November 28 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Fight is Just Beginning Over Cuts in Defense

Nathan Hodge and Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal. The failure of the Super Committee to find the necessary cuts has sent folks into full scramble on Capitol Hill as to how to address the threatened sequestration of funds starting in January, 2013. Hodge and Barnes find that the Pentagon still refuses to discuss that scenario. In the meantime there are some clever accounting methods such as shifting funds between wartime accounts and operations budgets to keep efforts funded on an even basis. The hope is that an intense lobbying effort will avert the worst case scenarios and the dust will settle quickly.

Inside the Corporate Plan to Occupy the Pentagon

Adam Weinstein, Mother Jones. Adam takes a hard look at the Defense Business Board and discusses their more radical ideas to make the Pentagon run more like a corporate entity in a dream first realized by Donald Rumsfeld to cut through the bureaucracy of the department. It’s an interesting look at some of the spectacular failures, such as the failed personnel management system, as well as their recommendations for changes to military pay and benefits that now seem to be getting some traction. This one is worth the long read.

Idea of Civilians Using Drone Aircraft May Soon Fly with FAA

W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to release rules that will allow unmanned aerial vehicles to fly in the U.S. civil airspace for the first time this January. There is a clamor in a host of industries to allow these small, inexpensive aircraft to fly. From uses for law enforcement to farmers wanting to use them for spraying, the potential on the civilian market is almost limitless. It isn’t without serious concerns of privacy, misuse and criminal activity that this market could come open. Imagine TMZ with their own drone to peak into every courtyard and backyard to make your hair stand on end. The manufacturers will have to prove their products can be used safely and appropriately to open up these opportunities.

Air Force Wants to Cancel Program That Supports Army

Marcus Weisgerber, Army Times. In the ironic twist of the week department, the Air Force is quietly scaling back a small cargo aircraft program it campaigned to take over from the Army that is solely designed to support small, hard-to-reach bases. The Army had been in charge of developing the C-27J Joint Cargo Aircraft until recently, to replace the aging C-23 Sherpa fleet. The Air Force took full control of the program and is now looking at cutting it off before it’s fully realized, against the wishes of the Air Guard who operates the aircraft fleet. Expect a battle on this as it’s a similar battle that was fought forty years ago over the Caribou cargo aircraft in Vietnam that the Air Force took over, cut then returned to the Army. It certainly sounds like a case of repeating history. For their part Air Force leadership claims that the existing C-130 fleet can support small bases but it’s common knowledge that C-130’s can’t land in some of the truly tiny airstrips or tight valleys in Afghanistan.

The Week Ahead:


Society of Military Engineers Small Business Conference (28-30 Nov) National Harbor, MD. The SAME Small Business Conference for DOD Engineering, Construction and Environmental Programs provides business leaders an opportunity to identify key contracting partners, learn of upcoming projects and opportunities and generate new business. The Small Business Conference has grown in both size and influence over the past few years. Boasting an audience of more than 1,800 attendees and with more than 200 companies exhibiting their goods and services, the SAME Small Business Conference presents unprecedented opportunities for small business owners, large companies and others to network and partner.

I/ITSEC 2011 (Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference)(28-30 Nov) Orlando, Florida. I/ITSEC is the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training conference. Last year’s show had over 20,000 registrants with 595 companies exhibiting their products with attendees from 57 countries. It has become the show to attend for those in the simulation and training business and will only grow in importance as quality training becomes increasingly important again as our wars wind down and garrison cycles begin for the U.S. military.

Congress:   The full Congress is in session this week.  

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee-Hearing (10:00, Wed, 30 November) Full committee hearing on “VA Mental Health Care: Addressing Wait Times and Access to Care.” (Rescheduled hearing from November 10, 2011) Witnesses: Michelle Washington, coordinator of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) Services and Evidence Based Psychotherapy, Wilmington, Del. VA Medical Center, representing American Federation of Government Employees; retired Army Col. Doctor Charles Hoge; Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour; John Roberts, executive vice president for mental health and warrior engagement at the Wounded Warrior Project; Mary Schohn, director of mental health operations for the Veterans Health Administration; Antonette Zeiss, chief consultant in the Office of Mental Health Services; and Janet Kemp, national director of the Suicide Prevention Program, testify Location: 418 Russell Senate Office Building

House Veterans Affairs Committee-Hearing (10:00, Wed, 30 November) Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee and Economic Opportunity Subcommittee joint hearing on “U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification Process.” (Note: Rescheduled from November 3, 2011) Witnesses: TBA Location: 334 Cannon House Office Building

House Small Business Committee-Hearing (1:00, Thurs, 1 December) Healthcare and Technology Subcommittee hearing on “Cyber Security: Protecting Your Small Business.” Witnesses: Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas; David Beam, senior vice president, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, Raleigh, N.C., on behalf of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; Glenn Strebe, CEO, Air Academy Federal Credit Union Colorado Springs, Colo., on behalf of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions; Michael Kaiser, executive director, National Cyber Security Alliance Location: 2360 Rayburn House Office Building

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee-Hearing (11:00, Thurs, 1 December) Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee hearing on “Protecting U.S. Sovereignty: Coast Guard Operation in the Arctic.” Witnesses: Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp Jr.; and others, testify Location: 2167 Rayburn House Office Building

House Veterans Affairs Committee-Hearing (10:00, Fri, 2 December) Health Subcommittee hearing on “Understanding and Preventing Veteran Suicide.” Witnesses: TBA Location: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Think tanks and other news events:

Woman’s National Democratic Club – The Central Role of Reductions in Military Spending in Making Rational Cuts in the Deficit (11:30 AM, Tues, 29 November) RSVP Requested. Description: “Congressman Frank will discuss the issue of excessive military spending in order to ensure prosperity in the future.” Frank has been an outspoken proponent of slashing military spending as the primary means of deficit reduction. He will have plenty to say on Tuesday. Participants:  Congressman Barney Frank Location: Woman’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Ave, NW, Washington DC, 20036

RAND – VA Mental Health Care:  How good is it and how can we make it better?  (1:00, Thurs, 1 December) Registration Required. The lead author RAND’s four year study on VA mental health care will discuss the findings of the study. The study released in October found that VA actually does a better job than most health systems in dealing with mental health issues but offers several areas for improvement. Lunch will be served. Link to the full study: Participants: Katherine Watkins, Senior Natural Scientist, RAND Corporation Location: B-369 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC

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 28, 2011 11:40 am

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