GAO Hits F-35 Readiness, Blames Parts Pipeline
The US F-35 fleet’s readiness problems can mostly be chalked up to a shortage of spare parts, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Thursday. Noting that full mission capable rates for the F-35 fleets cumulatively hover at about 30 percent, the GAO noted a lack of accountability for the parts the government already owns, and shortcomings in the global system that distributes them, which is managed by F-35 prime Lockheed Martin. It offered a series of recommendations that the Pentagon can study and fix the roadblocks to getting F-35 availability up, and possibly buy more parts if warranted. Read the full story by John A. Tirpak.
Watchdog: US Training Limited by Range Capability in the Pacific
Military training ranges in the Pacific, which are stuck on World War II or Cold War-era mission needs, severely limit how pilots can train and need to be upgraded as the military brings in new aircraft, the Defense Department Inspector General states in a recent report. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Shanahan Cleared of Wrongdoing by Pentagon IG, Setting Stage for Nomination
The Defense Department Inspector General on Thursday cleared Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan of allegations that he violated an ethics agreement and promoted his former employer, paving the way for a possible nomination to take the job permanently. The IG opened the investigation in early March after reports that he criticized Lockheed Martin over the performance of the F-35 program and pressured the Air Force to buy the F-15EX. “We did not substantiate any of the allegations,” the IG report states. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Selva: DOD May Again Refurbish ICBMs
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff USAF Gen. Paul Selva said Thursday the Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missiles may need a fourth refurbishment program to extend their viability before they are replaced starting in the late 2020s. The Air Force did not immediately respond to a request for comment on those considerations. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Air Force Changing Nuclear Leadership Development, Broader Education
Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said Thursday the service is taking steps to ensure the upcoming generation of nuclear enterprise leaders are well-rounded and identified from an early age. He also argued the Air Force needs to do more to educate all airmen about the importance of strategic deterrence, rather than only those people going into the career field. Read the full story by Rachel S. Cohen.
Lab Day Highlights Services’ Research, Opportunities for Collaboration
The military’s advanced research laboratories and warfare centers turned the Pentagon courtyard into a science fair Thursday, highlighting advanced research into future weapons systems as a way to bring each service’s efforts together. The Pentagon launched the Lab Day event in 2015, and the 2019 version had more than 80 presentations on a range of mission capabilities from hypersonic weapons and new directed energy efforts to new medical research. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Mitchell Institute Honors World War II Triple Ace
Retired Col. Clarence “Bud” Anderson was honored April 24 at the third annual Mitchell Institute Heritage Dinner, in Arlington, Va. The 97-year-old World War II triple ace related some of his exploits during air combat in Europe, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as in flight testing during the 1950s and 1960s. Read the full story.
Trump Set to Speak at 2019 Air Force Academy Graduation
President Donald Trump will deliver the Air Force Academy’s graduation speech on May 30, the White House confirmed Thursday. The Gazette
Pentagon Wants a Space Force, Still Undecided on a Space National Guard
The National Guard Bureau is calling for the establishment of a Space National Guard as a reserve component to the Space Force. Space News
Trump Orders Transfer of All Security Clearance Background Checks to Pentagon
President Trump ordered the Pentagon Wednesday to take over the government’s massive job of conducting background checks for security clearances. Washington Times
DOD Officials Make Case for Keeping the Draft, Women Included
The Selective Service System is an “inexpensive insurance policy” against a national emergency and should be modified to include women, a senior Defense Department official implied Wednesday during a hearing on the future of draft registration in the U.S. Military.com
Five States to Allow Transgender Troops to Serve in National Guard Despite Trump Ban
Five states are reportedly pressing forward with allowing transgender troops to serve in their National Guard despite the Trump administration’s recent military ban. The Hill
Russia to Start Deliveries of S-400 to Turkey in July
Russia will start delivering its S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey in July, the head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said, according to Interfax news agency. Reuters
One More Thing …
Iran Shows Off Newest Fighter Jet, Which Came Out 50 Years Ago
Amidst policy woes with the United States, Iran showcased its new fighter during the Thursday National Army Day Parade in Tehran, hoping to strike fear into the West with the country’s first indigenous fighter aircraft. There’s just one problem—not only is it not particularly terrifying, the United States built the original plane it is based on. War is Boring