US, Allies Take On Over 100 Attacks by Houthis with New ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’

The U.S. is establishing a multinational maritime task force—Operation Prosperity Guardian—to address attacks from Houthis in Yemen on commercial ships and other targets as the conflict in the Middle East widens and risks upending global trade, the Pentagon said Dec. 18. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said he will hold a virtual meeting of top defense leaders from around the region and elsewhere.

AFA’s Next CEO: The Search Is On 

The search for the Air & Space Forces Association's next President & CEO is underway, and the search committee is casting a wide net to identify as many qualified candidates as possible by Jan. 13, 2024.

US, Australia, and UK Bring Their C-17s Together for Pacific Mobility Exercise

The U.S., Australia, and the U.K. joined forces for "Global Dexterity," a two-week exercise in the Pacific that saw C-17 transport crews from all three nations work together to practice mobility operations from Nov. 27 to Dec. 8. Air and ground crews from each country operated and maintained each other's aircraft. They collaborated on airlift, airdrop, air refueling, and low-level flight to prepare for future conflicts or humanitarian missions that could see them working closely together.

Radar Sweep

US Weighs Returning Smaller Permanent Fighter Force to Okinawa

Nikkei Asia

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.

US Defense Secretary, Israeli Leaders Discuss More Targeted Approach in Gaza

The Associated Press

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.

More Postpartum Recovery Time Yields Better PT Scores, Study Says

Air Force Times

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.

US Wins Protections for Pentagon Radar Spectrum at WRC-23

Breaking Defense

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.

US Marine Vet in Ukraine Repulsed Russian Attack in Final Moments

Task & Purpose

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.

Israel’s FireFly Urban Warfare Drone Spotted in Jenin

The War Zone

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.”

PODCAST: CCAs and Disruptive Air Warfare: The Future Vector

Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

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.

As Irregular Warfare Comes to a Crossroads, Congress Chips In

Defense One

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.

One More Thing

1st Woman to Lead Maine National Guard

Spectrum News

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.