Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva on Friday recognized the complexities of the Trump administration’s push to establish a Space Force as a new US military service, a move that will require the approval of Congress and, he said, more resources. Read the full story by Steve Hirsch.
Two Oregon Air National Guard F-15Cs scrambled and went supersonic over Washington state to intercept a Horizon Air Q400 that was stolen from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and flew around the region before crashing. Richard Russell, an employee with the Alaska Air subsidy, stole the twin turboprop commuter aircraft from SeaTac and flew it around toward the mountains and over the Puget Sound. Two F-15Cs, from the 142nd Fighter Wing at Portland International Airport, scrambled, were carrying air-to-air weapons, and intercepted the Q400 near JB Lewis-McChord, Wash. A KC-135 tanker on alert at Fairchild AFB, Wash., launched to help the F-15Cs, and even a KC-46 Pegasus in the region on a test flight offered to assist the Eagles, according to air traffic control audio posted by The Drive's War Zone. The F-15s trailed the Q400 and tried to coax it further out to sea before it crashed on the small remote island of Ketron, south of Tacoma, killing Russell. "I appreciate the quick reaction and professionalism of our airmen and the entire NORAD team who were on alert today, as they are every day of the year," said USAF Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Command. —Brian Everstine
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will be part of a “governance committee” to ensure quick implementation of Pentagon actions in Thursday’s Defense Department report on National Security Space reforms in preparation for creation of a Space Force. The report calls for establishment of a US Space Command, a Space Force, a Space Development Agency to develop and field new capabilities, and an operating structure with civilian oversight for the Space Force. Defense Department is also directed to speed space technology and development efforts. The committee will be led by the Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. Other members will include the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the secretaries of the Army and Navy; the defense undersecretaries for research and engineering, for acquisition and sustainment, for personnel and readiness, and for policy; and the commander, first of US Strategic Command, then of US Space Command. The panel will work with others, including military leaders and other agencies to make sure the Space Force is well integrated with the rest of the government. Among the committee’s responsibilities will be establishing civilian oversight for the new service, establishment of the new command, identifying and consolidating current entities for Space Operations Force components, and preparing a legislative proposal for the authorities needed for the new service. —Steve Hirsch
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