USAF Aircraft Availability on Long Downward Trend, CBO Says

The Air Force and Navy are both seeing a long-term, downward trend in aircraft availability and flying hours per aircraft, which is actually worse than the Pentagon reports because of the way the Defense Department counts aircraft as ready for duty, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office. While USAF availability recovered a little during the COVID-19 pandemic, flying hours continued to fall, the CBO said.
austin covid

Secretary Austin Back to the Pentagon After Negative COVID Test

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III has tested negative after experiencing mild symptoms during a bout with the COVID-19 virus. Austin returned to the Pentagon on Jan. 10 after completing an at-home quarantine during which he continued to work remotely. Austin last met with his staff at the Pentagon on Dec. 30 before going on leave. Kirby confirmed that no more senior Pentagon leaders had tested positive for the virus.
Russia talks

US to Russia: Concessions Must be ‘Reciprocal’

The U.S. will not bar Ukraine or other countries from future entry into NATO, and any concessions with Russia on missile defense or military exercises must be “reciprocal," State Department Deputy Secretary Wendy R. Sherman told journalists on a press call following eight hours of meetings with her Russian counterpart in Geneva on Jan. 10.
house armed services subcommittee

Republicans Announce Leadership Shuffle on Key HASC Subcommittees

Two key subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee are getting new top Republicans, committee ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) announced Jan. 10. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) will take over as the ranking member of the strategic forces subcommittee, leaving his previous position as ranking member of the readiness subcommittee. Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) will take over as ranking member of the readiness panel.

Radar Sweep

Air Force Accused of Pushing Woman Through Elite Commando Training After She Quit, Spurring Investigation

Air Force Times

Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife is calling for an inspector general investigation after claims surfaced of his organization unfairly pushing an unqualified female Airman through special tactics officer training. If she completes the program, she would become the first woman to make it into the elite special tactics field, a major win for the Air Force.

US, Japan Agree to Keep Troops on Base to Curb COVID Spread

The Associated Press

The U.S. and Japan agreed Jan. 9 to keep American troops within their bases as worries grew about a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the country. The restrictions starting Jan.10 will last 14 days, confining U.S. military personnel to base facilities except for “essential activities,” a statement from U.S. Forces in Japan said. The Japanese Foreign Ministry released the same statement.

4 Reservists Died of COVID-19 Complications in a Single Week

Military Times

Four more deaths in the final days of 2021 capped off what have been the military’s deadliest months of the pandemic. After reporting a total of 14 deaths in 2020, the services jumped from 27 deaths overall in June to 86 total, making the 2021 toll for service members 72. All eight deaths reported in December were either members of the Reserve or National Guard who were given extra time to finish their mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.

PODCAST: A Conversation With Gen. Kevin Chilton—Fighter Pilot, Astronaut, and Commander

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 58 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John “Slick” Baum engages with the Mitchell Institute’s Explorer Chair for Space Warfighting Studies retired Gen. Kevin Chilton. Chilton flew RF-4s and F-15s then moved to the test pilot community, then to NASA, going to space three times and serving as the deputy program manager for operations for the International Space Station. He later held commands including those of Air Force Space Command and U.S. Strategic Command.

Thousands of Afghans Remain Housed on US Bases Months After the Fall of Kabul


Military bases are still housing about 19,500 Afghan refugees as they seek resettlement in the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security. The refugees are now spread across five domestic bases, with the highest number—9,700 Afghans—being hosted by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Thousands more are at facilities in Wisconsin, Virginia, Indiana, and New Mexico.

What Will the Space Force Be Able to Do With Its New GPS III Variant?


GPS III satellites are already a substantial upgrade to the current constellation, providing three times greater accuracy and eight times better anti-jamming capability than their predecessors. In addition to introducing a new civil signal that is compatible with other navigation satellite systems, the five GPS III satellites on orbit completed the space component of M-code—an even more secure and accurate signal for military use.

What Is the Future of the Air Force’s Software Vision?


The Air Force is at a crossroads when it comes to its efforts to drive software innovation within the service branch and the wider Defense Department. In mid-November, the Air Force’s Platform One and Kessel Run innovation units signed an agreement to collaborate and support each other’s efforts. Meanwhile, the service branch is on the hunt for a new chief software officer following the stormy departure last year of Nicolas Chaillan, the Air Force’s first head of software. Taken together, they point to a desire to streamline software efforts and drive momentum around IT innovation, including DevSecOps and other leading-edge software initiatives in government.

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Air Force Developing Robot ‘Dogs’ To Keep Runways Clear of Hazardous Debris


A robot described as ‘Roomba for runways’ that’s under development for the Air Force could help prevent foreign objects from damaging aircraft. Foreign object debris, or FOD—anything that is not supposed to be on the tarmac—causes an estimated $4 billion in losses each year to the aviation industry.