Headlines – April 29, 2020

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DOD’s border wall funding shift hits Russia deterrence efforts-
The Pentagon is moving to scuttle nearly 19 more military construction projects ? including $274 million worth in Europe to deter Russia ? as a means to backfill a number of building projects at home that were deferred to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
 
China says PLA scrambled aircraft, ships to ‘expel’ U.S. warship from South China Sea island chain-
Chinese authorities said they sortied ships and aircraft to “track, monitor, verify, identify and expel” a U.S. warship from the Paracel Island chain in the South China Sea on April 28, People’s Liberation Army officials said on Chinese social media.
 
 

Business

DoD must brace for long-term supply chain problems; big mergers likely-
The COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the U.S. economy are likely to create long-term problems for DOD’s ability to keep weapons flowing, experts say.
 
U.S. Navy pays contractors $600 million held back to ensure performance-
The U.S. Navy has paid defense contractors $600 million it had withheld to ensure contract performance, hoping the funds would shore up finances for suppliers ravaged by the coronavirus-driven economic downturn, a Navy official said on April 28.
 
Navy looking to buy aircraft engines as civilian demand dwindles-
The Navy is moving forward with its plans to take advantage of a commercial aviation slowdown by accelerating new orders, buying spare parts and conducting depot maintenance – all in conjunction with the other services, to get the maximum benefit of what the industry has to offer even while combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Navy acquisition boosts ship contract awards under COVID-19-
Navy leaders and defense industry execs are worried about the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their supply chains, potentially interrupting critical repair and refit availabilities that could have knock-on effects on deployment schedules.
 
Navy readies to buy new frigates as industrial base wobbles-
The Navy will award the first contract for an ambitious new class of frigates in the coming days, several sources with knowledge of the plan said, speeding up a program that wasn’t slated to get underway until later this year.
 
Global defense spending decline expected as nations deal with coronavirus-
Experts see domestic projects taking priority over national security in the coming years.
 
Flying car of the future looks to flying cars of the past-
The first contract in the U.S. Air Force’s bid to acquire flying cars has gone to a company whose design harks back to a pioneer in the field.
 
Taiwan test-fires locally developed Yun Feng LACM-
Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology test-fired its new Yun Feng (Cloud Peak) long-range land-attack attack cruise missile on April 15.
 
South Korea completes deliveries of KM-SAM Block-1 system to RoKAF-
South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on April 28 that deliveries of the Cheongung Korean medium-range surface-to-air missile (KM-SAM or M-SAM) Block-1 system to the Republic of Korea Air Force have been completed.
 
Saudi Arabia announces UAV procurement-
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries announced-
April 27 that the country was procuring six unmanned systems from local firm Intra Defence Technologies for delivery in 2021, and a further 40 systems within five years.
 
 

Defense

Troops to receive Purple Hearts for injuries during Iranian missile barrage on al-Asad airbase in Iraq-
There will be Purple Hearts awarded to troops injured during the Jan. 8 Iranian missile barrage on the al-Asad airbase in Iraq, a defense official told Military Times.
 
Soldiers, Marines die by suicide 50 percent more often than sailors and airmen, report finds-
Of 325 active-duty suicides in 2018, soldiers and Marines took their own lives 150 percent more often than sailors and airmen, according to a report released Monday by the Defense Department.
 
Pentagon fires back after senators slam military’s coronavirus response-
A group of 10 Senate Democrats has joined a growing chorus of critics challenging Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the lack of clear guidance from the Pentagon’s top civilian has put service members at risk and undermined readiness.
 
 

Veterans

A former VA secretary volunteered to return as a doctor. No one’s called him back-
During his tenure as under-secretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs and later as VA secretary, Dr. David Shulkin spent about a weekend a month wearing a white coat and treating patients at the VA medical center in Manhattan.
 
VA’s $16 billion electronic health records modernization plan is failing, IG says-
A $16 billion effort to give veterans lifetime electronic health records that meshed with the Pentagon’s has been marked by repeated delays and oversight failures that could have put patients at risk, according to reports from the VA Inspector General.
 
 
 

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