Ukraine tension

USAFE Watchful, But Operating Normally, as Tensions Build Between Russia, Ukraine

U.S. Air Forces in Europe hasn’t changed the way it operates even though Russia is massing forces on the Ukraine border, but U.S. and NATO allies are keeping a close watch on what Russia is doing, USAFE commander Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian said Dec. 13. USAFE is maintaining a watchful posture and focusing on readiness to give national leaders options in a crisis, Harrigian said during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event.
military AI

NATO’s Plan to Grow Trust in Military AI

Western militaries—already “late to the party” in the creation of artificial intelligence—risk unforeseen consequences by adopting AI made for the commercial sector, said NATO’s David van Weel. That's why the alliance is publicizing a new plan by which it hopes its governments will get involved in AI development from the start, both for security reasons and to “bridge a gap of distrust” in the technology.

Radar Sweep

Pentagon Considering COVID-19 Booster Mandate for Troops

The Associated Press

The Pentagon said Dec. 10 that there are “active discussions” within the department about making the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots mandatory for service members, even as thousands refuse or seek exemptions from the initial shot requirement. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said no final decisions had been made on the matter but added that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III “absolutely encourages people, if they can and if they qualify, to get the booster. But right now there is no requirement for it.”

Air Force Confirms Person Died in Confrontation at Gunter Annex Gate


An Air Force spokesperson confirmed that a person died after a confrontation Dec. 11 at the main gate to the Gunter Annex of Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Air University’s public affairs office said the incident involved two security personnel and two civilians. The security personnel and one civilian were taken to a local hospital, evaluated, and later released.

PODCAST: MQ-9 Reimagined—Tomorrow’s Reaper Missions

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 54 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John "Slick" Baum talks to 49th Wing Commander Col. Ryan P. Keeney, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies' own retired Maj. Gen. Larry Stutzriem, and Brian Clark of the Hudson Institute to explore how the MQ-9 will meet new mission demands. Bottom line: The Reaper attained legendary status over Afghanistan and Iraq, but its career is far from over. In fact, current requests by combatant commands far outstrip supply. Looking to the future, as defense leaders focus on peer threats such as China and Russia, the Mitchell team explores how the MQ-9's mission applications will expand.

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Alaska-Based F-35As are Employing Air Force’s Agile Combat Strategy in Japan

Stars and Stripes

A group of Air Force fifth-generation fighter jets from Alaska are in Japan to train alongside Marine Corps and Japanese aircraft and demonstrate their ability to disperse and fight far from home. F-35A Lightning IIs from the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, on Dec. 3 for Operation Iron Dagger.

DOD Needs Stronger Way to Gauge Effectiveness of Cyber Program, GAO says


The Department of Defense lacks a framework for properly evaluating its contractor cybersecurity program, a Government Accountability Office study found. In a report released Dec. 10, the GAO said the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program still needs metrics and other means to measure successes and failures in its core mission of assessing how well DOD contractors protect important data. The congressional watchdog pointed in particular to a lack of communications with industry, a perennial complaint that has been aired before Congress and highlighted by trade groups.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT: Moving at the Speed of the Mission With Data Fabric


As the DOD presses forward with Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) programs and architectures, the Air Force is working to stand up technology centers that will not only allow for the sharing of data but for the sharing of data in motion. Our warfighters and peacekeepers need real time data to make decisions in the field, and the traditional database structure, modernized with data lakes, cannot operate at the speed of the mission.

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Civilian Deaths Mounted as Secret Unit Hammered ISIS

The New York Times

A single top secret American strike cell launched tens of thousands of bombs and missiles against the Islamic State in Syria, but in the process of hammering a vicious enemy, the shadowy force sidestepped safeguards and repeatedly killed civilians, according to multiple current and former military and intelligence officials. The unit was called Talon Anvil, and it worked in three shifts around the clock between 2014 and 2019, pinpointing targets for the United States’ formidable air power to hit, including convoys, car bombs, command centers, and squads of enemy fighters.

Aircraft Propulsion: The Power of Modern Propulsion

Air Force Magazine

The engines that power the Air Force are the best in the world. But as technology continues to evolve, new improvements promise greater power, range, and other capabilities. Read the latest on advances in aircraft engines and propulsion technology.

One More Thing

Check Out the Watches Made for France's Newly Merged Air and Space Forces

Gear Patrol

It's hard to beat a military connection for making a watch feel purposeful, tough, and imbued with a sense of adventure. French watchmaker Yema has worked with several of its national military services historically as well as right up to the present day, partnering with the country's air force as well as its space program. But France recently renamed its air force to include celestial defense with a space command—and Yema wasted no time outfitting them with wristwear.