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Weekly Defense Industry Roundup

Posted by Fred Wellman

Association of the United States Army Annual Conference (10-12 October) at the Walter Washington Convention Center, Washington, D.C. This is the big dog in military tradeshows in the United States that keeps on growing. This year there will be over 600 different exhibitors ranging from military organizations, non-profits and every kind of defense manufacturer imaginable. AUSA has taken over the entire convention center this year for the first time.

Sen. Carper to Panetta: Clean Up Military’s Financial Management

John Bennett, The Hill. Delaware Senator and subcommittee chairman Tom Carper sent a pointed letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta this week outlining the urgent need to get the department’s contract management and purchasing systems reformed, to get more for less money. There has been a lot of focus lately on poor contract management costing millions of taxpayer dollars while the DoD is urging Congress not to cut any more from its budget. This will be a regular theme as the budget battle unfolds with those eager to cut more pointing out the department could save billions from better bookkeeping and business practices. Whether true or not, it makes for good politics and will be an issue either way.

U.S. Navy May Cut Carrier’s Life in Half to Save Money

Christopher Cavas, Defense News. Pentagon officials are discussing decommissioning the USS George Washington halfway through its planned lifespan as well as disbanding one of ten carrier air wings to save money for the Navy. This would have to be approved by Congress as current law dictates an 11 carrier fleet. The ship would go into overhaul in 2016 to continue its service under current plans, but if chosen to go into mothballs the several billion dollar overhaul will be canceled. There is no way to know if this is political maneuvering or a real concept, as the services float trial balloons on savings while Congress deliberates.

Pentagon Warned Over Impact of Defence Cuts

Anna Fifield, Financial Times. The Center for a New American Security issued a report this week outlining concerns with cutting the DoD budget in the draconian ways outlined by the worst case scenario in the deficit reduction law. The report believes that any cuts will also need to include a major reform of the pay and benefits system, or any hopes of modernization after a decade of war will be impossible to achieve. In an assessment sure to make Marines insane, they examine duplications and mismatches in equipment such as maintaining strike aircraft just for the Marines and the large number of battle tanks in the force. The full report: Hard Choices: Responsible Defense in an Age of Austerity

Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet

Noah Shachtman, Wired Danger Room Blog. It leaked this week that the systems at Creech Air Force Base that the Air Force uses to control Predator and Reaper drones throughout the world have been infected with a key stroke logger virus that they can’t seem to remove. While there is no evidence the data has been leaked to the outside world it is troubling that such a virus was able to get into what is supposed to be an isolated network and that it cannot be removed well after its discovery.

Veterans Proud But Struggling in Civilian Life, Poll Says

Gregg Zoroya, USA Today. A fascinating Pew Research survey of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan released this week that while most remain very proud of their service the transition to home and civilian life has been exceptionally challenge after multiple combat tours with no front lines.  There is a clear sense that the civilian population has no understanding of the challenges they have faced but amazingly 8 out of 10 would recommend military service to young people.  There is just a ton of good insight into the thoughts of today’s veterans and their views of things in this survey and worth a look.  On another note the term “young veterans” to refer to Iraq and Afghan vets really seems silly after a decade of war.  Many Servicemembers have spent half a career at war and are now retiring in their forties.  At this point we are using “today’s veterans” instead.

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 10, 2011 11:50 am

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