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Defense Roundup: The shutdown is dead, the government is alive–until February; AUSA begins

Posted by Fred Wellman

Facing Reality at the Pentagon

Gordon Adams, Foreign Policy. The shutdown is over, at least for now, and reality is settling back on the defense establishment. That reality is that the chance of the sequestration defense cuts being lifted is almost zero at this point. We have said for some time that the odd bedfellows that the cuts have made mean it is almost impossible in this political environment. The fight over Obamacare is more important to Tea Party conservatives who are proud of the fact that the federal budget has actually declined for the first time in years. For liberals, protecting benefits programs means they have no appetite for compromise with defense hawks. In the end, planners at DoD are going to have to accept a new baseline that matches the sequester numbers and plan for that reality for 2015 and beyond. So, what is the next fight then? Preserving treasured programs, getting funds reallocated to different pots for flexibility, and figuring out what the new force structure will be given existing dollars. The result? It will be a lot of pain for both those in the five-sided building and those who support them.

George Little Announces Retirement as Pentagon Press Secretary

George Little, Published at Real Clear Defense. The departure of Leon Panetta’s staff at the Pentagon continues as Press Secretary George Little announced his retirement from public service last week. Little spent four years as Central Intelligence Agency spokesman before accompanying Panetta to DoD two years ago. In an eloquent letter to the media announcing his departure, the father of small children says he simply needs “to turn more of my focus to weekend soccer games, helping with school homework, and building Lego sets that demand a higher level of engineering expertise than I currently possess.” Little has been a well-liked spokesman with a friendly give-and-take with the defense media. We haven’t heard any rumors of a possible replacement yet.

Senior Officer, NCIS Agent are Among Those Arrested in Navy Bribery Scandal

Craig Whitlock (@CraigMWhitlock), Washington Post. The Navy is facing a startling bribery scandal involving well-known senior officers, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent, and a major contractor with the possibility of yet more implicated. It is almost unheard of in the service’s modern history to see a scandal of this breadth with senior leaders involved. The case involves a company that supports U.S. Navy ships visiting foreign ports overcharging for services rendered and conspiring with serving Navy officials steering ship visits to ports where the company could pad the bills. The CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia was arrested last month, as was Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz, a well-known officer originally from Cambodia. The story continues a shocking trend of scandals involving senior military officials ranging from the impending sexual assault trial of Army general Jeffry Sinclair to last week’s relief of the number two commander of U.S. Strategic Command, Navy Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, for using fake poker chips at an Iowa casino. The steady drip of bad news for military leadership is eroding what has been a sterling reputation for the military for years and doesn’t help at a time of intense budget pressure and transition.

In War Wind-Down, Veterans’ New Mission Is College

Kevin Freking (@APkfreking), Associated Press. As the shutdown continued and veterans’ benefits became a central talking point, significant pain faced a growing population within the veteran community: student veterans. It’s a growing population that we’ve been watching closely as both wars end and the services look to trim their numbers. Many veterans are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill to go to school and colleges are trying to figure out how best to serve this relatively new student cohort. Groups like Student Veterans of America with over 880 chapters on campuses across the country are important to veterans’ success in new settings. And as the University of Toledo president says, “I understand the pain and suffering some of these men and women have experienced… On the other hand, people who do have that experience bring strength to our culture, bring strength to our university that’s unparalleled.”

VSOs Use Shutdown as Case for Advance VA Funding

Bryant Jordan (@BryantJordan), Military.com. Though the shutdown may be over, the threat to veterans’ benefit payments was far too close for comfort to many veteran service organizations. While VA’s healthcare services were unaffected by the shutdown because its budget had been approved through advanced funding measures, the discretionary accounts that pay for disability and educational assistance were in doubt beyond November 1. Now, groups like VFW, the American Legion, and others are reigniting their call to fund all of VA a year in advance. With the current budget deal only a short-term solution, veteran organizations are not looking forward to another fight in February that could put veterans in the crossfire.

Ms. Veteran America: Healing in Heels

Lisa De Bode (@lisadebode), Al Jazeera America. Some of the participants scoffed at the idea of a beauty pageant when they first received invitations, but the female veterans participating in Ms. Veteran America say the pageant has been a great way for them to raise awareness about issues that otherwise get little attention. From military sexual assault to female veteran homelessness, the issues are real and so are the veterans. In fact, advocacy for veterans is one of the criteria on which participants are judged. It’s not a swimsuit competition but there are sparkling dresses. Instead of dainty waves, one participant made a comedy routine out of her prosthetic legs. It’s breaking stereotypes at its best.

Tradeshows & Conferences

AUSA Annual Meeting (Mon-Wed, 21-23 October); Washington, DC

Don’t miss our wall-to-wall AUSA coverage on our blog.

Our website has a full list of upcoming tradeshows.

Congressional Hearings

House:
Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces: An Independent Assessment of the Navy’s 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan Who: Dr. Eric Labs, Senior Analyst for Naval Weapons and Forces, Congressional Budget Office, Mr. Ronald O’Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs, Congressional Research Service When: 2:00 PM, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Where: 2212 Rayburn House Office Building

Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces: Impacts of a Continuing Resolution and Sequestration on Acquisition and Moderation Who: Lieutenant General James O. Barclay III, Deputy Chief of Staff, G8, USA, Dr. William A. LaPlante, Principal Deputy to Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisitions, USAF, Lieutenant General Michael R. Moeller, Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Programs, USAF,
Vice Admiral Allen G. Myers, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources (N8), USN, Ms. Heidi Shyu, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, USA, Mr. Sean J. Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Aquisition (RDA), USN, Lieutenant General Glenn M. Walters, Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources, USMC When: 3:30 PM, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Where: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Committee on Foreign Affairs: Next Steps on Egypt Policy When: 10:00 AM, Thursday, October 24, 2013 Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: NSA Programs When: 10:00 AM, Thursday, October 24, 2013 Where: 2167 Rayburn House Office Building

Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability, Assistance and Memorial Affairs: Focused Issues on Dignified Burials: A National Cemetery Update When: 10:00 AM, Thursday, October 24, 2013 Where: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Senate:
No relevant hearing this week.

Think Tanks & Other Event

Foreign Policy Initiative: Will America Lead? Who: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senate Armed Services Committee, Amb. Eric Edelman, FPI Board Director and former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Rudy de Leon, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Dov S. Zakheim, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller/Chief Financial Officer), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, H.E. Kim Beazley, Australian Ambassador to the United States When: 9:00 AM, Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Where: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20240

National Council on US- Arab Relations: 22nd Annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference When: 9:00 AM, Tuesday, October 22, 2013 Where: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20004

Homeland Security Policy Institute: State and Local Fusion Centers: Key Challenges for the Next Decade Who: The Honorable Michael T. McCaul, Chairman, House Committee on Homeland Security When: 9:30 AM, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Where: 1957 E Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20052

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 21, 2013 8:46 am

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