A Gigantic New ICBM Will Take US Nuclear Missiles out of the Cold War-Era But Add 21st-Century Risks
The control stations for America’s nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles have a sort of 1980s retro look, with computing panels in sea foam green, bad lighting and chunky control switches, including a critical one that says “launch.” Those underground capsules are about to be demolished and the missile silos they control will be completely overhauled. A new nuclear missile is coming, a gigantic ICBM called the Sentinel. It’s the largest cultural shift in the land leg of the Air Force’s nuclear missile mission in 60 years. But there are questions as to whether some of the Cold War-era aspects of the Minuteman missiles that the Sentinel will replace should be changed.
While the Pentagon and Congress are still weighing the pros and cons of standing up an independent cyber branch akin to the Space Force, the director of US Cyber Command said Dec. 8 that he’s concentrating on evolving to “CYBERCOM 2.0.” “I think all options are on the table except status quo,” Gen. Paul Nakasone said at an event hosted by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. “So we have to have…[a] cyber force 2.0…CYBERCOM 2.0. … We built our force in 2012 and 2013. We’ve had tremendous experience. But the scope, scale, sophistication of the threat has changed.”
Retired Gen. Frank McKenzie, who commanded all U.S. forces in the Middle East for three years during the Trump and Biden presidencies, believes President Joe Biden should respond more forcefully to attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea—even as top administration officials remain wary of provoking Iran. The former head of U.S. Central Command said Iran has taken the lack of a strong U.S. military response to the recent spike in Tehran-backed Houthi attacks on civilian vessels, which pose a threat to U.S. warships, as an invitation to continue its aggressive behavior.
Back Pay Floated for Officers Whose Promotions Were Delayed by Tuberville While Handful Still Await Confirmation
Generals and admirals whose promotions were delayed for months by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., could get back pay for the time they were waiting to be confirmed under bipartisan legislation unveiled Friday. The bill comes as a couple of dozen officers are still waiting to be promoted despite the Senate clearing 425 nominees from the backlog earlier this week. In addition to 12 four-star nominees that Tuberville is still blocking, another Republican senator has said he is delaying a few military nominees over their support for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
Commanders now have a tool to visualize and plan operations within the invisible confines of the electromagnetic spectrum. Electromagnetic Battle Management—Joint (EMBM-J) released its minimum viable capability release for the first iteration of the tool, called situational awareness, according to the Defense Information Systems Agency, the manager for the program.
Lawmakers have finalized the must-pass annual defense policy bill that authorizes $874.2 billion for the Pentagon and other national security programs amid fervor from staunch conservatives—and quite a few tech amendments.
In Episode 158 of the Aerospace Advantage podcast, Doug Birkey chats with Mark Gunzinger and Jim Young, Executive Program Director, Precision Engagement Systems-Direct Attack, Boeing. Most DOD air-to-surface munitions were designed for U.S. campaigns of the past 30 years in which its forces confronted lesser regional militaries operating weak air defenses. DOD is now planning for conflicts with peer adversaries. This is why the Air Force is acquiring fifth generation F-35 fighters and B-21 stealth bombers. However, new stealth aircraft are only as effective as the weapons they can deliver. Developing multiple variants of mid-range, stand-in precision guided munitions suitable for operations in contested environments is crucial.
Members of a key advisory board questioned the U.S. military’s commitment to deliver enhancements to the Global Positioning System, arguing that the network is at risk of falling behind other satellite navigation systems built by Europe and China. The critique came at last week’s annual meeting of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board.
The conflicts in Ukraine and Israel have ushered in a new “era of missile-centric warfare” and elevated the importance of missile defense systems, demonstrating in real-world events capabilities previously relegated to intelligence forecasts and baked into key policy documents, including the 2022 National Defense Strategy, according to a senior Pentagon official.
The conference table at the center of Radha Plumb’s Pentagon office has two large maps sitting underneath a glass plate. One is of Taiwan, and the second Ukraine. There’s hardly a better image of the demands faced by her staff. As deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, Plumb is responsible for helping solve some of the Defense Department’s most vexing problems, from increasing industrial capacity to reforming the arcane Foreign Military Sales process.
Air Force’s Trey Taylor picked off one of college football’s most prestigious awards on Dec. 8. The senior safety was named the Jim Thorpe Award winner during a live broadcast on ESPN. The award goes to the nation’s top defensive back “based on performance on the field, athletic ability and character.” Taylor is the second Falcons football player to win a major college football individual honor, joining Chad Hennings (Outland Trophy) in 1987.