Aviation in Crisis

Retired general, former Army secretary named to panel studying military aviation crisis

The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday announced that it had selected a retired general and former lawmaker to join an eight-person independent commission looking into the reasons behind a spate of aviation mishaps that has killed scores of pilots and their crews over the last several years.

The National Commission on Military Aviation Safety was established in the 2019 defense bill after a series of congressional hearings where Military Times' in-depth investigations into the rising number of military aviation mishaps was repeatedly cited and used to question the services on the accidents. The series was ultimately also cited in legislation addressing the issue.

The House and Senate armed service committee leaders each name two panelists, and the president names four panelists. On the House side, outgoing Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, has selected former Texas congressman and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.

Outgoing Ranking member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., who is expected to become the next HASC chairman following Tuesday’s elections, has selected retired Gen. Raymond E. Johns Jr., a former test pilot with more than 5,000 flight hours, who also served in multiple DoD and Air Force leadership positions.

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