US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


was the most interesting part of what I've now read which is
US Air Force chief on the F-35 ‘quarterback,’ new and improved F-15, and future of light attack
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An interesting mention in the interview which I believe underscores the potential role of either the B-21 or the RQ-180 as a communications relay node in the system of systems approach in a 5th generation F-35 CONOPs.

If they ever do see an F-35, which is highly unlikely, it will never be alone. We’re going be there in space — we’ve been there for a while; we’re going to be there with high altitude, ISR; we’re going be there with the B-21.

As I mentioned before, the F-35 is central in delivering the common operating picture (COP) but that live data stream cannot be integrated to C2 without some kind of communications relay node.

A 5th generation battlespace requires a whole new generation of eco system build around it that would change tactics, decision making and command and control. When Germany due to politics opted not to buy the F-35, it is missing out not only the capabilities of a 5th generation asset but will fall behind a generation in how modern warfare will be conducted. It will have difficulty leaping from 4th to 6th generation without the foundation so necessary in the 5th. .
oops didn't know
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anyway Army Plans to Cut $31.5 Billion in Coming Budget
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The U.S.
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's fiscal 2020 budget, which will be made public in mid-March, will cut $31.5 billion from existing programs to ensure that the service's top priorities of readiness and modernization remain on track, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said Tuesday.

Army senior leadership just wrapped up its version of "night court," a time-consuming and tedious process in which top generals went through each program to find extra money for the service's six modernization priorities and to fund efforts to increase the readiness levels of brigade combat teams, McCarthy told an audience at an Association of the United States Army breakfast.

"We ran through every program in the budget ... it was kind of that Shark Tank variety. You went in there and explained your program to the leadership and, if it didn't survive contact, it was out," he said.

The process yielded "just over $31.5 billion" in cuts and reductions, as well as cost avoidance measures, McCarthy said.

"So if you walk down the balance sheet, it's about $8 billion in cost avoidance and about $22 billion in just cuts or terminations, so that we could realign the funding against our priorities," said McCarthy, using broad figures.

He added, "$8 billion is cost avoidance in the out years; that is a savings. Cost avoidance ... flattens cost, so costs don't increase."

McCarthy would not give details about which programs have been cut, restructured or canceled.

The Army began this journey two years ago, he said, by aligning the fiscal 2018 and 2019 budgets against its six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires, next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift, a mobile network, air and missile defense, and soldier lethality.

"All six of the Army modernization priorities will have vast increases, and you will see a sustained push to the readiness portfolio because we made hard choices inside of our budget," McCarthy said. "We have been very consistent about where we are trying to take the Army to have the Army we need by 2028. With that comes very difficult choices and, in this fiscal 2020 [budget], folks will see that."

The budget is scheduled to be released March 12. Until then, McCarthy said the service will continue to communicate with companies that stand to lose revenue as a result of budget cuts.

"We think that we have been consistent and, when you are consistent about where you are trying to take the organization and you work with companies, they will adjust," he said.

"But it's when you blindside them on a budget draft day, that's very different. Those [business] leaders can't manage expectations, and they can't adjust their investments, their product lines, to survive. But that is the very nature of a partnership -- just a lot of communication."
Jan 2, 2019
... a multi-billion National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund etc.
Rep. Courtney: Looming Costs Will Force Decision on How to Pay for SSBNs
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related is
Navy, Experts Make Case For More Than 12 Columbia-Class Boomers
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To maintain a credible nuclear threat, the U.S. needs at least 12 Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, says the Navy’s director of undersea warfare.

The first Columbia-class SSBN submarine is not expected to join the fleet until 2027, but Navy officials and analysts are already making the case to extend the program of record beyond what is currently envisioned to be a fleet of 12 SSBNs.

“If you look at the nuclear posture review, the number is really at least 12,” Rear Adm. John Tammen (OPNAV N97) said during a Tuesday panel discussion with experts at the Heritage Foundation.

The Navy’s best chance to secure funding from Capitol Hill hinges on bringing down the cost-per-sub while proving the platform’s utility, agreed the experts joining Tammen on the panel. Speaking with Tammen were Bryan Clark a Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, James Acton a Senior Fellow and Co-Director for Nuclear Policy Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Thomas Callender a Senior Research Fellow for Defense Programs at The Heritage Foundation.

The current SSBNs, the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, are nearing the end of their expected lifespan. Building the Columbia class to replace the Ohio class is the Navy’s top priority, and the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson wants the Columbia class in the fleet as soon as possible, Tammen said.

