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A road map and recipe for US-India defense ties

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The U.S.-India partnership has seen substantial growth since the early 1990s, and defense cooperation with India has emerged as the defining pillar of this important relationship. The focus on defense cooperation can be attributed to two major concerns that give both nations common cause: stability in the Indo-Pacific and international counterterror efforts. To achieve both, India needs to modernize its military and ensure some level of interoperability with its partners. The past few years witnessed the leadership of both nations... Read More
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Russia’s naval updates threaten undersea comms network, says top British military officer

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LONDON — Britain’s top military officer has warned that a modernized Russian Navy poses a threat to the undersea fiber-optic cable networks that carry much of the world’s communications. Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, the chief of the Defence Staff, said the vulnerability of the cables to severing by the Russians posed a potentially “catastrophic“ economic threat. Peach told the audience at the Royal United Services Instit... Read More
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25th ID commander to lead US Army Europe

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WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, the commander of the 25th Infantry Division, will take command of U.S. Army Europe, according to information provided by a Defense Department official. The Congressional Record on Dec. 14 shows Cavoli’s third-star promotion was voted out of committee. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges is retiring this week after serving as the U.S. Army Europe commander since November 2014. ... Read More
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A huge military buildup is underway in Qatar. But who will man the systems?

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BEIRUT – Qatar’s launch of a huge air power buildup has raised a series of questions about the country’s ability to incorporate systems into its military amid a crisis faced with the Gulf nations. One industrial source with knowledge of the matter stressed expanded capabilities provided by the three new jets, noting that “the air force will now have a total of 96 new aircraft, compared to its current Mirage-2000 fleet of a dozen. ... Read More
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A huge military buildup is underway in Qatar. But who will man the systems?

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BEIRUT – Qatar’s launch of a huge air power buildup has raised a series of questions about the country’s ability to incorporate systems into its military amid a crisis faced with the Gulf nations. One industrial source with knowledge of the matter stressed expanded capabilities provided by the three new jets, noting that “the air force will now have a total of 96 new aircraft, compared to its current Mirage-2000 fleet of a dozen. ... Read More
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Italian pilot school achievements may benefit American T-X trainer program

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ROME — A pilot school in Italy built around the M-346 jet trainer and advanced simulators — both on the ground and in the aircraft — will reach its full potential early next year, according to officials, who hope the achievement will boost the M-346’s chances in the U.S. T-X trainer contest. With three more aircraft arriving in January, the Italian Air Force base at Lecce, southern Italy, will reach its full complement of 18 M-346s, allowing about 40 students to graduate annually from Phase IV courses before they shift to ... Read More
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Airbus CEO to step down after contract ends; COO on the way out

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PARIS — The head of Airbus will leave the European aircraft manufacturer in February, while the chief executive of the parent company will not seek a renewal when his contract ends in 2019, Airbus said Friday. “The board of directors of Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has decided on a series of executive changes that ensure an orderly succession in the executive leadership of Airbus,” the company said in a statement. Chi... Read More
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As tensions ease, China keeps building on disputed islands

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WASHINGTON — Tensions over China’s island-building in the South China Sea may have eased in the past year, but Beijing has kept busy. New satellite imagery shows China has built infrastructure covering 72 acres (28 hectares) in the Spratly and Paracel islands during 2017 to equip its larger outposts to be air and naval bases. The Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative closely tracks developments in the South China... Read More
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Trump’s security paper offers stark vision of global rivalry

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s “America First” vision is a stark worldview that sees rivals battling each other for supremacy or relevance and has little use for alliances, treaties and other international agreements unless they directly benefit the United States, its industry and workers. Trump’s doctrine, to be laid out next week when he unveils his National Security Strategy, holds that nation states are in perpetual competition and the U.S. must fight on all fronts to protect and defend its sovereignty from fr... Read More
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Four companies advance to build Army’s equipment transport ground robot

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WASHINGTON — Four companies have advanced to build ground robots capable of equipment transport ahead of a program of record where one of the four will be selected to produce the unmanned vehicle for the Army. A team of Applied Research Associates and Polaris Defense, as well as General Dynamics Land Systems, HDT Expeditionary Systems and Howe & Howe were selected to build 20 platforms each that will be issued to two Infantry Brigade Combat Teams to be tested and analyzed for their utility in the field, according to Lt. Col.... Read More
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Full FY18 defense budget at center of latest government shutdown threat

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WASHINGTON — House Republicans are pushing ahead with plans for a defense-heavy funding bill that Senate Democrats have vowed to oppose, again raising prospects for a government shutdown, this time over the Christmas holiday. Lawmakers have until Dec. 22 to pass a new budget deal or trigger a shutdown, which would result in shuttering of some federal offices, furloughs for some civilian employees and halted paychecks for most troops around the globe. ... Read More
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New Navy secretary report criticizes service culture and top brass decisions

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The two Navy destroyer collisions that killed 17 sailors this summer were borne from decades of cultural dysfunction in the service, according to a strategic review released this week by Navy Secretary Richard Spencer’s office. The new review also questions an initiative undertaken by today’s top officers for standing up ... Read More
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US: Ballistic missiles fired on Saudi Arabia were provided by Iran

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U.S. intelligence has determined that two ballistic missiles fired on Saudi Arabia this year were manufactured and provided to Yemen Houthi rebels by Iran, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced Thursday. Haley, who stood in front of components from both missile launches, said the evidence behind her proved that Iran is in violation of a UN resolution that supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement former President Barack Obama’s administration signed with Iran to halt its nuclear weapon... Read More
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American exodus? 17,000 US defense suppliers may have left the defense sector

