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Roper Recognizes Limited Munitions-Building Capacity

The Air Force is working hard to replenish its stocks of precision-guided munitions, but the service’s chief buyer is concerned about the industrial capacity to meet USAF’s needs.

Service acquisition chief Will Roper told reporters at the Pentagon Feb. 6 the Air Force is “very focused on munitions capacity,” having dropped some 70,000 weapons against ISIS. “We’ve borne a big brunt” of the bomb-dropping burden, “and we need to be able to buy back many of our weapons at scale.” Unfortunately, “We’re [only] able to buy … at [industry’s] capacity to make them.” Roper declined to report what the upcoming budget may include by way of munitions buys.

Last week, Roper’s military deputy, Lt. Gen. Arnold Bunch, reported the Air Force has “maxed out” the capacity of defense contractors to supply JDAM bombs, Hellfire missiles, and the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System rocket, all of which have been heavily used in Operation Inherent Resolve.

While Roper said he’s open to the idea of competition in the way the Air Force did in the 1980s—certifying a second source for radars, bombs, jet engines, etc., and then having annual competitions for production—he suggested there may not be sufficient demand to justify such an approach.

“Munitions … often become a billpayer in program reviews,” he observed. “You’re buying a lot and you just buy fewer. And that may seem an easy choice on a tally sheet, but if you’re the acquisition person, and you take the buy lower, you just lost the economy of scale; you just made it harder for your vendor to forecast ahead,” and purchase materials and components in economic quantities.

“I’m interested in concepts that allow us to keep competition, and to make sure we don’t get dependent on single sources,” Roper asserted. “But one thing I wish we would do is just stabilize the munitions we buy each year and not make them bill payers, and allow our acquisition professionals to talk with their industry partners about five-year buys of components; five-year build plans.”

Roper admitted, “We’ve got some thinking to do on that.”
it's an interesting question like how many bombs you're going to need for example to years from now LOL I'm guessing the Pentagon solves it by getting as many as possible
Jesus Christ!

(it's inside
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Roper Recognizes Limited Munitions-Building Capacity

it's an interesting question like how many bombs you're going to need for example to years from now LOL I'm guessing the Pentagon solves it by getting as many as possible

There were 41,000 aim points in Desert Storm. Against North Korea and Iran, it is projected to be 74,000 and 82,000 respectively. With Russia it is 250,000 and no one has given a number with China but I will speculate to be at least a million. The rule of thumb is you will need 1.5 munition per aim point. You then do the maths how many bombs you will need.
Why do you think the Europeans ran out of munitions in Libya? LOL.
Thursday at 8:22 AM
Jul 25, 2018
while “system of systems”, an unidentified "architect", and so on inside
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USAF Selects “Architect” for Airborne Battle Management System Program

The Air Force’s JSTARS alternative has a new architect. Wait, what’s an architect?
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The U.S. Air Force has found an architect to run its uber-complicated
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, which will replace
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with a network of
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Will Roper, the service’s top acquisition official, isn’t willing to reveal who will come onboard in March to oversee the program. But he believes the program will be able to sprint forward after the new official begins work, he told reporters during a Feb. 6 roundtable.

"I hope that I will be able to tell you into the summer that we've kicked off some detailed analyses and prototyping efforts and that we've pulled in technology from places like our research labs and [the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency], pulled out all the stops to make this work,” he said.

About a year ago, the Air Force announced its plans to cancel its JSTARS replacement program and pursue a system-of-systems approach it called Advanced Battle Management System or ABMS.

The near-term version of the concept revolved around sustaining the current E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System planes and upgrading existing platforms like the MQ-9 Reaper and E-3 AWACS early warning aircraft with tech that would increase its interoperability. Later increments of the effort, which have been briefed to Congress, could involve classified or still-emerging technologies, but the Air Force has not fully defined the final system.

Roper thinks ABMS will involve space-based tech; traditional air-based sensors like those on the legacy JSTARS, AWACS and Reaper; attritable systems — low cost, disposable drones could fit this description — and communications links between those systems.

In the early stages of the program, the Air Force will likely conduct four separate prototyping efforts to see how quickly industry can mature emerging technologies, he said. The architect won’t be in charge of leading any one of those efforts. Instead, he or she will ensure that all requirements are being met, making certain that if — for instance — an air-based system becomes too expensive or challenging to continue developing, other technologies can fill the gap.

