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February 3, 2014

Headlines – February 3, 2014

News:

NATO chief doesn’t see Karzai signing security pact -

President Hamid Karzai is unlikely to sign a pact for U.S. and NATO forces to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 and will probably leave the choice for his successor, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Feb. 1.

 

Business:

Air Force looking for JSTARS recapitalization -

The Air Force hopes to develop a new JSTARS surveillance aircraft based on a business jet, one which could be operational as soon as 2022.

The end of the tank? The Army says it doesn’t need it, but industry wants to keep building it -

When an armored vehicle pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein in an iconic moment of the Iraq War, it triggered a wave of pride here at the BAE Systems plant where that rig was built. The Marines who rolled to glory in it even showed up to pay their regards to the factory workers. 

Merger prospects still murky after Murray-Ryan deal -

Since the U.S. Budget Control Act created the specter of sequestration in August 2011, very few deals have been struck to sell or merge defense companies. The refrain has been that budget uncertainty was leaving many risk averse and timid.

Market for service contracts shrinking, and so is number of competitors -

Facing a steep decline in government spending on support contractors, companies in this sector are rushing to consolidate and cut expense as price-based competitions become the norm in service contracts.

 

Defense:

Bypassing Congress on defense cuts -

The Pentagon has learned that if it can’t go through Congress to get what it wants, sometimes it’s best to try going around.

Pentagon to further study four possible East Coast missile defense sites -

The U.S. Defense Department said on Friday it would conduct environmental impact studies for four possible missile defense sites in the eastern United States but stressed it had not yet decided to proceed with construction. 

Scout mission compromised by funding cut -

U.S. Army leadership is betting that an 80 percent solution to its aerial scout needs will be good enough in the coming years, as it scraps its OH-58 Kiowa helicopter fleet in favor of a manned-unmanned mixture for peering over the next ridgeline. 

X-47B will pair with manned aircraft in testing later this year -

The U.S. Navy plans to take the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System-Demonstrator aircraft out to sea onboard an aircraft carrier this summer to test how well it operates together with manned aircraft around the ship and on the flight deck. 

Carrier Forrestal headed for scrap heap -

The decommisioned carrier Forrestal, the first of the Navy’s “supercarriers” and a technological marvel when it was launched in the 1950s, will begin its final journey on February 4th when it is towed out of Philadelphia for a trip to Brownsville, Texas, where the ship will be dismantled and recycled. 

Air Combat Command’s challenge: Buy new or modernize older aircraft -

After a tense budget battle last year, the Air Force is gearing up to defend what service officials have called a series of hard choices about what to keep and what to dump. With finances tight, the biggest fight is over whether to modernize older platforms or risk a capabilities gap while pushing that funding toward recapitalization programs. 

Platform, personnel cuts likely in fiscal 2015 Air Force budget -

This close to the March 4 submission of the fiscal 2015 budget request, getting specifics from service officials can be like pulling teeth. But a number of statements, both in public appearances and during interviews, provide a sense of direction for the Air Force’s plans. 

The F-22 is the air dominance cream of the crop: U.S. Air Force intends to keep it that way -

Though there are potential fifth generation challengers on the horizon, pilots and maintainers of the stealthy F-22 Raptor say they’ll own the competitive edge in air combat for years to come, not just because of the advanced technology embodied in their fighter but because of their comprehensive training.

 

Veterans:

What does a collection of 100,000 American war letters teach us? -

Over the course of 15 years Andrew Carroll has collected more than 100,000 letters by US soldiers from every war in America’s history. The project began as a personal quest to preserve wartime correspondence and all it reflects about war.

 

Space:

Plato planet-hunter in pole position -

A telescope to find thousands of planets beyond our Solar System is the hot favorite for selection as Europe’s next medium-class science mission. 

Urthecast’s U.K.-built cameras attached to outside of space station -

Two British-built Earth-observation cameras have been successfully installed on the outside of the International Space Station. The cameras will be operated by the Canadian Urthecast company, which intends to stream high-resolution video of the planet to web users.

 

International:

U.S. ready to assist Poland with indigenous missile defense system -

The United States wants to partner with Poland as the Eastern European nation pursues its own missile defense system separate from the American system already planned for the region. 

American tanks return to Europe after brief leave -

Less than a year after they left European soil, American tanks have returned to military bases in Germany where they had been a heavy presence since World War II. 

U.K., French leaders agree to cooperate on drone, missile, more -

Britain and France agreed Jan. 31 to invest £200 million (US $329 million) for two-year studies on a future combat drone, and signed up for work on an anti-ship missile and an anti-mine system, French government and industry sources said. 

Unfunded F-16 upgrades put jet’s combat value in doubt -

As officials in Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense were busying themselves for Chinese New Year celebrations last week, they received potentially devastating news for the Pacific nation’s air defense plans.

 

Viewpoint:

China’s deceptively weak (and dangerous) military -

While recent years have witnessed a tremendous Chinese propaganda effort aimed at convincing the world that the PRC is a serious military player that is owed respect, outsiders often forget that China does not even have a professional military. 

Century of violence: What World War I did to the Middle East -

World War I may have ended in 1918, but the violence it triggered in the Middle East still hasn’t come to an end. Arbitrary borders drawn by self-interested imperial powers have left a legacy that the region has not been able to overcome.




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Headlines September 17, 2014

News: Pentagon open to U.S. ground troops in fight against Islamic State - The Pentagon’s top general opened the door Sept. 16 to the possibility that U.S. combat troops would be needed in Iraq, as he publicly laid out President Obama’s still-developing plans to combat Islamic State insurgents through U.S. air power and relying on an...
 
 

News Briefs September 17, 2014

U.S. to assign 3,000 troops to fight Ebola The Obama administration is preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to West Africa to combat the Ebola outbreak that has overwhelmed local health care systems and drawn appeals for help from the region and aid organizations. The troops will supply medical and logistical support and boost...
 
 
Navy photograph

Future USNS Fall River delivered

Navy photograph The joint high speed vessel USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) completes acceptance trials testing and evaluations in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship’s trials included dockside testing to clear the ship for sea and at-...
 

 
University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen

NASA airborne campaigns focus on climate impacts in Arctic

University of Alaska-Fairbanks photograph by Chris Larsen Changes in more than 130 Alaskan glaciers are being surveyed by scientists at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks in a DHC-3 Otter as part of NASA’s multi-year Oper...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory finds planet that makes star act deceptively old

Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss A new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that a giant exoplanet, WASP-18b, is making the star that it orbits very closely act much older than it actually is. This artist&...
 




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