Russian aircraft collides with MQ-9

Russian Fighter Collides with American MQ-9 Over Black Sea; Drone Lost

A Russian fighter collided with an American drone over the Black Sea on March 14, damaging the drone and causing it to crash, according to U.S. European Command. The U.S. military said the incident occurred in international airspace following “an unsafe and unprofessional intercept” of an unarmed U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper at 7:03 a.m. Central European Time.
F-35 deliveries

Deliveries of New F-35s Resume After Three Months

Lockheed Martin is again delivering F-35s after a three-month hiatus, following a back-to-flight approval on March 8. Investigators continue to plumb the cause of a Dec. 14, 2022 crash and implement a fix to an issue with the F135 engine. The first aircraft delivered after the delivery stand-down was an F-35A headed for the Air Force.
air force promotes senior master sergeants

Air Force Promotes Most New Senior Master Sergeants Since 2012

The Air Force has selected more than 1,600 master sergeants for promotion to senior master sergeant—the biggest crop of new E-8s the service has had in more than a decade. All told, 1,629 master sergeants were selected out of 16,031 eligible candidates, for a 10.18 percent selection rate, the Air Force Personnel Center announced—the highest promotion rate for the rank in four years. Those selected had an average time in grade of 4.4 years and time in service of 17.88 years.  

Watch, Read: Secretary Kendall on ‘One Team, One Fight’

Department of the Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall delivered a keynote address titled “One Team, One Fight” covering progress on his Operational Imperatives at the AFA Warfare Symposium, March 7, 2023. Watch the video or read the transcript below.

Radar Sweep

Senators from Both Parties Press Austin on Sending F-16s to Ukraine


A group of senators from both parties is pressing the Pentagon for more information on what it would take to send F-16 jets to Ukraine. The fresh push came in a letter March 14 to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin from eight senators, and obtained by POLITICO, as top administration officials from President Joe Biden on down have poured cold water on bipartisan calls to send U.S.-made fighters into the fight for now.

Air Force May Shrink Middle East Presence, Proposed Budget Cut Shows

Air Force Times

The Air Force in 2024 hopes to further shrink its presence in the Middle East to focus more resources on countering China in the Indo-Pacific. Service officials on March 14 asked Congress for $7 billion to fund pared-down operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia as part of the Biden administration’s fiscal 2024 budget request. That’s $1.6 billion less than it received for those missions in 2023.

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DOD Acquisition Chief Says New Surge in Munitions Investments Must ‘Stick’ in Future Budgets

Inside Defense

Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante said today he believes the increased U.S. investment in munitions, especially those meant to aid Ukraine and Taiwan, must continue for at least four or five more years. LaPlante, speaking at the Reagan Institute’s National Security Innovation Base Summit, noted the Biden administration’s fiscal year 2024 request for $30.6 billion for missiles and munitions, a 12 percent increase above what Congress enacted in FY23.

Go Deeper on Operational Imperatives

Air & Space Forces Magazine

Virtually every part of the Department of the Air Force’s drive to modernize is being shaped by Secretary Frank Kendall’s seven Operational Imperatives—lines of effort that address the most important and urgent challenges facing the Air Force today. Now, the department and industry are working together to develop solutions for each imperative, and the results will likely change the Air Force and Space Force for the next generation. Keep up with all the latest news on each Operational Imperative.

US Gets an ‘F’ for Erratic, Unfocused Funding of Defense Innovation, Says Reagan Foundation

Breaking Defense

Despite spending over $800 billion a year, the Defense Department chronically under-invests in cutting-edge technology and struggles to leverage the even greater investments being made by private-sector innovators in fields from AI and networks to space and biotech. That’s the verdict of a new report by the Reagan Foundation and Institute, released March 14. But there’s good news: Both in the report and at a conference the foundation hosted, experts from the Pentagon, Capitol Hill, and industry were full of ideas for improvements.

Here's the Pentagon's New Plan to Woo and Retain Cyber Workers

Defense One

The Pentagon's new strategy lists the many challenges facing the defense cyber workforce, including a labor shortage, which potentially creates a national security risk. However, DOD stresses the importance of having an agile, skilled and diverse workforce to address threats and challenges. “The prior strategy and implementation activities were folded into the broader DOD Cyber Strategy (2015 and 2018),” Navy Cmdr. Jessica McNulty, a Department of Defense Spokesperson, said.

Military Leaders Seek Measures to End Food Insecurity Among Service Members

Federal News Network

One in four active duty military members have some level of food insecurity according to numbers reported by a recent RAND Corporation study. While it may not be a new problem, senior enlisted military leaders who testified on Capitol Hill last week said economic challenges over the past year have added to food insecurity. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin commissioned the RAND study after the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act directed the secretary to provide a report on food insecurity among members of the armed forces and their dependents.

New US Nuclear Chief Takes Fresh Stance on Sea-Launched Cruise Missile

Defense News

The new head of U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the country’s nuclear arsenal, is taking a less forceful tone on developing the sea-launched cruise missile than his predecessor, who was an unabashed champion of the program. Gen. Anthony Cotton neither endorsed nor repudiated the sea-launched cruise missile nuclear program, commonly called SLCM-N, in a February letter to Congress.

As DOD Pivots to Smaller Satellites, Congress Airdrops a Big One into the Budget


The U.S. Defense Department’s head of space acquisitions circulated a memo last fall calling for the Pentagon to embrace a faster, more commercial approach to building satellites. At the top of Frank Calvelli’s “Space Acquisition Tenets” list is to pivot away from billion-dollar behemoths that take a decade to build in favor of smaller spacecraft that can be delivered in under three years. Amid this push for change, Congress enacted a 2023 defense appropriations bill in late December earmarking $442 million for a wideband communications satellite that the Pentagon did not request.

One More Thing

The Icy History of Project Iceworm

We Are The Mighty

Iceworm. The very word conjures all kinds of ideas. A frozen worm? A super-secret lab tucked away into the North Pole? In fact, it was a nuclear lab inside an arctic glacier, and its history is pretty remarkable. In the 1950s, to gain a tactical advantage over the Soviet Union, the U.S. needed to find a location close the European mainland, where it could monitor the Russians. That meant we needed to head for the cold, icy climes of the top of the world. The Pentagon picked Camp Century, Greenland, to construct a top-secret military base for what it had aptly dubbed Project Iceworm.