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Jeff Head

Staff member
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This is interesting play between Congress (who holds the purse strings) and the Executive Branch who comes up with the proposed direction on policy. This statement:

Article said:
"The mark also "prohibits removing the missile defense capabilities of the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, as well as prohibiting their retirement, inactivation, or storage,"
Is a clear and firm statement by the oversight committee in Congress telling the executive branch that it will not support the deactivation of any of the Ticos.

Interesting...and IMHO...good to see.


Lieutenant General
Registered Member
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- 10 ship DDG, Burke Flight III Block buy in FY 2018 (1st ship funded in 2016)
- 09 boat SSN, Virginia Class block buy in FY 2019 (1st VPM to be moved up a year)
- Move up 1st LX(R) to FY 2020 with serial production starting in FY 2022.
- LX(R) to be based on modified San Antonio LPD design. (Already decided)
- Cancel FY 2032 & 2034 LCC Command Ships. Incorporate capability into another design.
- Delay one of two T-ATS tugs from FY 2017 to FY 2018.
- Delay lead T-AGOS surveillance ship replacement one year from FY 2020 to FY 2021
- Begin to fund USS Ohio class SSBN replacement outside of normal budget.
- Build two Virginia SSNs per year, except in SSBNs years, building one SSN those years.
Interesting Highlights and mainly DOD have need a additionnal budget for Ohio class SSBN replacement for nuclear deterrence matter.
Right now no futur SLBM but Trident II is the best with an very good accuracy and how reliable !
Beside actualy no sure Minuteman III replaced.
This is interesting play between Congress (who holds the purse strings) and the Executive Branch who comes up with the proposed direction on policy. ... used this wording:
Finding potential offsets within a nearly $500 billion budget is not a difficult mathematical practice. But it can be a tough political task.
(but the article talks about F-35B:
Will Panel Authorize More F-35s for Marines?
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Top-Performing Companies Prove Their Business Prowess
Latest Top-Performing Companies results confirm A&D companies run well, above all else
Apr 24, 2015
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| Aviation Week & Space Technology

A funny thing happened on the way to the aerospace and defense industry’s maturation. The companies became good businesses—maybe too good. Twenty years ago when Aviation Week started its annual review of Top-Performing Companies, the concern was that Western A&D companies did not operate well as businesses, at least not compared with other sectors and Wall Street benchmarks. While they provided amazing weaponry, airliners and spacecraft, when it came to operating ...

I was interested by this article. But behind a paywall


Lieutenant General
Registered Member
The United States has restructured its Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) to include the Rockwell B-1B Lancer fleet and the Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) programme.

The change, which was announced by the US Air Force (USAF) on 20 April, will see the B-1B and LRS-B join the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress and Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit bombers, as well as the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), at the AFGSC.

Under the realignment, 63 B-1B aircraft (the number of LRS-B platforms has yet to be decided) and about 7,000 personnel will transfer from the Air Combat Command (ACC), adding to the AFGSC's current force of 76 B-52s, 20 B-2s, and 23,000 servicemen. The realignment comes into effect from 1 October.

AFGSC was formally activated at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) in Louisiana on 7 August 2009. It is currently responsible for all units of both the 20th Air Force (AF), headquartered at F E Warren AFB, Wyoming, and the 8th AF, headquartered at Barksdale AFB. Specifically, it oversees the Minuteman III ICBMs operated out of F E Warren AFB; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and Malmstrom AFB, Montana; as well as the B-52 bombers at Barksdale AFB and at Minot AFB; and the B-2 bombers at Whiteman AFB, Missouri.
The 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg AFB, California, and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, also fall under the command. As with other USAF major commands, the AFGSC includes Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units as well.

Under the realignment, both the 12 AF's 7th Bomb Wing (BW) at Dyess AFB, Texas, and the 12 AF's 28th BW at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, will continue to serve as the host wings for the B-1B, and will provide installation support and services to other units on the bases.

The AFGSC undertakes long-range planning for the nuclear deterrence and global strike missions in alignment with the USAF's larger strategic plan. It also fields a response task force to deal with emergency nuclear situations and other potential incidents around the globe.

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... This statement:

Is a clear and firm statement by the oversight committee in Congress telling the executive branch that it will not support the deactivation of any of the Ticos.

Interesting...and IMHO...good to see.
I found related article
HASC Bill Would Speed Up Cruiser Modernization Plan, But Not All Members Agree
The Navy’s cruiser modernization effort will once again be a hot topic of debate, as some House Armed Services Committee (HASC) members push for a tighter timeline for the maintenance and combat system upgrades.

The Navy’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2016 complies with last year’s congressional compromise – rather than set aside 11 of the 22 cruisers and upgrade them just in time to replace the remaining 11 cruisers as they retire next decade, the Navy would begin modernizing them now. Two ships a year would go into maintenance, for a shipyard availability of no more than four years, with no more than six ships in maintenance at any given time –the so-called 2/4/6 plan.

