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Defense Roundup: 800,000 Jobs Shutdown but Half Back to Work and Vets Could Soon Feel Shutdown Impacts

Posted by Fred Wellman

DoD to workers: Welcome Back, but Keep a Lid on Using Supplies

John Grady, ScoutComms. The battle of the government shutdown has been virtually the only story this week. Over the weekend, the Department of Defense announced their intention to bring most of the thousands of furloughed employees back to work. The move is a result of the Pay Our Military Act which Congress passed thinking it would be cover to avoid criticism for leaving troops in combat unpaid. Fortunately not all of the government lawyers got laid off last week and DoD partnered with DoJ to discover that nearly every single employee “supports military operations” and they are all coming back to work this week. Our John Grady was on the conference call with DoD Comptroller Robert Hale on Saturday and has the story on what to expect this week.

Industry to Congress: BAE, Other Firms Face Shutdown-related Furloughs

Aaron Mehta (@AaronMehta), Defense News. The shutdown news has focused heavily on the many federal employees sent home last week but the repercussions don’t stop at the steps of the Pentagon. The business of defense comes to halt eventually without the government contracting officials, inspectors or test pilots that keep the process moving. Late last week several defense companies began announcing furloughs of employees due to work stoppages on programs with the departure of federal partners. BAE joined the National Defense Industrial Association to send a letter to Congress and DoD leaders expressing their concerns and the effects of a continuing shutdown. The announcement yesterday that many DoD employees will return to work may cause some backing off of those plans, Sikorsky already canceled their layoff plan, but there is no way to know how things may go.

Pentagon Report Rips Texas F-35 Fighter Jet Plant

James Rosen, McClatchy. You actually have to feel kind of sorry for the folks building the F-35 sometimes. Last week we wrote how things are improving for Lockheed Martin with new contracts for two batches of the most expensive aircraft in history and word of better relations with the program director. So, of course, this week we get word that the DoD Inspector General issued a scathing report that criticized the Fort Worth, Texas, Lockheed plant that builds the aircraft for shabby work that has resulted in some 200 repairs needed for each aircraft that has rolled off the line. But, the IG didn’t just stop at the maker as they leveled direct fire on the F-35 program offices accusing them of providing oversight that was described as “weak to nonexistent.” Spokesman complained that the report is based on old data and the issues have been fixed but it does all fall into the “can’t get a break” category.

US Government Work is Losing Cachet for Some

Sam Hananel, Associated Press. Being a federal employee was once a noble profession. You had good pay, solid benefits, respect of the community and a steady long-term career. You can pretty much toss all of that out the door these days after three years of pay freezes, furloughs and now the shutdown. The profession has become the punching bag for both parties and a public that often sees federal bureaucrats as lazy and overpaid. This all is bad enough but the government is facing an increasingly older workforce with retirements on an upswing as the Office of Personnel and Management is reporting a 30% increase since last year with some 82,000 federal employees filing to depart. The question becomes after all of this upheaval, how will we attract our nation’s best and brightest to jump into federal employment to fill the empty jobs. Even with word that federal employees will likely get their lost pay back after the shutdown the outlook is grim. Would a scientist want to risk going to the Center for Disease Control or join a higher paying pharmaceutical company instead? The gap could have serious consequences for the country.

WWII Veterans Storm DC Memorial Closed by Government Shutdown

Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Stars and Stripes. One of the first most visible effects of the government shutdown was the closing of very public spaces like national parks and the war memorials on the National Mall. But, nearly every day, World War II veterans from across America take Honor Flights to visit the WWII Memorial. This led to quite the showdown between veterans and Park Police officers last week as a group of veterans from Missouri eventually moved the barricades in order to remember their brethren from the Greatest Generation. For their part, Park Police mostly stood aside and let the veterans enjoy their memorial. A day after the confrontation, official policy came down that the memorial would remain open to Honor Flights during the shutdown to preserve first amendment rights of veterans. The panda cam at the National Zoo remains dark.

Veterans, Impatient Over Shutdown, Demand Protection for VA Benefits

Leo Shane (@LeoShane), Stars and Stripes. To steal a line from MSNBC: memorial closures are the least of veterans’ worries during the shutdown. Though VA hospitals and clinic remain open, some services are taking longer than expected. While disability compensation and educational benefits are being paid, no one is quite sure how long that will last. Since Congress passed a law protecting military pay during the shutdown, veterans groups are looking for a similar carve-out now as well. Groups that are traditionally seen as right-leaning are chastising both sides for not doing enough to get the government up and running again. In Congress, piecemeal legislation to fund VA has stalled leaving a CR the only way out for veterans. The Washington Post’s Steve Vogel last week did a fairly comprehensive Q&A session on just exactly how this shutdown is impacting veterans.

