Defense Roundup: LockMart Has Identified Its Next F-35: the SR-72; Whether SOF or NG, Returning from War Has Challenges

Posted by Fred Wellman

US Joins Whistle-Blower Lawsuit Over Background Probes

Andrew Zajac, Bloomberg. Falls Church, Virginia based USIS can’t get much of a break from the relentless scrutiny of its business practices after the revelations that its investigators had conducted the background checks on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. The company that processes an astounding two-thirds of all contracted background investigations and half of all U.S. background checks is being accused of submitting investigations to the Office of Personnel Management without proper quality control checks. The formerly sealed lawsuit filed by a former investigator as part of the federal whistle-blower legislation act was joined by the Justice Department last week. The lawsuit alleges that over at least a yearlong period the company was dumping incomplete investigations in an effort to knock down a growing backlog of checks. This comes at the same time that he OPM is looking hard at the failures of the entire background check system as Congressional hearings hammer the failures that allowed such clearly troubled individuals to pass through the system as Alexis and Snowden.

Pentagon News Service, Read at First Light and Debated All Day, Fades Away

Thom Shanker (@ThomShanker), New York Times. In surprising news, the Pentagon’s daily news clipping publication, The Early Bird, was officially disbanded on Friday. The Bird as it was known has been something of an anachronism for many years with its selection of major news stories and OpEds relating to the military. Its publication of full articles from news publications without links to their websites had become a lightning rod of copyright violations for many publications when almost two million people were estimated to read the service each day. The Bird drove the conversation in Washington D.C. and around the world as stories were debated and organizations sought to have their news carried in the publication to ensure they were seen by policymakers and senior leaders. Almost every Public Affairs Officer in the military had heard at least once in their career “Get us in the Early Bird!” and shook their heads at the idea that a news summary could be so important (besides the Scout Report, obviously.) All of the arguments are moot now, but fear not as Defense News and National Journal have already announced their own versions to replace DoD’s.

Lockheed’s F-35 Poised for More Production, Pentagon Says

Tony Capaccio (@acappacio), Bloomberg. Have you ever wondered what topic gets the most coverage in the Scout Report? Really? (Hint: it’s not pandas.) Because we’re pretty sure the F-35 is in every issue and this week is no exception. When we last wrote, there were real doubts about the world’s most expensive weapon system as several countries balked at purchasing the jet. This week we find the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer Frank Kendall sending a decision memo that system is cleared for larger rate production in fiscal year 2015. Don’t breathe that sigh of relief yet though as it’s all contingent on improvements to the critical software components that continue to suffer reliability and development concerns. There’s also that whole issue with the billions of dollars in automatic cuts mandated by sequestration. But, other than that, things are right on track. So, Lockheed has that going for them.

Exclusive: Skunk Works Reveals SR-71 Successor Plan

Guy Norris (@AvWeekGuy), Aviation Week. The aviation geek world lit up with excitement on Friday as Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works research and development arm announced ongoing research on a successor to the record setting SR-71 spy plane retired almost two decades ago. Called the SR-72, the next generation aircraft is meant to capitalize on hypersonic flight to achieve speeds above Mach 6 and making stealth unimportant with any spot on the planet available in an hour’s flight time. Lockheed says they have been working for 7 years with Aerojet Rocketdyne on the scramjet technology to make the concept work. Hypersonic programs have suffered fits and starts in the last decade and most wonder if there is any money to dedicate to such an ambitious program in this budget climate. None of that lessens the excitement for aviation buffs as the long dreamed of successor to one of the most revolutionary aircraft in history has finally been hinted as in the works with a hypothetical service date of 2030. Just a mere 17 years away.

Warrior Without a War Faces Challenges at Home

Gregg Zoroya (@greggzoroya), USA Today. Most veterans make the necessary adjustment from combat to civilian life, but a few struggle in more complicated, complex ways. For special operations forces who train, deploy, and return home in much shorter cycles—who one psychologist says become more emotionally attuned to war than to life at home—that transition can be excruciating. As the operational tempo recedes as the war in Afghanistan winds down, these special operators might face a more abrupt shift to garrison life than their counterparts who spent deployments confined to large bases. One of the original Marine Corps special operators profiled here says he was put on this earth to go to war and that going to school and other typical veteran endeavors hold little interest for him. These intelligent, disciplined operators capable of making split second decisions in the midst of battle will soon face having no battles or war. As much as America has relied on operators and feted them in media, so too should we step up and ensure we continue to support their unique needs as veterans.

Vets Struggle, Adapt a Year After Returning Home from Afghanistan

Mary McCarty, Dayton Daily News. Not every story ends in heartache, not every story ends in triumph, and that’s the reality of returning home from war. A year after coming home from Afghanistan, the Dayton Daily News takes a glimpse into the lives of the members of an Ohio National Guard unit and finds struggles, joy, jobs, and a suicide. Life at home, like life at war, is interspersed with tragedy, but overwhelmingly the members of the unit have moved forward in their lives. One woman’s mother says deploying instilled maturity in her daughter that allows her to continue her education now. Each soldier has a story worth reading (to which we can’t do justice here.) We don’t see stories of veterans’ overcoming the challenges of transitioning home enough.

In Wake of Shutdown, Veterans’ Committee Leaders Call for Advance VA Funding

Steve Vogel (@steve_vogel), Washington Post. Veterans groups came together again (yes, we were surprised, too), this time with Congressional leaders, to call for bipartisan and executive branch support for advanced funding for the VA. That would mean better protections for VA funding were the government to shut down once again. Currently only VA’s health services are funded through advanced appropriations. So while veterans still received medical care during the shutdown, student veterans had to worry about getting their housing allowances. Veterans groups say advanced funding would insulate veterans from once again being “political chew toys” during budget debates. For its part, VA opposes advanced funding for itself as many services it provides to veterans depend on other government agencies. Perhaps the best way to settle this would be for Congressional leaders to attend fewer press conferences and instead work on long-term budget solutions. (Yeah, we LOL’d, too.)

