Headlines – February 26, 2020

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American soldier stationed in South Korea first service member to test positive for coronavirus-
A U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea became the first service member to test positive for the coronavirus — a day after the widow of a retired soldier living in Daegu, South Korea contracted the virus, according to U.S. Forces Korea.
 
Taliban attacks significantly down as reduction in violence deal appears to hold-
The week-long reduction in violence deal hashed out between the Taliban and the U.S. appears to be holding up. Attacks have so far been significantly reduced, potentially leading to the signing of a long-term peace deal on Feb. 29 and the withdrawal of American troops.
 
 

Business

Trump announces $3B defense deal with India-
U.S. President Donald Trump announced Feb. 25 that India has signed a deal to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced military equipment, including helicopters.
 
Air Force to pump new tech startups with $10M awards-
The Air Force will roll out the final stage in its commercial startup investment strategy during the March 13-20 South By Southwest music festival, granting one or more contracts worth at least $10 million to startups with game-changing technologies, service acquisition chief Will Roper says.
 
FARA: Five-way fight for Army’s future scout-
After four decades of failed attempts to replace its Vietnam-vintage OH-58 Kiowa scout, next month the Army will choose two of five competing teams to build prototypes for a new Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft.
 
Duckworth: Army’s new helicopters should not be designed for anyone else-
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot, said recently that the Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force would have to wait their turn if they want their own version of the Army’s futuristic helicopters being developed under the Future Vertical Lift effort.
 
Northrop expands team for program to replace U.S. Air Force ICBMs-
In its quest to modernize the U.S. Air Force’s stockpile of intercontinental ballistic missiles, Northrop Grumman has partnered with Bechtel and Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, the company announced Feb. 25.
 
 

Defense

Pentagon promises to use artificial intelligence for good, not evil-
The military has its eye on artificial intelligence solutions to everything from data analysis to surveillance, maintenance and medical care, but before the Defense Department moves full steam ahead into an AI future, they’re laying out some ethical principles to live by.
 
Trump picks Army official for sustainment job; intel nominee coming soon-
The White House on Feb. 25 formally nominated William Jordan Gillis to be the next assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, and the administration expects to soon send to Congress a nomination for a new intelligence leader.
 
Pentagon official touts improved TBI screenings after Iranian airstrike-
The size of the 10 Iranian missiles used on Al Asad Air Base in Iraq during the Jan. 8 airstrike is to blame for the increased number of service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, a Pentagon official told reporters Feb. 24.
 
Pentagon sees a $9 billion surge in nuclear spending by 2025-
The Pentagon’s five-year nuclear weapons plan calls for requesting at least $167 billion through 2025 — building from the $29 billion sought for next year to $38 billion, according to previously undisclosed figures.
 
In Army first, brigade and all of its gear is headed to Europe for major exercise-
The U.S. Army recently deployed the first full brigade combat team with all of its equipment to Germany to take part in DEFENDER-Europe 20, a large-scale exercise designed to hone the service’s prowess in rapid-deployment operations.
 
U.S. Army wants $364 million for Defender Pacific in FY21-
The U.S. Army is requesting $364 million to conduct a division-sized exercise in the Indo-Pacific region in fiscal 2021, the service confirmed to Defense News.
 
Trump called for a 350-ship fleet, but his budget falls short of even Obama-era goals-
Despite campaigning on a 350-ship Navy, U.S. President Donald Trump is on track to leave office with a fleet smaller than the 308 ships called for by the Obama administration.
 
Esper to Navy: Rethink your shipbuilding plan-
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has put a stop to the the expected release of the Navy’s long-term shipbuilding plan, telling the service on Feb. 24 to hold off and take another look, several sources confirm.
 
TRANSCOM head pushes back against Air Force tanker retirements-
The head of U.S. Transportation Command is pushing the Air Force to rethink some of its controversial plans to retire some of its older aerial refueling aircraft, and leaders inside the Pentagon are paying close attention.
 
Will flying cars help U.S. beat China? Air Force hopes so-
The U.S. Air Force wants flying cars. But more than that, it wants to give U.S. manufacturers a head start in a hot future market.
 
 

Veterans

Senators demand investigation into Wilkie’s handling of sexual assault case at the VA-
Six senators are demanding an investigation into how the Department of Veterans Affairs handled an alleged sexual assault at its Washington, D.C., hospital, prompted by reports that Secretary Robert Wilkie attempted to discredit the veteran who reported the assault.
 
 
 

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