Panetta Orders Extra Safety Measures for F-22s

To help ensure the well-being of F-22 pilots in flight, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has instructed the Air Force to institute some additional safety measures, announced Pentagon officials May 15. First, Panetta directed the Air Force to expedite the installation...

HASC Moves Against Proposed Cuts to Reserve Components

The House Armed Services Committee scrapped the Air Force's proposal to cut 5,100 Air National Guardsmen and 900 Air Force Reservists in Fiscal 2013, choosing instead to trim just 695 Air Guard positions and add 1,028 Reservists compared to the Fiscal 2012 authorized levels. Among the modifications to the Air Force's proposed force structure for the reserve components, the committee prohibited the Air Force from divesting the Air Guard's brand-new C-27J intratheater airlift fleet next fiscal year and from taking two Air Guard fighter units off of aerospace control alert, according to the report accompanying H.R. 4310, the House's version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill. The committee passed H.R. 4310 on May 10. Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz urged lawmakers on May 1 to supply the cash to support any extra force structure that they require the Air Force to maintain over the service's proposed force levels; otherwise the service would be burdened with a force that it couldn't sustain at acceptable levels of readiness. Toward that end, the HASC added some $366 million for the Air Guard, including for maintaining the two ACA locations, and some $182 million for the Reserve, according to the report's funding tables. (HASC report; caution, large-sized file.)

Passing the Cyber Torch

Air Force Space Command is restructuring its Air Force Network Integration Center at Scott AFB, Ill., announced command officials May 15. Under the changes, AFNIC will no longer have cyberspace lead command functions and will instead concentrate on overseeing the...

Conaton, Kendall, Miller Nominations Move Forward

The Senate Armed Services Committee on May 15 approved the nominations of Erin Conaton to oversee Pentagon personnel and readiness issues, Frank Kendall to be the Defense Department’s weapons czar, and James Miller to manage defense policy, reported Reuters (via...

Candidate Sites Identified for TACP/ALO Schoolhouse

Keesler AFB, Miss., and JBSA-Lackland, Tex., are the candidate locations to host the Air Force’s tactical air control party and air liaison officer training, announced service officials in a release May 15. The Air Force is looking to relocate this...

European Missile Defense Shield Ready

The first phase of the European Phased Adaptive Approach missile defense system is ready for initial operations, although the official announcement will not come until next week’s NATO summit in Chicago, said US officials in a Pentagon news release May...

Lawmakers Want Strategic Plan for RPA Training at Home

House Armed Services Committee members want the Pentagon to develop a strategic plan for the training of remotely piloted aircraft operators in the national airspace. "If [RPA] pilots and sensor operators are to maintain proficiency and mission readiness at their home stations, the Department of Defense will need to address the current constraints on training in the national airspace," reads the report accompanying H.R. 4310, the House's version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill. While forthcoming Federal Aviation Administration safety standards will enable the Pentagon to access the national airspace for routine training by 2016, DOD "needs to have a strategic plan in place to absorb [RPA] into bases, airspace, and training programs in the continental United States, as the inventory grows and some assets return from [Afghanistan]," states the report. The committee directed DOD to provide a report on this plan to the congressional defense and intelligence committees within 180 days of the defense authorization bill becoming law. The committee approved H.R. 4310 on May 10. (HASC report; caution, large-sized file.)

Terre Haute to Afghan Heights

Joint terminal attack controllers with the Indiana Air National Guard’s 113th Air Support Operations Squadron deployed for the first time as a unit to Afghanistan, announced Indiana Air Guard officials May 14. Teamed with the Army National Guard’s 37th Infantry...