air force readiness

Kendall: Air Force Still Digging Itself Out of ‘Readiness Hole’

The Department of the Air Force is set to embark on a readiness review as it works to dig itself out of a “readiness hole,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said. "Sequestration has been gone just a short period of time now, and I think we're getting better," Kendall said during a Jan. 27 virtual Coffee Talk event with Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass. "It's a trade-off we have to make, between near-term operational capabilities and things longer [term] as we look at budgets, try to balance some of the costs.”

F-15EX Fires First Missile Successfully

The F-15EX successfully fired its first weapon on Jan. 25, launching an AIM-120D missile at a BQM-167 unmanned aerial target over the Gulf of Mexico. Maj. Benjamin Naumann and Maj. Mark Smith, pilots with the 40th Test Squadron, flew the fighter during the test fire, as part of the 53rd Wing’s Combat Archer—an air-to-air weapons system evaluation program.
space agreements

Pentagon Office Expands to Meet Demand for International Space Agreements

The demand for international space partnerships is so high it can be a challenge to just keep up with it, Space Force Col. Raj Agrawal said. Growing from a few people to more than 20 and still hiring, the Space Division of the Secretary of the Air Force's office of International Affairs is “wholly focused” on helping the Space Force to build partnerships “and, what’s more, for us to build spacepower capacity,” said Agrawal, the division's chief.

Lockheed Selects Alabama and Georgia as Production Sites If It Wins Next Tanker

Lockheed Martin will build its LMXT next-generation tanker from green Airbus A330 airliners in Alabama, then convert them to military tankers in Georgia, if it wins the KC-Y, or "bridge" tanker, competition set to to be selected at the end of 2024, the company said Jan. 31. Lockheed views longer range and greater fuel capacity as discriminators in a likely matchup with the KC-46 Pegasus in the competition.

Radar Sweep

Austin to Brief Lawmakers on Latest Ukraine Threats

Air Force Times

Top Defense and State Department officials will brief lawmakers Feb. 3 on the latest moves by Russian forces near Ukraine as tensions in the region continue to rise amid fears of a looming large-scale military conflict. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark A. Milley, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines are scheduled to update the lawmakers on the latest military intelligence and answer questions about a planned White House response.

North Korea Tests Longest-Range Missile Since 2017

The Associated Press

North Korea on Jan. 30 fired what appeared to be the most powerful missile it has tested since President Joe Biden took office, as it revives its old playbook in brinkmanship to wrest concessions from Washington and neighbors amid a prolonged stalemate in diplomacy.

New 5G Challenge to Incentivize Open Architecture Solutions


The Department of Defense is partnering with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on a new 5G initiative and issued a notice of inquiry asking for concepts to accelerate development of an “open 5G stack ecosystem.” DOD’s acting principal director for 5G, Amanda Toman, said the challenge is an effort to get a better sense of the open interfaces and network capabilities companies are developing.

Pentagon’s Cybersecurity Tests Aren’t Realistic, Tough Enough: Report

Breaking Defense

A lack of operationally realistic threat testing and inadequately resourced program offices are the root causes of many cybersecurity problems that put the Defense Department’s critical missions at risk, according to the latest report from the Pentagon’s testing and evaluation body. In the new report, the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation states DOD should refocus its cybersecurity efforts on its cyber defender personnel instead of focusing primarily on the technology associated with cyber tools, networks, and systems; and should train personnel to face off against more real threats earlier in the process.

CACI Ramping Up Production of Optical Terminals for Low Earth Orbit Satellites


CACI over the next several months will deliver 40 optical communications terminals for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Blackjack satellites. The terminals are being produced under a $16.3 million DARPA contract awarded in 2020 to SA Photonics, a California-based company that CACI acquired late last year for $275 million. Optical terminals are used to connect satellites in orbit so they can transfer data in space.

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Hundreds of US, Japanese Troops Team Up for Their Largest Airborne Drill of the Year

Stars and Stripes

Approximately 500 airborne troops from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force teamed up with 300 U.S. Airmen for Airborne 22, a jump and cargo drop, in western Tokyo. The 1st Airborne Brigade of the Self-Defense Force, along with the 36th Airlift Squadron, 374th Maintenance Group, and 374th Operations Support Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, and the 39th and 40th Airlift Squadrons from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, took part in Airborne 22.

TACP Airmen Conduct C2 Operations in Exercise Polar Quake

The Air Force First Air Support Operations Group’s Tactical Air Control Party Airmen performed command and control operations in the Arctic in support of Exercise Polar Quake. A seven-member team of TACP Airmen took part in the mission carried out at Utqiagvik, Alaska, and Point Barrow, Alaska, on the coast of the Arctic Ocean.

China Presents Space Plans and Priorities


China has released a new white paper outlining the centrality of space to the country’s “overall national strategy” as well as major plans for the years ahead. Over the next five years, China will seek to develop its space transportation capabilities, test new technologies, embark on exploration missions, modernize space governance, enhance innovation, and boost international cooperation. Crewed lunar landings, on-orbit servicing, and work on planetary defense are all noted as key areas for research and technical breakthroughs in the coming years.

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‘How Can I Go faster?’: Aviano Airman Earns Coveted Spot on Team USA’s Olympic Skeleton Team

Stars and Stripes

Airman 1st Class Kelly Curtis, a 33-year-old cyber enlisted Airman from Princeton, N.J., clinched one of three spots on the U.S. skeleton team for Beijing with a career-best finish Jan. 14 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It will be the first taste of Olympic competition for the former college track-and-field athlete who completed Air Force basic training in 2020.