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1 avril 2015 3 01 /04 /avril /2015 11:20
Featured photo - Sensitive Military Gear Ended up on EBay, Craigslist

Featured photo - Sensitive Military Gear Ended up on EBay, Craigslist


March 26, 2015 By Jana Winter and Sharon Weinberger – The Intercept


The Pentagon lost track of sensitive equipment from a $750 million program to help U.S. soldiers spot roadside bombs — and some of it wound up for sale on eBay, Craigslist and other websites, according to a Navy intelligence document obtained by The Intercept.


The missing equipment includes thermal optic imaging and night vision devices that were supplied to U.S. forces to help locate improvised explosive devices, the leading killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, as well as related threats. “Since 2009, some of this advanced hardware has been reported as missing and is actively being sold or discussed on the global market on a variety of websites,” says an intelligence brief by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service and its Multiple Threat Alert Center.


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20 mars 2015 5 20 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
Pentagon Prepares to Unveil Better Buying Power 3.0


WASHINGTON, March 19, 2015 – By Nick Simeone DoD News


Pentagon officials are preparing to unveil the latest version of Better Buying Power, a multibillion-dollar equipment and service-buying program aimed at improving the acquisition process while maintaining the nation’s significant technological edge on the battlefield, the department’s chief acquisition officer said here yesterday.

Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told a defense conference that Better Buying Power 3.0 will be largely about innovation, excellence and maintaining technological superiority -- “the things we can do that will make a substantial difference and give us a significant edge for a decade or more on future battlefields.”


More Capability, More Value

The Defense Department introduced Better Buying Power in 2010 to extract more capability for the warfighter and more value for the taxpayer. “This is largely about efficiency and productivity,” Kendall said.

The new version, which will roll out in the weeks ahead, will bring the intelligence community further into the acquisition process, Kendall said. It also will be more responsive and agile to threats while taking full advantage of quickly advancing technologies, including countering what he said is a growing threat of anti-satellite technology posed by Russia and China.

 “We are starting to do something about this, but we really haven’t made a great deal of progress yet,” he said. “We rely on a small number of very capable and very expensive satellites that are increasingly at risk, and that trend is going to continue to get worse.”

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17 novembre 2014 1 17 /11 /novembre /2014 08:20
2016 US Defense Budget Could Be $60B Over Spending Caps


Nov. 16, 2014 - By PAUL McLEARY – Defense News


WASHINGTON — As the White House and Pentagon pass drafts of the fiscal 2016 defense budget back and forth before submitting it to Congress early next year, the base budget request possibly could exceed congressionally mandated spending caps by as much as $60 billion, according to a former defense official with knowledge of the discussions.


Administration and defense officials have said for months that the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA), which limits how much the Pentagon can spend, wouldn’t fully constrain the 2016 request. But a source with knowledge of a meeting between President Barack Obama and the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the chiefs have pushed for an increase of $60 billion over the $535 billion cap for defense, with another $10 billion for Department of Energy programs.


While the number might appear high, Pentagon and administration plans to push past the cap are no surprise.


On Nov. 6, Alan Estevez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told an audience at a procurement conference in Washington that “we’re going to propose a budget next January and it’s going to be above sequestration levels.”


Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work recently estimated that the Pentagon would fall short about $70 billion in next year’s budget if Congress didn’t allow it to shift money around the way the building sees fit.


“If you add up all of the things that Congress told us no, after we submitted our budget, it’s $31 billion in noes,” Work said on Sept. 30. “No, you can’t get rid of the A-10. No, you can’t get rid of the U-2. No, you can’t get rid of those cruisers. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. And then, no, you can’t do the compensation reform.”


Add to this the billions that Pentagon officials now say will be needed to modernize the nuclear weapons programs, and the sequester caps give less and less room for issues like real compensation reform and starting expensive new programs, such as a long-range bomber.


Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters that billions of dollars in new investments are needed to fund critical nuclear upgrades in the coming years.


Hagel said the new investments would total “several” billion a year in the coming years, and that the Pentagon aims to spend at least 10 percent more each year for the next five years than it does on the nuclear upgrades and modernization programs.


The 2016 budget has long been looked at as something of a mile marker in Washington’s struggle to turn the page on more than a decade of inflated wartime budgets and massive supplemental requests that filled in the blanks in procurement and readiness accounts.


Still, there is tension.


“It’s clear that the Pentagon leadership is prepping the battlefield now with Congress for another cap-busting budget request that is likely higher than even last year,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute.


But “the best the Pentagon is going to get is another Ryan-Murray deal” that offers short-term fixes to sequestration, she said, since there is likely little political appetite to actually do away with the law or offer a more permanent fix.


“It’s not a surprise if the base budget comes in at least $50 billion above the caps” set out in the BCA, Eaglen said.


Politics and legacy-building likely also play a role.


“You have the president putting out the last request that he will also execute the full year of, so that is an argument for seeing more money,” said Ryan Crotty, deputy director for defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


“But part of the politics of it is keeping the request at a level where it’s not going to be rejected out of hand” by a new Republican-controlled Congress in no mood to do the White House any favors, even if it supports a strong defense, and with its eye on dismantling big domestic programs like Obamacare. That same Congress will also be hostile to new taxes to make room for a rising defense budget.


Still, the amount of money the Hill will ultimately allow the Pentagon to keep will have to remain within limits.


Even the Congressional Budget Office, in a Nov. 6 report, estimated that given the modernization and compensation needs the Pentagon has laid out for upcoming years, the base budget requests between 2015 and 2019 will likely be $47 billion higher per year than the levels designated by the BCA.


But not everyone is convinced that these numbers will end up seeing the light of day.


“We’re not going to roll back sequestration entirely; we may get relief at the margin, but DoD is going to be living with lower budget resource levels than its plan of last year,” said Byron Callan, director at Capital Alpha Partners.

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11 mars 2014 2 11 /03 /mars /2014 08:20
Interview: Robert Hale, Pentagon Comptroller – by Defense News


Mar. 10, 2014 - By Vago Muradian, Marcus Weisgerber and John T. Bennett in Washington. – Defense News


Outgoing Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale last week unveiled his final Pentagon budget plan, and soon will retire. He leaves behind what he calls “uncertainty” with further across-the-board cuts pending via sequestration. Hale oversaw a 2015 budget process that has left many in Washington and the defense sector confused. For instance, the future years defense plan (FYDP) is incomplete, with senior officials sending conflicting messages last week about just how the $115 billion it calls for above spending caps etched into law would be spent.