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WASHINGTON — A large number of American companies supplying the U.S. military may have left the defense market, according to a study announced Thursday, raising alarm over the health and future of the defense industrial base. The Center for Strategic and International Studies study said the number of first-tier prime vendors declined by roughly 17,000 companies, or roughly 20 percent, between 2011 and 2015. The full study, due to b... Read More
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The new BRAC strategy: capability over cost savings

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WASHINGTON — After years of arguing that a new round of base closures is needed to save the Pentagon money, the department has a new strategy —but members of Congress are already expressing skepticism. In a November interview, Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment, said lawmakers felt the messaging for a new round of the base realignment and closure process, or BRAC, from the department “wasn’t compelling enough” and said his team has “done some re-messaging a little ... Read More
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Army considering larger deployments to Europe

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WASHINGTON — The Army is considering larger deployments to Europe in the coming years to test its ability to handle more than a brigade’s worth of troops and equipment, which would be needed should a crisis arise, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the outgoing U.S. Army Europe commander, told Defense News in a recent interview. Hodges retires at the end of this week. The Army has learned many lessons by successfully rotating two Armored Briga... Read More
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Trump just made 355 ships national policy

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Achieving a 355-ship Navy is now national policy, but the goal is still a long way off. When President Trump signed the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act yesterday, it included a provision sponsored by Senate Seapower Subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker and his House counterpart Rep. Rob Wittman that calls for the country to build up to 355 ships “as soon as practicable.” The provision is contingent on the requisite appropri... Read More
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T-45s to get new oxygen monitoring system by February

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WASHINGTON — In response to a growing number of physiological episodes where pilots reported feeling dangerously short of oxygen, the U.S. Navy will equip all of its T-45 training jets with new oxygen-level monitoring systems by February, a Mississippi senator said Wednesday. The Navy has already upgraded some of its T-45 Goshawks with the CRU-123 — an upgraded, digital version of the current CRU-99 oxygen monitor — but the announcement by Republican Sen. Roger Wicker marks the first time a target date has been disclosed for... Read More
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‘Nothing more natural’: Turkey-Qatar procurement business flourishes

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ANKARA, Turkey — Much of Turkey’s ups and downs in its procurement relations with other countries have gone in line with its foreign policy goals: markets lost and markets won. One recent example is flourishing business with Qatar, Turkey’s only staunch ally in the Middle East. Turkey and Qatar have shared common policies over multiple divergences in this very volatile part of the world. They have supported Sunni Islam and championed Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and the Palestinian Hamas. ... Read More
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Election leaves Alabama-shaped hole on Senate Armed Services Committee

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WASHINGTON — Tuesday’s election of Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate means aerospace powerhouse Alabama is due to lose a strong voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee for the first time in 20 years. It’s known as the “Cotton State,” Alabama’s economic engine is aerospace. And its interests were represented on the SASC by Republican Jeff Sessions from 1998 until President Trump appointed Sessions as U.S. attorney general, and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange took his seats in the Senate and on the SASC. ... Read More
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Serbia turns to Russia for air defense systems, helo procurement

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WARSAW, Poland — Serbia’s president says his government may purchase air defense systems and at least six transport helicopters from Russia. “Serbia is on a European path, but the difference between Serbia and other countries in the region is that Serbia does not want to join NATO,” Aleksandar Vucic said, as quoted by local broadcaster N1. The president said his government considers Serbia “as an independent country, milita... Read More
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French lawmaker warns over judging the budget by its cover

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PARIS ― Deep doubts loom over the French defense budget despite what appears as good news for future spending on the military, said François Cornut-Gentille, a member of Parliament in the lower house National Assembly. “The defense budget looks positive, but in reality there is great uncertainty,” he told a defense journalists association on Dec. 13. Cornut-Gentille sits on the Finance Committee and specializes in the defense sector. ... Read More
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Sweden to re-establish military unit on Baltic Sea island

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HELSINKI — Sweden says it is establishing the nation’s first new military regiment since World War II — a unit of 350 soldiers that will be based on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland. The Swedish government on Wednesday said the permanent unit will be deployed to the strategically important island’s main town, Visby, during 2018. Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said the decision was made due to a “worsened security situatio... Read More
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Making sense of CHAMP, the silver bullet miracle missile that isn’t

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The worst time for people to learn about a new weapon is in the middle of a geopolitical crisis. So it is with CHAMP, a long-in-development missile built for the Air Force that is now, thanks to several delays in production, making a popular debut coincidentally paired with fears about North Korea. CHAMP, or the “Counter-electronics High Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project,” is a missile built to fry computers, with microwaves. It is almost certainly not, despite recent coverage at CNN, NBC and elsewhere, a silver bullet ... Read More
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US announces new assistance to Lebanese military

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BEIRUT — The United States has announced new assistance to the Lebanese military including helicopters and other advanced military equipment. The new assistance package was disclosed during a visit by the head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel to Lebanon on Wednesday during which he met with the army chief and Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Speaking after the meeting in Beirut, American Ambassador Elizabeth Richard said the pa... Read More
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Comprehensive missile defense for the homeland [Commentary]

