France Tapped as New Air Force Commander in Middle East

Maj. Gen. Derek C. France has been nominated to become the top U.S. Air Force commander in the Middle East, the Pentagon announced on March 14. If confirmed, he will have to deal with continued unrest in the region that has resulted in multiple rounds of USAF airstrikes recently.

NORAD Boss: Russian Bombers Flew Toward US, China May Follow

A pair of Russian strategic bombers flew near U.S. and Canadian airspace last week before turning back short of the countries’ Air Defense Identification Zone, the head of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command revealed March 14. Air Force Gen. Gregory M. Guillot also offered more details on his warning that Chinese warplanes could start flying near or in the U.S. ADIZ this year during an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Air Force Plans $400 Million Upgrade to Airfield on Tiny Pacific Island of Yap

As the Air Force embraces the concept of Agile Combat Employment, the service and the wider U.S. military have paid increasing attention to small islands throughout the Indo-Pacific—places like Tinian, Palau, and Saipan, all fewer than 200 square miles, have hosted troops and received millions of dollars in investment in recent years. In its recent fiscal 2025 budget request, the Air Force laid out plans for a major upgrade to the infrastructure on yet another tiny island in the vast expanse of the Pacific: Yap.

Radar Sweep

Craig Martell, the Pentagon’s First-Ever Chief Digital and AI Officer, to Depart in April


Officials in the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office are preparing for their nascent hub’s first permanent leader—Craig Martell—to depart from his post on April 15, DefenseScoop has learned. The Defense Department made a lot of buzz around hiring Martell in early 2022, when he opted to resign from his role as head of machine learning for Silicon Valley rideshare company Lyft to take the helm as the CDAO’s first chief.

Rocket Cargo Is Go! Air Force’s Experimental Resupply Program Moves Closer to the Launch Pad

Breaking Defense

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Rocket Cargo Vanguard program gets “real boy” status as a Space Force prototype effort—and a new name, Point-to-Point Delivery (P2PD)—in the service’s fiscal 2025 budget request. While the dollar amount is small at only $4 million in research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E), the funding request marks the up-to-now experimental effort to literally rocket military supplies around the planet as a formal “new start” for the service.

Sierra Space Developing Dual-Use Spacecraft with Military Potential


After recently winning a major contract to build military satellites, Sierra Space is aiming to capture a larger share of the national security market in new sectors like in-orbit services and transportation. Sierra Space is perhaps best known for developing Dream Chaser, a reusable spaceplane designed to ferry cargo and supplies to the International Space Station, and for partnering with Blue Origin on the construction of a commercially developed space station.

How F-35s Deployed to a Narrow Highway in California

The War Zone

The test event known as ‘Obsidian Iceberg’ has been covered by The War Zone in the past, but this most recent iteration covered two days and brought in nine squadrons and other units from the Marines, Air Force, and Navy to execute a unique set of trials and training events that will have a huge impact on the future of the USMC’s flying forces.

Services Were Slow to Process COVID Vaccine Exemptions, Watchdog Finds

Military Times

A Defense Department Inspector General review of the military’s COVID vaccine exemption process found that while the services largely followed policy when considering waivers, the Army and Air Force routinely overran deadlines, according to a report released March 14. The review also found a range of discharge types and reentry codes for service members involuntarily separated after vaccine refusal, leaving some troops with full benefits after being kicked out, while others received partial benefits.

COMMENTARY: Drone Swarms Are About to Change the Balance of Military Power

The Wall Street Journal

“ .. Drones have become suddenly ubiquitous on the battlefield—but we are only at the dawn of this new age in warfare. This would not be the first time that a low-cost technology and a new conception of warfare combined to supplant high-cost technologies based on old ways,” write Elliot Ackerman, a Marine veteran and senior fellow at Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs, and retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, the 16th Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

US Should Accelerate Hypersonic Defenses, NORTHCOM Head Says

Defense One

The U.S. should act quickly on developing hypersonic defenses, to stay ahead of “the consistently growing capabilities of our adversaries,” the head of U.S. Northern Command and NORAD told lawmakers March 14. Gen. Gregory Guillot and other officials testified this week about the rapid pace of China and Russia’s work in highly maneuverable hypersonics, just days after the Pentagon submitted a budget request that would cut funding for one of the programs to defend against such missiles.

US, Japanese Forces to Resume Osprey Flights in Japan Following Fatal Crash

The Associated Press

The U.S. and Japanese militaries will resume flights of Osprey aircraft in Japan after completing necessary maintenance and training following a fatal crash in southern Japan last November, officials said March 13. The Osprey aircraft, which can take off like a helicopter and then fly like an airplane, has had a troubled history, including numerous crashes.

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DOD's Classified Tech Office Eyes Pacific Theater Weapons Gaps

Inside Defense

The Pentagon's secretive Strategic Capabilities Office wants to spend about $1 billion managing 20 classified prototyping programs focused on developing new weapons technology to aid U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in its mission to counter China's increasingly modernized military, according to recently released budget documents.

Why Taiwan Is Building a Satellite Network Without Elon Musk

The New York Times

In Taiwan, the government is racing to do what no country or even company has been able to: build an alternative to Starlink, the satellite internet service operated by Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX. ... Officials in Taiwan face constant reminders that its communication infrastructure must be able to withstand a crisis. The island democracy sits 80 miles from China, where leaders have vowed to use force if needed to assert claims that Taiwan is part of its territory.

One More Thing

Actor Chuck Norris Was in the Air Force During the Cold War

DOD release

Actor and martial artist Chuck Norris got his start in the martial arts while serving in the military. In 1958, Norris enlisted in the Air Force and was given the military occupational specialty of air police, which today is called Air Force security forces. His goal was to have a career in law enforcement. After a year at an Air Force base in Arizona, Norris deployed to Osan Air Base, South Korea. It was there that he started training in judo on base.