Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall refuted a report that the Biden White House plans to base US Space Command headquarters in Colorado, overturning the previous administration’s controversial choice to move it to Alabama. “I have no indication that the President’s going to do anything with regard to that decision,” Kendall responded to a grilling by Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., during a House defense appropriations subcommittee hearing. “Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin delegated it to me, and that’s where it stays today.”
An F-35 engine failed during a pre-delivery test due to a vibration problem in March 2020, nearly three years before a similar issue caused an alarming fighter mishap in Fort Worth, Texas, Defense News has learned. The F-35 Joint Program Office and Pratt & Whitney, the Raytheon-owned maker of the F135 engines that power the F-35, said in a statement to Defense News that Pratt “immediately informed the JPO” after the 2020 vibration failure occurred.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on March 28 conceded that the Biden administration should have notified Congress “earlier” than it did about a deadly drone attack on U.S. forces in Syria last week. The admission comes after several Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans admonished Pentagon leaders for not quickly notifying Congress of the Iran-backed attack that killed an American contractor and plans for a retaliatory strike, calling the delay “unacceptable.”
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 U.S. Air Force looks set to finally add winglets to a portion of its KC-135 Stratotanker aerial refueling fleet. The service says putting upturned devices on the tips of the wings on the over half-century-old aircraft will improve their fuel efficiency and reduce drag, saving up to $65 million each year in operating costs as a result. Winglets are already in widespread use on commercial airliners for exactly these reasons.
The Air Force Overpaid Service Members in South Korea by $2.3 Million, But Won’t Make Them Return the Money
Nearly 8,000 Airmen stationed in South Korea will not have to pay back more than $2 million worth of overpayments issued last year, the Air Force has decided. Between March 1, 2022, and Nov. 30, 2022, 7,800 airmen stationed at 11 locations throughout South Korea received a total of $2.3 million in hardship-duty pay, which wasn't supposed to have been issued during that time period, Air Force spokeswoman Tech. Sgt. Deana Heitzman told Military.com. Typically, the service tries to claw back erroneous payments from service members, but it's letting it slide this time.
The head of the U.S. Space Force told lawmakers March 28 that the service is investing heavily in cybersecurity for satellite ground systems in response to increasing threats. The need for greater protection has intensified since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which saw satellite systems targeted in cyberattacks, Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, chief of space operations, said during a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee.
Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told lawmakers March 28 that increased efforts by China to rapidly expand its inventories of nuclear weapons worries him more than anything he has seen in his long national security career. “I don't think I've seen anything more disturbing in my career than the Chinese ongoing expansion of their nuclear force,” Kendall, a former Army officer who has spent decades in Pentagon and other national security roles, told House appropriators during a hearing on Capitol Hill.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin went on offense March 28 against one Republican senator’s blockade of 160 senior military promotions, cautioning that delaying the moves will harm national security. Austin delivered the warning at a Senate Armed Services hearing, where he made the case for the Pentagon’s annual defense budget. The defense chief was asked about Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s temporary hold, which is based on new policies aimed at shoring up troops’ access to abortions, and pleaded with the Republican to change course.
John “Lucky” Lackadoo is celebrating a milestone worth a big celebration. The last living original pilot of Eighth U.S. Army Air Force’s 100th Bomb Group known as the “Bloody Hundredth” in World War II has turned 101 and he did it by celebrating with many of his friends. The party was held in Dallas at Presbyterian Village North, the senior living community where Lucky lives, with about 60 people in attendance, including family, friends and residents.