US Military News, Reports, Data, etc.


Blackstone

Brigadier
Today at 7:43 AM
and after reading in related article
Trump seeks defense boost for 2018, $30B supplemental for 2017
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"Congress is unlikely to adopt the budget blueprint as offered, as it includes deep cuts for the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and National Institutes of Health."

I'll wait what will be the deal
It doesn't matter what the Donald wants on budgets, Congress will do what they please. The implemented budget will look nothing like Trump's proposed scheme, and it's more than likely he'll only get a portion of his $50b defense increase.
 

FORBIN

Lieutenant General
Registered Member
Many Winchesters :p

Ammo Loading into Powerful Gatling Gun & Chain Gun of A-10, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, AH-64, AH-1Z


Boeing signs $3.4 billion contract with U.S. Army for 268 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters

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TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
Bomber passes two preliminary design reviews

  • 16 MARCH, 2017
  • SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM
  • BY: LEIGH GIANGRECO
  • WASHINGTON DC


The US Air Force’s B-21 bomber passed an additional preliminary design review, service’s military deputy for the assistant secretary of the air force for acquisition says this week.

The air force conducted a PDR during the programme’s technology maturation and risk reduction phase before the service chose between Northrop Grumman and the Boeing/Lockheed team. A protest followed the contract award to Northrop in 2016 and the USAF conducted another three-day PDR, which just wrapped a few weeks ago, Lt Gen Arnold Bunch said 16 March.

“The tech maturation risk reduction phase was very valuable and we’re moving forward with detailed design at this point,” Bunch says. “We did one [PDR] before but then we had to make sure we came back after the downtime to clean up anything.”

Normally, one PDR is conducted is conducted during the technology maturation and risk reduction phase. The PDR assures hardware and software on the platform is operational. The programme then moves into the engineering, manufacturing and development phase, where a critical design review is conducted.

The USAF has been nearly mum on most aspects of the bomber contract. The service has even shrouded the price of the aircraft, arguing adversaries could gain information on the aircraft’s capabilities by working back the cost of the bomber. When asked about the programme’s timeline, Bunch told reporters he did not have the schedule off the top of his head but the programme is progressing toward detailed design and CDR.

The USAF applying lessons learned from its B-2 bomber programme to the B-21, including the way the service releases information. The air force has completely changed the way it structures the new bomber programme, with a focus on transparency and oversight from Congress, he says.

“We weren’t as transparent as we needed to be,” Bunch says of the B-2 programme. “We didn’t release information at the right times.”

But that philosophy appears to be at odds with other USAF leadership. During a recent Congressional hearing on nuclear deterrence, US Strategic Command head USAF Gen John Hyten complained that the press releases too much information on the price of strategic programmes.

“I hate the stuff that shows up in the press,” he told lawmakers. “I think we should reassess that. I hate the fact that costs us so much to open the press as well. Because if you put a cost estimate out in the press, it's not only our adversaries that are looking at it, but the people that are gonna build the system are looking at that.”

Bunch told reporters the USAF is trying to strike a balance when it comes to transparency and preventing adversaries from taking advantage of information. The service is working with the intelligence community, industry and office of the defense secretary to determine what information can be released, he adds.

“Take my willingness to be open with where we’re at today,” he says. “I don’t see releasing any more details for a period of time. We’ve been very open so far...I don’t know that I have to release anything else right now and we need to watch how we’re communicating so I’m telling you we started this with a balance.”
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The Surveillance And Battlefield Reconnaissance Equipment (SABRE) is integrated with RADA's MHR radar to provide an integrated battlefield surveillance and counter-UAS solution. Photo: DRS
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Note the SABRE appears to be built on either a L-ATV or M-ATV 4x4 Armored utility vehicle.
Follow up
Boeing signs $3.4 billion contract with U.S. Army for 268 AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters
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Boeing receives $3.2B US Army contract for Apache sales to Saudi Arabia
By:
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March 17, 2017 (Photo Credit: Michael Goettings/Boeing)
WASHINGTON — Boeing has been awarded a $3.2 billion contract from the U.S. Army to sell Apache helicopters to Saudi Arabia, according the Defense Department.

The contract modification calls for full-rate production of new and existing AH-64E Apache helicopters and will be overseen by the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

The project will be carried out at Boeing’s Mesa, Arizona, facility, with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2022.

Defense News' land warfare reporter, Jen Judson,
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that the Saudi Arabian National Guard was planning to build a rotary-wing force. It currently has 36 helicopters — up from having none less than two years ago — with an end goal of expanding to 156 aircraft.

The U.S. Army is helping to oversee the development of a rotary unit for SANG, including 42 Army aviators working to train and assist in modernization efforts.

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“We are training everything across the board,” from maintainers to refuelers to firefighters, not just pilots, said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, the Saudi Arabian National Guard modernization program manager.

The unit cost for a new Apache helicopter is $35.5 million — based on fiscal 2014 numbers — and $21.5 million for a unit rebuild, according to the Department of Defense fiscal 2016 budget request.

In addition to the U.S. Army and Saudi Arabia, the AH-64 Apache multi-role combat helicopter is operated by the militaries of Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom, according to UPI.

The Apache first came into service with the U.S. Army in the 1980s.
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Likley replacements for the Existing 94 AH64D's.
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
The bane of procurement officers.
Army pleads for industry to halt filing contract award protests on 'autopilot'
By:
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March 17, 2017 (Photo Credit: OshKosh Defense)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — High-ranking U.S. Army officials pleaded for industry to halt filing protests on a nearly automatic basis over contract awards at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium this week.

Over many years, the service has grown to count on protests from losing companies after major contract awards, often padding schedules to account for the guaranteed 90-plus day delays that come when a program must stop moving forward as a decision is rendered.

And the source-selection process is often slowed as Army contracting officials try to cover all the bases to ensure the decision they make is protest-proof.

The Army is “working hard” to “reduce the requirement for protest, we are taking that obligation on us,” Gen. Gus Perna, the head of Army Materiel Command, told an audience filled with military and industry representatives during a speech at the symposium on Monday.

But while the service will hold its contracting workforce accountable, “I ask that as you [industry] work through the process, that you don’t bombard us with unnecessary protests,” Perna said. “I need you to help self-assess, it cannot be on autopilot, protests are anchoring us down, just anchoring our capability to do other things.”

Perna added there is no chance he will be able to increase the contracting workforce that currently handles protests while also keeping contracts moving on schedule.

“The key is to hold ourselves high to execute high standards, make sure we define the requirement, the selection, the criteria, and then make the unbiased selection that will impact readiness,” he said.

Acting acquisition chief Steffanie Easter told Defense News in an interview that “there is no protest proof strategy,” no matter how slow and methodically contracting officials move through the process.

Easter said she is “pushing back” on the idea contracting agents need to move slowly to avoid protests and instead is urging the Army to “do what we know is the right thing to do and we will deal with the protest when it comes.”

“I will say that we are being very deliberate at making sure we are dotting our i's and crossing our t's, but I cannot allow it to slow us down and I have confidence in our system, that our contracting officers and our source-selection officials and our program managers, that they are well-trained and knowledgeable about what they are doing, and I will stand by them any day," she added.

In part, ongoing acquisition reform could help decrease the number of protests coming from losing bidders.

Easter said new efforts to think about acquisition across the entire life cycle of the program — from requirements to sustainment — will help make procurement decisions stronger and more defendable should a protest arise.
TBC
 

TerraN_EmpirE

Tyrant King
JLTV: A case study for procurement

The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is a good example of such a holistic acquisition approach, and analysts have said the procurement and competitive strategy is being used as a case study for how to proceed with major acquisition programs going forward.

But that didn’t stop Lockheed Martin from filing a protest with the Government Accountability Office in December 2015 following the Army’s decision to award Oshkosh Defense a contract to build its Humvee replacement in August. A $6.7 billion low-rate initial production contract was at stake as well as $30 billion for the entire contract.

Lockheed then decided to sue the Army in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims before the GAO rendered a decision, which extended the protest period out farther. In February 2016, Lockheed withdrew the complaint.


At the same time as the JLTV protest, BAE Systems filed a protest over the Army’s decision to choose Northrop Grumman to build its Common Infrared Countermeasure for helicopters and General Dynamics Land Systems filed a protest over the Marine Corps’ award to BAE Systems and SAIC to build prototypes in a competition for its Amphibious Combat Vehicle.

Both protests were denied, but they did slow the programs by 90 days.


Even more recently, the firearms manufacturer Glock filed a protest last month over the Army’s decision to award a new pistol contract to competitor Sig Sauer.

