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Boiling point: McCain frustrations with Mattis, McMaster go public

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WASHINGTON — Simmering tension between Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain and the Trump administration’s national security team over information sharing, the defense budget and Pentagon appointments boiled into public view last week. As the gatekeeper for President Donald Trump’s Defense Department nominees and the prime mover for the Senate’s massive defense policy bill, McCain is too powerful a friend for the Pentagon to lose. ... Read More
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Russian Navy delivers military arms to Philippines

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MANILA, Philippines — Three Russian Navy ships arrived in the Philippines on Friday and two others are coming to deliver donated military equipment in the country’s third naval visit under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has vowed to diversify the country’s ties away from the United States and toward China and Russia. Three Russian anti-submarine ships docked in Manila in time for Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s coming visit to the country, said Rear Adm. E. Mikhailov, the task force commander. ... Read More
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Textron secures $333M US Army contract for vehicles used by Afghan Army

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NEW ORLEANS — Textron Marine and Land Systems has been awarded an Army contract for nearly $333 million to make up to 255 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles — armored personnel carriers that the company has been making since 2012 for the Afghan National Army. Textron’s new contract runs through October 2024. It also covers hardware and field representative services. A brief notice Wednesday in the Pentagon’s daily list of military ... Read More
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Navy likely to be passed over for top Pacific Command spot

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the current commander of Pacific Air Forces, is the leading nominee to become the next head of U.S. Pacific Command – a position historically held by Navy officials, Defense News has learned. Four sources with knowledge of the discussions said O’Shaughnessy is the leading candidate for the spot, which would mark the first time in history the PACOM spot has not been filled by the Navy – a potential roadblock for Sen. John McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Ser... Read More
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All of Germany’s submarines are currently down

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COLOGNE, Germany ― The German Navy’s six-strong fleet of submarines is completely out of commission after the only operational sub had an accident off the coast of Norway on Sunday. The U-35 was moved into ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ shipyard in Kiel after a rudder blade was damaged during a diving maneuver, the newspaper Kieler Nachrichten reported. The submarine was scheduled to participate in exercises in the Skagerrak, the strait between southern Norway, southeast Sweden and Denmark. ... Read More
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DSCA head considering changes to early-procurement fund for allies

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WASHINGTON ― The new head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency is studying a little known but vital source of funding for foreign weapon sales, with the hopes of finding ways to speed the process forward. Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper discussed his view of the Special Defense Acquisition Fund (SDAF) during comments at the annual AUSA conference Oct. 10. “I think we need to have a better understanding on how to more effectively us... Read More
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Blue Origin’s new engine starts hot-fire testing

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WASHINGTON — Blue Origin on Thursday completed the first hotfire test of its BE-4 engine, a huge milestone that could pave the way for its use aboard United Launch Alliance’s new Vulcan rocket. Earlier this year, ULA head Tory Bruno told Defense News that the company — a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin — would be able to downselect between the BE-4 and Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1 once hotfire tests of the Blue Origin engine were complete. However, the company has not reached a decision yet, a ULA spokeswoman sai... Read More
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‘No silver bullet’: Pentagon struggles to defeat drones in cat-and-mouse game

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army, as well as the other services and Pentagon organizations, is on a quest to find enduring countermeasures to defeat enemy drones in what has become a cat-and-mouse game. Much like how a disease builds a resistance to drugs over time, the drone problem, especially in U.S. Central Command’s area of operation, is one that is constantly morphing. According to a Defense Department organization tasked with co... Read More
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Indian Air Force wants out of fighter program with Russia

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NEW DELHI – The ambitious $10 billion Indo-Russian program for joint development and production of fifth generation fighter aircraft, or FGFA, faces a new serious hurdle, as the Indian Air Force demands a discontinuation of the project. Senior IAF leadership recently expressed apprehension to the Ministry of Defence, claiming the proposed FGFA program with Russia does not meet desired requirements like U.S. F-35 fighter type capabilities, disclosed a senior IAF official. That official added, that “IAF is not keen to continue w... Read More
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US Senate passes 2018 budget to tee up tax reform

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate on Thursday advanced its 2018 budget resolution, a key step for its top agenda item, a tax overhaul. It was a narrow 51-49 vote, as Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined every Senate Democrat to vote against the bill. The budget, which had long been stalled, would protect a $1.5 trillion tax cut from a Democratic filibuster. Republicans, heading into midterm elections, crave a legislative win after the collapse... Read More
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Israeli defense minister hails Trump’s new Iran strategy

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TEL AVIV, Israel ― Meeting on Thursday in Washington with top U.S. security officials, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman praised U.S. President Donald Trump’s new Iran strategy, urged continued U.S. leadership in countering threats from Tehran and vowed that Israel would never permit the Islamic Republic to establish a permanent presence in Syria once U.S.-led coalition operations against the Islamic State group are concluded. Liberman’s meetings with national security adviser H.R. McMaster at the White House and Def... Read More
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Mattis asks Congress to back off new DoD reorganization proposals

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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has asked lawmakers not to heap more organizational changes on the Pentagon until has time to implement past rounds. Mattis sent letters Tuesday to the chairmen and ranking Democrats on the House and Senate Armed Services committees, who are negotiating over their chambers’ versions of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. DoD released the letter Thursday. “Adding further reorgan... Read More
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Mattis: No answers yet on Niger attack

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WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Jim Mattis acknowledged that the Pentagon is still seeking answers behind the Oct. 4 deaths of four troops in Niger as calls grew on Capitol Hill for an expanded investigation into the attacks. “We do not have all the accurate information yet,” Mattis said during a meeting at the Pentagon Thursday with Israeli defense leaders. Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah John... Read More
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Pakistan faces tough competition in armored vehicles export

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan ― Pakistan’s Cavalier Group unveiled its latest wheeled armored fighting vehicles at the Bahrain International Defence Exhibition and Conference over Oct. 16-18 in hopes of breaking into the Gulf-Middle East market. However, it faces stiff competition from entrenched suppliers and is yet to secure domestic orders that could help export hopes. The six-wheel drive Hamza and the four-wheel drive Interceptor were specifically designed for the Gulf-Middle East market. ... Read More
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Boeing pitches upgrading Super Hornets during upcoming life extension

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WASHINGTON — Boeing believes an upcoming a service life extension of its Super Hornet fleet, set to begin next year, would be an optimum time for the Navy to build in new upgrades, add conformal fuel tanks and to make it more stealthy. The Navy and Boeing are currently negotiating the first service life modification (SLM) contract — expected to be awarded early 2018 — which will lay out the structural modifications the company will conduct to extend the life of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from 6,000 to 9,000 flight hours.... Read More
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Aerospace firm moves to meet South Korea’s latest need for combat helos

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MELBOURNE, Australia ― Bell Helicopter is positioning itself to compete for South Korea’s upcoming amphibious attack helicopter requirement, as the U.S. ally seeks to transform its own Marine Corps and improve its capabilities. Speaking to Defense News by phone from Seoul, where he is attending the ADEX air show, Bell’s vice president of global business development, Steve Mathias, said the company’s AH-1Z Viper is the only attack helicopter in the world to be built specifically for marine environments, with regional users ... Read More
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DoD says it shouldn’t protect homeland from cyberthreats; McCain disagrees

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In a heated exchange before the Senate Armed Services Committee Oct. 19, the committee’s chairman sparred with the Department of Defense’s principle cyber advisor over DoD’s roles in protecting the nation in cyberspace. “Although DoD has built capacity and unique capabilities, for a number of reasons, I would caution against ending the current framework and against reassigning more responsibility for incident response to the Department of Defense,” Kenneth Rapuano, assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and ... Read More
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Inside the ‘foundational’ future technologies of the world’s largest defense company

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WASHINGTON ― Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest defense contractor, a company with more than $47 billion in revenue in 2016. But if the company intends to stay relevant, it needs to develop new capabilities ― and its top technology expert has identified the key pots of money in which he wants to invest. Keoki Jackson, Lockheed’s chief technology officer, laid out to reporters the “foundational” technologies in which his firm will be investing over the next two to three decades when he spoke at an Oct. 11 roundtable... Read More
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Keeping it real: Credible military options for the North Korean threat [Commentary]

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In late September, the Washington Times published an opinion piece by Peter Vincent Pry advocating surgical conventional strikes to disarm North Korea. He overstated the ease of such an operation, ignoring the inherent operational and strategic complexities. The threat of military force must be credible, and this article seeks to address the flaws in Pry’s arguments while providing a more realistic approach ... Read More
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Army awards concept design contracts for Patriot radar replacement

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WASHINGTON —The Department of Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) has awarded at least three contracts to come up with concept designs that will help inform the Army’s requirements for a Patriot air-and-missile defense radar replacement. After spending years debating over when and how it will replace its current Raytheon-manufactured Patriot system’s radar with one that can detect threats coming from any direction, the Army decided to hold a competition for a brand new 360-degree, lower-tier AMD sensor earlier this... Read More
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B-21 cost info to stay secret despite new Air Force leadership

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WASHINGTON — Don’t hold your breath waiting for the contract value of the B-21 Raider to be revealed. While the U.S. Air Force’s top general reviews the bomber program every few months to see whether new details can be released, it will be “some time” before the service divulges more cost information, the Air Force undersecretary said Oct. 12. Out of the Air Force’s top three acquisition priorities, the B-21 Raider is its most secretive, with only a few details disclosed to the public, such as the estimated price per a... Read More
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Lack of US Mack brand cut bids in Volvo sale

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PARIS – An absence of the US Mack Defense brand name played a key role in slashing the bidders’ valuation of Volvo’s military vehicles business, which led to the Swedish company to cancel its tender, two industry executives said on Wednesday. The bidders’ valuations in the sale of the Volvo Group Governmental Sales unit were essentially based on Acmat, Panhard and Renault Trucks Defense, based in France, the sources said. CMI... Read More
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Replacing the ‘Air Force One’ fleet literally takes an act of Congress [Commentary]

