US Defense Workforce Shrinkage, In Numbers
- Politico reviewed SEC filings from major US defense contractors and found that “The number of employees at the five largest U.S. defense firms has dropped 14% from a peak in 2008 – and 10% over the past decade.” Lockheed Martin shrunk its workforce the most, in absolute (-31,000) and relative (-21%) terms.
Maintenance & Readiness – Or Lack Thereof
- USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) had its flight deck just resurfaced but the non-skid coating doesn’t meet safety standards, which will likely delay the ship’s next deployment. Stars & Stripes.
- Der Spiegel reported [in German] that according to a confidential report to the German minister of defense, the country’s air force has severe readiness issues, with just 8 out of 109 Eurofighters deemed fully operational [Xinhua]. The ministry brought little [in German] in the way of a rebuttal.
Middle East & Africa
- USCENTOM says they have flown more than 1,500 sorties over Iraq since August 8.
- According to the WSJ the US government is preparing to send surveillance aircraft over Syria, while the AP says these flights have already started.
- Syria’s government offers itself [NYT] as a surreal ally against ISIS. Maybe John Kerry could help?
- European Jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq are often recruited through the Internet: XX Committee | Corriere della Sera [in Italian].
- US officials say [The Guardian] that recent air strikes on Islamist militias in Libya were coming from aircraft flown by UAE pilots out of Egypt.
- MIT’s Theodore Postol is a well-known critic of missile defense in general, and Iron Dome lately, but Bill Sweetman of AviationWeek finds much to be challenged in Postol’s arguments against that sytem.
- There’s more to procurement than just open military contracts. Sometimes, the weapon a dictator really needs is Wall Street. Recent case study: Zimbabwe [BusinessWeek].
More Russian Weapons Rolling Into Ukraine
- Today’s video from the AP shows more armored vehicles coming from Russia into Eastern Ukraine. Russia claims [Kyiv Post] that 10 of their soldiers captured by the Ukrainians had crossed the border by accident: