Metro-East News

Roger That: Governor appoints new Illinois National Guard commander

Gov. Bruce Rauner announced Monday that he has named Brig. Gen. Richard J. Hayes Jr. as the new adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard. Hayes’ is currently the deputy adjutant general for the Illinois Army National Guard. His experience spans 30 years in the U.S. Army and National Guard, as well as the private sector, according to the Illinois National Guard Facebook page.

Hayes joined the Illinois National Guard as deputy adjutant general in June 2013. He is responsible for developing and coordinating all policies, programs and plans that affect Illinois’ more than 10,000 Army National Guard members. He oversees overall readiness, operation, training, maintenance and logistical support, as well as the management, welfare, morale, discipline and safety of soldiers in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Before working full-time for the Illinois National Guard, Hayes spent 27 years working in the engineering and construction industries. His last civilian role was as CEO of Albin Carlson & Company, which is a large heavy civil construction firm based in Addison.

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Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, will receive a recommendation in November on whether enlisted airmen may fly drones, according to the Air Force Times.

Under current Air Force rules, drone pilots are commissioned officers, while enlisted personnel serve as sensor operators. The idea of allowing enlisted airmen to pilot Air Force drones arose because the flying service is losing more drone pilots than it trains.

At a May 21 virtual town hall meeting, Welsh said he has no doubt that enlisted airmen can fly drones, but the Air Force needs to consider some possible issues that might come up if enlisted airmen flew alongside officers.

“You could create situations, if you’re not careful, where you’ve got really weird student-instructor relationships,” Welsh said at the town hall, which has been posted on YouTube.

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An airborne Air Force missile crew test-launched another unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile last week, the third since late March, according to a story in the Air Force Times.

A crew flying in an E-6B aircraft and based with the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, test-launched the ICBM from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The F.E. Warren team worked with the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, and the 576th Flight Test Operations Squadron at Vandenberg.

The missile, launched at 3:37 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, landed 4,200 miles west at the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to Air Force Global Strike Command.

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U.S. Cyber Command has called off a wide-ranging, nearly $500 million request for bids that would have outsourced support for cyberspying and network attacks against foreigners, as well as the defense of military networks, according to a story on the DefenseOne.com website.

Few details so far have emerged on why the 5-year-old command, which is racing to bolster its staffing, revoked an April 30 request for proposals from contractors. The jobs is worth up to $475 million over five years.

The hiring of so many civilian contractors was meant to help deploy the so-called Cyber National Mission Force, according to the original solicitation. The purpose of the venture was “to streamline USCYBERCOM’s acquisition of cyber mission support capabilities and services, information technology services, and cyber professional services” across multiple disciplines “under a centralized structure,” according to the website.

The Defense Department is now reconsidering this plan. It posted a notice last week that it has cancelled the request for bids, stating in an update that it “has determined it is necessary to reassess the needs of USCYBERCOM and to consider whether another acquisition strategy could better meet those needs.”

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The Pentagon squandered $36 million by building a command facility in Afghanistan after the troop surge there ended — against the advice of generals on the ground who said it wasn’t needed, a military watchdog announced Wednesday in a scathing report, according to a story on NBC news.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction also charged that defense officials sabotaged his investigation of the 2011 project at Camp Leatherneck, coaching witnesses and encouraging military personnel to stonewall the probe.

In a reply to the report, the Pentagon insisted it had been “prudent” to continue with the building plans, denied there had been misconduct and concluded there is no reason for further investigation.

The Defense Department requested money for the facility from Congress to accommodate the 2010 troop surge, but Maj. Gen. Richard Mills later recommended the project be canceled because the existing facilities were adequate.

The cancellation was nixed by Maj. Gen. Peter Vangjel because the money had already been appropriated — a “use it or lose it” approach to spending taxpayer money, according to the special inspector.

“Ultimately, construction of the building was not completed until long after the surge was over, and the building was never used,” the report said.

Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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