Air Force Eyes Big Changes for Major Commands

As the Department of the Air Force’s sweeping re-optimization review nears its January deadline, the USAF is considering fundamental changes to its major commands. “We’re going to transform the entire Department of the Air Force organizationally to prepare for great power competition within the next quarter,” Space Force Lt. Gen. Michael Guetlein said at the Spacepower Conference Dec. 13.
X-37 launch

Saltzman: ‘Probably No Coincidence’ X-37 and Chinese Space Plane Will Launch Near Each Other

Multiple delays and scrubbed launches have kept the Space Force’s X-37B from returning to orbit this week. But after suggesting several years ago the secretive space plane may be on its way out, Chief of Space Operations Gen. B. Chance Saltzman indicated its future is brighter than ever thanks to Pentagon’s competition with China. In fact, Saltzman told reporters at the Space Force Association’s Spacepower Conference it’s “probably no coincidence” that China’s own space plane may launch around the same time as the X-37B. 
new CMSAF Flosi

6 Things to Know About New CMSAF David A. Flosi

The Air Force is poised to get a new top enlisted Airman, as Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass prepares to pass the baton to Chief Master Sgt. David A. Flosi, selected as the next CMSAF this week. Here are seven key facts to know about the incoming CMSAF.

Radar Sweep

Pentagon Chief Heads to Middle East as Attacks on US Forces Spike


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will travel to the Middle East next week, the Pentagon announced, as the Biden administration works to manage a spike in Iran-backed attacks on American forces in the region and contain the Israel-Hamas conflict. The visit will mark the second time Austin has traveled to the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and comes as war rages in Gaza. Austin plans to meet with senior leaders in Bahrain, Qatar, and Israel, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on Dec. 12.

Strong Senate Majority Passes National Defense Authorization Act for FY24

Breaking Defense

After months of haggling, negotiating and political brinksmanship, the Senate finally passed the nearly $900 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 late Dec. 13, which sailed through with an 87 to 13 vote. The bill now heads to the House, where it’s likely to face partisan headwinds but, if successful, will go on to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

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US Cuts Military Presence in Post-Coup Niger as Counterterrorism Efforts Stop

Stars and Stripes

The U.S. has cut the number of military personnel deployed to Niger by more than 40 percent in the wake of a coup over the summer that has ended counterterrorism missions, the White House said. In a Dec. 7 advisory letter to Congress, the administration said there are now 648 American military personnel in Niger, down from the roughly 1,100 who were there before a military junta seized power and ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in July.

OPINION: Why the Space Force Needs and Deserves Greater Resources


As the U.S. Space Force turns four this month, a pair of retired military leaders outline the Space Force's critical need for resources to counter evolving threats and maintain the United States’ security interests in an increasingly competitive space environment.

Norway to Provide More Air Defense Systems to Ukraine

Defense News

Norway will donate more National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, better known as NASAMS, to Ukraine, this time with a value of 335 million kroner (U.S. $31 million), the government said in a statement Dec. 13. Air defense is vital to Ukraine, and the country is asking for more systems to fend off Russian attacks, according to Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram. Due to the urgent need for more systems, Norway will supply equipment from its own reserves.

Air Force Issues Smartwatches and Rings to 1,000 First Sergeants to Manage Their Health

The Air Force has distributed wearable smart devices to more than 1,000 first sergeants in an attempt to help some of the most overworked and stressed enlisted members keep track of their health and wellness. Chief Master Sgt. John Alsvig, the Air Force first sergeant special duty manager, told in an emailed statement that the First Sergeant Academy early this year began passing out both a smartwatch and a smart ring to each graduate in hopes they’d use them to monitor their vital statistics.

‘Let’s Bring That Margin Back’: China, Russia Too Close for Comfort in Electronic Warfare, Say generals

Breaking Defense

Be afraid; be moderately afraid. That’s the bottom-line assessment of where the U.S. and its allies stand on electronic warfare compared to Russia and China, as distilled from a host of statements by current and former Air Force generals at the Association of Old Crows’ annual EW conference. After decades of neglect, jamming enemy radars and communications—and defending against enemy jamming in turn—is back on the agenda for the U.S. and its allies.

Congress Wants Alerts on Any DOD Autonomous Weapons Policy Revamps


Tucked into the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2024 is a provision that would require the Pentagon’s policy shop to alert—and comprehensively brief—certain lawmakers any time edits or additions are made to the rule that governs the U.S. military’s use of autonomous weapons.

How China Is Challenging the US Military’s Dominance in Space

NBC News

China’s rapidly growing arsenal of anti-satellite weapons could cripple America’s military in a crisis and the U.S. is scrambling to shore up its defenses miles above the Earth. China is testing and developing an array of weapons and tools that could destroy, disable or hijack satellites that the U.S. military heavily relies on to operate around the world, Defense Department officials and experts say.

Pentagon Eyes Successor to Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability Contract


One year after awarding the multibillion-dollar Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability contract, designed to centralize the military’s vast data-management needs, the U.S. Department of Defense will begin exploring a successor early in 2024. The department tapped Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle to supply digital services for the JWCC, itself the follow-up to the failed Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure venture, or JEDI, in December 2022 in an award worth as much as $9 billion over three to five years.

Advocates Call for Overhaul of Program to Help Military Personnel Move into Civilian Jobs

For decades, service members have trudged into offices for presentations on potential careers after they separate from the military as part of the Transition Assistance Program, or TAP. It’s a rite of passage that was meant to help combat what have been stubbornly high unemployment rates for veterans. But many veterans and their advocates are frustrated with the program, viewing it as insufficient to help transitioning troops and inadequately supported by commanders who often see it as a box-checking exercise and fail to allocate enough time for departing service members to learn much.

One More Thing

Step into the Guardian Arena

Space Force release

One hundred Guardians, Airmen, civilians, and international partners took one small step and one giant leap during the inaugural Guardian Arena at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Fla., Dec 10-11. Guardian Arena is a history making, two-day event, consisting of 11 stations which challenge participants, who were broken up into teams, in the skills of problem solving, knowledge, and physical strength to improve camaraderie, instill esprit de corps, and provide an opportunity to operationalize the Guardian Ideal and Guardian Spirit in a healthy competition.