Headlines – February 14, 2020

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News

Pentagon seeks to cut F-35s, other equipment to pay for Trump’s border wall-
The Pentagon is seeking to divert $3.8 billion, largely from its fiscal 2020 weapons procurement budget, in order to fund President Donald Trump’s border wall, according to a reprogramming request to congress obtained by Defense News.
 
Pentagon, Microsoft must halt work on JEDI cloud … for now-
A federal judge ruled the Pentagon and Microsoft must temporarily suspend work on the Department of Defense’s controversial Joint Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure contract while a court hears Amazon’s challenge to the award decision.
 
Senate acts to restrain Trump’s military powers against Iran-
The Senate approved a bipartisan measure Feb. 13 limiting President Donald Trump’s authority to launch military operations against Iran.
 
U.S.-Taliban peace deal ‘on the table,’ says Esper-
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Feb. 13 confirmed a U.S.-Taliban peace deal is “on the table,” and that it hinges on a seven-day reduction in violence — a sign that all sides are closer than ever to ending of the 18-year conflict, America’s longest war.
 
 

Business

Malaysia taps American fund to convert transport planes for maritime surveillance role-
Malaysia will convert two Indonesian-built CN-235 transport aircraft into maritime patrol platforms using U.S. funding set aside for regional nations to improve maritime security, a top general confirmed.
 
Boeing gives recommendations to FAA on 737 MAX wiring concerns-
Boeing has provided preliminary recommendations to the U.S. FAA to address concerns over wiring bundles on its grounded 737 MAX jetliner, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
 
Should the Pentagon stop playing the role of venture capitalist?-
“The U.S. government must recognize its proper role in this innovation ecosystem,” Chris Brose of Anduril Industries told Congress on Feb. 5, 2020. “Innovative companies do not need the U.S. government to try to play venture capitalist.”
 
Struggles with BAE production lines produce low-hanging fruit for funding cuts in FY21-
Struggles with manufacturing the Army’s new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) and its modernized howitzer — the M109A7 Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) system — at BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania, production line have set both programs up as low-hanging fruit for funding cuts in the service’s fiscal 2021 budget request.
 
 

Defense

Why this could be the last year Pentagon pays for border wall-
As the Defense Department announced Feb. 13 that it would divert billions of dollars that were put in the Pentagon budget to support military operations and reprogram that to instead pay for almost 200 miles of border wall this year, a Pentagon official told reporters that he did not anticipate that military money would need to be shifted around for a third year in a row to pay for border barriers.
 
Esper defends stripping Stars and Stripes of all funding, says news organization is not a priority-
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Feb. 13 defended the Pentagon’s effort to strip Stars and Stripes of all of its federal funding as part of its fiscal year 2021 budget request, telling reporters in Brussels that the independent news organization is not a priority.
 
War with robots: how battle bots will define the future of ground combat-
From pocket-sized drones to remote-controlled breaching vehicles, the Army is injecting robots across formations.
 
Are heavy ground combat units better than light forces and airstrikes?-
In recent years, the Army has stationed more troops in Europe to balance against Russia and also increased temporary Pacific rotations, while the Marine Corps is throwing much of its weight into highly mobile, distributed units to counter China.
 
Here’s U.S. Army’s top 10 canceled and reduced programs in FY21-
The U.S. Army released its top 10 programs it intends to cancel or reduce in fiscal 2021 on Feb. 13, which accounts for $1.13 billion of the $2.4 billion the service plans to shift to higher priority modernization efforts.
 
Army kills APKWS rockets & mystery missile, MIRM-
The Army wants to cancel $122 million in precision-guidance upgrades for helicopter-launched rockets and cut $222 million in upgrades to the venerable M2 Bradley armored troop carrier.
 
U.S. Navy is spending millions plotting the drone-enabled fleet of 2045-
The U.S. Navy is requesting $21.5 million to fund ongoing studies on what the service will look like in 2045 once its fleet of Ticonderoga-class cruisers and many of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers no longer rules the waves, according to budget documents released Feb. 10.
 
U.S. Navy is planning to get serious about a next-generation large surface combatant-
The U.S. Navy in 2021 is planning to kick off a five-year research, testing and design effort for its next generation of large surface combatant, according to Navy budget documents released Feb. 10.
 
U.S. Navy’s budget looks headed for the Congressional shredder-
Lawmakers are lining up to slam the U.S. Navy’s 2021 budget submission because it calls for a significant cut to shipbuilding and slows the rate of growth of the fleet over the next five years.
 
 

Veterans

Seventy-five years later, the Netherlands honors the ‘Black Liberators’ who helped end the Nazi occupation-
In 1944, Allied forces began liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. Among these soldiers were black GIs whose role in the liberation had largely been overlooked in historical accounts. Now, the Black Liberators Project seeks to highlight the service and sacrifice of these soldiers, including the 172 buried in Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.
 
Military health record milestone delayed as VA requests $1 billion funding increase-
The Department of Veterans Affairs is delaying staff training for the new electronic health record (EHR) system this week and will announce a revised schedule in “the coming weeks,” a VA spokesman said via email Feb. 12.
 
Veterans affairs, a Trump signature issue, is facing turmoil again-
The mysterious firing of the department’s deputy secretary was the latest incident to shake the agency as it embarks on ambitious changes to health care.

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