potential war with china

How to Talk About a Potential War with China

Air Mobility Command boss Gen. Mike Minihan generated international headlines when a memo to his Airmen in which he suggested the U.S. “will fight in 2025” with China leaked to the media. In the days that followed, national security experts and even Airmen themselves have split on the message, with some praising Minihan for his plain talk and others worrying that he needlessly turned up tensions with his rhetoric.
Defense innovation board

Hinote Urges Defense Innovation Board to Find Incentives for Faster Technology Development

As the Defense Department engages commercial entities to speed innovation, cultural and structural differences between government and the private sector continue to be the biggest hurdle to rapidly deploying new technology, the head of Air Force Futures told the influential Defense Innovation Board at a recent meeting. “It's not an access to innovation problem that we're dealing with, it's an innovation adoption problem,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. S. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements.
hypersonic missile cost

CBO Estimates $15-18 Million Cost Per ARRW Hypersonic Missile

The Air Force's ARRW hypersonic missile would cost about $15 million per shot across a production run of 300 missiles, but that’s a third of the cost of the Army's ground-launched hypersonic missile, the Congressional Budget Office said. The CBO relied on open sources to make its cost estimates, which it said were aimed at informing Congress of the advantages and pitfalls of hypersonic weapons.
sasc wicker

SASC Announces New Members, Air Force Vet Is Ranking Member

The Senate Armed Services Committee released its roster of members for the new session of Congress on Feb. 1, with a new ranking member and three freshmen Senators. All of the newcomers are on the Republican side, as Democrats return the same 13 Senators from the last Congress, led by chairman Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.). Reed has been the committee’s chair since 2021 and the top Democrat on the panel since 2015. His Republican counterpart will be Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who takes on the ranking member role from retired Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Wicker is a former Airman—he served Active-Duty from 1976 to 1980 and in the Reserve until 2003 as a judge advocate. 

Radar Sweep

Air Force Wants Its Next-Gen Tanker Flying by 2040

Breaking Defense

The Air Force is soliciting industry feedback on “innovative” technologies and capabilities for its planned tanker of the future, with an eye toward getting it into service by 2040. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center on Jan. 31 issued a request for information on the Next Generation Air-refueling System (NGAS) project, commonly known as KC-Z, explaining that the new tanker is the “third of three increments to the Air Force tanker recapitalization plan, following increment 1 (represented by the KC-46 program) and increment 2 (known as KC-Y or ‘bridge tanker’).”

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Biden’s ‘No’ on F-16s for Ukraine Met with Skepticism in Pentagon

The Washington Post

President Biden’s brusque refusal to fulfill Ukraine’s request for F-16 jets has been greeted with skepticism at the Pentagon, where some officials, citing the administration’s pattern of reversal after first rejecting other pleas from Kyiv, foresee eventual approval or a scenario where American allies provide the aircraft with administration approval. The conjecture among U.S. defense officials follows the commander in chief’s one-word response on Jan. 30 when a reporter asked outside the White House if he would send F-16s to Ukraine. “No,” Biden replied.

British Air Chief Eyes Return to Five-Strong Wedgetail Buy

Defense News

Britain’s top airman says he wants the Royal Air Force to restore the number of airborne early warning aircraft it originally planned to acquire before the number of platforms was reduced to save money in a government defense review. Officials reduced an order with Boeing for five E-7 Wedgetail aircraft to just three in the course of a wholesale review of British defense and foreign policy in March 2021.

OPINION: We Don't Have the Missiles to Stop China. Time For Drone Swarms

Defense One

“The war in Ukraine made plain several well-known challenges with precision weapons: they are expensive, rely on complicated supply chains, and take time to build. With Russia’s invasion stretching into its second year and military leaders warning of a looming war with China, analysts, Congress, and defense officials are all arguing for dramatically increased spending on the sophisticated long-range missiles needed for war in the Indo-Pacific. This is a failure of both analysis and imagination by the world’s largest and most expensive defense establishment.” writes Bryan Clark, director of the Hudson Institute Center for Defense Concepts and Technology.

