March 11 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

F-35’s Ability to Evade Budget Cuts Illustrates Challenge of Paring Defense Spending

Rajiv Chandrasekaran (@rajivwashpost), Washington Post. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is the most expensive weapon system in history and in these times of budget cuts it manages to survive relatively unscathed in spite of problems since the very beginning of the program. Chandrasekaran takes an in depth look at how the design of the program with concurrent fielding while it’s still being tested has virtually locked the program into development after over $84 billion has already been sunk to the aircraft. Throw in the old classic of building the aircraft using suppliers in 45 different states and you have a program that will be nearly impossible to kill even if it never works as promised. Just this week an operational utility evaluation report was leaked that showed the aircraft is currently completely unable to execute any of its combat missions due to helmet, radar and high-backed pilot’s seat that limits visibility.

Businesses in Military Towns Brace for Cuts

Kristin M. Hall (@kmhall) and Michael Biesecker (@mbieseck), Associated Press. Small businesses located near military installations across the country are preparing for the worst with the budget cuts brought on by sequestration and the continuing resolution. Most expect that with furloughs, contracts being cut, and layoffs possible, the disposable income that has fueled their businesses from restaurants to car dealerships will become scarcer. Throw in concerns about programs like affordable childcare and morale support systems and the uncertainty has stress levels as high as during deployments. Leigh Munsil at Politico writes about how the real impact isn’t on the big defense companies but small business suppliers as companies that owe their entire revenue stream to one or two federal contracts find themselves in the crosshairs. Out in Main Street America the sequestration is about real jobs and economic hardships but in DC the talk is all about who is “winning” and political theater. That disconnect is going to hurt a lot of people before this is settled.

Beechcraft Protests Light Air Support Award; Kansas Lawmakers on the Warpath

Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr. (@SydneyFreedberg), AOL Defense. In news that shocked almost no one based on the past history of the Air Force’s attempt to purchase light attack aircraft for the Afghan Air Force, Kansas based Beechcraft is protesting the award of the contract to Sierra Nevada and its partner Brazilian Embraer. The Kansas Congressional delegation and others are claiming that the Air Force bought the more expensive aircraft even though the T-6 Texan performed better in evaluations. The truth seems to be a little grayer however as Sydney finds that when you look at past performance and risk the Super Tucano can rely on its use on several developing countries in combat where the T-6 offered is still in prototype and yet to fly a single combat sortie. Last time this contract was protested the whole thing was thrown out. We’ll see what happens this time.

Pentagon Cyberdefenses Weak, Report Warns

Ellen Nakashima (@nakashimae), Washington Post. The Defense Science Board released an unclassified report last week that concludes that the U.S. Department of Defense is unprepared for a true cyber-conflict with a top-tier adversary and must do much more to prepare for cyberattack. There has been a lot of news lately about how the Pentagon is growing its Cybercommand and adding new policies but the panel of civilian and government experts finds that those efforts are still too “fragmented” and uncoordinated as our adversaries build their abilities. Just last month electronic security company Mandiant reported how a Chinese military unit has been hacking American companies and government systems methodically for years. The U.S. has nothing in comparison and is years away from being able to fend off the levels of sophistication in that report.

Unemployment Among Post-9/11 Veterans Still Running Heavy

Bill Briggs (@writerdude), While overall veteran unemployment remains lower than the civilian population’s unemployment rate, young veterans are still unemployed at a higher rate than their peers. It’s a familiar refrain, unfortunately, and no matter where one comes down on the long-term versus short-term debate over unemployment numbers, everyone seems to agree that sequestration will adversely affect this vulnerable group. With defense contractors and the government employing a large number of veterans, cutbacks and furloughs could mean even starker jobs numbers for veterans. In these austere times, though, there are still new initiatives popping up every day looking to get veterans to work. Vetransfer, one of the latest, works with veterans pursuing entrepreneurship as a career path.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows and Conferences:  We are not aware of any major conferences or tradeshows this week.

Congress: Both chambers are in session this week.


House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel (10:00 AM, Wed 13 Mar) Impact of the Continuing Resolution, Sequestration, and Declining Operations and Maintenance Budgets on Military Personnel and Family Related Programs Witnesses: Lieutenant General Howard B. Bromberg, USA, Deputy Chief of Staff G-1, U.S. Army, Lieutenant General Darrell D. Jones, USAF, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant General Robert E. Milstead, USMC, Deputy Commandant, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, U.S. Marine Corps, Vice Admiral Scott R. Van Buskirk, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education, U.S. Navy, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, Department of Defense, The Honorable Jessica Wright, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Department of Defense Location: 2118 Rayburn

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health (10:00 AM, Wed 13 Mar) Meeting Patient Care Needs: Measuring the Value of VA Physician Staffing Standards Witnesses: TBD Location: 340 Cannon

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities (2:00 PM, Wed 13 Mar) Information Technology and Cyber Operations: Modernization and Policy Issues to Support the Future Force Witnesses: General Keith Alexander, Commander, United States Cyber Command, The Honorable Elizabeth McGrath, Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense, The Honorable Teri Takai, Chief Information Officer, Department of Defense Location: 2212 Rayburn

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (2:00 PM, Wed 13 Mar)

Gulf War: What Kind of Care are Veterans Receiving 20 Years Later? Witnesses: TBD Location: 334 Cannon

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity (10:00 AM, Thu 14 Mar) Lowering the Rate of Unemployment for the National Guard and Reserve: Are We Making Progress? Witnesses: TBD Location: 334 Cannon

House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations (1:30 PM, Thu 14  Mar) Waiting for Care: Examining Patient Wait Times at VA Witnesses: Mr. William Schoenhard, FACHE, Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management Veterans Health Administration U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Thomas Lynch, M.D., Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health Clinical Operations and Management Veterans Health Administration U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Philip Matkovsky, Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Administrative Operations Veterans Health Administration U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Michael Davies, M.D., National Director of Systems Redesign Veterans Health Administration U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Ms. Debra A. Draper, Director, Health Care Government Accountability Office, Mr. Roscoe Butler, National Field Service Representative Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission The American Legion Location: 334 Cannon

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness (3:30 PM, Thu 14 Mar) Is BRAC Appropriate at this Time? Witnesses: Mr. John Conger, Acting Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment, Department of Defense, Ms. Kathleen Ferguson, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Installations, Environment and Logistics, Department of Defense, The Honorable Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Energy, and the Environment), Department of Defense, Mr. Roger Natsuhara, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy Energy, Installations and Environment, Department of Defense Location: 2118 Rayburn

House Armed Services (10:00 AM, Fri 15 Mar) The Posture of the U.S. Africa Command and U.S. European Command Witnesses: General Carter F. Ham, USA, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, Admiral James G. Stavridis, USN, Commander, U.S. European Command, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Location: 2118 Rayburn


Senate Armed Services (9:30 AM, Tue 12 Mar) Oversight hearing to receive testimony on U.S. Strategic Command and U.S. Cyber Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2014 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: General C. Robert Kehler, USAF, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command, General Keith B. Alexander, USA, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command Location: G50 Dirksen

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (10:00 AM, Tue 12 Mar) Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States Witnesses: TBD Location: 216 Hart

Senate Veterans Affairs (10:00 AM, Wed 13 Mar) VA Claims Process: Review of VA’s Transformation Efforts Witnesses: TBD Location: 418 Russell

Senate Armed Services (10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, Wed 13 Mar) Oversight hearing to receive testimony on sexual assaults in the military. Witnesses: Anu Bhagwati, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Service Women’s Action Network, BriGette McCoy, Former Specialist, United States Army, Rebekah Havrilla, Former Sergeant, United States Army, Brian K. Lewis, Former Petty Officer Third Class, United States Navy Advocacy Board Member, Protect Our Defenders. 2:00 Panel: Robert S. Taylor, Acting General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Lieutenant General Dana K. Chipman, JAGC, USA, Judge Advocate General of the United States Army, Vice Admiral Nanette M. DeRenzi, JAGC, USN, Judge Advocate General of the United States Navy, Lieutenant General Richard C. Harding, JAGC, USAF, Judge Advocate General of the United States Air Force, Vaughn A. Ary, USMC, Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General Gary S. Patton, USA, Director, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Rear Admiral Frederick J. Kenney, Jr., USCG, Judge Advocate General of the United States Coast Guard Location: 216 Hart

Think tanks and other news events: 

AARP Public Policy Institute: Cost-of-Living Adjustments and Federal Benefits: Understanding the Full Implications of Change, Washington, DC (10:00 AM, Mon 11 Mar) Description: A discussion of how the federal government measures the cost of living and how changes being considered will impact a range of government programs that serve tens of millions of Americans including veterans. RSVP online.
Participants: Stephen Goss
, Chief Actuary, Social Security Administration, Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic Policy and Research, Sita Slavov, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute, Rebecca Vallas, Staff Attorney, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia, Tom Tarantino, Chief Policy Officer, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Location: U.S. Capitol Visitors Center, SVC Room 201, Washington, DC 20001

The Brookings Institution: Security Challenges During a Time of Transition, Washington, DC (10:00 AM, Wed 13 Mar) Description: On March 13, the 21st Century Defense Initiative at Brookings will host its fourth annual Military and Federal Fellow Research Symposium. The theme of this symposium will be ‘Security Challenges During a Time of Transition,’ reflecting the war drawdowns, new fiscal realities, and upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review. Panel discussions will focus on fellows’ independent research findings in the areas of military leadership, the composition and structure of military forces, an increasing reliance on technology, and emerging maritime challenges. RSVP online. Participants: Thomas E. Ricks, author, Lieutenant General James M. Dubik (Ret.), Senior Fellow, Institute for the Study of War, Arati Prabhakar, Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Tim Kane, Chief Economist, Hudson Institute, Noah Shachtman, Editor, Danger Room, Nonresident Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Peter W. Singer, Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Location: Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036

Center for National Policy: 10 Years in Iraq: Perspectives from Washington to the Front Line, Washington, DC (11:00 AM, Thu 14 Mar) Description: On March 19, 2003 the United States launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. 10-years later, Americans are reflecting upon the decisions that took us into the war that shaped the first decade of the 21st century. The first panel will discuss the policies surrounding the decision to bring us into Iraq and the second features a veteran and a journalist sharing stories from their time on the ground in Iraq. RSVP online. Participants: Katherine Brown, former assistant to the National Security Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser at the National Security Council, John Gannon, former deputy director for intelligence at the CIA, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post Correspondent, Jason Fritz, 3d Infantry Division from 2003 until 2008 Location: One Massachusetts Avenue, NW Suite 333, Washington, D.C. 20001

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, March 11, 2013 10:43 am

Leave a Reply

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

Notify me of updates to this conversation