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4 avril 2014 5 04 /04 /avril /2014 07:20
Air Force leaders insist new tanker is key to airpower


April 4th, 2014 By Air Force News Agency - defencetalk.com


The top three acquisition priorities for the Air Force are the KC-46A aerial tanker, the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter and the Long Range Strike Bomber, officials told members of Congress during a hearing of House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on seapower and projections forces, April 2.

“On any given day, the Air Force’s mobility aircraft deliver critical personnel and cargo, and provide airdrop of time-sensitive supplies, food and ammunition on a global scale,” said Dr. William LaPlante, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition.

LaPlante was joined by Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements Maj. Gen. James Jones and Air Force Program Executive Officer for Tankers Maj. Gen. John Thompson.

“The KC-46 remains essential to overall strategy,” Jones said. “Our air refueling fleet is critical to operations for all services, and our coalition partners.”

LaPlante explained the new tanker is essential to replacing an aging tanker fleet, and ushering air mobility and sustainment into the future.

“The backbone of rapid U.S. global operations is our tanker fleet,” LaPlante said. “Based on the budget submitted, we expect to see about 54 KC-46 deliveries across the Future Years Defense Plan, as part of the tanker fleet recapitalization.”

The first delivery of Low Rate Initial Production aircraft will be in Fiscal Year 2016, with an estimated program completion date of 2028.

“Tankers are the lifeblood of our joint force’s ability to respond to crisis and contingencies, and are essential to keeping our Air Force viable as a global force,” LaPlante added.

The Air Force is also investing in the sustainment of the current bomber and cargo fleets, and will make upgrades to various systems to keep these airframes practical in the future of the force, he explained.

Overall, Air Force officials said they are optimistic about the future of the air mobility and bomber fleets, and are confident in the continued capabilities to support the warfighter.

“In the midst of the challenges ahead, we will aim to keep these programs on track and deliver these systems both as vital capabilities to our forces, but also as the best value to our taxpayer,” LaPlante said. “These systems will provide the future capabilities necessary to operate effectively in the national security environment of tomorrow.”

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23 septembre 2013 1 23 /09 /septembre /2013 12:20
Does Anyone Care About the Fate of the US Military?

September 23rd, 2013 By Lexington institute - defencetalk.com


It’s official. The leadership of this country including the major media outlets have lost their collective minds. Yesterday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the House Armed Services Committee that if sequestration continues, they could not say with confidence that the U.S. military could successfully handle even one serious conflict!


Not a war on the Korean Peninsula, a conflict over the Strait of Hormuz, the defense of Japan or Taiwan from attack or even meet our obligations under the NATO Treaty to defend Europe.


According to BreakingDefense, “each of the Joint Chiefs was asked by Rep. Randy Forbes, chairman of the HASC seapower and power projection forces subcommittee, if they could execute the military’s basic Strategic Planning Guidance, which requires that U.S. forces be able to handle one enemy and to deter another. Down the line he went. Odierno: no; Greenert: no; Welsh: no. Amos, yes, but.”


So the Army, Navy and Air Force leaders all said they will not be able to meet the basic requirement for the U.S. military. The Marine Corps Commandant, General Amos said “yes, but”; however his service’s mission is so different from the rest. Moreover, without adequate support from his brothers in arms, the yes is irrelevant.


Was this story on the front page of the nation’s major newspapers? No.


Was it a lead story by the morning television news programs? It was not.


Did talk radio bring it up? Not as far as I could tell, channel surfing today.


America is disarming and no one, including the Commander in Chief, seems to care. Remember, sequestration was a White House idea. When his military commanders tell Congress they will not be able to defend this country if sequestration continues, you would think it would be worth at least a mention by President Obama. Nope.


Actually, this is not quite true. Our current and future enemies care. They are waiting for us to sink into the depths of budget insanity. Then they will have clear paths to achieving their goals, be it reunification of the Korean Peninsula on Pyongyang’s terms, dominance by Beijing of Asia, control of the strategic Persian Gulf by Iran or the recreation of the Russian empire.


Our current allies care. Don’t think for minute that Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Taiwan and half a dozen other countries won’t see the collapse of the U.S. military and the de facto termination of U.S. security guarantees as reason enough to acquire nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. Northeast Asia alone could have five or six nuclear powers before the decade is over. That should give everyone in Washington a warm feeling, right?


By the way, if the U.S. military cannot say with confidence that they could win even one major conventional conflict that would leave this country with only two options: surrender or nuclear deterrence. We would have to go back to the bad old days of Massive Retaliation. It means modernizing aging and obsolescing strategic and theater nuclear forces, abandoning current arms control agreements in order to increase both the size and sophistication of our new nuclear force structure and living again under the sword of Damocles.