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Although President Donald Trump made headlines for tweeting his criticism of the cost of replacing Air Force One this past December, the aircraft solely used by the president of the United States is actually authorized and funded through a separate branch of government: Congress. Oversight and replacement of Air Force One, officially known as the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program, falls under the jurisdiction of the House and Senate Armed Services committees. And given that presidential t... Read More
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Everything’s coming up SHORAD

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WASHINGTON — To say that Short-Range Air Defense is making a comeback would be an understatement; ready-to-go solutions to rapidly bring the capability back into service to address today’s threats are coming out of the woodwork. Companies all over the showroom floor at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual convention last week brought SHORAD offerings to pitch to service officials roaming the massive two floors of expo halls. ... Read More
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US clears Greek F-16 upgrade sale

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department has cleared an F-16 upgrade package for sale to Greece, with an estimated worth of over $2.4 billion. The proposed sale, posted Tuesday by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, would help Greece “as a deterrent to regional threats, strengthen its homeland defense, and execute counter-terrorism operations,” according to the sale notification. The upgrade package will bring Greece’s fle... Read More
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Volvo cancels RTD sale over disappointingly low bids

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PARIS ― Swedish truck builder Volvo has announced the cancellation of a planned sale of Renault Trucks Defense and other military vehicle builders due to low bids. “Our Governmental Sales operation has a positive development and a strong order book,” Jan Gurander, deputy chief executive and chief finance officer at Volvo Group, said in a statement. “We have previously announced our intention to divest this business, but the offers we have received do not reflect its value. We have therefore decided to discontinue the dives... Read More
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Senate confirms DoD policy number two

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WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed David Trachtenberg to be the principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy by a 79-19 vote Tuesday. Trachtenberg, who was announced as the nominee for the role back in March and had been stuck waiting a final vote in the Senate since July, helps fill a key empty seat at the Pentagon. Trachtenberg was most recently President and CEO of Shortwaver Consulting, which focuses on national secu... Read More
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Fate of JSTARS recap to stay secret until FY19 budget release, says No. 2 Air Force civilian

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WASHINGTON — By the end of October, the U.S. Air Force will have made a decision on the future of the JSTARS recapitalization — namely, whether the service should cancel the program and replace it with an interim capability comprised of existing technology. However, the service’s No. 2 civilian said outsiders will have to wait until the fiscal 2019 budget is released to find out what will happen. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein have not yet made a final call on whether to c... Read More
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Boeing’s new Phantom Works head to come from Aurora

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WASHINGTON — Boeing’s advanced technology division, known as Phantom Works, is getting new leadership from Aurora Flight Sciences, the innovative maker of drones and automation tech that Boeing plans to buy. Mark Cherry, currently Aurora’s president and chief operating officer, will take the reins of Phantom Works from Darryl Davis, who ran the group for 10 years and recently moved into a “company-wide program management role,” Boeing announced Tuesday . ... Read More
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Serbia to buy S-300 missile systems, MiG-29 jets from Belarus

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WARSAW, Poland — The Serbian Ministry of Defenee is planning to purchase S-300 long-range surface-to-air missile systems and seven Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets from Belarus. The deals are to be signed this November during an official visit by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to Minsk where he will meet with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, a Serbian government source told local daily Tanjug. The unnamed official s... Read More
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Innovation on the production line: A business case [Commentary]

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Innovation and manufacturing are diametrically opposed. Innovation is about creating something unique and different from scratch, a process that is by nature not necessarily refined or economical, or designed to be done within the limits and constraints of an existing production line. Manufacturing on the other hand is driven by tight margins and costs, with the ability to repeatedly produce the same quality product at high volumes. There is a need for this dynamic tension between innovation and manufacturing to drive the best val... Read More
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Japanese flight training goes wrong after military helicopter loses contact

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TOKYO — A Japanese defense helicopter carrying four crew members lost contact during flight training in central Japan on Tuesday evening and is feared to have crashed. The UH-60J disappeared from radar while flying over the Pacific Ocean about 18 miles south of Hamamatsu, a coastal city in central Japan, defense officials said. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters that rescuers dispatched to the site spotted objects tha... Read More
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Ex-defense firm CFO faces sentence in $6M Humvee fraud case

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PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh man who helped a defense contractor in a $6 million scheme to overcharge the U.S. Defense Department for Humvee window kits faces a federal judge for sentencing. Fifty-two-year-old Harry Kramer pleaded guilty in May to charges of major fraud against the government and income tax evasion for filing returns that didn’t include the illegal income paid to Ibis Tek LLC and its former co-owners, brothers Thomas and John Buckner. ... Read More
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Israel Aerospace Industries, Hankuk Carbon to jointly make drones for South Korean market

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JERUSALEM — Israel Aerospace Industries says it has formed a joint venture with Korean company Hankuk Carbon to make unmanned aircraft together. It says the new company, called Korea Aviation Technologies, will develop drones with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Its products will be aimed at both the military and civilian markets in South Korea. The two companies signed their joint venture agreement on Tuesday at the Int... Read More
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Airbus notches win over rival Boeing with Bombardier deal

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PARIS — Airbus scored a point in its high-stakes rivalry with Boeing by striking a deal just across the U.S. border. The European plane maker reached an unusual, no-cost deal with Canada’s Bombardier that sent Airbus shares up Tuesday, boosts both companies’ prospects in Asia and should save thousands of Bombardier jobs from Quebec to Northern Ireland. It could also help Bombardier avoid heavy U.S. duties that had helped push t... Read More
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North Korea says ‘a nuclear war may break out any moment’

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UNITED NATIONS — North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation on the Korean peninsula “has reached the touch-and-go point and a nuclear war may break out any moment.” Kim In Ryong told the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee that North Korea is the only country in the world that has been subjected to “such an extreme and direct nuclear threat” from the United States since the 1970s — and said the country has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defense. ... Read More
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Influential Congressman calls on Navy to extend lives of oldest cruisers

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The Navy’s oldest cruisers have a friend in Congress. The influential head of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee is calling on the Navy to enter its oldest 11 cruisers into a service-life extension program rather than retire them at the end of their 35-year hull life in the coming years. Defense News recently reported that the Navy was planning to decommission the oldest 11 cruisers starting in 2020 at a rate of two per... Read More
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Baghdad retakes Kirkuk, and Pentagon mulls ending train-and-equip

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. may consider ceasing its massive train-and-equip program of Iraqi forces if they continue an offensive against Iraqi Kurds in Kirkuk, the Pentagon said Monday. Over the weekend U.S.-equipped Iraqi forces entered the oil-rich, Kurdish-controlled city in response to the region’s independence vote Sept. 25. Several exchanges of gunfire were reported Monday as Iraqi forces took over Kurdish-controlled buildings and facilities in Kirkuk. ... Read More
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Army wants constant PNT capability for troops without GPS

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In the quest to provide positioning, navigation and timing to troops deprived of GPS, Army planners are developing an open-architecture system of plug-and-play sensors that could deliver such a capability. GPS has become an integral part of how the Army operates. But it is increasingly the target of adversaries seeking to deny navigational capabilities. The potential PNT solution would use modular hardware and software on a tactical ... Read More
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The Army is developing navigation tech to help the GPS-denied soldier

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As the Army has grown increasingly reliant on GPS, that system has increasingly become the target of enemy intervention. GPS can fail due to turbulent weather, bad communications links or enemy attack. The Army is concerned about how troops on patrol can continue to function without GPS, and it is pursuing a range of initiatives to bolster wayfinding for those cut off from the usual means of guidance. One effort involves the developm... Read More
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South Korea and US begin naval drills amid North Korean threat

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean and U.S. troops began five days of naval drills on Monday after North Korea renewed its threat to fire missiles near the American territory of Guam. The South Korean and U.S. militaries regularly conduct joint exercises, often enraging North Korea, which views such training as an invasion rehearsal. The latest drills in the waters off the Korean Peninsula come amid fears of a possible military clash following the exchanges of insults and fierce rhetoric between U.S. President Donald Trump and No... Read More
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Army to push allies to focus more on sustainment

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WASHINGTON – The Army is set to push allies to focus more on sustainment of equipment, the service’s top foreign relations officer says. Maj. Gen. Stephen Farmen, commander at U.S. Army security assistance command, told Defense News that he plans to “double down and put emphasis on sustainment” when talking with partners abroad, beginning the discussions early enough to potentially change how allies invest their dollars. “A... Read More
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India informs US it’s ready to buy ISTAR aircraft from Raytheon

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NEW DELHI ― India has made an official request to purchase two ISTAR aircraft under a government-to-government deal. The move comes within a month of U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to India. A formal letter of request was sent to the U.S. Defense Department earlier this month expressing intent to procure two intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance aircraft via the Foreign Military Sales program, a Ministry of Defense official said. ... Read More
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Lord tinkering with AT&L reorg plan, industry relationships

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s acquisition office is on track to devolve into two new entities on Feb.1, but the layout of the new offices may look different than expected, said Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L). Lord, speaking to reporters at the annual AUSA conference on Oct. 11, warned that the organizational chart might not be fully completed by the time the changeover happens and stated tha... Read More
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Syrian-Israeli clash sets tone for meeting of Israeli, Russian defense ministers

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TEL AVIV, Israel ― For Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Monday morning’s clash between Syrian anti-aircraft missiles and Israeli air power could not have come at a better time, just hours before a scheduled meeting in Israel with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu over what Liberman is calling “the Lebanonization” of Syria. In the Oct. 16 clash, Israeli fighter jets ― deployed in what the Israeli military described as “a routine reconnaissance mission over Lebanon” ― were targeted by a Syrian SA-5 ant... Read More
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T-X trainer award not likely until at least spring 2018

