starcom space force

Raymond: New STARCOM Will ‘Shape the Next Century’ of Space Operations

The Space Force activated its third of three planned field commands in a ceremony Aug. 23 at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo., during which Brig. Gen. Shawn N. Bratton also took command. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond referred to the activation of Space Education and Training Command, or STARCOM, as a “major milestone in the establishment of an independent Space Force, and the realization of one of the main reasons our nation established a satellite service: to unify national security space efforts and to develop one core cadre of space warfighting professionals.”
military covid vaccine

With Full FDA Approval in Hand, Pentagon Moves to Make COVID Vaccine Mandatory

The Pentagon’s plan to make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for the U.S. military is set to take effect in the coming days, as the Food and Drug Administration issued full approval for the Pfzier-BioNTech shot Aug. 23. The Defense Department “is prepared to issue updated guidance, requiring all service members to be vaccinated,” Pentagon spokesman John F. Kirby confirmed in a press briefing. “A timeline for vaccination completion will be provided in the coming days.”
kabul airlift

TRANSCOM: ‘All Mobility Resources’ Focused on Kabul Airlift Mission

Within a 24-hour span ending early Aug. 23, 25 C-17s, three C-130s, and 61 chartered and commercial aircraft had flown out of Kabul, carrying about 16,000 passengers, 11,000 of which were on U.S. military aircraft, marking the largest single-day total of the airlift. Some 37,000 total people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the airlift began on Aug. 14.

Multiple Babies Born During Kabul Airlift

At least three babies have been born during the airlift mission out of Kabul, as U.S. and international aircraft race to fly out at-risk Afghans and American citizens from the now Taliban-controlled country. Air Mobility Command on Aug. 21 said that during a C-17 flight from a staging base to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, an Afghan woman went into labor and began to experience complications. The aircraft commander of the flight, call sign REACH 828, descended to increase air pressure in the plane, “which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life.” When the C-17 landed, Airmen from Ramstein’s 86th Medical Group boarded the plane and delivered the child in the cargo bay.
muslim airmen

Muslim Airmen Reflect on Challenges, Rewards of Serving in Air Force

In the latest edition of Air Education and Training Command’s “Real Talk” series, three Muslim Airmen gathered Aug. 19 to share their personal experiences of how their faith informs their service. The discussion, moderated by AETC Commander Lt. Gen. Marshall B. "Brad" Webb, also touched on the Airmen’s positive and negative interactions with other Airmen about their religion, and how they hope the Air Force will progress on the issue in the future.

Radar Sweep

Missile Defense Agency Director Wants Less Complex, More Mobile Aegis Ashore

Defense News

The Missile Defense Agency director says he’d like to see the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense system—which currently requires significant permanent infrastructure—become a less complex and more mobile asset. The U.S. has had a fully operational Aegis Ashore site in Deveselu, Romania, since 2016, but has struggled to build a second fixed site in Redzikowo, Poland. This location was supposed to be in operation by August 2018, but will likely not be up and running until fiscal 2022 at the earliest.

Race in the Ranks: An F-22 Pilot on the Sting of Racial Bias in the Air Force

CBS News

Maj. Daniel Walker says he has always felt the sting of racial bias since he joined the Air Force. Walker is an F-22 pilot, and he said he believes he has always been treated differently than White pilots. “The way you stand, the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you speak. In what is supposed to be an objective field, [they] are subjectively rating you to others in the sort of unofficial grapevine of evaluation,” Walker explained.

USSF, University of Colorado Announce Partnership

Space Force release

The U.S. Space Force expanded its University Partnership Program at the University of Colorado during a Memorandum of Understanding signing event Aug. 20. Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson joined University of Colorado President Todd Saliman on the UC Colorado Springs campus to sign the MOU. “The state of Colorado and community of Colorado Springs have long been key members and supporters of the national security space enterprise, so it’s fitting for the Space Force to establish a formal partnership between the University of Colorado and the Space Force,” Thompson said.

What The Civil Reserve Air Fleet Is And Why It's Been Activated For The Third Time In 70 Years

The Drive

U.S. military has turned to a little-used arrangement with commercial airlines and charter companies, through which it can compel them to provide aircraft to support various operational requirements in a crisis, to support the ongoing evacuations out of Afghanistan. Some two dozen companies are part of this Civil Reserve Air Fleet and agree to provide aircraft and crews in as little as 24 hours, if needed. In this case, the planes will not fly directly to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, which is the nexus of the evacuation mission, but will instead help ferry evacuees who have been brought to intermediate locations to more permanent destinations.

PODCAST: Speed is Life: Agile Software in Air Combat

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 36 of the Aerospace Advantage, John Baum engages with Lt. Col. Mike Benitez, Director of Staff at the 53rd Wing; Dr. Jimmy “Rev” Jones, a fighter pilot-PhD; and Heather Penney of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies to discuss a topic few of us consider—the “ones and zeros” of software that actually operate the jet.

In the New Space Era, a Changing Role for the US Government

Space News

The pace of technological innovation in the space business has long been dictated by government-funded programs of record. But as the private sector increasingly drives innovation, government buyers are trying to figure out their role in the new space era. The implications of this shift are significant, particularly for the Defense Department. What’s happening in space today is similar to the transition that took place in the semiconductor industry where the U.S. government invested twice that of private industry 40 years ago but is now outspent by a factor of 23 to 1, says a report from the market research firm Quilty Analytics.

COMMENTARY: The Pentagon Must Prep Now for the Next Pandemic

Defense One

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a national-security threat that requires both a domestic and global effort to confront: it has disrupted military operations at all levels and left more than 621,000 people dead in America alone. The U.S. military has proved invaluable in the fight, which is far from over. But it is not too early to begin thinking about how we can better prepare the military to handle a next pandemic,” writes Lt. Col. Adam Scher, former military adviser to the U.S. Defense Secretary’s COVID Senior Advisor.

A Post-Afghanistan Chinese Push Could Impact Relationship With Israel

Breaking Defense

As China seeks to use the American withdrawal from Afghanistan to drive a wedge between America and its allies, leaders in Jerusalem are considering their future relationship with Beijing. Israeli defense officials believe China will seek to fill the political, economic and, potentially, military vacuum left behind by the U.S. not just in Afghanistan but in the region. But for Israel, which remains locked in with the U.S. military, that could mean a boost to adversarial nations.

Subscription Required

Pierre Sprey, Pentagon Analyst who Battled Brass to Produce A-10 Warplane, Dies at 83

Washington Post

Pierre Sprey, a 1960s Pentagon “whiz kid” who was a formidable intellectual force in military analysis and weapons development, often tangling with top defense officials to improve U.S. military readiness and weapons development, died Aug. 5 at his home in Glenn Dale, Md. He was 83. The cause appeared to be a sudden heart attack, said his son, John Sprey.

Subscription Required

US-Led Coalition Aircraft Shoots Down Drone Over Syria


A fighter jet with the U.S.-led coalition shot down a drone in eastern Syria on Aug. 21 after the unmanned aircraft was deemed a threat, the U.S. military said. “Coalition aircraft successfully engaged and defeated a UAS through air to air engagement in the vicinity of Mission Support Site Green Village,” said coalition spokesperson U.S. Army Colonel Wayne Marotto.

One More Thing

The Extraordinary Power of Japan's Sixth-Gen F-X Fighter Jet

Interesting Engineering

Back in December last year, Japan's Nikkei newspaper unveiled tantalizing details of what could potentially become Japan's sixth-generation fighter. The aircraft will be domestically developed and is currently penciled in to cost around 5 trillion yen (about $48 billion). The aircraft, dubbed the F-X or F-3, has been deemed necessary in order to keep up with, and hopefully surpass, the air capabilities of many of its neighbor's cutting-edge aerial assets—especially China or Russia.