Headlines – May 29, 2020

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U.S. warship again challenges China’s South China Sea claims-
The U.S. Navy once again challenged Chinese claims in the South China Sea May 28, sailing the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Mustin near the Paracel Islands.
 
Iran warns U.S. on naval activity in the Gulf-
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps unveiled scores of new and upgraded defensive speedboats with a warning to the U.S. that it won’t shy away from challenging American naval power.
 
 

Business

Kuwait wants to spend over $1.4 billion on Patriot upgrades-
The U.S. State Department has OK’d a trio of packages to update Kuwait’s Patriot missile defense systems, with a combined potential price tag of $1.425 billion.
 
British-Spanish naval team gunning for another go at revamped UK carrier-support program-
Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has formed a joint venture with Northern Ireland’s Harland & Wolff to pitch for an upcoming program to build up to three logistics ships to support the Royal Navy’s new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
 
An already struggling Turkish economy faces post-pandemic program delays-
Despite official optimism, the economic outlook for Turkey after the coronavirus pandemic subsides is grim, with top procurement programs experiencing major major delays, economy and procurement officials told Defense News on condition of anonymity.
 
F-35 costs drop for building jets but rise for operating them-
The Pentagon’s costliest program, Lockheed Martin’s F-35, is starting to look a little less expensive, with the latest estimate for development and procurement down 7.1 percent to $397.8 billion.
 
 

Defense

Trump extends Guard coronavirus missions until mid-August-
President Donald Trump announced May 28 he will extend National Guard orders authorizing domestic coronavirus response missions through mid-August, after controversy surrounding the problematic end date next month for their work.
 
Pentagon has spent 23% of its COVID-19 response funds. Congress is asking why not more-
The Pentagon has spent less than a quarter of the $10.6 billion Congress gave it in March to protect military personnel and marshal American industry to procure face masks, ventilators and other products hospitals need in their fight against the coronavirus.
 
Inhofe, Reed back new military fund to confront China-
As the U.S. Congress hardens against Beijing, two key lawmakers publicly added their support for a new military fund to boost deterrence against China in the Pacific, virtually assuring a Pacific Deterrence Initiative of some kind will be in the next defense policy bill.
 
Army shoot-off will pit Israel’s Iron Dome against foreign competitors-
The U.S. Army is set to take delivery of two Israeli-designed “Iron Dome” indirect-fire protections systems to satisfy a congressional mandate, but the technology will have to prove itself to remain in the service’s arsenal, top Army modernization officials say.
 
 

Veterans

VA patient deaths from coronavirus hit 1,200, but leaders see progress-
Veterans Affairs leaders declared that their coronavirus response in recent months has been a “great success,” with active case numbers falling and department hospitals beginning to resume normal operations.
 
Amid criticism, Secretary Wilkie won’t commit to removing Nazi headstones from VA cemeteries-
House lawmakers on May 28 angrily demanded Veterans Affairs officials immediately remove a series of grave markers bearing Nazi swastikas and tributes to Adolf Hitler at a pair of department-run cemeteries, calling leadership’s response so far confusing and offensive.
 
Cost-of-living boost for veterans benefits next year passes House-
House lawmakers on May 28 easily passed legislation ensuring veterans will see a cost-of-living boost next year if Social Security officials approve one for their recipients.
 
VA says it’ll stop almost all use of unproven drug on vets for coronavirus-
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie said May 28 that his department has all but stopped use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19.
 
 
 

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