Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III briefs the press

Austin Mandates COVID-19 Vaccine, Directs Secretaries to Set ‘Ambitious Timelines’

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III officially mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for the military, sending a memo announcing the news Aug. 24, a day after the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech version of the shot. However, Austin’s memo does not establish a deadline by which service members will have to be fully vaccinated, instead leaving it to the Secretaries of the military departments to set “ambitious timelines for implementation.”
afghan airlift ramstein

European Bases Increase Support for Fleeing Afghans as Airlift Continues

U.S. bases across Europe are building their capacity to temporarily house and screen Afghans fleeing Taliban rule as the Aug. 31 deadline to withdrawal U.S. forces looms. So far, 82,300 people have been airlifted out of Afghanistan since Aug. 14. In a 24-hour period ending early Aug. 25, 90 aircraft departed Hamid Karzai International Airport, including 37 U.S. C-17s and five U.S. C-130s. Ramstein Air Base, Germany, has increase its capacity to take in refugees, with almost 6,000 at the base preparing to head to the United States, U.S. European Command boss Gen. Tod D. Wolters said.
space acquisition kendall

Kendall Moves Forward Reorganizing Space Acquisition

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall says his approach to any departmental reorganization is “to move quickly to get the big parts right.” Now less than a month since his confirmation, he’s announced changes to the department’s acquisition structure. Kendall told an audience at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Aug. 24 that the Department of the Air Force’s Space Acquisition Directorate is moving under the department’s more newly established space side of acquisitions. He also said he plans to speed up the process of moving the Space Development Agency inside the department.

Radar Sweep

Afghanistan’s Precarious Networks: Will The Taliban, Once Again, Go Dark?

Breaking Defense

As the Taliban swept across Afghanistan in recent months, the militant group reportedly destroyed dozens of communications antennas, power pylons, and other infrastructure critical to supporting the country’s rudimentary communications networks, raising the specter of Afghanistan “going dark.” Were the Taliban to destroy or shut down the country’s networks, it could seriously impede U.S. efforts to conduct electronic surveillance and signals intelligence to track the new government and many of the terrorist organizations it will likely harbor.

After Meeting with ULA and Blue Origin, Air Force Secretary Cautiously Optimistic about Vulcan

Space News

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall on Aug. 24 met with the chief executives of United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin and was briefed on the Vulcan Centaur, a new launch vehicle developed by ULA that is powered by Blue Origin’s BE-4 engines. “I did have a chance to meet with ULA and Blue Origin,” Kendall said at a news conference at the 36th Space Symposium. The main topic of the meeting were the delays in the development and testing of the BE-4 rocket engine that ULA needs in order to fly its new rocket.

Air Force Revises Wing, Vice and Group Command Screening Board Process

Air Force release

This year, the Air Force implemented a revised process for the 2022 wing, vice, and group command screening boards to streamline notification, align more closely with joint partners, and enhance senior leader talent management. Approximately 24 percent of all O-6 positions are command billets and half of the 780 command positions come vacant each year.

DOD to Establish New Zero Trust Management Team This Fall


The Department of Defense is standing up a new portfolio management team to oversee the implementation of zero trust architecture, acting CIO John Sherman announced Aug. 25. Sherman said the team would be up and running by the fall and be overseen by the chief information security officer, Dave Mckeown. According to Sherman, the new team will help boost a new approach to security, which he says is a top priority.

OPINION: If Commercial Space Is Ready to Set Sail, Why Are We Still Missing the Boat?

Breaking Defense

“Beginning just shortly after the end of World War II, the U.S. military began to clearly understand they would never be able to simultaneously afford the number and types of aircraft or aviation personnel required during peace, plus be able to meet their most demanding needs during war—and so the Civil Reserve Air Fleet was born. CRAF was clearly seen then as a necessary component of U.S. war planning and has remained part of that planning for over half a century in a program managed by the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command. Why, then, do we still struggle with figuring out similar approaches for commercial space?” writes Doug Loverro, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy.

‘Food Fight’: Lawmakers Jockey for $6B in Funding after Afghan Military's Collapse


Roughly $6 billion that was either approved or will be approved for Afghan military training is now up for grabs after Kabul’s collapse last week, and the jockeying among lawmakers to find a new home for that money has begun. The numbers include almost $3 billion unspent from fiscal years 2020 and 2021, and $3.3 billion requested by the Pentagon to train and equip the Afghan army, air force, and national police in 2022.

General: Key Components Missing to Bring JADC2 to Contested Battlefields

Defense News

The top general overseeing the Pentagon’s push to connect sensors and shooters said the department is lacking key components for survivable Joint All-Domain Command and Control in contested environments. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Dennis Crall, the chief information officer and J6 of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week at the TechNet Augusta conference that while the Defense Department has many technological pieces it needs to link sensors and shooters, those tools must be equipped to handle interference by adversaries.

Pentagon Scolds Lawmakers Who Made Surprise Visit to Afghanistan, Saying It Interfered with the Mission

Pentagon officials appear furious over an unannounced visit by two lawmakers to Afghanistan this week, saying that their presence took precious resources away from a precarious situation as the deadline to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghan allies nears. Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) said in a joint statement Aug. 24 that they “have a duty to provide oversight on the executive branch.”

One More Thing

Spec Ops Continued Despite COVID-19; Airman of the Year 2021 Devised a Way to Keep Aircrew Virus-Free

Air Force Times

Repurposing a chemical and biological contamination tent to protect troops from the coronavirus earned Senior Master Sgt. Jeremy Mayo Military Times’ 2021 Airman of the Year award. Mayo, the 352nd Special Operations Support Squadron’s operations superintendent at RAF Mildenhall in England, has served in the Air Force for nearly two decades. But 2020 put his years of experience and leadership to the test with missions that don’t stop for a pandemic.