Today is the day we put aside to remember fallen heroes and to pray that no heroes will ever have to die for us again. It's a day of thanks for the valor of others, a day to remember the splendor of America and those of her children who rest in this [Arlington National] cemetery and others. It's a day to be with the family and remember.”
President Ronald Reagan, Memorial Day 1986
As we approach the last Monday in May--Memorial Day--the Air Force Association wants to recognize all those who died serving our nation, so that we can enjoy the many freedoms of America. As we go to cookouts with family and friends, it is

important to remember that the day began in May 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of the Civil War. General John A. Logan led a ceremony with a proclamation, after which attendees decorated graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers. Since World War I, the day transformed into a celebration of honor for those who perished during America’s wars, and in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday.

“The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.”
Carl von Clausewitz

The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) held its full committee fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget mark-up last week. Note: we presented an initial summary of the yearly National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the last update. It is important to remember that the Senate’s Armed Services Committee (SASC) will mark up their version of the bill later in May. Then, hopefully by the end of this fiscal year, the Defense Appropriations committees will cut the needed check to properly fund our nation’s Air Force and sister services.
Modernization and research and development (R&D) shortfalls have taken their toll. Readiness accounts were raided to pay to maintain old airplanes. As a result, aviation accidents have increased 40 percent since the Budget Control Act of 2011 and last year, we lost more aviators in training than soldiers in combat. During the HASC’s mark-up, Chairman Thornberry opined that Congress must take its responsibility more seriously by completing the FY 2019 defense authorization and appropriations bills by the beginning of the next fiscal year. Recapitalization and modernization have been forfeited, readiness accounts have been the bill payer, and military members have paid the ultimate price.
Although the U.S. Air Force believes the recent string of crashes—claiming the lives of 18 airmen—is not a crisis, it will stand down every wing to review safety.

Please consider donating $5 to AFA’s Wounded Airmen Cycling Challenge. On May 19th, we ride for those that are unable to ride and raise funds to support our Air Force’s Wounded Airmen during their time of recovery.
Donate to a Rider or Register to Ride/Fundraise Here.



The downfall of civilized states tends to come not from the direct assaults of foes, but from internal decay combined with the consequences of exhaustion in war
B.H. Liddell Hart
After string of fatal crashes, Air Force orders safety stand down | 8 May 2018 | by Stephen Losey
In the wake of a series of troubling 
aircraft mishaps and crashes ― several of which have been fatal ― Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein has ordered a one-day safety stand down [NLT 21 May] for all flying and maintenance wings.
“I am directing this operational safety review to allow our commanders to assess and discuss the safety of our operations and to gather feedback from our airmen who are doing the mission every day,” Goldfein said in the Tuesday news release.
Read more.
Lawmaker pushes for new commission on military aviation safety
StarsAndStripes | 7 May | by Claudia Grisales
WASHINGTON – Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., introduced legislation Monday to create an independent National Commission on Military Aviation Safety in response to a series of deadly aircraft crashes in the last year.
The commission would review military aviation mishaps from 2013 and 2018, compare trends to historical data, assess causes fueling the crashes and make recommendations on safety, training, maintenance, personnel and other policies related to military aviation safety, Smith’s office said.
Read more.
Government Matters Interview with AFA President | 9 May | by Andrew Wagner
Gen. Larry Spencer (USAF, Ret.), president of the Air Force Association, discusses Rep. Adam Smith’s proposed commission on aircraft safety in the armed forces, and how the recent safety issues may lie in old aircraft platforms.
Watch Video Here.
Second phase of Light Attack Experiment underway | 7 May | by Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Flying began May 7, 2018, for the Air Force’s second phase of the Light Attack Experiment at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. 

Pilots are flying the Sierra Nevada/Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine during a three-month, live-fly experiment to gather additional information about aircraft capabilities, as well as partner nation interoperability, prior to a potential light attack purchase.
Read more.
To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.”
Paul R. Ehrlich
Air Force empowers commanders to train Airmen how they see fit | 7 May | by Scott Maucione
As of April 27, the Air Force empowered its commanders and supervisors to conduct nearly all ancillary training as they see fit. Computer-based training is no longer the primary tool for providing information.
Read more.
AFA to Hold Over 260 CyberCamps Across the United States
The Air Force Association (AFA) announced today that its CyberPatriot program will be hosting AFA CyberCamps at over 260 locations across the United States this year. This marks an increase of more than 60 percent from the 160 camp locations in the 2017 summer session.
“We are thrilled by the growth in our AFA CyberCamp program”, said Rachel Zimmerman, CyberPatriot’s Director of Business Operations. “We hope that AFA CyberCamps will introduce students to all of the facets of the CyberPatriot program and inspire them to participate in our National Youth Cyber Defense Competition this fall.”
Read more.


“…this bill [NDAA] takes the crucial next steps to rebuilding our military and reforming the Pentagon. Our nation owes the men and women who serve the best equipment, the best training, the best support it can provide. We have not given them our best in the past, and we are still seeing some of the consequences of that failure. The two-year budget agreement begins to turn that around, but we in Congress have to follow through on the second year with defense authorization and appropriation bills enacted on time. At the same time, we simply must continue to see that the taxpayers get more value for each dollar spent at the Pentagon and that our military is agile enough to respond to the many complex security challenges facing us, even when it challenges old ways of doing things. This bill advances both goals.”
- Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee
“Our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare — air, land, sea, space and cyberspace...and it is continually eroding.”
- Gen. (Ret.) James Mattis, Secretary of Defense

“I believe we will be fighting in space in the next 10 years…Space superiority is going to be central to who we are as a service.”
- Gen. David Goldfein, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force
“While most Americans use space every day, few are conscious of it. It’s seamlessly woven into our lives. Air Force-operated GPS satellites give you the blue dot on your phone and provide the timing for banking, communications, and the stock exchange. One recent study showed that the Global Positioning System’s value to the U.S. economy was about $70 billion per year.”
- The Honorable Heather Wilson, Secretary of the Air Force


During the 1960s and 1970s, many of America’s nuclear weapons were located in North Dakota, where Strategic Air Command’s (SAC’s) Minot Air Force Base operated bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles. It was suggested that, “…had North Dakota seceded from the United States it would have become the third-largest nuclear power in the world.”

Feb 12 FY 2019 President's Budget Released  
May 18 Mitchell Hour: “Light Combat Aircraft, Looking at O/A-X and Beyond”, AFA HQ  
May 19 Wounded Airman Program Cycling Challenge, CycleBar, Arlington, VA  
May 24 AFA Breakfast Series with Gen. John Raymond, Key Bridge Marriott, Arlington, VA  
Sep 17-19 Air, Space & Cyber Conference, Gaylord National Hotel, MD  
Oct 1 FY 2019 Begins  
Feb 27-Mar 1

AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium, Orlando, FL


If you have questions, please contact:

Keith Zuegel, USAF
Senior Director, Government Relations
Air Force Association (AFA)


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