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May 21, 2014

News Briefs May 21, 2014

Russian army readies return from Ukrainian border

The Russian Defense Ministry says its units in the western regions bordering Ukraine are preparing for a journey to their home bases in line with President Vladimir Putin’s order.

Putin ordered the withdrawal May 19 in what could be an attempt to ease tensions with the West over Ukraine. Putin’s order appears to go further than his claim two weeks ago that troops were being pulled back from the border to shooting ranges.

The U.S. and NATO, which estimates that Russia has 40,000 troops along the border with Ukraine, said they saw no immediate sign of a pullout after Putin’s claim.

The Defense Ministry said May 20 that its forces in the Bryansk, Belgorod and Rostov regions are dismantling their summer camps in preparation for a march to their home bases. AP

U.S. Military: Buildup will boost Guam revenue

relocation of U.S. Marines from Okinawa, Japan, will boost Guam’s revenue by at least $37 million a year, defense officials say.
That’s enough to more than double the size of Guam’s police force, the Pacific Daily News reported.

The money will come from income taxes paid by 5,000 Marines who will move to Guam, the Joint Guam Program Office said. The federal government remits service member income taxes to the territory in a lump sum each year.

Maj. Darren Alvarez, deputy director of Joint Guam Program Office-Forward, said this income tax revenue will peak at $62 million in 2021.

The grassroots organization We Are Guahan said the military isn’t paying to help Guam cope with the effects of the buildup.
Attorney Leevin Camacho, of We Are Guahan, said income tax revenue from the Marines shouldn’t be seen as mitigation for the social impacts.

If the buildup adversely impacts public schools, the local firefighting force, the local hospital and other social service functions or entities, the Defense Department should pay for the impact of the buildup on those specific service providers, Camacho said.

Gov. Eddie Calvo’s office said it’s not accurate to say the Defense Department pays nothing for the social impacts of the buildup.

The Port Authority of Guam in 2010 received $50 million from the Defense Department, and it has started to use the money to upgrade its facilities to accommodate increased cargo.

Congress also has authorized $106 million for Guam Waterworks Authority, mostly for wastewater plant upgrades.

The military is paying for some road improvements. There also is $12 million for a cultural repository and $13 million for a public health lab. AP

VA whistleblower: I was suspended for two weeks

A Veterans Affairs whistleblower says she was put on unpaid leave after she refused to falsify appointment records at a Colorado clinic.

Former Navy reservist Lisa Lee told the Coloradoan that she and another scheduler were transferred from the Fort Collins clinic in March 2013 for refusing to hide the wait time for appointments. She said she was suspended for two weeks after filing an internal grievance about the transfer and scheduling practices.

Lee’s complaint led to an investigation which found that clinic workers at were told to make their records show that veterans got appointments within 14 days of the day requested, whether or not it was true.

Lee is now on active duty in Hawaii.

The VA says it’s looking into Lee’s allegations and couldn’t immediately comment. AP

Pratt & Whitney cites strong jet engine backlog

The investment by United Technologies Corp. in its energy-efficient, quieter jet engines is paying off with a sizable order backlog for Pratt & Whitney, the subsidiary’s president said May 20.

Paul Adams, who took over as president of Pratt & Whitney early this year, said at the Connecticut-based company’s annual media day Tuesday that it has a backlog of more than 5,500 geared turbofan engines, which he called extremely strong.

It really shows that the market has greatly accepted the technology and value … and positions us for growth as we go forward, he said.

United Technologies spent $1 billion over 20 years to develop the engine that some analysts have said was critical to Pratt & Whitney’s success.

Adams also said the outlook for sales of military joint strike fighter jet engines is strong despite pressure on Pentagon spending. Another factor is the 2011 Air Force contract to Boeing to build airborne refueling tankers that benefits Pratt & Whitney, he said.

He said revenue is expected to double to about $29 billion in 10 years. That’s in keeping with previous guidance.

Military spending hews to a deficit-driven, bipartisan budget agreement after two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lawmakers have cut the budget for operations and maintenance by $1.4 billion to cover the cost of favored ships and planes.

Bennett Croswell, president of Pratt & Whitney’s military engines business, said in an interview that despite pressure to reduce Pentagon spending, aging weapons systems such as tankers and fighters will need to be replaced.

With budgets coming down, there’s a real need to recapitalize, he said.
AP




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Headlines October 20, 2014

News: Navy grounds ‘Top Guns’ - The F/A-18s needs spare parts and in too many cases they’re being taken from brand new jets. This is a risk to national security and pilots’ lives.   Business: Boeing seeks revised schedule for U.S. aerial tanker - Boeing is revising its master schedule for developing the new U.S. Air Force...
 
 

News Briefs October 20, 2014

New military medical team to help with Ebola in U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the military to prepare and train a 30-member medical support team that could provide short-term help to civilian health professionals if there are more Ebola cases in the United States. His spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, says the team...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 

 
Boeing photographs

Boeing-built X-37B successfully completes third flight

Unmanned spacecraft concludes record-setting 674-day mission   Boeing photograph A third mission of the Boeing-built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle was completed on Oct. 17, 2014, when it landed and was recovered at Vandenberg...
 
 

Boeing concludes commercial crew space act agreement for CST-100/Atlas V

Boeing has successfully completed the final milestone of its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability Space Act Agreement with NASA. The work and testing completed under the agreement resulted in significant maturation of Boeing’s crew transportation system, including the CST-100 spacecraft and Atlas V rocket. NASA in July approved the Critical Design Review Board milestone for Boeing’...
 
 

AF to release small business research solicitations

The Air Force Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer program office is set to release its fiscal year 2015 list of topics Oct. 22, on the SBIR/STTR website.  Small businesses and research institutions with expertise to address the topics’ technology challenges are encouraged to submit proposals. During 2014, the Defense Department SBIR...
 




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