in a report released July 21. The Afghan National Self Defense Forces use the fuel to provide electricity for bases, operate vehicles, and fly aircraft.

Radar Sweep

HASC Task Force: Six Ways To Limit DOD’s Dependence on Chinese Parts

Breaking Defense

This year’s National Defense Authorization Act policy bill is almost certain to include amendments forcing the Defense Department to improve its understanding of who sells what parts and equipment to the United States military, with the broad aim of reducing dependence on Chinese sources. Six suggested amendments to that effect are included in a report released today by the Defense Critical Supply Chain Task Force.

EVENT: Nuclear Deterrence Forum: Rob Soofer and John Harvey

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

Watch the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ virtual Nuclear Deterrence & Missile Defense Forum event with Robert Soofer, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, and John Harvey, former principal deputy assistant to the secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs. Soofer and Harvey discuss nuclear modernization and the next Nuclear Posture Review as well as layered missile defense and the SM-3 interceptor.

Air Force Looking to Boost Connectivity for Simulators

National Defense Magazine

The Air Force has thousands of simulators and training environments to prepare pilots for combat but no way to access them all. The service is looking to remedy this by exploring new ways to enhance interoperability between its training platforms. Training systems are often developed for specific program offices with specific capabilities. Because of this, “simulators are often proprietary products, and there’s no way for those simulators to communicate,” said Kevin McFarland, acquisition lead for modeling simulation and analysis at the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Architecture and Integration Directorate.

SPONSORED: SAIC Proves Enterprise IT-as-a-Service Works for Airmen and Guardians


Imagine if every time you moved to a new home, you had to connect the electricity, plumbing, and internet all over again. All the wires, pipes, and switches connecting you to the world were your responsibility. That’s how the Air Force operates its information technology. For generations, it’s managed everything itself. Now that’s changing. The Department of the Air Force is pursuing a future in which it buys all its IT as a service, from cloud computing to networking and from email to the help desk.

OPINION: Coerced Ethics Pledges Harm National Defense

Defense One

“No good will come of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign to extort extra-legal ‘ethics’ commitments from defense execs nominated for Pentagon jobs. The Massachusetts Democrat’s crusade will only discourage otherwise qualified and willing individuals from serving, ultimately reducing the effectiveness of those positions,” writes Thomas Spoehr, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense and a retired Army lieutenant general.

To Afford Next-Gen Combat Aircraft, the US Air Force Will Make Cuts to ISR Inventory

Air Force Times

As the U.S. Air Force restructures its aircraft inventory to compete with China, the service is taking calculated risks in its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft portfolio, a top general said July 21. In its fiscal 2022 budget request, the Air Force proposed mothballing four of its 16 E-8 JSTARS aircraft, which are used for ground surveillance and targeting, as well as 20 Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 30 surveillance drones.

As COVID Cases Surge Again, VA Officials Implore All Vets to Get Vaccinated

Military Times

Veterans Affairs officials are urging all veterans and family members to get vaccinated against coronavirus as cases begin to surge again across the country. “[There is] a growing crisis with the increase in hospitalizations from COVID-19, specifically from the Delta variant. More than 97 percent of hospitalized patients with COVID are not vaccinated,” Assistant Undersecretary for Health Carolyn Clancy warned lawmakers during a House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing July 21.

Disparate Organizations Preventing Space Force Effectiveness, Says Former Air Force Undersecretary

Government Matters

Matthew Donovan, director of the Spacepower Advantage Research Center at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, said the multiple disparate organizations that share in space equities, research and development, acquisition, and operations are preventing Space Force effectiveness and efficiency in development of space capabilities, integrated space operations, and expenditure of funds.

Austin to Restore Advisory Boards After Clearing Out Trump Loyalists


Defense Secretary Lloyd J.Austin III plans to restart five major Pentagon advisory boards months after dissolving the panels that had been stacked with loyalists to former President Donald Trump. Just days after his confirmation, Austin in February fired members of the defense advisory boards, including many last-minute appointees by the Trump administration, and directed the immediate suspension of operations for all 42 panels while the Pentagon completed a "zero-based" review.

US to Discuss Troop Withdrawal with Iraqi Officials

The future of U.S. combat forces in Iraq, and when a potential withdrawal might take place, will be on the table this week as Pentagon leaders talk with Iraqi officials. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said the next round of U.S.-Iraq military talks were beginning July 23 to discuss how the two nations will work together on counterterrorism and other security issues.

One More Thing

One of the Air Force's Biggest Planes has Helped Pull Off Every Major Special Ops Mission Since Vietnam

Business Insider

The U.S. military has thousands of aircraft that can launch attacks and support conventional operations, from the futuristic F-35 and F-22 fighters to the venerable A-10 and AC-130 close air support planes. When it comes to supporting special-operations units, the MC-130 has an essential if little-known role. MC-130 variants have participated in every major and minor U.S. military campaign since the Vietnam War, backing up special-operations units in some of the biggest commando missions.