The Pentagon’s office for operational testing (DOTE) published an update to their presentation [PDF] explaining reasons behind program delays. Their main conclusion is well-known, self-protective, and true as long as you test the right things:
“It is not testing per se that causes a delay, rather it is a problem with the system that is discovered during testing that causes a delay.”
DOTE data shows that Army programs have often faced programmatic issues (e.g. delayed full rate production) while the Air Force sees more problems in manufacturing, software development, and integration. The profile of Navy programs falls somewhere in between. Schedule slippage, especially in missile defense, has sometimes be pretty graphic.
Meanwhile the Pentagon’s acquisition office is focused on increasing competition with new guidelines [PDF] focused on open systems, mostly based on the US Navy’s experience.
The US Administration is trying to round up allies [NYT] to help fight the Islamic State. A broad coalition to support an American effort in Iraq? That rings a bell. So far several European countries including the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands have contributed (or pledged to do so) mostly logistical support. There’s also been talk of sending light arms to the Kurds, who confirm [Reuters] they have already received armament from Iran.
The Washington Post looks into the targets of US strikes launched since August 8. They seem to be mostly hitting… American vehicles seized by ISIL as it routed the Iraq military.
Get Used to the Sonic Booms
Last week 2 Dutch F-16s had to escort 2 Russian T-95 bombers out of NATO airspace under their responsibility (which 5 weeks after the MH17 crash shows the Russians wear their bad taste on their sleeve). This week local residents were startled [NL Times] by a loud sonic boom during a test flight, but a military spokesman reminded residents that unannounced Russian aircraft coming at or within the edge of Dutch airspace have become almost a matter of routine.
And 2 days ago Taiwan scrambled Mirage 2000-5 aircraft after China made 4 separate intrusions in its airspace [The Diplomat].
Today’s video, from the Economist, gives a recap (with maps) of China’s many territorial disputes with its neighbors: