Headlines – January 15, 2020

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Iran’s support to the Taliban, which has included MANPADS and a bounty on U.S. troops, could be a spoiler for peace in Afghanistan-
As the U.S. looks to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, recent tensions coupled with Iran’s history of meddling in the country could jeopardize talks between the U.S. and the Taliban to end the 18-year long conflict.
 
Congress to investigate veteran cancers at toxic Uzbek base where ‘black goo’ oozed-
A key House national security panel has asked the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs to turn over documents on the toxic conditions at an Uzbekistan base used by the U.S. military shortly after the 9/11 attacks, after a McClatchy investigation reported that service members who were deployed there are now facing cancer or other chronic illnesses.
 
 

Business

Amid Western arms embargoes on Saudi Arabia, SAMI has a backup plan-
Saudi Arabian Military Industries is prepared to move forward with product development and weapon system projects should Western embargoes limit those efforts, the CEO told Defense News.
 
Army picks 2 firms to build light and medium robotic combat vehicles-
The U.S. Army has announced that it plans to strike deals with QinetiQ North America and Textron Systems to build versions of the Robotic Combat Vehicle.
 
France hires two firms to soup up jets with an electronic warfare capability-
France has awarded a contract for Archange, its strategic airborne intelligence program aimed at strengthening the country’s signals intelligence capabilities, to Thales and Dassault Aviation.
 
Lockheed, Boeing enter Germany’s heavy transport helicopter race-
Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky and Boeing have submitted their proposals for the German military’s envisioned heavy transport helicopter program, the companies announced.
 
Pakistan extends Turkey’s deadline to deliver T129 helos-
Pakistan has extended the deadline for Turkish Aerospace Industries to deliver 30 T129 helicopter gunships on order, amid U.S. reluctance to grant Turkey technology export licenses.
 
Leonardo will provide Navy’s next training helicopter-
The U.S. Navy has awarded aerospace company Leonardo a $176 million firm-fixed price contract to replace its TH-57B/C Sea Ranger helicopters.
 
Air Force wants multi-platform jammers to support MDO-
The Air Force wants to revamp its electronic warfare (EW) force structure and move beyond platform-centric systems to software-based defensive and offensive capabilities that allow coordination across multiple platforms.
 
Turkey will make F-35 parts throughout 2020, far longer than anticipated-
Turkey will continue making parts for the F-35 through 2020, at least a year and a half after the country was ejected from the Joint Strike Fighter program, the Pentagon’s top buyer said.
 
Scrapping Pentagon F-35 office an option to cut upkeep costs-
House lawmakers trying to reduce the projected $1.1 trillion cost of maintaining the F-35 over 60 years are considering options including eliminating the Pentagon’s central office in charge of the fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin.
 
 

Defense

First Space Force leader sworn in-
At an historic ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 14 Air Force Gen. Jay Raymond was sworn in as the Space Force’s first-ever Chief of Space Operations.
 
Automation doesn’t mean soldiers will be out of a job, chief says-
Automation doesn’t mean soldiers will be replaced by machines, but it could mean they’ll be working alongside them in future conflicts, the Army’s chief of staff said Jan.14.
 
Audit finds some military hospitals issued potentially dangerous amounts of opioids-
U.S. military hospitals overprescribed opioids to patients with chronic pain from 2015 and 2017, a dangerous practice that put them at risk for addiction and overdose, according to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s Office.
 
U.S. Navy’s top officer says the service needs more of the DOD budget-
The U.S. Navy’s top officer said his service must have a larger percentage of the Defense Department’s budget if it’s going to grow the force and execute the strategy laid out by the Trump administration.
 
Two U.S. Navy littoral combat ships will soon share a brain-
The U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship is less one ship as it is two completely different ships with a common mission set. The Navy is trying to walk some of that back.
 
Navy debates 355 fleet; but armed robo-ships are still years away-
The admiral leading the modernization of Navy’s manned and unmanned ships is looking back to the 1930s for the last time the service has faced the kinds of challenges it confronts today.
 
Appeals court supports airmen fighting their discharges for HIV-
A federal appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit challenging the dismissal of two U.S. service members for being HIV positive may continue.
 
How U.S. Army uses tech to balance awareness with battlefield distractions-
On the battlefield, there’s a delicate balance between searching the terrain for targets and getting sucked into a kind of tunnel vision where a soldier can’t see other threats coming.
 
Army’s new sighting system could lead to reckless shooting and fratricide, experts say-
After more than 20 years of attempts, the U.S. Army is now equipping infantrymen with a sophisticated sighting system that allows them to accurately shoot around corners without exposing themselves to enemy fire.
 
 

Veterans

Veteran group sues military leaders, claiming years-long delays on benefits decisions-
The military has failed to meet deadlines set by Congress for rulings on veterans’ requests to correct records blocking them from receiving benefits, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed last month.
 
Army veteran faces federal prison time, fines for Stolen Valor and lying about PTSD-
An Army veteran faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine in a March sentencing hearing after pleading guilty to lying about a fake tour in Afghanistan and Purple Heart and Silver Star medals he didn’t earn.
 
Thousands of housing vouchers for veterans went unused last year, hurting efforts to end homelessness-
Lawmakers want to know why thousands of housing vouchers for destitute veterans are going unused each year despite almost 38,000 potential recipients still living on the street.

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