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Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Kathleen Smith

Cornyn Presses Top Pentagon Nominee on F-35 Program

Josh Rogin, The Cable blog, Foreign Policy. Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn has made it clear that the way the F-35 development is being handled will be a major part of the confirmation process for current Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions Dr. Ash Carter, as he moves to become Deputy SecDef. Texas is home to a major portion of the work on the F-35 and Cornyn is making it clear that he feels that the Pentagon is not doing enough to get the system off the ground. Dr. Carter has been an aggressive manager of the program that has had major cost over runs and other changes, while facing consistently moving target production dates and aircraft procurement numbers. It looks like Carter’s nomination process won’t be as rubber stamp as recent examples have been.

Northrop Grumman to Cut 500 Aerospace Jobs

W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times. Northrop is offering buyouts until October 28 for 500 employees of their Southern California aerospace division. The company states this is a move to conduct due diligence and belt tightening in anticipation of further cuts in defense spending. It comes on top of the recent move of 300 senior jobs from Southern California to Falls Church, Virginia when the company’s headquarters relocated, and the loss of 500 positions in the same division last year. Most large aerospace and defense companies have been gradually shedding jobs in relatively small increments such as this in the past year. More are expected.

UAE Said to Trim Planned US Missile-Defense Purchase

Jim Wolf, Reuters. Lockheed Martin officials discussed the company’s missile programs with reporters this week. Lockheed revealed that they believe a deal will be finalized shortly for the UAE to purchase their Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense system, but the deal has been trimmed from the original $7 billion estimate. THAAD is the only system built by any country that can intercept short and intermediate-range ballistic missiles both inside and outside the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Future of the American Fighter Jet

General Michael Loh, Macon Telegraph. In an opinion piece former Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Loh makes the case for continuing to develop and build the F-35 to ensure U.S. air dominance for decades to come. His case is a fairly simple one that warfare has changed since Vietnam and the U.S. cannot accept anything close to parity ever again.  Fair fights cannot be our plan. Failing to build enough advanced aircraft will allow potential enemies that we can’t even identify today to gain ground on our Air Force or allow our defense industry to perish. His money point is near the end where he states we need three companies producing fighter aircraft and at least two producing engines to ensure our future industrial base is dominant.

Air Force Struggles to Keep Pave Hawks In Air

David Larter, Air Force Times. As the Air Force struggles to build its replacement the aging HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopters are aging and falling behind in readiness rates. Air Force leaders are estimating barely a 57% mission-capable rate for the 30 year old aircraft this year after constant demand for their use over the last decade of warfare.  They have recently purchased several of the Army’s UH-60M models, but they are yet to complete modification and reach the fleet. This is a very serious issue that is going to come home to roost. Hopefully it won’t be in lost lives.

Defense Budget Cuts and Non-Traditional Threats to US Strategy

Anthony Cordesman, Center for Strategic and International Studies. This is an extensive and exhaustive look at all of the many issues facing defense spending and the budget going forward. From external security threats to “self-inflicted” threats such as a procurement system that fails to produce systems as often as it produces successful ones. This is about 130 slides of reading that will give you a very big picture understanding of the budget battles and issues from CSIS’s view. Definitely your wonk read of choice this week.

John H. Adler Fund to Finance Research on Veterans’ Affairs

The New York Times, At War blog. In a unique focused grant the family of late New Jersey politician John Adler has created a fund at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government to support research throughout Harvard University on issues surrounding the care and support of veterans. In a statement Adler’s widow said they wanted to continue his respect for veterans and try to make a difference in this community which is so often neglected.

Gen. Petraeus’ Wife Battles Scams Against Soldiers

Kristin Hall, Associated Press. Holly Petraeus is Director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs in the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and wife of General David Petraeus. She has a unique perspective on the effects of predatory financial practices on servicemembers. Petraeus visited Ft. Campbell this week with the Attorney’s General from Kentucky and Tennessee to discuss how soldiers and their families can protect themselves and report fraud and illegal business practices targeting them thanks to their steady government pay checks. She has truly proven a formidable advocate since joining the Better Business Bureau in a similar role several years ago.

Troops Photograph Every Arlington Grave

Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press. Kim Hefling has a fascinating look at a quiet mission the Old Guard has been performing all summer. They are meticulously cataloging every grave marker in Arlington National Cemetery with iPhones in support of the Army’s effort to digitize the troubled cemeteries poor records. From dusk to dawn they have methodically photographed over 219,000 grave markers and 43,000 cremation urns in the nation’s premier military cemetery. This story is worth a full read.

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 Friday, August 26, 2011 4:25 pm

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