Retired Maj. Gen. Claude Bolton, who headed some of the Air Force’s most classified and significant programs, and oversaw Army acquisition, died July 28 in Chantilly, Va. , according to an internal Air Force announcement. Bolton joined the Air Force through the ROTC program in 1969. He trained as a pilot and flew F-4 Phantom fighters. During the Vietnam War, he logged 232 combat missions, of which 40 were over North Vietnam. After the war, he became a test pilot, and worked on the F-4, F-111, and F-16 programs. In 1982, he became the program manager for the Advanced Tactical Fighter, which would later become the F-22. He went on to be the program element officer for the F-16, and then the head of the Low Observables Vehicle Division in the Office of Special Programs. He was later deputy manager of the B-2 bomber program, and then headed the AGM-129 stealth cruise missile project. Later jobs included Commandant of the Defense Systems Management College at Ft. Belvoir, Va., and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. He was program executive officer of fighter and bomber programs from 1998-2000, and closed out his USAF career as commander of the Air Force Security Assistance Center, retiring in 2002. Shortly thereafter, President George W. Bush named Bolton Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics; a post he held until 2008. In retirement, he was executive in residence at Defense Acquisition University, mentoring rising military acquisition professionals.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.