USAF Isn’t Seeking Additional Aircraft in Its $1.44 Billion Unfunded Priorities List
The Air Force submitted a $1.44 billion unfunded priorities list to congress, including $800 million in classified programs, $351.4 million for space, and $289.3 million for nuclear and multi-domain command and control requirements. Interestingly, the service did not say it needed additional F-35s—or any other known aircraft—if it were to receive additional funds in Fiscal 2019. That’s a significant departure from the $10.7 billion Fiscal 2018 unfunded priorities list, which sought money for 14 additional F-35A strike fighters, three more KC-46 tankers, and 12 more MC-130Js. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
Using Space on the Battlefield
Space professionals who work in the combined air operations center at Al Udeid AB, Qatar, are able to get a real understanding of how warfare works. “When we get into a warfare mentality in space, the lessons that I’ve learned out here, and that hopefully all the space guys get to learn out here, is really going to benefit our domain in a big way,” Col. Dee Morgan, director of space forces at the CAOC, told Air Force Magazine during a recent visit there. Read Jennifer Hlad’s full report from Qatar.
AMC Looks to Swap Planes, Use Data to Keep Fleet Healthy
Air Mobility Command is finalizing a large-scale effort to keep its fleet healthy across the Total Force, including swapping airframes between units and using data to try to predict when planes need service. As part of the effort, the command is working with Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard on how to trade aircraft with the goal to keep them in service longer. Read the full story by Brian Everstine.
Survey Finds Military Families Suffer from Widespread Financial Stress
Military members and their families are facing heavy financial stresses, exacerbated by constant moving and a large amount of debt, according to a new survey focused on military family support. The Military Family Advisory Network on March 1 released its 2017 survey of 5,650 respondents—mostly current service members and their families or veterans and their families. The survey found that 60 percent of respondents do not have enough savings to cover three months of expenses, and 15 percent have trouble providing food to their families. Almost 93 percent of these families are carrying debt. “Military life creates financial stress, and that stress has widespread implications,” the report states. A large portion of this stress comes from orders that force families to move quickly, which in turns causes them to take on debt to cover moving expenses coupled with an inability to find child care and difficulty moving forward on education, the report states. Despite these challenges, the report finds that 77 percent of respondents would recommend military service to someone they care about, while the civilian population is only 37 percent likely. To address some issues in the survey, MFAN recommends the Defense Department recognize health care as a priority for those in service, prepare for an increase in early retirements, and consider that family satisfaction will impact retention rates. The Pentagon should explore the financial stresses that military families experience, and work with communities who can help, according to the survey. —Brian Everstine
DOD IG to Investigate Academy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office
The Pentagon’s Inspector General announced Wednesday it is investigating the Air Force Academy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, the latest in as series of high-profile investigations and changes related to this office. The IG will investigate the office to see if it was derelict in its duties because of poor management, according to The Associated Press. An internal USAFA investigation last year found widespread infighting, rumors, and poor record keeping, prompting the director to resign. The Academy last month announced it was overhauling the office and hiring a completely new staff. —Brian Everstine
—Airmen with the Ohio Air National Guard’s 178th Wing recently few with the Ohio State Highway Patrol to help with flood relief: DOD release.
—A letter signed by all three service Secretaries to the National Governors Association urged the states to “improve the quality of schools near military bases” and make it easier for military spouses, especially those who worked in licensed career fields, to get a job: USAF release.
—Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he’s open to increasing the number of fitness waivers to new recruits in high-demand career fields, such as cyber: Military Times.
—US Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa’s fourth annual Innovation Madness competition will begin March 13. Participants have a chance to win up to $250,000 throughout the competition for their unit: USAFE release.