Lawmakers Offer Their Two Cents to Budget Deficit Committee

Leading congressional defense authorizers came out in one voice in calling on the leadership of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to avoid recommending additional cuts to defense spending on top of the approximately $450 billion already put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act. "We urge you to refrain from any further cuts in national defense," wrote Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), House Armed Services Committee chairman, in an Oct. 14 letter (caution, large-sized file) signed by some 30 Republican committee members. Additional cuts "would pose a serious threat to the nation's readiness to respond to current and future global security challenges," warned the letter. HASC Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), in a separate letter, also asked the joint committee "to avoid cuts" to national defense accounts beyond the reductions already applied. "Further reductions could undermine national security," he wrote in his Oct. 12 missive. Similarly, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said he was "unable to recommend further discretionary cuts to DOD's budget" in his letter, dated Oct. 14. More cuts "would be disastrous," he wrote. (See also McKeon's Wall Street Journal op-ed piece.)

ACC Boss Reaches Out to Airmen

In his first letter to airmen since taking charge of Air Combat Command last month, Gen. Mike Hostage said he will focus on "developing and caring for" airmen and their families, winning today’s fight, improving effectiveness, and "balancing recapitalization and modernization." In the letter, dated Oct. 13, Hostage acknowledged that the future budgetary environment will require "tough decisions," but said he was committed to maintaining "dominant combat airpower for the joint force." He said today's challenges will require everyone to work together, but "I am confident you will continue providing unparalleled combat airpower when and where our nation needs." He added, "You can expect from me a relentless drive for excellence and professionalism, the hallmarks of our great Air Force."

Seasoned, Capable, and Cost-effective

Air Force Reservists comprise nearly 14 percent of the Air Force’s total authorized end strength, but consume only 5.3 percent of the service’s personnel budget and provide nearly 20 percent of the Air Force’s overall capability, Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner,...

Reserve F-22 Pilots Back in the Air

Reservists with the 477th Fighter Group at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, resumed F-22 flight operations after a standdown that lasted more than four months. They made their first flights together on Oct. 15 during the group’s monthly training weekend, which was...

GAO: DOD’s EELV Acquisition Strategy Needs Work

The Defense Department needs to assess the cost of engines and mission-assurance activities for future evolved expendable launch vehicles before it makes decisions on future EELV buys, said Government Accountability Office auditors. DOD and the National Reconnaissance Office plan to...

Joint US-Afghan Air Assault Mission

Members of the Afghan air force’s Kandahar Air Wing and US Army’s Task Force Thunder recently conducted their first joint air assault mission. During Operation Sand Hill Crane, two Army UH-60 Black Hawks and one AAF Mi-17 helicopter inserted specialized...

Elmendorf Gets High-Tech F-22 Facility

A new $6.2 million training facility opened for F-22 maintainers at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The facility features five fully automated classrooms and an engine lab. Instructors with Elmendorf’s 372nd Training Squadron, Det. 14, will be able to teach 34 of...

Cadets Have High Hopes for Stealthy Target

Air Force Academy cadets have designed a stealthy, twin-engine, remotely piloted aircraft that is one of the finalists in the Air Force’s search for a threat-representative aerial target that F-22 and F-35 pilots could shoot at in training drills. If...

Another Training Tool in Place at F-35 Schoolhouse

Lockheed Martin announced Monday that it has installed the first weapons-load training device at the F-35 integrated pilot-and-maintenance training center at Eglin AFB, Fla., home of the 33rd Fighter Wing. This system will allow maintenance students to hone their skills...

Eleven More to Go

A new-build C-17 transport arrived at JB Lewis-McChord, Wash., for beddown, giving the Air Force 212 of the 223 C-17s that it is authorized to procure. Airmen from the 62nd Airlift Wing and Air Force Reserve Command’s 446th AW will...