Headlines – March 13, 2019



FAA grounds all Boeing 737 Max planes effective immediately –
President Trump announced Wednesday that the FAA is grounding all Boeing 737 Max planes “effective immediately,” following the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people, including eight Americans.
Here’s breakdown of the Pentagon’s budget request –
The Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget request includes increases in research and development, a cut to science and technology, and major investments geared toward the much-ballyhooed return to great power competition.
Plan to charge allies for U.S. troop presence carries risks for Americans in North Africa –
President Donald Trump’s reported plan to charge allies for U.S. military bases could jeopardize access agreements that were set up after the September 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, to protect U.S. facilities in Africa, former U.S. officials warn.


Navy, industry partners are ‘under cyber siege’ by Chinese hackers, review asserts –
The Navy and its industry partners are “under cyber siege” by Chinese hackers and others who have stolen tranches of national security secrets in recent years, exploiting critical weaknesses that threaten the U.S.’s standing as the world’s top military power, an internal Navy review has concluded.
Lockheed, AIM Norway to establish F-16 sustainment hub in Norway –
The companies on March 12 announced a deal to create the first Lockheed-licensed F-16 Falcon Debot in Kjeller, Norway, to support the global F-16 fleet.
Kongsberg to supply Joint Strike Missiles for Japanese F-35s –
Kongsberg Gruppen will supply the first Joint Strike Missiles for Japan’s fleet of F-35 fighter jets.
SAIC head Moraco to retire come July –
Tony Moraco, who has led Science Applications International Corporation as CEO since 2013, will retire at the end of July, the company has announced.
Taiwan requests fighter jets from the U.S., but with an unusual twist –
Taiwan has requested a fleet of new fighters from the United States, but it didn’t specify a type, leaving it up to the U.S. to recommend an option, according to defense officials.
Lockheed Martin touts reliability gains in British Army’s ‘Warrior’ vehicle upgrade –
Lockheed Martin UK is beginning a series of trials on a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle update for the British Army in hopes of swaying the Ministry of Defence to push forward with a manufacturing deal.
China is world’s biggest exporter of armed drones, report says –
China is selling arms to more countries and is now the world’s leading exporter of armed drones, according to a report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute on March 11.


