?Sikorsky Pushing for Early Combat Rescue Helicopter Production Decision, Deliveries
The next generation of Air Force combat rescue sits in a new production line in Connecticut, where two development models of the HH-60W helicopter are finishing assembly to prepare for flight-testing late this year. Sikorsky is moving forward on a schedule, bolstered by an Air Force budget request that includes earlier than expected funding for production, that it says could bring helicopters to USAF flight lines months early. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Senate Bill Would Authorize $715.9 Billion for Defense in Fiscal 2019
The Senate Armed Services Committee, in its proposed version of the Fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Bill released Thursday, calls for $715.9 billion in Pentagon spending. That total compares with $717 billion the House calls for in its version of the bill, which passed that chamber Thursday. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
Davis-Monthan Wraps Up Red Flag-Rescue
The Air Force’s combat rescue community wrapped up its biggest exercise May 19 after two weeks of realistic training focused on operating contested environments. Red Flag-Rescue ran from May 5 to 19 at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., and replaced the Angel Thunder exercise that the base first held in 2006 as Air Combat Command identified a need for a large exercise focused on combat search and rescue. This exercise included more than 700 personnel from 20 units of the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and US Navy, according to a Davis-Monthan release. The exercise was planned to follow up a Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev, and the scenario was training for the initial days of a conflict when it first becomes possible for combat search and rescue crews to operate, according to the release. —Brian Everstine
GAO Faults Pentagon’s Excess Infrastructure Study
The Pentagon’s study on its own excess infrastructure, which it has used to call for a new round of base realignment and closure, is limited because it relied on outdated information, unreasonable assumptions, and did not use a “consistent approach,” the Government Accountability Office claims in a new report. The Pentagon last year released an infrastructure report, required by the Fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, and found that the overall Defense Department has 19 percent excess capacity. This study used a 1989 baseline for excess capacity, which “may lead to inaccurate results” because it does not include requirements for newer weapons systems. Also, the methodology includes assumptions that may not be reasonable and each military department used different approaches. There is no specific department-wide guidance concerning the Pentagon’s process for selecting installations in its analysis. Going forward, GAO calls on the Pentagon to change its assumptions and develop more guidance to produce a more accurate study of its capacity. —Brian Everstine
Air Force’s Chief Information Security Officer Leaving
Air Force Chief Information Security Officer will leave the Air Force after June 1, FedScoop reported Friday. Kim will reportedly be replaced in an acting capacity by Deputy CISO Wanda Jones-Heath. The change would follow President Donald Trump’s April nomination of Lt. Gen. Bradford Shwedo, who had been serving as Air Force chief of information dominance, to be director of command, control, communications, and computers/cyber and chief information officer on the Joint Staff. The Senate confirmed Shwedo Thursday. The Air Force could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. —Steve Hirsch
—President Trump on Thursday evening awarded the Medal of Honor to US Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski for his actions in the March 2002 Battle of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan: DOD release.
—CBS News recently profiled the Air Force’s special operations surgical team, deployed to front lines to help save special operators in the fight against ISIS: CBS.
—Airmen with the 40th Airlift Squadron, 317th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, and the 317th Operational Support Squadron recently returned home to Dyess AFB, Texas, from a deployment to East Africa and Europe: KTAB.
— Two airmen on a hike in Zion National Park, Utah, recently rescued a group of six climbers who were stranded in a freezing river: USAF release.
—Three Congressmen added an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that would force the Air Force to improve the wastewater infrastructure at JB San Antonio-Lackland, Texas: Texas Public Radio.
—Three airmen have been awarded the 2018 Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award, presented to military members who have supported military missions or overseas contingency operations: USAF release.