Hale sat down with Defense News on March 6, saying that if Congress opts against raising the caps to give the military the extra $115 billion it wants through 2019, drastic and controversial moves will be implemented. That list includes taking an aircraft carrier out of the fleet, Hale said. It also would force ground-force cuts, trimming the Army to 420,000 active-duty soldiers and the Marine Corps to 175,000 members. There appears to be little support on Capitol Hill for those moves, but as Hale said, all indications are that lawmakers will keep the spending caps in place for fiscal 2016.


Q. One of the things that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said is that he wanted to minimize the impact on troop reductions. He said that if the Pentagon got this extra $115 billion across the five-year budget that it wanted, those were the priorities that it would try to underwrite. And then the budget released didn’t have any of those priorities. Why not fund those priorities?

A. Well, let me start by saying that in 2015, the only thing for which Congress will appropriate money, we have fully funded our preferred priorities. The Army, it’ll be around 490,000 [soldiers], well above 440,000 to 450,000 in ’15. The Marine Corps, 182,000. There’s enough money in there to preserve our options to maintain 11 carriers and 10 wings. So in some ways, I think, this whole issue of disconnect is a bit of a mountain out of a molehill and may even obscure the important debate over the broader budget.

But let me try to answer your question. We don’t know what Congress is going to do. We face massive uncertainty. [Congress] could appropriate at the sequester level, a reasonable chance they could, I hope, appropriate at the $115 billion above. For a few categories, we felt we needed the time to plan and so we hedged, if you will, from a planning standpoint.

If we judge, and we have some indication that Congress is going to appropriate at those higher levels, we will reverse those and stay at our preferred levels. We’ll stay at 11 carriers. We’ll leave the Army at 440,000 to 450,000. That will require that we look again at our five-year plan, probably do some trims and procurement, maybe some in O&M [operations and maintenance], but protect the most readiness-related parts of O&M and find the funds to preserve that force structure.


Q. We understood that you originally built a budget to full sequester level, but the White House gave you a little bit more money and you put it not against people, but against readiness and modernization. But when those plans were presented to the White House, they told you to keep higher force numbers and the 11th carrier. Is that why the five-year budget plan has been delayed?

A. We had extensive discussions with the White House and OMB [Office of Management and Budget] over a wide variety of issues, to include the ones that you’ve mentioned. But I’ll say, we reached accommodations with them and are in agreement with them. Secretary Hagel is fully comfortable with this plan, and so is the White House. It’s part of the president’s budget. But the reason that we left those few categories — Army end strength, Marine Corps end strength and the carrier, I would call it prudent planning. We need to get started. These are hard things to plan. You don’t decommission a carrier without a fair amount of planning.

And the reason we left them in there is to give ourselves time and maybe even force ourselves to plan because we may have to do it.


Q. When are we going to see the five-year budget plan? Has that been delayed as you reworked the plan?

A. No, it’s not delayed. We send it up about a month after, it’s classified. The details are classified. Now we’ve given out a lot of it and we’ll continue to provide summaries of it.


Q. When you look to buy back those troops and to buy back the carrier and to make the changes to the plan that you’ve already built, how much money are you talking about, specifically? We hear the number is about $15 billion.

A. We’ll make the decisions in what we call the [program objective memorandum] ’16 process, which is already started in the services, but it will get serious [in the] late summer and fall. All we have are real rough planning figures. Fifteen [billion] is one of them. It could be higher or lower. That’s over the five years. I think it leads me to believe and my colleagues that we can do this if we want to make some trims in other procurement plans and some, hopefully, non-readiness-related O&M. I believe we can do it.


Q. Last year, you asked for about $80 billion for overseas contingency operations (OCO). This year, you have a $79 billion placeholder that’s applied to it. At what point are you going to know how much money you’re going to need in this critical drawdown year in Afghanistan?

A. We asked for $79 [billion]. Congress actually appropriated $85 billion [for 2014]. The placeholder is based on last year’s request. We won’t know until conditions permit the president to make a decision on the enduring presence. After that happens, we need probably at least two months to put together a remarkably complex budget, bigger than most federal agencies other than defense. So we’re probably a ways out from having a formal budget amendment.


Q. You did a study looking at what are base budget items that have been moved into OCO and vice versa. We hear that $34.7 billion was the number. What are you doing to move as much of those base budget items that exist in the supplemental into the base budget?

A. Well, this is a problem. I mean, there is some money in there. I think that $34.7 billion sounds way high. But I’m not prepared to give you a number. And the reason I’m not is I don’t know what forces are coming out. And some of the forces that are in Afghanistan may be taken out of the force. So even though some of their depot maintenance and training money is in OCO, we may not need to have those funds back in the base budget. But it’s not trivial, and it is an issue we need to confront.


Q. This is one of the most confusing rollouts that we’ve seen. And even in your testimony up on Capitol Hill, there were lawmakers who were scratching their heads. Why is it so confusing?

A. We have one budget, as always. But there are alternatives that we’re presenting. For example, in fiscal ’15, we have a budget at $496 billion, but there’s the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative — a government-wide initiative. We’re asking for an extra $26 billion. In the out years, we have one budget, but it’s above the sequester levels and we promised the Congress that we’ll tell them what happens at the sequester levels so there’s kind of an alternative there. It does make it confusing.

I think we can explain it. We need a little more time. It may take more than one briefing. But I believe we can get beyond it, at least, I certainly hope so. And then we can have a debate over the real priorities in this budget.


Q. The Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative includes $26 billion for you in ’15. What does it mean, how do you get it, and where does that money come from?

A. First off, we’re budgeting at $496 billion, which is consistent with the cap. So it’s the Murray-Ryan deal. That’s the formal budget. But along with the formal budget, OMB has submitted — and if you look in the tables of the budget, you’ll see it identified separately — is added dollars for the Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative; $56 overall, $26 [billion] for us. Just briefly, about 40 percent goes for readiness, near-term readiness enhancements, about 40 percent for modernization, about 10 to 20 percent for base sustainment.

