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.”
“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.
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 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.