AFCENT airpower

New Data Indicates Declining AFCENT Airpower Demand

The Pentagon released previously withheld statistics Dec. 17 indicating changing demand for airpower in Afghanistan as the U.S. prepared to withdraw from that country last spring. U.S. Air Forces Central (AFCENT) withheld the data for the months February 2020 through November 2021 "due to sensitivity surrounding the implementation of the U.S.-Taliban agreement," said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby ahead of the data release. Data for the Iraq and Syria campaign during the same period show steady demand for airpower, with 2021 sorties for airlift and airdrops; and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance holding steady, while demand for supplies and passengers increased. Tanker and strike sorties, however, were down from 2020, furthering a downward trend since 2019.
pentagon covid-19

Biden Tells Pentagon to Ready 1,000 Troops to Help With COVID-19 Surge

President Joe Biden is directing Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to ready 1,000 more troops to deploy to hospitals as needed in January and February as the White House looks to battle rising COVID-19 case counts credited to the omicron variant. Mirroring nationwide trends, the Department of the Air Force has also seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases as of late.
space force website

Space Force Launches Website Aimed at Potential Recruits, Public Education

On its second birthday, Dec. 20, the Space Force unveiled its new website aimed at recruiting the next generation of Guardians and educating the public on the new service’s mission. Visitors to the website can survey details on the requirements and application process for enlisted service members, officers, and civilians. The site includes overviews of each career field, complete with qualifications needed, training, and tasks associated with each. 

Radar Sweep

Army Creates Single Vaccine Effective Against All COVID & SARS Variants, Researchers Say

Defense One

Within weeks, scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research expect to announce that they have developed a vaccine that is effective against COVID-19 and all its variants, even omicron, as well as from previous SARS-origin viruses that have killed millions of people worldwide. The achievement is the result of almost two years of work on the virus. The Army lab received its first DNA sequencing of the COVID-19 virus in early 2020. Very early on, Walter Reed’s infectious diseases branch decided to focus on making a vaccine that would work against not just the existing strain but all of its potential variants as well.

Pentagon IG Will Investigate Management of Hawaii Fuel Storage Facility at Center of Water Crisis

Air Force Times

The Defense Department inspector general has put the Navy and the Defense Logistics Agency on notice that it will conduct a sweeping review of management and oversight of the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii. Hawaii’s congressional delegation requested the review Dec. 6 following reports of petroleum found in the tap water of military housing on Joint Base Pearl Habor-Hickam. But the delegation has made multiple requests for a review of the facility based on concerns about safety hazards.

Crew Chiefs Rebuild F-22 After Fiery Crash

Air Force release

Aircraft crew chiefs are typically responsible for daily maintenance, aircraft care, and inspections to ensure their aircraft are mission ready. However, two crew chiefs at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, became part of a unique team tasked with rebuilding an F-22 Raptor. Tech. Sgt. Kevin Fitch and Staff Sgt. Ethan Rentz, 3rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit F-22 crew chiefs, are nearing the end of a years-long process that began shortly after tail number AF-07-146 skidded to a stop on its belly immediately after takeoff at Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada, in April 2018.

PODCAST: Russia’s Military Strategy in Europe

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 55 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, "Russia’s Military Strategy in Europe,” host John "Slick" Baum is joined by Justin Bronk and Samuel Cranny-Evans of the Royal United Services Institute, along with the Mitchell Institute's own Heather Penney, to dive into Russian strategy. Russia poses an equally concerning threat to the U.S. and allies as China does, and the two threats have distinct differences. Whether it be military intervention in Ukraine, Syria, or Georgia, Russia's conventional military might is still strong.

After Evacuation, US-Trained Afghan Pilots Want to Return to the Sky

Air Force Times

Mohammad Tawfiq Safi learned to fly in the United States, first in undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and later at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., for A-29 pilot and instructor courses. His time in combat ended Aug. 14, when he accidentally crashed a C-208 in a last-minute effort to relocate and keep military planes out of Taliban hands. Now Safi is again on U.S. soil, this time in limbo at Fort Pickett, Va.—the Army installation housing him and other Afghans who fled the country when the Taliban returned to power over the summer.

Missile Warning & Defense

Air Force Magazine

Defending against missile threats launched in, at, or through space has never been more challenging—nor important. Learn more on Air Force Magazine’s Missile Warning & Defense page.

Boeing Wins $329 Million Contract to Support Orbiting GPS Satellites


The Space Force awarded Boeing a $329.3 million contract to support operations of Global Positioning System satellites for the next 10 years. The contract, announced Dec. 20, is for on-orbit support of GPS 2F satellites, manufactured by Boeing. The current constellation of 31 operational GPS satellites includes 12 of the 2F model.

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Holds Military Drill Amid Tension

The Associated Press

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard staged a major military exercise across the country's south Dec. 20 amid heightened tensions over Tehran's nuclear program, state TV reported. The Guard's aerospace division, ground troops, and naval forces joined in the five-day drill, the report said, with maritime forces set to maneuver in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow gateway for 20 percent of the world's traded oil.

One More Thing

Santa at War: A Visual History of Jolly Old St. Nick in the Unlikeliest of Places

Task & Purpose

One Christmas tradition that seems particularly at odds with the environment it finds itself in, yet it persists nonetheless: Santa Claus at war. Santa’s forays into war and conflict zones date back to at least the 1800s, with Harper’s Weekly publishing an illustration of Kris Kringle giving gifts to beleaguered Union troops in 1862—a year into the Civil War.