The war in Ukraine has depleted American stocks of some types of ammunition, and the Pentagon has been slow to replenish its arsenal, sparking concerns among U.S. officials that American military readiness could be jeopardized by the shortage. The U.S. has during the past six months supplied Ukraine with 16 U.S. rocket launchers, known as HIMARS, thousands of guns, drones, and missiles, and other equipment. Much of that, including ammunition, has come directly from U.S. inventory, depleting stockpiles intended for unexpected threats, defense officials say.
Russia said Aug. 29 that it will launch sweeping military drills in the country’s east that will involve forces from China—a show of increasingly close defense ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with the West over the Kremlin’s action in Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry said the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise will be held Sept. 1-7 in various locations in Russia’s Far East and the Sea of Japan and involve more than 50,000 troops and 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.
The U.S. has assessed that Ukraine has a “good chance” to retake territory that Russia captured in its initial invasion after Kyiv launched a counteroffensive, according to two Defense Department officials. Ukrainian forces have taken out “most” of the bridges crossing the Dnipro River using U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems and other weapons, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive operation.
The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate over the next three years hopes to launch big-ticket military experiments, including a GPS-like navigation satellite, a solar power spacecraft, and a deep-space mission to monitor regions around the moon. With these and other space projects in the pipeline, AFRL is looking to shore up its technical workforce and to partner with private companies, said Col. Jeremy Raley, the new head of the directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
There’s a new Defense Department group charged with studying―and, hopefully, reducing―the prevalence of aircraft crashes, vehicle rollovers, ship collisions, and more. The Joint Safety Council held its first meeting following its creation by the most recent National Defense Authorization Act. The group isn’t quite sure yet how often it will meet, or what its work will entail, but the sky is pretty much the limit.
In Episode 91 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, “Quantum Technology and Defense: Understanding the Imperative,” John Baum and the Mitchell Institute’s Heather Penney are joined by Max Perez, an engineer at ColdQuanta, and Andrei Shkel, a professor of engineering at UCI, to demystify this important capability and understand how it applies to future defense applications. We hear it all the time in conversations regarding future defense technologies: Quantum is going to be critically important. But what does that actually mean, and where will we likely apply this technology? What’s the cost of coming in second in this competition?
While National Guard leaders have yet to receive a response to their June letter to President Joe Biden pressing for a reconsideration of the administration’s opposition to creating a Space Force branch, they are hopeful that this year’s defense policy bill will force the Pentagon’s hand. John Goheen, a spokesperson for the National Guard Association of the United States, told Breaking Defense that organization leaders expect the issue to come up in Senate debate over the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
“The U.S. faces the most daunting security landscape in 45 years. That’s no coincidence. Earlier this year, Russia launched the bloodiest armed conflict in Europe since World War II, and this summer China publicly displayed plans to strangle or swallow the free people of Taiwan. Leaders in both countries examined the landscape and determined they could prevail in their ultimate goals, believing that the U.S. lacks the will to win,” writes Roger Zakheim, the Washington director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
As its next move in the fast-developing challenge of Chinese drone incursions, the Taiwanese military has reportedly confirmed that it will, in the future, shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles that don’t respond to its warnings. The move comes after authorities on the self-governing island said they would deploy undisclosed domestically developed drone defense systems across its territory, which followed a highly public encounter between a Chinese drone and two Taiwanese soldiers.
Nursing moms serving in the Air Force will have more places to pump after three bases announced new lactation rooms, just the latest salvo in the service's efforts to accommodate women who have children while in uniform. The expanded access for nursing Airmen comes as maternity uniforms for both Airmen and Soldiers, long hard to come by due to supply chain issues, are due to return to base exchange shelves in the coming weeks.
“Don’t give me McDonnell’s Voodoo./There’s nothing that she will not do./She’ll really pitch up, she’ll make you throw up,/Don’t give me McDonnell’s Voodoo.” Thus goeth one of the many verses of the humorous U.S. Air Force fighters pilots’ ditty “Give Me Operations,” a song popularized by folk singers such as Oscar Brand, a.k.a. the “Dean of American Folk Music,” and retired Lt. Col. Dick Jonas, the “fighter pilot’s minstrel.”