Pentagon Defines Extremist Activities, Releases New Regulations

Just shy of a year after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, the Defense Department released a detailed report defining what constitutes extremist activity and recapping DOD efforts to date to reduce and prevent extremism within the ranks. The department will not make a list of prohibited groups, but DOD has defined a two-part test for commanders to assess a violation: Does the act constitute extremist activity; and did the service member “actively participate”?

Hacking the Supply Chain

The Defense Department’s cyber challenges are enormous. Systems increasingly rely on software code, much of it incorporating open-source components. Growing dependence on cloud-based systems to host databases and computer workloads also expanded the Pentagon’s attack surface. Conventional cyber defenses based on keeping hackers out of DOD networks have given way to new strategies built on protecting the data inside the network, because that’s what hackers are after. 

Posture Reviews, Program Reveals, and Budget Maneuvers Ahead for the Air Force in 2022

A raft of strategy and posture reviews are coming in 2022 that will significantly shape the Air Force, even as the service is slated to make major strides on programs and conduct critical tests. The B-21 is expected to take to the air mid-year, and more may be revealed in 2022 about the Next Generation Air Dominance system, which will include a fighter along with a family of related aircraft and attributes. The Air Force is also under some pressure to get moving on its hypersonic missile programs and will sharply expand its agile combat employment exercises and experiments in 2022.
joint chiefs

Adm. Christopher W. Grady Sworn in as Vice Chairman of Joint Chiefs

The Pentagon confirmed Dec. 20 that Adm. Christopher W. Grady was sworn in as the 12th Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The swearing-in fills a monthlong vacancy following the retirement of Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten, whose last day was Nov. 19, 2021. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said that among Grady’s duties will be leading the Joint Requirements Oversight Council and serving as a senior member of the Nuclear Weapons Council.

Radar Sweep

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Guam, America’s Forgotten Territory, Is New Front Line Against China

Wall Street Journal

U.S. military officials say Guam would be a major staging point for bombers, submarines, and troops in any conflict involving the U.S. in the Pacific, including any clash over Taiwan if the U.S. were to become involved. Guam is also becoming more vulnerable, U.S. officials say, as China expands its military capabilities.

Third Test of the Air Force's Hypersonic Weapon Has Failed Like the Ones Before It

The Drive

The Air Force has failed for a third time to conduct a successful test of the rocket booster on a prototype AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, hypersonic missile. This can only add to the palatable frustration within the service, as well as elsewhere in the U.S. military and in Congress, about the progress, or lack thereof, in the testing of various new hypersonic weapons.

Signature Block Pronouns Now Allowed for Airmen, Guardians

Air Force release

A recent update to the Department of the Air Force writing guide, The Tongue and Quill, now allows Airmen and Guardians to include pronouns in their signature block. The Tongue and Quill provides formatting standards and guidelines for a number of official documents, including email, memoranda, letters, and papers.

Aerial Refueling Enterprise Lacks Resiliency, Capacity

National Defense Magazine

Billions of dollars are needed over the next decade to enhance the resiliency of the U.S. military’s aerial refueling enterprise, according to a new study. The global architecture, which consists of tanker aircraft, airfields, and bulk fuel storage and distribution, enables planes to refuel without landing and extends their reach. However, this strategic advantage for the United States is increasingly under threat as adversaries such as China improve their ability to attack aircraft and air bases, experts say.

SPONSORED: Digital Engineering, DevSecOps Key to Updating ICBMs

BAE Systems

Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are now over 50 years old, and the time to transition to the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a full ICBM weapon system replacement, is getting close. The need for optimized sustainment and readiness on Minuteman III is critical as the government prepares for GBSD’s anticipated initial operational capability in 2029. Helping the Air Force prepare for that transition is a critical mission for BAE Systems.

OPINION: The Air Force Isn’t Doing Information Technology Right

War on the Rocks

“Now that I’m back in the Air Force, albeit out of uniform, I’m concerned that in its haste to become the global leader in cyberspace operations, the Department of the Air Force has severely degraded its ability to provide serviceable information technology capabilities for Airmen and Guardians. This is where NATO had, in my opinion, placed too much emphasis, thereby putting its own fledgling cyberspace operational future at risk. Life can be weird,” writes retired Col. Don Lewis, who held a variety of operational, staff, and command positions at Air Force squadron, wing, and major command levels and Department of Defense agency and unified combatant command levels.

Air Force Pushes Automated Data Sharing Under Draft Strategy

Federal News Network

The Air Force is drafting a new automation strategy to help guide the service’s investments in areas such as robotic process automation with an eye toward quickly passing data between systems without needing a human to do the work. Air Force Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger said the service is still fleshing out the strategy. Knausenberger told Federal News Network it’ll probably be several more months before it’s coordinated. But she said a big part of the strategy is automating the movement of data.

New Dormitory Complex Headed for Tyndall

Air Force release

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $145.4 million contract for a new dormitory project under the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s natural disaster recovery program. The project is the ninth military construction project awarded for the Tyndall rebuild.

One More Thing

Let There Be Peace on Earth

Air Force Association

Some want to think America’s candle is again burning low. Now we must show the world what we’re made of—like Washington in the cold winter of 1777.