A U.S. drone strike hit a car in the Iraqi capital the night of Feb. 7, killing three members of the powerful Kataib Hezbollah militia, including a high-ranking commander, officials said. The strike came on a main thoroughfare in the Mashtal neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. A crowd gathered as emergency response teams picked through the wreckage. Security forces closed off the heavily guarded Green Zone, where a number of diplomatic compounds are located, amid calls for protesters to storm the U.S. embassy.
An upgrade to the F-35’s engine offered by Pratt & Whitney is set to enter service by 2029, company officials said Feb. 6, adding that the program remains “on track” despite the lack of an approved fiscal year 2024 budget. Speaking during a briefing with reporters, Pratt Vice President for the F135 program Jennifer Latka said the company is planning for a preliminary design review (PDR) for the engine upgrade in May and aims to finish its design phase with a critical design review “in roughly the middle of 2025.” The program, known as the Engine Core Upgrade (ECU), is then set to run its first engine test by 2026 and field in 2029, according to Latka.
Preventing the next intelligence leak could be as simple as acting on a tip that a user is behaving abnormally. But sometimes those tips go unnoticed, a top defense tech official said. “We all have some user activity monitoring tools. We have some behavior analytics already on. This is really about empowering and integrating the two together,” Gurpreet Bhatia, the Pentagon’s principal director for cybersecurity, said during an Intelligence and National Security Alliance event in Arlington, Va. on Feb. 7.
On-Base Day Care Costs Went Up for One-Third of Military Families, Even as Those with Lower Incomes Are Paying Less
The families of as many as 38 percent of children in on-base military child care could be paying higher fees this year after a set of rate adjustments. Despite the higher costs for some families, the Defense Department has touted the change in terms of decreases in the price of child care, such as one press release titled “DOD Reduces On-Base Child Care Fees for Military Families.” Officials described the rate adjustment as more equitable for lower-income families.
The military health system has a major shortage of behavioral health providers, which often sends service members off base to seek care from civilian providers as they wait for spots to open up at a military treatment facility. But the Defense Health Agency doesn’t track whether service members in crisis are receiving timely care out in town, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Feb. 6, making it impossible to ensure that troops are getting the help they need or to fix any issues they have with obtaining care.
The Department of the Air Force is tightening the linkage and relationship between its cyber entity and the Space Force to harden networks against threats and improve operational outcomes. The 16th Air Force announced in January that it is partnering with Space Operations Command (SpOC) in order to integrate space-based capabilities into all of its warfighting operations. Through the agreement—which will see Space Force personnel embedded with 16th Air Force—the two organizations are seeking a greater understanding of how to defend space assets from cyber attacks.
With an explicit goal of addressing staffing shortfalls and other obstacles to accomplishing its mission, the Defense Innovation Unit is entering its next era: DIU 3.0. The military innovation hub’s director Doug Beck (a Navy reserve captain and former Apple executive) unveiled his strategic vision for DIU 3.0 in a 9-page plan on Feb. 7.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has released images of a brand new, fully-constructed advanced air combat drone called the XQ-67A. The company built it as part of a contract to support the U.S. Air Force's secretive Off-Board Sensing Station (OBSS) program. Though an explicit connection has not been made, there have been indications in the past that this design leverages work the company is doing on Gambit, a novel family of advanced drones that involves different airframes that can be mated to a modular common ‘core’ chassis.
Intelligence officials had warned for months of a rising risk that Iranian-made weapons would penetrate U.S. defenses in the Middle East and kill American forces—long before last week’s deadly drone strike against a U.S. outpost in Jordan.
“William (Mac) McKissick was my hero. I never told him that. I am sure he never knew. We were not friends. The best that can be said is that we served together in the Air Force in Vietnam for about nine months,” writes Ed Meagher, a Vietnam service-disabled veteran who retired after 24 years in government, 26 years in the private sector, and four years in the U.S. Air Force.