OMB’s got the lead here in terms of next steps. But in order to appropriate those funds, Congress will have to modify the Budget Control Act caps and raise them for us by $26 billion, and presumably analogously, for other agencies. You know, I don’t have the sense they’re inclined to do that. I hope so, because we strongly support it. We need the readiness dollars. It would mitigate near-term readiness risk. But I think it may be a long shot.


Q. On pay and benefits reform, that’s something that is critical to your budget. But that’s an emotional issue, and there are a lot of members who oppose it. There was a modest cost of living adjustment cut, but that was immediately rescinded by Congress. What case can you make to Congress to drive members to reconsider?

A. The way we like to put this is, we’re trying to free up money to provide training and maintenance. And there’s a quality of life aspect that the pay takes care of. There’s a quality of service aspect, that we want to have these people well-trained and well-equipped if they have to go into harm’s way. So that’s the main reason we’re doing this. We are committed to sustaining the all-volunteer force. And we have benchmarks that suggest that we could modestly slow the growth in compensation and still recruit and retain enough really high-quality people, even though it’s a very demanding profession.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again: If we’re wrong and we’ve gone too far, we’ll fix it. And certainly, Congress will be willing to let us raise pay.

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8 janvier 2014 3 08 /01 /janvier /2014 08:35
Afghanistan: Obama ne croyait plus dans sa propre stratégie


08 janvier 2014 Romandie.com (AFP)


WASHINGTON - L'ancien secrétaire américain à la Défense Robert Gates critique vivement la conduite de la guerre en Afghanistan par l'administration de Barack Obama dans ses mémoires, affirmant que le président lui-même ne croyait plus dans sa propre politique.


Dans ses mémoires intitulées Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (non traduit) à paraître le 14 janvier et dont le New York Times et le Washington Post ont publié des extraits mardi, l'ancien chef du Pentagone (2006-2011) sous les présidents George W. Bush et Barack Obama ne ménage pas ses piques.


Il décrit notamment une réunion en mars 2011 au cours de laquelle le président démocrate semble ne plus croire dans la stratégie qu'il a décidée 18 mois plus tôt, en envoyant 30.000 hommes supplémentaires, et exprime ses doutes sur les capacités du général David Petraeus, le commandant des forces en Afghanistan.


J'étais assis là, je me suis dit: le président ne fait pas confiance à son commandant (militaire), ne peut pas supporter (le président afghan Hamid) Karzaï, ne croit pas en sa propre stratégie et ne considère pas cette guerre comme la sienne. Pour lui, il s'agit juste de se retirer, écrit M. Gates, un républicain qui avait accepté de rester à la tête du Pentagone sous l'administration de Barack Obama.


Il était sceptique sinon totalement convaincu que (sa stratégie) allait échouer, ajoute-t-il.


Refusant d'entrer dans la polémique, la Maison Blanche a souligné que le président était reconnaissant envers Bob Gates pour son travail en tant que secrétaire à la Défense.


Il est de notoriété publique que le président a toujours été déterminé à mener à bien la mission visant à démanteler Al-Qaïda tout en s'assurant que nous ayons un programme clair, qui s'achèvera cette année, pour mettre progressivement fin à la guerre, a souligné Caitlin Hayden, porte-parole du Conseil à la sécurité nationale (NSC) de la présidence américaine.


Dans son livre, Robert Gates raconte surtout son exaspération face à la gestion des affaires de défense par l'administration de la Maison Blanche, qui a porté le micromanagement et l'immixtion dans les opérations à un nouveau niveau.


Bien trop tôt sous cette administration, la suspicion et la méfiance à l'égard des généraux par les responsables de la Maison Blanche, y compris le président et le vice-président, sont devenus un gros problème, regrette-t-il encore.


Robert Gates est particulièrement acerbe à l'égard du vice-président Joe Biden qui, avec le conseiller à la sécurité nationale Tom Donilon, était partisan de l'envoi d'un nombre beaucoup plus faible de renforts en Afghanistan.


Il s'est trompé sur quasiment toute décision majeure de politique étrangère et de sécurité nationale ces quatre dernières décennies, écrit-t-il à propos de Joe Biden, qu'il considère toutefois comme un homme intègre.


De son rôle dans les Balkans lorsqu'il était au Sénat à ses efforts pour mettre fin à la guerre en Irak, Joe Biden a été l'un des hommes d'Etat majeurs de son époque et a contribué à faire progresser le leadership américain dans le monde, a rétorqué la Maison Blanche, faisant part du désaccord de M. Obama avec l'analyse de l'ex-secrétaire à la Défense.


Robert Gates se reconnaît des erreurs, comme celle de déconseiller l'envoi d'un commando à Abbottabad (Pakistan), finalement ordonné par Obama. Les Américains pensaient, sans être sûrs, qu'Oussama ben Laden s'y cachait.


C'était l'une des décisions les plus courageuses que j'aie jamais pu voir à la Maison Blanche, écrit M. Gates, qui a servi sous huit présidents à divers titres.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 18:20
Pentagon ramps up cybersecurity measures for defense industry


November 19, 2013 By Carlo Muñoz - http://thehill.com


The Defense Department is ramping up its efforts to protect sensitive and classified details of its next-generation weapons systems, amid the growing threat of cyber espionage.


For the first time, the Pentagon will now require all defense contracting firms doing business with the department to install "established information security standards" on classified and unclassified computer networks.


Weapons makers with Pentagon contracts will now also be required to report security breaches of their networks "that result in the loss of unclassified controlled technical information from these networks," according to the Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall.


"Defense contractors throughout the department's supply chain have been targeted by cyber criminals attempting to steal unclassified technical data," Kendall said Monday.


The cybersecurity initiative for the defense industry is a "high priority for the department" and is vital to ensuring sensitive details involving the U.S. arsenal are not compromised,  he said in a statement issued by the Pentagon on Tuesday.


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12 novembre 2013 2 12 /11 /novembre /2013 18:20
Pentagon Needs to Rethink Cancellation of Meads


November 8, 2013 Daniel Goure*, Ph.D. -  defense-update.com

The Department of Defense has a long and unhappy history of spending tens of billions of dollars bringing weapons programs well along the path to completion only to terminate them in the 11th hour. Remember the A-12 attack aircraft, Comanche helicopter, Future Combat System, Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter, CG(X) cruiser, VXX Presidential Helicopter and Crusader howitzer.

