Outstanding Airmen of the Year: Tech. Sgt. Kimberly R. Mastrocola

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. Kimberly R. Mastrocola, the Noncommissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Wing Project Integration with the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla. 

Radar Sweep

OPINION: Three Service Secretaries to Tuberville: Stop This Dangerous Hold on Senior Officers

The Washington Post

Carlos Del Toro is secretary of the Navy. Frank Kendall is secretary of the Air Force. Christine Wormuth is secretary of the Army. “As the civilian leaders of the Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Army, we are proud to work alongside exceptional military leaders who are skilled, motivated and empowered to protect our national security. These officers and the millions of service members they lead are the foundation of America’s enduring military advantage. Yet this foundation is being actively eroded by the actions of a single U.S. senator, Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), who is blocking the confirmation of our most senior military officers,” they wrote.

Subscription Required

Chinese Gate-Crashers at US Bases Spark Espionage Concerns

The Wall Street Journal

Chinese nationals, sometimes posing as tourists, have accessed military bases and other sensitive sites in the U.S. as many as 100 times in recent years, according to U.S. officials, who describe the incidents as a potential espionage threat.

Inside the DOD’s Trusted AI and Autonomy Tech Review That Brought Together Hundreds of Experts


More than 200 attendees—representing the government, military, and approximately 60 companies, universities, and federally funded research centers—participated in a three-day conference June 20-22 that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering organized and hosted to deliberate on key advancements and issues in the fields of artificial intelligence and autonomy within the U.S. defense sector.

Japan’s Top Court Orders Okinawa to Allow a Divisive Government Plan to Build US Military Runways

The Associated Press

Japan’s Supreme Court on Sept. 4 dismissed Okinawa’s rejection of a central government plan to build U.S. Marine Corps runways on the island and ordered the prefecture to approve it despite protests by locals who oppose the American troops’ presence. Monday’s ruling upheld a high court ruling in March that the central government’s plan and its instruction for Okinawa’s approval are valid. It will move forward the suspended construction at a time Okinawa’s strategic role is seen increasingly important for the Japan-U.S. military alliance in the face of growing tensions with China.

The Pentagon’s Innovation Arm Has a New Chief and a New Strategy

Defense One

The Pentagon’s new innovation chief wants to redefine how the Defense Department adopts commercial technology, starting with extending the Defense Innovation Unit’s reach into the combatant commands. “There was a time where, a bit, disruptors of the team was what was needed, because we just had to finally break through and change the way we were thinking about certain things,” said Doug Beck, the new director of the Defense Innovation Unit. “Now what we've got to do is we've got to be disruptors on the team, and that's about disruption at scale, which is more like the kind of world that I just came from. And that's why when I'm out here, I'm not wearing jeans. I'm wearing this thing,” the former Apple exec said, pointing to his tie.

Recovery Takes Shape at Air Force’s Typhoon-Battered Base in Guam

Air Force Times

Three months after Typhoon Mawar became the strongest storm to hit Guam since 2002, Andersen Air Force Base is getting back on its feet. All base services, like stores and the daycare, are operational with regular hours, 36th Wing spokesperson 1st Lt. Ariana Wilkinson said. It’s the first steps of a process that could take one to two years, if not longer, to return the Air Force’s westernmost outpost in the Pacific to its pre-storm state. The service declined to answer how much the effort may cost, citing a complex web of decisions across multiple branches of the military that have installations on Guam.

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.

DOD Satellites in Low Earth Orbit Promise More Connectivity for Military Users


With its first 23 satellites in orbit, the U.S. Space Development Agency in the coming months will begin the demonstration phase of a data network in space designed to support military operations. SpaceX on Sept. 2 launched SDA’s second batch of satellites. The agency now has 19 communications satellites and four missile-tracking spacecraft in orbit. These make up the Tranche 0 portion of a projected network known as the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

Subscription Required

Air Force Plans to Collaborate with Industry on Tanker Recapitalization Program

Inside Defense

The Air Force is planning to release a "draft system requirements document for the KC-135 replacement aircraft system" later this month, according to a notice posted Sept. 1. The service aims to close the gap between the end of KC-46 tanker aircraft production and the delivery of the next-generation refueling system by recapitalizing the current tanker fleet.

Iran Receives Russian Yak-130 Advanced Trainer Jets

The War Zone

Russia has reportedly delivered Yak-130 “Mitten” trainer jets to Iran in the latest example of Moscow and Tehran's increasing military ties and the associated arms trades that have come with them. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-linked Tasnim News Agency reported Sept. 2 that the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) received the trainers. The story includes a picture of a Yak-130 in a hangar displaying a high-visibility IRIAF paint scheme. A video on Twitter shows a Yak-130 with the same paint job reportedly taxiing at Iran’s Isfahan Air Base.

Missile Defense Agency Cancels Test of Long-Range Discrimination Radar

Defense News

The Missile Defense Agency canceled a critical flight test of the Long-Range Discrimination Radar due to a target anomaly, according to a spokesman. “The Missile Defense Agency was unable to execute Flight Test Other-26 (FTX-26) on 17 August 2023 due to a target anomaly, which has necessitated the cancellation of this test event,” Mark Wright, MDA spokesman, told Defense News.

PODCAST: Commander Conversation: Royal Canadian Air Force Spacepower

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In Episode 144 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, Doug Birkey chats with Brig. Gen. Mike Adamson, Commander of 3 Canadian Space Division; Brig. Gen. Chris McKenna, Director General Air and Space Force Development; and Brig. Gen. Kyle Paul, Deputy Commanding General, Transformation, U.S. Space Operations Command. The Royal Canadian Air Force organizes, trains, operates, and equips for a broad range of air and space missions. This episode seeks to further explore current RCAF activities through the spacepower lens.

Russia Spikes UN Effort on Norms to Reduce Space Threats

Breaking Defense

The U.N. working group attempting to develop norms to constrain threatening military activities in space Sept. 1 ended with a bang—as Russia threw firebomb after firebomb into the process, blocking forward motion against the clear wishes of a majority of participating countries. U.N. working groups function on the basis of consensus, meaning that any one nation can veto the proceedings.

One More Thing

US Air Force Is Toying with Idea of Building This Batman Villain’s Weapon

The Independent

Researchers funded by the U.S. Air Force are developing a new type of device that can invite comparisons to a weapon used by a Batman villain. Scientists, including Patrick Hopkins from the University of Virginia, are working on a new device to be used for on-demand surface cooling for electronics inside spacecraft and high-altitude jets. The device may seem similar to the freeze gun used by Batman villain Mr. Freeze to “ice” his enemies.