US Budget Negotiations to Restart
* Congressional leaders are signaling a more realistic stance as they’re about to restart budget negotiations next week. They are shrugging off any sort of ambitious “grand bargain” deal, and may instead be content to tinker at the edges, at least until after next year’s mid-term elections. Most Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to the House and Senate Budget chairs urging them to put back defense spending above sequestration levels. Republicans have some amount of leverage as Democrats would like to roll back sequestration, but there’s only so much they’ll get out of that bargaining chip in the absence of higher taxes.
What If the US Loses Its Tech Edge?
* The US Defense Science Board released a report [PDF] that tries to forecast what technology enablers might be necessary for the US to preserve its military superiority by 2030. Assuming adversaries reach technological parity or even superiority in some niches, asymmetric cost-imposing responses – which are usually imposed on expensive US assets – and superior force effectiveness become critical. They recommend the creation of a security program for satellites in the spirit of the one set for submarines, and have a laundry list of future weapons they would like DARPA and DoD to pursue, right out of the end of the tech tree in the Civilization PC game series.
* The US Army would like to keep its tech edge a tad longer, thank you very much. They have found time and again that tech has to work in the real world, not just in the lab, and have run Network Integration Evaluations (NIE) twice a year since 2011 to that effect. They will update contractors interested in NIEs with an industry day on Nov. 19 at Fort Belvoir, VA, following a round of communications about NIE 14.2 back in June. NIE 14.1 is about to start a few days late because of the shutdown.
* One area where the US currently leads is UAVs, with 2 million hours of accumulated flight with its MQ-1s and MQ-9s alone. 15 years of mostly in-theater operation, and sometimes mishaps (MQ-1 | MQ-9), to learn from.
F/A-18 Swiss Accident
* When the Swiss government announced the crash of one of its F/A-18s on Wednesday evening, the fate of its 2 occupants was unclear. It’s only yesterday that they had recovered the bodies of the 2 crash victims.
Littoral Ops Ships for NZ
* New Zealand is looking for a single Littoral Operations Support Capability (LOSC) ship to replace its aging mine countermeasures and diving support vessel HMNZS Manawanui and hydrographic survey vessel HMNZS Resolution. Replies to the Request for Information are expected by Dec. 2 (remember that New Zealand lives in the future).
UK/US Live Fire Training
* Japanese troops recently trained in Washington state, and Germans flew in Idaho. Today’s video shows British Royal Marines from 40 Cdo at a Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) during Black Alligator 13 at the US Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in the Californian desert: