Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has refused to lift his hold on Lt. Gen. Hawk Carlisle’s nomination for a fourth star to lead Pacific Air Forces, saying the service’s newly issued report on the planned relocation of the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska, has yet to address his lingering concerns on the affordability and feasibility of the move. “While I’m pleased to finally have the report released, I am disappointed, yet not surprised, to see the move of the F-16s from Eielson to [Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson] would actually cost money in the first year and estimated cost savings appear to be less than half of what was projected initially,” stated Begich in a release on May 31. “The bottom line is we have yet to see a comprehensive five-year analysis detailing the total budgetary ramifications of the relocation and long-term plan for Eielson,” he said. Begich urged the Air Force leadership to defer the relocation for at least a year so that service officials could “ensure our airmen have somewhere to live and don’t suffer unnecessary financial burdens when trying to sell their homes in Fairbanks.” (PACAF report; caution, large-sized file.)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.