June 18 Defense Industry Weekly Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Layoff Threats Put Congress on Notice

Austin Wright, Politico. The defense industry upped the ante a bit more this week on Congress in their efforts to head off the dreaded sequestration budget axe. Notices went to representatives that unless the automatic budget cuts are stopped they will have to lay off defense workers and since the law requires a 60-day notice, those pink slips would go out just four days before the November election making life very difficult for a whole lot of incumbents. While the real need for these moves is in doubt, it certainly makes it clear to Congress that businesses aren’t going to sit idly by and hope Congress gets their act together during the lame duck session after the election. It remains to be seen if Congress is even remotely capable of pulling off a compromise.

Pentagon Soon to Deploy Pint-Sized but Lethal Switchblade Drones

W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times. DoD is fielding a new class of UAV’s designed to be man-portable precision strike weapons with a small warhead called the Switchblade, built by AeroVironment, Inc. The system is tube-launched and deploys its wings as it’s flown to the target. It delivers a small explosive capable of taking out a sniper or IED in a road without calling in a larger airstrike, hopefully minimizing collateral damage. Interestingly the manufacturer developed the system on their own and pitched to Special Operations Command, who tested it with positive results and will now find its way to the regular forces as well.

Defence Cuts Cast Shadow Over Paris Arms Show

Adrian Croft, Reuters. Reuters takes a look at the mood and trends at the massive Eurosatory show in Paris last week and finds a lot of what we have heard already about likely grabs of mid-market and niche defense firms by the big players and coming challenges.  The show is said to have attracted its largest attendance ever with some 1,400 exhibitors on hand. Moves towards greater foreign sales and partnerships between companies continue to be the most immediate issues as the full impact of western budget cuts and withdrawal from Afghanistan is yet to hit.

Drones, Computers New Weapons of US Shadow Wars

Kimberly Dozier, Lolita Baldor & Robert Burns, Associated Press. The AP’s dream team of defense journalists takes a look at the new face of modern war as the U.S. has turned increasingly to using unmanned aircraft and cyber operations to combat terrorists and other threats. From Somalia to Iran an undeclared war is occurring with little oversight from Congress or scrutiny of its management, causing growing concern among rights groups and elected officials who question the power of the executive branch to conduct these missions autonomously. Clearly these approaches aren’t going away and probably represent the one area in the national security industry that faces growth in coming years. It’s worth a look to get a feel for the issues in these controversial non-wars.

Hiring Veterans is Good Business, Study Says

Gregg Zoroya, USA Today. The Center for a New American Security released a study on veterans employment issues based on interviews with some 87 business leaders that showed that 70% hire veterans cause of how they help the bottom line. They like the skills that veterans bring to the company like leadership, purpose, direction and motivation, and 50% highlighted the character of veterans impressed them the most. At the same time they are struggling to interpret a military career into skills needed in their firms and most confirmed that stereotypes exist for combat veterans on their stability and worries about PTSD. All in all the CNAS work confirms what other studies have found, that the soft skills a veterans brings are good for the bottom line even if the precise skills aren’t a perfect match for the employer.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences:

National Conference on Volunteering and Service Turning Point 2012 (Sat-Wed, 16-20 June) McCormick Place West, Chicago, IL. This conference sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation brings together thousands of non-profits and supporters to discuss a range of issues in the non-profit sector. This year the event features a pre-conference summit called All the Way Home: The Blueprint for Meaningful Community Response. Our friend from George Washington University Veterans Office and Team Rubicon, Geoff Ball, is in attendance and will be reporting for us on what he hears for veterans and some of the top issues being discussed. Keep your eyes peeled for his reports via our social media channels and on our blog later this week.

NDIA Stability, Security, Transition& Reconstruction Operations (SSTRO) (Mon-Tues, 18-19 June) Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, Arlington, Virginia. This conference from the National Defense Industrial Association explores the challenging world that happens after combat operations, or often, instead of combat operations. They will examine recent operations and the lessons learned with an eye on places in the world in transition such as the Sudan and Somalia. They will examine in depth the successes in Columbia and Liberia and draw from them the policies, programs and practices that worked.

