F-22 Night Ops

USAF Seeks ‘Transformational’ Change in 2023 Budget as It Looks to Keep Pace With China

The Department of the Air Force is requesting $234.1 billion in its 2023 budget request, of which $40.1 billion is "pass-through funds," or money the services will never see, while $169.5 billion is for USAF and $24.5 billion is for the Space Force. The budget request looks to cut 240 aircraft, including 33 fifth-generation F-22 stealth fighters and the majority of the AWACS fleet, to pay for additional research and development, long-delayed nuclear modernization programs, and the growing Space Force. It also significantly reduces the F-35 buy. The 2023 budget request represents a $12 billion increase over the $182 billion enacted by Congress in 2022—one of the largest increases in years. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the 2023 request attempts a “transformational” change in the services, motivated by China’s rapid modernization and taking into account Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Air Force budget

Air Force Would Reduce Fleet by 250 Old Aircraft, Bring on 82-plus New Ones

The Air Force is asking Congress to retire 150 airplanes in its fiscal 2023 budget, including 33 of its advanced F-22 fighters, but it would also hand off 100 MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft to another government agency and buy more than 82 other new airplanes, including an accelerated buy of F-15EX Eagle IIs. Its planned buy of the F-35 fighter would be pared back by 15 aircraft as the service waits for a more advanced model.
Gina Ortiz Jones budget

Missile Warning, Resiliency, and More Transfers Boost the Space Force’s 2023 Budget Prospects by a Lot

The Space Force could be in for a big budget boost in fiscal 2023 if the Biden administration’s request for a 36 percent bump has anything to do with it. The Space Force's $24.5 billion budget request for 2023 is a $6.5 billion increase over the $18 billion enacted by Congress for fiscal 2022. Accounting, in part, for the increase, the Space Development Agency’s budget becomes part of the Space Force’s for the first time in 2023. A greater emphasis on missile tracking and more interservice troop transfers also factor in.
Hicks 2023 budget

Pentagon Requests $773 Billion for 2023, Sends New Defense Strategy to the Hill

The Pentagon is asking Congress for $773 billion in fiscal 2023, releasing a budget request March 28 highlighted by inflation, a classified new National Defense Strategy, and a continued focus on China as the pacing challenge while categorizing Russia as an “acute” threat. All told, when accounting for inflation, the top line represents a growth of 1.5 percent over the fiscal 2022 appropriations approved just a few weeks ago, Defense Department comptroller Michael J. McCord said.

Air Force to Retire Half Its AWACS Fleet, Most JSTARS, Leaving ‘Small Gap’ in ISR

The Air Force plans to retire half its AWACS fleet of E-3 Sentries and most E-8C JSTARS in fiscal 2023 and 2024, but it anticipates a delay between the retirements and new space-based ISR capabilities that could replace them, Air Force leaders said as the 2023 budget request rolled out. JSTARS aircraft “are not survivable—they’d be gone in a minute,” said Maj. Gen. James D. Peccia III, deputy assistant secretary for budget, explaining why the Air Force plans to retire 12 of 16 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, or JSTARS, aircraft by the end of fiscal '24. Similarly, the Air Force plans to retire 15 E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System, or AWACS, aircraft, also because of reliability and survivability concerns.

Broken ARRW: Hypersonics Program Faces Uncertain Future after 2023

The Air Force's Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon may be running out of chances to prove its worth. The service's 2023 budget request does not include any procurement funds for the troubled hypersonics program, and though officials said they remain committed to the program in 2023, its future is less certain. “[We’re] not walking away. It's funded in FY 23,” Maj. Gen. James D. Peccia III, deputy assistant secretary for budget, told reporters. “And then we'll make an assessment after that.”

Radar Sweep

Subscription Required

US Air Force B-52 Bombers in Europe Are Staying Active, but Less ‘In Your Face'

Business Insider

U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers that were deployed to England two weeks before Russia's invasion of Ukraine have stayed active over Europe but with a less "in-your-face" approach—one the Biden administration appears to have adopted in recent months. U.S. bombers regularly fly over Europe and the Pacific, but in recent years they have more often flown over sensitive regions, such the Barents Sea north of Russia, the Sea of Okhotsk off of Russia's Far East, and the Black Sea near Crimea. Russian officials have noted that activity and have responded with aerial intercepts that U.S. officials deemed unsafe.

