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February 19 Defense Industry Weekly Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

UAE Signs $1.4 Billion Defense Contracts, Including Drones

Stanley Carvalho, Reuters. The United Arab Emirates provided some good news to the beleaguered defense industry with orders totaling over $1.4 billion this week that included 750 MRAP’s from Oshkosh Defense and an undisclosed number of unarmed Predator UAV’s from General Atomics. Both deals offer glimmers of hope as defense firms focus on Middle Eastern nations facing a growing threat from Iran and instability in the region. There is a growing urgency in the region for unmanned aircraft as systems to patrol large swaths of largely uninhabited terrain and sea approaches to countries and more manufacturers focus their efforts in the area.

Luke Air Show Nixed; No Plans to Cancel Yuma Show 

James Gilbert, The Sun, Yuma, AZ. Luke Air Force Base in Arizona announced they would be canceling their annual air show due to budget cuts, though the nearby Marine Corps Air Station promised to keep their show. Elsewhere, Joint Base Langley in Virginia announced the cancelation of their show and nearby Oceana Naval Air Station said they would probably cancel theirs as well. Aviation fans will be disappointed but it’s hard to justify the costs of these efforts in light of threatened layoffs and furloughs of employees and canceled deployments. It’s all signs of tightening times for the Defense Department but many are wondering if it’s not all part of a very public effort to pressure Congress to act.

Budget Cut Warnings May Prove Harsher Than Reality

Alan Fram (@asfram), Associated Press. The rhetoric is heating up on the impending sequestration budget cuts with federal agencies highlighting the dramatic impacts they expect from the impending deadline on March 1st and DoD already making cutbacks. History has shown that oftentimes the dire predictions aren’t necessarily always accurate but there are some very real impacts written into the law that will kick in if compromise isn’t found. The AP highlights the $3 billion cut to the Tricare health care system for military members that will likely impact elective care first and the warnings of “restructuring” of defense contracts to reduce their scope and cost. Either way there is no doubt that pain is coming and Congress is making no real effort to prevent it from happening.

Drones Are Taking to the Skies in the U.S. 

Brian Bennett and Joel Rubin (@ByBrianBennett and @joelrubin), Los Angeles Times. Even as the nation debates UAV usage in domestic airspace the number of aircraft in the skies is steadily increasing. The FAA announced last Friday that they had now issued 1,428 permits to domestic operators since 2007 and that there are 327 permits listed as active in their files. This represents a much larger number than many experts previously believed but also shows the diverse ways in which they are being flown by police, universities, state transportation departments, and at least seven different federal agencies. The models approved range from a small rotorcraft that really isn’t any more than model aircraft to the large unarmed Predators used for climate monitoring and forest fires. The agency took a major step forward after months of delay with a solicitation for proposals to select six sites in the country to test the ability of UAV’s to operate in the federal airspace with manned aircraft.  All of this could lead to upwards of 10,000 drones in the airspace in the next five years.

Compensation, Retirement Panel Could Re-define Way of ‘Supporting the Troops.’

John Grady, ScoutComms. While Congress shot down DoD’s proposed new round of Base Re-Alignment and Closures they did quietly approve the Military Compensation and Retirement Compensation Modernization Commission with potentially long term results. The new panel will review how troops of the future are paid, medically supported, and recieve retirement benefits though the legislation specifically grandfathers existing troops and retirees. Members will be appointed in March or April and will have two years to report out their recommendations to Congress.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences: 

AUSA Winter Symposium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Wed-Fri, 20-22 Feb) The AUSA Winter Symposium is smaller compared to the massive annual conference in Washington, but the more intimate setting offers an opportunity to hear from leaders of major Army organizations and for businesses to conduct meetings and interact in a more relaxed setting than the frenetic pace of the October event. This year’s theme focuses on “preparing the Army for an unpredictable global security environment out to the year 2020 and beyond.”

AFA Air Warfare Symposium, Orlando, FL (Wed-Thu, 20-21 Feb) The Air Force Association also holds a winter Symposium in Florida this week with speakers including Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark A. Welsh, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody and other Air Force leaders. Top aerospace and defense companies will also be exhibiting the latest in air warfare technology.

Congress: Both the House and Senate are on recess this week.

Think tanks and other news events: 

Center for National Policy and the Truman National Security Project: Women in Combat: The Changing Roles of Women in the U.S. Military, Washington, DC (12:00 PM, Thu 21 Feb) Description: On January 24th, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the elimination of the ground combat exclusion rule for women in the military. Panetta stated his desire to move forward with a plan to eliminate all gender-based barriers to service. The panel will discuss the effects Secretary Panetta’s decision will have on current, and future generations of servicemembers, as well as which barriers will be the most challenging to overcome. RSVP online. Participants: Mike Breen, Executive Director of TrumanCNP, Kayla Williams, Author of Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the US Army Location: One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 333, Washington, DC  20001

The Heritage Foundation: Veteran Nation, Washington, DC (4:30 PM, Thu 21 Feb) Description: A film screening and discussion of Veteran Nation, a film described as “an overview of how the nation has treated its veterans from the American Revolution to the present, and then focuses on the contemporary and future challenges of serving the nation’s veterans. It tells the story of contemporary veterans who are fighting to heal the wounds of war while preparing for a lifetime of service.” RSVP online. Participants: James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, and Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies Location: Allison Auditorium, Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002

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 Tuesday, February 19, 2013 7:37 am

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