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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
Cloud computing is helping the Air Force reinvent everything from combat systems to working from home. Find out the latest on Air Force IT modernization here.
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.”
Spec Ops Continued Despite COVID-19; Airman of the Year 2021 Devised a Way to Keep Aircrew Virus-Free
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.