About 25 percent of the Senate has signed up to be part of the new Senate Aerospace Caucus, which held its inaugural session Thursday on Capitol Hill. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) are the inaugural chairs of the caucus, which Bond expects will grow to “50 percent of the Senate” in short order. The caucus will work to ensure the health of the aerospace industrial base, to include adequate research and development funding, export reform, and educational programs to stimulate student interest in math and science and in aerospace careers. Murray said caucus members are working on “a plan to support a more robust industry” in aerospace. There are “very big warning signs” that aerospace is in trouble and needs the attention a caucus will bring, she said. (For more on the event, see Internal Problem above.) (Murray-Bond release) (Bond’s prepared remarks)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.