Ahead of Talks with Russia, NATO has ‘Widespread Unity and Consensus’

The first U.S.-Russia meeting Jan. 10 to resolve the Ukraine crisis was widely panned as an impasse, more attuned to an airing of grievances than a negotiation. Discussions now move to a multilateral phase with the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels on Jan. 12 hoping to diffuse tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border, where 100,000 Russian troops are poised. Ahead of the meeting, U.S. permanent representative to NATO Ambassador Julianne Smith said the alliance was united in opposing Russia’s demands but still hoped diplomacy would lead to de-escalation. “Let’s be clear: Russian actions have precipitated this crisis,” Smith told journalists on a press call from Brussels.
red hill

Military Families Affected by Hawaii Jet Fuel Spill Could Wait Weeks for Clean Water

More than 9,000 households in Hawaii have been affected by a jet fuel spill near Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam that contaminated drinking water in November. The Navy anticipates the issue at the Red Hill Fuel Bulk Fuel Storage Facility won’t be resolved for some families until mid-February, officials said during a Congressional hearing Jan. 11. At the same time, top Pentagon leaders will have to contend with possible long-term effects from the spill.
air force vaccine

87 Airmen Now Separated Over COVID-19 Vaccine Refusal

The Department of the Air Force has ramped up its rate of dismissals for Airmen and Guardians who refused to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the department’s most recent data. As of Jan. 10, the Air Force has administratively separated 87 Airmen and Guardians. On Jan. 6, an Air Force spokeswoman told Air Force Magazine the number of separations stood at 75, meaning an increase of 12 in less than a week. And the latest numbers mark 60 separations in the last four weeks, after DAF announced Dec. 13 its first batch of 27 separations. 
dod advisory boards

Fates of 12 DOD Advisory Boards Have Yet to Be Announced

As the first anniversary approaches of Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III’s unprecedented purge of civilian advisory boards, at least a dozen boards are still in limbo. A few of the boards whose fates still haven’t been announced include the Defense Innovation Board, the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council, and the National Reconnaissance Advisory Board.

Radar Sweep

New in 2022: A Changing Outlook for Air Warfare in US Central Command

Air Force Times

The U.S. left two decades of combat in Afghanistan with a last-minute evacuation as the Taliban returned to power in August. Cue the air war’s next phase. Without a ground presence in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and parts of Syria, there’s more pressure on the Air Force and Space Force to pivot to a longer-range role with intelligence satellites and drones launched from farther away in the region.

OPINION: Who’s Afraid of an ICBM Review?

Defense One

“The Pentagon’s grant of $75,000 to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for a study of options for the land-based leg of the nuclear triad has prompted howls of protest from boosters of the Pentagon’s plan to build a new ICBM, known formally as the Ground-Based [Strategic] Deterrent, or GBSD. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees, have argued that the issue has already been well studied and that the Carnegie effort should be canceled. Why the uproar? Isn’t it worth spending $75,000 to assess whether to go ahead with a program that could cost $264 billion over its lifetime, including $110 billion for development and procurement?” writes William D. Hartung, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the author of "Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex."

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.

Who’s in Charge of US Space Policy?

Defense One

Under the Trump administration, it was self-professed space nerd Vice President Mike Pence who chaired the National Space Council. But, even though Vice President Kamala Harris has held her first space council meeting and chatted with astronauts on the International Space Station, space consistently falls much lower on her robust to-do list. Space professionals increasingly feel that the White House’s National Space Council is playing less of a role in setting military space policy and that those duties are being handled by the National Security Council, according to six industry executives, four of whom previously served as senior government officials in Democratic and Republican administrations.

Astroscale Looks to Orbit Fab Space ‘Gas Stations’ to Extend Mission Life

Breaking Defense

The U.S. arm of Japanese firm Astroscale has inked a deal to be the first customer in line to refuel at San Francisco startup Orbit Fab’s planned “gas stations” in geosynchronous orbit (GEO). Meanwhile, the firm is gearing up its own pitch to the Space Force’s SpaceWERX innovation hub for cleaning up space junk.

The Biden Nuclear Posture Review: Resetting the Requirements for Nuclear Deterrence

Arms Control Today

As the Biden administration finalizes its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), it faces the same challenges as the architects of the four earlier NPRs: how to make choices about nuclear deterrence and translate them into nuclear strategy and force structure. If it chooses to learn from the experience of its predecessors, the administration will confront two sets of requirements that are central to U.S. nuclear deterrence policy yet limit its freedom of action. The NPR managers would be wise not to just buy into those requirements but instead to be explicit and transparent about questioning them in order to enable choices that are based on a clear understanding of the trade-offs as well as other possible options.

How Do Extremists Get Into the Military? The Pentagon Wants to Find Out

Task & Purpose

The Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General is launching a review of how extremists and criminal gang members are joining the military. “The objective of this audit is to determine whether Military Service recruiting organizations screened applicants for supremacist, extremist, and criminal gang behavior according to DoD and Military Service policies and procedures,” reads the Jan. 3 memorandum from the inspector general’s office.

One More Thing

Norway is Making Troops Turn in Their Used Underwear to Give to New Recruits

Task & Purpose

Supply chains and equipment turn-in have traditionally provided no shortage of consternation to service members. It’s not usually this personal, though. Military conscripts in Norway are now being asked to return all issued clothing items, including things such as socks, bras, and underwear, at the end of their mandatory service so that the items can be re-issued to the next generation of recruits.