But even as the Navy is
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, some HASC members are pushing in the opposite direction, demanding that the Navy complete the modernization work in two years instead of four.

According to the seapower and projection forces subcommittee’s section of the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, the Navy would have two years to get the ships in and out of the yard, and an extra six months if the Navy secretary files for an extension.

Subcommittee chairman Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) told USNI News today that he asked the Navy how long the cruiser modernization shipyard availability should take, and officials told him 18 months. Forbes argues the 2/2/6 plan still allows an additional year to complete the work if problems arise.

Subcommittee staff, however, told reporters Wednesday that, even though the work can be done in two years instead of four, it comes at a higher cost.

The four-year plan would allow the Navy to do the hull, mechanical and electrical work and the combat system upgrades piecemeal, fitting the work into valleys in the shipyards’ overall workload. Under the two-year plan, the HM&E and combat system work would have to happen concurrently, and it would have to happen on a strict timeline regardless of what else the shipyards had planned.

The four-year plan would have allowed the Navy to dip to a minimal crew size – 46, the staffers said – in the middle of the work period, lowering personnel costs for a time. Under a two-year plan, there is not enough downtime to reduce the crew size, so the Navy would lose out on those expected costs savings.

And, of course, under the two-year plan the Navy would have to purchase combat systems and other materials sooner, creating more of a budget crunch in the short-term. The Ship Modernization, Operation and Sustainment Fund (SMOSF) – a bank account of sorts created in FY 2013 to prevent the Navy from retiring seven cruisers rather than modernizing them – currently has about $2 billion set aside for the work and would run out in mid-FY 2019 under the 2/4/6 plan. The subcommittee staffers said SMOSF would expire a year earlier under the 2/2/6 plan.

The staffers would not characterize the maintenance itself as more expensive under 2/2/6, since the material and the manhours to complete the work would be the same. But they said the two-year plan results in “savings the Navy is unable to realize” that they would have under a four-year modernization schedule – and therefore the two-year plan spends SMOSF faster, reduces the potential to save money and expends the ships’ service life faster by putting them back out into the fleet the fastest of all the plans being discussed.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) told reporters after the subcommittee markup today that the 2/2/6 plan’s inclusion in the subcommittee language does not mean all subcommittee members agree with it. Typically, the subcommittee members and their staffs spend so much time on the language that what is voted on to the full committee has virtually unanimous support – any further disagreements are settled in the full committee markup or during House floor debate. In this case, Courtney said, HASC is running about two weeks ahead of schedule and there was not enough time for members to settle on a cruiser modernization plan they could all agree on.

“I have concerns, so I think we’ll give you some suspense,” he said, declining to elaborate on his concerns but saying there would be a fuller debate on the topic during the April 29 full committee markup.

Forbes, on the other hand, discounted the cost and service life issues. On cost, he said a more important question to ask is, “what’s the cost to the country if we need cruisers out there and we don’t have those cruisers?” On the issue of service life – one of the key arguments the Navy has made for keeping to its plan to postpone modernization on the 11 cruisers until the older ones retire – Forbes said, “make no bones about it, the Navy has never joked that this was about the service life of these vessels; its’ always been about budgets and cutting them.”

He added that if the Navy had serious concerns about expending service life too soon, “we don’t mind buying additional time” and slowing down the maintenance work if the Navy can prove it will follow through with its requirement to modernize the cruisers and return them to the fleet.

Forbes still has questions for the Navy on the issue, since the Navy’s original intention was to “euthanize them, not modernize them,” he said. Regarding the previous plan for eventual phased modernization, “if they want to come back and show us where they’d put money in to make sure [the modernization is] going to actually be done and give us some certainty,” he would be willing to consider a slower work plan. But absent some guarantees, Forbes wants the ships into maintenance and back into the fleet as quickly as possible.

Also in the defense bill, the subcommittee restores funding for destroyer modernization that had been cut due to tight budgets. The Navy decided earlier this year to cancel ballistic missile defense upgrades for five destroyers over five years. The subcommittee staffers said that decision creates a “capability deficit” their bill addresses, but they could not comment yet on the exact number of destroyer modernizations it would restore, pending full committee decisions.
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Lieutenant General
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A little problem for precedent post for Middle East in fact... :( sorry.

Air Force officials announced April 14 that Eielson Air Force Base will retain the 18th Aggressor Squadron and its assigned 18
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aggressor aircraft

The aggressors are currently based at Eielson AFB, Alaska, which the Air Force announced last year is the preferred alternative for 48 F-35A Lightning II aircraft.