"The thing that we don't know is what can the industry base do in each one of those areas. Can we really do in space, or not so well? Can we do really well in the air, or not so well?” Roper said.

"Maybe the right solution is heavy space, light air. Maybe it's heavy air, light space, but we need someone between the program and the mission or else we'll have to prematurely pick where we are in that tradespace without a lot of information to back it up."

Traditionally, military weapons programs are managed by a single program executive, but ABMS could involve many existing programs and program managers.

The Air Force sees the ABMS architect as key to avoid creating one massive acquisition effort out of disparate programs like Reaper or the legacy JSTARS fleet. If the model is successful, Roper believes it could be used as a basis for managing similar programs in the future.

However, progress hasn’t exactly been rapid.

Over the past year, the Air Force has started an analysis of alternatives and brokered some agreements with research laboratories to kick start the development of key technologies.

“This has been a slower start than I would like,” Roper acknowledged. “We’re going to have to speed up after we get our architect on board.”
it'll be interesting to watch how that Pentagon's "architect" manages that "system of systems", with JSTARS legacy fleet around etc.
LOL spin doctoring news now:
State Dept. Taps Ex-Fox News Correspondent to Counter Propaganda
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Pompeo hails "vision" of long-rumored appointee Lea Gabrielle.

Top State Department officials on Thursday announced the long-rumored appointment of Navy veteran and former Fox News correspondent Lea Gabrielle as a special envoy in charge of the department’s controversial three-year-old
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“The fight against propaganda and disinformation is one we must win,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced to staff. “Under Lea’s visionary leadership, America will be better protected from those who would turn hearts and minds against us.”

Gabrielle, who begins her job on Feb. 11, was described to reporters by deputy spokesman Robert Palladino on Thursday as “a former CIA-trained human intelligence operations officer, defense foreign liaison officer, United States Navy program director, Navy F/A-18C fighter pilot, and national television news correspondent and anchor at two different networks.”

Critics in the diplomatic community, however, highlighted the Trump administration’s other hires from Fox News: Heather Nauert as acting State Department spokeswoman and current nominee to be United Nations ambassador, and Bill Shine, Deputy White House chief of staff for communications.

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, which broke the story on Gabrielle’s appointment and interviewed her this week, said the small office Gabrielle will run “became a political lightning rod amid feuds between the Trump administration and Congress over how to address threats, including Russian election meddling, in the wake of the 2016 presidential elections. The internal fight reflects a broader challenge the U.S. government faces in how to confront misinformation and propaganda from abroad,” wrote reporters Robbie Gramer and Elias Groll.

In their exclusive interview, Gabrielle said, “We have to realize that we are under attack by adversary countries and international terrorist organizations that are using propaganda and disinformation as a weapon. They’re doing it because it’s cheap, and it’s easy, and because they can.”

The center’s budget had been reduced under previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, but State has since reported that Pompeo has restored it, with a new request for $55 million.

The center for the past two years was run on an acting basis by counter-terrorism specialist Daniel Kimmage, whom Pompeo thanked on Thursday for “steady leadership,” according to the blog
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Originally called the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications under State’s Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the center under Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry was renamed in January 2016. President Obama appointed
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as special envoy and coordinator of the Global Engagement Center.
JLTV Is Tougher and Faster, but Troops Will Still Ride Into Battle on Humvees
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Army and Marine Corps combat units are starting to receive brand-new, high-performance
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. But if war with a major power ignites in the near future, the bulk of U.S. ground forces will go into battle with the same
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that struggled to survive the last war.

Today, the formidable-looking JLTV – which promises vastly improved crew protection and enhanced performance – is ready for battle. But it will take the military more than a decade to field roughly 58,000 of them to the Army and the Marines.

Even then, tens of thousands of Humvees will remain in service.

The Army hasn't decided whether it will upgrade its existing Humvees with improved protection and performance, a move the Marines have decided against. While there are risks associated with leaving the Humvee as it currently is, military experts question whether a major war with Russia or China will present threats that the vehicle can't handle. As policy makers push for more armor and greater survivability on all platforms, some say military leaders must make the choice to be honest with the American public about the reality of warfare: that too much armor protection can hinder performance and that ground troops will die no matter what vehicle carries them into battle.

