Ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has been “welcomed” into the United Arab Emirates on “humanitarian grounds,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement Aug. 18. Ghani fled Afghanistan as the Taliban approached Kabul, the capital, Aug. 15, less than 24 hours after he tried to rally his people in a televised address in which he pledged not to give up the "achievements" of the 20 years since the U.S. toppled the Taliban.
Northrop Grumman and L3Harris Technologies last week demonstrated a new networking capability that could become integral to enabling the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) and All Domain Operations concepts. The two companies teamed up for a proof-of-concept demo in a live over-the-air test, which involved Northrop’s open architecture advanced network gateway integrated with L3’s high-capacity backbone (HCB) network capability.
One of the Defense Department’s top officials says the military is at an inflection point when it comes to readiness: shifting from immediate needs to a more strategic, long-term strategy. That approach will be helpful as the department tries to keep its competitive advantage against near-peer competitors such as China and Russia, said Shawn Skelly, DOD assistant secretary for readiness and force management, during an Aug. 17 Professional Services Council event.
“We set an artificial, and strategically hollow, goal to withdraw all troops by the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11. The anniversary, and the end to America’s war in Afghanistan, have morphed into convenient bookends on a historian’s shelf somehow symbolizing the beginning and conclusion of America’s war on terror, a war which arguably has no real end, even now. By merging the beginning and the supposed end, we diminish the significance of the lives lost then and after, and leave those who fought in Afghanistan over two decades confused about the true utility of their sacrifices,” writes Jen Burch, a former Air Force Staff Sergeant and Director of Valor Bridge, a transition program created to address the unique needs of veterans exiting the military.
Chinese fighter jets, anti-submarine aircraft, and combat ships conducted assault drills near Taiwan on Aug. 17 with the People’s Liberation Army saying the exercise was necessary to safeguard China’s sovereignty. China has stepped up military exercises around self-ruled Taiwan, which it considers its own territory. Recent U.S.-Taiwan provocations severely violated Chinese sovereignty, Eastern Theater Command spokesman Shi Yi said in a statement.
The pre-dawn darkness in Kabul came alive with the distinct sound of American fighter jets Aug. 18, causing Twitter to light up with speculation and concern. Initial speculation ranged from trouble at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul to a potential U.S. seizure of Bagram Airfield, which is currently in the hands of the Taliban. But Navy Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told Military Times that the presence of U.S. fighter aircraft was routine and would continue until the evacuation mission concludes.
With the Air Force aiming to develop, deploy, and maintain the new Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent at a rapid pace starting in 2029 and lasting for decades, the need for a broad strategy encompassing cybersecurity, digital engineering, and other new technologies has never been greater, and that will require integrated support like never before.
Taliban militants attacked protesters Aug. 18 in eastern Afghanistan who dared to take down the Taliban's banner and replace it with the country’s flag, killing at least one person and fueling fears about how the insurgents would govern this fractious nation. While the Taliban has insisted it will respect human rights unlike during its previous draconian rule, the attack in Jalalabad comes as many Afghans are hiding at home or trying to flee the country as allegations of abuses by the loosely controlled militant organization grow.
The Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan could mean changes for the billions of dollars the Pentagon sought in the next fiscal year, but it's unlikely to change the trajectory of the larger defense policy and spending bills currently under consideration in Congress. “The most likely outcome is there’s a lot of handwringing, there’s a lot of sadness, there’s a lot of disappointment in the way things are going down in Afghanistan,” said Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “But it ultimately does not affect the defense authorization or appropriations process in any significant way.”
Jay Bonci was sworn in as chief technology officer within the Office of the Air Force CIO on Aug. 17. He is a former longtime employee of cybersecurity and cloud service company Akamai Technologies, where he held senior roles within the company’s Department of Defense and federal tech divisions, including as senior director for public sector engineering. Bonci will oversee a vast tech portfolio in the Air and Space Forces within the office of current CIO Lauren Barrett Knausenberger.
Maj. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt became the Department of the Air Force chief of safety and commander of the Air Force Safety Center during a change-of-command ceremony at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., on Aug. 13. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. presided as Maj. Gen. John T. Rauch Jr. relinquished command after serving as the top safety officer since August 2017.
Joseph L. Galloway, whose reporting took him from the jungles of Vietnam to the halls of the Kremlin and the deserts of Iraq, was 79 when he died Aug. 18 at a hospital in Concord, N.C. The cause was complications from a heart attack, said his friend and former editor John Walcott. Galloway witnessed and participated in the battle of Ia Drang, the first major battle of the Vietnam War, later recounting the battle in a best-selling book, “We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young” (1992), written with retired Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore.