AI attack planning

AFRL’s ‘Fight Tonight’ to Prototype AI and Gaming Tech for Attack Planning

The Air Force is looking for ways to combine artificial intelligence and interactive gaming technology to revolutionize and dramatically shorten the process of planning complex air attack operations. The Air Force Research Laboratory's Information Directorate in Rome, N.Y., has asked interested vendors to submit white papers explaining how they would use each of these new technologies to augment human decision-making in the planning cycle and slash the time taken to produce a master attack plan from 36 hours or more to four.
autonomous weapons

UN Addresses Lethal Autonomous Weapons—aka ‘Killer Robots’—Amid Calls for a Treaty

The United Nations' secretary-general advocated for new restrictions on autonomous weapons as a U.N. group that negotiates weapons protocols started a week of meetings, in part, to discuss the matter. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the Review Conference of the U.N.’s Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Guterres preceded the weeklong meeting with a Dec. 13 message encouraging conference members “to agree on an ambitious plan for the future to establish restrictions on the use of certain types of autonomous weapons.”

Radar Sweep

Blinken Vows More US Military Might in Indo-Pacific

The Associated Press

The United States will expand its military and economic relationships with partners in Asia to push back against China’s increasing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Dec. 14. Blinken said the Biden administration is committed to maintaining peace and prosperity in the region and will do that by boosting U.S. alliances, forging new relationships, and ensuring that the U.S. military maintains “its competitive edge.”

OPINION: Don't Buy China's Hypersonic Head-Fake. Its Spaceplanes Are Racing Ahead.

Defense One

“After shocked U.S. leaders decried China’s August flight of a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle, Beijing’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tried a head fake, issuing a statement that actually referred to the July test of a reusable spaceplane. Yet even that misdirecting statement contained another attempt at misdirection. While the government described the spaceplane’s flight as a “routine” mission, it was in fact the first successful suborbital flight from launch to landing, a crucial step in the advancement toward a game-changing technology. Hypersonics may be getting more of the recent attention, but the spaceplane work is an area of both economic and national security significance,” write Daniel Shats, a research analyst with D.C. defense- and tech-focused consulting firm BluePath Labs, and Peter W. Singer, strategist at New America and the author of multiple books on technology and security.

Jet Ejection Seat, Breathing System Oversight Strengthened in Defense Bill

Air Force Times

Congress is poised to pass legislation that would demand more oversight of military jet ejection seats and pilot breathing systems, hoping to prevent further related accidents and deaths. The latest version of the fiscal 2022 defense policy bill, which passed the House on Dec. 8 and awaits a vote in the Senate as soon as this week, would require the Air Force and Navy to report to lawmakers on the state of their ejection seats.

Leidos Secures $82M IDIQ to Support Air Force’s Drone Defense Efforts

Leidos has secured a potential five-year, $82 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to help the U.S. Air Force develop equipment and software for defending against small unmanned aircraft systems. The company said it will also provide technology maintenance and deployment services to USAF’s counter-sUAS, or small UAS, operations at military air bases.

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Space Force Holds War Game to Test Satellite Network Under Attack


The United States is testing satellite resiliency to threats from China and Russia miles above the Earth's surface just weeks after Russia shot down an aging communications satellite. The computer-aided simulations included potential shooting down of U.S. missile-tracking satellites, satellite jamming, and other electronic warfare "effects" that are possible tactics in space warfare. Actual satellites are not used.

Missile Warning & Defense

Air Force Magazine

Defending against missile threats launched in, at, or through space has never been more challenging—or important. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Missile Warning & Defense page.

OPINION: Military Justice Reform Compromise Strikes Fair Balance Between Competing Interests

Air Force Times

“With congressional leadership urging quick passage of the current House version of the National Defense Authorization Act with no further amendments, changes to the military justice system contained in the bill will likely become law. Although Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and other reform advocates have expressed severe dissatisfaction with the final outcome, the measures projected to be adopted by Congress represent a fair and practical compromise on a number of issues. The most significant of these, of course, is authority to initiate (“prefer”) criminal charges for covered offenses and refer those offenses to court-martial,” writes Brian L. Cox, a former Soldier and current doctoral candidate lecturer at Cornell Law School.

Guard Members, Partner Nations Attend First Air Force All-Spanish International SNCO Course

USAF release

Two Air National Guard members took part in the first International Senior Noncommissioned Officer Course held entirely in Spanish by the Inter-American Air Force Academy (IAAFA) at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 4-Dec. 8. The IAAFA mission is to provide education and training to military personnel of the Americas and partner nations. In support of this initiative, IAAFA rebuilt the Air Force SNCO curriculum to cater to Spanish-speaking Total Force Airmen and international students.

Space Traffic Control Startup Kayhan Space Raises $3.7 Million in Seed Funding


Kayhan Space, a startup based in Boulder, Colo., announced Dec. 14 it has closed a $3.75 million seed funding round. The company developed a space traffic control system for satellite operators to help prevent collisions in Earth’s orbit. The funding round was co-led by Initialized Capital and Root Ventures, with participation from Overline venture capital and Jacob Helberg, a senior adviser at the Stanford University Center on Geopolitics and Technology.

Q&A: BAE Systems CEO Tom Arseneault on COVID, JADC2, and Defense Budget Optimism

Breaking Defense

While the Trump administration had delivered major spending increases for the Pentagon, the military’s projections for fiscal year 2022 were essentially flat. With the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden coming in with a domestic focus following the COVID-19 pandemic, the assumption in the defense community was that even staying flat would be a win for the military’s budget. Except a funny thing happened: The Democratically-controlled Congress stepped in and increased spending in the National Defense Authorization Act by $25 billion. That increase was a strong sign for Tom Arseneault, the CEO of BAE Systems, to start to breathe easier about where defense spending may be headed.

One More Thing

Air Force Vet Michael Nesmith Was More Than Just a Monkee

Michael Nesmith might be best known as a member of '60s rock sensation The Monkees, but the Air Force veteran led an inventive and fascinating life outside of his time with the band. Let's pay tribute to Nesmith, who died Dec. 10, 2021, at age 78.