Israel increased airstrikes on the Gaza Strip and sealed it off from food, fuel, and other supplies in retaliation for a bloody incursion by Hamas militants, as the war’s death toll rose to nearly 1,600 on both sides. Hamas also escalated on Oct. 9, pledging to kill captured Israelis if attacks targeted civilians without warnings. In the war’s third day, Israel was still finding bodies from Hamas’ stunning weekend attack into southern Israeli towns.
The American effort to supply Israel with new military assistance took a step forward overnight Oct. 8-9, as Biden administration officials briefed Congress on weapons the ally is urgently seeking from the United States. Israel’s appeal for more arms came into focus in a briefing for congressional leaders and the heads of security-focused committees on the surprise attacks by Hamas, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
With active fighting still ongoing along the Israeli-Gaza border, it is still too early to know how exactly Hamas pulled off the biggest assault on Israel in 50 years, killing hundreds and capturing dozens of hostages. But analysts agree that the Israeli security establishment is going to have to ask itself hard questions about why it didn’t see the assault coming, and whether its bet on high-tech defenses is enough.
At least 11 Americans have been killed in the eruption of fighting in Israel, a statement by President Joe Biden said Oct. 9. “It’s heart wrenching,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. “These families have been torn apart by inexcusable hatred and violence. We also know that American citizens still remain unaccounted for, and we are working with Israeli officials to obtain more information as to their whereabouts.” Officials released no details on their deaths including their identities or where they were killed.
In late August, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to a factory of air defense systems manufacturer Almaz-Antey to inspect its artillery production, emphasizing to the company the importance of round-the-clock work, according to state-run news agency Sputnik. This was Shoigu’s second inspection of an Almaz-Antey property this year, having visited another facility in June that makes anti-aircraft missiles, the government news agency Tass reported. During the more recent tour, Shoigu and the head of Almaz-Antey emphasized the effectiveness of the S-300, S-350, and S-400 air defense systems amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. However, there was no mention of the more advanced S-500 Prometheus air defense system.
Dangling from the ceiling and laid flat on display stands, sleek drones of every shape and size were ubiquitous at last month’s sprawling DSEI arms show. Far less common were weapons to stop them. The same is true on the battlefields of Ukraine—and in the arsenals and training grounds of the U.S. Army.
The Air Force has revamped its strength test for new recruits for the first time in more than 20 years as it tries to diversify a host of traditionally male career fields. Prospective airmen are now judged on their ability to perform a series of increasingly heavy deadlifts, rather than the power clean-and-press motion that was used for decades, the Air Force confirmed in an Oct. 4 email.
The Air Force has made some significant progress in addressing its shortage of child care providers in just the past year. Amid a nationwide shortage, the service still has a vacancy rate of 20 percent. But that’s compared to 35 percent in the summer of 2022. Officials think the improvement is largely due to new incentives that helped attract child care workers to the Air Force’s child development centers. In light of the fact that provider shortages have reached crisis levels in the private sector too, they determined higher pay alone wasn’t going to solve the problem, said Alex Wagner, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs.
Three decades ago, Air Force researchers briefed their plasma cannon research to audiences at scientific conferences. Excited internet denizens in the years since have speculated that the Air Force might have a secret, functioning plasma cannon. It's a fun dream. And if any branch would have a functioning science fiction weapon, it would be the Air Force (Sorry, Space Force). But, for reasons we'll get into, that's probably not the case.