One Pilot Killed, One Injured in A-29 Crash at Holloman

The Air Force has “paused” the second phase of its Light Attack Experiment at Holloman AFB, N.M., after an A-29 Super Tucano crashed on Friday killing one of the pilots. Navy Lt. Christopher Carey Short, from Canandaigua, N.Y., was killed in the crash. The second pilot “suffered minor injuries and was airlifted to a local hospital,” according to a release. “There’s no way to describe the shock of this loss and the sadness we feel for his family,” said Col. Houston Cantwell, commander of the 49th Wing at Holloman. “He did pioneering work in aviation that will help shape American air power for years to come. We’re thankful to have known him and grateful for his devotion to duty.” Emergency personnel from the White Sands Missile Range Directorate of Emergency Services responded to the crash, which is under investigation. A cause has not yet been announced. The Sierra Nevada/Embraer Super Tucano is one of two aircraft selected to participate in the second phase of the Light Attack Experiment, which began last month and was slated to last three months. The Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine also is participating. The Air Force is trying to determine which of the two aircraft are best suited for a future light attack role for the USAF and partner nations. —Amy McCullough

Proposed Safety Commission Could Benefit Air Force, Nowland Says

A proposed military aviation safety commission might be able to shed light on current safety issues, Lt. Gen. Mark Nowland, deputy chief of staff for operations, told a House Armed Services Subcommittee Thursday. The full committee moved to create a commission to look into aviation flight safety and other issues in May when it was considering its version of the Fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, and the witnesses at Thursday’s Readiness Subcommittee hearing on aviation mishap prevention were asked how the commission might help their services. Nowland suggested it could look at such factors as operational tempo, which USAF already has found to be key to both readiness and safety. Such a study, “would help us highlight that the Air Force is too small for the mission set that we need to do, and I think it would highlight” the need for “more manpower” so airmen are able to take the time they need to train, he told the subcommittee. —Steve Hirsch

Air Force to Establish New Recruiting Squadron for Special Operations

The Air Force is planning to set up its first unit dedicated to recruiting air commandos at JBSA-Lackland’s Medina Annex in Texas June 29. The 330th Recruiting Squadron is part of a new three-part special operations recruiting model, according to the announcement from the 24th Special Operations Wing. Under the new model, USAF will identify new recruits believed to have the “fortitude, perseverance, and strength to make it through a rigorous two-year pipeline,” Air Force Recruiting Service spokeswoman Cap. Erin Ranaweera told Air Force Magazine. Those recruits will then go through a development program prior to attending Basic Military Training that is run by contracted prior operators. That program will focus on things like nutrition, physical fitness, and mental resilience. Finally, USAF is developing a “BA prep course” that is modeled after the Navy SEAL prep at Lackland for airmen who want to become tactical air control party members, combat controllers, pararescue jumpers, and Special Operations Weather Team members. The prep course will be seven weeks long and will follow BMT, but precede the typical Battlefield Airman training pipeline, said Ranaweera. The new squadron will have 96 recruiters, 12 flight chiefs, and 12 assistant flight chiefs around the country under its leadership at JBSA-Randolph, Texas. —Steve Hirsch

China, Russia, Spending Heavily to Beat US in Space, STRATCOM Chief Says

China and Russia have spent “enormous amounts of their national treasure to build capabilities for the sole purpose of countering the United States advantage in space,” and in some areas are spending more than the US, USAF Gen. John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, told a congressional hearing Friday. Hyten told the Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Space Subcommittee the two adversaries have built “ground-based capabilities, space-based capabilities, a variety of different technologies that I can’t go into in this hearing,” solely to counter the US advantage in space. Asked by Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) whether they are spending more than the US, Hyten said he could not go into specifics, but “in certain areas, they are investing more than we are.” US capabilities are “so huge, enormous, powerful that the capabilities they have really can’t impact us today,” Hyten said, but “what we have to make sure is that 10 years from now, 20 years from now, that is still the same.” —Steve Hirsch

Mitchell Dean Cautions Against Premature Implementation of Space Force

The Dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute, in an op-ed published by Breaking Defense, cautioned that prematurely creating a Space Force could have a negative impact on national security, saying leaders should heed the lessons learned from the early days of an independent Air Force. Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula said there are five conditions that should be met in order to justify the creation of a new military service. The first condition, he said, is the ability to “demonstrate a unique, actionable theory regarding airpower and air warfare to ensure the appropriate linkage between ends, ways, and means.” Second, members of a Space Force must be able to produce direct combat effects that are equivalent to effects produced by the other services. Those two conditions, argued Deptula, are still in the nascent stages. However, the other three conditions do “show positive momentum,” he said. The US has long been a space power, and most of what is done in combat relies on space-based capabilities. Space also has wide-spread civilian applications. And, finally, even just the idea of a separate Space Force is picking up momentum both in Congress and by President Trump. “Now, I am not arguing against creation of a Space Force. Its creation is not a question of if, it is a question of when. Now may be premature since two of the five critical conditions are not met,” wrote Deptula. He added, “While it may be emotionally satisfying to take dramatic action by establishing an independent armed space force today, the realities suggest that we should focus first on the conditions required to ensure effective space mission execution.” —Amy McCullough

SpaceX Awarded Launch Contract for Classified Air Force Mission

The Air Force said late Thursday it is awarding a $130 million contract to SpaceX to launch the Air Force Space Command-52 satellite into orbit. This Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle launch service contract is the fifth procurement under the Phase1A strategy. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in November issued a draft request for proposal for five launches in the EELV program. According to Thursday’s announcement, AFSPC-52 is a classified mission set to launch late in Fiscal 2020. The contract notice said the award covers launch vehicle production and mission, integration, launch operations, and “spaceflight worthiness activities.” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement that the company was honored by the selection of its Falcon Heavy for the mission, adding that SpaceX is “pleased to continue offering the American taxpayer the most cost-effective, reliable launch services for vital national security space missions.” The contract notice said two proposals were received. SpaceX and United Launch Alliance are the two providers certified for National Security Space launches. ULA spokeswoman Jessica Rye said by email that while competition is good for the nation and for customers, “We are disappointed our offering was not selected.” —Steve Hirsch


An entry in the June 22 Daily Report incorrectly identified Rep. Mike Rogers’ political party. He is a Republican from Alabama. The entry has been corrected.


—The Air Force has announced the 2017 Lance P. Sijan USAF Leadership Award winners. They are: Maj. Ryan Garlow, Air Mobility Command; Capt. M. Helen Marino, Air Force Office of Special Investigations; MSgt. Alison Middleton, Air Combat Command; and TSgt. Joshua Phillips, US Central Command: AFPC release.

—ICF has been awarded a $50 million contract for up to three and a half years to help Air Force Space Command transition its cyber mission to Air Combat Command: PRNewswire.

—The B-1s at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., were carrying the new AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, the service announced: Air Force Times.