NDIA 9th Annual Small Business Conference (Wed-Thurs, 20-21 June) Stephens Convention Center, Chicago, IL. NDIA hosts this small business conference for defense-oriented efforts in a different location each year. This year marks a tough year to be in the defense industry for any business and small businesses face extreme headwinds in this market. The conference will feature speakers from a host of DoD and armed services contracting folks and business leaders offering tips and techniques for those looking to work with government agencies mostly.

DCoE for Psychological Health and TBI Annual DoD/VA Suicide Prevention Conference (Wed-Fri, 20-22 June) Renaissance Washington D.C. Hotel. This joint conference between the DoD and VA is the fourth annual and comes at a time of more bad news in military suicide as it was reported that in the first 155 days of the year there were 154 military suicides. This conference brings together hundreds of experts in the field and will feature visits from top leaders of DoD, the military services and VA to address what is a growing problem that is resisting concerted efforts by both departments to recede. We expect a lot more media scrutiny and coverage of this conference than in the past.

Congress:   The full Congress is in session this week.


Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Wed, 20 June) Science and Space Subcommittee hearing on “Risks, Opportunities, and Oversight of Commercial Space.” Witnesses: William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; retired Air Force Col. Pamela Melroy, senior technical advisor in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation; Gerald Dillingham, director of civil aviation issues at the Government Accountability Office; Michael Gold, director of D.C. operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace, LLc; and retired Navy Capt. Michael Lopez-Alegria, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, testify Location: 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (2:30 PM, Wed, 20 June) Personnel Subcommittee hearing on Defense Department programs and policies to support military families with special needs. Witnesses: Principal Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Health Affairs Karen Guice, principal deputy director for TRICARE Management Activity; Rebecca Posante, deputy director of the Defense Department’s Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs; Vera Tait, associate executive director and director of the Department of Community and Specialty Pediatrics at the American Academy of Pediatrics; Jeremy Hilton, 2012 Military Spouse of the Year; Geraldine Dawson, chief science officer for Autism Speaks, and professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a representative from the Office of Personnel Management, testify Location: 232-A Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Thurs, 21 June) Full committee hearing on “Implementation of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) Treaty, and Related Matters.” Witnesses: Energy Undersecretary for Nuclear Security Thomas D’Agostino, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration; Acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller; Assistant Defense Secretary for Global Strategic Affairs Madelyn Creedon, testify Location:  419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

House of Representatives: 

House Homeland Security Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Tues, 19 June) Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee hearing on “Border Security Threats to the Homeland: DHS’ (Homeland Security Department) Response to Innovative Tactics and Techniques. Witnesses: Donna Bucella, assistant commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Intelligence and Investigative Liaison; James Dinkins, executive associate director of homeland security investigations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement; Coast Guard Rear Adm. William “Dean” Lee, deputy for operations policy and capabilities; and Rear Adm. Charles Michel, director of Joint Interagency Task Force South, testify Location:  311 Cannon House Office Building

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:30 AM, Tues, 19 June) Full committee hearing on “Reclaiming the Process: Examining the VBA (Veterans’ Benefits Administration) Claims Transformation Plan as a Means to Effectively Serve our Veterans.” Witnesses: TBD Location:  334 Cannon House Office Building

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Markup (10:30 AM, Tues, 19 June) Full committee markup to approve the “Activities Report of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.” Witnesses: N/A Location:  334 Cannon House Office Building

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Wed, 20 June) Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee hearing on H.R.2985, the “Veteran’s I.D. Card Act”; H.R.3730, the “Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act”; H.R.4481, the “Veterans Affairs Employee Accountability Act”; and H.R.5948, to amend title 38, U.S. Code, to improve the supervision of fiduciaries of veterans under the laws administered by the secretary of Veterans Affairs. Witnesses:  TBD Location:  334 Cannon House Office Building

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Thurs, 21 June) Economic Opportunity Subcommittee hearing on H.R.4115, the “Helping Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Return to Employment at Home Act”; H.R.4740, the “Fairness for Military Homeowners Act of 2012”; H.R.3860, the “Help Veterans Return to Work Act”; and H.R.5747, the “Military Family Home Protection Act.” Witnesses: TBD Location:  334 Cannon House Office Building

Think tanks and other news events: 

National Housing Conference: Coming Home: Framing the Housing Challenges Washington, D.C. (8:30 AM, Fri 22 Jun) Description: NHC’s Annual Policy Symposium which will look at the challenges veterans face in housing: particularly foreclosure prevention, access to mortgage credit, and homelessness. In addition to prominent speakers from Congress and the Administration, the program will include two panels on housing solutions with particular emphasis on programs for veterans and service members: Homelessness and rental housing—highlighting proven ways to end homelessness among veterans, particularly through supportive housing, service enrichment of rental projects, and tenant-based solutions. Foreclosure prevention and homeownership preservation—highlighting effective, scalable responses to prevent foreclosures and support struggling homeowners. Potential topics include: home rehab and retrofit assistance for service members, veterans, and their families, shared appreciation mortgages, structured short sales, and REO conversion. RSVP online. Location: Grand Hyatt, 1000 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005

Government Executive: View From the Top: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Washington, D.C. (8:30 AM, Tue 19 Jun) Description: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey is the top military adviser to President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. General Dempsey is responsible for managing the drawdown of our Afghanistan commitment, and for preparing the military for tomorrow’s wars. We face a “security paradox,” he says: while worldwide violence has declined, destructive technologies are proliferating among potential enemies among state and non-state actors. To meet challenges in space, cyber warfare and other emerging frontiers, a new “Joint Force of 2020” must be created, Dempsey says. That will be a complex task, inasmuch “as we look toward the future, each Service–and our total Joint Force–face fundamental questions about identity, roles and capabilities,” as the Chairman’s says.  RSVP online. Participants: General Martin Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Location: 13th Floor Ballroom, National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20045

The Marshall Institute: Big Data and National Security Space: How Industry Plans to Address the Intel Crunch Washington, D.C. (9:00 AM, Thu 21 Jun) Description: With the evolving convergence of the space and information technology industries, there has been a recent increased focus on “Big Data.”  The exploitation and analysis of large data sets (Big Data) has the potential to be a key basis of competition, improving decision-making capabilities, fostering innovation, while boosting efficiencies. In the arena of national security space, Big Data could be a game changer. RSVP online. Participants: Gene Milchak, Vice President of Satellite Ground Systems and Operations, General Dynamics C4S, Timothy Paydos, Director, WW Government Information Agenda Team, IBM, Britt Lewis, Vice President of Business Strategy, Intelsat General, William Freeman, Director of Technology, Cyber Intelligence Division, Northrop Grumman Location: TechAmerica, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600 (Indiana Avenue Entrance), Washington, D.C. 20005

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Combating Piracy: Roles for Regional Partners and Private Industry Washington, D.C. (9:30 AM, Thu 21 Jun) Description: Over the past several years, pirates operating from Somalia have made the Gulf of Aden the most treacherous body of water in the world, as hijacking, kidnapping, and extortion have proliferated. While the deployment of international naval forces to the Gulf appears to have had some impact on piracy in the region, these forces are faced with the difficult task of protecting a vast swath of ocean with only a handful of vessels. Some have suggested a greater role for regional actors as well as private industry in addressing this threat. RSVP online. Participants: Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, Director of the CSIS Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Program Location: B1 A/B Conference Room, CSIS, 1800 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006

The Heritage Foundation: Challenging America: How Russia, China, and Other Countries Use Public Diplomacy to Compete with the U.S. Washington, D.C. (10:00 AM, Fri 22 Jun) Description: Competing aggressively with the United States for the “hearts and minds” of people around the world, many state and non-state actors are funneling significant resources into their public diplomacy strategies. The Chinese government announced in 2009 that it would spend almost $7 billion on a “global media drive” to improve its image. The Russian government allocated $1.4 billion for international propaganda in 2010. Meanwhile, in the U.S., a confluence of issues, tightening budgets, and changing foreign policy directions compound the challenges that Americans face. RSVP online. Participants: Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Helle Dale, Senior Fellow for Public Diplomacy, Dean Cheng, Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center Location: Lehrman Auditorium, The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002 

Fred Wellman with General Petraeus in Iraq

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.

+Fred Wellman

This entry was posted on Monday, June 18, 2012 8:53 am

Leave a Reply

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

Notify me of updates to this conversation