The following is a Monday open letter to Pentagon leaders and Congress from a bi-partisan group representing ten D.C. think tanks that focus on national security issues. The groups are calling for reform on the most politically sensitive defense expenditures: Military compensation, closing excess military facilities and the size of the Pentagon civillian workforce. The letter appeared as an advertisement in The Hill newspaper.
Dear Secretary Hagel, Chairman Levin, Ranking Member Inhofe, Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith,
Chairman Durbin, Ranking Member Cochran, Chairman Young, and Ranking Member Visclosky:
A striking bipartisan consensus exists today across the think tank community on the need for Pentagon and Congressional leaders to address the growing
imbalances within the defense budget that threaten the health and long-term viability of America’s volunteer military.
It is our shared belief that the Department of Defense urgently needs to close excess bases and facilities, reexamine the size and structure of the DoD civilian
workforce, and reform military compensation. While we do not all agree on the best approach to reform in each case, we agree that if these issues are not addressed, they will gradually consume the defense budget from within. Read More
Image of the Spanish Navy’s planned S-80 diesel attack submarine. Navantia Photo
General Dynamics Electric Boat has been asked by the U.S. Navy to help correct problems with the Spanish Navy’s S-80 submarine to correct design flaws, several sources have told USNI News.
Setup through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale office, EB will consult in assisting the Spanish Navy and shipbuilder Navantia correcting problems with the S-80 that could prevent the submarine from surfacing after it dived. Read More
Naval Sea Systems Command’s Electric Ships Office released its May roadmap to develop improved electrical systems in the U.S. Navy’s current fleet and future ship designs. The document outlines the types of technologies available today and explores future concepts powering not only onboard systems but the drive trains of ships themselves. Read More
Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at cutting the Pentagon’s budget under sequestration. CSBA Image
Four D.C. think tanks took a crack at balancing the Department of Defense’s budget if the Pentagon has to weather ten years of ten percent across-the-board sequestration budget cuts sequestration on Wednesday.
The consensus of the four (American Enterprise Institute, Center for a New American Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment) was unanimous.
First, cut the Department of Defense’s civilian employees – including shipyard and depot workers. Then reduce the services’ end strength – particularly the Army’s. Read More
Gen. James Amos talks to reporters in 2011 following a demonstration of the F-35B. US Marine Corps Photo
The commandant of the Marine Corps said the service’s short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter will reach initial operating capability sometime in the later half of 2015.
Gen. James Amos said that means 10 of the 16 planes assigned to a squadron would be in place with aircrews and maintainers fully trained and shipboard qualified, he said Wednesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Read More
Russian Border Guard vessel Vorovsky during a visit to Seattle, Wash. in 2009. US Coast Guard Photo
Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has plans to build four military ships for Arctic duty by 2020, deputy head of the Border Service of the FSB Col. Gen. Nikolai Rybalkin told reporters on Monday. Read More
The U.S. Marine Corps version of the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. A Pentagon report alleges F-35 designs were among those stolen by China in a cyber espionage scheme. US Navy Photo
The Pentagon attempted to allay fears Tuesday it had lost an edge in technology development following a Monday revelation China had hacked more than two dozen weapons programs from the U.S.
“Suggestions that cyber intrusions have somehow led to the erosion of our capabilities or technological edge are incorrect,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a Tuesday statement. Read More
A launch of the US Army’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system. THADD and two dozen other weapons designs have been stolen by China according to a classified Pentagon report. Missile Defense Agency Photo
Chinese hackers have obtained designs for more than two dozen U.S. weapon systems — including the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, the Littoral Combat Ship and electromagnetic railguns — according to a Monday report from The Washington Post. Read More
From the May, 23 2013 House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee mark:
The committee notes the critical nature of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)
program and the importance of the initial deployment of the USS Freedom to the
Republic of Singapore to test and refine operational support and sustainment
concepts. The LCS class takes a unique approach to maintenance which relies
heavily on contractor-provided maintenance in contrast to other Navy ship classes,
which typically use the Navy’s organic capabilities and U.S. shipyards to provide
maintenance. Read More
Two Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Tritons. Northrop Grumman Photo
The Navy plans to deploy its new MQ-4C Triton long-range surveillance unmanned aircraft to the Middle East in 2016, Rear Adm. Sean Buck, commander of the U.S. Navy’s Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, said Thursday in a call with reporters following Wednesday’s first successful Triton flight. Read More