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April 23 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Lockheed Machinists Vote Overwhelmingly to Strike

Bob Cox, Star-Telegram. Machinists at Lockheed Martin’s Texas manufacturing facility voted to reject the company’s final contract offer on Sunday, leading to a likely shut down of the production line for F-35 and F-16 fighters and yet another setback for the troubled program. At issue were proposals surrounding pensions for future employees and a reduction in health care plans and higher costs for employees. The Machinists Local 776 represents some 3,600 workers at the Ft. Worth facility, and Lockheed already warned government contracting officers of the possible work disruption last week.

SAS12: The Navy’s Happy Warrior Strikes Back

Phillip Ewing, DoD Buzz. Going into last week’s Navy League Sea-Air-Space conference there was a lot of criticism for how the Navy was counting its fleet numbers. The accusation was that to reach the planned 300 ship fleet previously uncounted support ships and boats had been included. Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work was having none of that and gave the conference what has been reported as its most genuine and direct presentation. Work went from killing the idea of fudged numbers to making no bones about the idea that the Littoral Combat Ship is anything but a “WAR-ship”. Multiple reporters gave him kudos for having the courage to skip the talking points and tell it like it is in defense of his Navy, and Phil Ewing is no exception.

Drone Use Takes Off on the Home Front

Andy Pasztor and John Emshwiller, Wall Street Journal. Without much fanfare over 50 institutions and organizations including universities and law-enforcement agencies have quietly gotten approval from the FAA to use unmanned aircraft in the United States. The Electronic Frontier Foundation got the information on these approvals via a Freedom of Information Request and the report comes as nearly 50 companies are working on over 150 different unmanned systems. The uses of drones in the U.S. will range from fighting forest fires, to finding fish in the sea and a host of other fairly non-controversial uses but privacy advocates are concerned about spying on private citizens and inappropriate uses.

Pentagon “Can Manage” Satellite Imagery Cuts

Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters. Speaking at last week’s National Space Symposium Air Force General Robert Kehler stated that the service would be able to fill the gap in commercial satellite imagery from budget cuts with increased use of government-owned satellites and surveillance drones. Commanders in the field have been expressing concerns since talk of slashing the government’s commercial imagery purchases from providers GeoEye and DigitalGlobe started surfacing several months ago. Actual cuts have not been released publicly due to the classified nature of the work but sources tell Reuters the budget could be slashed in half. All of the options put both companies in tight positions while the express confidence that the moves the have already been making prepared them for any changes in government funding.

Global Military Spending Flattens as U.S. Cuts Back, Russia Adds

Emily Alpert, Los Angeles Times. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released its latest annual report on the state of global defense spending this past week and found, unsurprisingly, that the U.S. and Western Europe have reduced their military budgets. Global military spending was essentially flat in 2011 with a .3% increase overall. Russia increased their spending by some 9.3%, while other nations such as Algeria and tiny Azerbaijan increased theirs as well, based on threats from neighbors. Overall the budget crises around the world are driving spending more than any other factor.

Misinformation Campaign Targets USA Today Reporter, Editor

Gregory Korte, USA Today. In an odd twist to the USA Today campaign focusing on Leonie Industry’s and their work in Afghanistan supporting U.S. information operations, the paper this week accused unnamed actors of trying to intimidate the reporters on the story. It seems that fake social media profiles and websites were created in their names shortly after the story broke and these sites were mean to make them look bad. Oddly none of the sites actually published or said anything terribly false about either journalist beyond dredging up Vanden Brook’s role in misreporting on the Sago mine disaster. Allegedly the sites were taken down after the journalists informed the Pentagon of what was going on and an inquiry was made to the contractors. It is all a little weird and USA Today isn’t missing a chance to make it sound nefarious. Expect Congressional hearings on this for sure.

Surplus War Gear Could Go to Volatile U.S.-Mexico Border

Paul McLeary, Defense News. Representatives and law enforcement officials from Texas are urging Secretary of Defense Panetta to ship surplus war stocks to the Mexican border to increase security for the local communities. New legislation was also introduced to require 10% of eligible equipment from Iraq be sent to local security agencies. The legislation specifically singles out the MQ-9 Reaper UAV, Night-vision goggles and Humvees, among other items. The goal is an increase in the existing Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative, which has already sent about $2.6 billion worth of military equipment to various agencies in recent years.

The week ahead:

Themes: VA is likely to take a beating with the release of an IG report this week on mental health care challenges and a subsequent Senate committee hearing on Wednesday shouldn’t help. It’s NDAA mark-up week in the House and that will likely involve some angst among a lot of groups. The Secret Service scandal will dominate headlines still as well.

Tradeshows:

SPIE Defense, Security and Sensing (Mon-Fri, 23-27 April) Baltimore Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD. SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics and their annual symposium/exhibition is the largest unclassified event in the world for the many aspects of sensing technology. They moved from Orlando to Baltimore this year for the first time to be closer to the industry and government agency hubs on the East Coast. This year they expect over 500 companies and 2400 presentations over 60 separate conferences. The exhibit space is the East Coast’s largest exhibition for precision optics, lasers, sensors, optical materials, thermal imaging, optoelectronics, instrumentation, data analysis, and more.

Congress: The full Congress is in session this week.

