How Do These 60-Year-Old USAF Jets Age So Gracefully?

They were manufactured in the early 1960s and are deployed almost constantly around the world. But the Air Force's fleet of RC-135 intelligence and reconnaissance aircraft enjoy some of the highest mission capable rates in U.S. military aviation. How the Air Force manages it is a combination of extensive maintenance and modernization.
Air Force pilot retention bonuses

A New Bonus Program Targets Pilots Willing to Re-Up Their Service Commitment Early

The Air Force is instituting a new bonus program to entice its pilots to stay in the service by encouraging them to re-up years in advance. The Rated Officer Retention Demonstration program, formally unveiled Aug. 15, will offer bonuses of up to $50,000 per year to Airmen whose Active-Duty service commitments from training are due to expire in fiscal 2024 and 2025. 

LOOK: How the Nominations Freeze Affects the Highest Levels of USAF, USSF Leadership

The continuing freeze on general and flag officer nominations in the Senate is affecting everything from wing commanders to the Air Force and Space Force’s vice chiefs. More than 100 Air Force and Space Force officers are now stuck in limbo. In some cases, generals who had been planning on retiring are staying on indefinitely. In others, generals are taking on their new jobs in an acting capacity, or without a promotion to a higher grade.

Editorial: Build an Air Force

To achieve that, Congress and the Pentagon must make a strategic shift in priorities, providing an additional redirecting of $10 billion to $20 billion annually to the Department of the Air Force. This is the only way to remain ready today while modernizing for tomorrow.

Radar Sweep

Coalition Ops: Northern Edge Highlights Culture, Language Challenges

Breaking Defense

During the recently concluded Northern Edge 23-2 exercise, U.S. Air Force pilots focused heavily on practicing what is known as agile combat employment in the Pacific—essentially, making sure U.S. forces could land on small islands, quickly resupply, and get back up to the fight. It’s a concept that relies heavily on working with allies and partners in the region, but while much of the focus in Washington has been on the technical how-to of the strategy, operators who talked with Breaking Defense about the exercise, which ran July 2-21, also emphasized the experience they gained in the more prosaic issues of dealing with their Japanese and French counterparts.

The Pentagon May Be Too Busy to Fix Its Half-Century-Old Budget Process, Reform Group Says

Defense One

A congressionally directed panel working on recommendations to give the Pentagon new spending flexibility released an interim report Aug. 15—but acknowledged the Defense Department may not have the bandwidth to implement their suggestions. The panel's job is to modernize the Pentagon’s over half-a-century-old budget process, called the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, & Execution Process, or PPBE, so the military can get newer technology much faster than it can today.

Go Deeper on Operational Imperatives

Air & Space Forces Magazine

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.

Italian Team Wins Space Force’s First On-Orbit Hack-A-Sat Contest

Breaking Defense

The annual Hack-A-Sat contest, sponsored by the Space Force and Air Force Research Laboratory to help improve the cybersecurity of Defense Department satellites, literally got real this year—with Italy’s mHACKeroni beating out five international teams of cyber researchers vying to take control of a live, in orbit satellite.

Department of the Air Force Names Venice Goodwine CIO


The Department of the Air Force has tapped Venice Goodwine as its new chief information officer, DefenseScoop has learned. Goodwine takes over from Lauren Knausenberger, who stepped down from her position as Air Force CIO in June. Goodwine worked in Knausenberger’s office as the director of enterprise information technology from 2021 until recently taking on the new leadership role.

Japanese F-35s to Make Inaugural Deployment to Australia

Defense News

Japan will send its fifth-generation F-35 stealth fighters overseas for the first time later this month to take part in exercises in northern Australia. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force, or JASDF, said in a release Aug. 14 that four Lockheed-Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from the 3rd Air Wing at Misawa will undertake a two-week deployment.

US Deactivates GSSAP Surveillance Satellite, Two New Ones in the Works


A geosynchronous surveillance satellite operated by the U.S. Space Force reached the end of its lifespan and was recently taken out of service. The satellite was part of the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program known as GSSAP. The Space Systems Command confirmed that GSSAP Space Vehicle 2, in orbit since 2014, has been deactivated.

‘It’s Like a Bad Monster Movie’: US Officials Who Helped Train Nigerien Troops Reel from Coup


Brig. Gen Moussa Barmou, the American-trained commander of the Nigerien special operations forces, beamed as he embraced a senior U.S. general visiting the country’s $100 million, Washington-funded drone base in June. Six weeks later, Barmou helped oust Niger’s democratically elected president. For U.S. military officers and diplomats, it’s become an all-too-familiar—and deeply frustrating—story.

Pioneering Study Links Testicular Cancer Among Military Personnel to ‘Forever Chemicals’

Kaiser Health News

The link between PFAS and testicular cancer among service members was never directly proven—until now. A new federal study for the first time shows a direct association between PFOS, a PFAS chemical, found in the blood of thousands of military personnel and testicular cancer. Using banked blood drawn from Air Force servicemen, researchers at the National Cancer Institute and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences found strong evidence that Airmen who were firefighters had elevated levels of PFAS in their bloodstreams and weaker evidence for those who lived on installations with high levels of PFAS in the drinking water.

How the Air Force Is Helping Clear the Path for Electric Air Taxis


Before electric air taxis are whisking passengers over congested cities, they'll likely be ferrying personnel and supplies for military missions. As the first entity to deploy electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOLs), the U.S. Air Force is acting as an important bridge to the commercial market for a handful of startups, including Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation.

One More Thing

Germany Cans Its A340 ‘Air Force One’ Jets After Two Failures In 24 Hours

The War Zone

The German Air Force has decided to immediately retire its two Airbus A340 VIP transport aircraft, which are used to fly the German chancellor and other leading officials on long-haul trips around the world. The snap decision comes in the aftermath of an embarrassing episode in which two technical problems suffered by one of the ‘Air Force One’ jets forced German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to cancel her trip to the Asia Pacific region.