House defense appropriators funded assignment incentive pay for remotely piloted aircraft operators at Creech AFB, Nev., only for the first quarter of Fiscal 2012, according to the report accompanying the House version of next year’s defense spending bill. They said this mark is consistent with the Defense Secretary leaning towards not extending this pay beyond December 31 “without substantive and compelling econometric analysis to validate continuation.” Since July 2008, Creech-based RPA personnel have been eligible to receive $300 per month for the first 36 months and $750 per month for service beyond that under this initiative. This pay was meant to offset the base’s high operations tempo, austere location, and limited infrastructure. However, the House legislators wrote that conditions at the base have since improved, with new facilities constructed. (HAC report; caution, large file.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.