Former US Navy Secretary and DOD UnderSec Gordon England opines: “The base defense budget, somewhat over 3 percent of our gross domestic product, isn’t the problem and can’t be the solution.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney insists Secretary of Defense Panetta and President Obama are on the same page. That is, if you ignore the fact they repeatedly made mutually exclusive statements about whether to proceed with budget sequestration.
The Congressional Research Service offers a historical perspective [PDF] on the concept of a “hollow force.” They conclude that it can be argued this phrase “is inappropriate under present circumstances.”
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) has a hearing scheduled at 3pm ET this afternoon on the contracting and regulatory issues of doing business with DOD, though they didn’t yet announce who will testify. Meanwhile the Defense Appropriation Subcommittee released its hearing schedule until the end of March with a focus on the FY13 budget.
The CSBA think tank is running a survey on military compensation. The Stimson Center likes the idea, Veterans of Foreign Wars, not so much.
According to Les Echos [in French], defense is going to bear the brunt of budgetary cuts in 2012 that the French government should announce later this week. This in front of a backdrop which might sound familiar: a tepid economic growth forecast and a presidential election.
The US Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center is working on making Individual First Aid Kits (IFAK) easier to carry around and use.
In the video below the GRASP laboratory at University of Pennsylvania gets tiny quadrotors to fly in sync:
The US Navy’s SUPSALV isn’t glamorous, but they’re involved in a range of activities that include removing dangers to navigation, removing hazardous items (like oil & fuel) from sunken ships, and other underwater engineering. They’re also involved in emergency pollution and disaster response, including 2 of the decade’s most publicized American disasters. They’ve just released their Deepwater Horizon report [PDF] concerning the 2011 oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 have just led SUPSALV to field a containerized command post that’s 100% powered by renewable energy, so they can operate without being dependent on local fuel infrastructures
At the beginning of February 2012, US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC issued a pair of contracts worth up to $430 million.
In February 2012, the USAF has issued a 6-year, multiple-award contract worth up to $985 million, to support the USAF Medical Service. Winners will have the chance to bid on delivery orders under the mixed indefinite-delivery/ indefinite quantity, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract. Services will include management and professional support services, engineering and technical services, and studies, analyses and evaluations over the 6-year period, to Feb 1/18.
Air Force Medical Services includes all 5 USAF medical corps (Biomedical sciences, Dental, Medical, Medical service, Nurse) and enlisted medical technicians, and is led by a Surgeon General. They’re likely to find themselves rather busy over the next few years. In addition to this services contract, a separate multiple-vendor program is getting ready to devote up to $900 million over the next 5 years, for the AFMS Healthcare Facilities Modernization Program. The USAF’s 773th ESS/PKJ manages the services contract, and eligible bidders for task orders include:
US Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz released a short whitepaper [PDF] outlining its priorities and choices within forthcoming budget constraints. It states: “More than 280 aircraft have been identified […] for elimination […] over the next five years. This includes 123 fighters (102 A-10s and 21 older F-16s), 133 mobility aircraft (27 C-5As, 65 C-130s, 20 KC-135s, and 21 C-27s), and 30 select ISR systems (18 RQ-4 Block 30s, 11 RC-26s, and one E-8 damaged beyond repair)”
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission had hearings last week on what China’s quest for global resources – water, fossil fuel, mineral, fish – means for the United States. Transcripts | Video.
Andrew Davies from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) thinks it is unlikely that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will make a big rebasing effort to the country’s north. ASPI also released an economic and strategic analysis [PDF] pondering whether Australia should build warships.
Dassault Aviation released the most terse and self-restrained press release ever in the wake of the Rafale’s final selection for India’s MMRCA. The French business press and stock market were less subdued, but it is not a signed contract just yet. More details to come.
Northrop Grumman reported sales of $26.4B in 2011, a $1.7B or 6% drop from 2010. Its aerospace, electronic and information systems all shrunk by a few percentage points while revenue from the smaller Technical Services dropped by 16%. Among other programs, lower-than-anticipated F-35 deliveries weighted on the aerospace division. The company has revisited the criteria it uses to state its total backlog. This change contributes $3B out of a $7.3B backlog decrease from the previous year, and brings the total down by 15.6% to $39.5B with a 59% funding ratio. NG excludes unexercised contract options and unfunded Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) orders from its backlog numbers.