In the news...

January 13, 2014

Headlines – January 13, 2014

News:

U.S. has deployed military advisers to Somalia, officials say -

The U.S. military secretly deployed a small number of trainers and advisers to Somalia in October, the first time regular troops have been stationed in the war-ravaged country since 1993, when two helicopters were shot down and 18 Americans killed in the “Black Hawk Down” disaster.

Iranian Nuclear Accord advances -

World powers and Iran agreed to begin implementing a pact to curb Tehran’s nuclear program on Jan. 20, setting the stage for six months of diplomacy intended to end Tehran’s atomic weapons threat, officials said.

 

Business:

A-12 litigation may be coming to an end -

It was 1991 when the Pentagon canceled a $4.8 billion program to build a stealth aircraft for the US Navy called the A-12, a decision prompted by fears the plane would take too long to produce and become far too expensive. 

U.S. probes Honeywell over F-35 sensor made in China -

U.S. defense contractor Honeywell said Monday it is being investigated by U.S. authorities about the manufacture of a defense-related sensor in China used for a U.S. fighter jet. 

GD, Israel renegotiate troop carrier deal to cut U.S. production - 

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) is renegotiating a 2011 contract with Israel that will likely include penalties due to budget-driven cuts in the number of heavy troop carrier kits Israel agreed to buy from the firm.

Pentagon’s December contracts climbed 8 percent as logjam eased -

Pentagon contracts climbed 8 percent last month to $24.9 billion as the military worked to clear a backlog caused by October’s partial government shutdown. 

Defense companies brace for a different kind of consolidation this time around -

Years before the company’s legendary merger with Lockheed, Martin Marietta executives were holding secret meetings in a basement, trying to imagine what the defense industry might look like in the years ahead. 

Lockheed Drops AMDR Protest -

Lockheed Martin’s decades of dominance as the single primary supplier for the Aegis combat system are officially over now that the company has dropped its protest of the U.S. Navy’s decision to award Raytheon a contract to build a new radar for the system. 

AM General sues SOCOM over vehicle contract -

On Jan. 6, Humvee maker AM General headed to Federal Claims Court to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Special Operations Command over its decision to award a $562 contract to General Dynamics for its Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 program. 

Northrop Grumman wins Marine Corps C2 contract -

Northrop Grumman has won a $7.3 million contract to support the Marine Corps’ AN/TYQ-23(V)4 Tactical Air Operations Module.

Former Pentagon official to head industrial base study for trade group -

With the help of a former Pentagon official, the National Defense Industrial Association is taking on a new analysis of the industry meant to help inform the Defense Department as budgets shrink. 

Lockheed wins space tracking contract -

Lockheed Martin has won a $3.9 million space situational awareness contract from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.

 

Defense:

Hagel told new carrier unlikely to meet aircraft goals -

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was warned last month that the U.S. Navy’s new aircraft carrier, the most expensive warship ever built, is “unlikely” to meet its goal for handling aircraft. 

Army plans radical upgrade of Stryker brigades -

If the Army can manage to keep its future budgets in line with current projections, the service will transform all nine of its Stryker brigades into the heavily armored “double V-hull” (DVH) configuration. 

Pentagon seeks to protect R&D funding in 2015 budget -

Senior Pentagon leaders are trying to protect vulnerable research and development funding in the fiscal 2015 budget plan, despite desires within the military services to put money toward other near-term initiatives, according to Defense Department officials and sources.

Gates vs. Air Force Round Two -

Moseley, for his part, has not released any tell-all books, but did speak recently about the issues that sparked those notorious feuds with Gates. During a talk last month hosted by the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute, the now retired general suggested that, in hindsight, Gates made poor equipment-buying decisions that are now coming back to haunt the U.S. military.

Arctic passage opens challenges for U.S. military -

Navy officials say the Arctic will give the U.S. its first new ocean to police since the annexation of the Pacific Northwest in 1846. As the ice surrounding the North Pole retreats, officials say, commercial shippers will be able to eventually move goods faster between Asia and Europe. More open seas will also give energy companies greater access to offshore oil and gas in regions controlled by the U.S. and estimated by military officials to be worth $1 trillion.

Sabbaticals may help military keep women in ranks -

Cmdr. Valerie Overstreet wanted to start a family. But her job as a Navy pilot and the fact that she and her husband, also a naval officer, were stationed in different parts of the country made it complicated. 

Analysts: Pentagon needs to get strategic on budget, likely won’t -

Now that it appears cuts to U.S. defense spending won’t be removed any time soon, analysts are urging the Defense Department to start making critical strategic choices to live within its means. But while such tough decisions are increasingly necessary to ward off looming financial challenges, such as sharp increases in personnel costs, the analysts expect little to change. 

Military cracks down on ‘locker room talk’ -

Pentagon leaders Jan. 10 said they intend to change the culture of the nation’s military academies by eliminating crude and sexist behavior.

 

Veterans:

VA under fire for proposed disability filing rule -

For veterans seeking disability compensation, the application process is supposed to be so easy that a handwritten note on a napkin will initiate a claim or an appeal. 

VA hospital makes changes after fatal beating -

The Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital failed to provide a safe environment for a 78-year-old man who was beaten to death last year at the Columbia, Mo., facility, according to a VA report.

Military officers group helps veterans in filing for benefits -

For the first time in four years, a new national advocacy group has stepped up to help veterans prepare their benefits paperwork and reduce the VA’s still problematic claims backlog. 

Out-of-work colonel grateful for outpouring -

Freniere said he has seen in online comments that some readers, including veterans, questioned his living situation and annual pension of more than $40,000, thinking the amount should be higher for a colonel. Freniere said he wanted to clarify that the money is compensation only for injuries he sustained while on active duty.

 

Space:

U.S., Canada sign agreement to share data on space debris -

The United States and Canada have signed an agreement to share data on orbiting space debris, asteroids and other hazards to space flight, the U.S. military said.

The moon is not for sale -

A planetary scientist wants the United Nations to draw up a law that states the moon cannot be owned, according to the United Kingdom’s Daily Telegraph. 

NASA ‘Hand of God’ exploded star dazzles in multicolored photo -

The image of an enormous multicolored exploded star in outer space that is 17,000 light years away has earned the name “Hand of God” from NASA astronomers.

 

International:

McCain: U.S. should have kept residual forces in Iraq -

U.S. Sen. John McCain suggested Jan. 13 sending Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, and Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Iraq, back to the Mideast to help quell the violence spreading throughout the region. 

First Turkish A400M going through acceptance tests -

The first Turkish A400M built by the multinational Airbus Military consortium arrived in Turkey in December and has been undergoing acceptance tests, procurement officials in Ankara said. 

Slovakia plans to acquire fighter jets -

Slovakia is planning to acquire new fighter jets for its air force, Slovak Defense Minister Martin Glvac told local news agency TASR. 

Iran mulls replacement for Russian S-300 missile system -

Tehran is considering a replacement for the Russian S-300 missile defense system, a senior Iranian lawmaker told Fars news agency Jan. 14.

Italy plans €6 billion ship buy -

The Italian Navy has secured funding for 10 large ships it plans to build rapidly over the next decade as the bulk of the current fleet goes out of service, the head of the Navy told Defense News in an interview. 

New German defense minister eyes more family-friendly military -

Germany’s new defense minister wants to create more family-friendly armed forces by making it easier for troops to work part-time and extending childcare, she told a Sunday newspaper. 

France to upgrade Rafale arms, electronics -

France has signed a development and integration contract worth around €1 billion to upgrade the Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter with arms and systems, including a long-range missile, and make improvements on a targeting pod and active electronic radar, the procurement office said in a Jan. 10 statement. 

Poland plans record defense spending for 2014 -

Poland’s Ministry of Defense is aiming to spend 32 billion zloty in 2014, an increase of about 2 percent over last year’s initial defense budget. The budget is the highest in the ministry’s history. 

S. Korea, U.S. reach deal on sharing defense cost -

After months of tough negotiations, South Korea has agreed to pay $866 million to the United States this year in their latest deal on sharing the cost of keeping American troops here, the foreign ministry said Jan. 13.

Japan vows defense as China ships near disputed isles -

Japan’s defense minister vowed Jan. 13 to defend the country’s territory as three Chinese government ships entered disputed waters off Tokyo-controlled islands in the East China Sea, the first such incident this year.




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