Not There Yet

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday that the Pentagon is still developing its strategy for joint personnel recovery. “We’re not there yet,” said Mullen. This plan is expected to determine whether the Air Force will acquire a new rescue helicopter to replace its aging HH-60 Pave Hawks. The Pentagon leadership said last year in canceling the Air Force’s planned CSAR-X rescue helicopter program that it wanted to take a joint approach with the rescue mission and utilize a greater pool of assets across the services rather than rely on dedicated fleets of rescue platforms. In the meantime, the Air Force is replacing its Pave Hawk combat losses since 9/11 by buying 15 Army new-build UH-60s between Fiscal 2010 and Fiscal 2012 and converting them to the Pave Hawk configuration.