The U.S. Air Force has initially adjusted to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and is now shifting to operate under a new paradigm for the foreseeable future, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, USAF, stated. The service has examined how to sustain its critical Defense Department mission areas despite the prominence of the virus. The Air Force has adjusted its methods to ensure operation of its nuclear defense; space; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air mobility and cyber missions, the core functions needed to defend the nation. “We still have a hot fight going on,” Gen. Goldfein stated. “So, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and air mobility are critical.”
Last August 30, the U.S. Space Command become the 11th unified combatant command of the U.S. Department of Defense. In that role, the command will be conducting defensive, and when necessary, offensive cyber capabilities to protect key space-based assets and guard its part of the military’s network, called the DODIN.
Scientists at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland, are preparing robots that can talk with soldiers, navigate in a “socially compliant” manner and learn from demonstration. The effort to enable robots to take verbal instruction, complete a series of complex tasks and maneuver in the same environments as soldiers is all part of the Army’s long-term endeavor to create fully skilled battlefield operators that work with warfighters, say Ethan Stump and John Rogers, roboticists at the Army Research Lab (ARL).
On the battlefield of the future, warfighters will need to be extraordinarily interconnected to weapon systems in the air, sea, space, land and digital realms. To support operations across these multiple domains, warfighters will have to rely on advanced command and control capabilities and vigorously employ cyber defenses to its weapons and systems.
Air Force leaders at Edwards Air Force Base in California held a reactivation ceremony on October 4 for the 420th Flight Test Squadron, which will fall under the Air Force Test Center's 412th Test Wing. Notably, the squadron will be conducting analysis of flight and ground testing of the service’s next-generation bomber, the B-21 Raider, a key future weapon system for multidomain operations.
The U.S. military’s 11th combatant command, the U.S. Space Command, which the Defense Department stood up on August 29, is taking shape. Led by Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond, USAF, who is also the commander of the Air Force Space Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, the Space Command has a singular focus of protecting and defending the space domain, Gen. Raymond explained.
The commander spoke with reporters at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber conference on September 17 at National Harbor, Maryland.
Calling it a unique new call to action, the U.S. Air Force is searching for transformational solutions that advance the principles of its Science and Technology 2030 strategy. The service’s effort, called Air Force Explore, is soliciting solutions from interested parties nationwide, according to an Air Force statement.
The U.S. Air Force is in the process of standing up a new Numbered Air Force (NAF) within the Air Combat Command, which will bring together the service’s information warfare capabilities.
Last year, the service announced it was moving its 24th Air Force, which specializes in cyber operations, and its Cyber Mission from the Air Force Space Command to the Air Combat Command. The Air Combat Command (ACC) is in the process of merging those cyber components with its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities from the 25th Air Force, which will all be under the new Information Warfare NAF, explained Gen. Mike Holmes, USAF, commander, ACC during an Air Force Association breakfast event on August 23.
In a dark, wet and rocky research coal mine in western Pennsylvania, teams from around the globe put their robotic systems to the test in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s, or DARPA’s, latest contest. The agency designed the Subterranean Challenge, also known as the SubT Challenge, to spur the advancement of technologies that work well underground, including autonomous and other robotic systems, which could benefit first responders and the military, explained Timothy Chung, program manager, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA, to the media in attendance at the event.
The U.S. Army is adding powerful digital tools to its training and readiness processes that will allow soldiers to fight in dense urban environments, megacities and subterranean areas.
Air Force officers in charge of creating air tasking orders have long developed mission plans at air operations centers, known as AOCs, or centralized hubs in a specific command. The Air Force is looking at diversifying and decentralizing how and where those plans are created to add depth and resiliency to the process. This may be needed as designing air battle plans against potential peer threats will only grow in complexity in the future, experts say.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can be used by DOD to gain a competitive advantage, especially in cyberspace operations. While the technology has made it easier for the military to operate and communicate, “It has also a unique set of challenges with dependencies and vulnerabilities for the department, our nation, our economy and our everyday lives,” said Vice Adm. Nancy Norton, USN, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) and commander, Joint Force Headquarters–Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN). The admiral presented the keynote luncheon address at the AFCEA Rocky Mountain Cyberspace Symposium on February 5 and spoke to SIGNAL Magazine.
To be the Navy the nation needs, the service must grow, leaders have decided. As part of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress approved the Navy’s growth to 355 ships.
Between October 25 and November 7, 50,000 military participants from 31 nations will conduct a defensive live exercise in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea. One of the largest exercises ever, the NATO event, Trident Juncture 18, is meant to ensure that NATO forces “are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction,” according to a statement from the alliance.
The U.S. military must be able to rapidly leverage both technologies and new policies surrounding the Internet of Things—not to keep pace with industry, one official said, but because U.S. adversaries already have figured out how to adapt and capitalize on what’s available.
“The enemy is capable … and we have to be able to do that,” Maj. Scott Cuomo, USMC, said Tuesday at an IoT Summit hosted by the AFCEA DC Chapter.