US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Nov 18, 2016
Oct 1, 2016

sorta update (the part for me hahaha: "As a result, the Navy has about $5.1 billion, or about a third of its shipbuilding budget, sitting in the wrong line item. If the continuing resolution were to last for all of FY 2017, that money would be unusable to the Navy. If in the spring lawmakers pass an actual appropriations bill for the remainder of FY 2017, the Navy would get access to that money halfway through the fiscal year but would likely end up awarding shipbuilding contracts late, which can create extra costs as shipbuilders and their vendors deal with the uncertainty of the situation.") inside
Congress Set To Extend Continuing Resolution; Puts Ohio Replacement, Shipbuilding Contracts At Risk
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updating again; it's mostly Politics, but not exclusively ... just the headline here:
Carter Slams Congress Over Potential Continuing Resolution Through May
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Strictly speaking this is not a military topic but still a security one. Trump's children will be the first adult US Presidential "kids" since George HW Bush was in office, and I think the first from multiple ex-wives of a US President. Several of Trump's children and in-laws will be managing an international business network with a fair amount of international travel to be expected. Since some or all of them qualify for Secret Service protection is this an unprecedented scope of work for the Secret Service?

Thought of this question when I saw this article about international Trump properties potentially becoming more attractive terrorist targets:
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"... In early 2014 the high cost caused the
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and to assess alternative technologies. However, Congress kept adding money to keep the program going, arguing that more study was needed.
The administration then had an outside agency conduct an independent cost estimate.
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came in at $47.5 billion for remaining construction and operations—on top of the $5 billion already spent. Plutonium disposal would not finish until 2059 (!) and that was the optimistic estimate that assumed an annual budget increase. The pessimistic estimate was $110 billion with completion in 2100.

So program costs have increased by a factor of 25. DoD’s much criticized acquisition system has average cost overruns of about one third, brilliant compared with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) performance on this program. ..."
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now I read (dated 30 November, 2016) Congress punts extra F-35s, Super Hornets in defence bill
US lawmakers couldn’t squeeze additional Lockheed F-35s and Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets into their annual defence policy bill and instead reverted to the numbers stated in the Obama administration's original budget request.

After ironing out differences in their separate legislation, House and Senate lawmakers came to a consensus this week on a defence policy bill that could come up for a vote by the end of this week. Senior armed services committee staff briefed reporters on 29 November about the unifying language, known as the conference report, which left out 11 F-35s from the services’ unfunded priorities list. Fourteen Super Hornets included in a previous version of the House bill are no longer included. Although $3.2 billion in the defence bill is tied to readiness, lawmakers were forced to find savings by omitting the additional fighters.

Committee members also stopped short of mandating a separate programme for F-35 follow-on modernisation, but the bill will require additional reporting on the modernisation to Congress. The major defence acquisition programme designation requires closer inspection from Congress and a selected acquisition report detailing the programme’s cost, schedule and performance.

The bill’s language does not include the need for a selected acquisition report, but the JPO is required to submit information that contains the basic elements of an acquisition programme baseline for block 4 modernisation, senior armed services members told reporters. Block 4 modernisation will deliver 80 new capabilities and 17 weapons. Block 4.1 capabilities will include electronic warfare improvements, cockpit navigation upgrades, AIM-9X Block II and Small Diameter Bomb II integration.

The bill mandates close surveillance by the Government Accountability Office of the US Air Force’s secretive Northrop Grumman B-21 bomber programme, but does not require restructuring the programme.

In April, Senate Armed Services Chairman Senator John McCain ripped into the Joint Programme Offices’ current plan for the F-35, which would keep the modernisation within the programme rather than as a separate line-item in the budget. With Block 4 modernisation set to cost nearly $3 billion over the next six years, the GAO argued the price alone would qualify the programme as a separate major defence acquisition programme.

“This is incredible given the Department’s dismal track record on these upgrade programmes, as the F-22A modernisation and upgrade debacle showed,” McCain said. “I have seen no evidence that DOD’s processes have improved to a level that would remove the need for a separate major defence acquisition programme that would enable close scrutiny by Congress.”

