Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey waits to be seated during the Senate Armed Services Committee reconfirmation hearing on July 18, 2013. Department of Defense Photo
How far the United States should go in supporting the Syrian opposition, and just what the role of the Chairman (and Vice Chairman) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in formulating that strategy should be, dominated the sometimes testy re-confirmation hearing of Gen. Martin Dempsey and Adm. James Winnefeld on 18 July.
Dempsey’s re-confirmation is not assured. A key member of the panel—Arizona Republican John McCain—was so upset by Dempsey’s answers on Syria that he threatened to put a hold on the nomination. The chairman of the committee offered a possible compromise to get the nomination for a second Dempsey term back on track. Winnefeld did not come under that kind of scrutiny. Read More
The following is the July 10, 2013 Pentagon response to Sen. Carl Levin’s (D-Mich.) request to the Department of Defense to provide the Senate Armed Services Committee with a plan for sequestration.
The Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget proposal ignored the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) which instituted across-the-board cuts to the defense budget cuts. Read More
An F/A-18F Super Hornet flies from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). US Navy Photo.
The following is the Pentagon’s aviation plan, dated May 2013.
From the report:
Summary of the Annual Plan and Certification
This plan was developed based on the FY14 President’s Budget submission and does not include the effects of sequestration / Budget Control Act funding decreases. The Department is in the process of a Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR) to resolve these impacts.
As such, changes to this plan are probable in next year’s report. Moreover, sequestration is already having an adverse effect on readiness across multiple mission areas, including aviation.
Changes in technology and organizational structure make categorizing aircraft into bins of like capability increasingly difficult.
However, this aviation force structure plan provides the diverse mix of aircraft needed to carry out the eleven missions identified above. The capabilities provided by aircraft identified in this plan reflect five principal investment objectives identified Read More
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down provisions in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The restrictions in the act prevented federal employees in same sex marriages from receiving federal benefits. The Pentagon and the rest of the government will now sort through the ruling and the changes to federal law.
“The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act,” Secratary of Defense Chuck Hagel said in a Wednesday statement.
“The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court’s decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation — as soon as possible. That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.” Read More
The military bested small business and the police to top the list of U.S. institutions in which Americans have the most confidence, according to a June Gallup poll released on Thursday.
The military topped the list with 76 percent of responses indicating there was “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution. Small business came in second with 65 percent, followed by police with 57 percent. Read More
From the introduction from the June Department of Defense Report on the Joint Committee Sequestration for Fiscal Year 2013: This report summarizes the financial impact on the Department of Defense discretionary budget authority in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 as a result of the Joint Committee Sequestration directed in the Presidential Order of March 1, 2013. Read More
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
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
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
Former under secretary of the Navy Bob Work. US Navy Photo
Bob Work — the chief executive officer of Center for a New American Security and former under secretary of the Navy— gave Pentagon leaders advice on how the services should innovate in a time of austerity in Thursday remarks at the EAST: Joint Warfighting 2013 symposium in Virginia Beach, Va.
Work said the greatest threat to U.S. security would be not taking advantage of the current drawdown in resources to create a force structure that makes sense for security threats. The second greatest threat was the current climate of political indecision in Washington. Read More