May 7 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Helicopter Industry Adjusts to New Reality

Bob Cox, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. The American Helicopter Society held their annual meeting in Ft. Worth last week and it seems the key word on everyone’s lips was ‘affordability’ in every pitch. The industry faces a remarkably flat cycle of buying from its U.S. Army and Marine customers with little change seen on the horizon. Just like every aspect of the defense industry, the helicopter market will be flat for the coming years even as new aircraft are needed and old airframes are kept in service far longer than previously anticipated.

DigitalGlobe Rejects $792 Million Buyout Offer from Herndon-based GeoEye

Steve Overly, Capital Business, Washington Post. There was a bit of buzz on Friday when GeoEye made a buyout offer for a competitor in the satellite imagery business, DigitalGlobe for $792 million. The offer was rejected formally on Sunday after a flurry of negotiations that have included GeoEye being the company being bought out in a 60-40 split of the companies. Instead, DigitalGlobe will hold its cards and wait to see what the actual budget shakes out with before making any moves. The two companies share the EnhancedView contract that provides imagery to the U.S. government. Major cuts to the program were submitted to Congress but the final bill is still far from set.

The Jet That Ate the Pentagon

Winslow Wheeler, Project on Government Oversight. Wheeler has been making a name for himself for years as a former defense official with a passion to reform the military’s acquisition and budget process. He is out here with an excoriating analysis of the F-35 program and it’s many problems. The Joint Strike Fighter will account for fully 38% of the DoD’s procurement budget and is supposed to replace nearly all of the combat aircraft in the U.S. inventories when it’s finally produced in large numbers. Wheeler rehashes a number of criticisms of the aircraft from its odd simultaneous procurement plan while it is still being tested, to its failings as a combat platform in all modes. It’s a fascinating, and depressing, read.

Military Airships: Hot Air or Soaring Promise?

David Axe, AOL Defense. Axe has a great comprehensive look at this fascinating sidebar of development occurring surrounding airships which last saw service in the 1960’s, but with the demand for long-endurance, low-cost aerial surveillance platforms in combat there has been a new focus on these unique flying machines. Right now the military uses a few dirigibles tethered above U.S. combat bases to monitor the surrounding areas. Several companies have developed prototypes and designs of systems that will be able to land like a helicopter but haul tens of thousands of pounds of supplies to remote locations in addition to the current surveillance missions. It’s an interesting look for this 75th anniversary of the explosion of the Hindenburg.

New name for PTSD could mean less stigma

Greg Jaffe, Washington Post. The Army is leading a push to change the name of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to drop the D and call it Post Traumatic Stress Injury. The basic theory driving this change is that it will help destigmatize the illness in hopes of encouraging more military members and veterans to seek help for their mental health challenges. The idea has met with some resistance among psychiatrists and others who say the medical definition should not be changed because of perceived stigma associated with the illness, but only if a name change reflects that actual sickness. The American Psychiatric Association is set to update its manual of mental illnesses for the first time since 2000 this year and this issue has been a major point of controversy.  Many veteran critics of the change point to the fact that just calling it an injury doesn’t change the military culture that still doesn’t tolerate perceived weaknesses. Many NCO’s and officers will muddle through with back problems and bad knees for years to continue their careers and question how PTSI will be any different.

The week ahead:

Themes:  The buzz this week will be about the House Armed Services Committee moving to the markup phase of the National Defense Authorization Bill as the battle between the White House and the GOP led House gets new life on this critical step towards a new budget. The Senate follows suit in two weeks. It’s not too late to sign up for the Milblogger conference and see our own Fred Wellman moderate a panel on social media with reps from all of the services.


SOFEX 2012 (Mon-Thurs, 7-10 May) Amman, Jordan. SOFEX is the premier international tradeshow and conference focused on special operations and homeland security missions and equipment hosted by the Jordanian government. It is well attended each year with a host of international firms sponsoring events and major attendees from various special operations organizations. It will be interesting to see how this year’s show goes in light of the continuing unrest in Syria and Egypt.

Big Data Conference (Tue-Wed, 8-9 May) Arlington, Virginia. The conference focuses on managing the massive data load that today’s military deals with from intelligence to cyber threats and finding ways to better mine that information for national security. The speaker list is pretty impressive for those in the data management sectors.

Congress:   The full Congress is in session this week.


Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (3:00 PM, Tues, 8 May) Airland Subcommittee hearing on tactical aircraft programs in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses:   Navy Vice Adm. David Venlet, program executive officer for the F-35 Lightning II Program; Air Force Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition; and Navy Vice Adm. Walter Skinner, principal military deputy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, testify Location:  232-A Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Thurs, 10 May) Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee hearing on the current readiness of U.S. forces in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program. Witnesses: Gen. Lloyd Austin III, vice chief of staff of the Army; Adm. Mark Ferguson III, vice chief of naval operations; Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps; and Gen. Philip Breedlove, vice chief of staff of the Air Force, testify Location:  232-A Russell Senate Office Building

House of Representatives: 

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:30 AM , Tues, 8 May) Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Subcommittee markup of the FY2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. Witnesses: N/A

Location:  H-140, U.S. Capitol

House Appropriations Committee – Hearing (11:30 AM, Tues, 8 May) Military Personnel Subcommittee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013.” Witnesses:  N/A Location:   2212 Rayburn House Office Building

