kendall f-35

Kendall: Current F-35 Block 4 Issues Reminiscent of Earlier JSF Problems

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and new Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall have a history, and some parts of it look to be repeating themselves. Kendall, now in his third week leading the Department of the Air Force, oversaw DOD weapons buying as the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology, and logistics from 2012 to 2016. “We’re in a situation that bears some resemblance to one that I had earlier on, around Lot 4 or so, when there were a lot of design issues on a plane that hadn’t been resolved, and we were in the process of buying airplanes that were going to need extensive modifications,” Kendall told Air Force Magazine in an exclusive interview. “At that point, I seriously considered stopping production for two or three years to get those design issues resolved."

Here’s When New PT Gear, Other Updated Uniforms Will Be Available for Airmen

Dozens of changes are coming to the Air Force’s dress and appearance standards as the service prepares to implement initiatives recommended by the 2020 Air Force Uniform Board. The changes will become official when Air Force Instruction 36-2903 is republished in early October 2021, but Aug. 10, USAF released images of some of the new uniforms that will be rolled out over the coming 15 months and previewed some of the appearance changes.
air force covid vaccine

Ahead of COVID-19 Vaccine Order, Two-Thirds of Airmen and Guardians Already Have Taken It

In the next month or so, the COVID-19 vaccine will become mandatory for all Active-duty service members following Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III's announcement Aug. 9 that he will ask President Joe Biden for a waiver to require the shot by Sept. 15. For at least two-thirds of Airmen and Guardians, though, the requirement will be a moot point as they have already received the vaccine, according to updated Department of the Air Force data released Aug. 10.

Radar Sweep

'They Want People to Take Them Seriously': Space Force Wary of Taking Over UFO Mission


The Pentagon is considering giving the Space Force a greater role in a stepped-up effort to track and investigate reports of UFOs. But the newest military branch isn't over the moon about the idea. Space Force leaders are still struggling to rebrand an organization that has been lampooned since before its birth. Now, they are conflicted about becoming the military's go-to on what the Pentagon calls "unidentified aerial phenomena," according to five current and former officials taking part in the discussions.

Draken F1 Fleet Returns to Flight After Fatal Crash at Nellis

Air Force Times

Draken US has returned its fleet of Dassault Mirage F1 jets to flight after grounding them for nearly three months to check for defects following a fatal crash in Nevada. Nicholas Hamilton, a 43-year-old contract pilot for Draken who flew against Air Force aviators in aggressor training, died May 24 after he lost control of an F1 on his return flight from Nellis Air Force Base’s Nevada Test and Training Range. The Air Force veteran known as “Scooter” had logged more than 2,500 hours in military jets and was married with two sons, according to an online obituary.

Congress Passes Bill to Help Vets with Mental Health Conditions Get Service Dogs

A bill to connect more veterans with service dogs trained to support mental health conditions is headed to President Joe Biden's desk. The Senate on Aug. 6 passed the Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers, or PAWS, for Veterans Therapy Act, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a pilot program for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder to train service dogs.

Mara Karlin Confirmed to Lead Pentagon Strategy

Defense News

The Senate on Aug. 9 confirmed veteran defense official Mara Karlin to lead Pentagon strategy hours after Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., announced he’d lifted a procedural hold on the nomination over China policy concerns. Hawley’s hold delayed Karlin’s bid to be assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities. But he said he released it after receiving Karlin’s assurances that she favors centering the Pentagon’s force planning process on China and that she believes in employing a strategy of “deterrence-by-denial” to counter China and its aggression toward Taiwan.

JEDI Replacement Contract May Include Marketplace for Smaller Cloud Providers


The Department of Defense‘s new plan to acquire enterprise cloud services could include an option for more than just the very largest cloud companies to be providers, a top IT official said Aug. 10. The DOD is planning on launching a “cloud marketplace” as part of the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC), the cloud contract that replaces the scrapped Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) contract.

Appropriators Worried about DOD’s Ability to Fill Key Technical Vacancies

Federal News Network

Congress is taking a particular interest in helping the Defense Department plug deficiencies in hard-to-fill positions, especially as near-peer competition with rivals such as China and Russia continues to heat up. The House Appropriations Committee’s 2022 defense bill reflects concern with DOD’s recruitment and retention challenges, especially when it comes to career and technical education and science, technology, engineering and math issues. The legislation will direct a handful of reports and plans in order to address hiring shortages.

‘We’re Getting Our Rear End Handed to Us’ in Information Space, NORTHCOM Head Warns

Breaking Defense

In the context of national security, “deterrence” is usually shorthand for “having an arsenal scary enough to frighten another nation and keep them from attacking you.” But in the modern digital era, that simply isn’t enough, Gen. Glen VanHerck, the head of U.S. Northern Command, warned Aug. 10. Deterrence now needs to include signaling and messaging to make sure that a weapon is never launched against the U.S. or its forces.

China is Working on a Lander for Human Moon Missions

Space News

China’s main spacecraft maker is developing a human landing system for lunar missions, according to an account of an official academic visit. The brief news report from Xiamen University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics on July 1 names individuals leading projects pertinent to China’s human lunar landing plans and notably refers to the landing project as a “national strategy.” China is already known to be developing and testing new launch vehicles and a new-generation spacecraft capable of sending astronauts to the moon. A lunar landing and ascent system has one of the missing key components of a human lunar landing architecture.

Hypersonic Missile Defense May Depend on Low Earth Orbit Satellites

Defense One

The Antares rocket that launched Aug. 10 to replenish the International Space Station will be carrying a camera sensor with a unique missile-defense task: to begin gathering data that could help the U.S. more quickly detect and defend against hypersonic missiles. The Prototype Infrared Payload, nicknamed “PIRPL,” was developed by Northrop Grumman and the Missile Defense Agency to see how low Earth orbit, or LEO, satellites might be used to help detect hypersonic missiles.

VIDEO: Nuclear Deterrence Forum with Maj. Gen. Michael J. Lutton

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

The Mitchell Institute hosted a virtual Nuclear Deterrence & Missile Defense Forum event Aug. 10 with Maj. Gen. Michael J. Lutton, the commander of the 20th Air Force and previous deputy director for nuclear and homeland defense operations of the Joint Staff. Lutton discussed the need for U.S. nuclear modernization, how our competitors such as China and Russia are changing the nuclear deterrence landscape, and other topics.

One More Thing

With Private Spaceflight On the Rise, Who Gets to Be Called ‘Astronaut?’


On Sept. 15, if all goes according to plan, Jared Isaacman—the billionaire CEO of Shift4 Payments—and three other private citizens will strap into a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft—all four seats paid for by Isaacman—and blast off for orbit on the mission dubbed Inspiration4. Three days later they will return to Earth. Unlike most of the rest of us, they will have spent time off of the planet. But will that earn them the label of “astronaut?”