Rapid Fire July 19, 2012: Access Denied
- Lt. Gen. Charles Davis, recently promoted as the US Air Force’s acquisition deputy chief (the chief position has been vacant for a few months), said the focus was shifting to fielding “capabilities to fight in a contested environment again” – i.e. against a nation state (obviously not China) with decent anti-access capabilities rather than the COIN operations of past years. That includes making a new stealth bomber. He reckons the RDT&E budget should remain stable, at least in the short term.
- Britain receives its first F-35B today. Defence Secretary Hammond joked that he wouldn’t get to fly it home and, more seriously, brushed aside concerns raised in a recent US GAO report by saying: “If you ever buy a house and you get a surveyor to do a structural survey, you will never, ever buy the house if you read the structural survey.” Meanwhile the Pentagon is reportedly finalizing its next JSF production batch with Lockheed Martin.
- Speaking of Lockheed Martin, they sent a letter to all their US employees that confirms their stance on WARN Act notices, in line with statements made by CEO Robert Stevens at yesterday’s HASC hearing:
“Our very rough estimate of the number of employees who could be affected, based on the limited information available to us from the government, is about 10,000. We’d prefer to give you more clarity and details, and we will, just as soon as we get specific guidance from the government.”
This is no doubt distressing for the employees caught in the political firestorm and employment number battles. Sequestration will continue to drown out everything else until it either is resolved or actually comes to pass – a pretty idiotic outcome that nonetheless no longer seems impossible. The sequester is meant as a deterrence mechanism rather than actual policy but the “did you just blink” standstill in Congress has lasted longer than many expected. It looks like these tired late night reruns will stay stuck on the schedule for a few more months.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez would like to buy Sukhoi Su-35s. First, he needs to be reelected in October.
- Saab announced [PDF] earlier this month the opening of a multi-country Gripen flight school at AFB Overberg in South Africa. The SA National Defence Force denied yesterday they had even discussed such a plan with the manufacturer. Gripen responded that talks were still underway with the government, presumably at a higher level. Not the greatest way to start establishing a relationship with the base…
- Two recent additions in the DAU’s ACQuipedia explain solicitations and pre-award surveys.
- Changes of command at the US Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) and Joint Attack Munition Systems Project Office (JAMS).
- According to Reuters, United Technologies Corp is in final discussions to sell Rocketdyne to GenCorp. UTC told investors back in March that they intended to sell 3 businesses including Rocketdyne.