Senate:

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (2:30 PM, Tues, 24 April) Airland Subcommittee hearing on tactical aircraft programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: Navy Vice Adm. David Venlet, program executive officer of the F-35 Lightning II Program; Air Force Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; and Navy Vice Adm. Walter Skinner, principal military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for research, development, and acquisition, testify Location: 232-A Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Wed, 25 April) Full committee hearing on “VA Mental Health Care: Evaluating Access and Assessing Care.” Witnesses: TBD Location: 418 Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (2:00 PM, Wed, 25 April) Personnel Subcommittee hearing on the Active, Guard, Reserve, and civilian personnel programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Thomas Lamont; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan Garcia III; Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Daniel Ginsberg; Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, deputy chief of staff G-1; Navy Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, chief of naval personnel; Sheryl Murray, assistant deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs of the Marine Corps; and Air Force Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, testify Location: 232-A Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (2:30, Wed, 25 April) Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee hearing on the current readiness of U.S. forces in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: J. Michael Gilmore, director of operational test and evaluation at the Defense Department; Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Bradley Roberts; Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency; Army Lt. Gen. Richard Formica, commander of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command and commander of the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense; Cristina Chaplain, director of acquisition and sourcing management at the Government Accountability Office, testify Location: 222 Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (9:30 AM, Thurs, 26 April) Full committee hearing on the nominations of Kathleen Hicks to be principal deputy Defense undersecretary for policy; and Derek Chollet to be assistant secretary of Defense for international security affairs. Witnesses: The nominees testify Location: G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Thurs, 26 April) Seapower Subcommittee hearing on Marine Corps acquisition programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program Witnesses: Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition; and Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, deputy commandant for combat development and integration and commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, testify Location: 222 Russell Senate Office Building

House of Representatives:

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (11:00 AM, Mon, 23 April) Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee field hearing on “Discovering a More Efficient Process: Improving Timeliness and Adequacy of VA Compensation and Pension Examinations.” Witnesses: TBD Location: Ocean County College Auditorium, 1 College Drive, Toms River, N.J.

House Armed Services Committee – Markup (10:30 AM, Thurs, 26 April) Military Personnel Subcommittee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013.” Witnesses: N/A Location: 2212 Rayburn House Office Building

House Armed Services Committee – Markup (12:00 PM, Thurs, 26 April) Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act.” Witnesses: N/A Location: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

House Armed Services Committee – Markup (1:00 PM, Thurs, 26 April) Strategic Forces Subcommittee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act.” Witnesses: N/A Location: 2212 Rayburn House Office Building

House Armed Services Committee – Markup (3:30 PM, Thurs, 26 April) Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013.” Witnesses: N/A Location: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

House Armed Services Committee – Hearing (9:00AM, Fri, 27 April) Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act.” Witnesses: N/A Location: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Markup (9:45 AM, Fri, 27 April) Full committee markup of pending calendar business. Witnesses: N/A Location: 334 Cannon House Office Building

House Armed Services Committee – Markup (10:30 AM, Fri, 27 April) Readiness Subcommittee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013.” Witnesses: N/A Location: 2212 Rayburn House Office Building

Think tanks and other news events:

The Atlantic Council: Fighting and Rebuilding in Helmand and Nimruz Provinces Revisited: A Commander’s View, Washington, D.C. (10:15 AM, Mon 23 April) Description: The commander of ISAF’s RC-SW, Major General John A. Toolan Jr., will join the Atlantic Council to provide an update on the current operations in that complex area of operation in Afghanistan. Since taking command in March 2011, MajGen Toolan has led Marines and coalition forces as they support ISAF efforts in Afghanistan to provide an environment in which Afghans can foster a stable and prosperous country. Over the last several months, the Marines under his command have transitioned the cities of Marjah and Nawa in Helmand Province to Afghan control. RSVP online. Participants: Major General John A. Toolan Jr., USMC, Commanding General, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Commander of International Security Assistance Force, Regional Command Southwest (RC-SW) Location: Atlantic Council, 1101 15th Street, NW, 11th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20005

The Brookings Institution: Pakistan and the Terror Threat: One Year after the Death of Bin Laden Washington, D.C. (2:00 PM, Thu 26 April) Description: As the one-year anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden approaches, the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan seems as precarious as ever. While the death of bin Laden undoubtedly struck an important blow against al Qaeda and its affiliates, Pakistan still remains a hotbed of extremism. Elsewhere, al Qaeda has sought to exploit the turmoil in the Arab world to expand its presence in Yemen, Syria and the Maghreb. What is the threat assessment at home and abroad a year after the death of Bin Laden? RSVP online. Participants: Moderator Michael E. O’Hanlon, Director of Research and Senior Fellow at Brookings, Panelists, Daniel L. Byman, Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings Location: Falk Auditorium, The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

Center for New American Security: Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America’s Wars and Those Who Fought Them Washington, D.C. (5:30 PM, Thu April 26) Description: CNAS is hosting a book launch for Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America’s Wars and Those Who Fought Them by Dr. James Wright, President Emeritus of Dartmouth College, American historian and former Marine. Wright will shed light on America’s complicated relationship with its armed forces and how the treatment of its soldiers and veterans has evolved through history. Greg Jaffe, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Pentagon Reporter for The Washington Post, will interview Dr. Wright, followed by Q&A with the audience. RSVP online. Participants: James Wright, author, and Greg Jaffe, Pentagon Reporter at The Washington Post Location: The Willard InterContinental Hotel’s Grand Ballroom, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004

Fred Wellman with General Petraeus in Iraq

Fred Wellman, President ScoutComms, brings us his weekly review of defense industry news via The Scout Report. Fred served over twenty years as an Army officer in both aviation and public affairs. You can follow Fred on Twitter @ScoutComms.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 23, 2012 6:18 pm

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