Headlines – April 16, 2021

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First enlisted woman qualifies for formal combat controller training-
A female airman will soon begin formal training to become an Air Force combat controller, the closest any enlisted woman has gotten to breaking that glass ceiling so far.
 
What caused the Marine amphibious assault vehicle sinking tragedy?-
“It’s alright, just calm down — we’re going to make it back to the ship. Just do me a favor and take a deep breath.”
 
U.S. commander warns NATO is ready to respond to aggression-
Amid Russia’s massive troop buildup along its border with Ukraine, the top U.S. commander in Europe warned April 15 that NATO was prepared to respond to aggression.
 
 

Afghanistan

There may not have been Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan after all-
U.S. intelligence agencies aren’t particularly confident that Russia offered money to the Taliban for the killing of U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan, a story that rocked the military and intelligence communities last summer.
 
Afghanistan braces for renewed conflict when America departs-
U.S. troop withdrawal will leave Kabul government to face Taliban forces alone, and many fear renewed civil war.
 
U.S. troop pullout will leave behind an uncertain Afghanistan-
The Biden administration’s surprise announcement of an unconditional troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 appears to strip the Taliban and the Afghan government of considerable leverage and could ramp up pressure on them to reach a peace deal.
 
China may send peacekeeping force to Afghanistan after U.S. troops leave, observers say-
Beijing may consider sending a peacekeeping force to Afghanistan if the security situation in the South Asian country poses a threat to the neighboring Chinese province of Xinjiang after American troops pull out, analysts said.
 
How long U.S. will fund Afghan military an ‘open question’-
Several Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee said April 15 they expect Congress to support funding the Afghan army and air force for years to come, even after U.S. and European troops pull out this summer.
 
 

Business

With new CH-47 variant back in flight tests, Boeing hopes for production contract-
The U.S. Army has yet to schedule a limited-user test for the latest variant of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, instead ordering its return to flight testing to gather more data. But despite issues cropping up in previous testing, Boeing is confident it will win a first production contract in fiscal 2021, two company executives told Defense News.
 
Pencils up: Bids are due for Army’s Bradley replacement and it’s only the beginning-
The deadline to submit a preliminary design for the Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) is April 16, but the cutoff marks not the time for industry officials to put pencils down, but rather the time to pick them up.
 
DARPA awards 3 deals for work on nuclear propulsion system-
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded three contracts this week to design a nuclear thermal propulsion system that will operate above low Earth orbit in 2025.
 
 

Defense

Democrats reintroduce bill to block U.S. from using nuclear weapons first-
A pair of leading Democrats in the House and Senate reintroduced a bill April 15 to make it U.S. policy not to use nuclear weapons first in a military conflict.
 
Army wants an anti-tank missile that shoots twice as far as its current weapon-
The Army is looking for a vehicle-mounted missile to bust up current and future tanks on the battlefield out to 10,000 meters — more than double the distance of the missile its replacing.
 
New combat rescue helicopter for Air Force finishes key tests-
The Air Force wrapped up the latest round of tests on its new combat rescue helicopter April 13, moving the Sikorsky-built HH-60W Jolly Green II a step closer to full-time operations.
 
Thunderbirds to debut new performance as team returns to a full schedule-
The Thunderbirds will kick off their 2021 season on April 17, debuting an overhauled aerial performance routine following a 2020 air show season largely canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
 

Veterans

VA dumps plans to stop students from adding non-degree classes to keep GI Bill benefits-
Veterans Affairs officials are backtracking on plans to bar student veterans from “rounding out” their degree programs with non-required courses to maintain their GI Bill benefits, saying they’ll look for other ways to ensure the system isn’t being abused.
 
 
 

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