kabul airlifts

C-17s Ready to Ramp Up if Evacuees Can Make It to the Kabul Airport

The Pentagon is expecting to increase the pace of C-17 airlifts out of Kabul as the influx of troops has slowed to a trickle and the Globemaster IIIs are going in configured for larger loads of evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghans. However, the pace of evacuations is severely limited because of the unsafe conditions in the Taliban-controlled city and extreme difficulty some Afghans are facing getting to the airport. As of early Aug. 19, 13 more C-17s had arrived at Hamid Karzai International Airport within the previous 24 hours. Within that time, 12 aircraft left with passengers. Since Aug. 14, 7,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul.
Jumper Afghanistan

Jumper: Time for ‘a New Reckoning’ on Air and Space Power

"For those of a certain age, the images of chaos in Afghanistan conjure up dark emotions of Vietnam in 1975—a tactical surprise born of strategic failure at the cost of American credibility. The lessons of Vietnam prompted the transformation of our military services and a wake-up call for the Air Force. Since Vietnam, we have embraced the values of stealth, standoff, and precision; become better partners in the joint battlespace; and leveraged burgeoning digital power to enable near real-time command and control. But the lessons of Afghanistan, the return of peer adversaries, and the prospects of an operationalized Space Force and rapidly advancing cyber weapons demand a new reckoning and thoughtful reflection about the expanding scope of threats that blur distinctions between the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of joint combat. Efforts to evolve joint concepts of operation should be accelerated—figuring out how we execute the joint fight as the first step of the requirements and acquisition process," writes former Air Force Chief of Staff retired Gen. John P. Jumper.
afghan air force

25% of Afghan Air Force Fled, Remainder in Disarray, Sources Say

The Afghan Air Force was once considered the Kabul government’s lethal advantage over the Taliban. Now, aircraft and personnel that have not left the country may fall into Taliban hands, but sources say maintenance problems and insufficient aircrews likely will diminish their value. However, in recently surfaced videos, former Afghan Air Force pilots were forced by the Taliban to fly Mi-17 Hips. More Afghan pilots and crews may be forced to man a Taliban air force, especially if those who fled are repatriated.

Radar Sweep

DOD Records Deadliest Week of the Coronavirus Pandemic; Five Service Members Lost


The Defense Department recorded five additional deaths of service members from COVID-19 in the past week, the deadliest for the U.S. military of the pandemic. According to Pentagon data published Aug. 18, 34 service members have now died of coronavirus infections, up from 29 a week ago. During the same timeframe, the DOD recorded 4,156 new infections among U.S. troops, bringing the total for the pandemic to 222,138.

‘This is What We Live for’—Air Force C-17 Crews Jump at the Chance to Help Others in Afghan Airlift

Task and Purpose

With the U.S. trying to airlift 9,000 people a day out of Afghanistan, the military is working overtime to ferry troops, refugees and supplies in and out of the crisis zone. But one platform that’s been getting much more attention than usual lately is the Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, the 30-year-old cargo jet that can do anything from drop paratroopers to carry a 69-ton M1 Abrams Battle Tank.

Trump’s Pledge to Exit Afghanistan Was a Ruse, His Final SecDef Says

Defense One

President Donald Trump’s top national security officials never intended to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, according to new statements by Chris Miller, Trump’s last acting Defense Secretary. Miller said the President’s public promise to finish withdrawing U.S. forces by May 1, as negotiated with the Taliban, was actually a “play” that masked the Trump administration’s true intentions: to convince Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to quit or accept a bitter power-sharing agreement with the Taliban, and to keep some U.S. troops in Afghanistan for counterrorism missions.

Here are Morocco’s Top Priorities for Modernizing its Air Force

Defense News

If you’re in the business of selling drones, precision weapons, or stealth technology, Morocco’s Air Force could be your next customer. The African nation is bolstering military-to-military relations and connecting with defense companies to modernize its airpower capabilities. Moroccan officials have singled out the use of drones in combat as “a key dimension of its military modernization efforts,” according to Samuel Ramani, a defense expert at the University of Oxford.

COMMENTARY: What I Learned While Eavesdropping on the Taliban

The Atlantic

“When people ask me what I did in Afghanistan, I tell them that I hung out in planes and listened to the Taliban. My job was to provide ‘threat warning’ to allied forces, and so I spent most of my time trying to discern the Taliban’s plans. Before I started, I was cautioned that I would hear terrible things, and I most certainly did. But when you listen to people for hundreds of hours—even people who are trying to kill your friends—you hear ordinary things as well,” writes Ian Fritz, who served in the Air Force from 2008 to 2013.

US and Canada Want to Collaborate on NORAD Modernization

Air Force Times

Military leaders in Canada and the United States plan to work together to modernize the North American Aerospace Defense Command, jointly investing in new sensing and command and control capabilities to protect the continent from new ballistic missile threats. “To meet our security and defense objectives, both countries must be secure within our shared North American continent. The stronger and safer we are at home, the more we are capable of engaging and acting together in the wider world, in support of a strong, rules-based international order,” said the Minister of National Defence of Canada Harjit Sajjan and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in a joint statement.

New Space Systems Command Gears Up Commercial Engagement

Breaking Defense

The new Space Systems Command’s first funded efforts to better integrate commercial companies into its vendor pool will be focused on space domain awareness and “cloud enabled space enterprises,” says Joy White, the SSC’s executive director. “The commercial space sector is driving the market, and Space Systems commanders are eager to facilitate these companies and bring their unique solutions into our programs of record,” she said.

The State Department Has Abandoned Its CH-46 Helicopters in Afghanistan

The Drive

The U.S. State Department has confirmed that seven CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters, also colloquially known as "Phrogs," belonging to its Air Wing have been rendered inoperable and abandoned in Afghanistan as part of the ongoing evacuation effort. This non-combatant evacuation operation, or NEO, could very well be the last major mission ever for any Sea Knight belonging to the U.S. government, with the State Department already in the process of divesting its entire fleet.

One More Thing

Hypersonics Through The Years

Aviation Week

In competition with Russia and China, the U.S. is pushing its own hypersonic strike weapons research forward at a more rapid pace. Take a look at some of the significant milestones throughout the years.