The U.S. military plans to resume the permanent deployment of fighter jets at an American base in Okinawa but with fewer planes than before, Nikkei Asia has learned, drawing mixed reactions from lawmakers and experts as the threat posed by China grows. Congressional sources, who were briefed on the Air Force's plan, told Nikkei Asia that the service intends to deploy 36 F-15EX aircraft, a one-quarter cut from the fleet before the phased withdrawal began.
U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed concern about the large number of civilian deaths in Gaza. But after talks with Israeli officials on Dec. 18, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III said, “This is Israel’s operation. I’m not here to dictate timelines or terms.” The U.S. has vetoed calls for a cease-fire at the U.N. and has rushed munitions to Israel.
Good news for new moms: A recent study found that airmen who wait 12 months to take their first physical fitness test after giving birth score higher than those who test at six months postpartum. Women who took longer to recover from childbirth were 6.4% less likely to fail fitness tests than those who tested at the six-month mark, according to the study’s findings, published Dec. 11 in the journal Military Medicine.
The International Telecommunication Union rule-making summit wrapped up Dec. 15, with the U.S. delegation scoring a victory by maintaining protections for Defense Department radars from spectrum interference—while at the same time opening up room for expanding spectrum use by 5G and future 6G mobile communications networks, according to U.S. officials.
U.S. Marine veteran born in Ireland who later immigrated to the United States has been killed in Ukraine while repelling an assault by Russian troops that had broken through his unit’s line, a fellow American veteran told Task & Purpose Graham Dale was killed in close-quarters fighting on Dec. 9. He was at least the 10th former U.S. Marine killed in Ukraine, according to a list compiled by Task & Purpose of U.S. veterans who have died in Ukraine since 2022.
The first look at Israel’s Spike FireFly coaxial rotor loitering munition drone being used during the current conflict appears to have emerged. A new video combines two views of the weapons in use, most likely shot in the West Bank city of Jenin. The FireFly was designed to be used by maneuvering ground forces in dense urban areas where “situational awareness is limited, the enemy is fighting from behind cover and the effectiveness of fire support elements is reduced by the close proximity of noncombatants.”
In Episode 159 of the Aerospace Advantage, CCAs and Disruptive Air Warfare: The Future Vector, John Baum chats with Mark Gunzinger, Mike Dahm, and Maj Gen Larry Stutzriem, USAF (Ret.) of the Mitchell Institute about the potential for collaborative combat aircraft (CCA) to increase the lethality, survivability, and capacity of the Air Force’s air superiority forces for operations in highly contested environments.
The U.S. Space Force awarded Millennium Space Systems contracts worth $509.5 million for the first six satellites of a medium Earth orbit constellation to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
Many military observers are concerned that the military’s ability to wage irregular warfare—like working with combatants not formally associated with nation-states, skills honed during more than a decade of wars in the Middle East—will be discarded as the Pentagon readies itself to take on great-power states such as China. That concern reflects debate about how to revamp U.S. irregular-warfare capabilities and training—and even whether such capabilities are still needed. The Army, for example, is proposing to cut its special operations forces by up to 20 percent.
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Dianne Dunn was nominated Dec. 15 to become the first woman to serve as the state's adjutant general, leader of the Maine National Guard, following the retirement of Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills said Dunn’s previous service at the highest levels of the Maine National Guard make her uniquely qualified to return to lead it.