While McCain railed against cost-plus contracts, the new bill compromised with a preference rather than mandate for fixed-price contracts. In the case of the JSTARS recapitalisation programme, the Defense Secretary could waive the need for a fixed-price contract in case of a national security interest, staff say. Earlier this fall, US Air Force officials warned that a mandated fixed price contract would have delayed the recapitalisation initial operational capability.

Congress also softened its stance on the JPO, which McCain had threatened to scrap. Instead, the conference report directs the Defense Department to return within the next legislative cycle with recommendations on how to drawn down the office. Software and development will likely remain common across platforms, but some elements of the programme could be handed off to the services, staff say.

“That actual disestablishment would not occur in [Fiscal Year 18],” staff say. “That would be a future decision.”
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Nov 18, 2016
Oct 1, 2016

sorta update (the part for me hahaha: "As a result, the Navy has about $5.1 billion, or about a third of its shipbuilding budget, sitting in the wrong line item. If the continuing resolution were to last for all of FY 2017, that money would be unusable to the Navy. If in the spring lawmakers pass an actual appropriations bill for the remainder of FY 2017, the Navy would get access to that money halfway through the fiscal year but would likely end up awarding shipbuilding contracts late, which can create extra costs as shipbuilders and their vendors deal with the uncertainty of the situation.") inside
Congress Set To Extend Continuing Resolution; Puts Ohio Replacement, Shipbuilding Contracts At Risk
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and now this is very interesting:
CNO: Navy to Take Steps to Protect Ohio Replacement Program From CR
The Navy is already taking steps to mitigate the effects of a longterm continuing resolution on its most strategically important program, the Ohio replacement submarine, its top uniformed official said Wednesday.

The Navy plans to seek authorities from Congress that would allow the service to begin work on the Ohio replacement program, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said.

“We need to get started on that, and we can't start that under a CR because we don't have any new start authority,” he said. “So we're going to be seeking an anomaly to get permission to start on that very important program."

Exactly how long Congress plans to extend the current CR is a matter of debate. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Tuesday sent a letter to the Hill rebuking lawmakers for a CR that would extend until May. However, congressional staffers told Defense News that they were confused by the letter, as Republican leadership had supposedly been discussing a resolution that would last only until March or April.

Speaking to Defense News in an exclusive interview at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), Richardson sharply condemned a longterm CR, calling it "extremely disruptive" and citing the ripple effects to procurement accounts.

"There’s actually no cost savings in a continuing resolution because you just disrupt the whole flow of business, so you actually end up being more expensive at the end of the day because you just have so much uncertainty, which translates to risk, which translates to cost."

For instance, a CR would require the service to write a separate contract for the period of the CR, and then to rewrite it once the budget is approved, Richardson said, adding that about 20 to 40 percent of contracts would be affected.

“So even as we're trying to reduce our headquarters number, we're doubling our contract burden in the other areas of the Navy,” he said.

Because the Defense Department has operated under a CR for at least some part of the year for almost a full decade, the Navy has actually modified its purchasing behavior.

"We don't even put anything in the first fiscal quarter that's important because it's always very vulnerable to a continuing resolution, so we're really operating on three quarters out of four,” he said. “What company can be competitive operating only three quarters of the year?”

The CNO declined to comment on the recently released conference report of the defense authorization bill, saying it would be “premature” to comment on something he hadn’t parsed through.

“I need to get in and look at the details,” he said. “How does it differ from the president’s request and all those sorts of things. Until I do that analysis, I’m really kind of shooting in the dark.”
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as Today at 4:53 AM
now I read (dated 30 November, 2016) Congress punts extra F-35s, Super Hornets in defence bill

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No Extra Fighter Jets in Compromise Defense Bill
The U.S. military doesn’t get extra fighter jets in the compromise version of the 2017 defense authorization bill.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives had supported funding for 11 more
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made by Lockheed Martin Corp. and a total of 14
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made by Boeing Co. “to address a critical fighter shortage,” according to language approved earlier this year.