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WASHINGTON — A contract for the Air Force’s T-X trainer program probably won’t be awarded until next spring, even if Congress is able to pass a spending bill that would remove restrictions on new-start programs, one of the service’s top leaders said Thursday. At the time of the release of the final T-X solicitation last year, the service stated it planned to announce a winner before the end of calendar year 2017. Now, the Air Force is aiming for a later goalpost, said Air Force Under Secretary Matt Donovan during his first... Read More
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Drones to combat vehicles: Highlights from the 2017 AUSA conference

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Drones to combat vehicles: Highlights from the 2017 AUSA conference From robotic arms to never-before-seen munitions, the annual AUSA conference brought together industry representatives and U.S. Army leaders — as well as service dogs. Here's a wrapup of the tech featured at this year's conference with Military Times’ Charlsy Panzino. ... Read More
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Defense News Weekly Full Episode, Oct. 15, 2017

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Defense News Weekly full episode Oct. 15, 2017 In a special edition, Defense News Weekly goes to the 2017 AUSA Annual Meeting, one of America's largest trade shows. The show features interviews with senior Army leaders, up close video of the many displays--and analysis of the major news announced. ... Read More
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Romania-General Dynamics agree to locally manufacture Piranha armored vehicle

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WARSAW, Poland ― The Romanian Ministry of Economy and General Dynamics European Land Systems have signed a memorandum of understanding under which the manufacturer will make Piranha V armored fighting vehicles at Romania’s state-owned Bucharest Mechanical Factory. Romanian Economy Minister Gheorghe Simon said in a statement that the contract to jointly build eight-wheel drive vehicles will contribute to the modernization of Romania’s defense industry. ... Read More
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Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines target ISIS in trilateral air patrols

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have officially marked the launch of trilateral air patrols over the troubled waters of the Sulu Sea, with a ceremony held at Malaysia’s Subang Air Base and attended by the defense ministers of all three countries. Known as the Trilateral Air Patrol, or TAP, it follows the launch of maritime patrols by the three nations that began in June. It is an additional aspect of the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement between the Southeast Asian nations. ... Read More
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EU defense spending fund could cripple Italian firms

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ROME – A multi-million euro defense fund launched by the European Union to nurture the continent’s defense industry may cripple Italian firms, a senior official has warned. As it seeks to strengthen and integrate Europe’s fragmented defense sector, the EU announced the launch in June of a 500 million euro injection of funds in 2019 and 2020 for the development of new equipment. The funding, which would double to one billion eur... Read More
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Cyber operators to commanders: Bring us in early and often

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The Army’s cyber operators want unit commanders to know they’re ready to bring solutions that can be tailored to the unit, the network and the commanders’ missions — and they’re bringing their servers and sensors with them. “We’re coming into our own as a brand new brigade, a brand new unit and a brand new domain,” said Maj. Josh Rykowski, a mission team leader with Cyber Protection Brigade. “We’re trying to devel... Read More
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Hoverfly thinks it can scratch Army’s itch with long-endurance tethered drone

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WASHINGTON — Hoverfly unmanned aircraft systems can fly for a month, are quickly deployable and barely detectable and the company thinks it can scratch the Army’s itch when it comes to providing a multitude of capabilities the service needs through its tethered UAS solution, according to the company’s president and CEO Rob Topping. The Army has already put some of Hoverfly’s tethered UAS to use. Most notably, its smaller system -- LiveSky -- was used during a robotics and autonomous demonstration at Fort Benning, Georgia, ... Read More
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Russia promises ‘countermeasures’ if Finland joins NATO

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HELSINKI ― Russia has issued a fresh warning to Finland against joining NATO. Moscow has already issued a similar caution to Sweden, while Denmark has been told that it can expect “retaliatory countermeasures” by Russia should it decide to join NATO’s missile defense system in Europe. The Kremlin’s discontent with Finland centers on the nonaligned Nordic country’s deepening defense relations with the U.S. and NATO. Fundamentally, Russia’s chief concern is that Finland, as part of a long-term plan and expanded defense... Read More
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Germany is ‘ducking military responsibility,’ says Belgian think tank

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BRUSSELS ― Germany needs to make a “sustained investment” in defense and stop “leaving the dirty work” to others, according to a new study. The study, called “Jumping over its shadow,” was published Thursday and calls for Berlin to stop “ducking military responsibility.” Its findings come despite th... Read More
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Plan to halt migrant flow from Libya unravels amid militia fighting

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ROME – An outbreak of fierce fighting in Libya between militias has revealed how Europe’s best efforts to stop hundreds of thousands of migrants sailing from Libya to Europe can unravel in the lawless country. Recent clashes in Sabratha, a coastal town west of Tripoli, claimed 40 lives as rival militias — which all profess loyalty to Libya’s UN-backed government — fired rockets at each other in the town center, damaging hospitals and schools. ... Read More
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These magnets allow soldiers to easily connect gear to their uniforms