Often the military service and contractors involved fail to salvage any of the advanced technologies or manufacturing capabilities developed as part of the program. If the political stars are properly aligned, the Pentagon may be pressured into producing a small number of extremely capable but controversial platforms at very high unit prices: Seawolf nuclear submarine, B-2 bomber, F-22 fighter and Zumwalt DDG-1000 destroyer.

In an era of austere budgets and renewed calls for acquisition reform, one might think that DoD would make a concerted effort to admit to its dysfunctional behaviors and reconsider some of its near-term acquisition decisions. Chief among these is the decision by the U.S. Army to terminate the Medium Extended Air Defense System. MEADS was intended to be the next-generation in ground-mobile air and missile defense replacing a wide range of Western systems. MEADS had many attractive features, it was a multinational program — Germany and Italy were co-developers and provided nearly half the funding, it was highly mobile, and the radar and battle management system provided 360-degree coverage against fast moving aircraft and cruise missiles.


Just this week, MEADS demonstrated the unprecedented capability to track, intercept and destroy simultaneously two targets approaching from opposite directions. One target represented an air-breathing threat and the other a short-range ballistic missile. Every element of the system worked flawlessly: the 360-degree MEADS Surveillance Radar, a networked MEADS battle manager, two lightweight launchers firing PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement Missiles and a 360-degree MEADS Multifunction Fire Control Radar. This was the third successful test in a row for the MEADS system.

At a time when the Army is trying to become more expeditionary, agile, lighter and responsive to new threats, the decision to cancel MEADS, a system that supports all of these objectives, seems odd. The Army has promised to identify component technologies that could be harvested from MEADS to enhance existing air and missile defense systems. Unfortunately, this means the Army will still be left with a ground-based air and missile defense capability less responsive and mobile than MEADS.

Critics have complained that the multinational character of MEADS increased complexity and cost. But the same could be said about the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program which has eight co-development partners. Yet, DoD has stressed international participation as one of the positive features of the JSF program. Germany and Italy would like to keep the MEADS program going, adding new participants. Poland recently expressed strong interest in becoming a MEADS principal. Warsaw would have to put some money to the program for which it would expect to receive significant industrial participation. If other nations can be enticed to participate, perhaps DoD should tell the Army to give MEADS a second look.

* Dr. Goure is a Vice President with the Lexington Institute, a nonprofit public-policy research organization headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. He is involved in a wide range of issues as part of the institute’s national security program.

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2 octobre 2013 3 02 /10 /octobre /2013 17:20
Shutdown Suggests Way to Pentagon Savings

October 1, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Lexington Institute; issued October 1, 2013)


Shutdown Math Suggests Way to Curb Pentagon Overhead


The government shutdown that began at 12:01am on Tuesday should be used as an object lesson for those who understand the necessity of reducing unnecessary and excessive costs of the federal government. As part of the shutdown process, non-essential workers are being directed to remain at home. The percentage of the total workforce on (temporary) unpaid leave varies widely among cabinet departments and agencies.


For example, in the Department of Veterans Affairs, 95 percent of the workforce has been directed to report for work while at the Housing and Urban Development Department 96 percent of the workforce has been deemed non–essential. Air traffic controllers, customs and border patrol personnel, FBI agents and the like are all considered essential and will remain on the job.


It is reported that the Defense Department will furlough approximately half its civilian employees, roughly 400,000, beginning today. This is by far the largest group of federal employees to be put on leave. In addition, an as yet undefined number of defense contractors, many doing jobs that are similar in nature to those performed by government employees, will be temporarily laid off.


The fact that nearly half a million civilians in the Pentagon are considered non-essential is one indicator that this is a place to begin cutting defense overhead expenses. Numerous studies of ways of reducing unnecessary defense spending, including most recently one by the Stimson Center, have identified the bloated size of the civilian workforce as a place to start cutting costs. If half the Department of Defense’s (DoD) workforce can safely be put on temporary leave, it stands to reason that a significant fraction of that half could be permanently eliminated.


This does not mean that these workers haven’t been performing their jobs well. It does mean that in an austere budget environment any position that is not considered essential to national defense should be considered a candidate for elimination.


What say we begin the process of reducing excess DoD overhead by eliminating 25 percent of the 50 percent of the total civilian workforce in the Pentagon that didn’t show up for work today?


This may seem like a large number but it is actually a smaller fraction of total civilian employment at the Pentagon than the 20 percent of headquarters staff including military personnel that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel proposes to cut from DoD. Reducing civilian manpower by 100,000 is a good first step and will save tens of billions of dollars.


Add to that figure some of the tens of thousands of uniform personnel doing jobs that could be performed by civilians (government employees or contractors) and the savings would go a long way to mitigating the impact of sequestration on military operations and procurement.

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25 septembre 2013 3 25 /09 /septembre /2013 11:20
Should Pentagon Adopt An Industrial Policy?

September 24, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Lexington Institute; issued September 23, 2013)


Time to Add A Pinch of Industrial Policy to the Defense Department’s Recipe for Acquisition


Through good times and bad, one near-constant in the Department of Defense (DoD) is its refusal to consider an explicit industrial policy. On occasion, the Pentagon’s leadership will make a rather hesitant foray into the world of industrial planning and policy as in the 1990s when there was an attempt to make performance-based logistics common practice in sustainment contracting or in 2009-2010 when insourcing was prescribed as the solution to rising O&M costs. The only concrete example of industrial policy in recent memory was the so-called “Last Supper,” when then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin told the assembled titans of industry that with the fall of the Soviet Union and planned decreases in defense spending there would not be enough money for all of them to survive. Consequently, Aspin announced, they needed to merge.


It is long past time for DoD to get serious about its industrial policy and to tie the maintenance of critical parts of the aerospace and defense industrial base to its acquisition policies and programs. The leadership of U.S. companies, regardless of sector but particularly in the defense space, are neither suicidal nor stupid. It does no good for the Pentagon to urge private companies to be more innovative and spend more of their own resources on R&D for products that the military will not have the money to procure. DoD needs to realize that they will have to take concrete steps to maintain a viable, modern and responsive defense industrial base.


Rather than the Pentagon jumping into the deep end of industrial policy, what about taking a baby step? This would be like adding a little salt or pepper to the old family recipe just to spice it a bit. I am thinking specifically about maintaining the C-17 production line which is due to close in the next few years absent major foreign contracts.


The end of C-17 production means that this nation will not be producing a large body military aircraft for the first time in some 70 years. Another large body, purpose-built military aircraft will not come along until such time as the Air Force begins acquiring its new strategic bomber. DoD should seriously consider buying a minimum sustaining number of these aircraft to replace older models. Because these airframes still have life left in them, they could be sold internationally.

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24 septembre 2013 2 24 /09 /septembre /2013 07:20
Pentagon Bracing for US Government Shutdown

Sep. 23, 2013 - By ANDREW TILGHMAN and MARCUS WEISGERBER – Defense News


WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is bracing for a government-wide shutdown that would potentially force troops to work without a paycheck and send thousands of civilians home until Congress reaches a new budget agreement.


US Defense Department spokesman George Little said Monday that the Office of Management Budget has ordered the military to prepare for a shutdown, which includes reviewing which civilians might be considered essential and instructed to come to work despite the shutdown. It’s unclear whether those civilians would be paid for that work.


Troops will stay on the job regardless of a potential shutdown. Their paychecks might be delayed, but they would be entitled to retroactive pay after government functions resume.


The federal government will shutdown automatically on Oct. 1, which is the first day of fiscal year 2014, unless lawmakers agree to a budget or a continuing resolution that would allow the military to carry on under the same spending levels as fiscal year 2013.


Little said overseas operations, including the war effort in Afghanistan, would not be directly affected by the shutdown.


The last government shutdown was in January 1996 and ended after three weeks.


While the Pentagon has yet to issue shutdown guidance, prior drills the Pentagon conducted in anticipated a government shutdown show areas DoD is likely to exempt should government operations cease on Oct. 1.


In anticipation of a March 2011 government shutdown — DoD drafted guidance that detailed divisions and offices that would have been required to report to work. The Office of Management and Budget last week instructed federal departments to update 2011 guidance .


Exempted offices and operations included officials on deployment orders, including “administrative, logistical, medical and other activities in direct support of such operations,” the guidance stated. Activities and forces assigned to combatant commands to execute “planned on contingent operations necessary for national security” were also exempt as were command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities.


Acquisition and logistics officials supporting these exempted activities were required to work. As were activities activities “required to contract for and distribute items authorized by the Feed and Forage Act,” which allows DoD to obtain clothing, subsistence, forage, fuel, quarters, transportation, medical and hospital supplies with an appropriations bill.


All military personnel were required to “continue in a normal duty status regardless of their affiliation with exempt or non-exempt activities,” the guidance stated. Civilian workers with non-exempt activities would have been furloughed.

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11 juillet 2013 4 11 /07 /juillet /2013 07:20
Lawmakers Want Answers from Pentagon Over Missile Test Failure

Jul. 10, 2013 - By JOHN T. BENNETT – Defense News


WASHINGTON — Congress wants answers from the Pentagon about a failed missile interceptor test, and several prominent senators say it should slow efforts to build an East Coast shield.


The Defense Department announced on Friday that a missile interceptor failed to hit a target over the Pacific Ocean, the latest setback for a pricey program that has not had a successful test since George W. Bush occupied the White House.


The missile interceptor was supposed to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and shoot down a ballistic missile launched from a site in the Marshall Islands. It did not, however, and was the latest in a string of failures going back to 2008.


Lawmakers with oversight of the US missile defense program say Pentagon officials owe them some answers.


“I read the story, and I’m looking forward to getting a briefing. I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet,” Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., chairman of the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said during a brief interview on Wednesday.


“I don’t think I should until I hear what the Pentagon has to say,” said Udall, whose subcommittee has legislative jurisdiction over the missile defense program’s plans, schedule and budget.


One senior lawmaker with even more power than Udall to impose restrictions on the missile defense program said the failure gives him new worries about America’s ability to shoot down an adversary’s missile.


“I’ve got plenty of concerns about the whole program,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the full Armed Services Committee.


Levin has yet to be briefed by Pentagon officials on the failed test launch.


“But I’ve asked for one,” he told Defense News.


New concerns were not limited to Democratic members, however.


“It has to be reviewed,” said Senate Armed Services Committee member Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “Obviously, that’s a very expensive failure.”


Some key defense-focused lawmakers, however, told Defense News the underlying missile interceptor technology is sound, adding existing interceptors like the Capability Enhancement-II (CE-II) should do the job.


“I don’t think we need to put the brakes on anything,” said House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. “We need a missile defense system. Rogue actors, from North Korea to Iran, are developing missiles. We need to improve our missile technology.


“We need to figure out what went wrong and fix it,” Smith said.


Asked if he has confidence the Missile Defense Agency and its private-sector contractors have the expertise to “fix it” given the spate of failed tests since 2008, Smith was confident.


“Absolutely I think they can fix it,” he said. “Just look at the success they’ve had with Iron Dome in Israel. Missile defense technology has improved dramatically.”


SASC Ranking Member Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said the US missile defense technology is sound — despite the run of failed test intercepts.


“I believe we should be entering into more tests,” Inhofe said. “The CE-II [interceptor] is going to be what we have to to rely on.”


Lawmakers said they intend to press the Pentagon for details of what went wrong last week.


“We have to get certain benchmarks,” McCain said, “and we have to review what remedial steps have to be taken.”


While Smith was bullish about the missile-defense program, he told Defense News that Congress and the Pentagon “need to re-look at our options and figure out what the best ones are.”


The Pentagon has around 30 interceptors on the West Coast, and intends to build 14 more in Alaska and California. Collectively, the price tag for erecting and operating those is in the tens of billions of dollars.


And GOP lawmakers in both chambers are fighting hard to secure legislative language that would require the Pentagon to build a missile shield on the East Coast.


“We’re going to study the East Coast,” Udall said. “But we need to finish the West Coast, I think.”


McCain did not rule out slowing efforts to erect the East Coast site.


“It’s too early to tell because we haven’t determined the reason for the failure,” he said on Wednesday.


“I think the East Coast proposal should not proceed until a number of other things have happened,” Levin said. “Number one, until there’s a requirement for it; and number two, until there’s an environmental assessment, which has not yet been made but is required by law.


“So there’s a lot of other reasons to have that proposal meet certain standards before we go ahead with it,” Levin said. “This [failure] is just … on top of all that.”

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9 juillet 2013 2 09 /07 /juillet /2013 17:20
Pentagon Releases First Annual Acquisition Report

July 8, 2013 Source: U.S Department of Defense

WASHINGTON --- A recently completed defense acquisition program report, which is now before Congress, is part of a data-driven effort to find out what’s working best in equipping the nation’s military and to fix what isn’t, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics said in an interview with American Forces Press Service.

Frank Kendall said the report, the first in what’s expected to become a series of annual reviews, evaluated major programs across the department. The study is a step toward mastering the mountain of data military acquisition generates.

“Even our best performers have room for improvement,” the undersecretary said. “Figuring out what to do to improve, I think, is the next question.”

Kendall often references the large, engraved wooden sign outside his office door bearing a quote from the late American statistician and professor W. Edwards Deming: “In God we trust; all others must bring data.”

“I’m a firm believer that improvements to policies and processes must be driven by data and objective analysis rather than conjecture and opinion,” Kendall said, adding the report “begins to share [that] kind of objective analysis.”

Kendall said an institutional-level view of defense acquisition -- a field that includes research and development, testing and evaluation, fielding and maintenance of virtually all U.S. military equipment -- is important because “our processes tend to come from our institutional cultures and norms.”

Acquisition underlies all military operations, he noted, adding, “If you’re serving out there and you’re waiting for the next generation of whatever piece of equipment, this is the system that’s producing that for you. … There are a lot of very hard-working people in government and industry trying to do that.”

The point of the report, Kendall said, “is to help us all figure out ways to do a better job with [acquisition]” and ultimately to ensure more and better products.

The report doesn’t make judgments or excuses, he noted.

“I want each institution to look at how well they are performing compared to others and ask themselves how they learn from one another to improve performance,” he added.

Kendall said the report shows that, in some measures, program and organizational performance across the department has improved, but more progress is needed.

“Very recent data show statistically significant improvement, but only time and further analysis will tell if these trends continue into the future,” he said. “For example, comparing the last two decades, the Army and Air Force have reduced total cost growth on contracts, and the Army has reduced contract costs-over-target. The Air Force also has lowered contract schedule growth.”

Kendall said despite such trends, “The magnitude of absolute performance issues leaves considerable room for additional improvement. Due to the nature of pushing the state-of-the-art in weapon systems, we will never have zero cost and schedule growth. But, we can certainly do better and have recent indications that this is possible.”

One major finding from the report is that “a lot of the things we thought were important may not be as important as we believed,” he said. “Fixed-price versus cost-plus contracting, for example.”

Fixed-price contracts are let at a set price for the work, while cost-plus contracts reimburse the contractor’s expenses and also add other funds, which can include award, incentive and performance fees.

Statistics for the two kinds of contracts were more similar than he expected, Kendall said. He added he’s never thought fixed-price contracts were “a panacea,” and while conventional wisdom is that fixed pricing solves a lot of problems, “I don’t think that’s the case, and the data shows that.”

Unsurprisingly, the review found that undefinitized contracts show the highest cost growth, the undersecretary said. The department can use these types of contracts to meet urgent needs, as they authorize contractors to begin work before contract terms are set.

“We tend to over-run our development programs … by about 30 percent,” Kendall said. “We tend to over-run our production programs by about 10 percent. So there’s a lot more variability and uncertainty and risk on the development side of the house.”

If the buyer hasn’t defined requirements or projected costs, he said, “You’re going to start a lot of people doing a lot of work that they’re not really ready to do, and that leads to huge inefficiencies. … The data shows that very strongly.”

Kendall added that the data also surprised him by showing that “undefinitized contract actions do not generally correlate with total cost growth on early procurement contracts. We found that it is a factor in development, but we were worried that the effect was also statistically measurable in procurement but is, in fact, not.”

Kendall said he wants to do more work on understanding which factors matter and how they correlate, but that all analysis to date points to the importance of good management.

“It wasn’t a surprise to me,” the undersecretary said. “I’ve been emphasizing the professionalism of the acquisition workforce … it’s been a constant theme of mine.”

Any project benefits from better management, Kendall noted. “We could avoid a lot of our disasters, and we could do much better in the margins in all of our programs, the better we are at managing programs and making sound decisions,” he added.

Examining factors in cost growth always leads to “a whole host of additional questions you have to ask,” Kendall said. Future reports will examine more and different defense acquisition data and institutions, both government and industry, he noted.

“It will also expand on the analysis,” he said. “I’m very open to ideas about how we get at understanding what’s really going on in the acquisition system.”

Two key take-aways from the report, Kendall said, are first, that the United States has a decisive strategic edge in its military, which is the best in the world; and second, that “the fact that it may cost us too much and take us too long to get there shouldn’t be neglected, either.”

Kendall said he had expected many of the report’s findings.

“We knew that cost growth has been high and that the recent wars have placed a premium on technical performance and schedule at the expense of cost growth,” he said. “The report reinforces the importance of our Better Buying Power initiative that [Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter] and I began in 2010 and I have continued to expand.”

Kendall told reporters during a Pentagon briefing in May that Better Buying Power 2.0 is a step forward in “a very, very complicated business.”

Kendall said Better Buying Power 2.0 covers a wide range of products and services that defense acquisition requires. There were 23 initiatives in Better Buying Power 1.0, 34 in 2.0 and “another 100 things, at least, that we’re working on,” he said during that briefing.

This new report, Kendall said, offers an analytic basis for further action. “For example, the finding that fixed-price contracts are not a ‘magic bullet’ to controlling cost has reinforced my experience that we need to consider and select the most appropriate contract type given the maturity, system type and business strategy for each system,” he said.

The report’s findings should help “reinvigorate cost consciousness in our culture,” Kendall said.

“This is especially important now that we are winding down the wars and have such intense fiscal constraints on the department,” he said. “We all must weigh not just the benefits of a particular capability, but also its benefits given the cost to the taxpayers.”

Click here for the full report (126 PDF pages) on the Pentagon website./i>

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 11:20
Pentagon procurement chief “cautiously optimistic” about F-35 production ramp-up

Jun. 13, 2013 by Dave Majumdar


Washington DC -- The Pentagon's top acquisitions official says that he is cautiously optimistic that the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has made enough progress in its development to ramp up its production rates starting in fiscal year 2015.


"At this point I can say that I'm cautiously optimistic that we will be able to raise production as planned," says Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. "The development programme is executing close to plan, a couple of areas are slipping a little bit in schedule, but the slips are not dramatic."


