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April 7, 2014

Headlines April 7, 2014

News:

Without Capitol Hill advocates, U.S. weapons cuts all but certain -

Widespread opposition has yet to form around any single Pentagon proposal to cut a specific weapon system, indicating most could be implemented despite lawmakers’ protestations on behalf of parochial interests.

Military hitting the breaking point on mental health problems -

As more details come to light surrounding Spec. Ivan Lopez’s state of mind before he fired on fellow service members at Fort Hood last week, the clearer it becomes, lawmakers and military leaders say, that the mental health of returning veterans no longer can be relegated to the back burner.

 

Business:

General Dynamics says U.S. Army denied armored vehicle protest -

General Dynamics Corp said April 4 that the U.S. Army denied its protest about the terms of multibillion-dollar competition for a new armored vehicle, which General Dynamics said were skewed to favor its rival, BAE Systems Plc.

Canada: No F-35 Buys Before 2018 -

Canada has told the U.S. government it won’t be in a position to purchase the F-35 fighter jet until 2018, a move that critics of the aircraft say intentionally delays the controversial procurement until after the next federal election. 

Next battle for F-35: Bring down operations costs -

Pentagon officials have assured Congress that they are keeping the cost of manufacturing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter under control, and their attention is now turning to the program’s next gauntlet: An estimated trillion-dollar bill for maintaining and operating the F-35 fleet over the next five decades.

KC-46A development passes halfway point -

Development of the Air Force’s KC-46A tanker is about 57 percent complete, with the first flight of the test aircraft planned for this summer, according to the top program official.

End of Boeing line won’t damage key suppliers-US -

Shutting down a Boeing fighter jet production line in St. Louis after 2016 would not drive any key suppliers out of business, a senior U.S. defense official said, citing a recent Pentagon review.

 

Defense:

Lawmakers question utility of Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review -

Signaling a possible attempt to change the law requiring a periodic review to Capitol Hill of the Defense Department’s long-term measurement of risk this session, the two senior Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee expressed skepticism over continuing the Quadrennial Defense Review process at a Thursday hearing. They did not detail what or how they would replace it. 

SASC, HASC leaders ask industry for ideas on DOD reform -

April 4 senior congressional leaders released a string of letters they had sent to industry groups on Monday, letters that ask for input on reforming the Defense Department. 

U.S. Army, Marines struggle with infantry vehicle replacements -

Lessons learned. Tradeoffs. Taking advantage of previous investments. The need for further study. 

Army, SOCOM add training, UAVs, tech to unfunded lists -

Following the request of the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Buck McKeon, R-Calif.,, the Army along with its sister services passed along its “Unfunded Priorities List” for fiscal 2015 this week. The $10.6 billion request includes the $7.5 billion Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative already put together by the White House, though it tweaks those numbers slightly.

Doubts on military’s sex assault stats as numbers far exceed those for the U.S. -

The Pentagon’s survey results for the percentage of military women who are sexually assaulted in a year are much higher than the Justice Department’s findings for young women in the U.S.

 

Veterans:

Post-9/11 monthly vet unemployment rate back down -

Following a big jump in February, the March unemployment rate for the latest generation of veterans saw an even bigger decrease, the Labor Department’s latest employment report shows.

 

Space:

‘El Gordo’ galaxy cluster is as massive as three quadrillion suns -

The most massive galaxy cluster ever observed in the early universe is quite a bit bigger than astronomers had first thought.

Scientists pinpoint moon’s age -

Scientists have pinned down the birth date of the moon to within 100 million years of the birth of the solar system – the best timeline yet for the evolution of our planet’s natural satellite.

Space probe set for spectacular crash -

The far side of the moon will get a special new crater later this month when a NASA spacecraft makes a high-speed crash into the lunar surface.

 

International:

Chile launches third locally built OPV -

Astilleros y Maestranzas de la Armada, a state-owned shipyard under administration of the Chilean Navy, has launched its third 1,800-ton offshore patrol vessel of the Piloto Pardo Class, built in the shipbuilder’s main facilities at Talcahuano, in the south of Chile.

Israel Navy expands long-range ops -

Last month’s capture of an Iranian arms cache in international waters south of the Red Sea’s Port Sudan is just “the tip of the iceberg” of Israeli maritime black operations conducted far beyond the horizons of hostile shores, according to a top Navy officer. 

Tanker program may advance NATO equipment sharing -

A European Defence Agency effort to jointly purchase and share aerial refueling tankers with a number of nations could advance the NATO strategic weapons and equipment collaboration projects pushed by US and UK leaders. 

U.K. MAA expresses concerns over personnel pressures -

The head of the U.K. Military Aviation Authority has expressed concerns over a lack of suitably qualified and experienced personnel across the U.K. military aviation community.

French unit may work with U.K. UAV team in Afghanistan -

Britain plans to send the Watchkeeper to Afghanistan this year, possibly to serve with a French Army unit working with the British Army team flying the tactical UAV, a British officer said on April 3 at a high-level defense conference here by the Franco-British Council. 

Hungary buys additional Mi-8 helicopters -

Hungary has bought three additional Mil Mi-8T ‘Hip-C’ helicopters to fulfil an interim need, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence confirmed April 3.

 

Viewpoint:

Two cheers for the QDR -

Every four years, the defense community waits on pins and needles for the Quadrennial Defense Review. Some succumb to quadrennial defense delusion, the hope that the new QDR can do it all: rationalize strategy, program, and budget; unveil creative solutions to age-old defense problems; and drain uncertainty from the security environment. Of course, no document awash in inter-branch politics and tied to budget cycles can work such miracles, yet a clear-eyed look at this year’s QDR suggests there is much to applaud — if also room for criticism. 

How Obama Lost Afghanistan -

Despite the violence and uncertainty surrounding this Saturday’s election for a new Afghan President, there’s one positive — Hamid Karzai, the sitting president and the architect of much of the country’s unrest, is not on the ballot this time. But while Karzai must cede power under the rules of the Afghan constitution, the other leader whose mismanagement helped tank Afghanistan abandoned his influence in what he once called “the right war” a long time ago. That leader is President Barack Obama. 

Murder-suicide is heavy price of an overextended military -

The nation’s attention deficit disorder is best measured by the media’s swiftness in pivoting from shocked headlines back to the usual news feed.




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Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

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