Lester Holt reports from Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson in Alaska, with an inside look at NORAD’s operations as a first line of defense against growing threats from Russia and China.
The U.S. Air Force’s top officer in Europe said July 25 the service aims to bring new fighter pilots, air planners, and other reservists to the region, as the military looks to relieve Active-Duty troops stretched thin by efforts to deter Russia and support NATO amid the war in Ukraine. The plan comes in response to President Joe Biden’s July 13 executive order authorizing the Pentagon to mobilize up to 3,000 reservists for duty in Europe. Military officials have said the order would not grow the total number of U.S. troops in the region.
The U.S. national security adviser said the administration will move “as fast as possible” to get F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. A top White House spokesperson said the aircraft would be in Ukrainian skies “towards the end of the year.” But so far, Western partners have yet to even agree on a plan to train Ukrainian pilots to fly the promised jets, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the discussions. Denmark and the Netherlands are leading a coalition of 11 nations to support the training, but so far no country has publicly committed aircraft to the program.
The U.S. Space Force announced July 24 it selected 16 companies that will compete for low Earth orbit satellite services contracts. Under an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, vendors will compete for up to $900 million worth of task orders over the next five years. Each contractor is guaranteed $2,000.
The Canadian government has selected the Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) to serve as the country’s new in-flight refueling jet. Ottawa on July 25 said it selected Airbus to provide the new Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) tanker, replacing the Airbus A310-300 derivative CC-150 Polaris multi-purpose transport. “Following an open, fair and transparent procurement process, it was determined that [Airbus] was the only qualified supplier that met the project requirements,” the government says.
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.
The U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command (AMC) has conducted a successful test of the Rapid Dragon pallet system as part of its massive exercise across the Pacific, as the command wants to include the system in all of its planning. The command, when asked about the Rapid Dragon’s involvement in the Mobility Guardian 2023 exercise, said that it “in coordination with U.S. Indo-Pacific Command successfully conducted a palletized effects test.”
More than 100 Department of the Air Force promotions are stalled due to Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s hold on Defense Department nominations. As of July 12, 97 Air Force and six Space Force nominations are in limbo because of the holds, a department spokesperson told Defense One.
The U.S. Department Defense has established three new roles aimed at fostering innovative technology and research. The assistant secretary of defense positions, which the Pentagon announced July 24, will focus on three areas: critical technology; science and technology; and mission capabilities. According to the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, Heidi Shyu, who will oversee the roles, the move gives more authority to her office to pursue key technology projects.
U.S. Strategic Command will official establish the Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations Center in a ceremony July 26, serving as a key piece of the Pentagon’s implementation plan for its spectrum superiority strategy to gain an advantage over adversaries. The JEC, as it is known, will aim to raise the readiness of the joint force within the electromagnetic spectrum, serving as the heart of the Defense Department’s EMSO, according to a spokesperson.
The Space Force’s draft framework for how commercial satellite services could be called up in times of crisis or conflict to support military missions would allow the Defense Department to deny participating companies the right to sell their wares to any other client in times of “war, major conflict, national or international emergency.” The “Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve,” or “CASR,” concept, under development by Space Systems Command’s recently revamped Commercial Space Office (COMSO), was released July 24 for industry comment.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a study to determine whether three types of cancer are linked to environmental exposures for U.S. troops who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The VA announced July 25 that it will explore a possible link between acute leukemia, chronic leukemia and multiple myeloma and service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Uzbekistan, and all of the Southwest Asia operational theater.
A motorcycle shop that has served American and Japanese customers near the home of U.S. Forces Japan for more than a half-century is closing. Bike Land Keisho—across from Yokota, an airlift hub in western Tokyo—opened in 1970, owner Sho Satake said July 24 as he stood near a vintage Harley-Davidson and piles of merchandise.