Combat Role in Iraq Ends, US Troops Remain in Country in Advise and Assist Role

The United States ended its combat mission in Iraq and will transition to an “advise, assist, and enable” mission supporting Iraqi forces, reported Combined Joint Task Force-Inherent Resolve Dec. 9. “Many brave men and women gave their lives to ensure Daesh never returns, and as we complete our combat role, we will remain here to advise, assist, and enable the [Iraqi security forces],” Maj. Gen. John W. Brennan, Jr., commander of CJTF-OIR, said in a press release, using the Arabic word for Islamic State. The U.S. military’s 2,500 troops made the transition to a non-combat role ahead of its Dec. 31 deadline, and will now remain in Iraq at the invitation of the government.
air force dress rules

Hands in Pockets, Phones While Walking, Untucked PT Shirts All Allowed Under New Air Force Rules

For years, Air Force rules prohibited Airmen from putting their hands in their pockets, using their phones, or taking a drink while walking, but no more. A raft of new dress and appearance rules officially went into effect Dec. 3, loosening restrictions on what Airmen can do while walking in uniform, among other things. Specifically, service members are now allowed to drink water and use personal electronic devices while walking in uniform, and they can put their hands in their pockets while walking or standing.
academy research

Academy Cadets’ New Flight Simulators, Combustion Tube Add to Real-World Research

Cadets at the Air Force Academy can now practice flying everything from fighters to blimps while doing more real-world research into aircraft design for the military. The Academy’s Aeronautics Laboratory unveiled $8 million worth of new equipment Dec. 7, including two full-motion flight simulators and a chambered tube for ramming liquid fuels with bursts of air to the point of combustion.

Radar Sweep

Final Defense Bill Nixes Space Guard, Directs Classification Review of Space Programs

Space News

The Senate and House Armed Services Committees in a compromise National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 removed language that would have created a Space National Guard, and included a provision directing DoD to identify space programs that could be declassified. The bipartisan compromise bill, released by the committees Dec. 7, directs DoD to report back on future investments in space launch capabilities and commercial space technologies.

OPINION: What Russia Might Do in Ukraine: 5 Scenarios

Breaking Defense

“For the second time in a year, Russia has conducted a large-scale military mobilization along Ukraine’s borders. As many as 175,000 Russian troops are poised to attack at a moment’s notice. While it is impossible to predict what Russian President Vladimir Putin has planned — and US officials say they don’t know what he’s thinking — any decision may not be as black-and-white as “to invade or not to invade.” The US must be prepared to respond not just to an actual mass offensive as most feared, but a range of scenarios in which the Russians exert pressure in other ways,” writes Luke Coffey, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies.

General Atomics Unveils New Drone That Carries 16 Hellfire Missiles

Defense One

General Atomics unveiled a new drone Dec. 8 that can carry 16 Hellfire missiles and take off from a dirt road or even an aircraft carrier. Called Mojave, the drone is meant to appeal to special forces fighting in the types of conflicts that have dominated the U.S. military’s attention for the past two decades.

Cutting-edge Space Force Radar Installed at Clear Base

Anchorage Daily News

A ceremony at the Clear Space Force Base (formerly Clear Air Force Station) south of Fairbanks celebrated the end of construction and installation of a new Long Range Discrimination Radar, a sophisticated monitoring system designed to bolster American missile defenses. “Once fully operational, LRDR will provide unparalleled ability to simultaneously search, track and discriminate multiple small objects, including all classes of ballistic and, in later iterations, hypersonic missiles, at very long ranges, under continuous operation,” heralded the Missile Defense Agency in a press release.

The Latest on Missile Warning & Defense

Air Force Magazine

Recent Russian and Chinese missile launches raised the stakes in space. Find out the latest news on sensing, tracking, and defending against enemy missile strikes.

SEAL Team Commander Dies After Training Accident

The commander of one of the Navy's elite SEAL teams died Dec. 7 after a training accident in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the service announced Wednesday. Cmdr. Brian Bourgeois, 43, commanding officer of SEAL Team 8, was injured Dec. 4 in what appears to have been "a fast-rope training evolution," according to a Navy statement.

Bipin Rawat: Tributes for India's Top General Who Died in Helicopter Crash

BBC News

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others died after the Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. An inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash.India's defence minister Rajnath Singh paid homage to the victims on Thursday in parliament.

One More Thing

Visit to a Lost CIA Base in Afghanistan

The turbaned Taliban gather in front of the entrance to the deserted barracks. They fish their smartphones out of their vest pockets, switch on their flashlights, and illuminate the ghostly darkness inside. There are no windows in the corridor, nor the small, neat rooms to the left and right. If it weren’t for the nice office chairs and the comfortable bathroom cubicles, one might mistake them for cells. But the rooms are part of a section of a now abandoned military base in Shkin, in southeastern Afghanistan, that was once occupied by U.S. forces, including CIA officers. Now, with the base empty and the Taliban back in power, Washington’s ability to monitor the assorted militants who are still in the area has become far more limited.