Four Female Marines Pass Key Hurdle During Enlisted Infantry Training

James Sandborn, Marine Corps Times. Four women in Marine Corps enlisted infantry training passed the last grueling obstacle of the four-month course. Since the four women completed the 12.5 mile, early morning hike that felled 3 other women and 26 men, it’s likely they will graduate the course and become the first infantry qualified women in the U.S. military. A single physical fitness test, in which they will have to meet the same standards as their male peers, remains in their way. So far, more headlines have gone to the failure of all the female infantry officer candidates in the Marine Corps’ training experiment. As women take on more roles in combat, researchers are turning their attention to the unique effects of military service on women. If and when these four Marines enter infantry specialties, they will be far ahead of the science on how best to support female troops.

Should have been a Duffel Blog: Bulky Troops Turn to Liposuction to Pass Fat Test

Tradeshows & Conferences

No major shows.

Our website has a full list of upcoming tradeshows

Congressional Hearings


Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity: Examining the Higher Education Institutions’ Services to Veterans Who: Dr. Cynthia Azari, Interim Chancellor, Riverside Community College District, Dr. Steven G. Brint, Vice-Provost, Undergraduate Education, University of California, Riverside, Ms. Pamela Daly, Campus President, DeVry University-San Diego, Mr. Albert R. Renteria, Member, Small Business Taskforce, The American Legion, Mr. Sherrod Conyers, California Delegate, National Legislative Committee, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Mr. Marques Dredd, Former President, Veterans Club, Riverside City College, Submissions for the Record-Student Veterans of America When: 10:00 AM, Monday, November 4, 2013 Where: Bradshaw Building, Riverside Comm. College, 4800 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92506

Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity: Texas’ Innovative Approaches to Jobs and Employment for Veterans Who: Ms. Mary Kennedy Thompson, President, Mr. Rooter, LLC, Mr. David Amsden, Vice President, Human Resources, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Mr. Chris Burton, Store Manager, The Home Depot, Mr. John Vizner, Facility Manager, Caterpillar Global Work Tools – Waco Mr. Joseph Kopser, CEO, RideScout, Dr. Janet Bagby, VETS Coordinator, Senior Lecturer, Department of Education Psychology, Baylor University, Mr. Kris Cervantes, Veterans Specialist, McLennan Community College, Mr. Rob Wolaver, Executive Vice-President, Texas State Technical College – Waco, Colonel Gerald “Jerry” L. Smith USMC (Ret.), Director Veteran Resource and Support Center, Mr. Andres Alcantar, Chairman, Texas Workforce Commission, Mr. Shawn DeBay, Director, Veterans Employment Services, Texas Veterans Commission When: 10:00 AM, Wednesday, November 6, 2013 Where: Bill Daniel Student Center, Baylor University, 1311 S. 5th Street, Waco, TX 76798

Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs: “Complications of Geography: Focusing on VBA Outreach, Accessibility, Leadership and Staffing Efforts to Meet the Needs of Veterans Living in Areas Remote from a Regional Office” Who: Mr. Willie Clark, Western Area Director, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Edward Russell (Accompanying Mr. Clark), Director, Reno Regional Office, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Ms. Katherine Miller, Executive Director, Nevada Department of Veterans Services, Ms. Janet Snyder, Legislative Chair, Society of Military Widows, Mr. Bruce Hollinger, Adjutant Quartermaster, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Department of Nevada When: 2:00 PM, Thursday. November 7, 2013 Where: Las Vegas City Hall. 3rd Floor Conference Room, 495 S. Main Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101


Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security: Hearings to Examine the United States Aviation Industry and Jobs, Focusing on Keeping American Manufacturing Competitive Who: The Honorable Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation, Mr. Raymond L. Conner, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Mr. Nicholas E. Calio, President and CEO, Airlines for America, Mr. Pete Bunce, President and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Mr. Ed Wytkind, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO When: 2:30 PM, Tuesday, November 4, 2013 Where: 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Armed Services Committee: Hearings to Examine the Impact of Sequestration on the National Defense Who: General Raymond T. Odierno, USA, Chief Of Staff Of The Army, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, USN, Chief Of Naval Operations, General James F. Amos, USMC, Commandant Of The Marine Corps, General Mark A. Welsh III, USAF, Chief Of Staff Of The Air Force When: 9:30 AM, Thursday, November 7, 2013 Where: G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Think Tanks & Other Events

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Global Security Forum 2013 Who: The Honorable Charles T. ‘Chuck’ Hagel, United States Secretary of Defense When: 8:00 AM, Thursday, November 5, 2013 Where: 1800 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Performance of the Defense Acquisition System: Looking Ahead Who: The Honorable Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, U.S. Department of Defense, Mr. Pierre Chao, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Renaissance Strategic Advisors, Mr. Jon Etherton, President, Etherton & Associates, Inc., Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro (USMC, Ret.), Chief Executive, The Punaro Group, LLC When: 8:35 AM, Thursday, November 7, 2013 Where: 1800 K Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

Brookings Institution: The Impacts of Sequestration on the US Military Who: Jay DeFrank, Vice President, Communications and Government Relations, Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies company, Jack Mayer, Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton When: 2:00 PM, Friday, November 8, 2013 Where: 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

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, November 04, 2013 11:02 am

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