S.C. military base task force hires coordinator
The panel named to help ensure that military bases in South Carolina don’t suffer in a possible new round of defense budget cuts has hired an executive coordinator.
The State newspaper reported the South Carolina Military Base Task Force has hired a former commander from Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter to lead the effort.
Retired Maj. Gen. William Holland is a former commander of 9th Air Force based at Shaw.
Holland will coordinate the efforts of the state’s military communities. He also will help educate lawmakers and the public on the importance of the military in South Carolina.
Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom says Holland previously worked with the Sumter Base Defense Committee.
He replaces Brig. Gen. George Patrick, who became the state’s Deputy Commerce Secretary last year. AP
Army vet charged with falsely claiming war wounds
An Army veteran in Southern California has been charged with falsely claiming he was wounded in Vietnam in order to claim nearly $60,000 in benefits.
The U.S. attorney’s office says Command Sgt. Maj. William Roy was indicted June 5 by a federal grand jury in Riverside. A call seeking comment from the 57-year-old Winchester resident wasn’t immediately returned June 7.
The active-duty soldier is charged with stealing government property, making false statements and submitting false documents to the government.
Authorities say he falsely claimed to have won two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star in Vietnam when he actually was stationed in Germany. He’s also accused of requesting a Purple Heart in 2008 after falsely claiming injuries in Afghanistan.
Roy faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted. AP
U.K. military to rely more on reservists
The British army will be forced to rely more on reservists and private contractors as it trims entire units and shrinks troop figures by 20,000 in the coming years, the defense secretary said June 7.
To reduce its massive deficit, the U.K. government is trimming the military’s annual $57.6 billion defense budget by 8 percent. That means “difficult decisions” ahead for the military, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said in a speech to the Royal United Services Institute.
“A regular army of 82,000 will have a different structure to one of 102,000,” he said. “And some units inevitably will be lost or will merge.”
The army will need to think “innovatively about how combat service support is provided” and take more advantage of skills available among reservists and contractors, he said.
Britain will invest $2.8 billion in reserve forces over the next 10 years, he added. The 20,000 reduction in troop figures is expected to be complete by 2020.
Hammond also said the U.K. will have to work more closely with international partners and look to others to “provide the tail, where Britain is concentrating on providing the teeth” in defense. AP
Governor set to sue over Air Guard mission
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is telling the Defense Department that he will sue to block any plans to take the state’s Air National Guard mission without a suitable replacement.
Schweitzer said June 7 the lawsuit will be filed in federal court next week.
The Air Force has said it is moving F-15 fighter jets currently stationed in Great Falls to California. The Air Force has said they would be replaced by C-130s.
But that has prompted intervention by Gulf Coast states that would lose those planes.
Schweitzer says he wants to make sure Montana is not caught in the lurch. He says federal law requires a governor’s permission before the federal government can make a change in a state guard’s organization. AP
Automatic defense cuts undercut Obama plan
A bipartisan group of former U.S. lawmakers and retired military officers say the automatic defense cuts looming in January would be more devastating than previously feared and make it impossible for President Barack Obama to refocus his national security strategy.
Members of the Bipartisan Policy Center June 7 painted a dire picture for the nation’s economy, the military and large and small defense contractors if the automatic reductions occur on Jan. 2, 2013. In its report, the group said the cuts would mean an indiscriminate, across-the-board 15 percent reduction in programs and activities within the military, not the 10 percent that had been estimated.
Former Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, who served as chairman of the Budget Committee during his nearly four decades in the Senate, called it an “absolute fiasco.” AP
Northrop Grumman closing Connecticut plant
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says the state has been preparing itself for cuts in the defense industry with two wars winding down.
Malloy was responding to Northrop Grumman’s decision to close its engineering and manufacturing facility in Norwalk.
The company announced June 7 it will shut down its Norden Systems facility and consolidate work at other facilities in Maryland and Illinois. The Connecticut facility employs 315 people.
Company spokesman Jack Martin tells The Hour newspaper of Norwalk the business consolidation is expected to take place over 18 months. Martin up to 50 Norwalk workers will receive offers to relocate to other company locations.
The plant has been in Norwalk since 1961, under various owners.
Malloy says the state is prepared to help its high-tech workforce make a successful transition. AP
Boeing formally opens Oklahoma City facility
Boeing has formally opened its new facility in Oklahoma City, Okla., where it will upgrade and modernize U.S. Air Force aircraft.
Gov. Mary Fallin joined company officials June 7 in opening the facility where B-1 and C-130 aircraft are being modernized with upgrades to the cockpits. Modernization programs also include the B-52, E-4B, E-6, C-32 and C-40 aircraft.
Boeing plans to bring about 1,000 new jobs to the city with the new plant.
The C-130 upgrades were to be eliminated under a proposed federal budget earlier this year. A defense funding bill in the U.S. House would prohibit ending the upgrades until 180 days after an analysis comparing the cost of the upgrades versus the cost of keeping the C-130s effective without the upgrade. AP