As such, Kendall says unless some sort of serious new problem emerges, the Pentagon will be able to order a ramp-up in production of the tri-service stealth fighter later this "fall". The decision would be reflected in the President's 2015 budget proposal, he says, and will follow the existing five-year spending plan.


That means the Pentagon will buy 42 planes in fiscal year 2015, 62 in 2016, 76 in 2017 and 100 in 2018. Production is currently running at 29 aircraft per year plus a few more for international customers.


Kendall says the while sequestration cuts are a problem, the Pentagon will do everything it can to increase the F-35's production rates. "The F-35 is our highest priority conventional warfare weapons system," he says. "Because of that, we'll do everything we can to protect it."


Meanwhile is also good news on the sustainment costs, which are projected to come down "significantly", Kendall says. The Pentagon is working hard to reduce those lifecycle costs-which could involve adding competition to sustaining the jet. "I think we will make a substantial dent in the current projections," he says.


Kendall adds that the F-35's cost per flying hour should decline significantly after a review he expects to conduct in the fall. The current cost figures are based on older estimates by the Pentagon's Cost Assessments and Program Evaluation office, he says, but those need to be updated. "I can tell you that the number is coming down," Kendall says.


Kendall cautions, however, that the F-35 programme still has a long way to go. The jet is only 40% of its way through its flight-test programme, and there are still many aerodynamic and structural tests that have still to be completed. Additionally, software needs to be developed and weapons integration needs to be tested. There are also fixes to problems that were discovered earlier that need to be verified.


As always, software development could still be an issue. For example a critical design review for the next software block has slipped by 45 days. But there has been "nothing dramatic" that might derail the programme.


"It's too early to declare victory," Kendall says, but the programme is on a much more sound footing than it was two years ago. "There is plenty of risk left in the programme."

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24 mai 2013 5 24 /05 /mai /2013 12:20
Pentagon: F-35 Program Costs Fell $4.5 Billion Last Year

May. 23, 2013 - By AARON MEHTA and MARCUS WEISGERBER – Defense News


WASHINGTON — The total price tag for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program fell $4.5 billion in 2012, according to a new government report.


This marks the first time in the F-35’s checkered history that estimators have lowered the projected cost of the program, the Pentagon’s most expensive acquisition effort.


The pricing, unveiled in the Pentagon’s annual selected acquisitions report (SAR), released Thursday, now projects development and procurement of the fifth-generation stealth fighter at just over $391 billion, still tens-of-billions of dollars more than originally projected.


The F-35 is just one of 78 DoD acquisition programs reviewed in the SAR. Collectively, the cost of those programs grew $39.6 billion — or 2.44 percent — in 2012.


Frank Kendall, the undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said it was the “first time in my memory” no program in the SAR breached any of the federal spending caps. If a program breaches a so-called Nunn-McCurdy threshold, it could be canceled unless recertified by DoD.


The Pentagon’s Better Buying Power initiative, an acquisition reform effort designed to improve the weapons buying process and get DoD more bang for its buck, has helped improve program performance, according to Kendall.


“There is some evidence that things are getting better,” he said during a May 23 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “We’re going in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of room to do better.”


Earlier this year, Kendall rolled out an updated version of Better Buying Power, which continues to refine the acquisition process and make programs more affordable.


The SAR report breaks the F-35 program into two subprograms — the aircraft, built by Lockheed Martin, and the engines, made by Pratt & Whitney. Costs for the aircraft dropped $4.9 billion, or 1.5 percent, during 2012. At the same time, engine costs rose by $442.1 million, which the report primarily blames on “revised escalation indices.”


Overall, the average procurement cost per plane dropped from $109.2 million in 2011 to $104.8 million in 2012. The main driver of the reduction is a drop in the labor rates for Lockheed, Pratt and their subcontractors, as well as revised airframe and subcontractor estimates.


Unit Recurring Flyaway costs — the total cost for the platform, engine, mission and vehicles systems and engineering change orders — remained fairly steady, with the average of the F-35A variant dropping from $78.7 million to $76.8 million, and the Navy’s carrier variant rising from $87 million to $88.7 million.


The largest drop came from the Marine Corps F-35B jump-jet model, which dropped the average almost $3 million, from $106.4 to $103.6 million.


The operations and support (O&S) and cost-per-flying-hour estimates were not updated in the SAR. Instead, those figures will be released in concert with the annual F-35 Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), which is due out in the fall, according to an F-35 Joint Program Office official.


The SAR noted that the program triggered an administrative research, development, test and evaluation cost breach this year, but dismissed it as a result of relocating funds rather than a cost overrun.


“This is the first year a cost reduction was noted,” Laura Siebert, Lockheed spokeswoman, wrote in a statement. “We will work with the F-35 Joint Program Office to implement further cost saving measures, which will result in additional significant decreases to the total program cost. The top priority of the government/contractor team is to continue to cost-effectively deliver the F-35’s unprecedented 5th generation capabilities to the warfighter.”


The F-35 was not the only program to receive good news.


The Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite program, a key part of the Pentagon’s secure communications network, saw costs for the fifth and sixth satellites drop $510.4 million, or 14.6 percent, since 2011, a result of “reduced estimate to reflect program efficiencies for production and launch operations.”


The Army’s procurement program for the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter also significantly drove costs down, by 11 percent. Those savings came from a combination of multiyear contracting, an acceleration of the procurement schedule and a reduction in engineering change orders

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9 mai 2013 4 09 /05 /mai /2013 11:20
Pentagon plans to cut civilian workforce

May 7, 2013 Spacewar.com (AFP)


Washington - The Pentagon plans to cut its vast civilian workforce by 5-6 percent over the next five years to match similar reductions in the number of US troops, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday.


"These reductions are largely proportional to military end strength reductions that we proposed," Carter said at the National Press Club in Washington.


The US Army already is scaling back from about 565,000 troops to 490,000 troops by 2017, while the Marine Corps is due to drop to 182,000 from about 201,000 service members. Even with the cuts, the military will still be larger than it was before the attacks of September 11, 2001.


The Pentagon has about 780,000 civilian employees and has already frozen hiring additional workers.


Carter said reducing the number of civilian workers will be achieved partly by closing some US bases, a plan that is expected to meet strong resistance in Congress.


