Rapid Fire August 1, 2013: Hagel Reveals SCMR Tradespace

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* US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke publicly for the first time about the options laid out in the infamous Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR) conducted by his department. He refreshingly acknowledged that “[p]ast efficiency campaigns have shown that implementation can be very challenging, so effective follow-through is critical, if savings targets are to be realized.” While program or force structure decisions have not been made, cuts are clearly coming, and they won’t affect all services proportionally. The SCMR process defined the core tradeoff as a tension between force capability (i.e. troops) and technology capacity. * The time horizon for SCMR fallout really starts with FY15, but in the meantime expect tensions to ramp up between the services and representatives of the various “colors of money” (R&D vs. procurement vs. operations/maintenance vs. personnel). The SCMR’s findings were the topic of a hearing at the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) this morning. * US congressmen Jim Cooper [D-TN, HASC member] and Paul Ryan [R-WI, budget committee chair] introduced a bill (HR 2883) meant to give DoD discretion in how to apply cuts from sequestration. This of course defeats the sequester’s original purpose of forcing congressional compromise, but that is now […]

* US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke publicly for the first time about the options laid out in the infamous Strategic Choices and Management Review (SCMR) conducted by his department. He refreshingly acknowledged that “[p]ast efficiency campaigns have shown that implementation can be very challenging, so effective follow-through is critical, if savings targets are to be realized.” While program or force structure decisions have not been made, cuts are clearly coming, and they won’t affect all services proportionally. The SCMR process defined the core tradeoff as a tension between force capability (i.e. troops) and technology capacity.

* The time horizon for SCMR fallout really starts with FY15, but in the meantime expect tensions to ramp up between the services and representatives of the various “colors of money” (R&D vs. procurement vs. operations/maintenance vs. personnel). The SCMR’s findings were the topic of a hearing at the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) this morning.

* US congressmen Jim Cooper [D-TN, HASC member] and Paul Ryan [R-WI, budget committee chair] introduced a bill (HR 2883) meant to give DoD discretion in how to apply cuts from sequestration. This of course defeats the sequester’s original purpose of forcing congressional compromise, but that is now a moot point.

* The US GAO found that DoD’s efforts to adopt open systems for its UAS gained little traction.

* The GAO also released a review of the US Army’s requirements and contracts related to container handling and the various types of trucks that involves.

* US Defense Acquisition Undersecretary Frank Kendall is visiting Japan to discuss joint weapons development and foreign sales since Japan relaxed its self-imposed restrictions to armament exports at the end of 2011.

* The Philippines is going to receive more military aid from the US, and its navy may either acquire a 3rd cutter from the US coast guard, or further upgrade the 2 cutters it already has. Separately Japan is to provide the Filipino coast guard with 10 (presumably smaller and less armed) cutters.

* Is China’s naval strategy evolving from sea denial to sea control?

* Threats of aid retaliation seem to have convinced the Afghan government to withdraw its preposterous demands for exit tariffs on NATO military equipment shipped out of the country.

* In contrast with the Pentagon’s portrayal of the situation in Afghanistan, Sajjad Ashraf, a former High Commissioner from Pakistan to Singapore, has a quite distinct outlook:

“With American withdrawal coming by the end of 2014, most Afghanis now accept that the Taliban will outlast the US military and challenge the corrupt and fractured administration installed by the United States in Kabul. Eventually, the Taliban will win, but Afghanistan is set for a period of uncertainty in the interim.”

* The UK’s National Archives released hundreds of government files from 1983, now that they’re following a shortened 20-year rule to open records to the public. Among the disclosed tidbits: locks on nuclear missiles were changed after launch key blunder; the Queen’s speech in case World War III started (in a wargame anyway).

* The video below explains the work of armourers in Great Britain’s Army:

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