The top U.S. general in Europe is quietly telling American lawmakers that giving Ukraine advanced Western equipment—such as F-16 fighter jets, drones, and long-range missiles—could help Kyiv rule the skies and bolster its own offensives against Russia. In a Feb. 17 closed-door briefing with more than 10 senators and House members, Gen. Christopher Cavoli was asked if F-16 fighter jets would help Ukraine win the war against Russia. He responded: “Yes,” according to five people in the room who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private session.
North Korea has long maintained that all six of its nuclear weapons tests were conducted safely. But on Feb. 21, a Seoul-based human rights group warned that radioactive contamination may have spread through groundwater from the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site, potentially jeopardizing the health of people in North Korea and neighboring countries.
The annual Munich Security Conference (MSC) has always been a forum for discussions about challenges in the military and diplomatic spheres. But an actual, live war in the center of Europe made this year’s outing decidedly different than any of those of the past three decades. Talking about weapon systems and procurement at the nuts-and-bolts level is a departure from the traditional focus of presentations at the MSC.
Thanks to the outbreak of avian flu that has decimated the poultry industry in recent months, egg prices have taken flight. Avian influenza, otherwise known as “bird flu,” has impacted more than 58 million birds, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With inflation added to the mix, a dozen eggs are currently going for an all-time high of $4.25. How then, does the Department of Defense, which budgets for the fiscal year in advance through the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, ensure that troops have access to select foods even in times of shortage or extreme cost?
The Department of the Air Force’s capstone innovation campaign, Spark Tank, recently concluded submissions—and Airmen and Guardians may now vote for one of the top six selected ideas. To vote for your favorite, visit the Guardians and Airmen Innovation Network website. First-time users will need to sign up for a free account using their government email addresses. Common Access Cards are required. Then click “Vote now” next to your favorite idea, limit one idea only. Voting ends March 8.
“Watching Ukrainian resistance to Russia, some say the U.S. military needs to embrace a defense-dominant approach to aerial warfare centered on large numbers of small, short-range, inexpensive drones. In their view, the U.S. should move away from small inventories of advanced, expensive inhabited aircraft that can project power over long distances. Instead, they argue, the U.S. needs to rapidly field a ‘moneyball’ military of small, cheap autonomous things. But this argument misses the importance of finding the right balance between high-value capabilities and larger numbers of less expensive (and less capable) assets,” writes Caitlin Lee, head of the Center for UAV and Autonomy Studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
The Chinese spy balloon spotted over sensitive nuclear sites in Montana and shot down by a U.S. fighter jet earlier this month jolted the nation. But for Adm. John Aquilino, commander of all U.S. military forces in the Indo-Pacific, it was only the latest in a string of provocations that includes missiles fired over Taiwan following a visit by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August, China’s rapidly growing nuclear arsenal and a pair of Chinese surveillance balloon sightings in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands last year.
When a SpaceX Falcon Heavy launched a national security mission to geostationary Earth orbit Jan. 15, the Space Force revealed that three of the payloads onboard were developed by one of its most secretive agencies, the Space Rapid Capabilities Office. The announcement was unusual as the Space RCO, based at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., operates under the radar and rarely advertises what it does. Kelly Hammett, director of the Space RCO, said the decision to publicize the satellites on the USSF-67 mission is part of a broader effort to start shedding the office’s cloak of secrecy.
The world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds performed the traditional flyover for the 65th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19. The Great American Race marks the season-opener of the NASCAR Cup Series. The flyover also marks the beginning of the show season for the Thunderbirds, which feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter aircraft.