Wednesday at 9:19 AM
ugly looking if you asked me LOL
vid is inside
Delivery KC-46A Tanker Maiden Flight
ugly looking if you asked me LOL
vid is inside
Delivery KC-46A Tanker Maiden Flight
Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that she intends to demand a higher level of accountability from program managers if their acquisition program goes away.
“We as a team are working very closely together to look at functions and individuals in [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] and in the services, the duties they are required to perform, and are determining whether or not we have the right people in the right slots,” Lord said, before saying she did not want to “talk about individuals” in a public forum but would brief the SASC in a future closed hearing if they required more details.
“I will take action if there are issues, no question about it,” Lord told reporters after the hearing. “There are constraints when you come into a government job — you cannot move anybody for 120 days. And if you check on my 120 days, it was just very recently.”
Asked if that meant the department should expect personnel movements related to accountability, Lord stated “I think you should expect to see some movements.”
That attitude should endear Lord to Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the SASC. McCain routinely rails against what he sees as a lack of accountability for acquisition issues, often asking witnesses at his hearings if they know of anyone who had been fired for famously over-budget programs like the F-35 joint strike fighter of the Army’s WIN-T tactical IT nework.
However, at Thursday’s hearing, McCain seemed skeptical of Lord’s promise to “hold people responsible,” as well as her desire to talk about it in a future closed session as opposed to out in the open.
“Who is it that’s been fired? Any answer?” McCain asked the panel, before answering his own question: “No.”
Part of that involves pushing authorities down to the services, which James Geurts, the Navy’s assistant secretary of research, development and acquisition, said would help increase accountability.
“It’s harder to hold somebody accountable when they don’t have the authority to actually make those decisions, so pushing that authority down is a key element,” Geurts, who took office three days before the hearing, told senators.
He added that
was unaware of the articleDefense acquisition head: accountability, and perhaps firings, on the way
just LOL here as during my like four years on the SDF I don't recall anyone fired from the Pentagon for his/her program over budget or missing a deadline, and of course I heard of multiple major programs which have swollen by billions / blown deadlines by years LOL what then happens is "eventually ultimately undoubtedly will" line is pulled
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is playing hardball with the Pentagon when it comes to acquisition programs that end up billions of dollars over budget or deliver years late.
In a hearing before the committee Thursday, Sen. John McCain took to task Ellen Lord, the new under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, for recent examples of acquisition malpractice, including the
FCS was canceled in 2009 after six years of work and more than $6 billion in taxpayer investment; the Ford was delivered earlier this year, more than $2 billion over budget and 15 months later than expected.
McCain said he asked Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson who was responsible for cost overruns and was told Richardson didn't know.
"I mean, there's such a thing as accountability, and all of the things that were just covered by the witnesses here ... there's no penalty for failure," the Arizona Republican said. " ... When I go to a town hall meeting and tell my constituents that we blew $6 billion and there has not been anyone fired or replaced or -- or -- or new way of doing things, they're not really very happy."
Lord declined to talk about specific personnel actions in an open hearing, telling McCain she preferred to discuss the matter privately in his office.
"We, as a team, are working very closely together to look at functions and individuals in OSD and in the services, the duties they're required to perform," she said, "and are determining whether or not we have the right people in the right slots, and I don't want to talk about individuals here in a broad forum."
Army Secretary Mark Esper, who also testified, was more direct.
"Senator, I'm not aware of anyone being fired for FCS, to your point," he said.
McCain has been a longtime critic of a number of major defense acquisition programs that saw large cost overruns or failed to live up to their initial promise.
On Thursday, he said the
"That's why this committee enacted the most sweeping acquisition reforms in a generation through the last two National Defense Authorization Acts," he said. "And yet, despite that legislation, and in the face of our eroding military advantage, the department has been unable or unwilling to change."
Lord, who previously served as CEO of Textron Systems and assumed her current position in August, told reporters following the hearing that she expects to address personnel issues going forward, though she may not reveal all actions to the public.
She added that she is prohibited by law from making any personnel changes or reassignments in the first 120 days of her tenure. That milestone, she added, has only recently passed.
"I think you should expect to see some movements," she said.
now (dated 07 December, 2017) Congress puts confidence in new A-10 wings
source is FlightGlobalA third of the US Air Force’s Fairchild-Republic A-10C fleet is riding on pending funding from Congress, with money for new wings expected in both the fiscal year 2018 defence policy and appropriations bills.
The resilient A-10 dodged retirement once again in the air force’s 2018 budget, but that doesn’t spare a significant portion of the fleet from a boneyard fate.
With the the existing wings approaching the end of their service life, more than 100 aircraft in the almost 290-strong A-10 fleet will be grounded if the USAF does not receive funding for new wings, according to Congressional testimony this week.
Although the USAF did not request funding in its original fiscal year 2018 budget, its wishlist for programmes the service could not fit into the president’s FY2018 budget request included $83 million to start the programme at four wings. The House and Senate’s combined National Defense Authorization Act defence policy bill approved $103,000,000 million for new wings. The bill is waiting President Donald Trump’s approval.
In addition, the House Appropriations defense subcommittee mark added money to the air force budget to retool and open a line for A-10 wings, USAF Secretary Heather Wilson tells Senate lawmakers this week. The Senate Appropriations committee is working on similar legislation now, she adds.
“If that comes through, we will work on executing that so we can get that line back up so that we can re-wing,” she says. “I think the amount would be the tooling in the first four or five sets of wings for the A-10.”
Wilson noted the challenge of balancing modernization efforts with managing new platforms, but the legacy Warthog does not appear under threat on her watch.
“I happen to be kind of a fan of the A-10 myself,” Wilson says.
Offutt likely had eyes on North Korean missile launch
When North Korea launches a monster missile as it did last week, Omaha eyes are watching, and Omaha ears are listening.
The Hwasong-15 flew higher and is more powerful than any rocket Kim Jong Un’s regime has flown in the past, capable of reaching perhaps as far as New York or Washington, D.C.
Senior U.S. military officials knew all that and much more about the missile quickly, in large part because of Air Force jets from the Offutt-based 55th Wing that almost certainly were flying in the area at the time.
As a matter of policy, the Air Force doesn’t discuss current operations. But public air-traffic control feeds streamed over the Internet show one of the 55th Wing’s three RC-135S Cobra Ball missile-detection jets airborne at almost the same time as the launch last Wednesday, though the jet’s transponder wasn’t sending out its location. Experienced watchers of those feeds often interpret that to mean the plane is flying operations in the western Pacific Ocean, near North Korea.
The jets are flown by air crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron and staffed by analysts from the 97th Intelligence Squadron, both part of the 55th Wing. In the Pacific, crews are deployed to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
The Cobra Ball’s sensors pick up the sights and sounds of missile launches. Besides photographing every launch with sensitive digital cameras, they can also grab performance data transmitted from the rocket about its speed, power, altitude and other critical information. The data is sent promptly to top officials at the Pentagon and U.S. Strategic Command.
“What the Cobra Ball collects goes to (National Security Advisor) H.R. McMaster, (Defense Secretary) Gen. (Jim) Mattis and (StratCom Commander) Gen. (John) Hyten right away,” said Robert Hopkins III, author and historian of reconnaissance aircraft and a former 55th Wing pilot. “This provides the kind of immediate intel that allows high-level decision-makers to make decisions.”
The Cobra Ball is part of a network of sensors collecting data and sending it to StratCom’s round-the-clock Global Operations Center beneath its Offutt Air Force Base headquarters. That network includes satellites, Navy ships and ground-based monitors.
“Having the suite of intelligence capabilities we do — our leaders are just so much better informed,” said Jeffrey Lewis, director of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, in California, and author of the “Arms Control Wonk” blog.
Cobra Ball is a key part of the detection system, and it has been for decades.
During the Cold War era, Cobra Ball worked in complete secrecy for the Offutt-based Strategic Air Command from stormy Shemya Island, in the Aleutians. Crews on the isolated base flew routine orbits and also responded to alerts when the Soviet Union tested ICBMs in far eastern Russia.
“The klaxon would blow. We’d jump in the plane and get up in the air,” said Kingdon Hawes of Omaha, an electronics warfare officer who worked the flights in the late 1960s.
In those days, the pilots would trace the rocket’s trajectory in grease pencil on the inside of the cockpit windows, for later study by analysts on the ground.
The Air Force released no details about Cobra Ball’s operations in the western Pacific last week. But an unclassified account of a similar mission five years ago, written by 55th Wing leaders for an awards nomination, gives insight into recent Cobra Ball operations near North Korea.
In November 2012, intelligence sources indicated that North Korea — identified only as “a rogue nation” in the 55th Wing account — was preparing to launch a rocket and put a satellite into orbit in violation of United Nations sanctions.
The squadron quickly deployed two Cobra Ball jets to Japan and set up round-the-clock alert schedules for their crews.
related: US Averts Government Shutdown, For Now. But the Potential Harm and Waste Is Growing.Wednesday at 7:09 AM
"U.S. lawmakers on Thursday averted a government shutdown this week by passing a new funding extension to keep federal operations running for two more weeks, in the hopes of reaching a broader budget consensus before Christmas.
Now the question for lawmakers is whether they can reach a deal on appropriations for all of fiscal 2018 — which began on Oct. 1 — or whether they’ll have to scramble another short-term funding patch over the next 15 days.
US Congress avoids government shutdown, at least for two more weeks
source is DefenseOneOver the Pentagon’s loud objections, lawmakers pass a 2-week temporary spending measure instead of a budget.
Congress passed a temporary spending measure on Thursday night that will keep the U.S. government running for the next two weeks while lawmakers attempt to pass a yearlong budget.
