Rapid Fire July 19, 2013: US State Dept Asked to Ease Suborbital Aircraft Exports
- The US State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) published the public comments [PDF] it received in response to a proposed regulatory change to the Munitions list (USML) Category XV and Defense Services, as part of ongoing ITAR reforms meant to balance what’s put on the USML vs. the less restrictive Commerce Control list (CCL). The overwhelming feedback, as one person put it:
“Putting ITAR restrictions on suborbital manned aircraft is the same as ceding the entire industry to other countries.”
- MUOS-2, the 2nd of 5 satellites for the Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) was launched from Cape Canaveral this morning. MUOS is a SATCOM program primarily set up for the US Navy.
- US Senator McCain [R-AZ, SASC] said he would put a hold on General Dempsey’s nomination for another 2 years as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs until the senator gets answers (presumably that he likes) on the Administration’s military options in Syria. This followed Dempsey’s hearing [PDF] yesterday but it probably is just a hurdle for Dempsey to clear rather than a deal breaker.
- The FY14 defense appropriations bill is not coming to the House floor this week after all.
- Nextgov looks into a contract awarded by the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to secure access to smartphones and tablets. DISA argues their requirement is not so sure, but Nextgov is not so sure, since there was a similar-sounding project at the USDA last year.
- The US government announced a few months ago the creation of 40 NSA/CYBERCOM teams dedicated to cyber-warfare and security. Defense Undersecretary Ash Carter said at the Aspen Security Forum that this amounts to about 4,000 people, mostly tapping from existing staff within the services to recruit faster.
- Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) is reportedly withholding more detailed and technical “Statements of Operational Requirements” from the public until contracts are awarded. Surely Canadian defense procurement has been such a shining success story in past years that requirement transparency was entirely superfluous all along, not to speak of the public’s right to know how the government intends to spend their taxes. Even Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer is getting stonewalled by the DND.
- The UK’s Foreign Office revoked 5 weapon export licenses to Egypt because of recent events that led them to believe these weapons could be used against protesters.
- Brigadier (Retd, British Army) Ben Barry, a senior fellow at the IISS think tank, gave a presentation (43mn audio) about recent progress in battlefield medicine and healthcare for wounded soldiers.
- Today’s video below shows 2 KC-130J Super Hercules in close formation flight, as seen from the cockpit of the 2nd aircraft: