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Brigadier
Saudi Arabia to receive 17 Blackhawk helicopters from Sikorsky...

"The U.S. Army has awarded Sikorsky a contract worth nearly $200 million for 17 unique UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters for Saudi Arabia.

The terms of the deal were announced Thursday by the Department of Defense. The agreement reached between the Army and Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, is worth more than $193.8 million under the terms of a firm-fixed-price foreign military sale.

Saudi Arabia is expected to receive eight UH-60Ms for the Saudi Arabian National Guard, while the other nine will go to the Royal Saudi Land Forces Airborne Special Security Forces."

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Thursday at 7:33 AM
Friday at 10:07 AM
kinda quick update:

Does that mean things are headed for a shutdown January 19?
Not out of the realm of possibility.
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now
Shutdown clouds gathering, but Paul Ryan's upbeat
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“My personal concern in this area is our Air Force is as small as it’s ever been, half our Navy planes can’t fly, only about ten of our Army combat brigade teams are combat ready,” Ryan said.
 
Wednesday at 9:30 PM
of course Fate Of Classified Zuma Mission Unknown
Jan 9, 2018
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while Analysts Disagree About Classified Sat Zuma’s Fate
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Of this there is no doubt: At 8 p.m. on Jan. 7, a
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Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral AFS carrying a classified U.S. government payload code-named Zuma. After that, things get murky.

A pilot flying over East Africa snapped pictures of the rocket’s upper stage depressurizing and venting propellant after a planned deorbit burn about 2 hr. 15 min. after launch, Marco Langbroek, a Dutch scientist and amateur satellite tracker, noted on SeeSat-L, an internet mailing list for visual satellite observers. That would suggest that Zuma might be in a 900-1,000-km-high (560-620-mi.) orbit inclined 50 deg. north and south of the equator.

But media reports, citing anonymous intelligence and industry sources, say the spacecraft was still attached to the second stage when it reentered the atmosphere and splashed down in the southern Indian Ocean.

SpaceX, which curtailed launch commentary after payload fairing separation, lifted its mission communications blackout on Jan. 9 to issue a terse statement: “For clarity, after review of all data to date, Falcon 9 did everything correctly on Sunday night,” said SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell.

“If we or others find otherwise based on further review, we will report it immediately. Information published that is contrary to this statement is categorically false. Due to the classified nature of the payload, no further comment is possible,” she said. “Since the data reviewed so far indicates that no design, operational or other changes are needed, we do not anticipate any impact on the upcoming launch schedule.”

The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman, which built the satellite for an undisclosed government customer, refused to comment. The National Reconnaissance Office says Zuma is not its mission.

Zuma was in space long enough to be cataloged by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, suggesting that it completed at least one orbit, notes Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell, author of “Jonathan’s Space Report.” “[It] remains to be seen if that is a mistake. My hypothesis is that Zuma did not separate from [the upper stage] and both stayed in orbit long enough to get a catalog number but then was deorbited. [It’s] still very unclear,” he says.

Industry experts suggest Zuma’s payload adapter, reportedly built by Northrop Grumman, failed. But not everyone is convinced. “Satellites have been known to fail spectacularly, . . . but I suspect that Zuma is alive and well,” says SeeSat-L administrator and longtime satellite hunter Ted Molczan.

He and colleagues remain on the hunt. “It will be about two weeks before we will get visible passes in the Northern Hemisphere,” Langbroek notes.
 
Today at 12:26 PM
Thursday at 7:33 AM
now
Shutdown clouds gathering, but Paul Ryan's upbeat
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“My personal concern in this area is our Air Force is as small as it’s ever been, half our Navy planes can’t fly, only about ten of our Army combat brigade teams are combat ready,” Ryan said.
plus "the usual":
$1.5 Billion-Plus Hit on USAF from Yearlong CR, Contract Delays Baked In
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If Congress opts to kick the budget can all the way to next year and compel the services to operate on a yearlong continuing resolution, the damage to the AIr Force would be worse than $1.5 billion, and it would strike directly at readiness, Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Steven Wilson said.

In an interview with Air Force Magazine, Wilson said that during budget testimony season last year, he called a yearlong CR a “$1.5 billion math problem.” It would compel him to take money out of “flying hours, … weapon systems support,” and maintenance accounts, and “all those impact readiness.”

“What this means is, we have to stop flying, shut down depots, [and] stop civilian hiring,” said Wilson.

Budget instability “makes everything unpredictable,” he added, noting that the Air Force has begun to assume that Congress will fail to deliver a budget, baking-in budget delays to program timelines.

“We don’t do a contract in the first six month of the [fiscal] year,” Wilson admitted. “I can’t go out and say I’m going to put something on contract in October, because I know I’m not going to have a budget.” And now, “here we are in January, without a budget, and talk of it continuing, so, no: let’s don’t plan any contracts in the first two quarters. And that’s just built-in.”

