Medical expenses are a large and growing portion of the Pentagon’s budget, and continuing care is part of that issue. There are also side programs, like the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP). It’s a form of worldwide group coverage for eligible personnel retired from the uniformed services, un-remarried surviving spouses, eligible dependents, former members of the armed forces who are Medal of Honor recipients, and their eligible dependents. Enrolees pay the premium costs themselves, but the totals add up for the winning firm.
In 2008, as the USA’s program to field blast-resistant vehicles hit its stride, the US Army moved to field specialized variants for their Engineers and Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams. The $2.288 billion MMPV program would buy up to 2,500 vehicles for use through 2015. The initial buy is expected to involve 1,362 MMPVs: 684 are slated for engineering units to conduct route and area clearance missions, command and control, mount mine clearing systems, and conduct explosive hazards reconnaissance. Another 678 will go to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams to neutralize Improvised Explosive Device land mines and other unexploded ordnance.
BAE Systems was picked as the sole-source winner, with a design based on their blast-resistant RG-33.
The Czech Republic’s armed forces aren’t large enough to make large foreign commitments, but the country is a frequent participant in NATO missions abroad, and needs airlift capacity for use during domestic emergencies. It currently depends on Soviet-era AN-26 “Curl” aircraft, which are wearing out quickly, and will need to be replaced soon.
“Czech L-159s: Cheap to Good Home” explored one possibility, which involved a trade of the Czechs’ fine light trainer and attack aircraft, in exchange for EADS-CASA C-295M light transports to replace the AN-26s. That turned out to be the Czechs’ preferred option, and a contract for 3 planes was signed in 2009. The EU couldn’t be content to leave well enough alone, of course, and they began legal action around the deal. That went nowhere, but their efforts may not be the only legal action. Technical problems, and allegations of overpricing, have triggered an investigation within the Czech Republic. Even as the C-295Ms themselves remain undeployable.
Investor Carl Icahn and Oshkosh exchanged another round of press releasehostilities in recent days. According to the AP as of today Icahn has effectively given up on his effort to buy out the truck maker.
Following the review of many amendments and a 93-0 roll call vote on cloture last night, the FY13 NDAA should finally come to the floor of the US Senate today. But climate change might be a last-minute contentious curveball.