House Armed Services Committee – Markup (10:00 AM, Wed, 9 May) Full committee markup of H.R.4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for FY2013.” Witnesses:  N/A Location: 2118 Rayburn House Office Building

Think tanks and other news events: 

Center for American Progress: The Future of Military Compensation: Equity vs. Affordability Washington, D.C. (10:00 AM, Mon 7 May) Description: Military personnel costs have nearly doubled since fiscal year 2001 and now consume one-third of the Pentagon’s base budget—about $180 billion per year. A panel of experts will discuss the Pentagon’s proposed changes and the new CAP report, and debate the proper cost-sharing balance between military service members, retirees, veterans, and taxpayers. RSVP online. Participants: Vice Admiral Norbert R. Ryan Jr. (ret.), President, Military Officers Association of America, Major General Arnold L. Punaro (ret.), CEO, Punaro Group, LLC; member, Defense Business Board, and Michael J. Bayer, CEO, Dumbarton Strategies; former Chairman, Defense Business Board Location: 10th floor, 1333 H Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20005

SIPRI North America: Decline of Armed Conflict: Will It Continue?  Washington, D.C. (12:30 PM, Mon 7 May) Description: There is a prevalent public perception that the world has become a more violent place. However, many leading experts agree that there has been a decline of violence and war since 1989. To expand upon these findings and explore their future implications, SIPRI North America will convene a roundtable discussion with two leading experts in the peace and conflict field. RSVP online. Participants: Dr. Sissela Bok, Board Member, SIPRI North America and Senior Visiting Fellow, Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Dr. Joshua S. Goldstein, Professor at the School of International Service, American University, and Dr. Peter Wallensteen, Dag Hammarskjöld Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University Location: 12th floor, 1111 19th Street NW, Washington D.C., 20036

Center for American Progress: Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century  Washington, D.C. (12:00 PM, Tues 8 May) Description: Mind Wars covers the ethical dilemmas and history of cutting-edge technology and neuroscience developed for military applications. As the author, Jonathan Moreno, discusses the innovative DARPA and the role of the intelligence community and countless university science departments in preparing the military and intelligence services for the 21st century, he also charts the future of national security. RSVP online. Participants: Jonathan Moreno, author, Mind Wars; Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress, moderated by PJ Crowley, former State Department Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Location: 10th floor, 1333 H Street NW, Washington, D.C., 20005

Stimson Center: What Kind of Defense Budget Would the American Public Make?

Washington, D.C. (10:00 AM, Thurs 10 May) Description: What would average Americans do if they were informed about the level and purposes of US defense spending and had a chance to weigh the arguments that experts make? Would they boost overall funding, or cut it? Would they spend more on air power or sea power? How much would they say the US should spend on nuclear arms? On major ground forces? On special forces? Most polls simply ask whether defense spending should be cut or not. But three organizations ­collaborated on a more useful survey. They provided a representative sample of the American public neutral information about how funds are currently being spent, and exposed them to the various arguments made by advocates in the contemporary debate on whether defense should be cut. The respondents then said what they wished to spend in key areas. RSVP online. Participants: Steven Kull, Director of the Program for Public Consultation, Matthew Leatherman, Analyst, Stimson’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense project, R. Jeffrey Smith, Managing Editor for National Security, Center for Public Integrity Location: 12th floor, 1111 19th Street NW, Washington D.C., 20036

Center for Strategic and International Studies: Treasury’s Role in National Security Washington, D.C. (10:00 AM, Thurs 10 May) Description: A discussion with David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, U.S. Department of the Treasury. As under secretary, he leads the department’s policy, enforcement, regulatory, and intelligence functions aimed at identifying and disrupting the lines of financial support to international terrorist organizations. In this role, he serves as a member of the Obama administration’s national security team in developing financial strategies to combat these wide-ranging threats and protect the U.S. and international financial systems from abuse. RSVP online. Participants: The Honorable David S. Cohen, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, U.S. Department of the Treasury Location: B1 Conference Room, 1800 K Street NW, Washington D.C., 20006 2012 Milblog Conference Arlington, VA (Fri-Sat, 11-12 May) Description:  Milblogcon is the only gathering of military bloggers each year and includes the awards of the “Milbloggies” Friday night before the all day-conference focusing on milbloggers, policy and current issues they face telling their stories to the world. There are a host of interesting panels this year and ScoutComms Fred Wellman is moderating the DoD and Social Media panel. Participants: Jamie McIntyre, (NPR), Jim Dao (NY Times), Greg Jaffe (Washington Post) Austin Wright (, Rick Maze (Military Times Newspapers), VADM Norbert R. Ryan, Jr., USN-Ret (MOAA), Tom Tarantino (IAVA), Brandon Friedman (VA), Terry Howell (, Kristle Helmuth (Author: The Story of a True American Hero, His Princess, and their Struggle with TBI/PTSD), Chazz Pratt (USAA), Mike Brinck (House Veterans Affairs Committee for the Economic Opportunity subcommittee), Frederick P. Wellman, Moderator (ScoutComms), LCDR Chris Servello (Navy), Brittany Brown (Army) Mark Fayloga (Marine Corps), Chris Lagan (Coast Guard), Jacey Eckhart (SpouseBUZZ), Alex Horton (VA), Matthew Burden (Blackfive), JP Borda (, Matt Gallagher (IAVA), Tara Crooks (Army Wife Network- Loving A Soldier, USAA), and 1st Lt. Hannah He (US Army)

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.


This entry was posted on Monday, May 07, 2012 11:05 am

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