Rapid Fire Oct. 15, 2013: Any US Senate Deal Will Have to Win Over House Too
- US Senate leaders are saying they are close to reaching a deal to put an end to the government shutdown and raise the debt limit. This would get another round of talks started until early 2014, and would revisit sequestration constraints. The Senate still needs to finalize and pass a bill, then send it back to the House where the fate of a watered-down compromise remains uncertain at best. This puts pressure on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to work out a deal palatable to House conservatives.
Syria: Pick Your Poison
- US Secretary of State John Kerry again wants President Assad to go, while various al-Qaeda-linked groups seem to grow in prominence.
Norway Releases 2014 Budget
- Norway’s defense department intends to sustain its procurement spending at 21% of its 43 billion NOK (about $7.15B) budget proposal for 2014, including 6 F-35s. Neighbor Sweden should also see slight increases in years to come, though the Armed Forces Chief doubt it will be enough to match their mandate.
EU Battlegroups, Joint Defense: More Than Paper?
- The Lithuanian and British ministries of defense want to find out why European Union Battlegroups [PDF] have never been used, even though they have been operational for years.
- Good question. For a hint, the European Defense Agency’s latest report [PDF] on the Common Security and Defence Policy features the words “must”, “should”, and “could” 11, 26 and 28 times respectively. Meanwhile, the Franco-German brigade, one of the earliest attempts at intra-EU defense cooperation, is yet again facing [in French] an uncertain future, despite claims to the contrary [in French] by the French MINDEF.
- Kawasaki Heavy will sell gas turbine engine components to Rolls-Royce for end use by the UK Royal Navy. These components have dual use between civilian and naval ships.
Preserving Carrier Heritage
- The British MoD is looking for partners from the private sector who could help keep the 22,000-tonne HMS Illustrious in the UK after she is retired at the end of next year.
In and Out of Afghanistan
- The Latest Defence Focus [PDF] has an article on the UK’s redeployment methodology. Of note, they pay attention to objects that may look mundane but could be attractive to criminals and terrorist organisations (ACTO), such as batteries and old fire extinguishers which could be used to make IEDs.
- NATO Review explains in the video below why helicopters have seen so much use in Afghanistan, and some of the challenges involved: