WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety – which was established by the FY19 National Defense Authorization Act – published their findings and recommendations.
“While Military aviation operations have a unique set of risks, the negative trends we have seen in recent years have been alarming. That’s why I introduced an amendment to the FY19 NDAA to create the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety, so that Congress and the Department of Defense can get to the bottom of the issue, and act swiftly to correct these troubling trends.
“As the Commission’s report details, from 2013 to 2018 more than 6,000 aviation mishaps occurred, resulting in the needless loss of 198 lives and the destruction of 157 aircraft to the tune of $9.4 billion in damage. In the intervening two years, another 29 aircraft were destroyed, claiming an additional 26 lives and costing $2.25 billion in damages. Even a single life lost would be one too many, but more than 200 in the past seven years is unacceptable.
“I take Congress’ oversight role very seriously and believe in the good that can come from effective oversight. The commission’s report is extensive and actionable, and we thank them for their hard work. Going forward, the committee will carefully review the report and discuss it in detail with the services to better understand what they are doing, and what they will change to reduce the aviation mishap rate.
“The committee’s work must not be limited to just aviation mishaps, as we have seen similarly concerning trends in recent years with ground vehicle mishaps. At the request of the Readiness Subcommittee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has been conducting a thorough review of ground vehicle mishaps. In the new year, once GAO has completed its work, I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee and with the military leadership to ensure concrete steps are taken to reverse the mishap trends we are seeing across all services and components.”
Read the commission’s full report here.