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Rapid Fire Feb. 18, 2013: Pressure Tactics

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* Gordon Adams, a budget staffer during the Clinton administration, is convinced the Pentagon has plenty of room for backoffice cuts, but thinks the recent announcements are driven by pressure politics: “[DoD and the services] decided to go forward with the most horrendous things they could think of due to consequences of the sequester. The timing that they chose was as one secretary was leaving and the other secretary was wounded in battle, congressional battle; in other words, perfect time for the chiefs to assert themselves. So, they did.” * The Pentagon’s pressure might be aimed at Congress, but small businesses in the ship repair industry are sure feeling it too. * The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) tracker of sales by the top 100 weapons manufacturers (excluding Chinese ones) shows a 5% drop of their combined revenue to $410B. 44 US firms amount to 60% of the total, followed by 30 companies from Western Europe with 29% of sales. * The GAO notes that the FAA has missed several deadlines in its effort to define how UAVs could safely make routine flights in US airspace. * India’s MoD is sending today a senior official to Italy to obtain […]

* Gordon Adams, a budget staffer during the Clinton administration, is convinced the Pentagon has plenty of room for backoffice cuts, but thinks the recent announcements are driven by pressure politics:

“[DoD and the services] decided to go forward with the most horrendous things they could think of due to consequences of the sequester. The timing that they chose was as one secretary was leaving and the other secretary was wounded in battle, congressional battle; in other words, perfect time for the chiefs to assert themselves. So, they did.”

* The Pentagon’s pressure might be aimed at Congress, but small businesses in the ship repair industry are sure feeling it too.

* The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) tracker of sales by the top 100 weapons manufacturers (excluding Chinese ones) shows a 5% drop of their combined revenue to $410B. 44 US firms amount to 60% of the total, followed by 30 companies from Western Europe with 29% of sales.

* The GAO notes that the FAA has missed several deadlines in its effort to define how UAVs could safely make routine flights in US airspace.

* India’s MoD is sending today a senior official to Italy to obtain evidence of the allegations of corruption that led to Finmeccanica’s change of CEO last week. The Italian court in charge of the investigation reportedly rejected a request for information from the Indian embassy for secrecy reasons. It is uncertain whether India can really legally cancel its contract with AgustaWestland, or whether the whole government stands behind such a decision.

* What is the “high-performance frigate” model put on display by China at IDEX 2013 in Abu Dhabi? Wouldn’t it be nice if it could sport US systems, says Bo Li of China Shipbuilding and Offshore International (CSOC), who definitely gets points for trying:

“We want to talk with them, with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, but they won’t talk with us.”

* Lawmakers from South-Korea’s Saenuri party, the right-wing party with a parliamentary majority, say their country should acquire its own nuclear deterrence given North Korea’s repeated tests. Yonhap | Dong-a Ilbo.

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