Headlines – May 18, 2016



Senate confirms Eric Fanning, first openly gay service secretary –
The Senate May 17 confirmed Eric Fanning, the White House nominee to be the next secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay man to hold an armed service’s top civilian position.


Saab chief: Spike in NATO spending would tax industry –
The defense industry would struggle to meet customer demands in Europe if spending takes off in the face of pressure from the U.S. for other NATO member states to take a fair share of the spending burden and meet the organization’s spending commitment target, according to Saab president and CEO Hakan Buskhe.
Industry could struggle with upturn in European defense spending, says official –
The defense industry could find it difficult to respond to an expected sharp increase in European military spending following years of relative stagnation, the president and chief executive officer of Saab told reporters May 17.
U.S. foreign military sales growing in volume, complexity –
Foreign military sales by the United States are growing because its products are considered well-made and reliable, but it is a complicated area not only involving foreign governments but various departments inside the American government and Congress having to sign off on those agreements.
Lockheed Martin announces research deal with MIT –
Lockheed Martin has reached a deal with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to jointly work on research into autonomous systems including looking into human and machine interfacing and navigation, the company announced May 16.
Saab ready to reveal first Gripen E –
Saab is on course to conduct the first flight of its lead Gripen E test aircraft before year-end, with the jet to be revealed at its Linköping site in Sweden May 18.
Elbit reports first quarter earnings –
Israeli company Elbit Systems reported earnings for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2016 May 17, with revenue climbing 2 percent and gross profit up 5 percent for the quarter, compared with the first quarter of 2015.
Comtech to develop troposcatter terminals –
Comtech Telecommunications has received a $7 million order from a foreign prime contract to design and install fixed troposcatter terminals.
GSA outlines new category for health IT –
The General Services Administration sees a future so bright for health IT acquisition that it’s getting its own Schedule 70 Special Item Number.


How swarming drones could change face of air warfare –
The U.S. Air Force May 17 rolled out its 20-year flight plan for small, unmanned aerial systems.
Device looks like a ray-gun and keeps drones from bases –
Battelle’s DroneDefender jams drone frequencies and may be seen on more bases.
Marines are on the hunt for robots that can follow their orders –
Marines will soon share the battlefield with gun-wielding robots, swarms of micro drones, driverless cars and self-unloading supply aircraft — and the Corps wants the machines to do more of the thinking.
U.S. Navy gears up to extend service of MH-60 helicopters –
The oldest of the Navy’s workhorse M-60 Seahawk helicopters are well into the final decade of their planned 30-year service lives, and Navy officials are starting a review to see what’s needed to keep them in the air for as long as two more decades.
System powers and pulls data from wearables –
As wearables become a bigger part of battlefield dress, companies like Physical Optics Corporation are creating systems to manage data and power.
Commercial satellite use and the military –
Amber Corrin, senior reporter for C4ISR & Networks, sits down with Eron Miller, chief of the commercial satellite communications division at the Defense Information Systems Agency, to discuss the use of commercial satellites to support the military.
House advances defense budget plan despite veto threat –
House appropriators advanced their $575.7 billion defense spending plan for fiscal 2017 just hours after the White House threatened to veto a similar budget bill and accused lawmakers of “gambling with war fighting funds.”
House panel OKs spending bill that shorts OCO –
Bucking objections from the White House, the Pentagon and leading Democrats in Congress, the House Appropriations Committee May 17 approved its 2017 Pentagon-funding bill, which would shift billions from the war account to pay for base budget needs.
House, Senate heading for a showdown over war funding –
House and Senate Republicans are at odds over how to allocate war spending, all but guaranteeing a showdown later this year over how to fund defense programs and keep military campaigns going in Afghanistan and Iraq and against the Islamic State.
House adopts amendment that slashes National Security Council –
The House on May 17 adopted an amendment to a defense policy bill that would cap the National Security Council at 100 staffers, unless the National Security Adviser goes before the Senate for confirmation.
Senate committee votes to disband F-35 JPO –
Three weeks after a prominent member called the size of the F-35 joint program office “disturbing”, the Senate Armed Services Committee has proposed to disband the organization just as an $8 billion follow-on modernization program is taking shape.
Carter hits Hill for ‘unhelpful micromanagement’ –
Defense secretary Ash Carter today pushed back two major changes for the Pentagon put forth by the Hill, including stating he would recommend a veto by President Barack Obama if certain language from the House makes it through Congress.
Senators renew attempt to privatize commissaries — and one vows to stop it –
Some senators once again are pushing to start turning over commissaries to private industry, in a repeat of last year’s effort.
House drops plans to make women register for draft –
Women may not have to register for the draft after all, if House Republicans get their way.


‘Worst’ charity for veterans run by VA employee –
At first glance, the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is a roaring success. According to its tax filings, the charity has received more than $29 million in donations from generous Americans from 2010 to 2014 for what it calls on its website “aiding, supporting and benefiting America’s veterans and their families.” But look a little closer on those same filings and you can see that nearly all of those donations have been cycled back to telemarketers, leaving less than 2 percent for actual veterans and veterans’ charitable causes.
Lawmakers again rally for VA medical marijuana in budget bills –
Lawmakers will take another shot this week at allowing doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical marijuana, reigniting a smoldering debate over veteran access to the drug.
Sen. Grassley drills down farther in Wounded Warrior Project probe –
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley kept the pressure on Wounded Warrior Project by sending a letter this week saying he has “serious questions” about the Jacksonville-based group’s often-repeated assertion that 80.6 percent of its funding goes to veterans services.
Agent Orange benefits for deep-water Navy vets languish on Capitol Hill –
A proposal to extend health coverage for Agent Orange exposure to Vietnam-era Navy veterans has the type of backing in Congress that normally would make supporters hopeful.