high-altitude object

USAF Fighters Shoot Down Three Objects in Three Days—But Details Are Scarce

U.S. Air Force fighters shot down three separate airborne objects over North America in three days this weekend—one over Alaska, one in Canada, and one above Michigan—but unlike the Chinese balloon that transited the continental U.S. before being shot down by an F-22 off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4, the origins of these three new objects, their purpose, and what exactly they are remain unclear.
basing strategy

Air Assets, Allies Remain Key for Pentagon’s Basing Strategy

Air assets and strategic partnerships remain pivotal components to the Pentagon’s basing strategy, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, Mara Karlin, assistant secretary of Defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities, said during a Brookings Institution online forum Feb. 10.In the Indo-Pacific, Karlin emphasized recent “posture investments” throughout the region by DOD in close coordination with allies.
CSAF reading list

Here’s What the CSAF Is Reading, Watching, and Listening To This Month

From Abraham Lincoln to the Tuskegee Airmen to lessons from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. covered a broad range of topics with his additions to his “Leadership Library” in February. All told, Brown added two books, two podcasts, and a documentary to the ever-growing collection of media that he is recommending to Airmen, in the hopes that they will “spark conversations for you with fellow Airmen, with your family, and with your friends.” 

Radar Sweep

US Test Launches Unarmed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

The Associated Press

An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile has been launched from California to test the defense system, the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command said. The Minuteman III missile lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 11:01 p.m. Feb. 9 and its reentry vehicle traveled about 4,200 miles (6,800 kilometers) over the Pacific Ocean to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, an Air Force statement said.

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How a Balloon Opened a New Flashpoint in US-China Ties

The Wall Street Journal

Americans weren’t the only ones surprised by the appearance of a Chinese balloon over Montana on Feb. 1. The same day, a quiet démarche by Washington to Beijing over what U.S. officials believed was a spying mission sparked questions in China’s corridors of power. No one knew at that point how the balloon would quickly turn what was supposed to be a period of improving U.S.-China relations into one now dominated by an extraordinary new and continuing point of friction.

Military Personnel Used Banned Apps on DOD-Issued Mobile Devices, IG Finds


Fantasy football apps. Dating apps. Secretive, encrypted messaging apps. An app for dealing luxury yachts. Even a pair of apps developed by a Chinese commercial drone manufacturer. These are but a few of the types of unauthorized mobile apps that the Pentagon inspector general recently found on Defense Department personnel’s DOD-issued mobile devices meant to be used for official business only, the IG revealed in a new report.

Air Force’s Aging E-3 Sentry Stirs Questions of Airborne-Battle Readiness


As the recent Chinese spy balloon encounter showed, keeping the skies safe is a tough job. For decades the U.S. Air Force has relied on the E-3 Sentry, and the most recent version, the E-3G, has been upgraded with more modern electronics and software to keep up with new threats. “The best way to describe it is kind of like the quarterback in the sky,” said Air Force Col. Keven Coyle, commander of the 552nd Air Control Wing. “It’s the job of the E-3 to surveil, to layout the enemies arrayed, and then allow our friendly forces to be able to be set up in a way that allows them to fight with the greatest capacity.”

Wallace Urges Italy, Japan to Stick with Just-Launched Fighter Project

Defense News

As Britain, Italy and Japan embark on an ambitious plan to build a new fighter by 2035, the U.K.’s defense minister has warned of disastrous consequences should any of the partners get “cold feet” and pull out after work starts. British minister Ben Wallace made the claim ahead of a meeting next month in Japan where he will join his Italian and Japanese counterparts to discuss the way forward for the 6th-generation Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP).

Expect Pentagon's Cyber-Worker Strategy ‘Any Day Now’

Defense One

The imminent release of a cyber workforce strategy and implementation plan will buttress new Pentagon initiatives to recruit and retain skilled cyber workers, a Defense official said Feb. 9. Mark Gorak, the principal director for resources and analysis in the DOD chief information officer’s office, said the Pentagon expects the cyber workforce strategy—which DOD has been working on for almost a year—to be finalized “literally any day now.”

VIDEO: What Is the ‘High-Altitude Object’ Shot Down over Alaska?


The classification of the “object” shot down by US fighter jets “is pretty quizzical,” says retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula. “First, there’s been no indication of its origin. Second, it was described in the short news conference at the Pentagon had as ‘not resembling an aircraft.’”

Lawmaker ‘Definitely’ Considering Value of Independent Cyber Force, But Wants More Study

Breaking Defense

A key lawmaker says his subcommittee will consider the idea of having a Space Force-like independent cyber military service, but he said he wants to study the idea more to make sure it wouldn’t complicate the challenging mission further. The idea was floated by Mark Montgomery, senior director of the Center on Cyber Technology and Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who told the House Armed Services Committee’s (HASC) cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee that it needs to examine “if the current design of the Cyber Mission Force is what we need for the 21st century, or should we be considering an independent cyber force as we’ve recently done with the Space Force.”

PODCAST: Aerospace Chief Conversation: RCAF Commander Lt. Gen. Kenny

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 115 of the Aerospace Advantage, John “Slick” Baum and retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula chat with the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The RCAF is one of the U.S. Air Force’s and Space Force’s closest partners. We’ve repeatedly gone to war together—going all the way back to the dawn of air combat in World War I. And given that we share the same continent, Canada and the U.S. are fundamentally aligned when it comes to the northern tier defense mission, something that is more relevant than ever given adversary activity we are seeing in the Arctic. Learn more about the RCAF as they undergo a major transformation with their capabilities in air and space. This conversation includes specific focus on Canada’s acquisition of the F-35, remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS), a new training aircraft, a new aerial tanker, and spacepower initiatives.

Space Launch Firms Seek to Balance Government, Commercial Client Needs

Defense News

Space launch company executives said this week that as they serve an increasingly diverse mix of government and commercial customers, striking a balance between the demands of the two sectors can be a challenge. United Launch Alliance, the long-time sole-source launch provider for U.S. Department of Defense missions, is experiencing this challenge in real-time as it expands into the commercial market, according to Clint Hunt, the company’s director of intelligence and defense programs.

One More Thing

The Real Story Behind How an A-10 Warthog Ended Up with a Cow Kill Marking

Task & Purpose

Out of all of the A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft in the U.S. Air Force’s fleet, an A-10 Warthog with the serial number 81-994 may be among the most unique for one simple reason: it’s the only aircraft we know of to sport kill markings for taking out a cow downrange. Assigned to the Red Devils of the 107th Fighter Squadron, 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the A-10 in question has been spotted in official Air Force photos sporting a yellow kill marking for a cow alongside those for ordnance released.