Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz urged the Senate to put politics aside and allow the nominations of senior Air Force officials for high-level posts to move forward. “The issue is [whether] the nominees in question [are] suitable for the positions for which they were nominated,” said Schwartz on June 11 during an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Program talk in Arlington, Va. “If this is not an issue of suitability, then it seems to me—at least as I understand the traditions of the Senate—that military nominations should go forward.” Currently, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has indefinitely put on hold the nomination of Lt. Gen. Hawk Carlisle for promotion to the rank of general for the new assignment of leading Pacific Air Forces. Begich said he has lingering concerns over the planned relocation of the 18th Aggressor Squadron from Eielson AFB, Alaska, to JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. He’s said he wants more details on the proposed move before lifting the hold. (For more coverage of Schwartz’s speech, read United Still and No Reprieve from the Governors.)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.