Headlines — February 21


US, allies watch for Russian attempt to justify Ukraine invasion
Russia announced massive drills of its nuclear forces Feb. 18 amid soaring East-West tensions as the U.S. issued some of its starkest, most detailed warnings yet about how a Russian invasion of Ukraine might unfold. Western allies went on high alert for any attempts by the Kremlin to create a false pretext for a new war in Europe.

Map of Russian troops positions shows Ukraine nearly surrounded
Russian forces had virtually surrounded Ukraine, with an estimate of more than 130,000 troops, concentrated to the country’s south, east and north.

Could the Supreme Court strike down the military’s vaccination mandate?
Multiple lawsuits are arguing that the military is blanketly refusing religious exemptions for the COVID-19 vaccine.




US announces Abrams tanks for Poland as Russia threat mounts
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Friday the planned sale of 250 Abrams tanks to Poland, as Washington moves to strengthen the defenses of a key eastern European ally amid a mounting threat of war between neighboring Ukraine and Russia.

Japan confirms details of F-15J upgrade program worth $5.6 billion
Japan has confirmed that it will put 68 license-built Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle interceptors through an upgrade that will improve its radar, electronic warfare, weapons carriage capacity and stand-off weapon capabilities.




Air Force nominee backtracks on automated monitoring of troops for extremist social media posts
An Air Force nominee on Feb. 17 walked back previous support for using artificial intelligence to monitor for signs of extremism in the military under questioning by Republican senators.

Unmanned or minimally manned vessels could deploy alongside strike groups as soon as 2027
The chief of naval operations wants to deploy minimally manned or unmanned surface vessels with a strike group in the next five or six years, with an eye toward scaled-up unmanned systems operations around the globe in the 2030s. And he hopes to start working toward that goal without a proper budget in place.

Marine Corps is not moving fast enough to face China, general says
“If anybody thinks we are moving fast enough, you’re crazy.”



‘Candy Bomber’ who dropped sweets during Berlin Airlift dies
Pilot Gail S. Halvorsen used his own candy ration to regularly drop sweet treats for children, using handkerchiefs as parachutes to carry the to the ground. Other pilots and crews later joined what would be called “Operation Little Vittles.”

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