US, UK Warplanes Strike 18 Houthi Targets After New Ship Attacks

American and British forces carried out a major series of airstrikes to weaken the Houthis’ military capabilities on Feb. 24, attacking 18 targets at eight locations in Yemen in response to the group’s attacks on commercial shipping, the Pentagon said. It was the fourth wave of “necessary and proportionate” strikes the U.S. and its allies have planned and executed since January, in addition to the numerous self-defense strikes that have sought to blunt attacks by the Iran-backed group.

USSF’s Top Buyer to Industry: Stop Low-Bidding Now

The Department of the Air Force’s space acquisition boss called for industry to stop low-bidding contracts and for the Pentagon to only select realistic proposals on Feb. 23, arguing that failures to do so eventually forces the Space Force to “rob our future to pay for the past.” 

Radar Sweep

Zelensky Says 31,000 Ukrainian Troops Killed in Two Years of War

The Wall Street Journal

Around 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since Russia launched its invasion two years ago, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, highlighting the scale of Ukraine’s sacrifice ahead of a decisive vote in the U.S. Congress on military aid to Ukraine. “Every such loss is a great loss to us,” he said in a press conference Feb. 25. It was the first time Zelensky had offered a figure for Ukraine’s war losses, but he declined to name the number of wounded troops because he said doing so would help Russia understand how many were out of action.

The Spy War: How the CIA Secretly Helps Ukraine Fight Putin

The New York Times

Now entering the third year of a war that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, the intelligence partnership between Washington and Kyiv is a linchpin of Ukraine’s ability to defend itself. The C.I.A. and other American intelligence agencies provide intelligence for targeted missile strikes, track Russian troop movements and help support spy networks.

Lawmakers Set to Question Austin on Decision to Hide Cancer Diagnosis

Military Times

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will appear before House lawmakers on Feb. 29 to answer questions about his cancer diagnosis and his decision not to inform key administration officials about his health status before and after he was hospitalized in early January. The hearing, in front of the House Armed Services Committee, comes after several chamber lawmakers have already called for Austin’s resignation over the episode.

Top Pentagon IT Official Departs Deputy CIO Role

Defense One

The Pentagon’s deputy chief information officer for enterprise IT, Lily Zeleke, is no longer in her position as of Thursday night, according to an email sent to the DOD CIO team. Tim Gorman, a Pentagon spokesperson, confirmed ... that Zeleke “took over new responsibilities in the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer organization,” and that William Dunlap is now serving as the deputy CIO in an acting capacity. Dunlap is already listed on the department’s website as the acting deputy CIO for information enterprise.

Europeans Are Building a War Economy. Can They Master It?

Defense News

When Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago, French President Emmanuel Macron quickly proclaimed Europe needed an “économie de guerre”—a war economy—to underwrite its security. Since then, governments here have rushed to assess how rapidly they can purchase weapons. Most were sobered by the lack of production capacity in an arms industry focused on the promise of expensive, advanced technology rather than mass output.

Hungary, Sweden Reach Deal for Additional Gripen Fighters, with NATO Clearance Looming

Breaking Defense

Hungary has ordered four Saab JAS 39 Gripen C/D multirole fighter jets in an undisclosed deal, to sit alongside an existing fleet of 14 aircraft, the manufacturer announced Feb. 23. The agreement was announced as Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is in Budapest to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, in what Sweden hopes will be the final push needed for Hungary’s government to approve Stockholm’s NATO membership bid.

Industry, DSCA Pushing to Give Partners ‘Clear Answers’ on Weapon Sale Holds

Breaking Defense

Even as U.S. Foreign Military Sales break record levels, allies and defense companies continue to press for faster approvals by the Pentagon, Intelligence Community and State Department, as well as urging greater transparency so customers know what is happening. “When it comes to modernizing FMS, a more efficient process is key. That does not mean trying to get no’s turned to yeses. We are trying to get to the right answer faster,” Eric Fanning, CEO of Aerospace Industries Association, told Breaking Defense during this year’s Singapore Airshow.

Small, Nonthreatening Balloon Intercepted Over Utah by NORAD

The Associated Press

A small, nonthreatening balloon spotted flying high over the mountainous Western United States was intercepted by a fighter jet over Utah on Feb. 23, according to the North American Aerospace Defense Command. NORAD fighter pilots sent in the morning to investigate the balloon determined it was “not maneuverable” and did not present a threat to national security, spokesperson John Cornelio said. The balloon was still in the air, under close observation.

PODCAST: Cislunar Space: The Latest Zone of Competition in the Space Race

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In Episode 170 of the Aerospace Advantage, host John ‘Slick’ Baum interviews Dr. Jaime Stearns, AFRL’s cislunar lead; Bradley Cheetham, CEO and president of Advanced Space; and the Mitchell Institute’s Col. Charles Galbreath, USSF (Ret.) about where the competition in space is headed next. This week we’re hearing first-hand from those operating and building spacecraft in the cislunar regime to better understand the challenges they face, the criticality of their mission, and the skillsets and resources they need to succeed.

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Six-Nation Air Force Exercise Wraps on Guam after 3 weeks, More than 1,000 Missions

Stars and Stripes

An annual multinational Air Force exercise on Guam concluded Feb. 23 after nearly three weeks of training missions, from aerial refueling to simulated air combat. Cope North kicked off Feb. 5 at Andersen Air Force Base with an “elephant walk,” a runway parade of aircraft, and wound down with a static display of eight aircraft and their crews, according to 36th Wing spokeswoman 1st Lt. Ariana Wilkinson.

Everything New We Just Learned About the Collaborative Combat Aircraft Program

The War Zone

Major new details about the U.S. Air Force's Collaborative Combat Aircraft program emerged at the Air & Space Forces Association's recent annual Warfare Symposium. This includes a clearer picture of the effort's autonomy goals, aggressive production plans, and future operational impacts. Though questions remain about the capabilities and costs of these future uncrewed aircraft, the CCA program looks set to have a number of disruptive impacts that could fundamentally reshape the Air Force.

Space Industry Seeks Clarity on Defense Market Plans


Space industry executives and investors at a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce event grappled with unanswered questions on the Pentagon’s plans to commercialize activities and increase its reliance on private-sector technologies. Business leaders said they see bright spots in the defense market such as the Space Development Agency (SDA), which is buying hundreds of commercial satellites to build out a proliferated low Earth orbit constellation for military communication and missile tracking.

OPINION: 4 Myths About Ukraine that Might Sound Right But Are Actually Wrong


“Two years ago, Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked, premeditated, full-scale invasion of Ukraine based on several myths, including that Ukraine was not a “real” country and was militarily weak, and that the West was in disarray and would do little to stop him. Ukrainians quickly destroyed some of these myths, along with much of Russia’s invading forces. ... Other myths, however, linger to this day and new ones have popped up more recently, particularly in the debate in Congress over whether to continue U.S. aid to Ukraine. As Republicans who served in top national security positions, we’re particularly concerned when we hear some of these myths repeated by Republicans,” write Eric S. Edelman, former undersecretary of defense for policy, and David J. Kramer, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.

One More Thing

Blue Angels, Thunderbirds Conduct 5th Annual Joint-Training in El Centro

DOD release

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, will conduct a joint training exchange onboard Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, Feb. 22 - March 1, to trade best practices and develop team interoperability in preparation for the 2024 show season. Both teams are in the middle of their winter training cycles and will not conduct performances. Training flights with similar profiles to the air show routine will be conducted in accordance with annual training objectives.