But until that budget is signed by President Trump, the military cannot change how it spends its money. It must spend the same amount, on the same items, as last year: bombs and missiles, warships and aircraft, armored vehicles and training.
“Nothing’s had a greater impact on combat readiness than CRs,” or continuing resolutions, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday before lawmakers voted to install one. “At a time where security threats are high, we really do need the predictability in the budget, certainty that we don’t have with CRs.”
She said the U.S. military has operated under a CR for three of the past nine years — 1,081 days, to be exact.
David Norquist, the Pentagon comptroller, said there are two “destructive effects” of a CR.
“One is, we’re delayed in meeting the requirements of the combatant commanders,” he said. “The other one is, there are companies out there, willing to hire people to begin to meet our requirements and, therefore, you’re not getting the benefit on the economic side, of that employment.”
Since CRs have become so commonplace these days, the Pentagon has gotten used to them, according to Todd Harrison, a budget analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“The Pentagon is smart about this,” he said. “They already anticipate … it’s foolish to plan a contract award or a new start, production increase, something like that, in the first quarter of a fiscal year. So those kind of impacts are pretty minimal in the first quarter.”
The short-term CR passed by lawmakers this week will keep the government funded until Dec. 22 — or just about the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year. But eventually programs have to begin, multilateral exercises have to happen, things have to start getting done.
“When you start getting into the second and third quarter of the fiscal year, then it becomes hard to avoid” the effects of a CR, Harrison said. “So the longer you go, you know, past January, the longer we go on a CR, we’ll see, you know, an exponential increase in the impacts that are happening.”
The military’s top generals have warned about
Last week at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that lawmakers would pass a two-week continuing resolution and then a more long-term appropriations bill.
As much as Congress may have been procrastinating on budget deals, so has the executive branch, Harrison said. Obama met the statutory deadline for budget submission just two out of eight years. And when it comes to the 2018 budget, Trump’s first?
“When is the latest a president’s budget request has ever been released?” Harrison said. “It turns out: this year.”
and later moved to USNI News, had enough somewhere in the middle (when the said the couldn't work on the Ford under a CR):
Boeing KC-46A Tanker for U.S. Air Force Completes First Flight
The first Boeing [NYSE: BA] KC-46A tanker that will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year successfully completed its first flight and airborne tests today, taking off from Paine Field at 10:32 a.m. PST and landing approximately three-and-one-half hours later.
“Today’s flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter,” said Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.
During the flight, Boeing test pilots took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. Prior to subsequent flights, the team will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation.
“We’re very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities, but the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more.”
The newest tanker is the KC-46 program’s seventh aircraft to fly to date.
The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 34 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force.
The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.
now Congress Eager for Results of Air Force's Light Attack Aircraft Demo
The results are in.
Members of Congress are eager to hear the verdict.
During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on acquisition reform Thursday, senators said they are hopeful the light attack aircraft --
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said she had not yet reviewed the report but emphasized the speed of the entire process.
"This is the letter of invitation and four-page set of requirements," she said, holding up the original proposal, which was released to the defense industry on March 8.
"In less than five months, we had four aircraft on the ramp to test at Holloman Air Force Base and, last night, I just got the test report. So in less than 11 months, with five pages, we have tested four aircraft for a potential light attack aircraft for the United States and allies," Wilson said.
Last month, key lawmakers agreed to provide the
Addressing Wilson during Thursday's hearing, Sen Angus King, I-Maine, added, "What you told us about the light attack aircraft and the process is incredibly encouraging, and I hope that you will be able to continue along those lines."
Light Attack's Journey -- So Far
Four aircraft --
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen David Goldfein in September told Military.com that the light attack initiative should be viewed as a new way of doing business -- not just a plane, but part of a larger communications system.
OA-X "is actually not about the hardware -- it's about the network," he said, adding he wants the service to train more often with coalition partners -- who may not have high-end fighter aircraft.
Goldfein, who served as the U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander between 2011 and 2013, said, "Is this a way to get more coalition partners into a network to counter violence?
"Can I -- at the same that we're looking at a relatively inexpensive aircraft and sensor package -- can I connect that into a network of sharable information that allows us to better accomplish the strategy as it's been laid out?" he said.
During Thursday's hearing, Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, highlighted the need for interim solutions, such as light attack, given that the U.S. increasingly seems to require off-the-shelf technologies in times of rising tensions.
"After 30 years of disinvestment and only one major recapitalization, and after 16 years of combat, I believe we have a crisis," he said.
"How do we find quick, low-cost solutions for the battlefield? These high-cost solutions -- flying an F-35 into battlespace where an A-29 might be OK, those types of examples" are what's needed, Perdue said.
Light attack could be a refreshing start, considering the
Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told the committee hearing that the Defense Department's goal is to shorten major acquisition programs from two-and-a-half years to 12 months.
"Now, that's a first step," she said.
Lord did not say whether that would apply to off-the-shelf experiments such as light attack, but touted OA-X's accomplishments.
The Air Force said it would share the findings of the report when appropriate.