The Army announced in January that it would replace the M9 Beretta, soldiers' sidearm for more than 30 years, with a modified Sig Sauer P320.


While still in the protest period, Sig Sauer is able to continue working on the program because Glock did not file a protest with the GAO within five days of receiving its debriefing from the government.

Due diligence shortcomings

More recently, Palantir filed a protest with the GAO and then with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims over the service’s Distributed Common Ground System — Army procurement strategy for its third variant of the intelligence analysis framework.

Palantir’s protest filed with the court in June 2016 claimed the service issued an unlawful procurement solicitation that shut the company’s commercial offering out of the competition despite repeated attempts to show the Army what it had to offer.

This time Palantir won. The court ordered the Army to do a more thorough analysis of commercially available options for its DCGS-A program, but didn’t define exactly how the Army should conduct the analysis or what would be considered a satisfactory level of market research.

On the DCGS-A protest, Easter said: “That was about market research and we did the market research, but we learned we did not document it at the level that we should have, so there is something to be learned from each of these instances.”


The Army has appealed — in December 2016 — another U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruling to stop the service’s procurement of 16 LUH-72A Lakota helicopters, arguing the court overstepped its authority, misinterpreted government procurement terms and requirements, and improperly supplemented the record with outside information not relevant to making a decision.


AgustaWestland filed a protest in February 2016 that contended the Army’s decision to use the Lakota helicopter as a training helicopter overstepped the scope of the original contract with Airbus and the Army failed to develop an adequate plan for acquisition of a training helicopter that included shoddy market research from the start.

The court rendered its opinion in August 2016, issuing injunctive relief for AgustaWestland, meaning the Army could not move forward with its planned helicopter purchase.

The Defense Information Systems Agency also got dinged in December on another decision to award a contract to Leidos to produce the next iteration of the Army’s Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, unseating long-time prime Raytheon.

Two companies that lost out in the competition, incumbent Raytheon and General Dynamics Mission Systems, protested the award in January.


Following the protests, the agency decided to walk back on its decision to award the contract to Leidos in order to amend the request for proposals to “more accurately describe” what the agency needs.

According to the GAO’s decision, the Pentagon agency may have discovered a conflict of interest, as the document states the agency plans to further evaluate if one existed.
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Well more details emerged I am still optimistic.
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while Army Leaders Warn of Armor Upgrade, Air-Defense Cuts with Budget Caps
Army leaders said Thursday that if Congress does not end spending caps under sequestration the service will fall behind adversaries in modernization and struggle to meet commitments around the globe.

The Trump administration has submitted a budget request of $639 billion for defense in fiscal 2018. The White House and the Republican-led Congress has pledged to rebuild the U.S. military, which has struggled from years of cuts from sequestration.

A bipartisan budget act in 2015 suspended sequestration for two years, but that expires Sept. 30. Repealing sequestration would require Congress to pass further legislation.

“Army modernization funding declined 74 percent from 2008 thru 2015 as a result of the drawdown from two wars and the imposition of the Budget Control Act caps,” said Rep. Michael Turner R-Ohio, chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces. “As a result, tradeoffs and significant funding reductions were made to critical Army modernization programs.”

Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, deputy chief of staff for Army G-3/5/7 and Lt. Gen. John Murray, deputy chief of staff for Army G-8, testified at the March 16 hearing that the service is behind in many modernization efforts to include air and missile defense, long-range fires, electronic warfare capabilities and active protection systems, or APS, for ground and rotary wing platforms.

“If the Budget Control Act comes back in 2018, as you know we are on a path to upgrade the Abrams and the Bradley; we would have to stop that upgrade program,” Murray said.

Striker lethality upgrades, which are equipping the wheeled armored vehicles with 30mm cannons, “would stop,” Murray said. “We would have to stop the APS development.”

The fiscal 2017 budget will allow the Army to get to 476,000 in the active component, which Anderson characterized as a “high, significant risk” for the service meet the national defense strategy of defeat or deny adversaries, while doing counter-terrorism operations and defend the homeland.

“We’ve got to get bigger or we have got to turn the rheostat down on demand,” Anderson said.

The Army does field the majority of all combatant command missions, so “when you put more things back in Iraq, keep a higher number in Afghanistan, do Syria, do Jordan, do Libya, do Europe, do Korea – the math doesn’t work. You either got to turn something back or you’ve got to grow the capability and capacity to meet the requirements,” Anderson said.