Anyone want to talk about what the Joint Chiefs just said? Anyone care about the impending implosion of the U.S. Military? Anyone want to end the madness and find a solution to sequestration? Apparently not.

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12 juillet 2013 5 12 /07 /juillet /2013 19:20
US House Votes To Limit Obama's Ability to Shrink Nuclear Arsenal

Jul. 12, 2013 - By JOHN T. BENNETT – Defense News


WASHINGTON — The US House has approved a plan that would limit President Barack Obama’s ability to shrink America’s nuclear arms arsenal without congressional approval, with its sponsor claiming the White House intends to ignore the Constitution.


The lower chamber late Wednesday night approved an amendment to an energy and water bill that would cut off funds for any atomic weapons reductions the White House might pursue without first seeking Senate approval.


The amendment was offered by House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, a hawkish Republican who claims the president plans to ignore the Constitution.


“On June 19, President Obama declared before an audience in Berlin that he was announcing significant changes to the nuclear force posture of the United States,” Turner wrote in a “dear colleagues” letter to other members drumming up support for the amendment.


“One of the most significant ambiguities to emerge from that announcement was whether the president would follow the bipartisan tradition that nuclear arms reduction agreements take place according to the Constitutional structures the framers intended,” Turner wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Defense News.


Turner and other congressional Republicans believe Obama is poised to order some US nuclear arms reductions, and has no plans to follow the precedent of first obtaining the upper chamber’s approval.


A White House spokeswoman had yet to respond to an inquiry about the president’s nuclear-reduction plans and Turner’s amendment.


Turner and other congressional Republicans see Obama and his administration possessing “disregard for long-enshrined practice,” which Turner in the letter dubs “disappointing, dangerous, and injures the checks and balances that are needed.”


The HASC member says those checks are needed “when it comes to international agreements with states like Russia, especially when Russia is actively cheating on major arms control agreements.”


Turner said, “thus far, the president has not seen fit to aggressively confront” Moscow over those alleged violations.


The amendment passed by voice vote, meaning there is no public record of how individual members voted nor the final margin. Whether the provision will be included in the final version of the energy and water bill will ultimately be up to a House-Senate conference committee.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 07:20
Lawmakers Reject Withholding F-35 Funds

June 5, 2013 by Brendan McGarry - defensetech.org


A Republican-led defense panel in Congress easily rejected a proposal to withhold most funding for the F-35 fighter jet next year.


The House Armed Services Committee on June 5 voted 51–10 against the amendment sponsored by Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., while debating its version of the 2014 defense authorization bill. The legislation sets policy goals and spending targets for fiscal 2014, which begins Oct. 1.


Calling it a “good government issue,” Duckworth proposed freezing procurement funding for the Joint Strike Fighter program until Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel certified that the manufacturer, Lockheed Martin Corp., fixed problems with the aircraft’s software and several pieces of hardware, including the helmet-mounted display, fuel dump system and arresting hook.


“I want contractors to be held accountable and I want to fix the technical problems before we give them another $6 billion of taxpayer money,” she said during the hearing. “There’s nothing wrong with flying before we buy. In fact, most of us test drive cars before we [buy].”


The Defense Department next year plans to spend $8.4 billion to buy 29 F-35 Lightning II aircraft, including 19 for the Air Force, six for the Marine Corps and four for the Navy. The funding includes $6.4 billion in procurement, $1.9 billion in research and development and $187 million in spares.


Duckworth said she has “serious concerns” that buying production models of the planes while they’re still being tested — a practice known in acquisition parlance as concurrency — has led to developmental problems and a 68-percent surge in the projected cost of the program.


The Joint Strike Fighter is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, with an estimated cost of $391 billion to develop and build 2,457 aircraft.


Duckworth cited comments made last year by Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer, in which he criticized his own department’s decision to begin production of the single-engine jet years before its first test flight as “acquisition malpractice.”


Many of the aircraft’s most vaunted technologies “remain untested and unready,” Duckworth said. Flight testing of the software package designed for initial aircraft operations, known as Block 2B, was only 5 percent complete as of last month, she said.


Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the panel’s Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee, said the amendment would effectively halt funding for the F-35 program, triggering delays and additional cost increases.


“We believe that we address the issues with the F-35 in the mark,” he said.


Turner was referring to language his subcommittee drafted in the legislation that would order the Pentagon to establish an independent team of subject matter experts to review software development for the program and submit a report to lawmakers by March 3, 2014.


Turner also cited as evidence of progress in the program a March report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of congress, subtitled, “Outlook Is Improved, but Long-Term Affordability Is a Major Concern.”


The Pentagon last week announced that the Marine Corps will begin operational flights of the F-35 fighter jet in 2015, followed by the Air Force in 2016 and the Navy in 2019.

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