Headlines – December 18, 2019

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Congress adopts defense bill that creates Space Force-
Congress has approved a compromise defense policy bill that creates a new Space Force in exchange for establishing paid parental leave for federal workers, as part of $738 billion for the Pentagon for 2020.
 
Lawmakers pressure Trump to renew Russia arms control pact-
U.S. lawmakers of both parties are pressuring the White House to extend the last remaining restraints on U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons deployments by demanding intelligence assessments on the costs of allowing the New START treaty to lapse.
 
Seoul, Washington fail to agree on cost of U.S. troops as deal set to expire-
South Korea and the United States failed on Dec. 18 to reach an agreement over Seoul’s contribution towards hosting some 28,500 U.S. troops, ending two days of talks that were the last before their existing deal expires on Dec. 31.
 
 

Business

BAE Systems to get new CEO in April-
BAE Systems Chief Executive Jerry DeMuro will hand over leadership to Tom Arseneault next year, the company announced Dec. 17.
 
Lockheed awards $81.5M contract for hypersonic missile motor-
Lockheed Martin has selected Aerojet Rocketdyne to provide a solid-fuel rocket motor for a hypersonic missile meant for the U.S. Air Force, according to a Dec. 17 news release.
 
Against Army’s wishes, Congress primes pump to buy newest CH-47 variant for active force-
Congressional appropriators and authorizers have increased advance procurement funds for the newest variant of the CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopter as preparation to supply the aircraft to the Army’s active force, even though the service asked to only buy a small number of the helos in fiscal 2020 for special operations.
 
Did Congress just cut competition out of Army’s Bradley replacement program?-
Congress has cut the Army’s ability to pay for two sets of competitive prototypes for its Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program intended to replace the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, according to the fiscal 2020 spending bill’s conference report released Dec. 16.
 
One bidder out, three remain in Dutch race to replace Walrus subs-
The Dutch Defence Ministry has dropped shipbuilder Navantia from the pool of bidders for the multibillion-dollar Walrus submarine-replacement program, announcing that additional negotiations will follow with the remaining three contenders.
 
Finland’s Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen on AI and new fighter jets-
As a nonaligned NATO partner that shares roughly 830 miles of border with Russia, Finland is keenly aware of the need to keep its national defense in top shape.
 
Lockheed’s $31 billion King Stallion helicopter delayed by new flaws-
Lockheed Martin’s $31 billion King Stallion helicopter program for the U.S. Marine Corps is likely to miss its key milestone — initial combat capability a year from now — because of technical flaws found in development testing.
 
 

Defense

Here’s how a federal court ruling is affecting the military’s border wall construction plans-
The Army Corps of Engineers has halted construction on about 175 miles of border wall after a federal judge last week issued an injunction on $3.6 billion in military construction funds the Pentagon had diverted to help put up barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, a spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed to Military Times.
 
4,000 more Afghan interpreters could get special immigrant visas, thanks to defense bill-
An additional 4,000 Afghan interpreters who helped U.S. troops in Afghanistan could receive Special Immigrant Visas, thanks to a provision included in the National Defense Authorization Act the House passed last week.
 
DARPA head resigns, moving on to industry-
Steven Walker, the 21st director of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, announced his resignation on Dec. 17, which will be effective Jan.10, 2020, Defense News has learned.
 
U.S. Army is testing more designs for an improved combat boot-
U.S. Army equipment officials are testing prototypes of an improved combat boot that includes features from the service’s recent attempt to field a new Jungle Combat Boot.
 
Navy’s next flattop launched!-
A little more than a week after Caroline Kennedy smashed a bottle across its hull, the future aircraft carrier named for her father was launched Dec. 16.
 
AFSOC suspends parachute, diving, mountaineering operations after loss of two airmen-
Air Force Special Operations Command has temporarily suspended all of its parachuting, diving and mountaineering training and operations in conjunction with the investigations into the deaths of two special tactics airmen from Hurlburt Field, Fla., this fall.
 
U.S. Air Force is moving to discharge airman investigated for white nationalist ties-
Discharge proceedings are now pending for Tech. Sgt. Cory Reeves, the airman who lost a stripe after an investigation into his alleged ties to a white nationalist group.
 
Air Force wins big in defense spending bill but Space Force $ whacked-
The Air Force came out smelling of roses in the 2020 minibus appropriations bill agreed to by the House and Senate yesterday, and passed by the House Dec. 17.
 
Major fix coming for Marine Corps CH-53K, but a 2-year delay is expected-
Engineers have solved or mitigated most of the engine issues that have led to long delays of the operational date of the CH-53 King Stallion ? the Corps’ most powerful heavy lift helicopter ? Marine officials said Dec. 17.
 
 

Veterans

Congress to VA: Tell us your plan for adding diseases to Agent Orange presumptives list-
The massive federal funding bill introduced Monday would require Veterans Affairs leaders to reveal whether they plan to add new diseases to the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list.

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