Photos: F-22s Deploy to Tinian for First Time as Part of ACE Exercise

For the first time the U.S. territory of Tinian, a small island around 100 miles north of the American military hub of Guam, hosted F-22 Raptors. The deployment, which began March 1, is part of an exercise dubbed Agile Reaper 23-1. Over time, the Department of Defense plans to turn Tinian into a permanent alternative location for aircraft operating out of Guam.
China Austin

In Message to Force, Austin Touts ‘Once-in-a-Generation’ Investments

Ahead of the release of Pentagon’s 2024 budget release in the coming weeks, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin touted “major investments” by the DOD across a broad array of portfolios, including the nuclear triad, space, and next-generation fighter aircraft—while promising “once-in-a-generation” expenditures for shipyards and munitions manufacturing in particular.
air force moving target engagement

Here’s What USAF’s Science Board Is Studying Now

The Air Force Scientific Advisory Board—a group of experts and researchers the department taps for independent advice on key science and technology efforts—is undertaking four studies in 2023, including two that will likely inform the service’s approach to Secretary Frank Kendall’s operational imperatives. 
SDA tracking layer satellites

SDA Taps Raytheon for Seven More Missile-Tracking Satellites

The Space Development Agency has added another batch of missile-tracking satellites to its expansive constellation, awarding Raytheon a $250 million contract March 2 to build seven spacecraft. Those satellites will join the already-planned 28 satellites in the Tranche 1 Tracking Layer of SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

Radar Sweep

2 Ukrainian Pilots Are in US to Determine Fighter Jet Skills


Two Ukrainian pilots are in the United States for an assessment of their skills in flying fighter jets, according to three people familiar with the discussions, even as administration officials say there are no plans to send F-16s to Kyiv for now. During the program, which is taking place at an Air National Guard base in Tuscon, Ariz., the pilots have been flying aircraft simulators so the U.S. military can evaluate their flying and mission-planning capabilities, said the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive effort. The pilots will not fly U.S. aircraft.

US Sending Bridge-Launchers to Ukraine for Spring Fight

The Associated Press

The U.S. announced a new $400 million military aid package for Ukraine on March 3 that for the first time includes armored vehicles that can launch bridges—allowing troops to cross rivers or other gaps as Russian and Ukrainian forces remain entrenched on opposite sides of the Dnieper River. The war had largely slowed to a grinding stalemate during the winter months, with Russia and Ukraine firing at each other from across the river. Both sides are expected to launch offensives as temperatures warm.

Top US General Says the Fight in Syria Is ‘Important’ for Security after Surprise Visit

Task & Purpose

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, made an unexpected visit to U.S. forces in Syria. The top general visited American troops in the country’s northeast to hear from them about how the fight against ISIS is going. The visit also comes after recent attacks on bases housing American soldiers. Milley was asked by reporters if the mission in Syria was worth the risk, per Reuters. He directly connected U.S. presence in the country with the nation’s national security.

The Pilot or the Marine? Biden May Soon Announce His Pick for Top Officer.

The New York Times

In the battle to become the country’s most senior military officer—a position inhabited at the moment by one of the most voluble of men and a frequent target of the right—it has come down to a choice between the fighter pilot and the Marine infantryman. Gen. Mark A. Milley’s term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ends this fall, and President Biden is looking at one of two men to succeed him.

The Pentagon Is Behind on Issuing Policy to Allow Cadets Who Have Kids to Remain at Service Academies

The Pentagon has yet to issue a formal policy that would allow cadets at America's service academies to continue their education if they have kids while enrolled, reversing existing rules that could lead them to get kicked out of school for doing so. The Candidates Afforded Dignity, Equality, and Training, or CADET, Act, spearheaded by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in 2021 helped push the policy change in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. The Pentagon was given until Dec. 27, 2022, a year after it was signed, to make the changes to service academy policies.

Perennial Pilot Shortage Puts Air Force in Precarious Position

Air Force Times

The Air Force’s pilot corps is shrinking. The service was 1,907 pilots short of its 21,000-person goal for manned aircraft as of October, according to the latest data provided to Air Force Times. That’s nearly 260 more open pilot slots than it had at the end of 2021. A web of factors that include commercial airline hiring, military flight instructor shortages, changes in the U.S. war footing abroad, and the Air Force’s shrinking fleet has entangled the service into a long-running pilot shortfall that makes the service more vulnerable in a potential crisis.

DOD Releases Updated Guidance on ‘Responsible Behaviors in Space’


The U.S. Defense Department on March 3 released updated guidelines for safe and responsible space operations. These guidelines were issued Feb. 9 by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a memo that lays out five “tenets of responsible behavior in space.” Austin first released the tenets in July 2021. The update reflects recommendations from U.S. Space Command and includes specific behaviors for each of the five tenets.

OPINION: Women in the Military: Moving Beyond ‘Firsts’

Military Times

“We must encourage women to turn their passion into their power, distilling in them the understanding they are as competent as others know them to be. It takes different perspectives to provide better solutions; it will take the best ideas from the brightest minds to prevail in tomorrow’s fight. We cannot afford to limit anyone. Simply put, this is a warfighting imperative,” writes Air Force Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, commander of U.S. Transportation Command.

‘Not the Right Time’: US to Push Guidelines, Not Bans, at UN Meeting on Autonomous Weapons

Breaking Defense

On March 6, government experts from around the globe will once again gather in Geneva to debate the ethics and legality of autonomous weapons. The crucial question for arms controllers: What’s the greatest danger from militarized AI and other autonomous systems? Many peace activists and neutral nations focus on out-of-control killing machines. ... But others, including US officials and experts, often focus on something subtler, like an intelligence analysis algorithm that mistakes civilians for terrorists, a hospital for a military base, or a scientific rocket for a nuclear first strike—even if it’s still a human pulling the trigger.

Come Test Your Gear Against Russian Forces, Ukrainians Urge US Defense Firms

Defense One

U.S. defense manufacturers should bring their gear to Ukraine to try it out against an enemy that is more agile than generally perceived, Ukrainian special operators said at a SOF conference. At least in the electronic spectrum, the war in Ukraine is constantly changing as both sides develop new ideas and countermeasures daily, the operators said, inviting U.S. firms to test their equipment in real battle zones.

Space Force Buys Self-Driving, Smart Tractors to Support Grounds Maintenance


The Space Force recently purchased two autonomous tractors to assist members of its 45th Civil Engineer Squadron combat support group as they maintain the grounds and landscaping of their military base in Florida—a move that officials said demonstrates the young branch’s broader vision to technologically innovate U.S. military operations as it matures.

One More Thing

5 Bizarre Superstitions US Troops Believe About Their Rations

Some Air Force pilots will adamantly refuse to take off without a thumbs up from their ground crew. Whistling aboard a Navy ship is strictly forbidden for a reason. And God help any sailor who washes a coffee mug. U.S. military personnel deal with matters of life and death, sometimes daily, so it's hard to judge them for being more superstitious than a medieval serf.