austin senate

Pentagon: Austin Hospitalized by Infection After Prostate Cancer Surgery

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III underwent a surgical procedure for prostate cancer and is expected to make full recovery, the Pentagon said Jan. 9. The announcement ended days of mystery surrounding Austin’s medical status, which was kept under wraps from the White House, Congress, and the media, despite complications from treatment that landed the Pentagon chief in the hospital on Jan. 1, where he remains.

USAF F-16 Fighters Fly with Bahrain in Training Exercise

U.S. Air Force F-16 fighters are in the midst of a weeklong training exercise with the Royal Bahraini Air Force, Air Forces Central announced. The exercise, named Ballast Cannon, started Jan. 6 and will last until Jan. 12. In addition to the F-16s, KC-135 tankers are participating. Airmen are incorporating Agile Combat Employment (ACE) objectives into the exercise, as well as practicing aerial refueling, coalition command and control, and tactical integration between the USAF and the RBAF.
A graphic from a 2020 Government Accountability Office report on microreactors showing their relative size and modes of transport.

Lawmakers Push for More Nuclear Microreactors in INDOPACOM

Reps. Rob Wittman and Jen Kiggans, members of the House Armed Services Committee, are pressing U.S. Indo-Pacific Command boss Adm. John Aquilino to ask for more procurement for nuclear micro-reactors in the fiscal 2025 budget request, as a way to ease the logistics of powering forward bases in his command.

Radar Sweep

US and Chinese Military Officers Resume Talks as Agreed by Biden and Xi

The Associated Press

U.S. and Chinese military officers have resumed talks that were frozen after former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in the summer of 2022, a development U.S. officials have said is key to keeping the growing competition between the two great powers from turning into direct conflict.

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US and Allies Met Secretly with Ukraine on Peace Plan


A secret meeting took place last month between Ukraine, its Group of Seven allies and a small group of Global South countries to try to rally support for Kyiv’s conditions for holding peace talks with Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. The previously undisclosed Dec. 16 meeting of national security advisers was held in Saudi Arabia and followed larger, publicized gatherings aimed at countering Moscow’s attempts to divide and paint Ukraine and its allies as unwilling to negotiate an end to the war.

Does the President Need the Defense Secretary to Launch Nukes?

The War Zone

For four days, President Joe Biden had no idea that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized and that many of his authorities for action had been delegated to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks. However, had the unthinkable happened and Biden needed to launch a nuclear attack during that time, would Austin’s unprecedented stealth absence have made a difference? This was certainly a question being asked by many as the bizarre situation began spilling into the public domain.

How Space Force Is Raising Its Cyber Defenses

Defense One

Addressing cyber threats to critical U.S. space capabilities, including satellites and missile-warning systems, will require even closer collaboration with U.S. Cyber Command, a top Space Force official said Friday. Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt—Space Force’s deputy chief of space operations for operations, cyber, and nuclear—called cyber “critical to us,” adding that “on the order of gas to the Air Force, cyber is to the Space Force.”

US, Allies Share Skills and Tactics at Annual NATO cyber exercise


NATO’s premier and largest defensive cyber exercise aims to improve the capabilities of member-states while bringing forward new tactics and lessons for U.S. cyber forces. The most recent iteration of Cyber Coalition took place Nov. 27–Dec. 1 and included 28 nations. The initiative gathers allied countries together regardless of their cyber expertise to address a common scenario to bolster NATO and each other collectively, according to Candace Sanchez, a senior exercise planner at 16th Air Force.

‘Cautionary Tale’: How Boeing Won a US Air Force Program and Lost $7B

Air Force Times

The U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker was supposed to be the ideal candidate for a fixed-price development program. Indeed, when Boeing first won the deal to build what’s now known as the KC-46, the defense contractor said it would use a “low-risk approach,” basing its design on the existing Boeing 767 commercial airplane. The contract was firm-fixed-price, meaning Boeing was on the hook if costs ran higher than expected. Nearly 13 years later, Boeing has absorbed $7 billion in cost overruns, far more than the contract value of $4.9 billion.

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MDA Required to Reinstate Deputy Director Position, Must Be Two-Star Uniformed Officer

Inside Defense

The Missile Defense Agency, which limped along last year without a Senate-confirmed three-star director for an extended period during which some of its top projects were nominated for budget cuts, is reinstating a post eliminated as part of a 2020 organizational overhaul: a deputy director who must be a two-star general or flag officer.

Air Force Overhauling Training to Take on Near-Peer Foes

National Defense Magazine

The Air Force is undergoing a top-to-bottom reorganization to transition from counterterrorism operations to competition with more powerful rivals, and its training and simulation systems will be a part of the overhaul. Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall kicked off a campaign last year to address “capability gaps” when it comes to fighting near-peer competitors, Lea Kirkwood, program executive officer for Agile Combat Support, said recently at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando.

One More Thing

Wallace Reunites with US Air Force as Primary Sponsor


The United States Air Force will reunite with Bubba Wallace this season as a primary sponsor on the No. 23 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series. Wallace drove a U.S. Air Force-sponsored car during his tenure at Richard Petty Motorsports. However, when Wallace became the flagship driver for 23XI Racing when the team debuted in 2021, the relationship ended as the U.S. Air Force was a Petty partner. This season will be the first time the U.S. Air Force has worked with 23XI Racing. The organization did not specify how many races Wallace will carry the U.S. Air Force colors in.