air policing

U.S. Jets Deployed to Poland, Romania Are ‘Prepared to Scramble’ in Support of NATO Air Policing

Sixteen U.S. Air Force fighter jets have deployed to Poland and Romania to support Baltic enhanced air policing and to reassure NATO eastern flank allies in the face of heightened Russian activity, U.S. Air Forces in Europe told Air Force Magazine. Eight F-16s from the 52nd Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, deployed to Fetesti Air Base, Romania, on Feb. 11; and eight F-15s from the 48th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, U.K., landed in Lask, Poland, on Feb. 10 as part of the enhanced air policing mission and to conduct bilateral training with NATO Allies.
f-35 joint program office

Finland Formalizes Deal for 64 Block 4 F-35s

Finland finalized its $9.4 billion purchase of 64 Lockheed Martin F-35s and support services, signing a letter of offer and acceptance, announced Feb. 11, that calls for the jets to be delivered before the end of 2030. The agreement provides Finland with industrial participation on the program. Finland told fighter competitors in 2018 that the acquisition had to include industrial offsets valued at 30 percent or more of the eventual contract.
invade Ukraine

White House Warns Putin May Invade Ukraine Before Olympics End; Pentagon Coordinates With Allies

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said based on U.S. intelligence and observations of the buildup of 130,000 Russian troops on three sides of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin may start an invasion before the Winter Olympics in Beijing end Feb. 20. At the Pentagon, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley spoke by phone with numerous counterparts, in part to discuss NATO’s current operations and coordinating during adjustments to force posture. The calls are consistent with communication Milley has made in recent weeks.

Space Force’s Innovation Chief Thinks Investment in the Metaverse Could Pay Off for the Military

The Space Force’s recently appointed Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Lisa A. Costa is on the lookout for emerging technologies in which investment will allow the service to overtake foreign adversaries. Costa said her work identifying key technologies was ongoing but highlighted several areas of interest, starting with gamification and the Metaverse—the combination of social media and virtual reality touted by Facebook.
bomb disposal

Air Force to Field MRAPs Fitted With Laser, Robotic Arm to Blow Up Unexploded Bombs

Armored vehicles equipped with lasers to blow up unexploded ordnance will start showing up at Air Force bases in the fall, the Life Cycle Management Center announced. The Recovery of Airbase Denied By Ordnance vehicle, or RADBO, is meant to accelerate the dangerous and time-consuming process of clearing attacked fields of unexploded bombs so the runways can be swiftly repaired and put back in action.

Radar Sweep

The Near Future of Military Autonomy Isn’t Robotanks, But ‘Microservices’

Defense One

Robot tanks and drones swarming the battlefield represent only a small fraction of the ways the military might put autonomy to use in the years ahead. Most troops will likely experience autonomy first as a helping hand in various tasks, from making it easier to drive to collecting intelligence to managing base logistics, autonomy experts from the defense industry and the Pentagon said.

Biden Splitting Frozen Funds for Afghan Relief, 9/11 Victims

The Associated Press

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Feb. 11 to create a pathway to split $7 billion in Afghan assets frozen in the U.S. to fund humanitarian relief in Afghanistan and to create a trust fund to compensate Sept. 11 victims. The order calls for U.S. financial institutions to facilitate access to $3.5 billion for Afghan relief and basic needs. The other $3.5 billion would remain in the United States and be used to fund payments from ongoing litigation by U.S. victims of terrorism.

PODCAST: Affordable Mass: Precision Guided Munition Requirements for Great Power Conflict

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 63 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John Baum, Maj. Gen. Jason Armagost of Air Force Global Strike Command, and Mark Gunzinger of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies discuss the types of precision-guided munitions (PGMs) we’ll need for future conflicts. While much of our munitions inventory remains highly effective, it’s also important to recognize that we need to diversify with new systems that are affordable, can survive amidst potent enemy defenses, and are optimized to harness the advantages afforded by fifth-generation aircraft carrying them into harm’s way.

In White House’s New Indo-Pacific Strategy, Much Seems Familiar

Breaking Defense

The Biden administration’s new Indo-Pacific strategy calls for deepening regional security partnerships, closer collaboration with allies on emerging technologies, and expanding American 5G and cyber capabilities across the region, all in order to counter China. If that all sounds familiar, that’s because it is. “Our collective efforts over the next decade will determine whether the PRC [People’s Republic of China] succeeds in transforming the rules and norms that have benefitted the Indo-Pacific and the world,” the strategy states.

DOD and SATCOM Industry to Work Out Details of How to Build ‘Zero Trust’ Networks


The Pentagon, like all federal agencies, has to comply with a new cybersecurity policy—issued last month by the Biden administration—that calls for government networks to use a “zero trust” architecture. The Defense Department’s chief information officer John Sherman said Feb. 10 that transitioning satellite-based networks to this more secure architecture is going to require significant coordination with commercial operators that provide services to DOD.

Air Force Restricts Use of Autopilot on Upgraded KC-135 Tankers Again

The Drive

A software issue has led the Air Force to prohibit the crews of KC-135 tankers with the Block 45 upgrade package from using the jet’s autopilot at altitudes under 10,000 feet and while refueling other aircraft. The service has also confirmed that this same “logic error” was responsible for a number of potentially dangerous incidents that led to the imposition of similar flight restrictions last year.

NOAA Plans ‘Initial’ Civil Alternative to DOD Space Tracking System by 2024

Breaking Defense

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) plans to be ready to take over the military’s role of keeping tabs on space traffic and providing warnings of potential crashes by 2025, a senior official responsible for the effort said. “We anticipate with the proposal that we have in place, and working with our sponsors inside the federal government and on the budget side, to have initial operating capacity of an operational civilian space situational awareness capability by 2024,” reaching full operational capability by 2025, said Steve Volz, NOAA’s assistant administrator for satellite and information services.

Air Force Hackathon Puts Real Data on Open Source Code


The Air Force for the first time used open source code and Airmen-designed applications on real weapons system data during a hackathon in January, its head of digital transformation told FedScoop. The Department of Defense has sponsored hackathons before, typically focused on security bugs. But “Bravo 0” was the first secret-classification hackathon with 80 hackers working on a so-called “air gapped” system at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

OPINION: The Biggest Threat to US National Security Today Is the US Congress


“A senior defense official recently remarked: ‘The biggest threat to U.S. national security today is the U.S. Congress. While that individual is unnamed for obvious reasons, the sentiment is right on target. The failure to pass a defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022 means that the Department of Defense will be restricted in how it operates for the year, and it will also stifle new initiatives to deal with the array of growing threats to the United States,” writes retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.

One More Thing

Air Force’s Daniel ‘Chappie’ James Jr. Was 1st Black 4-Star General

DOD release

Numerous Black American service members who broke barriers could be highlighted during Black History Month. This Feb. 11, however, would have been the 101st birthday of Air Force Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., the first Black man to become a four-star general in any U.S. military branch.