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February 4 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

As Sequestration Looms, Contractors Don’t Fret

Marjorie Censer and Jim Tankersley (@CommonCenser and @jtankersley), Washington Post. Fourth quarter results calls with investors had the big defense contractors expressing enthusiastic optimism that sequester isn’t going to happen and everything’s going to be fine for the defense industry. Translation: “These aren’t the droid’s you’re looking for. Move along.” Unfortunately, no amount of Jedi mind tricks seems to be working up on Capitol Hill where almost no one thinks this Congress will pull off a compromise stopping the automatic cuts on March 1st. Analysts have little faith in the industry at this point due to the amount of uncertainty in the next two months. Meanwhile small businesses aren’t so optimistic….

Charleston’s Economy Girds for Leaner Defense Budgets

Tim Mullaney (@timmullaney), USA Today. Charleston serves as a microcosm of what pending defense cuts could do in cities around the country that rely on the defense industry and military for a large portion of their economy. While the impacts are theoretical to many in the country, they are very real in a city where the potential loss of thousands of jobs will have a massive impact. The local government has taken an aggressive lead after lessons learned during the post-Cold War cuts when the city lost a naval shipyard and thousands of jobs. Small businesses are already losing contracts and looking to civil work to keep their employees and make it through what promises to be a long-term downturn for the industry.

U.S. Special Ops to Feel Budget Pain, Leaders Say

Paul McLeary (@paulmcleary), Defense News. No corner of the military will be spared from cuts thanks to the Continuing Resolution, planned cuts, and the impending sequestration. At last week’s National Defense Industrial Association SO/LIC conference, SOCOM Commander Adm. William McRaven and other speakers laid out how even the usually well funded special operations community will be feeling the squeeze with a loss of about $1 billion in 2013. In the field, cuts to the partnership and training missions that are a hallmark of overseas special forces work will amount to a 25% reduction in those missions. Leaders insist they will preserve combat power but cuts in training can’t help.

Veteran Unemployment: What Crisis?

Chris Marvin (@ChrisMMarvin), Director of Got Your 6 on the Huffington Post. New veterans unemployment numbers came out this week and showed another increase in those looking for work. Marvin suggests looking critically at the numbers, though. Overall, veterans’ unemployment is lower than the rest of the population. When talking about post-9/11 veterans’ unemployment, the number goes up, but Marvin says one has to consider the factors that differentiate them from their civilian peers. If controlling for education and age, young veterans aren’t faring particularly worse than any other group. The message shouldn’t be that veterans are a charity case, Marvin argues, it should be based on the facts: that veterans are good employees and are worthy hires as evidenced by their employment rates over the long-term. Leo Shane (@LeoShane) at Stars and Stripes has the story on this week’s unemployment numbers.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences:  There are no major tradeshows or conferences this week.

Congress: There are no pertinent hearings this week.

Think tanks and other news events: 

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Does Afghanistan’s Reconstruction Have a Future?, Washington, DC (9:30 AM, Mon 4 Feb) Description: A discussion about the recent SIGAR’s Quarterly Report to Congress. The United States faces very tough questions about the future of its reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. As the United States and allies prepare to transfer security and other responsibilities to the Afghan government, will civilian reconstruction efforts have the same security they need to continue? How will projects be monitored and progress measured? Above all, what are the objectives of civilian reconstruction and can the United States provide the support needed to achieve them? RSVP online. Participants: John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction Location: B1 A/B Conference Room, 1800 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006

Center for Strategic and International Studies: The United States and Central Asia After 2014, Washington, DC (4:00 PM, Tue 5 Feb) Description: With the drawdown of international forces from Afghanistan in 2014, Central Asia will cease to be a region of pressing strategic focus in U.S. global strategy. This shift threatens to undermine the region’s precarious stability, which could in turn create new problems for the United States and the broader international community. A new report from the CSIS Russia & Eurasia Program, “The United States and Central Asia After 2014,” offers recommendations that can help advance U.S. engagement in Central Asia and promote security cooperation, political stability, and sustainable regional economic growth. RSVP online. Participants: Dr. Jeffrey Mankoff, Deputy Director and Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program at CSIS, Thomas E. Graham, Managing Director, Kissinger Associates, Inc., S. Frederick Starr, Chairman, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Location: B1 A/B Conference Room, 1800 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20006

Brookings Institution: Crisis in Mali and North Africa: Regional Dynamics and International Priorities, Washington, DC (10:00 AM, Wed 6 Feb) Description: France’s recent military intervention in Mali and the hostage crisis in Algeria have brought international attention to continuing instability in West and North Africa. The crisis has renewed focus not just on the region, but also on Europe’s approach toward Africa, American policies to combat extremism and the complex history and relationships that shape modern dynamics in the Sahel. A discussion on the crisis in Mali and explore how current affairs and priorities in France, the U.S., and West and North Africa have influenced recent events and the trajectory of the conflict going forward. RSVP online. Participants: Mwangi S. Kimenyi, Director, Africa Growth Initiative, Global Economy and Development, Daniel L. Byman, Research Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Todd Moss, Vice President for Programs and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, Justin Vaïsse, Director of Research, Center on the United States and Europe Location: Saul/Zilkha Rooms, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

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.

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This entry was posted on Monday, February 04, 2013 10:13 am

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