Biden Vows to Protect US Against Chinese Threats to Sovereignty
President Joe Biden said the U.S. would cooperate with China where it can but protect its sovereignty “as we made clear last week,” an indirect reference to the uproar over the alleged Chinese spy balloon that transited U.S. territory before it was shot down. With tensions between Washington and Beijing running high over the issue, Biden took a toned-down approach in his State of the Union speech, saying in his prepared text that the U.S. was in the “strongest position in decades to compete with China or anyone else in the world.”
Space Force Vows ‘Above and Beyond’ Cleanup of Maui Spill
The U.S. Space Force said a power surge during a lightning storm likely caused a mechanical issue that allowed about 700 gallons (2,750 liters) of diesel fuel to spill last week at the environmentally sensitive and culturally important summit of Haleakala mountain on Hawaii’s Maui Island. Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, the commander of the U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, said a team will take measurements to better understand the severity of the contamination. Mastalir said it’s impossible to know right now how far the diesel fuel seeped into the ground.
General Atomics’ Gambit Moves to Flight Testing under AFRL’s Autonomous Drone Project
The Air Force is nearing a test of General Atomics’ new Gambit drone, according to the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) official responsible for the effort. AFRL is “projecting first flight in first half of FY24 [fiscal 2024],” Trenton White, Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) program manager, told Breaking Defense in an email Feb. 6.
Our First Look at Chinese Spy Balloon Debris Being Recovered
The U.S. Navy has released the first pictures showing major components of a Chinese government surveillance balloon being recovered from the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of South Carolina. The photographs in question, which were posted on the U.S. military's Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) website earlier today, show Navy personnel in small rigid hull inflatable boats manually pulling portions of the balloon's envelope and its payload out of the water.
Husband of Top Enlisted Airman Fired Warning Shot at Base Intruder
The husband of the Air Force’s top enlisted leader fired a warning shot at an intruder who was outside their home at Joint Base Andrews in suburban Washington on Feb. 6, the service confirmed to Air Force Times. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass, the most senior enlisted Airman and adviser to the Air Force chief of staff, said she and her husband, Rahn Bass, are safe.
Iran Reveals an Underground Air Force Base, IRNA Says
Iran on Feb. 7 revealed an underground air force base, called “Eagle 44” and the first of its kind large enough to house fighter jets, the official IRNA news agency said. The “Eagle 44” base is capable of storing and operating fighter jets and drones, IRNA said. The report did not elaborate on the location of the base. IRNA said it was one of the country’s most important air force bases, built deep underground, housing fighters equipped with long-range cruise missiles.
VIDEO: Air Force CIO Discusses Where DOD Can Improve Warfighter Capabilities
Technological advancements, digital modernization efforts, and increases in funding across the U.S. defense landscape have unlocked new opportunities for delivering better capabilities to our nation’s warfighters. In a new exclusive video interview, Lauren Knausenberger, chief information officer for the Department of the Air Force and 2023 Wash100 Award winner speaks about better understanding where the Air Force’s friction points are and how the service is moving through them to improve the user experience for its operators.
DOD Electronic Health Record Platform Rolled Out to 11 East Coast Clinics
The Department of Defense’s electronic health records system MHS Genesis has been implemented at 11 additional military health clinics. The system, which uses Oracle Cerner Corp.’s Millennium platform, has been deployed to military treatment facilities in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Virginia, according to defense contractor Leidos. Leidos announced Feb. 6 that it had delivered the system to 12,000 clinicians as part of the latest deployment.
ANALYSIS: Balloons vs. Satellites: Popping Some Misconceptions about Capability and Legality
The saga of the Chinese spy balloon, and its subsequent Feb. 4 shoot down off the coast of South Carolina by an American F-22 fighter, has resulted in a lot of hot air floating on the public airwaves, including a maelstrom of misleading statements and speculation. For example, some in the U.S. have questioned why China would use a balloon to spy, when the People’s Liberation Army operates an array of sophisticated intelligence gathering satellites—a question fed by China’s assertion the balloon was designed simply to gather weather data over the ocean and drifted off course by accident.
From the Battlefield to the Football Field: Air Force Surgeon’s Skills Knows No Bounds
On Jan. 2, when many football fans were watching the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, Lt. Col. Valerie Sams, an Air Force surgeon, was on call at UC Health’s University of Cincinnati Medical Center not knowing what she was about to face. That night, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s heart stopped during the game and he was immediately rushed to the hospital and directly into Sams’ care. Relying on her experience and extensive training, Sams worked with her UC Medical Center colleagues to care for Hamlin during his time in the hospital’s Surgical Intensive Care Unit.