Senate Proposal Would Eliminate “Pass-Through” Funding From USAF Budget

The Senate Armed Services Committee’s proposed version of the Fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill would eliminate the “pass-through” funding in the Air Force budget. The “non-blue” funding, while in the USAF budget, support accounts that are classified, such as special operations and the National Intelligence Program. The committee says in its report that it believes the pass-through inclusion offers a “misleading picture” of the Air Force investment budget, something USAF budget experts have long argued. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.

Active Duty Units Have Completed Operational Safety Review, Air Force Says

Active Duty Air Force units have now completed the operational safety review announced last month to try to find causes in a series of aircraft mishaps and ways to improve safety. Reserve and Guard units still have until June 25 to complete the review, Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in an emailed statement. “The feedback from these OSRs will be reviewed across Air Force organizational levels—wings, major commands, as well as headquarters Air Force,” the statement said. From Fiscal 2008-2018, 84 airmen were killed in aviation accidents. Eighteen of those took place in Fiscal 2018 so far.—Steve Hirsch

US Forces to Respect Temporary Afghan Ceasefire with Taliban

US forces in Afghanistan will respect a temporary ceasefire with the Taliban announced Thursday by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said. Ghani announced the ceasefire, which is expected to last roughly a week starting June 12, in a speech, a translation of which was posted on the Afghan Embassy’s website. Ghani expressed support for a fatwa by religious scholars condemning suicide bombings, and said that during the ceasefire, “I have ordered all the security and military forces to halt attacks on the Afghan Taliban,” although he added that “our operations will continue against ISIS, al Qaeda, and any other transnational terrorist groups.” Pompeo, in his statement, welcomed the ceasefire offer, saying the US stands “with the Afghan people as they lay the foundation for an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.” In support of the move, “NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and US forces in Afghanistan will respect the ceasefire, as it applies to the Taliban.” However, he said, “It does not apply to ISIS and al Qaeda, nor does it prohibit operations to defend Afghan and Coalition forces from attack.” —Steve Hirsch

SOUTHCOM Wants to be Testbed for New Capabilities

The head of US Southern Command wants the Defense Department to use his theater as a testbed for new capabilities, saying it’s a win-win for everyone. Adm. Kurt Tidd told reporters on Thursday there is a “continuous flow of new things and new ideas” coming into SOUTHCOM, which is working closely with DOD labs on things like artificial intelligence and machine learning. He’s also expressed interest in any new multi-domain command and control capabilities the USAF or Army want to test out. “Our bumper sticker is, ‘If you have something new to try, try it here,’” Tidd said. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.


—A Mississippi Air National C-17 from the 172nd Airlift Wing on Wednesday transported six children who were burned after the Fuego volcano erupted in Guatemala: Air Force Times.

—China on Wednesday warned the US against “hyping up militarization and stirring up trouble,” and said it would take the steps needed to defend its sovereignty after two B-52s flew past a Chinese-controlled shoal in the South China Sea: Associated Press.

—The United Kingdom’s first four F-35Bs have arrived at RAF Markham in Norfolk: Lockheed Martin.

—Airmen based in Tokyo used a 3D printer to convert a standard-issue gas mask into an aircraft oxygen system: Stars and Stripes.

—The remains of World War II Army Air Forces Sgt. Alfonso Duran, shot down in 1944, have been recovered in Slovenia: Stars and Stripes.

—About 30 members of the Air Force Academy lacrosse team were found to be involved in hazing, the academy said Wednesday; meanwhile the school’s superintendent, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, said earlier that a hazing probe of the men’s swim team had “found enough evidence … that we’re going to take action against some swimmers:” Air Force Times.

—The Michigan Air National Guard’s 107th Fighter Squadron flew an A-10C Warthog over Normandy Tuesday to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day; the aircraft had a custom paint job inspired by the P-51 Mustangs that took part in the invasion: Business Insider.

—The Air Force cancelled launch of the ORS-6 weather demonstration satellite on a SpaceX Falcon 9 because of technical issues with the spacecraft’s bus: Defense Daily.