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Rapid Fire Feb. 5, 2013: UK House of Commons Concerned by International Level Playing Field

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* The UK’ House of Commons’ Defence Committee published a report [PDF] on defence acquisition that raises a long list of concerns. The Ministry of Defence preempted one of them last week by publishing its Equipment Plan, just as the Committee was finalizing its review, albeit that 10-year plan arguably lacks important details. Still, many doubts voiced by the Commons remain valid and timely, among them whether other countries – starting with other EU members – will really reciprocate market openness. This international consideration comes into play as Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S. i.e. the MoD’s acquisition wing) is to be turned into a Government Owned, Contractor Operated (GOCO) entity that could be managed by a non-UK company. * The US Air Force Personnel Center released the terms of voluntary departure measures they hope will allow the service to reduce its personnel by 3,340 people by the end of September. * The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and its members are trying to drum up grass roots opposition to sequestration, yet there is a foreboding feeling that the “can’t possibly happen” cuts will actually come to pass. * Former Army colonel Mike Kelly is Australia’s new Minister for Defence Materiel. His […]

* The UK’ House of Commons’ Defence Committee published a report [PDF] on defence acquisition that raises a long list of concerns. The Ministry of Defence preempted one of them last week by publishing its Equipment Plan, just as the Committee was finalizing its review, albeit that 10-year plan arguably lacks important details. Still, many doubts voiced by the Commons remain valid and timely, among them whether other countries – starting with other EU members – will really reciprocate market openness. This international consideration comes into play as Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S. i.e. the MoD’s acquisition wing) is to be turned into a Government Owned, Contractor Operated (GOCO) entity that could be managed by a non-UK company.

* The US Air Force Personnel Center released the terms of voluntary departure measures they hope will allow the service to reduce its personnel by 3,340 people by the end of September.

* The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and its members are trying to drum up grass roots opposition to sequestration, yet there is a foreboding feeling that the “can’t possibly happen” cuts will actually come to pass.

* Former Army colonel Mike Kelly is Australia’s new Minister for Defence Materiel. His predecessor Jason Clare was in the position since March 2012 and has been promoted to Cabinet Secretary in a cabinet reshuffle.

* In its latest combatant vessel force structure document [PDF], the US Navy’s lowers its Force Structure Requirement to 306 ships, down from 313. That is mostly achieved by lowering the overall plan for LCS from 55 to 52, and cutting large surface combatants (i.e. DDGs) by 6.

* Meanwhile China recently commissioned Changchun, the 3rd ship in the Type 052C class of 5,700-ton destroyers (not to be confused with an older ship bearing that name which was decommissioned more than two decades ago) according to the People’s Daily and this CNTV video. There is a 4th sibling on the way called Zhengzhou.

* For context, the US Naval Institute recently posted a series of videos covering their West 2013 conference. Among them, a panel (video embedded below) discusses whether the Chinese Navy represents a challenge or a potential partner for the US:

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