November 7 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

McHugh Keeps JLTV Options Open, Except Humvees

Carlo Munoz, AOL Defense. During a meeting with defense writers on Wednesday, Secretary of the Army John McHugh made it clear that he does not see the upgraded Humvee as an option to replace the JLTV proposals. With an exclamation point he stated that the Army is done with the Humvee as it has done all it can with the vehicle and it’s time for a new truck. While Congress may change his mind, for now SecArmy is going all in on a new platform for the future.

House Panel Hearing Explores U.S. Government Contractors’ Exploitation of Workers Overseas

Joe Davidson, Washington Post. The House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee held a hearing last Wednesday to address mostly journalism accounts of foreign workers allegedly being exploited by U.S. contractors in overseas locations. The hearing seems to have been sparsely attended and only Congressmen Lankford and Connolly are listed as having been at the hearing, where they united in outrage and reports of exploitation and failure to act. It’s a very serious issue but anecdotal evidence doesn’t necessarily paint the whole picture of what is done in combat theaters. Many veterans will chuckle when they hear that witnesses were aghast to report that foreign workers are kept in barbed-wire compounds and fed in meager chow halls…which actually describes how our own service members live in the war zones.

Weighing Pentagon Cuts, Panetta Faces Deep Pressures

Thom Shanker and Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times. Secretary Panetta did a few interviews last week, clearly with a host of target audiences in mind. He is facing increasing pressure to have a plan if the Supercommittee fails to find agreement and the options aren’t pretty. Here he states clearly that cyber defense, unmanned aircraft and Special Operations forces are basically off the table. SecDef has been very aggressive in trying to shape the budget battle since he took office, and now with the clock ticking, he isn’t backing down.

AP Exclusive: CIA following Twitter, Facebook

Kimberly Dozier, Associated Press. An anonymous facility in Northern Virginia is the home of the “vengeful librarians” known officially as the CIA’s Open Source Center, where public news sources are melded with Facebook, Twitter and other social media posts to monitor the pulse of events around the world. Kimberly has a fascinating, and first ever, look into this work that is used to augment classified intelligence sources with what is being said in the public sphere to paint a fuller picture of not just the occurrence of events like the Arab Spring revolts, but the sentiments of those participating in them and the ebb and flow of the “streets”. It isn’t nefarious in any way, but does tell you how important it is for any organization to take these channels seriously as tools that are both reflective of the issues, but also are helping drive them as well. 

Just By Listening, Civilians Can Help Veterans Heal

Paula J. Caplan, Washington Post. This is a fascinating piece written by a Harvard Kennedy School researcher who led a study where civilians simply asked a question to a veteran, then gave the veteran unequivocal attention while they told their stories. They found that just listening to the warrior was hugely healing for them and informative for the civilian. I was a skeptic at the opening paragraph, but her case is convincing and ties into our experiences as well.  Sometimes, you just need to be able to express what you experienced without judgment —  political, psychological or otherwise. She makes a compelling case for just letting our veterans tell their story.

The Week Ahead

Congress:  The Senate is in session this week except for Friday, Veterans Day. The House of Representatives is not in session but will conduct pro forma sessions and field hearings of interest listed below.

Senate Armed Services Committee-Hearing (9:30, Mon, 7 November) Full committee hearing on the committee’s investigation into counterfeit electronic parts in the Defense Department supply chain. Witnesses: Thomas Sharpe, vice president of the SMT Corporation and Liberty Component Services; Richard Hillman, managing director of the Government Accountability Office’s Forensic Audits and Investigative Service; Brian Toohey, president of the Semiconductor Industry Association; Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency; Vivek Kamath, vice president for supply chain operations at the Raytheon Company; and Ralph DeNino, vice president for corporate procurement at L-3 Communications Location: G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee-Hearing (2:30, Wed, 9 November) Full committee hearing on “Securing Our Nation’s Transportation System: Oversight of TSA’s Current Efforts.” Witness: TSA Administrator John Pistole Location: 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Senate Armed Services Committee-Hearing (9:30, Thurs, 10 November) Full committee hearing on the whether the Chief, National Guard Bureau should be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Witnesses: Jeh Johnson, general counsel for the Defense Department; Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the Army; Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations; Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps; Gen. Norton Schwartz, chief of staff of the Air Force; and Gen. Craig McKinley, chief of the National Guard Bureau, testify Location: G-50 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee- Hearing (10:00, Thurs, 10 November) Full committee hearing on “VA Mental Health Care: Addressing Wait Times and Access to Care.” Witnesses: TBD Location: 418 Russell Senate Office Building

House Small Business Committee – Field Hearing (10:00, Tues, 8 November) Contracting and the Workforce Subcommittee field hearing on “Examining the Barriers for Small Business Contractors at the Defense Department.” Witnesses: Robert Griffin, assistant commander for acquisition of the Navy Facilities Engineering Command; Jackie Robinson-Burnette, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers associate director of small business; John Caporal, secretary of the U.S. Air Force Small Business Programs Office; Bill Lynam, owner of Lynam Construction, Sumter, S.C.; William “Billy” Aycock, president of Aycock Construction LLC, Sumter, S.C.; and Scott Bellows, program manager, South Carolina PTAC, The Moore School of Business, Small Business Development Center, Columbia, S.C., testify Location: Sumter County Council’s Chambers, 13 East Canal St., Sumter SC

Think tanks and other news events:

CSIS- Cyber Defense: International Cooperation and Deterrence (9:00, Mon, 7 November) “As cybersecurity grows in importance for the international community, individual states and international organizations struggle to adapt existing legal norms and military doctrines to this ongoing change in the global security environment.  In recent years, the transatlantic community began to address these issues by making cybersecurity a critical pillar of the NATO security agenda. Yet many questions still surround the concepts of cyber defense, deterrence, and collective defense in cyberspace. Please join us to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by the ideas of cyber deterrence and international cyber defense cooperation, their implications for the transatlantic security relationship, and their possible impact on relations between the alliance and non-NATO powers. We hope you will be able to join us for this timely and informative discussion. Please RSVP to [email protected]. (RSVP needed) Participants:  A host of notables including former Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn. Location: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1800 K Street, NW, Washington DC, 20006

Hudson Institute- Defending Defense: America’s National Security Strategy and our Defense Budget (11:45, Wed, 9 November) Please join Hudson Institute for an address by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on the importance of maintaining our defense budget to national security strategy. The Deficit Reduction “Super Committee” is expected to soon release recommendations on reducing the budget of the federal government. By cutting defense spending, we may be endangering our national security. Senator Cornyn will argue that the defense strategy should drive defense spending, not the other way around. Location: Betsy and Walter Stern Conference Center, Hudson Institute, 1015 15th St, NW, 6th floor, Washington D.C. 20005.

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 07, 2011 8:22 am

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