Cope Thunder Exercise Is Back in Philippines After 33 Years

The U.S. and Philippines air forces are reviving a combat training exercise after more than 30 years as both nations grapple with China’s growing military might. From May 1-12, American fighters will practice tactics with the Philippine air force in exercise Cope Thunder. The drills began the same day as Philippines president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., met with President Joe Biden at the White House on the increasingly close defense partnership between the U.S. and the Philippines.

Editorial: Youth and Consequences

How is it, the public wondered, that our military trusts people so young with secrets so large? ... The fact is, the military could not function if it didn’t trust volunteers in their teens and early 20s with security clearances.

Radar Sweep

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Air National Guard Plays Outsize Role in Air Force Drone Strikes, Military Data Show

The Wall Street Journal

The Air National Guard, at the center of an investigation into the leak of highly classified documents, has moved over two decades to the forefront of military operations, analyzing much of the intelligence for drone strikes and carrying out many of those missions. The Guard, which was once viewed as largely a strategic reserve force, now provides half of the Air Force’s targeting analysis, according to data provided by officials to The Wall Street Journal.

Lawmakers Raise Concerns about New Plan to Procure National Security Launch Services


Leaders of the House Armed Services Committee are raising concerns about the Defense Department’s plan to procure space launch services beginning in 2025. They are questioning whether the proposed strategy, known as National Security Space Launch Phase 3, gives new entrants a fair opportunity to compete for contracts. The Space Force in February released a draft solicitation for NSSL Phase 3 launch contracts to be awarded in 2025. The procurement was divided into two tracks: Lane 1 is a multi-vendor competition aimed at medium-size rockets that would fly less-demanding missions. Lane 2 would select two launch providers that fly medium and heavy rockets to any of the orbits where the military and intelligence agencies deploy satellites.

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‘Like Driving the Batmobile into the Future’: Air Force Uses JLTV in Mission for 1st Time

Stars and Stripes

The Air Force for the first time used one of its new Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, an SUV-like vehicle intended to replace the Humvee, service officials said. Two Airmen drove a JLTV for an operational mission in eastern Nebraska to support launch facility maintenance near the town of Harrisburg, located about 15 miles west of the Nebraska-Wyoming border, the Air Force said.

F-22s Intercepted ‘Spherical Object’ Off Hawaii in Latest Balloon Chase

The War Zone

The U.S. Air Force sent a trio of F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to intercept what was eventually assessed to be a balloon of unknown origin off the Hawaiian Islands last week. The U.S. military and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing to track it in the Eastern Pacific. The Pentagon says does know who the owner of this balloon is, but that they do not believe it is "controlled by a foreign or adversarial actor" and added that it has not been assessed to pose a threat.

Air Force’s Multibillion-Dollar Enterprise IT as a Service Program Cleared for Takeoff


The Air Force is “moving forward” with Wave 1 of its Enterprise IT as a Service (EITaaS) program after the Government Accountability Office denied the latest bid protest, the service said in a release April 28. The EITaaS program is meant to outsource basic IT services so that the Air Force can free up airmen for more specialized, cyber-focused network defense and mission assurance.

Military Expanding the Use of Fitness Trackers to Detect Disease Outbreaks Such as COVID-19

The Pentagon is expanding the use of wearable fitness trackers to help predict outbreaks of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 as use of the technology, such as watches and rings, spreads in the military despite early security concerns. The Defense Innovation Unit, an entity within the Pentagon focused on pairing commercially available technology with military uses, says that it had success during the pandemic in identifying infections by marrying an artificial intelligence algorithm with a commercial device.

Cyber Lessons from Ukraine: Prepare for Prolonged Conflict, Not a Knockout Blow

Breaking Defense

Russia’s failed cyber “blitzkrieg” in Ukraine has turned into a long slog that puts a premium on adaptability, resilience, and the will to win, one of Kyiv’s top cybersecurity officials told U.S. audiences on a recent tour. And the strategic lesson for the U.S., several independent experts said, is that this kind of drawn-out cyber conflict is a more likely model for future wars than the sudden-death visions of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” or “cyber 9/11″ predicted by US officials for over a decade.

National Guard Leaders Petition Biden, Harris for Dedicated Space Force Branch

Breaking Defense

A group of 51 National Guard adjutant generals are asking President Joe Biden to support the creation of a separate Space National Guard (SNG)—urging him to reverse a decision by the Office of Management and Budget that would establish an alternative structure. OMB “opposes a SNG and recently directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to prepare for the voluntary transfer of National Guard members currently performing space missions to a yet-to-be-established ‘Space Component.’ OMB’s actions are a mistake,” argues the letter, released May 1 by the National Guard Association of the United States.

First-Term Airmen Will Have an Easier Time Finding a New Air Force Job

Air Force Times

The Air Force is dangling a new carrot for early career Airmen who might be tempted to leave: almost any job they want. Starting June 1, all qualified first-term Airmen—those serving under the initial contract they signed to join the military, which lasts four to six years—can apply for a new job in any Air Force career field where more than 10 percent of the positions are unfilled, the service said in an April 28 release.

With Lessons from Ukraine, US Special Forces Reinvents Itself for a Fight with China

Defense One

The only sign the Switchblade suicide drone was overhead was its mosquito-like whine. Its slim gray body merged into the overcast sky over a U.S. Army training range. But the presence of the drone, which has been delivered in large numbers to Ukraine, in an exercise explicitly targeting China spoke volumes about how the U.S. Army Special Forces is reinventing itself after decades of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One More Thing

Retired Air Force Pilot Recalls Miraculous Landing After Nearly Being Shot Down over Iraq

CBS News

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum recently received an unusual item—a piece of a fighter plane that was nearly shot down over Baghdad 20 years ago. Retired Air Force Col. Kim Campbell managed a nearly impossible landing of the aircraft, saving her own life in the process. The A-10 is built to support troops on the ground, and Campbell, the only woman pilot in her squadron, had just attacked an enemy position when her plane was shot. “I felt and heard a large explosion at the back of the airplane and I knew immediately I was hit,” she said.