Maine Gov. John Baldacci said in a Jan. 7 statement that his state’s Air National Guard had received “verbal confirmation” that the Air Force would conduct a full environmental impact assessment on the Air Guard’s plan to expand the area at which fighter aircraft training in the Condor Military Operating Area can fly at altitudes as low as 500 feet. Baldacci has been critical of the Air Guard’s intent to press on with flight changes for Condor, which includes airspace in Maine, without a full study. The Massachusetts ANG, which has spearheaded the change, held the last of five public meetings in Farmington, Maine, last month. Massachusetts and Vermont F-15 and F-16 Air Guard units use Condor and believe the expanded low-level flying would aid their mission to combat cruise missile or small airplane attacks. However, Baldacci is not certain the Condor range “is the only space such training can be done.” He said, “I had serious concerns about the contents of an earlier Environmental Assessment Supplement regarding this proposal, and I hope that the full EIS will help to ensure that any decisions made regarding Condor are in the best interest of everyone involved.” He has asked for written confirmation on the intent to conduct a full EIS.
The White House announced its United States Space Priorities Framework in a document released concurrently with Vice President Kamala Harris' first National Space Council meeting. Listed among five U.S. priorities is to “defend its national security interests from the growing scope and scale of space and counterspace threats.”