The Pentagon's proposed budget sets aside $2.4 billion to cover the up-front costs associated with closing bases, Carter said.


But in the long-term, base closures "have consistently generated significant savings," with the previous rounds saving $12 billion annually, he said.


The Pentagon is in a belt-tightening mode with automatic budget cuts enacted by Congress forcing the department to cut about $41 billion in spending this fiscal year.


Even if lawmakers manage to agree on a deal that would halt the automatic cuts, fiscal pressures are putting the military's budget under increasing scrutiny, and the Pentagon is anxious to find savings wherever it can.


Carter said the department needed to trim its gargantuan bureaucracy, what the Pentagon calls "the fourth estate."


"The fourth estate represents a fifth of the department's budget and it merits at least as much scrutiny as the military services budgets. There are real savings to be realized there," he said.


The savings would focus on the defense secretary's office, the military's joint staff offices, various defense agencies covering everything from logistics to missiles, as well as staffs for the top regional commanders.


The Pentagon's budget request for fiscal year 2014 came to $526.6 billion, not counting the cost of the war in Afghanistan. The current budget estimates the cost of the war at $87 billion.

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19 avril 2013 5 19 /04 /avril /2013 07:20
photo ONU

photo ONU


Apr. 18, 2013 – Defense News (AFP)


WASHINGTON — Ban Ki-moon became the first U.N. secretary general to visit the Pentagon Thursday, holding talks with U.S. military leaders on the crisis over North Korea and a planned peacekeeping mission in Mali.


Ban had asked for the meeting amid mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula and drastic threats from the regime in Pyongyang, officials said.


Ban was welcomed with an honor guard at the steps to the Pentagon before a 30-minute meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.


The talks focused on North Korea as well as planned or potential United Nations missions in Mali, Somalia and Syria, a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.


“There was a lot of discussion on North Korea” and the risk of “misjudgment and miscalculation,” the official said.


Ban, who served in the past as South Korea’s foreign minister, has warned that a minor incident could trigger an “uncontrollable” situation after North Korea warned of impending nuclear war.


The Pentagon’s intelligence reporting on North Korea grabbed headlines last week when a lawmaker revealed that the Defense Intelligence Agency had concluded Pyongyang likely had succeeded in producing a nuclear warhead that could be placed on a ballistic missile.


The assessment went further than previous statements by top officials about the state of the North’s nuclear program but U.S. intelligence officials later played down the report, saying it did not represent a consensus among the country’s spy agencies.


Ban’s visit came as North Korea responded for the first time to an American offer to return to the negotiating table, saying it would enter talks only if pre-conditions were met, including a withdrawal of U.N. sanctions and a permanent end to U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises.


But South Korea promptly dismissed the response and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the North’s stance “unacceptable.”


Apart from North Korea, Ban’s talks at the Pentagon covered a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali due to take over from French troops as well as “common U.S. and U.N. interests” in Somalia and Syria, the U.S. official said.


Ban’s office said the secretary-general “expressed his condolences for the victims of the tragic bombing in Boston.”

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11 mai 2012 5 11 /05 /mai /2012 07:35

pentagon source defenseWeb


May. 10, 2012 - By MARCUS WEISGERBER Defense News


The U.S. Defense Department immediately rejected two military spending plans put forth in the Republican-controlled House that recommend boosting the Pentagon’s 2013 budget as much as $4 billion above its spending request.


Many measures — both those approved by the House Armed Services Committee and those proposed by the House Appropriations defense subcommittee — will likely be dead on arrival when the Democrat-controlled Senate makes its military spending recommendations. Democratic leadership has pledged to cap defense spending at the lower levels mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.


“The Department of Defense, and I believe the [Obama] administration, are not going to support additional funds that come at the expense of other critical national security priorities,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at a May 10 news briefing at the Pentagon. “If members try to restore their favorite programs without regard to an overall strategy, the cuts will have to come from areas that could impact overall readiness.”


Members of the House Armed Services Committee earlier in the day rejected Pentagon proposals to retire aircraft and ships and added funding for projects such as building a missile interceptor site on the East Coast of the United States.


Specifically, the committee’s version of the 2013 defense authorization bill overturned an Air Force proposal to retire all of its Alenia C-27J cargo planes and Northrop Grumman Block 30 Global Hawk unmanned reconnaissance aircraft. The panel added $138 million to restart C-27J contracts that the Air Force has not renewed.


The committee restored three of the four cruisers that the Navy wants to retire early in 2013, prevented the Army from retiring its C-23 Sherpa cargo planes, and funded A-10 attack jets and F-16 fighters that the Air Force wants to retire.


The bill also continues “minimum sustained production” of Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Hercules recovery vehicles. It fully funds the Army Ground Combat Vehicle development program.


Panetta argued that the increases recommended by House lawmakers “reverse many of the tough decisions that we reached” through a sweeping military strategy review. Adding to the top line of the Pentagon’s proposed defense budget would “force the kind of tradeoffs that could jeopardize our national defense,” he said.


“There’s no free lunch here,” Panetta said. “Every dollar that is added will have to be offset by cuts in national security and if for some reason they do not want to comply with the Budget Control Act, then they would certainly be adding to the deficit, which only puts our national security further at risk.”


The House Armed Services Committee, by a 56-5 vote, approved a $554 billion base defense budget and an additional $88.5 billion for operations in Afghanistan. When the Pentagon’s 2013 budget request is scored by the Congressional Budget Office, the House Armed Services Committee recommendation is $4 billion higher.


In procurement, the bill funds 50 Boeing AH-64 Apache, 59 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and 44 Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters; 29 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, 26 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and 36 General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers.


The Pentagon requested 21 Bell Boeing V-22 aircraft.


The panel added 12 Reapers to the Pentagon’s request. The bill authorizes multiyear procurements for up to 10 Virginia-class submarines and 10 DDG-51 Arleigh Burke class destroyers.


Opponents of the East Coast missile defense site say planned European interceptors are more than sufficient and that an additional site would cost about $5 billion over five years to build.


Asked about the proposed missile defense site during the briefing, U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “I don’t see a need beyond what we submitted in the last budget” and the current “suite of ground-based and sea-based interceptors” is sufficient.


At the same time, the House Appropriations defense subcommittee chairman C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., has developed a 2013 defense spending bill that comes in $3.1 billion above the Pentagon’s request.

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