US Air Force Fires Leaders for Failing Nuclear Safety Inspection
Two U.S. Air Force commanders and four of their subordinates at a key nuclear base in North Dakota were relieved of duty this week after their units failed an inspection designed to ensure that the nuclear weapons stockpile is safe and secure at all times, two defense officials told CNN. The officials told CNN that the six service members were relieved of duty following the failed nuclear surety inspection at the base.
Air Force Command Climate Investigation Ends With Okinawa Commander’s Removal
The commander of an Air Force airborne air control squadron on Okinawa has been relieved after a “thorough” investigation into the unit’s command climate, an Air Force spokesman said. Lt. Col. Alexander Demma was removed as leader of the 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron at Kadena Air Base on Feb. 2 due to a “loss of confidence in his ability to lead the organization,” 18th Wing spokesman Lt. Col. Raymond Geoffroy wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes on Feb. 22.
China’s Imports of Russian Uranium Spark Fear of New Arms Race
On the same day in December when Chinese and U.S. diplomats said they’d held constructive talks to reduce military tensions, Russian engineers were delivering a massive load of nuclear fuel to a remote island just 124 miles off Taiwan’s northern coast. China’s so-called fast-breeder reactor on Changbiao Island is one of the world’s most closely-watched nuclear installations. U.S. intelligence officials forecast that when it begins working this year, the CFR-600 will produce weapons-grade plutonium that could help Beijing increase its stockpile of warheads as much as four-fold in the next 12 years.
US Army Chooses Five Companies to Compete for Army’s Future Tactical UAS
The U.S. Army said it selected five companies to build prototypes in a competition to ultimately provide the service with a Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System. Aerovironment, Griffon Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, Sierra Nevada Corp., and Textron Systems were each awarded contracts between $1 million and $25 million to participate in five development phases and four option periods over the next three years, according to a Feb. 28 Army statement.
SPACECOM Expands Allied, Industy Cooperation: Gen. Dickinson
Space Command continues to expand cooperation with allies, international partners, and industry, Army Gen. Jim Dickinson, who heads the command, said Feb. 28. “Two years ago, we had 124 [space] situational awareness data sharing agreements. Today, we have 169: 33 with nations and IGOs; 129 with commercial partners; and seven with academic institutions,” he told the 3rd Annual SPACECOM Legal Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Intel Community Bats Down Main Theory Behind ‘Havana Syndrome’ Incidents
The intelligence community has determined that unexplained health incidents referred to as “Havana Syndrome” that have afflicted hundreds of government officials in recent years were not caused by a foreign adversary, knocking down a main theory among victims and experts. The assessment, compiled by the CIA and six intelligence agencies, also said the U.S. found no evidence that the symptoms experienced by American intelligence officers, diplomats, and other government employees were the result of an intentional weaponized attack, according to two U.S. intelligence officials.
DARPA Wants a High-Speed, No-Runway Aircraft
A high-speed aircraft that doesn’t need a runway is next on DARPA's drawing board, the research agency's director said March 1. What will that look like? It could be a new form of helicopter, or perhaps a vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft that might fly even faster. But in her announcement, DARPA Director Stefanie Tompkins deliberately avoided calling the program a vertical-lift effort.
Finland on Cusp of Joining NATO, but Maybe Not With Sweden
Finland’s Parliament on March 1 overwhelmingly passed all the legislation necessary for joining NATO, subject only to the ratification of its bid by the Parliaments of Turkey and Hungary. Finland and Sweden had pledged to enter the alliance “hand in hand,” but Sweden’s application has been held up by Turkey. So if Turkey and Hungary soon approve the Finns’ application, as is expected, Finland will join NATO even without its Nordic partner.
Air Force Advisers Study Use of Satellites for Tracking Moving Targets
A board of scientific advisers is looking at ways the Air Force can use satellites to track moving targets on the ground and in the air—a task traditionally performed by aircraft. Air Force officials are concerned that the radar-equipped aircraft it uses to track and engage moving targets aren’t fit to fly in contested environments.
Collaborative B-21 Acquisition Effort Earns Glowing Reviews From Officials
In the nearly eight years since Northrop Grumman inked a contract to design the Air Force's new nuclear bomber, lawmakers and Defense Department officials have touted it as an example of acquisition done right amid years of cost overruns and schedule delays in other programs. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Calif.)—House Armed Services Committee ranking member and longtime critic of the F-35 program going so far as to call it a “rat hole”—has praised the B-21.
ANALYSIS: Ukrainian Innovation in a War of Attrition
Russia suffered more combat deaths in Ukraine in the first year of the war than in all of its wars since World War II combined, according to a new CSIS analysis of the force disposition and military operations of Russian and Ukrainian units. The average rate of Russian soldiers killed per month is at least 25 times the number killed per month in Chechnya and 35 times the number killed in Afghanistan, which highlight the stark realities of a war of attrition. The Ukrainian military has also performed remarkably well against a much larger and initially better-equipped Russian military, in part due to the innovation of its forces.
Denmark Scraps Public Holiday to Boost Defense Budget
Lawmakers voted 95-68 to scrap Great Prayer Day, a religious holiday observed since the 17th century. The cancellation will provide an additional three billion kroner ($427m) to be used on the defense budget, the government says.