Headlines – March 22, 2019

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News

A government watchdog is investigating Trump’s defense secretary. Here’s why –
The Department of Defense Inspector General announced March 20 it had initiated an investigation into Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan over reports that he has disparaged competing defense companies to the potential benefit of his former firm, Boeing.
 
 

Business

America’s fighter jet makers are thriving, thanks to Trump and Putin –
American-made fighter jets, once facing extinction, have seen a resurgence in sales, thanks largely to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
 
More fire power: U.S. Army sets out to develop new missiles in FY20 –
The U.S. Army is embarking on several new missile development programs while ramping up and accelerating other ongoing programs to deliver more fire power to the force at greater ranges, according to the service’s justification books for its fiscal 2020 budget request.
 
Navy ready to ‘burn the boats’ with 2021 laser installation on a destroyer –
In the next two years, the Navy wants to deploy a laser aboard a guided-missile destroyer as the service learns to integrate directed energy weapon systems on warships, the Navy’s director of surface warfare said March 20.
 
V-22 program celebrates 30th anniversary of first flight; inserting maintainability improvements into fleet –
Military and industry officials gathered at the Marine Corps Museum in Virginia on March 19 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey’s first flight and to welcome in the next era of V-22 operations around the globe.
 
Space Force may not fix space acquisition mess: GAO –
The Trump Administration and Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper think there is a good shot at getting Space Force legislation through this Congress, but there appear to be yawning gaps in the plan.
 
Qatar receives first Apache attack helicopter –
Qatar has received the first of its recently ordered Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters, the U.S. Embassy in Doha disclosed on March 20.
 
MBDA doubles down on tiny European laser-weapon project –
Initiatives launched by the European Commission since 2017 are a “game changer” for European missile maker MBDA, whose CEO Antoine Bouvier said those projects will “profoundly change the environment in which we work.”
 
British MOD pushes the brakes on key air-combat training initiative –
The Ministry of Defence has halted a £1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) competition to provide air combat training for the British military as officials re-assess the scope of the requirement.
 
Here’s what you need to know about China’s biggest thermal imager –
One of Guide’s biggest clients is the Chinese army, which uses the night vision technology for precision weapons and to aid combat at night and Guide is now exploring wider civilian uses for its equipment.
 
 

Defense

What aircraft does U.S. Air Force need to beat China, Russia? This new study has an answer –
Last September, the U.S. Air Force revealed that it will need a total of 386 operational squadrons to take on future threats posed by Russia and China. A new congressionally mandated study posits that number may not be enough.
 
Is Pentagon moving quickly enough on hypersonic defense? –
As the Pentagon looks to catch up with China and Russia in the hypersonic arms race, there is a widespread acknowledgement that the technology to defend against weapons capable of reaching Mach 5 or higher simply isn’t there.
 
Pentagon fails to deliver U.S. strategy on Yemen –
The Trump administration has missed another congressional deadline to lay out the U.S. strategy in Yemen, Al-Monitor has learned.
 
Space Force’s projected size drifts upward, drawing concern on Capitol Hill –
Pentagon officials have often used the word “lean” when talking about the proposed Space Force, an effort to ease lawmakers’ concerns about creating more bureaucracy. But congressional aides being briefed by defense officials privately about the plan remain skeptical about the size of the proposed branch and the number of generals who will lead it.
 
Shanahan: Space Force won’t take over Navy, Army space assets –
The Navy and Army will retain control of their space assets as the Pentagon moves forward with establishing a new Space Force under the Air Force, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said March 20.
 
Pentagon agrees to set up McSally’s military sexual assault task force –
Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., said March 20 that acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has agreed to immediately form a Pentagon task force to combat sexual assault.
 
U.S. Army’s newest tracked vehicle is headed to Europe next year –
The Army’s newest tracked vehicle, set to replace the half-century old Armored Personnel Carrier, is set to field next year in both the United States and Europe, according to recent Army budget documents.
 
Thousands more soldiers will deploy to Pacific to increase Army footprint –
In a move to bolster U.S. troop presence in the Pacific, the Army has plans to deploy thousands of soldiers to the region for ongoing rotations.
 
Late is new normal for Virginia-class attack boats –
The U.S. Navy is dealing with persistent delays throughout its submarine-building enterprise as it prepares to enter into a historically large contract for the complicated Block V Virginia-class attack submarine and begin heavy work on the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines.
 
Navy’s F-35 is nowhere near combat-ready, watchdog group says –
A government watchdog organization says that the Navy’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter isn’t ready for combat, even though the service signed off on the aircraft’s initial operating capability status last month.
 
Navy enacts almost all changes recommended after fatal USS Fitzgerald, USS McCain collisions –
The Navy has enacted nearly all the changes recommended in two 2017 reports it ordered after two fatal collisions at sea involving U.S. warships, the vice chief of naval operations recently told Congress.
 
Air Force replacing failing aircrew locator beacons, years after call for replacements –
The Air Force is finally moving forward with plans to replace the locator beacons used to find ejected aircrew in the case of an emergency, years after an urgent request for replacements.
 
Here are some of tactical drones the Marine Corps wants in 2020 –
The Corps is pumping more money into its fleet of small tactical drones than it has in the past two years combined, according to budget documents.
 
 

Veterans

Should veterans have to pay for VA’s benefits errors? –
A group of Senate lawmakers is again arguing that if veterans are overpaid on benefits because of accounting errors, they shouldn’t be punished for the federal government’s mistakes.
 
Last Pearl Harbor survivor in Kansas City has died –
The man believed to be the last Kansas City-area resident to survive the attack at Pearl Harbor has died.
 
Share of troops, vets buying homes with VA loans has more than doubled –
Military members seem to be warming up to VA loans when buying their first homes, a new report shows.
 
VA to offer new ketamine-based nasal spray for depression –
The newest FDA-approved medication to treat severe depression, a nasal spray based on the anesthetic (and misused hallucinogenic party drug) ketamine, will soon be available to veterans treated within the Department of Veterans Affairs.