Iraqi Visas Clear Gridlocked Congress

David Rogers, Politico. You can’t say Congress hasn’t done anything during the shutdown: not only has both military pay been authorized, but back-pay for federal workers is expected to pass the Senate soon. Under the radar, though, the tireless work of advocates has paid off as Congress passed legislation reauthorizing an essential visa program for Iraqis who worked with the US during the war. The original five-year program expired on October 1, but a concerted effort among refugee advocates, veterans, and concerned citizens convinced Congress to act. The extension only lasts for three months, but that should be enough time to get the government going again and a longer extension in place. Three months is also enough time to save the lives of Iraqis who are at risk because of the work they did on behalf of the US. We hope to soon see similar legislation benefit those Afghans who also worked with the US.

Tradeshows & Conferences

No major tradeshows this week. AUSA just two weeks away.

Our website has a full list of upcoming tradeshows.

Congressional Hearings

House:

Committee on Veterans’ Affairs: Effect of Government Shutdown on VA Benefits and Services to Veterans When: 10:30 AM, Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Committee on Homeland Security: From al-Shabaab to al-Nusra: How Westerners Joining Terror Groups Overseas Affect the Homeland When: 2:00 PM, Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health: Between Peril and Promise: Facing the Dangers of VA’s Skyrocketing Use of Prescription Painkillers to Treat Veterans When: 10:00 AM, Thursday, October 10, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness: The Interpretation of HR 3210: Pay Our Military Act When: 11:30 AM, Thursday, October 10, 2013 Where: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces: Nuclear Weapons Modernization Programs: Military, Technical, and Political Requirements for the B61 Life Extension Program and Future Stockpile Strategy When: 2:00 PM, Thursday, October 10, 2013 Where: 2212 Rayburn House Office Building

Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces: USAF, USN and USMC Development and Integration of Air-Sea Battle Strategy, Governance and Policy into the Services’ Annual Program, Planning, Budgeting and Execution -PPBE- Process When: 3:30 PM, Thursday, October 10, 2013 Where: 2218 Rayburn House Office Building

Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency: Facility Protection: Implications of the Navy Yard Shooting on Homeland Security When: 9:30 AM, Friday, October 11, 2013 Where: 311 Cannon House Office Building

Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats & Capabilities: Worldwide Threats and Countermeasure Efforts for the Department of Defense When: 10:30 AM, Friday, October 11, 2013 Where: 2112 Rayburn House Office Building

Senate:

Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs: Social Security Disability Benefits: Did a Group of Judges, Doctors, and Lawyers Abuse Programs for the Country’s Most Vulnerable? When: 3:00 PM, Monday, October 7, 2013 Where: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Committee on Veterans’ Affairs: VA Claims Transformation Efforts When: 2:00 PM, Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Where: 418 Russell Senate Office Building

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce: Examining the Government Shutdown and its Impact on Government Efficiency and the Federal Workforce When: 10:00 AM, Thursday, October 10, 2013 Where: 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Think Tanks & Other Events

Politico: CYBER7: The Seven Key Questions Driving the Cybersecurity Agenda Who: GEN Keith Alexander, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, Director, National Security Agency Chief, Central Security Service, Richard Bejtlich, Chief Security Officer, Mandiant, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Ranking Member, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, J. Michael Daniel, Special Assistant to the President & Cybersecurity Coordinator, The White House, Chris Finan, Fellow, Truman National Security Project and former administration official, Trey Hodgkins, Senior Vice President, Global Policy, TechAmerica, Jay Kaplan, CEO, Synack, Tara Maller, Research Fellow, National Security Studies Program, New America Foundation, Rep. Mike Roger (R-Mich.), Chairman, House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD.), Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee, Tim Sample, Vice President of National Security Programs, Battelle, Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Member, House Armed Services Committee, Dr. Phyllis Schneck, Department of Homeland Security National Protection and Programs Directorate Deputy Under the Secretary for Cybersecurity, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Chairman, House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats & Capabilities When: 8:00 AM, Tuesday, October 8, 2013 Where: 555 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001

Cato Institute: NSA Surveillance: What We Know; What to Do About It Who: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI),  Siobhan Gorman, Wall Street Journal, Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian, Barton Gellman, Washington Post, Charlie Savage, New York Times, Jameel Jaffer, ACLU, Laura Donohue, Georgetown University Law Center,  David Lieber, Google, Jim Burrows, Silent Circle, Bruce Schneier, Security Expert, Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute, Julian Sanchez, Research Fellow, Cato Institute When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Where: 1000 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001

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, October 07, 2013 5:58 pm

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