Frank Kendall Confirmed as 26th Secretary of the Air Force

The Senate confirmed Frank Kendall to be the 26th Secretary of the Air Force by voice vote July 26, nearly three months after he was first put forward as a nominee. Kendall, the former No. 3 official in the Pentagon in the Obama administration, will take over a service pressing Congress for permission to retire aging airframes and overhaul its fleet to prepare for future conflict with near-peer countries, such as China.
biden iraq

Biden: US Combat Mission in Iraq to End This Year

The U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end by the end of the year, though U.S. forces will continue to help Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State group, President Joe Biden announced July 26. Biden, appearing alongside Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi at the White House, said the American combat mission in Iraq will end, but U.S. forces will “continue to train, advise, and assist, and help deal with ISIS as it arrives.” The decision stems from the fourth “Strategic Dialogue” with high-level U.S. and Iraqi officials, which is ongoing in Washington, D.C. The U.S. military has about 2,500 troops in Iraq, along with another 900 in Syria, as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Biden Administration did not announce how many troops would leave or when.
Taiclet and Possenriede

Lockheed Martin Takes $225 Million Loss on Secret Aeronautics Program

Lockheed Martin took a $225 million loss on a secret program being conducted by its aeronautics division, company officials divulged, but the program will go forward and is expected to enter production, Lockheed Martin CEO James D. Taiclet said on a second quarter earnings call with reporters. Taiclet and Chief Financial Officer Kenneth R. Possenriede also said F-35 production will grow more slowly than expected and that the sticker price of the A model will increase.
K2 Toxins

Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans Exposed to Toxins Could Be Helped by New Bill

Air Force Maj. Brian Liebenow arrived to a secret staging point at a former Soviet base in Uzbekistan on Oct. 6, 2001, for an intense mission that would last just over two months. There, as a member of the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, he briefed the special operators flying MH-53 and Chinook missions into Afghanistan to assist in the overthrow of the Taliban. Many of those special operators are now dying of cancers and suffering from respiratory, skin, gastrointestinal, reproductive, and other disorders believed to be related to the toxic exposures they faced at the Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, known as K2. Their treatment is not covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The same is true for troops exposed to burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq. A new bill before Congress could change that.
davis monthan

USAF Pauses Plan for Davis-Monthan Centers of Excellence as Congress Looks to Block A-10 Cuts

The Air Force is already suspending plans to send aircraft and personnel to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., after Congress signaled its intent to block the service from retiring A-10s. The service had said it intended to move A-10s and HH-60s to Davis-Monthan from Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and to create close air support and rescue “Centers of Excellence” at the Arizona base. The moves required approval from Congress to retire 42 A-10s, including 35 at Davis-Monthan, in fiscal 2022, but the Senate Armed Services Committee in its markup of the defense policy bill moved to block that reduction. On July 23, just over four weeks after the initial announcement, the Air Force said it is placing the Centers of Excellence on hold as it awaits congressional action.

Radar Sweep

‘It Failed Miserably’: After Wargaming Loss, Joint Chiefs Are Overhauling How the US Military Will Fight

Defense One

A brutal loss in a wargaming exercise last October convinced the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Hyten to scrap the joint warfighting concept that had guided U.S. military operations for decades. “Without overstating the issue, it failed miserably. An aggressive red team that had been studying the United States for the last 20 years just ran rings around us. They knew exactly what [we were] going to do before we did it,” Hyten told an audience July 26 at the launch of the Emerging Technologies Institute, an effort by the National Defense Industrial Association industry group to speed military modernization.

Buckley Space Force Base Prepares for the Next Frontier

The Associated Press

Currently, the Aurora, Colo., base bedecked with its famous golf ball-shaped radomes pumps about $1.3 billion into the local economy each year and provides the launchpad for some 5,500 jobs, according to annual economic impact reports. For most of the 2000s, Buckley regularly fed more than $1 billion into the city economy, largely due to frequent construction projects that were required to update the base after its transition from an Air National Guard Base in 2000. But economic injections began sagging at the beginning of last decade and hovered around $900 million for several years. Two years ago marked the first time in about a decade Buckley had surpassed a $1 billion annual economic impact.

The Air Force is Ditching Security Force Body Cams―Here’s Why

Air Force Times

“The decision was made because there is no current Department of Defense direction regarding body-worn cameras or an existing program of record that would provide servicewide funding or guidance on the appropriate use of the body-worn cameras or the storage of the footage acquired,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Air Force Times.

Air Force to Practice Landing Military Aircraft on Portion of Michigan Highway


A portion of M-32 will be closed for five hours on August 5 as the Air Force practices landing an aircraft on roadways designed for cars and trucks. According to the Air Force, the plan is to land four A-10 aircraft and two C-146 aircraft on a closed-off portion of the road near the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. The Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing from Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the Air Force’s 355th Wing from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., and the Air Force Special Operations Command from Duke Field, Fla., will be participating.

Whiteman Air Force Base Reinstates Mask Mandate

The Kansas City Star

Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., will reinstate its mask mandate, regardless of a person’s vaccination status, starting July 26 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In a Facebook post July 25, the Air Force base in Johnson County said the policy applies to all Department of Defense facilities, and outside at the base, whenever social distancing is not possible.

Senate NDAA Draft Includes Study of Budgeting Process, Other Tech Provisions


The Senate draft version of the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act could be the start of the Department of Defense and Congress rethinking the defense budgeting process, a system that advocates for tech modernization have long said inhibits the DOD’s ability to be agile. A summary published by the Senate Armed Services Committee includes a provision that would establish a commission to study the planning, programming, budget, and execution process that forces acquisition programs to wait years before getting full funding from Congress.

First Federal Agency, Veterans Affairs, to Require Staff be Vaccinated Against COVID-19

NBC News

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced July 26 that all medical facility employees will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming the first federal agency to issue a mandate. The Biden administration has been under increasing pressure to begin mandating the vaccine where it can as the national rate of inoculations stalled and new cases have risen in recent weeks.

DOD Focuses on Aspirational Challenges in Future Warfighting

DOD release

To deter China and Russia from possible future aggression, the Defense Department has come up with a concept known as "expanded maneuver," the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said July 26. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten said expanded maneuver involves understanding how adversaries can operate in all domains and how to stop them while protecting DOD and coalition forces, he said, noting there are four functional battle areas within expanded maneuver.

One More Thing

XF-108 Rapier: The Mach 3 Monster The Air Force Passed On

The National Interest

At the outset of the Cold War, American strategic planners obsessed over the threat posed by the Soviet Union’s long-range, strategic bombers. Characterized by very long range and capable of delivering a nuclear payload, the Soviet bomber threat was used by the United States Air Force as justification for quite a few interceptor aircraft designs that would combine high speed, long range, and a strong defensive armament to fly out and meet incoming Soviet bombers at a moment’s notice.