Headlines – June 21, 2019

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News

Iran shoots down American drone in ‘clear message’ to U.S.-
The incidents come amid warnings that an accident or miscommunication in the Persian Gulf could lead to a conflict between the U.S. and Iran.
 
House passes $983 billion spending package 226-203, bucking White House-
The Democratic-controlled House passed a $985 billion appropriations package for fiscal 2020 that aims to fund national security at $17 billion less than the White House requested, end the post-2001 war authorizations after eight months, pull military support in Yemen and defund the W76-2 nuclear warhead.
 
Navy SEAL convicted in death of Green Beret soldier investigated for contact with victim’s widow at party-
A Navy SEAL convicted in the death of a Green Beret soldier is under investigation by authorities for approaching his victim’s widow under a pseudonym at a Las Vegas party, allegedly requesting access to her room and telling her that the SEALs involved in her husband’s death were “good guys,” according to military documents and three people familiar with the case.
 
Trump weighs new sanctions on Turkey over Russian missiles-
The Trump administration is weighing three sanctions packages to punish Turkey over its purchases of the Russian S-400 missile-defense system, according to people familiar with the matter.
 
F-35 pilot killed in April crash may have ignored aircraft instruments: Selva-
Air Force Gen. Paul Selva said recently that the Japanese F-35A Joint Strike Fighter pilot who was killed in an April crash into the Pacific Ocean may not have listened to what his aircraft was telling him.
 
 

Business

U.S. Navy’s new frigate program is careening toward a roadblock-
The U.S. Navy’s program to buy a new frigate, known as FFG(X), has been smooth sailing since it was announced in 2017, but congressional protectionism could torpedo much of the progress the service has made to date.
 
Pentagon, Lockheed Martin failed to ensure proper parts for F-35-
A major contractor and the Pentagon’s top management office came in for criticism from an inspector general for cutting corners in assuring that the massive joint-service F-35 stealth fighter is equipped with ready-for-issue parts.
 
Norway’s Air Force tests Sidewinder missile-
The AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II missile was launched for the first time from a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System during a flight test in May, according to a Raytheon news release.
 
 

Paris Air Show

U.S. officials threaten retribution for European Union’s restrictions on defense fund-
The top Pentagon official attending the Paris Air Show this week made clear she would use the venue to make a declarative statement about a subset of European arms funding: Either give the United States the ability to compete for work, or risk retaliation.
 
Raytheon CEO on Trump meeting: President appears to understand value of UTC-Raytheon tie-up-
The CEOs of Raytheon and United Technologies seemed to convince U.S. President Donald Trump that the merger of the two companies would be “great for America,” in the words of Raytheon chief Tom Kennedy.
 
AIA’s Fanning on Trump’s trade wars, allies & arms exports-
Eric Fanning is all the things you’d expect of a highly successful lobbyist and industry leader: he’s smart, well-spoken and adroit when faced with a tough question. The former Army Secretary presides over the sprawling Aerospace Industries Association, widely viewed as one of Washington’s heaviest-weight industry lobbies.
 
OPIR missile warning sats plow ahead amid $ turmoil-
Lockheed Martin and subcontractor Raytheon are keeping calm and carrying on toward their original schedules for the next milestone in development of the Air Force’s next generation missile warning satellites — despite funding turmoil on Capitol Hill.
 
Great power competition ushers in a new generation of European weapons-
From a distance, the two red-white-and-blue helicopters seemed perfectly comfortable sandwiched between the flight-line chalets of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and L3 Technologies. But as music started blaring and a group of women wearing red-and-white-skirted leotards began to dance, it became obvious that these were Russian, not American, aircraft.
 
Raytheon, Northrop will ‘soon’ fly hypersonic cruise missile-
Imagine a swarm of up to 30 hypersonic scramjets the size of cruise missiles, launched from air, land and sea. They share data with each other, correcting their flights, perhaps changing targets midcourse. And they can be manufactured relatively quickly and for much less cost than most of the hypersonic vehicles that have been built so far.
 
Sikorsky touts CH-53Ks ease of flying for German sale-
Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky is touting the CH-53K King Stallion’s ease of flying as a key design feature in its campaign to win Germany’s “Schwerer Transporthubschrauber” competition.
 
