Videos: Russia Confronts US Drones Over Syria for Second Day in a Row

Russian fighters dropped flares in front of U.S. MQ-9s over Syria on two consecutive days in escalating tactics intended to disrupt U.S. operations in "a new level" of aggressive behavior by Russian forces, according to U.S. officials. "We urge Russian forces in Syria to cease this reckless behavior and adhere to the standards of behavior expected of a professional air force so we can resume our focus on the enduring defeat of ISIS," Air Forces Central Commander Lt. Gen. Alexus G. Grynkewich said July 6.

Navy Intel Brief Urges Robust Challenge to China

China is “actively destabilizing” the Indo-Pacific region and undermining the international rules-based order—with its island-building, stifling of democracy in Hong Kong, objective to take Taiwan, and dangerous brinksmanship with other countries' ships and aircraft—yet somehow projects more “moral legitimacy” than the U.S., according to an analysis from the Office of Naval Intelligence.

‘We’ve Been Doing It Wrong’: SPACECOM’s Shaw Pushes New View of Operations

American military space operations are due for a significant overhaul to boost the Pentagon's capability to deal with growing threats from China and Russia, the deputy commander of U.S. Space Command said July 6. “The way we’ve been doing space operations since the dawn of the space age, we’ve been doing it wrong,” Space Force Lt. Gen. John E. Shaw, SPACECOM’s highest-ranking Guardian, said during an event at AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. Shaw said there could be a "fundamental doctrinal shift" toward more "dynamic space operations."

Radar Sweep

The US Will Provide Cluster Munitions to Ukraine as Part of a New Military Aid Package: AP Sources

Associated Press

The Biden administration has decided to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine and is expected to announce on July 7 that the Pentagon will send thousands as part of a new military aid package worth up to $800 million for the war effort against Russia, according to people familiar with the decision. The decision comes despite widespread concerns that the controversial bombs can cause civilian casualties. The Pentagon will provide munitions that have a reduced “dud rate,” meaning there will be far fewer unexploded rounds that can result in unintended civilian deaths.

China’s Commercial Space Ventures Pose a Variety of Threats, DOD Officials Say

Defense One

China has ramped up its space mission, with plans to surpass 70 launches—commercial and military—this year. And while the Pentagon has been vocal about the clear military threat China’s rocket program poses to U.S. satellites, officials say China’s growing commercial space activity also poses a threat. “There's been a long debate about state-owned enterprises, and really the viability of a separate commercial sector given the laws that are in place in the PRC, and the necessity to maintain a relationship and frankly, exposure to the PRC leadership in particular, on what's going on and those commercial enterprises,” said Maj. Gen. David Miller, the Space Force’s director of operations.

GCAP Fighter Design to Fly Within 5 Years, As BAE Eyes Potential Export Market

Breaking Defense

BAE Systems executives this week expressed confidence that the Global Combat Air Platform (GCAP), currently in development with Italy and Japan, will achieve its projected in-service date of 2035, with a “manned, supersonic and low observable jet” demonstrator taking flight within the next five years. And more than that, the company leaders believe they can find an export market of “several hundred” jets globally. Meeting with the media at BAE Systems’ assembly plant in Warton, Lancashire, Herman Claesen, BAE Systems’ Future Combat Air System Managing Director, called the international export of GCAP a “key feature” in the wider FCAS effort.

Go Deeper on Operational Imperatives

Air & Space Forces Magazine

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.

Matt Gaetz Proposes End to Cannabis Testing for Military


A proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) would end cannabis testing for members of the military—both when they’re enlisting and accepting a commission. If the amendment is included in the NDAA, it would address a growing issue in the U.S. military: the increasing number of recruits who test positive for marijuana use, particularly in states where it is legal. Nearly 33 percent more recruits tested positive in 2022 than in 2020, according to the New York Times.

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Prigozhin Is Said to Be in Russia, as Wagner Mystery Deepens

The New York Times

The mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin is in Russia and is a “free man” despite staging a rebellion against Moscow’s military leadership, the leader of Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said on July 6, deepening the mystery of where Prigozhin and his Wagner group stand and what will become of them.

How Taiwan Can Maintain Contact with Allies, Supporters, And Its Own People If Attacked

RAND Corporation

Taiwan's ability to command its military forces, communicate with its citizens, and coordinate with international allies is dependent on terrestrial, submarine, and satellite networks. In this Perspective, the author discusses the vulnerabilities of Taiwan's information networks and proposes actions that Taiwan should take to mitigate lost capabilities if attacked by China. Over the past several decades, China has labored to isolate Taiwan internationally and bind Taiwan's future to China's. Although reunification could be a peaceful continuation of current efforts, China poses a clear and growing military threat, as demonstrated by its increasing air and naval capabilities.

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Taiwan’s Impossible Choice: Be Ukraine or Hong Kong

The Wall Street Journal

People in Taiwan have been following every twist of the war in Ukraine. But, while their sympathy for the Ukrainian cause is near-universal, the conclusions for the island’s own future widely diverge. To some, the takeaway is that even a seemingly invincible foe can be defeated if a society stands firm, an inspiration for Taiwan’s own effort to resist a feared invasion by China. Others draw the opposite lesson from the images of smoldering Ukrainian cities.

Japan’s Defense Ministry Reports Decade-Old PFAS Chemical Spills at US Air Base in Tokyo

Stars and Stripes

Firefighting suppressant with toxic PFAS was spilled three times at the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo between 2010 and 2012 but local authorities were informed only recently, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said July 5. The Kanto Defense Bureau—an arm of Japan’s Ministry of Defense—alerted Tokyo officials about the spills on July 4, according to a statement on the metro government’s website. It does not say when the Air Force informed the bureau about the incidents.

One More Thing

Passion, Service Lead Military's Top Chefs to White House 

U.S. Department of Defense

Air Force Master Sgt. Opal Poullard and Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Dustin Lewis' journey to becoming chefs at the top of their field was far different from the path most culinary stars take. Poullard and Lewis spent the Friday leading up to the July 4 weekend at what is perhaps Washington's most prestigious restaurant tucked inside the White House, preparing a hand-crafted menu of osso bucco served over parmesan polenta inspired by Poullard's travels to Rome.  The menu also included Lewis' signature lemon-herb scallops served with wild mushroom parmesan and charred focaccia.