Coping with Shutdown, In Their Own Way
* Government shutdown update: no real news. Talks are shifting to the debt ceiling, but this could still drag on for several weeks as the US Treasury has cash on hand to muddle through until the end of the month or thereabouts.
* Employees at IT consulting firm IntelliDyne are pooling and donating vacation days to their furloughed colleagues so as to mitigate income loss.
* USAFRICOM is cancelling the industry day they had previously scheduled for December 9-10, 2013.
France Confirms Large Saudi Deal
* A contract with Saudi Arabia for frigate upgrades worth more than 1 billion euros for DCNS, Thales and MBDA (as well as local partners) had been public knowledge for weeks, but has now been officially confirmed by French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. A 4 billion euros (~$5.4B) contract for air defense is also close to be inked by Thales, according to La Tribune [in French].
United Kindgdom to Scotland: Don’t Go!
* The UK’s Ministry of Defence published an analysis [PDF] on Scotland potentially leaving the UK, which unsurprisingly concludes:
“An independent Scottish state could not come close to replicating the level of defence and security that comes from its place within the UK and would likely be heavily reliant on allies and partners, including the UK, for its defence and security.”
Canada Renews Commitment to Utilizing First Class Verbiage, Stays Mum on Spying
* Canada’s Department of National Defence has a new efficiency plan with all the usual buzzwords in it. Trade union officials are concerned this may hide future job cuts. This announcement also left out the part where Canada allegedly spied on Brazil, as Globo TV claims .
Karzai Misses Bush
* In an interview with the BBC, Afghan president Hamid Karzai sounded fairly critical of the current US Administration and ready to walk away from a post-war security deal whose terms would not suit him. He was refreshingly honest in acknowledging his government is “weak and ineffective” but blamed foreigners as the source of “big corruption, because of the “contracts, the subcontracts, the blind contracts given to people, money thrown around to buy loyalties, money thrown around to buy submissiveness of Afghan government officials.”
Decoding India’s Diplomacy
* It can be hard to keep up with India’s foreign policy, as the application of its non-aligned posture often sends mixed signals to other countries. A couple recent articles worth reading: The Economist on India and Pakistan | The Interpreter: US-India relations hit a rough patch.
Flight Training, Once More with Sim
* France opened a new training center for NH90 Caiman pilots from both naval and army aviation (known as ALAT). 80% of training will rely on simulation, vs. 10-20% in previous training programs. They have 6 NH90s on-site and will train about 200 people a year, possibly including from other countries besides France. ALAT chief General Demier says this will not only lower costs but also improve the quality of instruction. EALAT | Video [both in French].
* Bloomberg offers a quick video below on an even more impressive aircraft simulator, NASA’s vertical motion simulator (VMS):