November 21 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Defense Stocks Take Long View of Budget Battle

Kate Brannen and Zachary Fryer-Biggs, Defense News. This is a pretty thorough review of the defense stocks in light of the almost certain failure of the Super Committee and what it will mean. It’s worth a read but essentially most analysts believe that with the long lead time between failure of the committee and the sequestration actually kicking in, that the worst case scenario will likely be averted. In addition, most of those who were betting on quick profits from defense stocks have already left. Those who remain understand the volatility of the sector and will hold their cards through this wild ride. Essentially, there is much uncertainty but few expect damage to the defense portfolios.

How an iPhone Revolution Could Turn the Army Upside-Down

Anna Mulrine, Christian Science Monitor. The Army has been issuing iPhones to soldiers as part of its Brigade Modernization task force in Texas and has unleashed a host of ingenious ideas by soldiers already familiar with using smart phones for access to information. Some are developing their own apps that are opening a host of new ideas that will put even more information in the hands of soldiers never before available. By using commercial off-the-shelf devices the costs are relatively low for an Army program. If one gets damaged, you can just buy a new one quickly. The potential is limitless and also will lead to shake-ups in the defense industry, where massive software programs have been the purview of huge companies.  Suddenly it can be do-it-yourself or one of the thousands of little app development shops around the country. Should be a lot of fun to watch unfold.

Marines Prefer JLTV Over Recapped Humvee

Phil Ewing, DoD Buzz. A great analysis from Phil here on testimony from Marine Brigadier General O’Donohue, the leader for capabilities development for the Corps. The Marines prefer a new vehicle instead of a recapped and upgraded Humvee, which was presented during testimony before the House Armed Services Committee last week. The bottom line for them is that the money needed to make the Humvee as robust as the JLTV is better spent on an all new vehicle. This all goes toward the Commandant’s vision of the Marines being a “middle-weight” crisis response force, and not just a second land force to the Army.

Army Aims to Save by ‘Buying Less, More Often’

David Kesmodel and Nathan Hodge, Wall Street Journal. A great outline of how the Army is looking to buy small batches of new technologies and allow soldiers to ‘road test’ them in the field before expanding the purchases. The technique has been tested with a number of communications systems and could expand to a number of programs like new UAV’s or other weapons. The approach aims to minimize the long development timelines of the past and hopefully the big failures of previous programs, while shifting quite a bit of the risk of development to the manufacturers themselves. It also opens the market up to relatively smaller manufacturers who can be more agile and adaptable to shifting requirements than their larger sister companies.

Twitter is New Battleground for NATO and Taliban in Afghanistan

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN. The Twitter slugfest between @ISAFMedia and the alleged official Twitter channel of the Taliban @ABalkhi is getting more personal, as the two spar over the truth of various reports and the world’s perceptions of the two. It’s actually pretty entertaining stuff, especially seeing an official government account tangle with a blatant propagandist. It makes sense that NATO is taking on this battlefield as increasingly social media is where extremist ideology is being spread, as safe havens disappear around the world.

The Week Ahead

Tradeshows:   No major tradeshows or conferences this week.

Congress:   The full Congress is not in session this week.  There are only pro forma sessions scheduled and no committee hearings are scheduled.

Think tanks and other news events:

CSIS – Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group – U.S. Federal Services Industrial Base Report Release (9:00, Wed, 23 November) RSVP Requested. This report analyzes trends in federal services contracting between FY2000 and FY2010 and addresses key policy questions associated with the services industrial base.  The report covers service contracts by federal agency customer, service category, type of contract vehicle, funding mechanisms, and level of competition. In addition, it reports on the services industrial base based on contractor size and the top 20 contractors for each agency, service category, and for federal services overall. Participants:  The findings of the report will be presented by David Berteau and Guy Ben-Ari, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group. Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1800 K Street, NW, Washington DC, 20006

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, November 21, 2011 9:20 am

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