Headlines – January 20, 2021

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Troop levels are down, but U.S. says over 18,000 contractors remain in Afghanistan-
The Pentagon employs more than seven contractors for every service member in Afghanistan, figures from U.S. Central Command show.
 
AFRICOM launches airstrike in Somalia shortly after troop pullout-
U.S. Africa Command launched its first airstrike against al Qaeda-aligned militants in Somalia since announcing days ago that it had completed its withdrawal of ground troops from the country.
 
U.S. Navy halts deliveries of Freedom-class littoral combat ship-
The U.S. Navy has halted deliveries of Lockheed Martin’s Freedom-class littoral combat ship, citing a design flaw with the ship’s transmission.
 
 

Business

Hensoldt buys Austrian AI specialist Sail Labs to boost its sensor-fusion portfolio-
Germany’s Hensoldt bought Vienna, Austria-based Sail Labs to jump-start its activities in the field of automated sensor processing, a key capability for projects like the Future Combat Air System, the company announced.
 
Turkey reports nearly 15% drop in defense exports-
Turkey’s defense and aerospace exports stood at $2.3 billion in 2020, marking a 14.8 percent decline in comparison to 2019, official figures have revealed.
 
Australia selects Boeing Apache as next armed reconnaissance helicopter-
Australia has selected Boeing’s AH-64E Apache Guardian as it’s next armed reconnaissance helicopter, replacing its Airbus Helicopters Tiger fleet under the Land 4503 program estimated to be worth AU$4-5 billion (U.S. $3–3.8 billion).
 
 

Defense

Austin pledges to protect civilian leadership at Pentagon-
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for defense secretary used his Jan. 19 appearance in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee to push back against concerns about civilian control of the military, as Congress prepares for an upcoming waiver vote.
 
Here’s who will be running the Pentagon when Biden takes office-
Dozens named in the most comprehensive roster published to date of who will be running DOD when the president-elect is sworn in.
 
As Biden takes office, key nuclear, missile defense decisions loom-
When U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office, his national security team will have to work quickly to make calls on a number of key nuclear and missile defense decisions, according to a top outgoing Pentagon official.
 
 

Veterans

Trump signs executive order for study of troops at ‘black goo’ base who got cancer-
In one of his final acts in office, President Donald Trump signed an executive order late Jan. 19 directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study of all veterans who served at a toxic base in Uzbekistan after 9/11, a step toward making it easier for their medical costs to be covered.
 
 
 

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