Ukraine Can’t Retake Crimea Soon, Pentagon Tells Lawmakers in Classified Briefing


Ukrainian forces are unlikely to be able to recapture Crimea from Russian troops in the near future, four senior Defense Department officials told House Armed Services Committee lawmakers in a classified briefing. The assessment is sure to frustrate leaders in Kyiv who consider taking the peninsula back one of their signature goals. It’s unclear what led the briefers to that assessment. But the clear indication, as relayed by three people with direct knowledge of Jan. 26 briefing’s contents, was that the Pentagon doesn’t believe Ukraine has—or soon will have—the ability to force Russian troops out of the peninsula Moscow seized nearly a decade ago.

Taiwan Activates Defenses in Response to China Incursions

The Associated Press

Taiwan scrambled fighter jets, put its navy on alert, and activated missile systems in response to nearby operations by 34 Chinese military aircraft and nine warships that are part Beijing’s strategy to unsettle and intimidate the self-governing island democracy. The large-scale Chinese deployment came as Beijing increases preparations for a potential blockade or military action against Taiwan that have stirred increasing concern among military leaders, diplomats, and elected officials in the U.S., Taiwan’s key ally.

Lawmakers to Pentagon: Curtail Defense Spending ‘Wish Lists’

CQ Roll Call

Influential lawmakers from both parties urged the Defense secretary in a letter Jan. 31 to curtail the department’s submission to Congress of “unfunded priorities lists”—annual requests for billions of dollars in military spending above White House budget proposals. “The Department of Defense must show taxpayers that it is a responsible steward of its funds,” wrote four senators and two representatives in a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III that was obtained by CQ Roll Call. “That must begin with eliminating the practice of sending Congress bloated wish lists for additional funds on top of its core budget submissions.”

Space Development Agency Issues Draft Solicitation for 72 Satellites


The Space Development Agency is planning a new procurement of 72 satellites to continue to build out a military constellation in low Earth orbit. In a Jan. 31 draft solicitation, the agency seeks input from vendors interested in bidding for 72 satellites and supporting ground systems that will make up a portion of a planned 216-satellite Tranche 2 Transport Layer. Responses are due March 1.

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Air Force Officials Assess Diesel Fuel Spill at Maui Space Observatory

Stars and Stripes

About 700 gallons of diesel fuel spilled Jan. 29 at a mountaintop observatory on Maui operated by U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, the Air Force said Jan. 31. The spill occurred at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex, which tracks satellites and space debris using several telescopes atop Haleakala, a dormant volcano.

White House Directs Pentagon to Initiate Military Compensation Review

Federal News Network

The White House officially got the ball rolling on the 14th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC) Jan. 31, with a mandate look at whether service members are paid enough in current economic conditions. The memorandum directs the Secretary of Defense to complete the review within two years. The memo said the review should “determine how a shift toward dual-income households and the unique factors affecting military household incomes might require structural changes.”

Air Force Taps Alphabet-Spinoff SandboxAQ to Demo Quantum Navigation Tech


SandboxAQ—an emerging technology startup formed in 2022 with deep roots at Alphabet Inc.—is set to deploy prototype quantum sensors for GPS-denied navigation and other applications onboard Air Force test aircraft, as part of a broad new research effort to explore what those capabilities could mean for future military systems. The “AQ” in the company’s name alludes to its founders’ aims to accelerate the adoption of technologies that combine artificial intelligence and quantum science.

One More Thing

Former Astronauts, Retired Airman and Marine, Earn Space Medal of Honor

Air Force Times

Two former NASA astronauts and military test pilots were awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor Jan. 31 during an event at the White House. Robert Behnken, a retired Air Force colonel, and Douglas Hurley, a retired Marine colonel, were presented the awards by Vice President Kamala Harris. “Bob and Doug, together, have written the first page of a new chapter in the history of American space flight,” Harris, who chairs the National Space Council, said during the ceremony.