By design, SSBNs are intended to move silently into position and the ballistic missiles they carry are supposed to be undetected. However, the deterrent is brittle and Russia and China are sinking a lot of resources into improving their submarine-hunting capabilities, Clark said.

“You have a bunch of eggs in a basket; if you take out that submarine, you’ve eliminated all of those weapons all at once,” Clark said. “That makes it very important that we have not just one submarine out there being our sea-based deterrent but a number of submarines.”

A more immediate threat facing the Columbia-class submarines is the program’s ability to survive the congressional appropriations process. The Columbia-class submarines are relatively expensive, costing about $6 billion each, Clark said. There’s a lot of pressure to try to reduce those costs. The entire program is expected to cost about $102 billion, according to an October 2018
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“You see a lot of discussion on the Hill with the new Democratic majority that they want to look at nuclear modernization as an area to try to achieve savings that could be applied to other areas of the military or other uses,” Clark said.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) has in the past questioned the need to devote large sums of money to the nuclear deterrent.
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, speaking the Defense News Conference, Smith suggested the reducing spending on the nation’s nuclear arsenal could free up funding for other programs.

Having a fleet of 12 Columbia-class submarines is central to the platform’s effectiveness as a nuclear deterrent, Clark said. The Navy expects its SSBNs to be operational about 70 percent of the time. Eight Columbia-class submarines will be operational if the Navy puts one on patrol in the Pacific and in the Atlantic, plus two or three spares acting as both decoys and backups in case they are needed. The remaining four subs – 25 percent of the Columbia-class – would be undergoing maintenance or training.

While the Columbia-class’ existence will serve as a deterrent to U.S. rivals, the submarines are not the best tool the president has to send signals adversaries, according to Acton. Bombers are likely the best way to send a signal to a nation to follow international norms. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) located on static pads offer the worst means of signaling a possible foe.

“Given the budget pressures, if the goal is really to keep the force’s 12 SSBNs, and like I said, I’m certainly not against that in principle, it seems to me the tradeoff is most likely to be with the ICBM force and form a kind of long-term budgetary perspective. Deciding to think about and make those tradeoffs now is almost most certainly a lot more cost-effective than being forced to make them 10 or 20 years from now,” Acton said.

Ideally, the workforce will be able to speed up submarine production and reduce costs as the builders become more familiar with the design. Tammen expects the production to continue after completing the last Columbia submarine, even if the follow-on submarines are not used to carry nuclear weapons. The payload area can be adapted for a variety of missions, he said.

The Navy started considering converting the SSBN production into a guided missile submarine (SSGN) production line in 2017 when Vice Adm. Bill Merz, Tammen’s predecessor as OPNAV N97, started developing a Tactical Submarine Evolution Plan,
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The idea, which Tammen and the Navy embrace, is to keep the production lines running by building SSGNs. This way, when it’s time to replace the Columbia class with a new SSBN, the industrial base will already be working on large submarines, instead of having to start the building process from scratch.

“The 30-year shipbuilding plan shows that we are going to continue serial production of a large-volume submarine,” Tammen said.
Saturday at 8:40 AM
Sunday at 8:34 AM
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Pentagon: No Military Construction Projects Will Be Canceled to Fund Border Wall
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The Defense Department plans to "defer" spending on some military construction projects to fund a wall on the southern border of the United States and then ask Congress to give the money back in next year's budget, a top Pentagon official testified Wednesday.

"I want to assure you that no currently authorized military construction projects will be canceled to fund military construction projects supporting use of the armed forces at the southern border," said Robert McMahon, assistant secretary of defense for sustainment.

"Further, while some current military construction projects may be deferred, the fiscal year 2020 president's budget request will include a request for funds to replenish funding for these [deferred] projects," he said at a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies.

McMahon, a retired
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major general, also sought to assure the subcommittee that no military construction projects for military family housing would be canceled or have their funding rolled over to next year to fund the wall.

Democrats on the subcommittee said they were in disbelief that the DoD and White House are asking Congress to provide money in the request for the fiscal 2020 budget, which is expected to be submitted next month, for projects that Congress already authorized and appropriated money for this year.

"I'm flabbergasted with this whole enterprise," said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. If former Presidents Barack Obama or Bill Clinton had made such a proposal, "people would be running around this town with their hair on fire," he said.

"I'm still confused" as to how President Donald Trump could take money already appropriated by Congress and then come back to ask it to "appropriate those funds all over again," said Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii.