Subscription Required

Biden Visits US Troops in Poland, Says Democracy, Not Just Ukraine, at Stake

Stars & Stripes

President Joe Biden told U.S. troops in Poland on March 25 that the future of democracy in the world hangs in the balance as Russia continues its month-old war on Ukraine. Speaking with members of the 82nd Airborne Division deployed to Rzeszow, Poland, Biden said the international community is at “an inflection point” as autocratic nations such as Russia and China threaten the post-World War II world order.

Career Intermission Program Application Window Opens April 1, Reduces Service Obligation

Air Force release

The first calendar year 2022 Career Intermission Program application window opens April 1 for eligible Airmen and Guardians interested in a one- to three-year temporary break from Active duty to meet personal or professional needs outside the service. The time commitment members must serve upon return to Active duty is now a “one month for one month” ratio, instead of the previously required “two months for every one month” of program participation due to a recent change in the fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

PODCAST: Brink of Nuclear War—Able Archers and Lessons for Today

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In Episode 69 of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Aerospace Advantage podcast, host John "Slick" Baum is joined by former career Air Force intelligence officer and aerospace industry executive Brian Morra to discuss his new book, “The Able Archers,” and how the lessons he learned from his firsthand experience during the Able Archer exercise applies to Russia today. In 1983, following NATO’s Able Archer military exercise and the Soviet shootdown of Korean Airlines Flight 007, the U.S. and Soviet Union were on the brink of nuclear war. The events were highly classified at the time, so little was known of the exact details.

Veterans Affairs Budget Would Get Another Big Boost Under White House’s 2023 Spending Plan

Air Force Times

Veterans Affairs programs would see a 20 percent increase in funding under the White House budget plan for fiscal 2023 released March 28, pushing the department’s spending total above $300 billion for the first time. The department has seen steady increases annually as multiple administrations have sought to increase medical care and support services for veterans.

Boeing Defense CEO Retires After Six Turbulent Years

Defense One

The head of Boeing’s $26 billion defense and space business is retiring after nearly 35 years with the company, the firm announced March 28. Ted Colbert will replace Leanne Caret as the head of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, the third-largest U.S. defense firm. Caret will remain an adviser to CEO Dave Calhoun until an unspecified retirement date later this year. Colbert is the head of Boeing Global Services, a division that handles maintenance and repairs of airliners and military systems.

All You Need to Know About the Starstreak Missiles Now in the Hands of Ukrainian Troops

The Drive

Ukraine is poised to introduce a new ground-based air defense system to its war against Russia’s invasion forces, with the announcement that the British-supplied Starstreak man-portable air defense system, or MANPADS, is “ready to be used imminently.” Once fielded in combat, the Starstreak will be the latest addition to a growing armory of similar systems used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Starstreak—also known as the High-Velocity Missile (HVM)—incorporates several unique features for a weapon of its class and merits further examination.

Air Force Offers Medical, Legal Help as States Clamp Down on Trans and LGBTQ+ Children

Federal News Network

In light of recent state laws criminalizing parents and doctors who help transgender children take steps to affirm their gender, and other legislation banning official talk about sexual orientation in schools, the Department of the Air Force is offering support to those living in affected communities. The resources are a rare step where the Air and Space Forces recognize a hostile environment created by governments in states where the services often send their troops.

One More Thing

‘Call That a Good Day’—An American Is Live-Tweeting His Part in the War in Ukraine

Task & Purpose

In an age when almost everyone has a smartphone camera, and in a combat zone where an internet connection is still readily available, it is inevitable: Live updates from the front lines of the Russian invasion of Ukraine delivered in real time. “Alright. So far, we took out seven Russian tanks, after a long firefight we took control of the area,” says a self-described U.S. Army veteran who traveled to Ukraine and volunteered to fight there.