The venerable Humvee was first fielded to combat units in the mid-1980s. It had impressive mobility; it was fast and extremely reliable.

But beginning in 2004, the vehicle that was designed for the European battlefield began to struggle when it faced a determined Iraqi insurgency that fought with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Soon, images of burnt-out, twisted Humvees became a symbol of America's struggle to cope with a new, horrific type of warfare.

While many short-term efforts to protect troops were launched, the Pentagon was determined to develop a lasting solution. It first approved the JLTV as a program of record in 2006.

U.S. military leaders are eager to tout the JLTV program as a success story, but seem reluctant and uncertain regarding how the Humvee will be used alongside the new vehicle in future warfare.

In September, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller acknowledged to that the "Humvee is going to be around for a while," but said where they are used will depend on "what the threat is."

"Obviously, you have concerns about any lightly armored vehicle and what the adversary might have, as far as direct fire and even indirect fire, IEDs and mines," Neller said. "We are not going to put any Marine in a vehicle in an environment that we don't think they have a great chance of accomplishing the mission and being survivable at the same time."

Since then, the Army and Marine Corps have declined formal interview requests from to discuss the future of the Humvee.

The Army's plans to purchase and field just over 49,000 JLTVs "extend into the mid-2030s," spokesman Lt. Col. Isaac Taylor told

Those Humvees not replaced by JLTVs will make up the remaining bulk of the Army's light tactical vehicle, or LTV, requirement of 117,000 vehicles.

"The objective of the Army's light tactical wheeled vehicle (LTV) strategy is to enhance survivability of soldiers," Taylor said. "The Army's primary goal is to transition to an LTV fleet that is capable of scaleable protection for existing vehicles, while simultaneously investing in new, more modern vehicles. The JLTV is the next-generation LTV, designed to provide increased protection, performance and payload."

The Marine Corps currently plans to buy roughly 9,000 JLTVs – an increase over its original purchase plan of 5,500 – and field them "through the 2020s," according to a statement to from Marine Corps Capabilities Development Directorate.

"The total number of [Humvees] we have now will not be replaced by JLTVs," according to the statement, which added that the overall Marine Humvee "requirements are less now than they were a decade ago."

For operational security reasons, Marine officials would not reveal how many Humvees the service currently has. But the 9,000 JLTVs fielded over the next decade will replace about 60 percent of the Humvee fleet, according to the statement.

Discussing the Humvee is likely a sensitive subject with the services because of the political backlash military leaders had to endure in the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when Humvees where being blown up on a daily basis.

According to Defense Department numbers, 3,481 U.S. service members were killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom through the entire conflict, a relatively low number compared to past U.S. wars.

But beginning in 2004, soldiers who survived IED attacks often came home missing arms, legs and sometimes faces – a reality that enraged members of Congress and led to many emotional hearings in which lawmakers accused military leaders of failing to provide adequate battlefield protection to deploying U.S. service members.

"The problem comes down to a disconnect between current understanding of war, expectations of war, and the reality of war – not only among the American public but certainly here on Capitol Hill, among members of Congress and even members of the military," said Dakota Wood, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and now a senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

"Why was everybody caught by surprise when the enemy used landmines – you know, roadside bombs, IEDs – why was it a surprise when the enemy used explosives to blow up vehicles carrying American soldiers?" Wood asked, arguing the Humvee, made by AM General LLC, was never designed to survive blasts capable of destroying a tank. "And yet, when this started occurring on the battlefield, you would have thought we had already lost the war, that the military was negligent in providing adequate protection."

Under extreme pressure from Congress, the military overloaded the lightweight Humvee with armor and, in 2007, launched
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to field much heavier, Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles to protect troops.

MRAPs, while effective, sometimes weighed more than 20 tons, making them too heavy and slow-moving for many battlefield situations.

It took almost a decade for the JLTV to become a reality but, in August 2015, Oshkosh Corp. was selected over Lockheed Martin Corp. and AM General LLC to
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, a program that could exceed $30 billion to meet the current joint-service requirement.

The JLTV offers increased crew protection, such as MRAP-like underbelly blast protection, blast-protected seats, restraints and technologies designed to absorb and deflect blast -- while still meeting the Army's on- and off-road performance requirements.