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the subcommittee's chairwoman, said McMahon is suggesting a "backdoor" way to get money for a border wall. She called the wall unnecessary, despite Trump's
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at the border due to an "invasion" of undocumented immigrants.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., D-Georgia, said Congress is under no obligation to replenish the funds.

"The president's budget request is not law," he said.

McMahon replied, "You are correct, and we look forward to advocating for what it is we would push for" in the next budget cycle.

Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the ranking member of the subcommittee, said she backs Trump on the wall and border security, but added that funding should be allocated in a way that "does not impact on our military readiness."

McMahon stressed that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has yet to decide which military construction projects might be targeted for wall funding and is awaiting guidance from the Department of Homeland Security.

He also said that the DoD has been told by the White House that the potential sources of wall funding will be used "sequentially."

In declaring the national emergency, Trump and White House officials said that up to $8.1 billion would be spent on new construction for the wall.

The sources are $1.375 billion included in the bill to end the 35-day partial government shutdown; $600 million from Treasury Department forfeitures; $2.5 billion from military counter-drug operations; and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.

The $1.375 billion approved by Congress would be spent first, then the total of $3.1 billion from counter-drug funds and Treasury Department forfeitures, and then the $3.6 billion from military construction projects, McMahon said.
Jan 10, 2019
was now clicking through 'tanker news' back to Mar 26, 2017
USAF Finally Accepts Its First KC-46A Tanker, But The Design Still Needs Years Worth Of Fixes
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I'm not going to follow this 'low-cost, low-risk solution' any more LOL
but now noticed the headline
US Air Force suspends KC-46 tanker deliveries
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OK I won't read it


Northrop Grumman Is Vying To Give B-52 Bomber A Game-Changing New Radar
The new radar will give the 60-year-old jets totally new capabilities that could drastically change the way they fight during a conflict.
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February 26, 2019
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The new radar will clearly enhance detection and targeting capabilities but "game changer' is stretching it.
reportedly 174b into Overseas Contingency Operations fund! that's ... creative, would be like a quarter of the budget if true:
Border wall casts long shadow over FY20 defense budget — and that’s not all
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Dec 22, 2018
Wednesday at 9:25 PM
now inside
Failure To Launch? Pentagon's Space Force Plan Could Hamstring The New Service's Leadership
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two-letter acronym comes to mind
Pentagon's Space Force Proposal Asks for $2 Billion over Five Years
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The Pentagon submitted its
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legislative proposal to Congress this week, asking for $72 million in fiscal 2020 to stand up a headquarters and $2 billion over five years to fund the newest military branch, officials said Friday.

The initial plans call for 200 people to establish the headquarters, and 15,000 personnel overall, according to five senior Pentagon defense officials, who spoke Friday on the condition of anonymity. The budget has
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by various news outlets.

If Congress approves, the service will begin moving uniformed and civilian personnel to the new headquarters staff in fiscal 2020, with mission transfer and realignment of units occurring between fiscal 2021 and 2022, according to a strategic overview document the officials provided.

"This is an historic moment for our nation," Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Friday.

"The Department of Defense's legislative proposal to establish the United States Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces is a strategic step toward securing America's vital national interests in space," he said in a provided statement. "Our approach follows President Trump's bold vision for space and commits resources to deliver more capability faster, ensuring the United States can compete, deter and, if needed, win in a complex domain."

The Space Force's new headquarters "space staff" at the Pentagon will be fully functional for it to "compete and operate alongside the other services," the official said.

The streamlined strategy rebuts the U.S.
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's original assertion that the Pentagon would need
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to resource personnel and infrastructure for the branch.

The Defense Department is still working out the details for the proposed sixth military branch, which Trump recently announced will
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For example, the officials could not answer what mix of enlisted, officer and civilian personnel will make up the 15,000 eventual staff members, nor how many general officer positions there will be.

"This will take some time to get to; it's not going to be instantaneous," one official said.

The defense secretary will decide how existing space-focused units within the
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, Air Force and
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will be selected to transition into the Space Force. No units or bases have been identified yet, according to the officials.

There will not be a specific Space Force academy, as the Pentagon will leverage the existing academies for new talent, the officials said.

There may be Space Force
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, but that decision is part of "ongoing discussions" being worked through in the coming weeks and months, they added.

Other structural decisions are in flux.

For example, the proposal does not include incorporating intelligence agencies such as the National Reconnaissance Office into the Space Force, but it will take over some NRO functions currently executed by the Air Force, the documents state. There is potential for these agencies to be added later, according to the officials.