“Once the (Air Force) made the decision to bed down the F-35 at Eielson, we had to re-assess the viability of retaining the aggressor mission at the same location. Keeping them at Eielson proved to be the most operationally sound option, as well as the most cost effective,” said Mark A. Pohlmeier, the acting deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations. “Maintaining the 18th AGRS at Eielson makes sense because the proximity of Eielson AFB to JPARC (Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex) is optimum to support both Red Flag–Alaska and Distant Frontier exercises.”

Pohlmeier went on to explain that moving the 18th AGRS to another location would actually cost more money over the long term.

“Even if the Air Force moved the 18th AGRS to another location the adversary air requirement in the region remains, which would require the Air Force to send units to Alaska on temporary duty to support the requirement,” Pohlmeier said. “The annual recurring cost for temporary duty support would exceed the one-time $123.1 million military construction cost (which would be required if the F-35s are based at Eielson AFB) in just three years.

The Air Force has already begun the Environmental Impact Analysis Process to evaluate the impact of basing the F-35s at Eielson AFB while retaining the F-16 aggressor aircraft.

The 18th AGRS stood up August 24, 2007. The 18th AGRS prepares Combat Air Force, joint and allied aircrews to meet the demanding requirements of air-to-air combat through challenging, realistic threat replication, training, test support, academics and feedback.

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Jeff Head

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The Guardian said:
Iranian naval forces have seized a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship in the strategic waterway of the Gulf, according to US officials.

The Maersk Tigris and all its crew members were steered towards the Iranian island of Qeshm near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas after it was intercepted by an Iranian naval vessel.

The Singapore-based Rickmers Shipmanagement, the company that has chartered the Maersk Tigris, said 24 crew members, mainly from eastern Europe and Asia, were on board. But Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency said they were 34.

In a statement, Maersk line said: “Our paramount concern is the safety and well-being of the crew. We are working in close dialogue with Rickmers Shipmanagement to obtain information about the seizure and explore options to help resolve this situation.”

The Pentagon said that an Iranian naval vessel fired shots across the cargo ship’s bow and ordered it to stop. Qeshm is close to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital passageway in the Gulf where one-fifth of the world’s oil passes in tankers.

A Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Steven Warren, said the Iranian vessel fired shots when the Maersk Tigris captain declined Iranian demands to halt and change its direction. The ship’s previous port was reported to be Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

According to Warren, the cargo ship eventually “complied with the Iranian demand and proceeded into Iranian waters in the vicinity of Larak Island”. Larak is close to Qeshm. He said the US military has dispatched a naval destroyer “to proceed at best speed to the nearest location of the Maersk Tigris” to monitor the situation.

According to a “free association compact” with Washington, the US has sole responsibility for international defence of the Marshall Islands in return for exclusive military basing rights. The current compact expires in 2023.

Warren said the US has “certain obligations” to defend the interests of the Marshall Islands but didn’t provide further details. He added: “At first appearance it does seem to be provocative behaviour, but again we don’t have all the facts yet.”

The incident took place at about 4.05am ET, Warren said.

Fars said the cargo ship was seized at the request of Iran’s ports and maritime organisation which, it said, is in a financial dispute with the owners of the Maersk Tigris. “The ship was seized after a relevant court order was issued for its confiscation,” Fars quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The state-run Press TV quoted an anonymous official from Iran’s foreign ministry as saying that the ship was seized over “financial violations”. But it did not provide further details.

The ship, owned by the Danish company Maersk, is thought to have entered Iranian territorial waters as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.
This is a serious incident. The Pentagon responded throughout the day and said:

Pentagon Official said:
The Pentagon said at least five Iranian patrol vessels approached the Marshall Islands-flagged Maersk Tigris cargo ship at 5:00 am eastern time as it was transiting the Straight of Hormuz and directed the ship to proceed further into Iranian waters.

When the ship’s master declined, the Iranian ship fired shots across the bow of the cargo vessel, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said. After shots were fired, the ship proceeded into Iranian waters near the vicinity of Larak Island. It was boarded by members of the Iranian military and is now unable to leave Iranian waters.

The US ordered the USS Farragut, DDG-99, and AEGIS destroyer, and a P-3 surveillance aircraft, to the area, but it by the time they arrived, the Iranians had boarded the vessel, and were taking it to port. The Farragaut stood off and did not intervene.

This vessel is from the Marshall Islands.

After World War II, the Marshall Islands became a Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands governed by the US. Self-government was achieved in 1979, and full sovereignty in 1986 under a Compact of Free Association with the United States, which still is in place.

IMHO, this is a direct challenge to the United States, and to Obama.

Iran wasted no time following Obama's declarations last week that US naval ships in the Gulf region would ensure “freedom of navigation.”

The Iranians know exactly what they are doing and they are tweaking Obama's nose to see if he will do anything about it.