But their counterparts in the Senate didn’t sign off on the plan for extra fighter jets.

Thus, the compromise version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which sets policy and spending targets for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, would authorize funding in keeping with the Defense Department’s original budget request.

The Pentagon asked for $10.5 billion for 63 of the F-35 fifth-generation fighters — including 43 A models for the Air Force and 16 B variants for the Marine Corps and four C models for the Navy — as well as $185 million for two of the Navy’s F/A-18E/F fourth-generation fighters.

The legislation also dropped a provision to shift management of the nearly $400 Joint Strike Fighter program — the Pentagon’s largest acquisition effort — to the Air Force and Navy. But lawmakers still want to study different ways to manage the program.

They opted against dissolving the F-35 Joint Program Office, headed by Air Force Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, as previously proposed by Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“The House recedes with an amendment that would remove the requirement to disestablish the JPO and require the Secretary of Defense, no later than March 31, 2017, to submit to the congressional defense committees a report on potential options for the future management of the Joint Strike Fighter program,” states a report accompanying the bill.

Interestingly, conferees also opposed treating the F-35 Follow-on Modernization program as a separate acquisition effort — but agreed it should have similar reporting requirements.

“The Senate bill contained a provision (sec. 1087) that would require the Department of Defense to treat the F-35 Follow-on Modernization program as a separate Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP),” the report states.

“The House recedes with an amendment that would remove the requirement to treat the Follow-on Modernization program as a separate MDAP and require the Secretary of Defense, not later than March 31, 2017, to submit to the congressional defense committees a report that contains the basic elements of an acquisition program baseline for Block 4 modernization,” it continues.

The bill is expected to go to the House for a vote as early as Friday and the Senate is expected to follow suit next week.
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ehm ehm "The Pentagon asked for $10.5 billion for 63 of the F-35 fifth-generation fighters ..."
 
now It's official: Donald Trump has chosen Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary
Donald Trump on Thursday announced retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as his pick for secretary of defense, tasking the popular military leader with carrying out the president-elect's planned overhaul of Pentagon operations and a shift in national security priorities.

Speaking at a rally Thursday night in Cincinnati, Trump confirmed
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indicating the president-elect intended to nominate Mattis for the key Cabinet post.

Neither Mattis nor Trump's transition team responded to Military Times' requests for comment.

The 66-year-old retired general, who left active duty in 2013 after reportedly falling from favor with the Obama administration over disagreements about Iran, last served as the head of U.S. Central Command. The post afforded him oversight of all military activity in the Middle East, to include the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He will require a waiver from Congress to hold the Pentagon's top post because law mandates a seven-year wait between active-duty service and working as defense secretary, a rule is designed to reinforce the concept of civilian control of the military.

Mattis is widely respected on Capitol Hill, and likely won't encounter any difficulty getting confirmed. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., has praised Mattis as "one of the finest military officers of his generation and an extraordinary leader," and has signaled Senate support for Trump's choice, saying it won't be a problem for Mattis to obtain the waiver he'll need to serve as secretary.

Trump will look to Mattis, if confirmed, to help navigate a host of global security challenges: Washington's standoff with Russia, China's imperial ambitions, ongoing violence in Africa and the Middle East.

"The Afghan war is not going well," said Peter Bergen, a military analyst and vice president of the New America think tank. "One of the first things the Trump administration needs to do is to figure out its policy there."

Inside the Pentagon, Mattis was known for being assertive with the use of U.S. forces, said Bryan Clark, who was a top aide to Adm. Jon Greenert, the chief of naval operations from 2011 to 2015. Mattis leaned on the Navy to keep two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf as a means to counter Iran, creating some strain on the service's budget and resources.

“He pushed a lot more of a hawkish tone towards Iran” said Clark, now an analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “At the time, the Obama administration was trying to use the ‘carrot and stick’ method to get Iran to the table: The carrot being the nuclear negotiations and the sticks being the stepped up carrier presence. Mattis favored using the stick until the adversary cedes to your wishes — then bring out the carrots.”

