US Special Representative for Afghanistan visits NATO

Talks With Taliban Restart as US Worries About Al-Qaeda Threat in Afghanistan

The U.S. and NATO are concerned about the reemergence of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and the need to rely on the Taliban to fight ISIS-Khorasan as talks with the Taliban restart and regional basing agreements are slow to come. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Thomas West told journalists Nov. 8 the regional alliance that committed two decades to fighting terrorism and keeping the Taliban at bay has made “no final decisions” regarding how it will continue to fight terrorists in the country.

Dynetics Predicts Gremlins Will Soon Be Ready for Potential Users

The Gremlins drone swarming technology program needs to prove a C-130 can reel in four flying drones in 30 minutes before moving on to testing potential uses for the system. If successful, follow-on testing likely will demonstrate the ability to operate with payloads and a single operator controlling "multiple vehicles in a live constructed environment," said Tim Keeter, Dynetics program manager for Gremlins.

Radar Sweep

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OPINION: Time To Start Fielding Tomorrow’s Airpower Capabilities Today


“Three years ago, the National Defense Strategy Commission created headlines when they concluded: ‘The security and well-being of the United States are at greater risk than at any time in decades. America’s superiority—the hard-power backbone of its global influence and national security—has eroded to a dangerous degree.’ The situation has not improved, especially when it comes to airpower,” writes retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

China Builds Missile Targets Shaped Like US Aircraft Carrier, Destroyers in Remote Desert


The Chinese military has built targets in the shape of an American aircraft carrier and other U.S. warships in the Taklamakan desert as part of a new target range complex, according to photos provided to USNI News by satellite imagery company Maxar. The full-scale outline of a U.S. carrier and at least two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are part of the target range that has been built in the Ruoqiang region in central China.

Kentucky Air Guard Enters New Era With Arrival of C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft

Air Force release

Two new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft buzzed over the Kentucky Air National Guard Base on Nov. 6 before taxiing to stop on the flight line under the spray of water cannons while a crowd cheered their dramatic arrival. The event marked a new era in aviation for one of the most decorated units in the Air Force. The pair of state-of-the-art aircraft are among eight J-model planes the Guard’s 123rd Airlift Wing will receive over the next 11 months. They replace eight aging C-130 Hercules H-model aircraft that entered service in 1992 and have seen duty all over the globe.

Military Surgeons Are Losing Medical Skills, Study Says. Could Off-Base Care Be Why?

U.S. military surgeons are losing their skills at a "precipitous rate" as the number of surgical procedures performed in military hospitals has declined, a study has found. The number of general surgery procedures dropped by nearly 26 percent from 2015 to 2019, while surgical readiness—measured by the military health system's standards for general surgery—declined by 19.1 percent.

Risks of Space Hacking Pose Cyber Policy Test for Biden Admin


The Biden administration has no plans to designate space systems as a new critical national industrial sector despite the economy’s increasing reliance on space-based capabilities such as GPS and growing concerns about possible cyberattacks on satellites that could shut down U.S. businesses and cripple its military.

With Afghanistan Off Limits, US Hunts for Safe Airspace as Mideast Mission Continues

Air Force Times

The U.S. Air Force has now been in the Middle East for more than three decades. Even the end of the Afghanistan War isn’t likely to mean a major drawdown from the region. While the Air Force has adjusted its posture—for example, bringing home its EC-130H Compass Call electronic warfare planes for the first time in 20 years—retired Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle does not expect a radical rebalancing of air power assets in the Middle East.

Iraqi Prime Minister Survives Assassination Bid With Drones

The Associated Press

Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt with armed drones that targeted his residence early Nov. 7. Officials said he was unharmed. The attack was a major escalation amid tensions sparked by the refusal of Iran-backed militias to accept last month’s parliamentary election results. Two Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that seven of al-Kadhimi’s security guards were injured in the attack with two armed drones, which occurred in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone area.

Viasat to Buy Inmarsat, Plans for Polar Sats to Expand Arctic Coverage

Breaking Defense

In a surprise move, California-based Viasat announced Nov. 8 a plan to acquire UK-based Inmarsat for a cost of some $7.3 billion—potentially creating a commercial satellite communications behemoth worth $4.1 billion in 2021 revenue, of which 40 percent is in government sales, including to the Defense Department.

Pentagon Tech Chief Seeks to Bolster R&D Work With Allies

Defense News

The Pentagon doesn’t want to innovate alone. Heidi Shyu, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said Nov. 8 that she has discussed the Pentagon’s research and development priorities with her counterparts in Australia, Japan, Latvia, Germany, and the U.K. in an effort to establish monthly teleconferences with U.S. allies.

DOD Makes $6.2B Award in Do-Over of Military Household Goods Moving Contract

Federal News Network

The Defense Department on Nov. 4 picked a new winner for its multibillion-dollar contract to move military service members’ household goods around the globe, ending the latest chapter in a procurement saga that’s dragged on for more than two years so far. The Global Household Goods contract went to Homesafe Alliance, a consortium of companies led by KBR. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity award is estimated to be worth nearly $6.2 billion over four years, with at least 40 percent of that total figure going to small, subcontracted movers, according to U.S. Transportation Command.

One More Thing

Watch the Goodyear Blimp Make a Crazy Zoom Climb Out of Long Beach Airport

The Drive

Maximum performance climbs are always a spectacle to behold. It can be an MD-80 Mad Dog or an F-15 Advanced Eagle, seeing a flying machine giving its all at low level just prior to clawing its way into the heavens is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. But have you ever seen an airship pull off such a feat?