U.S. intelligence indicates that President Xi Jinping’s sweeping military purge came after it emerged that widespread corruption undermined his efforts to modernize the armed forces and raised questions about China’s ability to fight a war, according to people familiar with the assessments. The corruption inside China’s Rocket Force and throughout the nation’s defense industrial base is so extensive that U.S. officials now believe Xi is less likely to contemplate major military action in the coming years than would otherwise have been the case, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing intelligence.
Iraq’s prime minister is calling to end the American military presence in his country, following an airstrike in Baghdad that killed a leader of the Harakat-al-Nujaba militia, one of the militias that make up the Popular Military Forces. The announcement by al-Sudani could impact the more than 2,000 American service members in Iraq as well as allied coalition troops.
Airmen and Space Force Guardians are being encouraged to apply for prep classes to get ready for Army Ranger School, the incredibly difficult tactics course with a historically low graduation rate. The Department of the Air Force, in a recent press release, said it is searching for members from both services to enroll in the grueling course and encouraged them to take the leap.
On a barren swath of land in the Sahara, U.S. Air Base 201 stands far from public sight, on the outskirts of a remote city in one of the world’s poorest countries, its role more elusive than ever since its completion nearly six years ago. Most of the drones that once monitored jihadist activities in volatile African countries have been grounded. Most of the Americans posted at the $110 million base, near the city, Agadez, Niger, sit idle, epitomizing the uncertain future of the United States’ counterterrorism efforts in West Africa: difficult to abandon, even as business as usual is, for now, out of the question.
The Army on Jan. 8 released a new “vision” document foot-stomping the importance of the land service’s space operations and citing an “urgent need” for more funding for both new capabilities and trained personnel. “The Army’s next fight will occur across multiple domains. Successful operations in and through the space domain will be critical to our success,” the Army Space Vision Supporting Multidomain Operations [PDF] states.
The Space Force announced Jan. 5 that it has given Microsoft a contract to continue work on a simulated environment where guardians can train, test new capabilities and interact with digital copies of objects in orbit. Under the $19.8 million, one-year contract from Space Systems Command (SSC), Microsoft will develop the Integrated, Immersive, Intelligent Environment (I3E)—an augmented reality space simulation powered by the company’s HoloLens headsets.
After decades of relying on major military hubs from Hawaii to South Korea, the Pentagon is laying the groundwork for more dispersed operations across the Pacific region. Brig. Gen. Mike Zuhlsdorf is a key player in those discussions. He serves as the deputy director for resource integration under the Air Force’s logistics, engineering and force protection branch.
Military families in the coming year can expect to see stronger protections for their tenant rights as part of the latest defense policy law enacted in December. A new housing-focused working group, created by the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act enacted Dec. 22, will also offer troops and their spouses the chance to more directly shape living conditions across the military.
Two U.S. fighter jets flew over Bosnia on Jan. 8 in a demonstration of support for the Balkan country’s integrity in the face of increasingly secessionist policies of the Bosnian Serb pro-Russia leader Milorad Dodik. The U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons flew as part of joint air-to-ground training involving American and Bosnian forces. The flyovers took part in the regions of the eastern town of Tuzla and northern Brcko, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo.
This year's photos feature Airmen from around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This annual feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.