The Army is currently studying whether to make additional improvements to the Humvee beyond the upgrades that went into the expanded-capacity vehicle, or ECV, Humvees such as the newer M1151A1 ECV Armament Carrier.

"The service recently conducted a study of Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) vehicle requirements and will conduct an additional evaluation of a mixed fleet of [Humvees] and JLTVs in FY22 or earlier," Taylor said.

The Corps does not intend to upgrade its existing Humvee fleet, according to the Marine statement, which added that the Humvee fleet "will be managed and maintained in a high state of readiness by disposing of our least ready vehicles at the earliest opportunity as JLTVs are fielded. Those [Humvees] remaining in the inventory will be maintained through normal organic and depot maintenance procedures until they are replaced."

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To retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, the Humvee doesn't need upgrading to go to war with an adversary such as Russia.

"In a European scenario, for which the Humvee was designed, it's perfectly fine," said Scales, a Vietnam veteran who is currently a key adviser to the Defense Department's Close Combat Lethality Task Force.

Scales remembers that he was an assistant division commander with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea when the Humvee was first fielded.

"The whole division was equipped with Humvees. Given the terrain in Korea, and given the North Korean threat, it was fine," he said.

It's unlikely that a future war with Russia or China will involve IEDs like the ones used in Iraq, Scales said.

"The issue with the Russians is not stuff on the ground, it's stuff flying through the air -- the surface-to-surface threat from Russia and, I would presume, China as well," he said. "So what is important for a vehicle in that type of strike-counterstrike environment is the ability to displace quickly, to be small and difficult to spot and to be able to move about the battlefield to avoid strike and counterstrike."

Wood said retrofitting existing Humvees with additional protection, as well as enhancing the suspension, engine and other key features to increase performance, will be expensive and increase the weight of the vehicle.

"If I increase armor, I am going to increase weight, which means the trafficability and transportability become more difficult," he said. "If I increase the size, power, weight and armor that incorporate a JLTV, cost is going to go up.

"People get upset when war costs a lot of money, but then, when you don't spend the money, you are also criticized for not protecting the force and providing the military what it needs to win in combat. You can't have it both ways," Wood said.

Scales agreed that the Humvee wasn't designed to be a JLTV.

"It wasn't designed for that. Now remember, in Europe you are going to be – at least in the battlefields that were postulating in central Europe – you are going to be maneuvering hundreds of kilometers. And what is important is fuel efficiency and reliability, and when you start slapping armor in the sides of Humvees…you are going to pay a price for that," he said.

The JLTV, Scales said, "is designed from the ground up" for missions where more armor protection is needed.

"The key is to concentrate those at the tip of the spear, where their utility for close combat can be fully exploited," he said.

Wood said he believes the current Humvee is still "very capable."

"Today's Humvee fleet is doggone pretty good. It's going to meet 80 percent of the requirements most of the time. You don't need everything to be fully up-armored," he said.

"But sure as shooting…we will deploy a force, some set of soldiers are going to be moving from point A to point B in a less-than-heavily armored Humvee," Wood added. "They are going to get hit with a rocket-propelled grenade or some kind of armor-piercing, incendiary round or road-side bomb, and they will get blown up. And that's where the news is going to carry, and that is when Congress and the media will pounce all over the military about how could you have sent our guys and gals in harm's way inappropriately equipped. There is no perfect solution, and I think Congress just needs to understand that."
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Tyrant King
JLTV Is Tougher and Faster, but Troops Will Still Ride Into Battle on Humvees
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Number was designed as an all terrain logistics vehicle the conflict in Iraq shifted from the battle type it was designed for. Supporting armored advances to Police actions against a well armed asymmetric warfare force.
They weren't designed to be driving over mines and bombs or in the middle of a urban assault. As such they suffered.
MRAPS were designed for that type of operations hence why they were readily available from South Africa and Isreali designs.

Reality is That replacement of Hummvee is more complicated. You need to consider what missions will demand all around armor and what don't where a lighter vehicle is better suited and where even Humvee is overkill.
As such we are seeing the JLTV program, the ultra light vehicles like the MRZR. Humvee recaps and special operations forces vehicles as well as selected MRAP vehicles still being maintained.
Because being blunt Humvees were not just under armored but over tasked. When the Army or Marines wanted a vehicle they sent a Humvee didn't matter if it worked or not.