Rep. Niki Tsongas, a Democrat from Massachusetts, asked for explanation of what the Army did with $500 billion in modernization funding it received between 2003 and 2011.

“How did the Army use the funding? How much of that equipment do we still have? Did it all simply get consumed in the war? Do you see a present and future use for it?” Tsongas asked.

Murray said most of that money was “consumed by the counter IED fight,” describing efforts to protect soldiers from improvised explosive devises.

“It was protection for our soldiers, it was [Mine Resistant, Ambushed Protected vehicles], it was up-armoring Humvees … it was better body armor, helmets – that is where most of that money went,” Murray said.

“Now are we still using some of that equipment, we absolutely are,” Murray added, pointing out that the Humvees and MRAPs are still in the inventory.

Over that time period, the Army took risks when it came to maneuverable air defense systems that could keep with brigade combat teams and long range indirect fires,” Murray said.

“We weren’t facing a resurgent Russia at that time; we made the assumption, and it has proved to be a bad assumption a long time ago, that we didn’t really need to worry about air defense, and we didn’t really need to worry about long-range precision fires because we had the best system in the world and it was called the United States Air Force,” Murray said.

“With the capabilities we are seeing right now that the Russians have developed and the Chinese are developing, we have to reinvest some effort. “We haven’t really upgraded those systems in a long time.”

Turner said, “While we cannot repair all of the damage done from sequestration in a single year, we can and should do more than this level of funding would provide,” Turner said.

After the release of the president’s budget request on Thursday, the chairmen of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees — Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican — quickly said that the $54 billion in additional defense funding was not enough and would not provide for a quick enough military buildup to deter threats.

McCain said that the extra money “will not be sufficient to rebuild the military. Such a budget does not represent a 10 percent increase as previously described by the White House, but amounts to a mere 3 percent over” the budget plan that had been proposed by former President Barack Obama.
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Yesterday at 4:03 PM
Today at 7:43 AM
and after reading in related article
Trump seeks defense boost for 2018, $30B supplemental for 2017
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"Congress is unlikely to adopt the budget blueprint as offered, as it includes deep cuts for the State Department, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and National Institutes of Health."

I'll wait what will be the deal
just one more thing now:
"Although the Budget Blueprint says it “repeals the defense sequestration”, it does NOT propose repealing the Budget Control Act. Rather, it proposes raising the cap for defense—called a “restoration”—but keeps the caps in place. That’s important because it means that any internal proposals for defense increases must be offset by decreases, a discipline that budgeteers appreciate."
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Oct 28, 2016
Mar 20, 2016

kinda update:
Officials: Third Offset Strategy Key to Maintaining U.S. Military Technology Dominance

source is USNI News
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and now I read
What Will Replace the Third Offset? Lessons from Past Innovation Strategies
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Whatever the name, it’s crucial to have a framework for directing and harnessing advancements in defense technology.

The Trump Administration’s “skinny budget” doesn’t tell defense watchers much they didn’t already know. Among the outstanding questions: what of the Obama Administration’s much-touted defense innovation initiative and
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? If past is prologue, the new administration is unlikely to adopt the terminology of its predecessor, and that’s okay. Savvy defense modernization by any other name would smell just as sweet.

In late October, CSIS
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to assess the Third Offset strategy. In many ways, we found it to simply be the latest in a long line of frameworks used by administrations of both parties that seek to use defense innovation to overcome key operational challenges. Its predecessors include the Reconnaissance-Strike Complex, Revolution in Military Affairs, Transformation, Air-Sea Battle, Anti-Access/Area Denial, and several others that never quite achieved marquee status. These ideas are not all the same. Each has a particular strategic and/or operational imperative and scope. Yet they all share the aim of securing a distinct asymmetric advantage for the United States based, at least in part, on technology. The Trump Administration should take the most relevant attributes of prior frameworks, be attentive to their potential misuses, and adopt a framework for using innovation to serve national objectives.

What the Third Offset and its predecessors have done well is identify the strategic imperative for securing a new competitive operational edge through technology. This signaling is critical. It can reassure our allies and deter our adversaries by demonstrating the reliability of future U.S. military dominance. For innovators — whether they are government insiders, denizens of traditional and nontraditional defense industry, or other potential partners — it can serve as a clarion call for bold ideas. The better that warfighters can explain their current and projected operational imperatives, the better the public and private sector can bring compelling solutions to bear. As the details in the budget are filled in, innovators will be looking to see whether the organizations focused on cutting-edge approaches are being given the resources to implement them.

