Innovation machine

By Cat Hofacker

March 1, 2024

Ken Plaks, director of DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office

Constellation architect

By Debra Werner

April 1, 2023

David Voss, director of the U.S. Space Force's Spectrum Warfare Center of Excellence

Applying AI to the right national security problems

July 1, 2022

Leaders in the U.S. national security enterprise are intrigued by artificial intelligence. Capitalizing on this groundbreaking computing technology will require firsthand knowledge of needs and discipline in deciding which of those AI can meet. MITRE Corp.’s Eliahu “Eli” H. Niewood explains.

Simulating threats

June 1, 2021

Military strategists need to be sure they are sending pilots to battle with electronic warfare equipment that can spoof and evade enemy radars in a host of scenarios. Assessing EW performance once required many hours of costly and time-consuming flights, but today much of the work can be done on a laboratory bench or in a test chamber. Brad Frieden of Keysight Technologies describes how his company achieves this.

Demanding more of Space Force

June 1, 2021

Today’s U.S. Space Force does little if anything beyond what the Air Force did when it led the country’s military space operations. Humanity’s terrestrial history and the increasingly bold plans of entrepreneurs to settle and economically exploit space suggest that change is coming. Don’t be afraid. Peter Garretson explains.

Protecting the off-planet economy

By Debra Werner

April 1, 2020

Debris tends to stick around in space, and this fact poses a unique challenge for military strategists who are used to keeping the peace elsewhere partly by threatening destruction. This reality complicates the U.S. military’s efforts to define how the newly established U.S. Space Force should go about its work and how far that reach should extend as entrepreneurs seek to open up the moon, asteroids and free space to commerce.

Controlling space

By Debra Werner

April 1, 2019

U.S. strategists once bragged about their school-bus-sized, multibillion-dollar military satellites, but now they’re worried these behemoths are a glaring vulnerability in their contingency planning for a war against China or Russia. When it comes to defending them, fresh thinking is needed. Debra Werner looks at whether creation of a Space Development Agency is the best solution.

Mission-critical forecasting

By Debra Werner

July 1, 2018

The U.S. Air Force is in the midst of upending its decades-old approach of gathering life-and-death weather data for commanders and troops with limousine-sized satellites. Smaller is in for this next generation, and privately operated constellations could play a prominent role too. Debra Werner went looking for what could come after the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.

Fighting for “Future Vertical Lift”

By Jan Tegler

July 1, 2018

Rotorcraft advocates in the U.S. military have been laying the research groundwork to replace many of today’s helicopters with versions that would employ a revolutionary propulsion concept to-be-decided. Jan Tegler looks at the battle to elevate the Future Vertical Lift initiative into an acquisition program and speed up its schedule.

Hypersonic weapons race

By Keith Button

May 31, 2018

Even before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s saber rattling this year about high-speed weapons, the U.S. was laying plans to sharpen its focus on hypersonic weapons, motivated mainly by China’s ambitious research and weapons tests. The Trump Pentagon wants to put this new focus in place in the 2019 budget.

Grading the MQ-25

By Jan Tegler

April 30, 2018

Is the U.S. Navy's proposed refueling drone the best strategy for empowering pilots to penetrate enemy airspace?

Nuclear nonsolution

March 30, 2018

Detonating a nuclear bomb is unlikely to protect Earth from a far-off asteroid or comet headed our way

Research reboot

By Keith Button

February 28, 2018

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab will spend much of 2018 taking a fresh look at its approach to science and technology

Red Air reset

By Jan Tegler

February 1, 2018

U.S. Air Force is preparing to outsource much of its demand for "aggressor" aircraft to private companies

Game changer

May 31, 2017

DARPA’s plans for a demonstrator UAS for the Navy

Decision time for Trump

May 17, 2017

2 leading aerospace journalists analyze the most important decisions facing President Donald Trump's administration


By Tom Risen

April 17, 2017

The concept of spreading technology across many small satellites has proved hard to sell


By Joe Stumpe

April 17, 2017

The U.S. Air Force is having a hard time letting go of the A-10

New blueprint, old dream

By Debra Werner

March 6, 2017

Designing a jet-fast plane that can stop on a dime in midair, hover and speed off

Defending Earth

By Michael Peck

February 9, 2017

Should the military have a greater role against wayward asteroids and comets?