President Joe Biden has decided to paint the new Air Force One in the classic blue and white colors—with a few tweaks—that have adorned presidential aircraft since the Kennedy administration. The livery has three primary differences from the current two Boeing 747s, designated VC-25s, that serve as the flying White House. It’s a reversal from the red, white, and blue livery selected by former President Donald Trump that the Air Force says would have cost more money.
By all metrics, the military’s sexual assault problem has only grown worse even with more resources committed to fight it—especially at military service academies, which recorded the highest rate of sexual assault since 2006, when the Defense Department started measuring the problem. “These numbers are extremely disappointing and upsetting. I mean, there’s really no other way to see it,” said Beth Foster, the DOD’s executive director of force resiliency, describing the latest Pentagon progress report.
The way modern Airmen and Guardians prepare for the future fight is changing, with live, virtual, and constructive training offering new ways to practice essential skills. Learn more about how virtual and augmented reality, simulated environments, and other technologies are helping train warfighters everywhere from the cockpit to the maintenance depot.
Following reports suggesting that there may be a link between cancer and serving in missile silos, the Space Force's top official is telling service members who are worried to “go see a doctor, go get help.” Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, who last year took the reins as the second chief of space operations in the history of the service branch, was himself a missileer early in his career stationed at a silo in the fields of Cascade County, Mont.
Republicans in Congress are blasting the president’s proposed $886 billion defense budget for fiscal 2024—a 3.3 percent increase over last year—as insufficient. Given the defense budget accounts for approximately half of all discretionary spending every year, it’s unclear how Republicans plan to further increase it as the House doubles down on its commitment to enacting about $130 billion in discretionary spending cuts.
In Episode 119 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, John “Slick” Baum, retired Maj. Gen. Larry “Stutz” Stutzriem, and Heather “Lucky” Penney interview retired Lt. Col. Gene Smith about what it was like to get shot down in his F-105 over downtown Hanoi on Oct. 25, 1967. This was just one of the 1,737 USAF aircraft lost to hostile action over Vietnam. That number equates to roughly 80 percent of the Air Force’s fighter inventory today. Members of the Mitchell team also discuss steps the Air Force should consider as it prepares for an increasingly hostile future threat environment and speak to a museum leader who is helping educate future generations about this history.
Air Force Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger may be leaving in June, but she still has ambitious goals for the year, including shoring up cybersecurity and pushing the department closer to zero trust. Moving to a standardized system remains a top priority, but the service also has pilots in place to implement zero trust on its financial management systems. Knausenberger said the last six months brought significant innovation to the department and put it much closer to the goal of implementing zero trust by 2027.
Chinese research institutes are working to construct a quantum communications network using satellites in low and medium-to-high Earth orbits. Pan Jianwei, a scientist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and a member of the member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the comments in an interview with media March 4 on the sidelines of China’s annual political sessions in Beijing.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has defined seven Operational Imperatives for the Department of the Air Force to work on, warning that “if we don't get them right, we will have unacceptable operational risk.” From a resilient space order of battle to the development of next-generation tactical air dominance and global strike platforms, these imperatives will define the Air Force for decades to come—Dive deeper into each one with our new “Operational Imperatives” pages highlighting all the latest news and developments on these critical efforts.
The IDF and the US air forces on March 12 started the joint “Red Flag” exercise. The joint drill is being hosted at the Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., said an IDF statement. It is slated to run for approximately two weeks and is expected to include simulations for different kinds of operations: from attacks on long-range distance targets to achieving aerial superiority in the aerial battle space, to complex joint attack operations by a mix of aircraft, to providing defense and support to land-based units, to interception of invading enemy aircraft, to low-altitude flying and attacks in unfamiliar areas which are filled with anti-aircraft defense, according to the IDF.
Supply chain resiliency was thrust into the spotlight during the pandemic—and with the war in Ukraine and ongoing worldwide economic pressures, it will remain a topic of considerable attention from Congress and the Pentagon. In this op-ed, Josh Boehm and Wendy Crossman, two executives from Spirit AeroSystems, lay out three steps the primes and the Pentagon should take to help lower-tier suppliers.
Iran has reached a deal to buy advanced Su-35 fighter planes from Russia, Iranian state media said on March 11, expanding a relationship that has seen Iranian-built drones used in Russia's war on Ukraine. “The Sukhoi-35 fighter planes are technically acceptable to Iran and Iran has finalized a contract for their purchase,” the broadcaster IRIB quoted Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York as saying.
There’s a new movie, Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant, coming out this spring about a former Army Special Forces soldier who travels back to Afghanistan to rescue a former interpreter who saved his life. In the trailer, we see Jake Gyllenhaal’s character with a beard, a baseball cap, Oakleys, and all the traditional operator accouterment. In a couple of shots, he’s got a patch on his uniform reading “JTAC.” This might lead to some confusion, seeing as some might assume that Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) is an Air Force responsibility. Given how much people like to point out military uniform inaccuracies in movies, this has unsurprisingly created the occasional debate about whether or not Gyllenhaal’s Army character is a JTAC.