However, the history of defense innovation efforts is not entirely rosy. As the Trump Administration looks to develop its approach, it will do well to learn lessons from past efforts. Four lessons are particularly important.

First, innovation efforts stand the best chance of success when warfighter challenges are clearly described. “Transformation” was infamously all things to all people. Mentioned 89 times in the
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, transformation sought to “extend America’s asymmetric advantages well into the future” across virtually every operational and institutional area. The meaning was entirely in the eye of the beholder; Pentagon bosses would routinely tell staff to “sprinkle some transformation” on ideas they wanted senior leadership to fund. The
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better defined the problem it was addressing, which DoD described as “how air and naval forces will integrate capabilities across all operational domains…to counter growing challenges to U.S. freedom of action” including the “development of future capabilities needed for effective power projection operations.” Third Offset began more like transformation—an “ambitious department-wide effort to identify and invest in innovative ways to sustain and advance America’s military dominance for the 21st century”—and evolved over time to a narrow, clearer scope. At the October CSIS conference, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work
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as improving conventional deterrence against adversaries with advanced battle networks. Thus defined, Third Offset provides a shared understanding of the problem to be solved and puts potential adversaries on notice that the United States will close critical gaps.

Second, there is an obvious corollary to this first lesson: the Trump Administration should acknowledge that there are many important operational problems requiring solutions, even if they are not the leadership’s current priority. For instance, Air-Sea Battle, Anti-Access/Area-Denial, and Third Offset all suffered from the appearance of ignoring current and projected ground-force challenges. There was a China bias inherent, if not always stated, in each. It took Russian actions in Crimea, the Donbass, and Syria to belie the exclusivity of the Pacific and air and maritime-dominant challenges facing U.S. power projection, and Russian unconventional actions against us at home and in Europe to demonstrate that effective deterrence requires more than just military power. The Trump Administration would do well to tailor frameworks to specific operational challenges, but they should also not suffer a failure of imagination on the range of operational challenges—across the spectrum of conflict—for which solutions are required.

Third, the new administration should begin with the understanding that the capabilities needed to meet an operational challenge require more than technology. Many people mischaracterized the Third Offset strategy as a technology-only approach, but Department leadership was careful from relatively early on to acknowledge that innovation requires technology to be combined with intelligence, operational art, and individual and collective skill enhancements. Even so, the most notable “innovation” initiatives undertaken in recent years have a decidedly materiel bent. The other elements of the innovation enterprise—notably concept development, organizational design, and experimentation and full-scale exercises on these—work far harder to glean senior-leader attention and needed dollars. This is particularly self-defeating in a world of rapidly spreading technology, in which one aspect of a comparative U.S. advantage must be the ability to adapt our people and institutions to leverage technology better and more quickly than others.

Finally, the Trump Administration’s defense innovation agenda should look beyond eliminating U.S. weaknesses to furthering our many cost-imposing, asymmetric advantages. Perhaps the greatest of these advantages is the robust, multilayered web of alliances and partnerships that the United States has painstaking forged over multiple decades. One need only read the innumerable complaints from would-be adversaries about U.S. alliances and partnerships to know that these efforts complicate their planning more than almost any other U.S. action. Asymmetric opportunities likewise exist on the hard-power side. The United States has an unmatched ability to operate in multiple domains simultaneously and to unexpectedly reveal new capabilities at times of its own choosing, as it did with its ability to use moving target indication and bunker-busting in the First Gulf War. Looking ahead, the Trump Administration should strengthen current efforts aimed at keeping potential competitors off balance and thus deterred through the complex dynamic of capabilities development and effective strategic signaling.

Today, all eyes may be on the DoD budget topline, but the Trump Administration’s defense innovation agenda still awaits. The global technological playing field seems increasingly to offer a series of jump balls, with possession going to the nation or nations that react fastest. The United States can deter adversaries and win the military competitions it chooses to engage in if it puts a premium on adaptability, builds on U.S. asymmetric advantages, and invests smartly to meet clearly-defined, and clearly important, operational challenges. Whether the Trump Administration adopts the Third Offset label or some other moniker is far less important than demonstrating it has learned these lessons from past efforts.
 

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