Gen. David Allvin, the Air Force’s No. 2 officer, is the frontrunner to become its next chief of staff, four people familiar with the deliberations told Air Force Times. Allvin, a career mobility pilot and strategist who has served as Air Force vice chief of staff since November 2020, is the service’s internal pick for chief, according to one current military officer, two retired officers, and another expert outside of the Pentagon, all of whom were granted anonymity to discuss the issue.
A proposed joint autonomy office within the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) could help the department coordinate and advance its adoption of autonomous technologies, according to the vice chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. And while the creation of a new office within the CDAO, an organization stood up less than a year ago, raises the question of whether it adds onto bureaucracy within the department or just how much authority the office would have, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), said the office he’s envisioned in the legislation would act as a single place for how DOD resources and directs its autonomous technology efforts and policy.
The U.S. military is planning to use artificial intelligence to track objects in space—including China’s. The number of orbiting objects U.S. Space Command needs to keep tabs on has almost doubled to “over 46,000” since it was re-established as a unified command in 2019, said its commander, Gen. James Dickinson. Tracking everything from defunct satellites and active satellites to rocket bodies generates a massive amount of data, Dickinson said May 16. ... His command is working to “train an AI capability to look at that, and then tell us what we really need to spend our time on.”
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.
Pentagon’s JADC2 Vision for Connected Battlefield Will Officially Incorporate Partners Going Forward
Going forward, the Pentagon’s new way of connected warfighting—referred to as JADC2—will officially take into account partner integration. While the Department of Defense historically stresses that it doesn’t fight alone without a coalition—especially as it applies to its new way of fighting—it is now referring to this effort as Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2).
Belgium has become the latest country to indicate that it could train Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16 fighters that Kyiv says it so desperately needs to help turn the tide of the Russian invasion, but which have so far yet to materialize. The announcement from Belgium is tempered by the fact that Brussels says it’s unable to transfer any F-16s to Ukraine. However, following the news that the United Kingdom is about to start providing Ukraine with F-16-focused training, it seems momentum is now also building for the emergence of a coalition of nations that can provide the required instruction.
Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, is reportedly set to leave the Pentagon this summer, marking the first high-profile member of President Joe Biden’s Defense Department to exit. NBC News first reported that Kahl will leave the department sometime after the early July NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. A source familiar with the situation confirmed the news and told Breaking Defense that Kahl plans to return to Stanford University, where he has technically been on leave from since joining the department. In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin praised Kahl’s “unwavering dedication and probing intellect.”
The Pentagon’s chief technology office kicked off a weeklong experimentation campaign to demonstrate technologies that can be quickly fielded to military users. The event, dubbed Technology Experimentation 2023 or TREX, runs from May 16 to 24 at Camp Atterbury in Indiana. Hosted in partnership with the Indiana National Guard, it will support the Pentagon’s Rapid Defense Experimentation Reserve, which funds promising prototypes that can meet near-term needs.
The Biden administration is facing a new and amplified pressure campaign to greenlight the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine, after the U.K. announced it will train Ukrainian fighter pilots and Kyiv ramped up its calls for the warplanes. While the administration has crossed several other red lines in military aid—approving everything from guided rockets to drones to Abrams tanks they once claimed would provoke Russia—the Biden administration is holding the line for now on the Lockheed Martin-made F-16s.
The Defense Department has adopted a set of rules for responsible space operations amid growing concerns that rival nations are deploying weapons that could destroy U.S. satellites. One of those rules is to openly communicate about U.S. military space activities to prevent misunderstandings and miscalculations. However, China’s lack of transparency about its own space activities makes it difficult to reduce those risks, Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt, deputy chief of the U.S. Space Force for operations, cyber, and nuclear, said May 17.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown, Jr., and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, are both firsts in their roles. Brown is the first Black man to serve as chief of staff, while Bass is the first woman to earn chief master sergeant title. “One of the things I really believe is young people only aspire to be what they see,” Brown told CBS News this week. “You don't decide to grow up to be something you've never seen.” “It is humbling,” Bass said of being the first woman to serve as chief master sergeant. “And it's an honor to be able to serve alongside heroes and visionaries like these people.”
Danny O’Neel, Army veteran and co-owner of Folsom, Calif., tattoo shop Kinetic Ink, laughed when asked about the most common military tattoo request at their shop. “A flag,” he said. In reality, service members and veterans of the armed forces have as much variety in their tattoos as do civilians. But it is fairly common to see tattoos representing or commemorating their time in the service. Indeed, tattoos have been a rite of passage for service members across cultures for more than 2,000 years.