pentagon and congress

Key Lawmaker Is ‘Hugely Supportive’ of This Pentagon Proposal. Now He Has to Convince Skeptics in Congress

The House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat endorsed a new Pentagon legislative proposal designed to work around Congressional gridlock to field new technologies faster. Spearheaded by Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, the DOD is seeking a "rapid response" authority that would allow initial work to begin on critical new technologies to meet "urgent" needs. "I'm hugely supportive of it," Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said at a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations May 16.
Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville visits Maxwell AFB for his introduction to Maxwell and his orientation to the U.S. Air Force’s Air University, Jun. 3, 2021. US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox//Released

Senators Maneuver for Edge in Stalemate Over Abortion and General Promotions

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and Senate Democrats remain locked in a struggle in which the Alabama Republican refuses to relinquish his hold on general and flag officer promotions as long as a Biden administration policy to reimburse troops who travel out-of-state to obtain an abortion remains in place. Yet while both sides agree the 2024 National Defense Authorization bill is the likely mechanism for resolving the dispute, that leaves a growing list of nearly 200 nominations in limbo until Congress takes up the measure. Last year's bill wasn't signed until Dec. 28.
A U.S. Air Force F-15D assigned to the 173rd Fighter Wing sits in a Bureau of Reclamation canal on the south side of the runway following a mishap landing at Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon May 15, 2023.

F-15 Skids Off the Runway into Canal in Oregon; Pilot OK

An Oregon Air National Guard F-15 slid off the runway and into an irrigation canal at Kingsley Field, Ore., on May 15, but the pilot was able to walk away from the mishap with only minor injuries and has already been released from the hospital, the 173rd Fighter Wing announced. 
DARPA X plane X-65

Meet the X-65: DARPA’s New Plane Has No External Control Surfaces

A groundbreaking aircraft being designed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency now has an experimental designation—the X-65. DARPA announced the “X” designation on its social media accounts May 15, a little less than five months after the agency announced it had selected Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences for a detailed design as part of its Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program.  

Radar Sweep

The Air Force Reimagines Its Tech Schools

Air Force Times

Nearly eight decades after the Air Force’s founding, the schools that prepare Airmen for their military jobs are due for an overhaul. Air Education and Training Command wants to modernize its technical training enterprise for the 150,000 Airmen who take courses across more than 100 specialties each year. That requires a new look at everything from what students should be learning and how, and the environment in which they learn it, the three-star general in charge argues.

US Aid to Ukraine On Track to Run Out in September

Defense One

The flow of U.S. military aid so vital to Ukraine’s defense will slow—or even stop—by August unless Congress approves new funds, according to a Defense One review of Pentagon data. Since the Russian invasion of February 2022, lawmakers have approved the disbursement of $48.9 billion in military aid to Ukraine. As of May 15, $36.4 billion of that total has been delivered, contracted, or otherwise committed. At the average rate of disbursement since the invasion began, the remaining $11.3 billion will run out in about four months.

China Says Ready to ‘Smash’ Taiwan Self-Rule as US Prepares Major Arms Package, Sends Advisers

The Associated Press

China is prepared to “resolutely smash any form of Taiwan independence,” its military said May 16, as the U.S. reportedly prepares to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons and other military assistance to the self-governing island democracy. A recent increase in exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries is an “extremely wrong and dangerous move,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei said in a statement and video posted online.

50 Years Later, Vietnam Veterans Finally Get Official Tribute to Their Service and Sacrifice

For three days last week, the government sought to make up for decades of neglect with a series of events on the National Mall meant as a symbolic “homecoming” for Vietnam veterans. The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, set up by President Barack Obama in 2012 and authorized by Congress, billed the belated recognition as a “Welcome Home Celebration,” although the term “celebration” can seem utterly out of place in reference to a long and divisive conflict that took the lives of more than 58,000 Americans and triggered widespread anti-war protests.

‘Devastating’ Debt Default Threatens Troop Pay, Defense Programs

Defense News

No one knows for sure exactly what a U.S. debt default will mean for military operations and veterans support programs. But there is widespread agreement that it won’t be good. Military paychecks could be delayed or stopped altogether. Veterans benefits checks would similarly be delivered erratically. Equipment purchases could be canceled. Contractors and civilian workers could face the choice of furloughs or working without any guarantee of stable pay.

New Developments in Warfighter Training

Air & Space Forces Magazine

Driven by advancements in technology and research, the Air Force and Space Force are adapting how they train their warfighters to complete the missions at hand. Keep up with all the latest news on changes and improvements to the services’ training enterprises.

AC-130J Ghostrider Could Get Huge Upgrade from AESA Radar

The War Zone

The U.S. Air Force plans to test an AC-130J Ghostrider gunship equipped with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. Adding an AESA would give these aircraft a valuable tool for spotting, tracking, and engaging targets, especially in bad weather and at extended ranges. The radar could perform more general intelligence-gathering and provide improved situational awareness, along with other functions, as well.

How Soon Can US Air Force’s E-7A Rapid Prototype Be Ready?

Aviation Week

Since the U.S. Air Force announced its plans to procure Boeing’s E-7A Wedgetail to replace its geriatric E-3 Sentry airborne early warning and control fleet, one question has been circling the program: How much faster can it go? “I’d like to accelerate [procuring] the E-7 if I could. We really need it,” Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall tells Aviation Week. “I’m motivated to go quickly—we need to get these things in the field, get them built.”

New Taiwan Military Aid Package Coming in ‘Near Term’, SecDef Confirms

Breaking Defense

The Biden Administration will soon send Taiwan military weapons and equipment from its stockpiles but will require Congress to free up dollars to backfill that delivery, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said May 16. When Congress approved the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, it included a provision enabling the administration to send $1 billion military in aid to Taiwan via the Presidential Drawdown Authority

Political Fight Escalates Over Space National Guard


For the third consecutive year, bipartisan legislation will be moving through the House and Senate aiming to establish a Space National Guard as a reserve component of the U.S. Space Force. The legislative push, led by lawmakers from Colorado, California and Florida, has encountered stern opposition from the White House Office of Management and Budget which argues that a Space National Guard will introduce additional costs and unnecessary bureaucracy into the system.

One More Thing

Breaking Sound Barriers: 7 Fun Facts

Flying Magazine

The quest for speed has long topped the achievement list for aviators, and breaking the sound barrier stands as one of aviation’s most awe-inspiring feats. Going back to the pioneering exploits of Chuck Yeager, supersonic flight has shaped the course of aviation history. Most of us are familiar with the achievements of Yeager, the first pilot to officially break the sound barrier in 1947 in the Bell X-1 Glamorous Glennis. But what else do you know about the fastest pilots in history? Here are seven fun facts about sound barrier-busting flights, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs above Mach 1.