 

Defense

Pentagon shake-up won’t affect space force, acting SecAF says-
Acting Air Force Secretary Matt Donovan said he doesn’t believe the shake-up will affect the Space Force, the newest U.S. military branch, which is expected to fall under the Department of the Air Force. That’s because the Air Force has been heavily involved in its creation.
 
New acting Pentagon chief has closer ties to Trump-
Army Secretary Mark Esper, who’s been tapped to be the new acting secretary of Defense, is a former aerospace executive like the departing Pat Shanahan. But he comes to the job with key supporters close to the president, deeper ties to the military and bipartsian support on Capitol Hill.
 
Mark Esper is acting defense secretary. Will Trump make it permanent?-
When asked by reporters if Esper would be eventually be named to the permanent defense secretary post, President Donald Trump responded, “most likely, that’s what I’m thinking about doing.”
 
How the Pentagon can save over $1.2 trillion-
The Pentagon could save more than $1.2 trillion with a number of tweaks to its spending plan for the next decade, including canceling the creation of a Space Force and nuclear weapons projects, according to a report by the Center for International Policy.
 
Shanahan nomination implosion raises new questions about White House background checks-
After surprise revelations of family domestic abuse ended Patrick Shanahan’s bid to become defense secretary, Democratic lawmakers are wondering why the nine-year-old allegations weren’t raised in early confirmation work and whether they indicate troublesome oversights in the White House vetting process.
 
Esper heads to NATO during first week on the job as top Pentagon official-
Mark Esper will spend his first week as acting secretary of defense in Belgium.
 
Who takes Esper’s SecArmy seat: McCarthy or Jette?-
With Army Secretary Mark Esper stepping up as acting Secretary of Defense, many in the service think Army Undersecretary Ryan McCarthy should fill in for Esper. But informal Trump advisor Jack Keane and allies in the White House are apparently pushing assistant secretary Bruce Jette to sit at Esper’s desk.
 
Navy: Next large surface combatant will look a lot like Zumwalt-
The Navy’s next large surface combatant will probably look more like the futuristic Zumwalt class of guided-missile destroyers than fleet’s current workhorse class of Arleigh Burke destroyers, the program executive officer said.
 
Navy mulling how to make surface fleet flexible, lethal-
There also is an emphasis on open architecture to make it easier, quicker and cheaper to upgrade combat systems, according to a panel of senior Navy civilian officials.
 
U.S. Air Force to demo new airborne mesh network for Latin American militaries-
The U.S. Air Force has a new radio network that allows pilots to easily communicate with forces on the ground, and it’s showing it off to Central and South American military leaders this week.
 
U.S. Marines to test drone-killing laser weapon-
The U.S. Marine Corps is testing a prototype laser weapon that could be used by war fighters on the ground to counter enemy drones, according to a June 19 news release.
 
 

Veterans

Veterans suicide prevention efforts will include more discussions on firearm safety-
Federal suicide prevention efforts in coming months will include increased focus on veterans’ access to firearms, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said during a Capitol Hill appearance June 19.
 
Conspiracy of silence: Veterans exposed to atomic tests wage final fight-
Conspiracy of silence: For some veterans, toxic exposure didn’t end with atomic blasts
 
Conspiracy of silence: After atomic blasts, a dangerous cleanup scarred troops for life-
Before he died, Army veteran Paul Laird had an urgent message for his wife, Vicki.
 
Trump takes credit for passing veterans bill that passed under Obama-
President Trump at his 2020 campaign kickoff rally on June 18 took credit for passing a veteran’s health care bill that was signed into law by former President Obama.
 
Lawmaker: Close GI Bill ‘loophole’ that benefits for-profit colleges-
On the 75th anniversary of the GI Bill, freshman U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Florida, is taking aim at for-profit colleges, introducing a bill Wednesday that would close a loophole she says props up substandard schools that view veterans as “cash cows.”
 
As GI Bill marks 75th anniversary, some call for expansion-
In marking the 75th anniversary of the original GI Bill, a top Department of Veterans Affairs official on June 19 pointed to a glaring difference between the post-World War II and post-9/11 versions — the small-business option.
 
North Carolina VA hospital bought $2.3 million surgical robot without permission-
A Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in North Carolina spent $2.3 million on a surgical robot without approval, a federal watchdog reported June 19.