SDA Launch

SDA Launches 13 More Tranche 0 Satellites into Orbit

Nearly five months after the Space Development Agency celebrated the first launch of its massive planned satellite constellation in low-Earth orbit, the organization is set for their second go-around Aug. 31. Thirteen satellites from Tranche 0 of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture are slated to head into orbit from Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at around 7:30 a.m. local time—the launch will be livestreamed.

Outstanding Airmen of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Michelle Fernandez

The Air Force’s 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2023 will be formally recognized at AFA’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference from Sept. 11-13 in National Harbor, Md. Air & Space Forces Magazine is highlighting one each weekday from now until the conference begins. Today, we honor Tech. Sgt. Michelle Fernandez, the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the Marine Patrol Unit with the 6th Security Forces Squadron at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Radar Sweep

Future Fighter Program Poses Key Test for US Air Force’s Design Method

Air Force Times

The futuristic Next Generation Air Dominance fighter platform now in the works is likely to be one of the most complex, highest-stakes weapon acquisitions in the U.S. Air Force’s history. The sixth-generation fighter jet is expected to include new technologies ranging from cutting-edge adaptive engines to an autonomous drone flying alongside its wings. If NGAD works as the service hopes, it could prove critical in a potential war against China. But in recent years, the advanced digital engineering techniques the Air Force once thought would lead to a revolution in rapid aircraft development and fielding have not always panned out.

Pentagon’s Global Train and Equip Projects Plagued by Delays, Unreliable Equipment: GAO

Breaking Defense

One of the Pentagon’s largest international security cooperation programs is experiencing “persistent issues” meeting delivery timelines, while some projects have altogether “failed” to provide reliable and suitable capabilities, according to a government watchdog office. Between fiscal 2018 and 2022, the Department of Defense allocated $5.6 billion for Section 333 projects that involve the US providing training and equipment to at least 90 partner nations nations to help with everything from counternarcotics operations to border security to simple construction projects.

No Service Can Fight on Its Own: JADC2 Demands Move from Self-Sufficiency to Interdependency

Breaking Defense

In this Q&A with retired USAF Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, dean of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and former deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for the U.S. Air Force, we discuss the future of JADC2 under a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the inadequacy of the current defense industrial base; why business standards imposed on the Department of Defense are hindering production; and why jointness is about using the right force in the right place at the right time—not every force, every place, all the time.

Advancing the Warfighter

Air & Space Forces Magazine

The way modern Airmen and Guardians prepare for the future fight is changing, with live, virtual, and constructive training offering new ways to practice essential skills. Learn more about how virtual and augmented reality, simulated environments, and other technologies are helping train warfighters everywhere from the cockpit to the maintenance depot.

Job 1 for Makers of Anti-Drone Defenses: Write Good Software

Defense One

Military buyers really, really want counter-drone systems that work—starting with the software that drives them. “As threats change, and different threats show up in different form factors—let's say swarming [drones] versus individuals—how will your software adapt to that? How and how can a marine up in the field download that?” said Stephen Bowden, U.S. Marine Corps’ program executive officer for land systems.

Space Force in Discussions to Establish a Cyber Component to US Cyber Command


The Space Force has been in talks since early this year about establishing a formal cyber component with U.S. Cyber Command, according to officials. Each military service besides Space Force currently has a service cyber component to CYBERCOM—just as they do for all combatant commands—and has requirements to provide CYBERCOM a set number of personnel and teams to the joint cyber mission force, which conducts offensive and defensive cyber operations.

Firefly Ready for Call-Up to Launch Military ‘Responsive Space’ Mission


Firefly Aerospace and Millennium Space Systems announced Aug. 30 that they are standing by waiting for orders from the U.S. Space Force to prepare to launch a satellite on short notice. The companies were selected last year to conduct a demonstration of a rapid-response space mission to low Earth orbit known as Victus Nox.

Airmen on HIV Drug Can Return to Flight Sooner After Change Championed by LGBTQ+ Advisory Group

The Air Force is amending its policies regarding an anti-HIV drug, decreasing the time that pilots would be grounded after taking the medication and eliminating waivers altogether for aircrews. In a press release Aug. 29, the service announced it had updated the official Air Force Aerospace Medicine Approved Medication Lists and the Medical Standards Directory for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, preventative medication known as PrEP taken by those who may be at an elevated risk of contracting the virus.

North Korea and Russia Meet over Arms Deal, US Intel Reveals


New U.S. intelligence shows North Korea and Russia are “actively advancing” high-level talks for additional weapons and other materials to assist Moscow’s brutal war in Ukraine, the Biden administration disclosed on Aug. 30. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu recently traveled to North Korea to try to secure additional artillery ammunition, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.

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US Space Force Looks to Boost Allied Tracking of North Korea Missiles


The U.S. and South Korean militaries want to more closely integrate their systems for tracking North Korean missile launches, an effort that may soon see more cooperation with Japan as well, U.S. Space Force officials said on Aug. 30. Led by a small contingent of U.S. Space Force personnel—the branch's first official component set up overseas—the allies see closer space integration as key to better tracking North Korean threats and responding to a conflict.

One More Thing

The 7 Best Military Books That Envision the Near Future of Warfare

In the last decade, a certain type of military book has come to dominate national security circles alongside traditional meditations on the future of warfare. Call it the “E-ring thriller”: Part technical manual and part speculative fiction, these engrossing techno-thrillers use “FICINT”—the combination of fiction writing with intelligence to imagine future scenarios in ways grounded in reality,” as the Army War College puts it—to imagine the near future of warfare with a sense of knowledge and authenticity that evokes the style of beloved authors like Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton.