An investigation by U.S. Central Command has determined that an Aug. 29 drone strike in Kabul killed an innocent aid worker and nine members of his family, not a member of the ISIS-K terrorist group, a top general announced Sept. 17. The command now assesses that the man targeted was not affiliated with ISIS-K, the Afghanistan branch of ISIS, or "a direct threat to U.S. forces," Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters. "Our investigation now concludes that the strike was a tragic mistake."
“Each time the world’s most powerful country admits some degree of failure, it is inevitable that such a decision will have sweeping—and lasting—consequences. The United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending a two-decades-long presence, will be no exception. The decision undoubtedly sets a dangerous precedent for the future,” write senior policy analyst Erielle Davidson and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Richard P. Mills, who served as commander of NATO’s Regional Command Southwest in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011.
France announced Sept. 17 that it is immediately recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Australia in protest of President Biden’s announcement of an agreement to provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia without consulting French officials. In a statement, the French foreign minister said the decision was made by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Active duty, Air National Guard, and Reserve Airmen gathered in Colorado and Wyoming for 22nd Air Force’s flagship exercise Rally in the Rockies from Sept. 12 to 17. The exercise is designed to develop Airmen for combat operations by challenging them with realistic scenarios that support a full spectrum of operations during military actions or in hostile environments.
MBDA and BAE Systems have secured additional funding from the British and Italian governments to complete integration of key weapon systems destined to add capability to their F-35 combat jet fleets, the companies announced Sept 17. The cash injection will see MBDA’s SPEAR precision surface attack missile and Meteor air-to-air weapon integrated on the aircraft.
Back in July, the Defense Department released the Active Duty Spouse Survey—something it does every two years. In the past, the survey was available by invitation only to a select few military spouses. But not this year. Through late October, all spouses of Active-duty military members—more than 600,000 of them—can visit the OPA Survey Portal and tell the Pentagon what they think about being "married to the military."
The Pentagon recently completed a $68 million acquisition of two new supercomputing platforms and related technical services that rank among its most powerful supercomputers ever and will be among the top 100 performers globally. “These are significant assets,” said Kevin Newmeyer, deputy director of the Defense Department’s High Performance Computing Modernization Program.
Retired Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Praxades was working to get Afghan citizens evacuated when he was contacted by Marines on the ground in Kabul. Praxades, whose evacuation efforts included numerous interpreters he’d worked with, was informed that the mother of Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Maxton “Max” W. Soviak had made contact with a heartbreaking request. Rachel Soviak wanted to find and potentially adopt the little boy featured in one of the last pictures taken of her son before he was killed by a suicide bomber Aug. 26 along with 12 other U.S. service members.
A new amendment to the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Department of Defense to give Congress an estimate of how much new cybersecurity regulations are expected to cost small businesses. If enacted, it could further increase scrutiny of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), which is already under review by the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office.
Space Command wants much more and more timely observational data, including from private industry, to detect, track, characterize, and determine what space objects are actually doing in near-real time—a mission set now dubbed space domain awareness, or SDA—according to military and industry experts. “We need data in seconds, not in minutes, not in hours, not in days. The more things we can get machine-to-machine, and get humans out of the loop, the better,” said Col. Scott Brodeur, director of Space Command’s National Space Defense Center.
A ship in the Pacific Ocean carrying a high-power laser takes aim at a U.S. spy satellite, blinding its sensors and denying the United States critical eyes in the sky. This is one scenario that military officials and civilian leaders fear could lead to escalation and wider conflict as rival nations step up development and deployments of anti-satellite weapons. If a satellite came under attack, depending on the circumstances, “the appropriate measures can be taken,” said Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy commander of U.S. Space Command.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has identified most of those killed on the USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in 1941. Between June and November 2015, personnel from DPAA exhumed the unidentified crew members from the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific for anthropological analysis. Of the 429 killed, 394 had been buried as unknown persons. As of Sept. 15, 2021, 346 had been identified.