Northrop Grumman’s X-47B flies over USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) on May 14, 2013. US Naval Institute Photo
The Navy is taking its next steps in creating unmanned and autonomous vehicle to provide surveillance and strike capabilities from aircraft carriers, Naval Air Systems Command told USNI News on Monday.
NAVAIR released a request for proposal to four companies on June 10 for further design studies on the Navy’s planned Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system. Read More
After years of debate and increased involvement in the training and logistical support of Syrian rebel forces, the U.S. government authorized the CIA to begin directly arming opponents of the Bashar al Assad regime. Casualties from Syria’s civil war already number at least 93,000 according to some sources, and millions of Syrians are now refugees or internally displaced.
Meanwhile, the United States now confirms that Syria used chemical weapons in a number of instances, at a small scale that many fear may escalate. Chemical-weapons use provided rhetorical justification to this policy decision, but is not the entire reality of the matter. Internal pressure and Free Syrian Army leadership’s refusal to participate in a new round of negotiations at Geneva without U.S. weapons played a major role. Unfortunately for the United States and the administration, neither the known particulars of the U.S. plan, nor the concept of providing arms to rebel forces generally, appears likely to turn the war’s tide or secure lasting U.S. influence in Syria. Read More
US Marines from Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), drive their AAVs on April 20, 2013. US Marine Corps Photo.
After ten years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Marine Corps is retooling and repositioning itself back into its traditional role as a medium-weight maritime force that can operate with agility from the sea. Instead of training almost exclusively to fight insurgents deep inland, the Marines will focus on roles ranging from conventional warfighting, to conducting humanitarian missions, and to training the armed forces of partner nations. In essence, it will be a case of back to the future for the Marine Corps as it shifts back into its traditional role as the nation’s 911 quick-reaction force, former officials and analysts told USNI News. Read More
MV-22 Osprey assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 161 as it launches from the flight deck of the Amphibious Transport Dock Ship USS Anchorage (LPD-23) on April 23, 2013.
The Department of the Navy has kicked off its second multi-year buy for 99 V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft with option for 22 more, a NAVAIR official told USNI News on Thursday.
The Pentagon issued a $4.89 billion contract for the Ospreys on Wednesday with Textron’s Bell Helicopter division and Boeing. Read More
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, right, testifies before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on Tuesday. DoD Photo
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told a Senate panel on Tuesday the ongoing specter of sequestration could prevent the U.S. Navy from adding an additional ship to a $6.1 billion deal that forms the backbone of the service’s surface fleet.
Last week, the Navy entered into a multi-year contract with Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) for nine Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers (DDG-51), extending the Navy’s commitment to the high-end surface combatant into 2017. Read More
USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) pulls out of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. on June, 4 2013. US Navy Photo
The dirty word spreading across the U.S. Navy and the larger defense establishment this year is “sequestration.” It was never supposed to happen, yet today it is the law of the land. Worse still, there appears to be no interest in Congress to repeal this legislation. That’s significant, since the longer this process goes on, the greater will be the cumulative damage on the long-term health and readiness of the U.S. Navy, as well as all of America’s military.
Sequestration was born out of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which stipulated that more than $900 billion in defense cuts over 10 years would begin automatically in 2013 unless Congress passed a long-term deficit reduction plan. This provision was considered so draconian that all agreed at the time that it would never be implemented. Think again. Read More
A Senate panel has rejected a Pentagon request to open a new round of base closures.
The Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee has voted to deny the Pentagon’s request to start a new Base Realignment and Closure commission to shutter what the Department of Defense calls excess facilitates.
As part of the Pentagon’s $526.6 billion budget request, the DoD requested permission to close additional bases in a cost savings measure. The Pentagon asked for $2.4 billion to be spent over five years to begin a new round of BRAC. Read More
The littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in March enroute to Singapore. US Navy Photo
At least one Congress member is expected to try and slow development of the Littoral Combat Ship program during debate this week over the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a report in Defense Daily.
The LCS backlash follows the leak of a draft copy of a Government Accountability Office report that called for Congress to slow development of ship construction and the accompanying mission packages. Read More
USS Nicholas (FFG-47) departs Souda Bay, Greece harbor following a port visit on Feb. 11, 2013. US Navy Photo.
Interaction with partner navies around the world is a centerpiece of “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power,” the document that guides U.S. Navy maritime operations. One of the strategic imperatives in that directive demands that the Navy “[f]oster and sustain cooperative relationships with more international partners.” That task is extraordinarily difficult because of the disparity between U.S. ships and partner vessels in size and capabilities.
The recent decision to retire seven aging Aegis cruisers eases the disparity to some extent, but also highlights an ongoing debate about the future of the naval force structure. Those seven cruisers are in addition to the five Ticonderoga-class ships scheduled for decommissioning in 2013 and the six Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates also designated to leave the fleet this year. The retirement of the frigates raises old issues. The current naval construction program will replace the “low-end” warships with littoral combat ships (LCSs). The Navy needs the high-low mix across the spectrum of tactical mission areas, but how can this best be achieved?
A new book by former deputy undersecretary of the Navy Seth Cropsey stirs this boiling pot. Read More
Third Joint High Speed Vessel Millinocket launches from Austal USA’s mobile shipyard on Wednesday. Austal USA Photo
Austal USA delivered its second Joint High Speed Vessel on Thursday — USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2) — to Military Sealift Command and has launched the third JHSV from its Mobile, Ala. shipyard.
Choctaw County follows closely behind the lead ship, USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1), which delivered in December. Read More