The T-X trainer contract had been hoped for by the end of calendar 2017, but Wilson said it’s not likely to be awarded before June. “We’re not going to see it because we can’t plan on one,” he said. Such a freeze will also likely affect the JSTARS Recapitalization program, the contract for which had been expected in the March-April timeframe.

In previous years, the Air Force has managed CR impacts by moving money among accounts to continue its cashflow to projects like the KC-46 tanker, which is of a fixed-price nature. Disrupting cashflow to fixed-price deals—increasingly common—effectively break the contract and reopen it for renegotiation. Wilson did not have a dollar amount for contract disruptions, but a CR prevents the service from entering into any new-start projects.

“I need a stable, predictable budget” to make efficient use of resources and keep projects on track, Wilson asserted.
 
Today at 4:22 PM
Today at 12:26 PM
plus "the usual":
$1.5 Billion-Plus Hit on USAF from Yearlong CR, Contract Delays Baked In
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now this is interesting, on one side the Pentagon needs the money, on the other side “Communicating that we are broken or not ready to fight invites miscalculation.”:
Pentagon Denies Gag Order, Says ‘Services Are Allowed to Talk About Readiness’
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They just have to do so carefully — or behind closed doors.

The day after a member of Congress
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for a lack of transparency, its spokesperson said the building is committed to communicating with Congress and is not restricting what its leaders tell the public.

The lawmaker, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., was referring to guidance sent to military leaders last March, in which the Office of the Secretary of Defense
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against speaking too freely about the department’s readiness gaps. The Navy’s top admiral, Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson, had
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to his service one day earlier.

On Thursday, Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said the memo did not restrict any military leaders from speaking honestly to members of Congress, especially in sessions closed from the public, but argued that the American public needed to be “confident” in the military’s ability to defend the nation.

“The services are allowed to talk about readiness,” White said at a Pentagon press briefing.

“There was direction given about how we talk about classified, unclassified, and pre-decisional information,” she said. “There was never any direction that was given about readiness – exactly readiness. It was talked about how are we talking about that information.”

Pentagon leaders have been criticized for arguing that the Department of Defense is the most capable military ever created while also listing endless shortfalls in training, weapons, equipment, and funds.

The memo did not expressly forbid leaders to discuss readiness shortfalls. But it did command them to be “cautious.”

“While it can be tempting during budget season to publicly highlight readiness problems, we have to remember that our adversaries watch the news too,” the Defense Department memo reads. “Communicating that we are broken or not ready to fight invites miscalculation.”

Effectively, the guidance discouraged Pentagon leaders from concretely discussing capabilities and problems in public. Officials
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and the CNO’s guidance when declining to speak about those issues, and defense-minded members of Congress on Capitol Hill say it has made it harder to convince their colleagues to boost defense spending.

Gallagher said on Wednesday that the guidance is a “
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.” At an annual naval conference in Arlington, Va., he said the public needs to hear “more than the usual talking points [and] generic warnings of risk.”

“Every year during posture hearings and budget time we hear about the threats facing our nation; these hearings don’t change much, except that they grow progressively weaker,” he said of the House Armed Services Committee.

The Pentagon says it is has communicated extensively with members on its authorizing committees and other lawmakers — just not in open settings for mass consumption.

“We’ve been very clear with the Congress behind closed doors about what we need, and we will continue to be very candid with them,” White said today. “But the American people need to be confident that we’re ready to fight tonight.”

White seemed to be saying that lawmakers are hearing from the Pentagon a more truthful, less-varnished description of U.S. military readiness than the public has received.

Last year’s OSD directive said leaders didn’t need to speak publicly about specific problems or shortages because political leaders were familiar with them.

“Know that [the secretary] is well aware of our readiness shortfalls, as are our elected leaders on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue,” the March 2 memo reads. “They don’t need news stories to remind them. Help is on the way.”

But Congress doesn’t seem to be receiving the message — at least not as clearly as the department would like. To train its forces, maintain its equipment, modernize aging platforms, and otherwise address any readiness gaps, the Pentagon says it needs consistent, predictable funding. Defense Department leaders repeatedly warn Congress to stop funding the military through temporary continuing resolutions. Despite those warnings from the secretary, four-star officers and other top civilian and military officials, Congress passed three such funding extensions this year to keep the government running. The current funding measure expires on Jan. 19.

A few weeks after the two memos were issued, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee told reporters that the Pentagon’s desire to guard sensitive information — while understandable — makes it harder to convince other members to tackle the politically challenging budget debate.

“We need to do a better job of making readiness problems real — more concrete, not just a chart that is three different colors, but explaining what we’re really talking about,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas. “I’m not sure we’ve done well enough with that with members of the Armed Services Committee. Much less our colleagues. Much, much less the public at large.”

In fact, there has been a continuing resolution, or CR, every year since 2010, the year before the Budget Control Act was enacted. They’ve averaged 128 days into the fiscal year, according to analysis by Todd Harrison, the defense budget analysis director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Compare that to the last three decades: CRs happened, but their average length was just 32 days.

“We often hear people talk about, ‘Oh, you know, the budget process is worse than it’s ever been,’” Harrison said last month while discussing
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. “It actually has gotten worse. You can quantify this.”
 

Air Force Brat

Brigadier
Super Moderator
Today at 4:22 PM
now this is interesting, on one side the Pentagon needs the money, on the other side “Communicating that we are broken or not ready to fight invites miscalculation.”:
Pentagon Denies Gag Order, Says ‘Services Are Allowed to Talk About Readiness’
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I've got sad news for the Sec Def, and the Joint Chiefs, a great many Democrat lawmakers and many Republican lawmakers do NOT CARE about military readiness or the lack there of... They have their heads so far up there pork barrel butts, that they couldn't understand the issue if you painted them a picture, and they love to undermine, (physically ripping the military off) and back-stab those who do care??

Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton are classic examples of ignorant detachment, (remember Benghazi),, neither have the God Given ability to understand the threat, much less counter the threat, and I would go as far as to say most democrat congressmen/congresswomen or senators have no real interest in the military or for that matter law enforcement?? LOOK what OBAMA, HOLDER, and LYNCH did to the Ferguson PD and City Govt,, they destroyed the credibility and effectiveness of both!
 

kwaigonegin

Colonel
I've got sad news for the Sec Def, and the Joint Chiefs, a great many Democrat lawmakers and many Republican lawmakers do NOT CARE about military readiness or the lack there of... They have their heads so far up there pork barrel butts, that they couldn't understand the issue if you painted them a picture, and they love to undermine, (physically ripping the military off) and back-stab those who do care??

Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton are classic examples of ignorant detachment, (remember Benghazi),, neither have the God Given ability to understand the threat, much less counter the threat, and I would go as far as to say most democrat congressmen/congresswomen or senators have no real interest in the military or for that matter law enforcement?? LOOK what OBAMA, HOLDER, and LYNCH did to the Ferguson PD and City Govt,, they destroyed the credibility and effectiveness of both!

Both politicians and unfortunately many in the pentagon are equally slave to the almighty $$. Many military leaders kowtow to defense companies because of getting lucrative jobs post retirement whether as lobbyists, consultants or 3rd party contractors.
This is a cancer. I have witnessed it first hand where military brass are in cahoots with both politicians and defense contractors to fatten their own pockets or curry some favors form them at the expense of the men and women in the front lines.
I have seen military contracts ballooned multiple times over initial cost estimates and done so on purpose w/o any care to the tax payers.
I have seen defense managers and workers purposely pad many thousands of hours and deliberately work slowly so they can charge more to the project and extend the timeline. Many auditors are non the wiser.
I can tell you right now we do NOT get what we pay for on our defense.
 
Both politicians and unfortunately many in the pentagon are equally slave to the almighty $$. Many military leaders kowtow to defense companies because of getting lucrative jobs post retirement whether as lobbyists, consultants or 3rd party contractors.
This is a cancer. I have witnessed it first hand where military brass are in cahoots with both politicians and defense contractors to fatten their own pockets or curry some favors form them at the expense of the men and women in the front lines.
I have seen military contracts ballooned multiple times over initial cost estimates and done so on purpose w/o any care to the tax payers.
I have seen defense managers and workers purposely pad many thousands of hours and deliberately work slowly so they can charge more to the project and extend the timeline. Many auditors are non the wiser.
I can tell you right now we do NOT get what we pay for on our defense.
did you blow the whistle?
 
it's tough Sailors must 'be able to handle fatigue,' top admiral says
As the Navy attempts to roll out guidelines to get surface fleet sailors better, more consistent sleep, the head of U.S. Fleet Forces Command said this week that being tired is often simply part of the job and needs to be further assessed.

“You’ve got to be able to handle fatigue,”
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said Thursday in a speech at the
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annual symposium.

“This is about more than just, ‘the routine is too much.’”

Ship captains were ordered last year to submit plans for sailor work and watch rotations that would allow crews to sleep at more regularly scheduled intervals.

Davidson pointed to leaders aboard the destroyers Fitzgerald and John S. McCain who had to cope with fatigue after their ship collisions killed 17 sailors in the West Pacific last summer.

“Whether it’s lack of sleep or it’s the physical exertion of it all, there is a component of it there that is not robustly tested in the fleet,” he said. “We have to take a look at that.”

The Navy needs to find a way to “safely and proficiently” test sailors in higher-fatigue conditions, Davidson said.

“We have to teach them the difference between routine conditions and those fatigue conditions as well,” he said.

Dr. Nita Shattuck, a Naval Postgraduate School professor who has pushed for more restful ship shifts,
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that a rested crew is better prepared for the fatigue and exhaustion of an emergency or combat situation.

Going without sleep for 22 hours leads to a degree of impairment equivalent to a legally drunk blood alcohol level of .08, according to a 2013 Surface Force message asking commanders for feedback on sleep reforms.

“You would not operate your car under those conditions,” the message said. “Neither should we ask our crews to operate shipboard systems or navigate in a similar mental or physical state.”
source is NavyTimes
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