February 25 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Hagel on Track to Narrowly Win Confirmation as Defense Secretary

Paul West (@paulwestdc), Los Angeles Times. Congress returns from its 10-day “Presidents Day” recess and will likely take up a confirmation vote for Secretary of Defense nominee and former Senator Chuck Hagel on Tuesday. With several Republican Senators having declared their support for the embattled nominee it appears he has enough votes to be confirmed. It has been a contentious fight and many pundits are calling him politically damaged by the fight but all of this becomes relatively moot as sequestration kicks in on Friday. At that point attention turns to a political budget battle that was almost completely ignored over nitpicking about past speeches and historic comments during his confirmation process. Let the games begin.

U.S. Grounds Entire F-35 Fleet Over Engine Issues

Aaron Mehta (@AaronMehta), Defense News. The entire F-35 Joint Strike Fighter fleet was grounded on Friday after a crack was discovered in a blade in the low pressure turbine of an Air Force test aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base. This latest setback comes just 9 days after the Marine variant was cleared to resume test flights after a month-long grounding. The timing couldn’t be much worse for the program as sequestration budget cuts weigh on everyone’s minds and the most expensive weapons program in history continues to struggle. Australia is currently questioning its dedication to the program as delays continue and they consider doubling their fleet of F/A-18s instead. The program hinges on costs being spread out among multiple countries that purchase the aircraft, but that falls further into doubt with each setback.

White House Releases State-by-state Breakdown of Sequester’s Effects

Zachary A. Goldfarb (@Goldfarb) and Paul Kane, Washington Post. In Round 157 of the great sequester fight the White House released 51 fact sheets Sunday evening detailing the impacts of the automatic budget cuts on each of the states and the District of Columbia. The Washington D.C. region would see a host of impacts even beyond the 150,000 Defense Department employees who would be furloughed one day a week through September. The White House and Congress are offering their own approaches to stopping the cuts that no one expects to pass this week while finger pointing on who is to blame dominates the conversation. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is moving towards new and ever more painful cuts and adjustments to deal with sequester and the continuing resolution debacle including dragging out payments to contractors to save cash. If the past is any guide, the deadline will come and go on Friday then some sort of a compromise will be worked out the next week that everyone claims is a victory and only kicks the can further down the road.

IDEX: Explosion of UAVs at Exhibit

Christopher P. Cavas (@CavasShips), Defense News. Abu Dhabi hosted the annual IDEX defense trade show last week and the news coming out of the show was pretty heavy on UAVs. There are dozens of systems on display from countries as diverse as Pakistan and Turkey and include Predators to quad-copters the size of hobby planes. One of the most interesting announcements was that the UAE is planning to purchase an undisclosed number of specially modified unarmed Predators for $197 million in what would be the first non-NATO purchase of the venerable system. We expect the debate will be a hot one on the purchase though arguments miss the huge proliferation of systems on the market already.

Defense Contractors Rethinking Veteran Support

Marjorie Censer (@CommonCenser), Washington Post. With their heavy recruiting of separating personnel, defense contractors employ a lot of veterans. Now, they have to focus on training and retaining veterans. Each firm is trying a variety of potentially impactful options including peer support groups and targeted orientation packages. Dan Frank, CEO of ScoutComms client VetAdvisor, is quoted in the article noting this important shift from recruitment to retention. VetAdvisor is a holistic employee assistance program for veterans that supports veterans with financial, career, and mental and physical health coaching.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences:  No major tradeshows or conference this week. Next week: Heli Expo in Las Vegas.

Congress: Both chambers are in session this week.

Joint House and Senate Hearings:

House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees (2:00 PM, Tue 26 Feb) Joint House and Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to receive Legislative Presentation of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Witnesses: TBD Location: 345 Cannon

Joint House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees (10:00 AM, Thu 28 Feb) Joint House and Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to receive Legislative Presentation of Military Officers Association of America, Retired Enlisted Association, Non Commissioned Officers Association, Blinded Veterans Association, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Wounded Warrior Project, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, American Ex-Prisoners of War Witnesses: TBD Location: G50 Dirksen


House Veterans’ Affairs Committees (9:15 AM, Wed 27 Feb) Electronic Health Record U-Turn: Are VA and DoD Headed in the Wrong Direction? Witnesses: TBD Location: 334 Cannon

Think tanks and other news events: 

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Al-Qaeda in the United States, Washington, DC (10:00 AM, Tue 26 Feb) Description: In recent years, several individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds have attempted to attack the United States on behalf of al-Qaeda. These individuals have defied easy categorization, creating challenges for intelligence, law enforcement, and other agencies tasked with countering their activities. However, with the publication of ‘Al-Qaeda in the United States’, the Henry Jackson Society seeks to provide new insights into the al-Qaeda movement and its U.S. operations by rigorously analyzing those involved or affiliated with the organization. RSVP online. Participants: General Michael Hayden (Ret.), Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, Robin Simcox, Publication Author and Research Fellow, Henry Jackson Society Location: B1 A/B Conference Room, 1800 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006

American Enterprise Institute: Al Qaeda 2.0: Remarks from Senator Saxby Chambliss, Washington, DC (12:00 PM, Wed 27 Feb) Description: Hard-pressed to survive in core strongholds, al Qaeda has staged a recovery through growing affiliates in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali. The fluid composition of the terrorist group has created new trials for a US president who has largely relegated his foreign policy to drone warfare, and looming automatic spending cuts threaten to weaken US conventional capabilities. How should policymakers confront a transformed al Qaeda threat? How can the United States combat al Qaeda fighters still trying to make inroads into Afghanistan? Is the drone campaign succeeding? RSVP online. Participants: Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), US Senate Location: Twelfth Floor, 1150 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036

Center for National Policy: Why Mali Matters: Economics and Extremism in North Africa, Washington, DC (12:15 PM, Wed 27 Feb) Description: In January 2013, North Africa took center stage as French military forces intervened against Islamist extremists in Mali. Later in the month a BP gas facility in Algeria was the site of a deadly hostage crisis. In the aftermath of the hostage crisis U.S. President Barack Obama said his administration would work with other countries to “combat the scourge of terrorism in the region, which has claimed too many innocent lives. This attack is another reminder of the threat posed by al Qaeda and other violent extremist groups in North Africa.” RSVP online. Participants: Dr. Paul Sullivan, NDU, Dr. Stephanie Pezard, RAND Location: One Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 333, Washington, DC 20001

United States Insitute of Peace: Media as Global Diplomat: Media that Moves Millions, Washington, DC (8:30 AM, Thu 28 Feb) Description: This panel will look at the unprecedented phenomena of user-generated media campaigns that have inspired masses of participants and rocked political systems. RSVP online. Participants: Nicholas Kristof, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author and op-ed columnist, Alec Ross, Senior Adviser for Innovation, U.S. Department of State, Clay Shirky, Award-winning Author and NYU Professor, Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs at GWU, Ben Keesey, Executive Director, CEO of Invisible Children, Oscar Morales, Creator, One Million Voices Against the FARC, Patricia Harrison, President, CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), Hari Sreenivasan, PBS NewsHour correspondent Location: 2301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20037

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, February 25, 2013 9:11 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of updates to this conversation