House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) presides over the committee's markup of defense authorization legislation. Screenshot photo.
The House Armed Services Committee Wednesday moved to create
a commission to look into aviation flight safety, unexplained physiological
effects faced by Air Force and other military pilots, and delays in aviation
The moves came as the committee began its consideration of
its version of the Fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, taking up and
expanding an amendment earlier proposed
by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the committee’s senior minority member, to set up
the aviation flight safety commission. Its purpose was expanded beyond aviation
safety through an amendment to Smith’s language proposed by committee Chairman
Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).
Approval of the combined amendment came as the committee
dealt with more than 100 amendments to the authorization legislation through
the opening session.
The amendment, as approved by the committee, would insert
language establishing the eight-member commission, four of whose members would
be appointed by the President, one each appointed by the chairman and ranking
minority member of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.
The commission would be directed to undertake a study of US
military aviation mishaps between Fiscal 2013 and 2018 that would be aimed at comparing mishaps during that period to historic rates. The commission would make recommendations on
any modifications of safety or other policies related to military aviation
safety. It also would be directed to issue a report to the
President and congressional defense committees by June 1, 2019, setting forth
its findings and any recommendations it has for further action.
It would also express as the sense of Congress that the
Defense Secretary should take “every immediate action” to make needed repairs
to aviation systems and raise pilot training and proficiency without increasing
risk to flight safety.
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