New Pentagon transgender policy sets limits for treatment and for new recruits after April 12 –
The Defense Department has approved a new policy that will largely bar transgender troops and military recruits from transitioning to another sex, and require most individuals to serve in their birth gender.
One month later, still no answers on which military construction projects will be delayed by Trump’s wall –
After the Pentagon this week released hundreds of pages of funding requests for fiscal 2020, Democrats on Capitol Hill are demanding more information about what military construction projects this year will be disrupted by President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall plans.
At Trump’s Pentagon, empty offices are the new normal –
The resignation of two senior Pentagon officials last week brings the number of vacancies and posts filled on a temporary basis at the U.S. Department of Defense to a new high, a troubling state of affairs that some blame on the uncertainties surrounding former Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s departure.
Pentagon hazy on legality of pot company investments for service members –
The Air Force Ethics Office has instructed legal offices to “stand by” for guidance on the legality of marijuana investments from the Pentagon’s Standards of Conduct Office, according to an email posted on a popular social media site March 12.
Pentagon faces internal questions about program to screen recruits with foreign ties, emails show –
A Pentagon program designed to screen potential recruits with foreign ties, including green-card holders and some U.S. citizens, has prompted questions from military officials about whether it will have detrimental effects on the services, according to emails and documents obtained by The Washington Post.
Pentagon seeks military base to house 5,000 unaccompanied children who cross U.S.-Mexico border –
The Defense Department is reviewing a number of military bases to find a location that can house up to 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children as the U.S. braces for a surge of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally this spring.
Air Force puts $35 million in new budget for light attack experiment –
The Air Force’s light attack experiment isn’t dead yet, with the service requesting $35 million in its fiscal year 2020 budget to continue the effort with a more expansive set of airframes that could involve drones and jets.
U.S. Air Force’s 2020 budget hones in on readiness, emerging tech –
The U.S. Air Force is requesting $165.6 billion in fiscal 2020, an increase of about $10 billion more than fiscal year 2019 that the service intends to use to fund gains in readiness as well as spearhead technology development.
Air Force budget calls for 510K airmen; 1,480 new pilots in 2020 –
The Air Force’s proposed fiscal 2020 budget would grow the total force to 510,600 active, Guard and Reserve airmen.
Wilson: Air Force budget calls for 4,400-airman increase –
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on March 11 said that the Air Force’s fiscal 2020 budget will call for an end strength increase of about 4,400 airmen.
U.S. Navy will hit a milestone ship count in 2020; pours money into sailors, subs and unmanned tech –
The U.S. Navy will pass the 300 ships mark for the first time since 2002, according to its fiscal 2020 budget submission, a big step toward its current goal of 355 ships and a sign the service, after decades of contracting, is growing yet again.
Despite push for future tech, munitions remain major wedge in budget –
The Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget is being billed as the bridge to the future, moving the department away from years of conflict in the Middle East and toward great power competition with Russia and China.
U.S. Army is scaling back its projected growth plans –
The Pentagon is trimming its projected total military end strength and shifting its force growth to better align against near-peers Russia and China, according to the 2020 budget released March 12.
Army seeks $182 billion in FY20 to pave way for modernized force –
The U.S. Army’s budget request of $182 billion in fiscal year 2020 holds steady with last year’s top line, but is geared toward a “modernization renaissance” the service began with the 2018 establishment of a new four-star command dedicated to building a modern force by 2028.
Seven funding priorities in the Pentagon’s cyber budget –
Tucked inside the Department of Defense’s massive $750 billion budget request for fiscal 2020 is a blueprint for how the Pentagon plans to invest in new cyber capabilities.
Pentagon requests most money for net-centric systems since 2012 –
Pentagon leaders suggested spending just about the same amount of money on net-centric warfare in fiscal year 2020 than they requested this year.
Missile Defense Review ambitions not reflected in MDA’s $9.4B FY20 budget –
The Missile Defense Agency’s $9.4 billion fiscal year 2020 budget request, while slightly smaller than last year’s budget of $9.9 billion, maintains many of the efforts begun in previous years to defend the homeland and against regional threats, but does not yet reflect some of the major ambitions laid out in the recently released Missile Defense Review.
Here’s how much money the Defense Department wants for its trio of new space organizations –
The Defense Department’s fiscal year 2020 budget asks for $306 million to overhaul its space enterprise, standing up the headquarters of the Space Force, establishing a U.S. Space Command and creating a Space Development Agency geared toward acquiring cutting edge space tech more rapidly.
European defense fund takes a 10 percent cut in new budget –
The European Deterrence Initiative, a Pentagon fund to support the defense of allies in Europe, is dropping by roughly 10 percent in the Trump administration’s fiscal 2020 budget request.
Smith: Trim budget fat in America’s nuclear triad –
A powerful skeptic of U.S. nuclear weapons spending, House Armed Services Committee chairman Adam Smith said March 12 he was open to cutting back quantities of nuclear arms instead of one leg of the nation’s nuclear triad.
Trump budget puts IT funding center stage –
The White House may be looking to significantly cut federal spending, but IT investments are one of the few areas that could see increases under the Trump administration’s proposal for 2020.
2020 budget request reveals slow shift toward Great Power war –
If there’s been one theme at the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, it’s a desire to move fast, particularly when it comes to buying new weapons.
Lawmakers question Pentagon’s use of ‘slush fund’ to skirt budget caps –
Nearly one-quarter of the Pentagon’s 2020 budget request would come through an account intended to fund unexpected overseas operations, a fiscal maneuver expected to be the most hotly debated item in upcoming congressional debate.
Pentagon budget includes plan to reduce military medical force –
Patients at military hospitals and clinics can expect to see far fewer uniformed doctors when they go for appointments on base under a Defense Department plan to convert thousands of uniformed health care billets to civilian positions.
Infantry wins big in Marine Corps budget request –
The Marine Corps is gearing up for a complex ground fight by adding hundreds more infantry squad leaders, special operators, cyber Marines and information warfare experts, according to 2020 budget documents.
Pentagon pushes back on accusations of $165B ‘budgetary gimmick’ –
Pentagon officials on March 12 defended the administration’s decision to propose boosting a war spending account to $165 billion, a move directed by the White House and blasted by some lawmakers as a “budgetary gimmick.”
These Army moves aim to regain missile defense edge against Russia, China –
The radars and missile systems that the Army uses now to defend against air attacks are outdated and don’t play well together. But major increases in the recent budget request and aggressive testing and fielding timelines aim to fix that problem, a top three-star said.
Army missile defense has atrophied. Here’s what is happening to beef it up –
As the Army looks to its near future, senior leaders see clearly that they can no longer count on constant air superiority. To meet that growing vulnerability, they’ve been growing and training up their air missile defense.
Air Force resumes KC-46 deliveries after Boeing changes inspections –
The Air Force has resumed receiving KC-46 tankers because it passed a debris inspection at Boeing’s production facility after previous problems with loose objects inside aircraft.
No sign of 74 new squadrons in budget — but Air Force says effort is not dead –
The Air Force last summer unveiled — with great fanfare — its plan to expand the number of operational squadrons by nearly one-quarter.
The new MEU: How the Corps is changing missions for grunts –
The Marine Expeditionary Unit is floating force in readiness — hauling grunts, aircraft and tactical vehicles to rapidly respond around the globe.
Marine Corps seeks Reaper drones in budget request, but will only add 100 Marines in 2020 –
The U.S. Marine Corps plans to only grow by 100 Marines to 186,200 in fiscal year 2020, but that investment focuses on Marines with high-end skills and weapons and tech for the modern battlefield.


Treated like a ‘piece of meat’: Female vets endure harassment at VA –
An entrenched, sexist culture at many veterans hospitals is driving away female veterans and lags far behind the gains women have made in the military in recent years, veterans and lawmakers of both parties say.
U.S. military retrieves possible World War Two remains from Myanmar –
The United States on March 12 retrieved the possible remains of service members who went missing in Myanmar during the Second World War, marking the first such mission to Myanmar carried out by U.S. military aircraft, American officials said.
Retiring judge calls VA appeals system a ‘tragedy’ –
The retiring chief judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims told lawmakers March 12 that the Department of Veterans Affairs appeals system is “ancient” and “inefficient” and in need of drastic change.


New New START a nonstarter: Russian ambassador –
Russia is uninterested in broadening the New START treaty to cover new weapons, the country’s ambassador to the United States said March 11. That’s a blow to the last remaining major arms control agreement between the two original nuclear powers.
Russia says it’s going to arm a secretive submarine with 6 nuclear ‘doomsday’ devices –
Russia will deploy what’s been described as the deadliest nuclear weapon ever aboard mysterious submarines by 2020, Russian state media has announced, citing a Russian defense-industry source.
Longest U.S.-Taliban peace talks see ‘progress,’ but agreement on withdrawal timeline still a sticking point –
The longest peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban to end America’s 17-year war in Afghanistan concluded March 12 in Qatar, with both sides saying progress had been made.