October 17 Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

The Birth of a Defense Contractor

Phil Ewing, DOD Buzz. Anyone who attended AUSA probably saw the new branding for the new ITT Exelis plastered everywhere as the old ITT Defense becomes a stand-alone company at the end of this month. Phil chatted with leaders from the company who are adamant it isn’t just acquisition bait but has a bright future and proven track record of success to build upon, from much needed systems like Night Vision Goggles, to services such as managing naval ranges in Hawaii and bases in Kuwait. 

U.S. Army to Cancel GMR Contract, Seeks Replacement

Kate Brannen and Michael Hoffman, Defense News. Another piece of the ill-fated Future Combat System is being canceled as Boeing’s Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radio four channel system bites the dust. It was designed to support the massive network backbone of FCS but has failed as a tactical radio as it’s too complicated and prone to overheating. The Army will seek a two-channel replacement.

SecDef at AUSA: Services Must Cooperate on Cuts

Andrew Tilghman, Army Times. Speaking at last week’s Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting, Secretary Panetta told the attendees to avoid traditional “parochialism” as the budget cutting knives kick in, and do what is right for the entire force and not just their service or program. He expects to see more asked of the Reserve components in the future as active forces are trimmed back and capabilities transfer over to the reserves.

F-35 Fighter Program Might Face Cuts: top US officer

Agence France Press. In his first appearance before the House Armed Services Committee Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey signaled he is open to cutting one of the three planned versions of the Joint Strike Fighter program in light of fiscal constraints. The F-35B, vertical take-off and landing version of the aircraft being built for the Marine Corps, is already on a two-year “probation” from former SecDef Gates because of cost overruns and testing delays which it appears to be starting to overcome. The most expensive weapons program in U.S. history is under a lot of scrutiny.

Five Reasons The Congressional Super Committee Won’t Matter to Defense

Loren Thompson, AOL Defense. Thompson lays out his take on why in spite of the hype, the supposed “Super Committee” won’t really hurt or influence defense spending all that much. His reasons are pretty sound since we have already heard lawmakers say that the doomsday cuts will not happen no matter what the committee decides. The simple fact is that this Congress cannot bind future Congresses to spending limitations. If the next one changes their mind then that’s it. It’s worth a quick read to hear his arguments and add some balance to the doom and gloom in the defense industry.

Using GI Bill for Startups Backed

Joseph Morton, Omaha World-Herald. In an idea opposed by some veterans’ organizations a Nebraska Congressman is proposing allowing veterans to use their GI Bill benefits as funding for new business start-ups. With only about a third of all veterans using their education options Jeff Fortenberry has filed a bill to allow those benefits to be converted into cash for launching  new enterprises. VFW is concerned that most new businesses fail and veterans will lose opportunities with them.

The week ahead:

Tradeshows:  GEOINT 2011 Symposium  (16-19 October) Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas.  GEOINT is the annual symposium of the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and is billed as the largest intelligence focused gathering in the U.S. Last year there were over 4,000 attendees and they expect 200 exhibitors on the show floor along with panels and speeches focusing on the theme of “Forging Integrated Intelligence.” The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is the only organization dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and building a stronger GEOINT Community across industry, academia, government, professional organizations and individual stakeholders.

Congress:  The United States Senate is in session this week. The Full House of Representatives is not in session for a Constituent Work Week though there are selected committee hearings, pro forma sessions and events around the country.

United States Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing (2:30pm, Wednesday, 19 October) 232-A Russell Senate Office Building. Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee hearing on the Final Report of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Witnesses: Principal Deputy Defense Undersecretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall; Air Force Lt. Gen. Brooks Bash, Director for Logistics (J4), Joint Staff; and Dov Zakheim and Katherine Schinasi, commissioners on the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, testify

House Veterans Affairs Committee – Field Hearing (10:00am, Monday, 17 October) Waterloo Community Schools’ Education Service Center, 1516 Washington Street, Waterloo, IA. Economic Opportunity Subcommittee field hearing on “Hiring Heroes: Job Creation for Veterans and Guard/Reserve Members.”

House Armed Services Committee – Hearing (10:00am, Wednesday, 19 October) Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza Fort Wayne, IN. Tactical Air and Land Forces Economic Opportunity Subcommittee field hearing on “Examining Veterans’ Employment Issues in Northeast Indiana.”


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, October 17, 2011 11:35 am

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