China has accepted an invitation from the U.S. to join the 2014 Rim of the Pacific naval exercises off of Hawaii.
However, members of Congress have raised questions if the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s inclusion as part of RIMPAC will violate provisions of a 2000 U.S. defense bill that restricts the level of military to military contact the Pentagon can have with its Chinese counterparts.
The following is an April Congressional Research Service report that broadly outlines the history of the defense law and the U.S. military relationship with China. Read More
The following is from the May, 24 2013 Congressional Research Service report: Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization.
The Coast Guard’s FY2013 budget initiated a new project for the design and construction of a new polar icebreaker. The Coast Guard’s proposed FY2013 budget requested $8 million in FY2013 acquisition funding to initiate survey and design activities for the ship, and projected an additional $852 million in FY2013-FY2017 for acquiring the ship. The Coast Guard’s FY2013 budget anticipated awarding a construction contract for the ship “within the next five years” and taking delivery on the ship “within a decade.”
Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard’s two existing heavy polar icebreakers—Polar Star and Polar Sea— have exceeded their originally intended 30-year service lives. Polar Star was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair it and return it to service for an additional 7 to 10 years of service; the repair work was completed and the ship was reactivated on December 14, 2012. Read More
USS Spruance (DDG-111) is pierside at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Calif., Jan, 2012. US Navy Photo
From the Congressional Research Service May, 14 2013 Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress:
As part of its action on the Navy’s FY2013 budget, Congress funded the procurement of three Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class destroyers, or one more than the two that the Navy had requested for FY2013. The Navy is examining whether, following the March 1, 2013, sequester on Department of Defense (DOD) funding, the third DDG-51 will be executable with current funding. If the Navy determines that it is executable without additional funding, it would be built on a schedule similar to what would be executed for a ship fully funded in FY2014. If the Navy determines that it is not executable with current funding, Congress would have the option of providing additional funding for the ship in FY2014 to make it executable. Read More
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