During his final years of service, Mattis sparred often with Obama’s national security team. As the president moved to set up his nuclear agreement with Iran, Mattis publicly advocated his aggressive approach to confronting the regime he has come to view as the greatest threat to stability in the Middle East. Trump made this a key foreign policy point on the campaign trail, repeatedly blasting Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the nuclear deal.

While China and Russia might call for somewhat different approaches, Clark added that Mattis clearly believes in the power of U.S military muscle to solve problems. “He'll look to be a lot more assertive in our disagreements with other nations,” Clark said. “... He postured a large amount of forces with a lot of capabilities in the places they'd want to cause trouble.”

The general enjoys a cult-like following among past and present military members — particularly infantry Marines and soldiers — inspired by his swashbuckling rhetoric about the realities of war. He is known by an array of nicknames and military callsigns, including Mad Dog, Chaos and Warrior Monk. The last derives from his bachelor status, a rarity among those who attain four-star status.

Regarded as
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, Mattis is known for his colorful quotes such as: "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet." His 44-year military career, which includes experience on the ground in combat, buoys his credibility. After their initial meeting on Nov. 19, Trump called Mattis “the real deal.”

Mattis currently works as a national security fellow at the California-based Hoover Institution. In recent months he has spoken frequently in Washington, D.C., about the need for military leadership and vigilance in an increasingly dangerous world.

The president-elect has indicated a strong desire for a bigger military and fewer spending restrictions. But Trump also has promised a less-confrontational foreign policy strategy, blasting the past two presidents' inclination toward “nation building,” calling the approach an unforgivable failure.

It remains to be seen how that syncs with Mattis’ opinions. But in August, the general co-authored a report blasting the last three administrations for a perceived lack of national security vision, saying those leaders have largely ignored threats posed by Russia, China and terrorist groups worldwide.

“If the world feels more dangerous to you, it should,” the report states. “We are seeing the results of 20 years of the United States operating unguided by strategy. We have been slow to identify emergent threats and unwilling to prioritize competing interests; we have sent confounding messages to enemies and allies alike. Our country urgently needs to up our game, make common cause with countries that are willing to help repair and sustain the international order that has served the United States and our allies so well.”

Trump has said that Mattis may have
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— even before being formally offered the job. Trump and his surrogates have been advocates for a return to waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques, but in an interview with the New York Times on Nov. 22 the president-elect said Mattis made him rethink that position.

Instead, Trump said, Mattis advocated building a relationship with detainees. He told Trump “give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, and I’ll do better,” an answer the president-elect called "impressive."

Last spring, a group of Mattis fans unsuccessfully attempted to draft the retired general as an alternative presidential candidate to Trump and Clinton, but Mattis rebuffed the effort. And unlike a number of other high-profile former military leaders, he declined to condemn Trump’s campaign trail rhetoric about attacking the families of terrorists as dangerous and un-American.

In September, Mattis co-authored the book "Warriors & Citizens" which addresses the cultural gap between the military and the civilian population it serves. The results revealed a surprising level of ignorance and unfamiliarity.

His research found that one in three Americans have little or no familiarity with the military, and half of Americans cannot recall socializing with a service member or military spouse within the last year. This may point to at least one of his priorities as defense secretary: bridging the so-called civil-military divide.

“There are many people who do not know if the U.S. Army has 60,000 men or 6 million," Mattis told Military Times when the book was published in September. "They do not have a clue about that.

“America is quite right to be proud of their military, but at the same time there has got to be a sense of common purpose between these two elements. If, in fact, this gap grows and we lose the sense of common purpose, then I think we have a problem.”

Mattis espouses and exudes the virtues of military leadership and will bring three "critical elements" to the Pentagon, said retired Adm. James Stavridis, who retired in 2013 as NATO's top commander.

"First a deep profound and unshakable understanding of combat operations from having been there," Stavridis said. "Second an intellectual underpinning that comprehends the deepest elements of military history and strategy. And third an unbounded compassion for the troops that he serves."
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