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The recent wail of a nuclear attack warning test throughout Hawaii and the latest North Korean missile test should be enough to disabuse the U.S. security community of any sense of immunity to attack at home. With the new capabilities the launch demonstrated, countering North Korean ballistic missiles is an urgent strategic and operational priority — but that is only one aspect of the broader threat of missiles against the U.S. military forces... Read More
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Griffin formally nominated for R&E spot, while Lord may not need new hearing

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WASHINGTON – The White House has formally sent the nomination of Michael Griffin to be the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, as the department nears the creation of that office on Feb 1. Meanwhile, the Senate appears set to allow Ellen Lord to become the undersecretary of acquisition and sustainment without needing a new hearing. The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act required the Pentagon to split the of... Read More
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Lawmakers ask US vice president to back space-based missile defense

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WASHINGTON — Fifteen House Republicans are urging U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to support plans for boost-phase missile defense and a space-based missile intercept layer backed by the 2018 defense authorization law. “Mr. Vice President, as you know, a reliable boost phase missile defense capability will cause a paradigm shift in our strategic posture, dramatically strengthening the United States’ position with rogue nations such as North Korea and near-peer competitors such as Russia and China,” the letter reads. ... Read More
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Potential ‘harm’ to economy now a factor in all Canada defense competitions

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VICTORIA, British Columbia – In a major policy shift, Canada will now determine the winning firms for its defense equipment projects not only based on the benefits a company can provide but also the “harm” individual corporations have on the Canadian economy. But the criteria will apply to all future defense procurements, Canadian government officials said Tuesday. “This new policy clearly demonstrates that we are standing... Read More
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Potential ‘harm’ to economy now a factor in all Canada defense competitions

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VICTORIA, British Columbia – In a major policy shift, Canada will now determine the winning firms for its defense equipment projects not only based on the benefits a company can provide but also the “harm” individual corporations have on the Canadian economy. But the criteria will apply to all future defense procurements, Canadian government officials said Tuesday. “This new policy clearly demonstrates that we are standing... Read More
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DoD launches long-awaited audit

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After years of preparation, the Defense Department is making good on long-held promises of an agency-wide financial audit – the first of its kind for the Pentagon, the sole federal agency that hasn’t produced an audit despite a 1990 requirement to do so. DoD Comptroller David Norquist said the audit will begin this month. With “more than $2.4 trillion in assets, this financial statement audit is one of the largest ever undertaken in history,” he said in a Dec. 7 press briefing. ... Read More
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France creates office to improve military aircraft readiness

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PARIS ― France will set up in March an aeronautic maintenance department in a much-needed bid to boost aircraft availability and cut soaring costs for the Air Force, Army and Navy, according to Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly. The new office will oversee service support for fighter jets, transport planes and helicopters, where generally more than half a fleet is grounded because the aircraft is not ready to fly. “Service is ... Read More
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Poland will piece together its own solution for short-range air defense

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WASHINGTON — Poland plans to piece together its own solution for short-range air defense using indigenous radars, potentially even developing its own command-and-control capability and incorporating it into a system that will fill its urgent need, according to the secretary of state in Poland’s Ministry of National Defense. The country has been on a long road to procure a medium-range air-and-missile defense system and is nearing a final agreement with the U.S. government to buy Raytheon’s Patriot air-and-missile defense sys... Read More
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Trump announces pick for nuclear weapons czar

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WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has announced his intent to nominate Lisa Gordon-Hagerty as undersecretary for nuclear security at the Department of Energy, the top job for managing America’s arsenal of nuclear warheads. The job includes filling the role of administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous department within the Department of Energy. While the Defense Department manages the delivery systems of the nuclear force — ships, planes and missiles — NNSA has oversight over th... Read More
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South Korea’s arms sales hit record high, says Swedish think tank

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HELSINKI — South Korea’s arms sales hit record levels last year, pushed by the continuous military threat from North Korea, complicated relations with China and a government decision to increase domestic arms production, a Swedish think tank said Monday. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, reported that arms sales by South Korean companies included in its latest study of the world’s 100 largest arms producers stood at $8.4 billion in 2016, up 21 percent from the previous year. The figure covers on... Read More
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Spat over the F-35 bubbles up in Germany

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COLOGNE, Germany ― German Defence Ministry leaders have distanced themselves from their Air Force chief, Lt. Gen. Karl Muellner, over his appetite for the F-35, as at least one lawmaker suspects intrigue seeping into the debate. Deputy Defence Minister Ralf Brauksiepe clarified Monday that the government views the Eurofighter as the “primary” option for replacing the country’s fleet of Tornado jets in 2025. The U.S.-made F-15E, the F/A-18E/F and the F-35 are considered only as “secondary” choices, he wrote in a letter.... Read More
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U.S. Army anti-missile command system successful in more complex soldier test

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WASHINGTON — The second soldier test of a Northrop Grumman-developed anti-missile command-and-control system demonstrated it can perform in a highly complex and joint environment, according to Kenn Todorov, company vice president for missile defense solutions in its missions systems sector. The Soldier Checkout Event (SCOE) follows another successful one conducted in August. “This is really a master’s level sort of exercise. The first one was maybe just an undergraduate level,” Todorov told Defense News. ... Read More
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Regional defense is US national defense [Commentary]

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Recognizing the seriousness of the growing threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the United States, it was a welcome sign that President Donald Trump recently reclassified North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. This designation puts North Korea under increasingly harsher sanctions to reinforce the nonnegotiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Upping the ante, China and some of its banking and industrial institutions are finally being precisely targeted in an effort to apply much-needed diplomatic and economic press... Read More
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MDA awards three contracts to design UAV-based laser

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WASHINGTON — The Missile Defense Agency has awarded three contracts to develop preliminary designs for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle-based multi-kilowatt class laser to demonstrate beam stabilization technology. Lockheed Martin and General Atomics were chosen to deliver designs in October and November and Boeing was awarded a contract Dec. 11. Each contract is worth roughly $9 million. For the past several years, MDA has pursued an in... Read More
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The heart of Army acquisition reform? Technology

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Army leaders are putting the future firmly in their crosshairs as they aim to overhaul and modernize the service, including the process for developing and procuring high technology. But will the emphasis on the future be enough to save the Army from a history of bureaucracy and red tape that has marred rapid acquisition? Across the Army and the broader Department of Defense, efforts... Read More
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Top US Air Force officer teases changes to multidomain C2

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force’s top general still needs more time to determine how to move out on the service’s just-finalized multidomain command and control assessment, Defense News has heard in an exclusive interview with the officer. The review team’s recommendations could result in sweeping changes, and reforming the Air Force’s command and control enterprise has been one of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein’s top priorities. In interviews, he has often lamented the stovepiped nature of the service’... Read More
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Does the TEL tell the tale? [Commentary]

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Don’t try saying the title of this article out loud because those hearing it might think you are saying nonsense. But it isn’t. A TEL is a transporter, erector and launcher for missiles. These come in many sizes, including vehicles that can carry a huge, fully assembled intercontinental missile, transport it to a launch site, raise it up to launch position, and then when its engines start, release the missile. Who makes these things? They are custom platforms usually designed to carry a specific type of missile. Russia makes t... Read More
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India puts forward new plan to buy helicopters after ending talks with Lockheed

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NEW DELHI ― After suspending negotiations with Lockheed Martin in April over the price of 16 naval multirole helicopters, India’s Ministry of Defence has mooted a fresh plan for acquiring 24 helicopters for about $1.87 billion. A high-priority global tender will now be floated instead to source the 24 helicopters off the shelf to meet a pressing need within the Indian Navy, according to an MoD official. Negotiations with Lockheed... Read More
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Court refuses Trump request to delay Jan. 1 transgender enlistments

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WASHINGTON – A federal court has knocked down the Trump administration’s latest request to delay any transgender recruits from enlisting in the military as of Jan. 1, 2018. In the Monday ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said the Justice Department’s filing last week arguing that the Pentagon did not have sufficient time to prepare to receive transgender recruits lacked merit, citing the amount of time that had passed from the initial ruling in October and their last-minute appeal to prevent the enlist... Read More
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Qatar to negotiate with Nexter for armored vehicles, add-ons

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PARIS — A letter of intent from Qatar for exclusive negotiations with Nexter has opened talks for various versions of the VBCI armored vehicle and an exploration of onboard systems, weaponry and services, according to three French defense executives. The Gulf state has chosen the VBCI in a vehicle tender and signed the letter for talks with Nexter, the French Armed Forces Ministry said Dec. 9. A lengthy Qatari competition led to a ... Read More
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Amid growing rotorcraft demand, Army National Guard stands training ready

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As rotorcraft sales grow, the Army indeed has a capacity to surge in training. It is important to note that there are established and accredited regional aviation training centers of excellence that reside within the Army National Guard, called Army aviation training sites (AATS). The AATS originated in the years that followed the Vietnam War to train and qualify the Army National Guard and Reserve, and international aircrew members on legacy aircraft. In the decades that have passed, the AATS have evolved into Total Army School ... Read More
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Qatar inks deal with UK for 24 Typhoon jets, training package

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LONDON — Britain has signed a deal with Qatar to supply 24 Typhoon fighters as well as a weapons and training package — the biggest export sale of the jet by the U.K. in more than a decade. Recently appointed U.K. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was in Qatar‘s capital Doha on Dec. 10, along with his Qatari counterpart, Khalid Bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah, for the signing of a deal expe... Read More
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Trump accuses Democrats of blocking military funding in budget negotiations

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump this weekend accused congressional Democrats of holding military funding hostage for “amnesty” for illegal immigrants, endangering national security on multiple fronts. “This isn’t a Republican thing or Democratic thing or anything,” he said during a Friday night campaign-style event in Florida. “It’s time for Democrats in Congress to drop the threats of shutdowns of government and support a clean appropriations bill that fully supports and funds our military. We can’t play gam... Read More
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How drone swarms could change urban warfare [Commentary]

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For the first time since Korean War, the U.S. military has had to worry about enemy bombs dropping on them in combat. This threat doesn’t come from multibillion-dollar next-generation aircraft dropping precision-guided bombs on open battlefields, but from cheap commercial drones dropping low-tech explosives during urban battles fought amongst civilian populations. To take back the initiative, the Army should deploy cu... Read More
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Japan confirms long-range missile interest in an about-face

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MELBOURNE, Australia — In a remarkable turnaround, Japan’s defense minister has now said the country is looking to acquire air-launched standoff missiles, just three days after telling reporters at a news conference that such a step was only under consideration. Speaking at another news conference Friday, Itsunori Onodera confirmed that the Japane... Read More
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Interview: L3 CEO Michael Strianese reflects on two decades of leadership

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Michael Strianese, the outgoing CEO of L3 Technologies, discusses with Defense News the effects of sequestration. For L3 CEO Michael Strianese, it’s been a journey. He sat down with Defense News on Dec. 1 to discuss his tenure, and why — after 21 years with the company and 11 at the helm — he’s ready to pass the baton. I want to look back a bit. You have been with L3 since the company was established as a result of a Lockheed divestiture... Read More
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Signs of the familiar: Same adversaries, evolving threat

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During the last year, we’ve seen threats evolve, even as primary adversaries have remained largely the same. Allies reassessed North Korea from bombastic to hostile, and Russia from meddlesome to disruptive. They cheered success in driving the Islamic State group out of geographic strongholds, only to see the extremist group more effectively use the internet and social media to expand its reach. It would be false to say the global defense community saw this coming. There’s a sense that some of the defense leaders that contribu... Read More
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Video: A 2018 Outlook preview

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Preview: Defense News' Outlook 2018 Defense News Associate Editor Aaron Mehta previews the annual "Outlook" issue and briefs Defense News Weekly on what happened at this year's Reagan National Defense Forum. (Alan Lessig, Dustin Diaz and Ben Murray/Staff) ... Read More
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Pentagon comptroller: Using the audit to drive change

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An underreported but long-awaited event begins at the Pentagon this month: Over 20 years after enactment of a law requiring the audit of federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Defense commenced its first full-scope financial statement audit. For years, Congress has been adamant that it is high time for the DoD to go under audit. Under President Donald Trump and Secretary Jim Mattis’ leadership, the process has already begun. As Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan observed: “We have asked the American taxpayers to en... Read More
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Italy’s defense minister: Steps forward in European defense

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The year that is coming to an end has seen a fundamental step forward in the construction of European defense. Ten years on from the signing of the Treaty of Lisbon, the Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, on security and defense is beginning to take shape. As has often happened in the history of the European Union, this new instrument does not have the characteristics envisaged at the outset but has been adapted to new European and international realities. ... Read More
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Israel’s Liberman: Uniting behind pragmatism in the Middle East

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The strategic divide in today’s Middle East between fanaticism and pragmatism outweighs the sectarian divisions of the past. While the latter still play a role, they no longer override vital national interests the way they used to in much of the region. This development bodes well for the future and suggests a way for moderate forces to thwart threats to the region’s stability and security. As demonstrated by the upsurge of jihadi terrorism in Western capitals and the enormous refugee crises of recent years, these threats are ... Read More
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Sweden’s Hultqvist: The need to up security cooperation in the EU

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Over the past few years, the security situation in Europe has deteriorated. Russian actions constitute a serious challenge to the European security order. Russia’s conflict in Georgia in 2008 and the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, with the illegal annexation of Crimea, show that Russia is prepared to use military means to achieve political goals. Russian disinformation campaigns are a reality and something we take seriously. We also see more Russian activity in the Arctic. We have seen an increase of military activi... Read More
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Poland’s defense minister: For our freedom and yours

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The year 2018 will be very important and symbolic for Poland, as it marks the 100th anniversary of regaining our independence, first lost in 1795 (and later lost again in 1939 and regained back after 1989). Certainly there will be a lot of celebrations with the very special focus on Nov. 11. However, we also are going to work very hard to protect our freedom because we know how valuable it is. In a globalized world, some of our problems are problems of the world, and some problems of the world are ours. It can be clearly seen if y... Read More
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Norway’s defense minister: The path to the next NATO summit

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Next summer NATO will hold another summit, gathering heads of state and government from all 29 member countries. Summits focus our efforts and provide guidance and direction for the alliance, and this summit takes place at a crucial time. NATO faces a deteriorating security environment that is both dynamic and complex. Threats present themselves across domains, concurrently and from different geographical directions. Global and regional instability has led to a common understanding among allies that the need for NATO is as great a... Read More
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NATO’s Stoltenberg: Preserving peace by spending more, and better, on defense

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Outside the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, two memorials stand vigil: a fragment of the Berlin Wall facing a twisted piece of metal from the Twin Towers. Both are silent reminders of the importance of investing in collective defense to protect our security, freedom and democracy. For nearly 70 years, NATO has helped keep the peace in Europe by investing in defense and deterrence. Boosting allied defense investment has been one... Read More
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Greece’s Dimitris Vitsas: As the global threat evolves, so too must the defense industry

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Defense as a concept has a complex structure and function and is indissolubly linked to the threats that an organization, whether it be an individual state, a group of states of a particular region or an alliance of states, is called upon to face. Defense is organized on the basis of identifying the present, future or potential threat, the strategic deterrence plans, the education and practice of the staff, and the availability of means and weapon systems, which, in order to be effective, must be flexible and simultaneously make the most of the technology achievements. ... Read More
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L3 CEO: It’s time to overcome the ‘boom or bust’ funding environment

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Michael Strianese, the outgoing CEO of L3 Technologies, discusses with Defense News the effects of sequestration. Serving U.S. Department of Defense customers is an honor and a privilege. It is made more meaningful by knowing that our industry’s products and services can directly affect our men and women in uniform and the security of our nation. Our mission requires careful planning and thoughtful execution, both of which are subject to the federal budgeting process. Simply put, the more clarity we have about the budget and the funding that will be a... Read More
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US Navy secretary: The path to restoring naval readiness

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Years of operating under the 2011 Budget Control Act and over nine years of continuing resolutions have imposed high costs on the Department of the Navy. Some of these costs have been financial, but budget caps and delays have also had deep impacts on our ability to resource our mission. The resultant effect of continuing resolutions and lack of budgets produces a U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team that is operating at a level less than optimal when compared to known funding on a regular budget cycle. Finding the right remedy ― which is an imperative ― will require ingenuity and partnership on all sides. ... Read More
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Moscow-based think tank director: Russia’s unexpected military victory in Syria

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One of the main events of 2017 has been the victory won by the Russian armed forces and the Assad government in Syria. When Russian President Vladimir Putin decisively intervened in Syria’s bloody civil war in September 2015, many were taken completely by surprise. Western commentators and politicians ― including none other than then-U.S. President Barack Obama ― unanimously predicted that Moscow would get bogged down in the Syrian conflict. Two years on, it is safe to say that Syria has not become a repeat of the Soviet Uni... Read More
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European Business Summit chief: The EU defense market — a sea serpent becoming reality?

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If the defense sector has always been of crucial importance for the European project, the establishment of a common defense market has presented itself as a struggle. Ever since the era of the Cold War and the failure of the European Defence Community to fully emerge, the shadow of a common defense market has not ceased haunting its Brussels offices. Yet, nowadays, some encouraging developments must be highlighted, notably the signature of 23 member states as part of a joint notification on Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PES... Read More
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EDA chief: Building European defense, together

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Reinvigorated by the 2016 EU Global Strategy, defense has risen to the top of the European Union’s priorities. A series of bold initiatives were recently launched to boost defense cooperation through improved joint planning and prioritization, development, procurement, and operation of capabilities among member states. The Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund (EDF) are all central pieces of a new political and institutional puzzle in the making, which, if correctly assembled, can provide EU nations with better and more interoperable defense cap... Read More
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Ukroboronprom head: Ukraine’s military industrial complex during hybrid warfare

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Three years ago, Ukraine was facing an unexpected challenge – Russia’s military aggression. The annexation of Crimea and the first battles in Donbass were a total shock to the Ukrainian armed forces and the domestic defense industry. At that time, defense and law enforcement agencies were uncapable of performing their tasks; weapons and military equipment were not ready for operational use; and the military-industrial complex could not meet the needs of the Army. Unfortunately, over the past 25 years, Ukrainian defense enterpr... Read More
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Brig. Gen. Lacroix: The Inter-American Defense Board ― the other IADB

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Latin America and the Caribbean persistently show growth and potential for beneficial change, despite the continuous challenges the region faces. Cyberattacks, natural disasters, organized crime, drug trafficking, income inequality, corruption, intrastate discord and climate change present barriers to effective security throughout the Western Hemisphere. Public security is a broad and multidimensional issue and, as such, requires an innovative and collaborative response strategy. As the only pan-hemispheric defense organization wi... Read More
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Friends of Europe founder: Europe’s weak and outdated armed forces should draw from China’s model

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It’s tempting to take European governments’ latest commitment to strengthening their defense and security efforts with a pinch of salt. The alphabet soup of programs and pledges that makes up the European Union’s Security Union has just seen the addition of a new ingredient in the shape of the long-awaited PESCO, or Permanent Structured Cooperation. Nicknamed by some the “Sleeping Beauty” of European defense collaboration, it is advertised as ushering in a new era of shared policy objectives and stronger military muscle. ... Read More
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Analyst Byron Callan: Defense industry M&A not so straightforward

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A path that forecasters frequently take is to simply consider recent trends and then project these into the future. For defense merger and acquisition activity in 2018 and beyond, that certainly is one path to take, but it may ignore new or different forces that shape how M&A could be used by companies to improve their prospects in defense. Defense M&A increased in 2017 compared to 2016, and it was comprised of a mix of deals whose rationale could be extrapolated into 2018 to divine what else could occur. The largest was t... Read More
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This week in Congress: Closing in on 2018

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With a government shutdown averted until Dec. 22, lawmakers will shift their attention this week to a host of other business they hope to complete before the end of the year. At the top of that list will be reconciling the House and Senate tax reform plans, work that is expected to include tense negotiations between the separate chambers’ Republican leaders. Meanwhile, congressional committees awaiting word on a defense spending bu... Read More
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Marine Corps investigation faults F-35 program after in-flight fire

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An in-flight fire that erupted on a Marine F-35B last year was caused by a flawed bracket that the Pentagon’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program office should have known was a serious hazard, according to a Marine Corps investigation. The weapons bay bracket that caused the fire was a “known and previously identified hazard in the F-35B community,” the commander of Marine Aircraft Group 31 wrote in an endorsement of the investigation. ... Read More
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Hungarian military to purchase transport aircraft, helos

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WARSAW, Poland — Lt. Gen. Tibor Benkő, the chief of Hungary’s General Staff of the Armed Forces, has unveiled plans to acquire three transport aircraft for the country’s Air Force next spring, and a further three planes at a later date. The planned procurements are part of the country’s Zrinyi 2026 military development program. Hungarian Defence Minister István Simicskó said Dec. 6 that, under the 10-year program, the ministry is also planning to purchase an unspecified number of helicopters for the Hungarian military, ... Read More
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Landmark agreement on combat uniform procurement deepens Nordic collaboration

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HELSINKI — In a landmark defense-deepening collaboration, four Nordic states have launched a joint $500 million procurement program to acquire a common Nordic Combat Uniform system. The combat uniform deal marks the first time that the armed forces of Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway have united behind a joint procurement project. The NCU project is being led by Nordic Defence Cooperation, or NORDEFCO, the central pan-Nordic organization for military cooperation. ... Read More
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GAO denies Sierra Nevada protest over Army’s Fixed-Wing Utility Aircraft competition

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WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office has denied a protest filed by Sierra Nevada over the Army’s decision not to choose any offering presented during its Fixed-Wing Utility Aircraft replacement competition. Sierra Nevada submitted its protest of the Army’s decision on Sept. 7. The GAO denied the protest on Dec. 5, but the decision is filed under a protective order. A redacted version is to follow, according to the GAO website. ... Read More
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One U-2 squadron wants to be the Silicon Valley of the Air Force

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BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — The U-2 is one of the Air Force’s oldest aircraft, having been flown since the 1950s, but Beale Air Force Base’s 99th Reconnaissance Squadron isn’t waiting for the Pentagon to improve the venerable spy plane. Instead, the squadron’s pilots, maintainers and mission planners have taken procurement into their own hands, and regularly chat with Silicon Valley companies about new commercial technologies that can make them more informed and effective. ... Read More
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Former procurement official joins MBDA as France eyes new munitions

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PARIS — The former director of international development at the French procurement office Direction Générale de l’Armement has joined MBDA and will manage the airborne nuclear sector, the European missile company said. “Stéphane Reb has joined MBDA on Dec. 1 as deputy to the executive group director programs Patrick Tramier, in charge of supervi... Read More
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Here’s how Ellen Lord will reduce acquisition time by 50 percent

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WASHINGTON – The Pentagon’s top acquisition official plans to cut the time for early lead procurement by 50 percent, with a future goal of compressing the timeline of request for proposals to contract on major defense acquisition programs from two and a half years down to about 12 months. Much of the strategy revolves around things the department can do, right now, to try and speed up the front-end of the acquisition timeline, Ellen Lord told a Thursday hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. ... Read More
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F-16 fighter jets to begin journey to Indonesia following US regeneration work

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MELBOURNE, Australia — The U.S. Air Force has completed regeneration work on the last of 24 Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft for Indonesia, ending a five-year program that has brought the former U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard jets up to modern standards. The jets will now be delivered to Indonesia via a five-day trans-Pacific flight and will require midair refueling and two overnight stops from the Ogden Air Logistics Complex in Utah, which regenerated the Block 25 aircraft and upgraded them to Block 52ID sta... Read More
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Analyst: With ballooning costs for a smaller Navy, can it really afford 355 ships?

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The Navy wants 355 ships but budget trends raise questions about whether it could even afford to operate and maintain a fleet of that size, an influential defense budget analyst said Thursday. Since 1997, the cost of operating and maintaining a shrinking fleet has skyrocketed, said Todd Harrison, a budget guru with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. A new report co-authored by CSIS researcher Seamus Daniels tha... Read More
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National Guard troops activated to fight California wildfires

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California activated 65 members of its National Guard to help fight multiple wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres, the Pentagon said Thursday. The activated Security Forces personnel will be from the 146th Airlift Wing and will be dispatched to Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Oxnard, Calif., to support state and local first responders battling to contain the fires. Twenty-five of those personnel wi... Read More
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US Army looks to cut typical acquisition timeline in half

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is looking at how it can reduce by half what has turned into an unacceptably long timeline to deliver capabilities to soldiers in the field, according to the newly confirmed Army secretary. “The process now to acquire something is maybe 10 to 15 years. It used to be five to seven. So our aim would be to get it back to where it used to be as a starting point,” Mark Esper said following a Dec. 7 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on acquisition reform. ... Read More
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Defense acquisition head: accountability, and perhaps firings, on the way

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WASHINGTON – 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 righ... Read More
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China criticizes India over drone crash inside border

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BEIJING — China’s defense ministry expressed its “dissatisfaction and opposition” Thursday over the crash of an Indian unmanned aerial vehicle inside Chinese territory, the latest in a series of border incidents between the regional rivals. Chinese border troops identified the device and were dealing with the matter in a “professional and responsible manner,” the official Xinhua News Agency cited the deputy chief of the Chinese military’s Western Theater Command, Zhang Shuili, as saying. ... Read More
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Britain moves to restore carrier strike capability with warship commissioning

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Police officers are seen in front of the HMS Queen Elizabeth during its commissioning ceremony ... Read More
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Upgrade of India’s Mirage fighter fleet in jeopardy as maintenance contracts lapse

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NEW DELHI — The upgrade of India’s Mirage 2000-H fleet could face a roadblock, after the maintenance warranty from original equipment manufacturers Dassault Aviation and Thales of France expired with nobody willing to continue footing the bill. The two companies are demanding an annual maintenance fee of around $15 million from state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, the prime contractor on the upgrade, to extend the tooling & test machinery and equipment warranty that expired last month. HAL is refusing to pay, instead asking ... Read More
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Qatar moves to buy more Rafale jets, order infantry fighting vehicles

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PARIS — Qatar has exercised an option to acquire more Rafale fighter jets and signed a letter of intent to order VBCI infantry fighting vehicles, the French Armed Forces Ministry said Thursday. “The Armed Forces Minister, Florence Parly, welcomes the readiness shown by Qatar to acquire further Rafale,” the ministry said in a statement. “She also welcomes the signing of a letter of intent to acquire VBCI armored vehicles, selected in the Qatari competition.” ... Read More
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Japan reacts to reports it wants ability to destroy NKorean missiles prelaunch

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Japan’s defense minister has downplayed media reports that the country is seeking to acquire standoff air-launched ground-attack missiles to give it the capability to strike North Korean missiles before they are launched. Speaking at a media conference at Japan’s Ministry of Defense, Itsunori Onodera told reporters that Japan has “not yet decided to introduce a missile and allocate related funds under the fiscal 2018 budget as was reported,” according to a transcript released by the ministry. ... Read More
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DoD spent $7 billion on big data, AI and the cloud last year. Is that enough?

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Spurred by a desire to overmatch future foes with modern technology, the Defense Department is boosting investment in core tech areas such as artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing. While spending in those three areas reached more than $7 billion in 2017 – a 32 percent increase over five years ago – anything short of a technological revolution could threaten the United States, according to a new report. “Rapid advances in artificial intelligence – and the vastly improved autonomous systems and operatio... Read More
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Poland ‘surprised’ by high price tag for its long-awaited Patriot purchase

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WASHINGTON — Poland has been pushing toward a purchase of a medium-range air-and-missile defense system for many years, settling on an unprecedented configuration of the Patriot system, but was surprised by the high price tag presented when the U.S. State Department cleared the sale of half of the Patriots Poland plans to buy. According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, when it notified Congress last month of the potential sale, the deal could cost the country $10.5 billion for four systems — that is roughly 37 billi... Read More
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High-tech projects enter limelight at France’s sixth Innovation Forum

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PARIS — France’s procurement agency, the Direction Générale de l’Armement, will open on Thursday its annual Innovation Forum, a two-day trade show for small and medium-sized enterprises to present high-tech projects to prime contractors and the armed services. A model of an electromagnetic cannon from Institut Saint-Louis, a Franco-German research center, will be among the projects presented, a DGA spokesman said. A two-rail electric rail gun would be expected to have a range of 200 kilometers compared to 40 kilometers fro... Read More
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Bold move backfires as Canada declines Naval Group-Fincantieri frigate offering

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PARIS, ROME, and VICTORIA, British Columbia — Naval Group and Fincantieri are out of the running to compete in Canada’s program to acquire a fleet of new surface combatants after they failed to submit a bid through the formal process and instead sent a proposal directly to the Canadian government. The companies had offered Canada a proposal to construct 15 ships... Read More
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Leonardo works on ‘Europe’s first fully digital’ radar

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ROME — Italy’s Leonardo is edging closer to producing a fully digital, active electronically scanned array radar — the only one of its kind in Europe according to the firm — with initial components now being manufactured. The L-band Kronos Power Shield radar is being built for the Italian Navy’s new Landing Helicopter Dock vessel. “We are evolving the new Leonardo AESA radar into a fully digital system, which allows us to... Read More
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Leonardo wants clout in Italo-French naval integration

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ROME — As Italy and France edge closer to merging their largest military shipyards, the head of Italian defense group Leonardo has proposed a plan designed to ensure his products are used on future Italo-French warships. Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo outlined his plan to an Italian parliamentary commission this week as Italy’s Fincantieri and France’s Naval Group limber up for talks on integrating their operations in a bid to cut down on the fragmentation that characterizes Europe’s naval industry. ... Read More
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In Russia’s Zapad drill, Poland sees confirmation of its defense strategy

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Military Times ground combat reporter Todd South joins Defense News’ Jeff Martin to discuss the impact of the Russian exercise Zapad 2017. WASHINGTON — September’s Zapad exercise, which saw forces from Russia and Belarus training along NATO’s eastern flank, confirmed to a top Polish defense official that his country’s modernization strategy is on the right track. ... Read More
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Indonesia calls Russian bombers visit part of navigation exercise

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MELBOURNE, Australia — The Russian Air Force has for the first time sent strategic bombers to visit an airport in eastern Indonesia on Tuesday, as the Russian military increases its presence in Southeast Asia following years of relative inactivity. In a statement, Russia’s Defence Ministry said two Tupolev Tu-95MS Bears flew from the Amur region, in Russia’s far east, to Frans Kaisiepo Airport in Biak, on the northern coast of Indonesia’s eastern province of Papua as part of an international visit. ... Read More
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The power of partnership, for security and deterrence [Commentary]

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Defense News Weekly's Jeff Martin is on the ground in Dubai for the 2017 Dubai Airshow and Air Chiefs Conference, reporting on the potential acquisition of the F-35 by the UAE and other Gulf countries. In addition to the mega-deals announced in the trade press, a highlight of the recent Dubai Airshow — and the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference that preceded it — was the unmistakable evidence of the extraordinary level of sophistication in n... Read More
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Air Force chief: Budget caps would ‘devastate the Air Force’

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Air Force chief of staff on what keeps him up at night General David Goldfein, the Air Force's Chief of Staff, described the strains on the Air Force that he says keeps him up at night. WASHINGTON — As the clock ticks down on the government’s current funding stream, Air Force leaders are carefully watching Congress for signs of a budget deal. Although another short continuing resolution (CR) seems all but inevitable, Air Force leaders remain hopeful... Read More
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Israel declares F-35s ready for operations

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TEL AVIV, Israel — The Israeli Air Force on Wednesday declared its initial squadron of nine F-35 stealth fighters ready for operational use, less than a year after the first two fifth-generation fighters were delivered to the country by the U.S. Air Force. In a Dec. 6 announcement, the Israel Defense Forces noted that Israel is the only country besides the U.S. to declare operational capability for the F-35 — a weapon system that “enhances strategic and operational capabilities” and improves readiness “in a wide range of... Read More