Space Law: A Final Frontier, Fraught With Unknown Risks

The five international treaties governing military operations in space are 40-50 years old—and very vague. With the global economy reliant on commercial space for communication, navigation, and more, military lawyers from the Air Force and Royal Air Force are joining civilian scholars to head off risk by developing a guiding handbook for law in space. The coming Woomera Manual will do for space law what the Tallinn Manual did for cyber—lay out how nation states interpret their obligations under international law and how that affects military operations in space. “There’s never been a situation where humans have gone somewhere new and not got into conflict,” said Prof. Jack Beard, from the University of Nebraska. “That’s why we need to clarify how existing space law and the law of armed conflict would govern future military operations in space.” Read the full story by Shaun Waterman.

Extended BMT Curriculum Focuses on Readiness, Warrior Ethos

Air Education and Training Command has added another week to Basic Military Training program and revamped the program with a renewed focus on readiness, lethality, airmanship, fitness, and warrior ethos. Under the new 8.5-week curriculum, which went into effect on Sept. 4, the week-long Airmen’s Week, which previously was conducted the week after trainees completed BMT, is now incorporated into the overall training program, though the lessons themselves will not change. “This change gives end-to-end ownership of the training to the military training instructor corps, delivering a continuous immersion that accelerates ‘mind to heart’ adoption of the Air Force core values and warrior ethos principles,” states the release. Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training, or BEAST, will now serve as the culminating BMT event, rather than taking place in week five, and recruits will go through a more rigorous Self-Aid/Buddy Care regimen, now called the Tactical Combat Casualty Course. Trainees also will be spending more time working out. The new curriculum increases the number of physical fitness sessions—a mix of cardio, strength, and interval—from 31 to 44. “We need highly trained and ready airmen,” said Lt. Col. Jose Surita, the 326th Training Squadron commander who oversaw development of the new curriculum. “Readiness is the central theme across the BMT curriculum as we deliver trained and committed airmen capable of delivering 21st century airpower.” —Amy McCullough

US Soldier Killed in Another Insider Attack in Afghanistan

The mayor of a Utah town who was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard was killed Saturday in yet another insider attack, the Pentagon announced. Army Maj. Brent Taylor, 39, of Ogden, Utah, was killed and two other US service members were wounded in the attack. The attacker was believed to be a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and was “immediately killed by other Afghan Forces,” according to the Pentagon. Taylor, who is the mayor of North Ogden, was assigned to the Army National Guard Element, Joint Force Headquarters. “Right now there is a need for my experience and skills to serve in our nation’s long-lasting war in Afghanistan,” wrote Taylor in a January statement to his constituents. “President Trump has ordered an increase in troops, and part of the new strategy focuses on expanding the capabilities of the Afghan commando units. I will be assigned to serve on an advisory team training the staff of an Afghan commando battalion. It is anticipated that I will serve for a period of 12 months.” On Oct. 22, a Czech soldier deployed in support of NATO’s Operation Resolute Support mission was killed and two others were wounded by an Afghan forces commando in Herat province, Afghanistan. A few days earlier, the head of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan escaped another targeted attack by someone wearing an Afghan National Army uniform; however, several Afghan leaders were killed and a US Army brigadier general was wounded in that attack. —Amy McCullough


The article, “USAF to Retain Undergraduate Space Training Even If Space Force Becomes Sixth Service,” (posted Nov. 2) blurred the distinction between a new combatant command and the possible creation of a separate military service dedicated to space. Air Force Space Command’s Brig. Gen. DeAnna Burt said the Air Force will retain ownership over service-specific Undergraduate Space Training if and when a new combatant command for space is established. The story and headline have been updated to reflect that.


Lockheed awarded $180.4M for F-35 Block 4 software development

The U.S. Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin $130.4 million for the second phase of the F-35 Lightning II Block 4 pre-modernization program. The pre-modernization funding, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, will go toward design work, determining requirements and reviews of how well updates and weapons technology are being integrated by participants and partners in the future F-35 Block 4 incremental software modernization program.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation Settles $27.45 Million of Air Force Overbilling Claims

The Justice Department announced Friday that Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation (NGSC) has agreed to settle civil allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §3729, by overstating the number of hours its employees worked on two battlefield communications contracts with the United States Air Force. All on Georgia

Air Force Academy’s falcon mascot improving after injury at West Point

An Air Force falcon injured at West Point during a prank Saturday before the annual rivalry football game between the service academies is back home and showing signs of improvement. Associated Press via Air Force Times.

US Approves Key Step Toward German Missile Defense Deal

The U.S. government has approved integration of the U.S. Patriot PAC-3 MSE missile into a next-generation German missile defense system, a spokesman said on Friday, a key step toward completion of a long-delayed multibillion-dollar arms sale. US News and World Report

Dramatic Video Shows China’s Answer to America’s Top Combat Drone

The developers of one of China’s newest and most advanced combat drones have released a new video showcasing its destructive capabilities. Business Insider

DOD Official: CYBERCOM, NSA May Split Infrastructure

Months after the it was elevated to a full combatant command, a pentagon official added to speculation that US Cyber Command could split from the National Security Agency. Real Clear Defense

US Air Force Buys New Counter-UAV System

As part of a multi-million dollar contract, the US Air Force placed an order for new counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) radar technology. US News and World Report

China’s Xi and a Retired US General Have Both Brought Up War. How Worried Should the World be

“There’s a genuine concern it might end up somewhere horrible,” one expert said. NBC News