The officials on Friday stressed that the Pentagon wants the culture to be unique to the service, including its own rank structure and training.

"We want people to be recruited into the Space Force similar to the way the Marine Corps recruits
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-- they don't recruit them into the Navy," an official said.

Like the Marine Corps, the Space Force will not create billets for jobs such as chaplains, doctors or Judge Advocate General officers in order to save costs, instead planning to borrow those personnel from the other services.

For the time being, one official said, any new recruit who would like to enlist in the military for a space job should first "go to the Air Force."

"The domain is pivotal to future conflicts. The Space Force by far will be the most technical, and there is no easy comparison" to other services, an official said.

"We think we have proposed something that addresses [space challenges]," another said.
quickly informed me
Navy Issues Draft RFP for FFG(X) Next-Generation Frigate
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The Navy has issued a draft request for proposal to design and build its planned class of 20 next-generation guided-missile frigates (FFG(X)).

Posted late Friday, the detailed design and construction RFP draft will serve as a practice run for shipbuilders to pitch their designs for the small surface combatants that are set to follow on the two classes of Littoral Combat Ships currently in production.

The document lays out a schedule to produce 10 ships — a lead ship that would deliver 72 months after contract award and options for nine follow-ons hulls. Later this year, the Navy plans to issue a final detailed design and construction RFP with the contract to be awarded in 2020. Submissions for the work have to be based on an existing U.S. or allied hull currently in service as part of an ongoing rapid acquisition scheme for the class.

Friday’s draft follows the Navy’s award last year of five development contracts to shipbuilders to refine an existing parent hull design to serve as a basis for the frigate.

Huntington Ingalls Industries, Austal USA, Lockheed Martin, Fincantieri Marine and General Dynamics Bath Iron Works were awarded $15 million teach last year to refine their own frigate parent designs.

While the five shipbuilders have worked with the Navy to refine the designs, the competition for the upcoming detailed design and construction contract will be open to any competitor that meets the requirements for a pitch based on a mature parent design, the Navy said earlier this year.

As to price, earlier this year the service gave an updated range for what the follow-on ships could cost based on work down through the development contracts.

“That $950 (million) was the threshold; $800 million is the objective,” frigate program manager with Program Executive Office Unmanned and Small Combatants Regan Campbell said in January
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“We started closer to the $950; we are trending to very close to the $800 now. We have taken some very significant costs out of the average follow units. Lead ship? I won’t give you a number, but it is reflected in the president’s budget, which you will see shortly.”

The Navy is holding an unclassified industry day on March 19 and contract submissions for the draft are due by April 1.

n the summary of the draft RFP, the Navy sets out a vision for the new class that cast the FFG(X)s in a role as a major sensor node in an emerging integrated Navy tactical battle network.

“As part of the Navy’s Distributed Maritime Operations Concept, the FFG(X) small surface combatant will expand blue force sensor and weapon influence to enhance the overall fleet tactical picture while challenging adversary intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and tracking efforts,”
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“FFG(X) will also contribute to the Navy the nation needs by relieving large surface combatants from the stress of routine duties during operations other than war.”

In January, the service laid out in more detail the baseline capabilities for the planned class that include:

  • A fixed-face Raytheon Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR) that will serve as the primary air search radar.
  • At least 32 Mark 41 Vertical Launch System cells that could field Standard Missile 2 Block IIICs or RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSM) and a planned vertically launched anti-submarine warfare weapon.
  • COMBATSS-21 Combat Management System based on the Aegis Combat System.
  • Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) datalink that would allow the frigate to share targeting information with other ships and aircraft.
  • Space, weight and cooling for 8 to 16 Over-the-Horizon Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles
  • An aviation detachment that includes an MH-60R Seahawk helicopter and an MQ-8C Firescout Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
  • AN/SQQ-89(V)15 Surface Ship Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Combat System
  • AN/SQS-62 Variable Depth Sonar.
  • SLQ-32(V)6 Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP) Block 2 electronic warfare suite with allowances to include SEWIP Block 3 Lite in the future.
  • Space, weight and cooling reservation for a 150-kilowatt laser.
While the Navy hasn’t been explicit about the connection, the inclusion of the high-bandwidth datalinks on FFG(X) hint at an important role for the class to provide command and control and targeting information to the Navy’s emerging family of unmanned surface vehicles.
inside is this chart:

Proposed Government Furnished Equipment for FFG(X)