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Soldiers can easily attach gear to their uniforms using magnetic squares that don’t snag or break like traditional connectors. With the mag-Net soldier connector by TT Electronics, soldiers don’t have to wear as many wires or batteries. The connectors, which are sewn into the uniform and attached to the piece of gear, feed off one battery source that the soldier carries on the back of his uniform. This means batteries can be remo... Read More
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Navy to send destroyer to Far East to boost ballistic missile defense

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The guided-missile cruiser Monterey will deploy on Oct. 16 as the Navy shuffles ships around to ensure there are enough ballistic-missile defense ships in the Pacific in the wake of two major accidents that rendered the destroyer’s McCain and Fitzgerald unable to deploy. “Monterey will leave on a previously unscheduled deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleet areas to conduct maritime security operations,” Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson told Navy Times Thursday. ... Read More
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The Army is working on ‘a new way of shooting’ to boost soldier lethality, accuracy

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Army researchers are targeting ways to make small arms more accurate by removing the shooter from the loop. The gear they’re working on ranges from platforms that allow a sniper to insert his rifle for better stabilization while shooting from a helicopter, to nearly fully-automated robotic firing systems that can stand alone on the battlefield while the soldier fires via remote control behind cover. “We’re ... letting the compu... Read More
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F-35 data stolen in Australian hack…but no classified info

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WASHINGTON — The 2016 hacking of an Australian company, which resulted in the theft of data from military programs like the F-35 and P-8 surveillance aircraft, did not compromise any classified information linked to the joint strike fighter, the F-35 program office has confirmed. “The F-35 Joint Program Office is aware of this supplier cyber breach that compromised non-classified data in the summer of 2016,” Joe DellaVedova, spokesman for the F-35 joint program office, told Defense News. “No classified F-35 information was... Read More
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The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force is working on EW, counter-drone and more

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The Army’s Rapid Equipping Force works to quickly get gear into soldiers’ hands to fill short-term needs. Col. John Ward, REF commander, sat down with Army Times at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting & Exposition this week to discuss some of the major projects he’s working on. All fall in line with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s priorities for current and near-future needs. ... Read More
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Army researchers are working on mapping tech that can help you see the battlefield

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Mapping the battlefield Army researchers are developing sophisticated battlespace mapping technologies that allow soldiers to predict wave patterns for beach assaults and create instant 3D models of urban areas — with resolution high enough to identify sniper hideouts. Researchers with the Army’s Engineer Research and Development Center are at distinct phases on multiple projects to meet battlespace mapping needs at the individual soldier and small unit leader level.... Read More
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Top recruiter: Just 136,000 out of 33 million young Americans would join the Army

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According to U.S. Army Recruiting Command, there are 33.4 million Americans ages 17 to 24, the Army’s prime demographic for enlisting and commissioning. But there’s one hitch: When you whittle that number down for standards, quality and interest? Only about 136,000 are left. The Army’s accession standards aren’t coming down, so the service must do a better job of conveying to Americans what the Army is and what soldiers do, U... Read More
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Somalia’s defense minister, army chief reportedly resign amid more militant attacks

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MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somali officials say the country’s defense minister and army chief have resigned as the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group steps up attacks on army bases across south and central Somalia. An official in the prime minister’s office said Defence Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed has resigned, citing lack of consultations on issues related to his ministry. The official also said the Army chief, Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Jimale, also submitted his resignation to the president. ... Read More
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Danish proposal sees military buildup as response to a ‘confrontational’ Russia

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark ― ;Denmark plans to significantly increase defense spending and refocus its military and operational capabilities on the Baltic Sea and the Arctic High North. The government plan ― detailed in the Ministry of Defence document “Proposal for new defense agreement 2018–2023“ ― ;is directly influenced by Russia’s “more confrontational” behavior and strengthening military presence in the Baltic and High North regions. ... Read More
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Lord neutral on recent merger and acquisition activity

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WASHINGTON – The Pentagon’s top acquisition official is remaining neutral following a trio of major defense merger and acquisition announcements. Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters at the 2017 AUSA Conference that her office is reviewing the proposed changes but indicated she had not made up her mind on whether to support or oppose the M&A activity. “We’re w... Read More
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Acting SECARMY: The Army’s new modernization command can learn from rapid special ops acquisitions

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The Army is standing up a new modernization command for the express purpose of efficiently developing capabilities and capacity, and it’s going to need seasoned officers and plenty of soldier input to keep it running, Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said this week at the AUSA annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The idea is to keep war fighters closer to the process, while bringing the right experience and perspective to fuse the requirements and acquisitions process, he said. ... Read More
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US Army plans light vehicle RFP in 2018 as industry offerings line up

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WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Army plans a competition in 2018 to buy a light ground mobility vehicle that would speed infantry troops off-road across future battlefields, companies showed their wares this week. Potential competitors — the General Dynamics’ Flyer 72, Polaris Defense’s Dagor and AM General’s Humvee, altered to carry a nine-man squad — appeared at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. ... Read More
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Air Force wants to apply success of Rapid Capabilities Office to other weapons programs

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WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, the Army announced a massive reorganization of its acquisition enterprise built around “cross-functional teams” that will spearhead requirements development, prototyping and procurement of technologies like next-generation combat vehicles and rotorcraft. But the Army isn’t the only service who is assembling small groups of operators and acquisitions personnel in the hopes of getting weapons programs quickly off the ground. ... Read More
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Here’s what the Pentagon’s persistent cyber training platform might look like

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One of the most important components needed in the coming years by the cyber operations community within the Pentagon is its own cyber firing range. Leaders have pointed to parallels in the physical world, where infantry troops use a shooting range to improve marksmanship. The Defense Department has tasked the Army with managing what is being termed the persistent cyber training environment. The PCTE will allow for both individual an... Read More
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Rood named as pick for top Pentagon policy job

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WASHINGTON — ;The White House has announced its intent to nominate John Rood as undersecretary of defense for policy, perhaps the Pentagon’s most important vacancy. Rood, who serves as senior vice president of Lockheed Martin International, has been long rumored to be the pick for the USD-P role. During the Bush administration, Rood served as both acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, and ass... Read More
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DOD relief efforts continue in Puerto Rico as Trump suggests cutting aid

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WASHINGTON – Puerto Rico relief efforts continue, despite President Donald Trump’s tweet Thursday suggesting he was considering cutting aid there. “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” the president tweeted Thursday. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders clarified the president’s comments later Thursday morning, sta... Read More
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Russia could deploy more missiles in Baltic region: lawmaker

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MOSCOW — A senior Russian lawmaker says Moscow could deploy more state-of-the-art missiles in its westernmost region in response to the U.S. military buildup in Poland. The head of the Russian parliament’s defense affairs committee, Retired Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, said Thursday that Russia could take retaliatory steps in response to the U.S. increasing the number of its weapons in Poland. Shamanov said, in remarks carried by Russ... Read More
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Interview: Rep. Mike Turner gets at the root of a track record of failure in Army programs

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The House Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee conducts oversight of Army and Air Force acquisition programs, all Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs and the National Guard and Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserve. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, chairman of the subcommittee and a former mayor of Dayton, is well known in the House for campaigning to end budget caps that were passed in 2011. He talked Army networks, Space Corps and defense budgeting with Defense News on Capitol Hill on Oct. 5. The House and Sena... Read More
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Russia postpones launch of cargo ship to space station

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MOSCOW — Russia’s Mission Control says the launch of an unmanned Russian cargo ship to the International Space Station has been postponed. The Mission Control didn’t immediately give the reason for the postponement of Thursday’s launch, which was announced minutes after the designated launch time at 12:32 p.m. Moscow time. It said the launch is now set for Saturday. The Progress MS-07 ship, carrying 2.5 metric tons of supp... Read More
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SpaceX launches communications satellite, lands booster

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has launched and landed its second rocket in three days, this time from the U.S. East Coast. The unmanned Falcon — recycled following a February flight — blasted off with a communications satellite Wednesday evening from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center. Minutes later, the leftover booster landed on an offshore barge. Successfully placed in orbit, the dual-mission satellite will be shared by Colora... Read More
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Army cyber should ‘let nerds be nerds,’ experts say

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The Army’s cyber organizations need to let “nerds be nerds” without pressure on them to rise into leadership roles, said members of a panel on cyber force management on Wednesday. “Nerds want to be nerds, not leaders,” said Chris Lynch, leader of Defense Digital Service. The military has to let go of the individual contributor model, because for many tech people, “that doesn’t work,” he said. ... Read More
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Pentagon to shift ‘bulk’ of major defense programs to services, and people may go, too

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s top acquisition official wants to shift the “bulk” of major defense programs back to the services, which could include moving individuals from the Office of the Secretary of Defense towards service jobs. Ellen Lord, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics (AT&L), believes that her office has been given marching orders from Congress to push the day-to-day management of Major Defense Acquisition Programs, or MDAPs, to the three services. ... Read More
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Former VA secretary: 3 tips for transitioning service members

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Bob McDonald, who served as Veterans Affairs secretary from 2014 through January, said connecting with others and not limiting yourself will help service members transition from the military to civilian life. McDonald, an Army veteran, was recently named chairman of the board of directors for RallyPoint, an online network for those in the military community. The former VA secretary said he joined RallyPoint as a way to stay involved ... Read More
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Scaled Composites reveals mysterious new ‘Model 401’ prototype

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WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman subsidiary Scaled Composites debuted a new experimental aircraft, Model 401, in an Oct. 11 announcement of the prototype’s recent first flight. The company has built two Model 401 prototypes in service of an undisclosed customer “to demonstrate advanced, low-cost manufacturing techniques and to provide aircraft for research flight services to industry partners and the United States government,” it revealed in a news release. ... Read More
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L3 head: Our reputation is on the line if Compass Call goes wrong

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WASHINGTON — L3 Technologies has been given an unprecedented power to choose the Air Force’s next Compass Call airframe, in this case the Gulfstream G550. And if it turns out to have made the wrong choice, the company’s reputation will be on the line, the company’s top executive said Wednesday. For the Compass Call crossdeck program, now termed EC-X, the Air Force decided on an unorthodox acquisition strategy: Hire a systems integrator to move the electronics off the existing EC-130H aircraft and into new airframes, which ... Read More
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Interview: Barry Pike, Army Missiles and Space program executive officer

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space is a busy outfit as the service expends munitions at a high rate in theater, but it’s also developing several major systems integral to fighting in a multi-domain battle environment the Army envisions it will operate in in the future. Several programs within the office’s purview are listed among the top six modernization priorities outlined by the Army Chief of Staff, with long-range precision fires at the top of the Army’s priorities. ... Read More
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Here’s how the Army’s electronic warfare program differs from years past

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A major difference in the Army’s approach to electronic warfare is the broader understanding of multifunction, according to one member of industry. As the Army begins to roll out requirements and competition for its official program of record in the electronic warfare space — known as Multi-Function Electronic Warfare — one key difference from previous efforts is the recognition that former systems were built with only one or two targets in mind, said Doug Booth, director of cyber and airborne electronic warfare at Lockheed ... Read More
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The Army is deciding which posts will be next to accept women in infantry, armor, artillery

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There’s not a job in the Army that isn’t open to women, but there are still only a couple of places to serve for those female soldiers who have joined the infantry, armor and fire support specialist communities. To date, the Army has integrated combat units at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Officials are now looking for the next installations to open up, the Army G-1’s chief of command policy told Army Times on Wednesday. ... Read More
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Company offers lighter, more versatile cartridge, machine guns and carbine

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The company that developed both weapons and cartridges to reduce soldier load by about 40 percent now has machine guns in both 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm and a new carbine that fires a round never used across the U.S. military. Textron Systems met with media members, including Army Times, at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting & Exposition to showcase their new cartridge and weapon system. The company began development on a poly... Read More
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Poll: Do you like the Army’s ‘pinks and greens’ prototype?

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The Army is working on a revival of a World War II-era service uniform, and prototypes of the proposed “pinks and greens” made their debut on the conference floor of the annual AUSA meeting in Washington, D.C. A handful of soldiers are roaming around the conference in variations of the iconic olive uniform, testing out skirts vs. pants and folding caps vs. service caps. What do you think of the uniforms? Tell us by voting in our ... Read More
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Army offers automatic promotions to Security Force Assistance Brigade volunteers

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The Army is preparing to graduate the first class of the Military Training Adviser Academy and stand up its first Security Force Assistance Brigade. To attract talent for the next five planned brigades, there are now new incentives to volunteer. When the Army first launched the plan for SFABs earlier this year, noncommissioned officers and officers who signed up were offered $5,000 upon graduation and a choice of follow-on orders after a three-year tenure in the SFAB. ... Read More
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Suicide drone provides lethal punch for special operations forces

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Mistral’s Uvision drones are light, man-packable and come armed with a warhead, giving U.S. special operations forces added lethality in areas where support by conventional forces may be limited or non-existent, according to Yossi Gez, the vice president of marketing for Mistral Inc. The drones come in two variants, the smaller Hero 30 and larger Hero 120, both of which operate on pneumatic launch capability, or air pressure. The H... Read More
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Modernization reborn: Army pushes for total overmatch

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WASHINGTON —The Army has spent years taking gut punches to its budget and end-strength and subsequently its modernization efforts. But while there’s still a lot of budgetary uncertainty, Congress wants the service to grow its force back and the president’s fiscal year 2018 budget request was substantially larger than previous years. This has given the service an opportunity to resurrect its major modernization efforts that have... Read More
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Artificial intelligence accelerates decision-making for field commanders, company says

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A process of “plug and play” artificial intelligence that could improve mission effectiveness for a variety of operations was announced Monday by Engility Corporation at the Association of the United States Army‘s annual conference. The program, called Synthetic Analyst, is designed to accelerate decision-making by automating tasks and decreasing a soldier’s reaction time to tactical problems, said Chris Milroy, an applied mathematician for the Engility. ... Read More
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New digital headset allows user to adjust audio, filter out vehicle noise

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Revision’s new ComCentr2 Tactical Headset System is fully digital, allowing an operator to manipulate and adjust audio in the headset, according to Chris Moore, the director of systems architecture for Revision. The headset, unlike most of Revision’s competitors, comes with two front and back microphones, helping reduce “front and back confusion,” giving a U.S. soldier more situational awareness on the battlefield, Moore explained. ... Read More
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Laser-guided rocket launchers for vehicles and dismounted troops are on the horizon

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A group of defense companies — helmed by the St. Louis-based Arnold Defense — are hoping to field laser-guided, 2.75-inch rockets to vehicle-borne troops by mid-2018. The companies are also looking at the possibility of fielding the laser-guided rocket system, called Fletcher, to dismounted and maritime forces, said Chris Frillman, director of military programs, weapons systems for Arnold Defense. “It‘s going to be demand dri... Read More