New AFSOC Commander, Academy Superintendent, Top Planner All Nominated

Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Tony D. Bauernfeind has been nominated to take over as superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and his current director of operations Brig. Gen. Michael E. Conley is set to jump two ranks and succeed him at AFSOC, part of a raft of general officer nominations the Pentagon announced May 17.
project mercury

‘Bend Minds, Not Metal’: Where Airmen Learn How to Change the Air Force

The Air Force has no shortage of complex problems. And from countering small drones to deterring China on a tight budget, solving these problems can require more than just good ideas: it also means getting those ideas out of the ‘silos’ that can form across the Air Force’s various job specialties. Project Mercury, a program sponsored by Air University, is set up for this exact reason.
weapons school

New Report: Backlogged F-35s Could Take a Year to Deliver

So many new F-35s have piled up waiting for TR-3 upgrade testing to conclude that it will take a year to deliver them all once deliveries get the green light to resume, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. That go-ahead isn't likely to happen right away.

It’s Time to Re-Adopt Peace Through Strength 

At the dawn of the Cold War, a simple phrase defined America’s national security strategy: “Peace through strength.” Today, 75 years later, the world faces similarly severe challenges, but this time the United States is struggling to adopt and actualize a similarly decisive policy. 

Radar Sweep

Inside the AI-Enabled Pilot That Flew Air Force Secretary Kendall Through a Dogfight


On May 2, Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall boarded a modified F-16 fighter jet equipped with specialized artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities that enabled the aircraft to autonomously fly and perform tactical maneuvers against human pilots. ... For the demonstration, Shield AI put a technology known as reinforcement learning-based artificial intelligence onto the aircraft, Brett Darcey, executive vice president and head of product at the company, told DefenseScoop in a recent interview.

New Star Wars Plan: Pentagon Rushes to Counter Threats in Orbit

The New York Times

The Pentagon is rushing to expand its capacity to wage war in space, convinced that rapid advances by China and Russia in space-based operations pose a growing threat to U.S. troops and other military assets on the ground and American satellites in orbit.

PODCAST: 89th Airlift Wing: Understanding the Mission of SAMFOX and Beyond

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

In episode 183 of the Aerospace Advantage, Heather “Lucky” Penney chats with Col. Angela Ochoa, commander of the 89th Airlift Wing. “SAMFOX”—which stands for Special Air Missions Foreign—are the Airmen who are best known for flying our nation’s most senior and elected leaders, like the President of the United States on Air Force One. This episode takes a special look at the 89th to learn more about their mission, the aircraft, and the people who all make it possible.

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Air Force Presents Posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross Medals to 2 Air Commandos Killed in Crash in 2010

Stars and Stripes

The commander of Air Force Special Operations Command has posthumously presented Distinguished Flying Cross medals to two air commandos 14 years after they were killed in a CV-22 Osprey crash on April 9, 2010, during a mission near Qalat, Afghanistan. Maj. Randell Voas and Senior Master Sgt. James Lackey helped save the lives of two crew members and 14 passengers on board after a series of incidents, including mechanical failure, caused the crash.

Space Force Expects First Space Reserve Contracts by Year End

Breaking Defense

The Space Force’s Commercial Space Office (COMSO) now expects to hold its next industry session on its emerging plans for a space version of the Civil Air Reserve, called the Commercial Augmentation Space Reserve (CASR), in August—in hopes of being able to issue first contracts including provisions by the end of the year, according to the director.

Marijuana Testing for Recruits Could End Under House’s Must-Pass Defense Policy Bill

Potential military recruits and prospective officers soon may not need to worry about drug testing if they recently used marijuana. A provision included in the draft text of a must-pass defense policy bill released this week would prohibit the military from making someone take a test for cannabis as a condition for enlisting or commissioning into the military.

Another Dead End for Airborne Lasers: Air Force Scraps Effort to Mount Directed-Energy Weapon on Fighter Jet

After years in development, the U.S. military’s latest attempt at an airborne laser weapon to protect troops on the ground from incoming ballistic missiles appears to be headed for the scrapyard. Initiated in 2016, the Self-Protect High-Energy Laser Demonstrator, or SHiELD, was envisioned as a laser weapon mounted on fighter jets such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II that would neutralize incoming air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, as well as ballistic missiles potentially targeting U.S. forces abroad, according to a 2023 Congressional Research Service report.

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Italy Could Join Germany, Spain in Making Eurofighter Top-Up Order

Aviation Week

Italy could join Germany and Spain in making a top-up order for the Eurofighter combat aircraft, industry officials have said. Italy is set to discuss a new purchase of Eurofighters through a “parliamentary process over the summer,” said David Hulme, BAE’s Eurofighter project director.

OPINION: Pentagon Acquisition Can No Longer Ignore the Industrial Base

Defense News

“The Defense Department plans to release the implementation plan for its National Defense Industrial Strategy in early fall. America’s adversaries may not wait that long,” writes Christine Michienzi, a former senior defense official and the owner of MMR Defense Solutions, as well as a nonresident senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

One More Thing

Congress Has Made Fully Obscuring Aircraft Ownership Information a Reality

The War Zone

Adata privacy amendment buried within the Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill will allow private aircraft owners to fully block aircraft registration information. Concealing this information will make establishing who owns private aircraft much more difficult, and render aircraft harder to track.