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
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
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
From the document released May, 23 2013: This information is based on the Selected Acquisition Reports (SARs) submitted to the Congress for the December 2012 reporting period.
SARs summarize the latest estimates of cost, schedule, and performance status. These reports are prepared annually in conjunction with submission of the President’s Budget. Read More
From the May, 17 message from Chief of Naval Operations: This action establishes a Navy component commander for U.S. Northern Command, which had not previously had a Navy component commander. U.S. Northern Command had assumed many responsibilities of the former joint forces command for which Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (COMUSFLTFORCOM)has served as Navy component commander, and Northern Command is seeking the same type of Navy component commander support. Read More
House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces issued their mark on the Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request, “which designates essential funding and sets priorities for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force,” read a statement from subcommittee chair Rep. Randy Forbes (R- Va.) and ranking member Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) on Tuesday.
“Having recently received a 30 Year Shipbuilding Plan from the Navy with no basis in reality, our mark requires a detailed roadmap for how the service will reach its shipbuilding goals under likely budget scenarios,” Chairman Forbes said. “We have laid the groundwork to ask difficult questions of the Navy about the cost overruns on the Ford-class aircraft carrier, while also ensuring the Navy has an additional Virginia-class attack submarine each year. And we have made investments in technologies like the UCLASS carrier-launched unmanned vehicle, which will ensure the viability of the Carrier Air Wing for decades to come,” Forbes said in the statement. Read More
From the executive summary of the United States Coast Guard’s Arctic Strategy released on May, 21 2013: As arctic ice recedes and maritime activity increases, the Coast Guard must be prepared to administer and inform national objectives over the long-term. The United States is an arctic nation, and the Coast Guard supports numerous experienced and capable partners in the region. The aim of this strategy is to ensure safe, secure, and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the arctic. This strategy establishes objectives to meet this aim and support national policy. framed with a planning horizon of 10 years, it delineates the ends, ways, and means for achieving strategic objectives while articulating factors that contribute to long-term success. Read More
The following is an excert from the executive summary of a May Government Accountability Office report on support personnel to the Department of Defense’s Unified Combatant Commands:
GAO’s analysis of resources devoted to the Department of Defense’s (DOD) geographic combatant commands shows that authorized military and civilian positions and mission and headquarters-support costs have grown considerably over the last decade due to the addition of two new commands and increases in authorized positions at theater special operations commands. Data provided by the commands shows that authorized military and civilian positions increased by about 50 percent from fiscal years 2001 through 2012, to about 10,100 authorized positions. In addition, mission and headquarters support-costs at the combatant commands more than doubled from fiscal years 2007 through 2012, to about $1.1 billion. Read More
The complete Fiscal Year 2014 30-year U.S. Navy shipbuilding plan.
The report, approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, was issued to Congress May 10, 2013. Read More
From the summary of the U.N. Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial,summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns. The report calls for a suspension of lethal robotic technology until international rules can be drafted:
Lethal autonomous robotics (LARs) are weapon systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further human intervention. They raise far-reaching concerns about the protection of life during war and peace. This includes the question of the extent to which they can be programmed to comply with the requirements of international humanitarian law and the standards protecting life under international human rights law. Read More