Air Forces Africa Gears up to Extend Its Reach

AFRICAN AIR CHIEFS SYMPOSIUM, KIGALI, Rwanda—The tyranny of distance is the oft-spoken biggest challenge for African air forces in a continent more than three times the size of the United States. But Air Forces Africa hopes a conference with 30 partner nations will shrink the distance by building trust to work together in areas such as shared airlift. U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa chief Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian flew over the verdant mountains of the richly vegetated East African lake region to touch down in the Rwandan capital of Kigali on Jan. 24 ahead of the 11th African Air Chiefs Symposium. “In the U.S., we get down to business. In Africa, you have to have a relationship with the person that you're trying to do business with first,” Air Force Col. Beth Lane, a C-17 pilot who in July became the first female secretary general of the African Air Chiefs Association, told Air Force Magazine in the cool summer air of the 5,000-foot-elevation Southern Hemisphere capital.
Ukraine troops

U.S. Puts 8,500 Troops on Alert for Europe Deployment

The U.S. military told 8,500 troops in the continental U.S. to prepare to deploy to Europe for a potential Ukraine contingency within five days, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced Jan. 24. These troops would be the U.S. contribution to a 40,000-member NATO Response Force being organized in response to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, Kirby said. There has been no decision to actually deploy that force—and the troops now on alert may not go to Europe at all, Kirby said. The bulk of the units being alerted are Active-duty ground troops, he added.
lloyd austin, mark milley testify

Here’s What You Need to Know About Budget Delays and Defense Programs

The fiscal year 2022 budget will enter its fifth month under a continuing resolution in February, the product of a record-setting latest ever budget release by the Biden administration in May 2021. Meanwhile, the president’s fiscal year 2023 budget request is unlikely to meet a Feb. 7 deadline, hampering the start of new Defense Department programs and locking money in the wrong accounts. It could be March 7 before lawmakers have a chance to look at the new budget and begin the deliberation process, a budget expert told Air Force Magazine. One reason may be that the Pentagon was asked by the White House to revise its budget needs.

DAF’s New Data and AI Officer Envisions Digital Fluency, Seamless Environments

The one-star taking over data and artificial intelligence for the Department of the Air Force knows what to prioritize in his new Pentagon job in part thanks to his experience outside the military. In the business world, “the ability to make decisions is the critical advantage—that’s what separates the winners from the losers,” said Brig. Gen. John M. Olson, who returned to Active duty after working in the aerospace industry and serving in the Reserve. Olson first plans on “driving toward operationalization of data” as a co-lead of the team working on the Advanced Battle Management System, which is the department’s envisioned share of the military’s joint all-domain command and control concept.

Yes, You Can Attend AFA’s Warfare Symposium–⁠DOD Misspoke

The Defense Department now says military members can indeed attend conferences in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, correcting a statement made last week by Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby. The Air Force Association continues to plan a full, in-person 2022 AFA Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla., March 2-4. “To ensure a safe and successful event, proof of vaccination or negative test results are a prerequisite for symposium attendance,” AFA Executive Vice President Douglas L. Raaberg said. “While it is impossible to predict the future, we are encouraged by the most recent data and will continue coordinating closely with Air Force and Space Force leadership, supporting our mutual objectives for a safe and productive professional development gathering.”

Radar Sweep

Air Force to Advance Stealthy Successor for F-22

Flight Global

The Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance fighter remains under wraps, but some clues about capabilities the service wants in the aircraft are surfacing. Whereas past generations of fighter aircraft relied on speed and maneuverability to defeat foes, it seems the NGAD will lean heavily on stealth characteristics to hide from opponents and on computing power to outsmart them, according to comments from the USAF and likely development partners.

Air Force’s Enlisted Recruitment Pipeline Is Drying Up, General Warns

Air Force Times

The Air Force is fighting an uphill battle to meet this year’s recruiting goals, the two-star general in charge of recruitment warned in an email earlier this month. “We have warning lights flashing,” Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas told Air Force Recruiting Service employees Jan. 10.

Head of Special Operations Command Tests Positive for COVID-19

The commander of Special Operations Command, Gen. Richard D. Clarke, has tested positive for COVID-19, his command announced Jan. 24. Clarke, who oversees the special operations forces of all the military branches, tested positive Jan. 23 and was working remotely and isolating himself from others, Col. Curt Kellogg, a spokesperson for the command, said in the statement.

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Taiwan Reports New Large-Scale Chinese Air Force Incursion


Taiwan on Jan. 23 reported the largest incursion since October by China's air force in its air defence zone, with the island's defence ministry saying Taiwanese fighters scrambled to warn away 39 aircraft in the latest uptick in tensions.

PODCAST: Gaining the Edge in Space Maneuver Warfare

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 60 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John “Slick” Baum is joined by Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Senior Fellow Chris Stone, Ron Faibish of General Atomics EMS, Maj. Nathan Greiner of DARPA, and Space Force weapons officer Lt. Col. Brandon Davenport to discuss what it will mean to successfully engage in space given current and future threats. A key technology required to facilitate this future vision is space nuclear thermal propulsion, or STNP. This may sound like science fiction, but America’s national security space enterprise is at an inflection point. Our force design and satellite architectures are increasingly vulnerable to attack given adversary anti-satellite weapons. Ensuring space-based missions can continue to execute in spite of these attacks demands that we maneuver satellites for both defensive and offensive purposes. Making that happen requires new forms of propulsion, including STNP.

Contractors Demonstrate Single-User Drone Swarm at DARPA Experiment


Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated the ability for a single user to control over 100 unmanned systems as part of a swarm in an urban battlefield setting. The experiment was part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program, which envisions amassing up to 250 small aerial and ground unmanned systems in urban areas.

Solar Power From Space: Will it Ever Get Off the Ground?


Satellites in space harvesting sunlight and turning solar energy into usable power for applications on Earth is an idea that has been studied for decades. But even though the United States was a pioneer in this technology, government interest in taking it from the lab to orbit has been tepid at best. The U.S. military is now trying to revive the effort. The Naval Research Laboratory launched an experiment in 2020 aboard the Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane that tested hardware to capture sunlight and convert it into direct current electrical energy.

One More Thing

Air Force Heritage Flight Flyover Scheduled to Support Super Bowl LVI

USAF release

Five aircraft representing the Air Force’s 75 years as a service will conduct a first-of-its-kind flyover during the national anthem performance at Super Bowl LVI, Feb. 13, over SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Heritage Flight will include a P-51 Mustang, A-10 Warthog, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 strike fighter.