KC-135 tail pins

KC-135s, RC-135s Stand Down Pending Safety Inspections

The Air Force has ordered safety inspections for its entire fleets of KC-135 tankers, RC-135 reconnaissance planes, and WC-135 “nuke sniffers” over poorly-made tail pins, preventing aircraft from flying until they are cleared. The Time Compliance Technical Order (TCTO), issued Feb. 14, affects hundreds of aircraft. But the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center said the inspections should take just 30 minutes and even before the order was issued, at least 90 KC-135s had already cleared the inspections.
China defense spending

Despite Inflation’s Bite, China Set Record for Defense Spending in 2022

Inflation bit deeply into world military budgets in 2022, with only China, Europe, and a few other countries achieving real growth in defense spending, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. China's spending level was a new record, but the IISS noted that its self-reported outlays are well short of what it’s probably spending on its armed forces.
space resilience

Keys to Space Resilience: It’s More Than Orbits, Says DOD’s Plumb

The Space Force made resiliency its No. 1 priority in 2022, with proliferated constellations of satellites a focus of this program to ensure systems remain operable even if some elements are lost. This year, resiliency is “baked into all the conversations,” said assistant secretary of Defense for space policy John F. Plumb, but the service now takes a more expansive view of the term.  
aircraft ukraine

Senators Sound Out Policy Experts on Aircraft for Ukraine, Defending Taiwan

Supplying advanced aircraft to Ukraine emerged as a key issue of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s first hearing of the new Congress. Over the course of nearly three hours Feb. 15, national security experts and lawmakers also discussed the upcoming 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, the looming specter of China’s Indo-Pacific ambitions, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Radar Sweep

NATO Vows More Ammo and ‘Additional Capabilities’ to Boost Ukraine Spring Offensive

Breaking Defense

NATO will review ammunition stockpile targets in a bid to increase capacities across international production facilities, as the alliance looks to urgently step up arms supplies to Ukraine so the Eastern European country can mount a spring offensive against Russia. The move was announced Feb. 15 by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a two-day defense ministers summit in Brussels, which also saw the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark agree on the first International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) equipment package.

Pentagon Technology Chief Seeks Low-Cost Deterrence Concepts

Defense News

The Pentagon’s chief technology officer is looking for low-cost options for deterring, and, if necessary, intervening in, overseas regional conflicts that involve U.S. allies. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu is commissioning a study from the Defense Science Board that considers how the U.S. military can apply technology, training and operational approaches in ways that deter “emerging regional powers” from invading neighboring countries.

2 Dead after Black Hawk Helicopter Crashes onto Alabama Highway: US Official

ABC News

Two fatalities were reported after a Black Hawk helicopter crashed onto an Alabama highway Feb. 15, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News. The crash occurred on Highway 53 near the intersection of Burrell Road in Madison County, near the Alabama-Tennessee border, according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. The helicopter belonged to the Tennessee National Guard, according to a U.S. official.

Lawmakers Seize on Spy Balloon to Inflate Defense Spending


Defense hawks in Congress cite many reasons to keep money flowing to the Pentagon: enemy fleets, hypersonic missiles, nuclear threats. Now they have a new one, and it was shot down over the Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 4. Lawmakers and lobbyists are pouncing on a Chinese spy balloon’s seven-day incursion over North America this month to push back against possible defense budget cuts—and make the case for even more funding—as Congress grapples with the growing threat from Beijing and doubts about the military’s ability to detect similar objects.

Mississippi Lawmakers Want to Keep Aging T-1A Training Jet in Service


Mississippi lawmakers are pleading with Air Force officials to keep the aging T-1A Jayhawk, a training jet that has been around for more than 30 years, in service as the Pentagon hopes to replace the aircraft with flight simulation instead. A letter sent Feb. 13 to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall from U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, as well as U.S. Reps. Michael Guest and Trent Kelly, all Mississippi Republicans, said delays in new flight simulators and new training aircraft means the planned retirement of T-1As could cause issues for pilots.

PODCAST: Using IT Modernization to Enable Warfighters; What Air Force Is Learning from Hackathons


The Air Force will conduct its next “BRAVO” hackathon March 20 through March 24 at Hurlburt Field in Florida. Prior BRAVO hackathons have resulted in prototypes and innovations that influence major Department of Defense programs. Stuart Wagner, chief digital transformation officer of the Air Force and Space Force, and Jimmy “Rev” Jones, lead program manager of the Air Force’s “STITCHES” warfighter application team, discuss the goals for the upcoming hackathon and the impact previous hackathons have had on DOD operations.

DIA Report Confirms Russia’s Use of Iranian Drones in Ukraine

Task & Purpose

A new report from the Defense Intelligence Agency has confirmed that Russia is using Iranian-made drones in Ukraine after months of reports based on open-source intelligence. The new unclassified report “provides a visual comparison of UAVs used by Russian forces in Ukraine and Iranian UAVs used to attack U.S. and partner interests in the Middle East,” according to its summary. “Photos of UAV debris and components from Ukraine are consistent with systems showcased at military expos and other venues in the Middle East. This analysis confirms Russia’s use of various lethal UAVs in its war in Ukraine.

Pentagon Working with Congress on Unclassified Space Strategy


The Defense Department’s space policy office is drafting a congressionally mandated report explaining how the U.S. will defend satellites in orbit. DOD has a top-secret space defense strategy but Congress wants an unclassified version that explains to the public the threats facing U.S. satellites and what can be done in response. “We’ll be writing that unclassified report,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb said Feb. 14 at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event.

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US Tracked China Spy Balloon from Launch on Hainan Island Along Unusual Path

The Washington Post

By the time a Chinese spy balloon crossed into American airspace late last month, U.S. military and intelligence agencies had been tracking it for nearly a week, watching as it lifted off from its home base on Hainan Island near China’s south coast. U.S. monitors watched as the balloon settled into a flight path that would appear to have taken it over the U.S. territory of Guam. But somewhere along that easterly route, the craft took an unexpected northern turn, according to several U.S. officials.

OPINION: Is the US Ready to Address China’s Threats in Time to Make a Difference?

The Hill

“Are we prepared to deal with aggression from China? We hear increasingly strident rhetoric from Beijing. They issue veiled threats against U.S. surveillance aircraft operating in international airspace. The potential for miscalculation escalating to conflict is growing,” write Brian J. Morra, a senior fellow at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, retired Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and Jeffrey “Skunk” Baxter, a senior consultant on defense and intelligence matters.

One More Thing

A Brief History of the Pentagon’s Efforts to Track and Identify UFOs

Task & Purpose

The U.S. military’s history of encounters with unidentified flying objects goes back to World War II. One of the first major UFO sightings came in 1942, when anti-aircraft batteries around Los Angeles opened fire at objects in the sky that they thought were Japanese aircraft. The Army determined later that a lost weather balloon had caused a false alarm.