“Il n’y a pas de liberte, il n’y a pas d’egalite, il n’y a pas de fraternite sans securite.”
— French President Nicolas Sarkozy
By mid 2007 it seemed that France’s President Sarkozy was softening on defense after an electoral stumble. In July 2007, Sarkozy put together a group that was tasked it with creating a White Paper to define France’s future defense policy. The last time an exercise of this type had been conducted was in 1994.
That group eventually returned with its report, and on June 17/08, President Sarkozy made a speech outlining the key elements of that future direction. The decisions made will change the shape of French defense spending, and will launch an attempt to implement an interlocking set of procurement, infrastructure, and political reforms and changes.
That plan has implications for NATO and the EU, while it received cabinet approval for a 6-year spending plan.
Oct 29/08: The Canadian government agency Canadian Commercial Corp. received a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity long-term contract for repair of the Advanced Imaging Multi-spectral Sensor used on the USA’s P-3 Aircraft. That 2005 contract bought about 60 of L-3 Wescam’s MX-20 surveillance and targeting turret, known as AN/ASX-4 in the US Navy. These turrets have been installed on the USA’s P-3C-AIP aircraft, which have been modified to add land attack and surveillance capabilities.
This 5-year contract contains a 2-year base period and 3 one-year option periods. FY 2009-2010 is covers the $12.4 million initial allocation; FY 2011 is negotiated at $6.6 million; FY 2012 is $6.8 million; and FY 2013 is set at $7.1 million. All told, the total contract value could rise to $32.9 million. Work will be performed by L-3 Wescam in Ontario, Canada, and work is expected to be complete by September 2010. A number of Canadian companies are signing contracts through CCC; the largest is the USA’s MRAP purchases of RG-31 mine-resistant vehicles. The Naval Inventory Control Point in Philadelphia, PA manages the MX-20 maintenance contract.
It has been almost a decade since a strike at a US company created widespread industrial disruption, but Boeing and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers have created exactly that outcome. Last-minute bargaining extension and federal mediation efforts ran out at the end of September, with both sides acknowledging that their positions were too far apart to reconcile.
The strike that got now underway as of Sept 6/08 has shut down almost all of Boeing’s production lines, and some analysts believe it has cost the firm up to $100 million per day in lost revenue from deliveries. Boeing own Q3 2008 report confirmed a significant impact on revenues and profits.
While most reports have focused on the civilian angle, DID had a conversation with Boeing to clarify the strike’s impact on military production, and examine the key issues from both sides’ perspectives. That examination led to concern that this could be a long strike – and it has been. Now, a settlement has been reached, closing out a strike that ended up lasting 58 days.
Even with the advent of robotic USVs that have been used successfully near Iraq, humans who can board a ship and search it are still necessary. Special Forces like SEALs had been performing these duties, but wartime demands made it obvious that this was not an ideal use of such highly-trained troops outside of special scenarios like hostage rescue.