Rapid Fire Oct. 9, 2013: House Defense Faction Wants to Drop Obamacare Fight
US Budget, Or Lack Of
- House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Chairman Buck McKeon [R-CA] wants his party to recognize they’re not going to win the current fight over Obamacare, and go back to addressing sequestration cuts to defense. But if most House Republicans want to reign in the overall budget and roll back the Affordable Care Act as their primary targets, HASC members may be too isolated to exert much influence over the agenda, let alone the outcome of this season’s fiscal fight. The latest plan from the House GOP leadership is another supercommittee – since the one from 2011 worked out so well – but Democrats don’t seem inclined to participate.
Meanwhile, North of the Border
- Canada’s Federal auditors found $1.5 billion worth of accounting errors at the Defence Department, including forgetting to take out of inventory 2 crashed CF-18s.
Light Tanks to Make US Army Comeback?
- While MRAPs are being flown out of Afghanistan in C-17s, the Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate (CDID) is looking at a wide range of existing tracked and wheeled armored vehicles that can be flown in C-130s and parachuted. This is doctrine work on the need for light tanks with less protection but more mobility and firepower, rather than an acquisition program – though it could become one.
- JLTV is a program further down the acquisition cycle: US Army TACOM is gathering a list of interested subcontractors for low rate and full production.
Near-East Cost Leaders
- The CSIS think tank explains the reasons behind Turkey’s recent choice of Chinese long range air defense missiles. It came down to price and co-production. Separately, Turkey successfully tested homegrown short range air defense missiles 3 days ago.
- Israel has an interesting contender for Bulgaria’s 10-fighter deal: their new Kfir C10 Block 60 offering, complete with Python 5 and Derby missiles, Spice GPS/IIR bombs, Link-16… and a price of around $150 – 200 million, instead of $450+ million for 9 used F-16s.
- Egypt may have received US military aid for decades, but that stream of subsidized hardware is reportedly about to be significantly curtailed by the Obama administration: Reuters | WaPo.
Australian Strategy-Budget Gap
- The Lowy Institute for International Policy think tank didn’t wait long after the election in Australia to urge [PDF] the new government to “restore focus and spending to defence.” They’re underlining the growing gap between Australia’s pretense that its geostrategic interests go as far as the Indian ocean on one hand, and an ever-shrinking defense budget on the other hand.
- The Philippines is considering the acquisition of 3 diesel submarines and other naval assets, but they too may have a case of strategy-funding mismatch.
Germans Concerned by American UAVs
- The US Army has started flying MQ-5B surveillance UAVs between its bases in Germany, after local aviation authorities granted them authorization to do so. But convincing German public opinion that the purpose is training rather than spying is a tall order.
- The US Army’s Combined Task Force Dragoon uses Low Level Voice Intercept (LLVI) teams in Afghanistan to try and catch enemy communications. The video below shows what that looks like: