Editor’s Note

Wishing all our loyal readers happy holidays from all of us at Air & Space Forces Magazine's Daily Report. This is our last issue for 2023. We'll be back in your inboxes on Jan. 3, 2024. Until then, be merry, stay well, and take care of those around you!

US and China Hold First High-Level Military Talks in More Than a Year

The U.S.’s top military officer spoke with his Chinese counterpart on Dec. 21, the first senior-level military-to-military talks between the two countries in more than a year, the Pentagon said. In a video call, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr spoke with People’s Liberation Army of China Chief of the Joint Staff Department Gen. Liu Zhenli. “Gen. Brown discussed the importance of working together to responsibly manage competition, avoid miscalculations, and maintain open and direct lines of communication,” the Joint Staff said.

Space RCO Director: Effort to Modernize Aging Network for Controlling Satellites ‘On Track’

The Space Rapid Capabilities Office, charged with quickly delivering cutting-edge, often-classified technologies for the Space Force, has made key progress in its push to modernize the aging system used to control U.S. government satellites, its director revealed last week. Additionally, the secretive organization deployed “threat awareness sensors” in geosynchronous orbit this year that have already yielded intelligence on foreign capabilities, director Kelly Hammett told reporters.

Radar Sweep

Air Force Has ‘Concerns’ about HACM; Hasn’t Ruled Out Boost-Glide Hypersonic Weapons


The Air Force’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) program faces challenges that must be addressed. Meanwhile, the service hasn’t written off the possibility of acquiring boost-glide systems despite hiccups with the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), according to its top weapons buyer. The Pentagon has been pursuing multiple types of hypersonics that have unique characteristics.

One More Hold: USAF Colonel Who Urged Conversations about Racism

Defense One

A U.S. senator is stalling the promotion of an Air Force colonel who urged his peers to talk about racism and its effects on the military. In a 2020 op-ed, Air Force Col. Benjamin Jonsson described how his white colleagues would rather change the subject. Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Mo., who placed the hold on Jonsson, said he disapproves of the military’s diversity-equity-inclusion programs.

Don’t Expect ‘Straight-Line’ Capability Advancements for CCA Drones, Air Force Acquisition Chief Says


The capabilities of the Air Force’s next-generation drones—known as collaborative combat aircraft—are expected to increase over time, but that doesn’t mean there will be consistent leaps from one increment to the next, the service’s top weapons buyer told DefenseScoop. The goal is to field the first tranche of CCAs by the end of fiscal 2028. The Air Force plans to spend more than $6 billion on related projects over the next five years.

EVENT: Air & Space Warfighters in Action: CMSAF JoAnne Bass


On Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, join the Air & Space Forces Association for a virtual fireside chat with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass, the highest-ranking enlisted Airman in the U.S. Air Force, and AFA’s President & CEO Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright, USAF (Ret.). Chief Bass provides direction for the enlisted force and represents their interests to the American public and to those in all levels of government. She serves as the personal adviser to the Air Force Chief of Staff and the Secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale, and proper utilization and progress of more than 600,000 Total Force Airmen.

Pentagon Cloud Tie-Up with Silicon Valley Off to a Slow Start

The Washington Post

The Pentagon has struggled for years to make the jump to cloud computing, now the preference of most American businesses. It’s still struggling amid concerns that the cloud isn’t secure enough for sensitive military use. The Defense Department’s earlier effort—memorably dubbed JEDI cloud—died in the cradle, after Microsoft’s win of the contract was challenged in court by Amazon and Oracle. In an effort to get things moving, the Pentagon started over in December 2022, divvying up a new $9 billion contract among four vendors: Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle. But a year into what is known as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability (JWCC), less than 2 percent of the $9 billion earmarked for the program has been committed.

The US Wanted Out of the Middle East. The Middle East Had Other Ideas.


Facing a growing list of attacks against U.S. forces in the Middle East, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Charles “C.Q.” Brown was pressed at a recent conference on why the American military wasn’t responding more aggressively. Two decades of war in the region, a war that much of the American public is eager to move on from, have made military leaders cautious when talking about battlefields that have claimed thousands of service members’ lives.

Pentagon Revamps How It Prevents, Handles Collateral Damage in Strikes

Military Times

The Defense Department on Dec. 15 unveiled its new rules for reducing harm to civilians while striking military targets, a development inspired by 2021 reviews of the U.S.’ erroneous targeting of civilians in Syria. The 52-page document outlines how the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Plan will be integrated from the highest levels of the Pentagon down to the services and combatant commands. The document details DOD’s efforts to prevent striking civilians, and also directs how to handle the aftermath when civilian casualties result.

Second Pair Of F-15EX Eagle II Fighters Just Delivered To USAF

The War Zone

Boeing has delivered another two F-15EX Eagle IIs to the U.S. Air Force, a year later than originally hoped. Manufacturing-related issues were the primary driver behind the delays. A spokesperson for Boeing confirmed to The War Zone that the Air Force's third and fourth F-15EXs, also known as EX3 and EX4, were delivered to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida on Dec. 20. Air Force pilots and weapon system officers (WSO) had conducted pre-delivery checkout flights on these jets earlier this month.

EVENT: A Celebration of Character & Courage: Vietnam War 50th


Join the Air & Space Forces Association and 40 supporting organizations at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, at 4 p.m. for a special commemoration of the service, courage, and legacy of Vietnam War Veterans and Gold Star Families, and a renewal of American commitment to account for those heroes who remain missing 50 years after the war’s end.

Air Force Assessing Sentinel ICBMs for Potential Nunn-McCurdy Breach

Inside Defense

The Air Force is assessing whether the nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile modernization program's cost overruns have breached legal thresholds that could trigger further investigation, an Air Force spokeswoman told Inside Defense. The LGM-35A Sentinel program manager filed a program deviation report with the Air Force, as first reported by Bloomberg, the spokeswoman confirmed.

US Air Force to Reclaim Pacific Airfield That Launched Atomic Bombings as It Looks to Counter China


The U.S. Air Force plans to bring the Pacific island airfield that launched the atomic bombings of Japan back into commission as it tries to broaden its basing options in the event of any hostilities with China, the service’s top officer in the Pacific says. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, commander of Pacific Air Forces, told Nikkei Asia in an interview published this week that North Airfield on the island of Tinian will become an “extensive” facility once work has been completed to reclaim it from the jungle that has grown over the base since the last U.S. Army Air Force units abandoned it in 1946.

One More Thing

Santa’s Elves Are Dropping into Military Communities Everywhere

Military Times

Holidays can be difficult for service members and families—for a variety of reasons—especially during deployments. Many individuals and groups, however, find ways to make things a little brighter for those in the military community. Service members and family members themselves often take part in these efforts in local areas where they find themselves planted.