Trump Signs Budget Bill, Pointing to National Security
Nearly half way through the fiscal year, President Trump Friday signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus budget legislation, heading off a potential third government shutdown for the year and ending the extended struggle over funding the government through September. The bill, which includes $654.6 billion for the Defense Department, had received final congressional approval by early Friday morning and Trump signed it Friday afternoon despite a previous veto threat. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
Senate Confirms Ray for Global Strike, Thompson for Space Command No. 2
The Senate on Thursday confirmed Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray for his fourth star and assignment as commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. Ray, who previously served as the deputy commander of US European Command, will take over for Gen. Robin Rand who is retiring. Ray is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in aircraft including B-52s and B-1s. Before EUCOM, Ray commanded 3rd Air Force and was the director of global power programs. The Senate also confirmed Maj. Gen. David Thompson to be lieutenant general and take over the newly created position of vice commander of Air Force Space Command, which will be based at the Pentagon. Thompson, who is currently serving as the special assistant to the commander of AFSPC at Peterson AFB, Colo., was confirmed for a similar position last year, but before he could assume his new role Congress eliminated the position. Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), at the time, called the position a “hastily developed half-measure, … which at best only added a box on the organization chart.” Air Force leaders have repeatedly emphasized the need to have a senior space lead at the Pentagon as it shifts its focus in that domain to a warfighting mentality. —Brian Everstine
Report: Investigators Treating Travis AFB Incident as Possible Terrorism
A man drove a car loaded with propane tanks through the main gate at Travis AFB, Calif., around 7 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators are treating the crash as a terrorist incident because the driver is said to have deliberately ignited a fire after the car crashed in a nearby ditch, CBS News reported. An explosive ordnance disposal team immediately responded to the scene. The driver, who has not been identified, was “pronounced dead at the scene,” but no other injuries or fatalities were reported, according to a USAF release. “The safety and welfare of our airmen, their families, and our local community is our top priority,” said Col. John Klein, commander of the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis, in a statement posted on Twitter. “I am extremely proud of how our first responders quickly addressed the situation to keep Travis and the surrounding area out of harm’s way. We are fortunate to have enduring relationships with federal and local law enforcement, and will continue to work hand-in-hand with them through the investigation process.” The Air Force Office of Special Investigation and the FBI were working on the incident. —Steve Hirsch
MacDill Hosts Open House for Students as Part of New AMC Effort to Improve Education
MacDill AFB, Fla, this week brought in about 1,300 students from eight schools in the Tampa area to show the Air Force mission as part of a new effort aimed at increasing the quality of schooling around bases and giving more insight into the military to help bolster recruitment. The event is part of an Air Mobility Command-wide effort to reach out to local schools and improve education activities around its bases. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
—Air Forces Cyber from March 5-14 hosted the first ever Cybersecurity Foundry Course, with 18 cyberspace professionals teaching 100 students from across the Air Force on cybersecurity functions, processes, procedures, and data analysis: Air Force release.
—An all-female B-1B Lancer crew flew a local sortie on March 21 at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., to mark Women’s History Month: Ellsworth release.
—A Lockheed Martin-led group recently modernized the command, control, battle management, and communications system with a focus on improving collaborative Ballistic Missile Defense planning: Lockheed release.
—Mission assurance operations for the 5th Space Launch Squadron, which previously worked on United Launch Alliance Atlas and Delta flights, have been merged with the 45th Launch Support Squadron, which typically oversaw SpaceX Falcon launches: AFSPC release.
—Air University and the city of Montgomery, Ala., recently created MGMWERX, an innovation effort similar to the Air Force’s AFWERX: Air University release.