?>

Congressmen Garamendi and Runyan Introduce Bill to Strengthen Air Mobility Mission — Press Release

Legislation would prevent gaps in Air Mobility Mission with Transition from KC-10 to KC-46 Tankers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jon Runyan (R-NJ-03) and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03) introduced H.R. 4230 bipartisan legislation that seeks to limit the retirement of the KC-10 aircraft.

Retiring the entire KC-10 fleet was not part of the Obama Administration’s FY15 defense budget proposal, yet Secretary of Defense Hagel stated that “if sequestration resumes at full force in 2016, the Air Force would have to retire its entire fleet of KC-10 tankers.”

This legislation seeks to ensure that the KC-10 tanker aircraft fleet is not retired prematurely and is available to continue to carry out its critical air refueling and cargo missions. The bill specifies that no funds can be used to retire or store the KC-10 aircraft until the new KC-46A tanker has been tested, is fully operational, and four test and 18 initial tankers have been delivered.

“Air Mobility Command is responsible for the rapid delivery of military assets around the world – something that will continue to grow in importance. This bill would strengthen the continuity of this vital mission,” said Congressman Garamendi, co-chair of the Congressional Air Mobility Caucus. “This bipartisan legislation would ensure that the Air Force maintains its strategic refueling capability as it transitions from the KC-10 to the KC-46 aircraft over the next few years. The bill requires that critically important acquisition and delivery milestones for the KC-46 are met before a KC-10 divesture could occur. This bill would help maintain stability in the military operations at Travis Air Force Base, our nation’s ‘Gateway to the Pacific.’”

“The KC-10 aircraft, which is the largest, newest, and most capable refueling aircraft currently in the military’s inventory, is a workhorse and vital to meeting air refueling mission taskings for the Arctic, Trans-Atlantic, and Pacific routes,” said Congressman Runyan. “As one of two primary homes to the KC-10, JB MDL is vital to carrying out these critical missions. The KC-10 has made a huge impact on mission readiness by combining long-range aerial refueling and cargo transport, and can be refueled in flight. It is crucial that we keep the KC-10 in full operation until the new KC-46 is completely ready for prime time.”

Runyan and Garamendi, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, teamed up last October and sent a letter to Secretary Hagel urging the DoD not to eliminate the entire fleet of KC-10 aircraft. Both Congressmen have also addressed this issue on several occasions with Air Force and DoD leadership in recent and past House Armed Services Committee hearings and conference calls, expressing their strong concerns that the KC-10 not be retired prematurely.

Click here to read text of H.R. 4230.

###

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Australia to Stretch Out F-35 Deliveries

One of the key components of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program was the early participation by U.S. allied countries. Unlike traditional Foreign Military Sales (FMS) these countries provided some of the development costs and committed early to buy the the aircraft rather then wait for the establishment of production and get it after the aircraft entered U.S. service. These included Great Britain, Australia, Canada and The Netherlands.

These countries planned to buy different amounts of the three types of the F-35. Britain to operate from their new carriers and replace the Harrier Jump Jet, Canada to retire their CF-18 fleet and the other two to upgrade from the aging F-16. In fact the F-35 would be similar to the F-16 program with parts and components made by the buying countries. Norway, Japan and Israel have also decided to buy the F-35 over other potential aircraft.

The F-35 has seen serious delays and cost growth due to testing and development issues. It is currently in Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) as well as continuing testing. The U.S. in their latest budget proposal have decided to stretch production out to save money in the near term. Australia has now decided to do the same thing.

That country’s budget plans now call for delays of accepting the majority of their aircraft to mirror current U.S. plans. The goal is to save over $1.6 billion in the next few eyars. The first two Australian aircraft are in production and should be delivered in 2014-15 to start training but their first squadron will not stand up now for a few years after that.

The problem with stretching out production buys is that while it does save money in the near term the same number of systems will have to be bought over a longer time. Due to inflation alone as well as the loss of production efficiencies the average price per aircraft will increase causing the whole program to get more expensive. One potential problem that may arise is that the total number to be bought will be reduced.

Canada is also re-considering their F-35 buy due to issues with how the contract was awarded last year. These decisions will be a blow to Lockheed Martin (LMT) as they reduce near term revenue and earnings.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

UnitedHealth Is Final Choice for Tricare West Contract

Almost two weeks ago it came out that the Department of Defense had made a final decision in to whom to award the TRICARE West management contract to. The rumors were that UnitedHealth (UNH) would be the winner and that was confirmed at the end of last week.

UnitedHealth won the over $20 billion, 5 year contract after a series of competitions, awards and protests that have taken almost three years to resolve. The losing company, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, had been formed to just manage the contract.

One of the issues facing TriWest was the fact that they had paid a fine of $10 million to the U.S. Government after a whistleblower lawsuit about pricing. How much this affected the source selection is of course impossible to know.

There are reports that UnitedHealth will most likely absorb some of the jobs that TriWest will lose to help it manage the contract.

TRICARE is the U.S. military’s primary medical provider. It is used to cover active duty members, their dependents, retirees and selected Reserve and National Guard personnel. In 2008-2009 new five year contracts to manage the different regions were awarded but several faced protests and took some years to work out.

Defense Department medical costs have increased greatly over the last ten years as the military has fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, grown in size and also gained more retirees. This has caused the TRICARE, Veterans and other health care programs to grow significantly. The recent Obama budget proposal hopes to begin reining in this cost growth by in some ways requiring members to pay more in co-pays and fees. Whether that is politically acceptable remains to be seen. Certainly TRICARE will be a big part of that budget discussion.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

U.S. Navy Orders 2 of Last 3 JHSV from Austal

Yesterday the U.S. Navy announced that it had executed a contract option for 2 more Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) from Australian ferry builder Austal. This brings the total number of these ships ordered to 9.

Austal is close to finishing the first and has two more in production. The contract yesterday will allow the builder to begin buying long lead items and components for the two ships.

The JHSV is a fast transport based on Austal’s ferry designs that was originally planned to be used by the Navy and Army for rapid transport of troops and supplies to needed areas. It was decided that the Navy would manage the whole program and the ships were transferred to them.

Originally it was thought that up to 23 of the ships would be procured but in their FY13 budget proposal the Obama Administration reduced the planned number to 10. This means that 9 of them are now on order with the chance that only one more will be purchased.

Austal is building the ships in their Mobile, AL yard where they also make the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). They have a contract for up to 10 of these. Interest

Photo from HerrKrueger’s flickr photostream.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

JTRS Ground Radio Takes Budget Axe

Boeing (BA) formally received word from the U.S. Department of Defense that the proposed new radio for use in vehicles and by ground troops would be terminated. Boeing was performing on a contract to develop the system for production and qualify potential vendors for this part of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) which will also have ship and air based versions. JTRS has been in development for several years to replace the U.S. and it’s Allies SINCGARS radio.

The decision was made due to concerns that the procurement costs the system would be much higher then originally thought. At this time as part of the overall budget plans the U.S. is making to try and reduce not only their annual deficits but the total of over $14 trillion in existing debt the Defense Department and the Services are under pressure to come up with a large amount of cuts. Some estimates are as high as $100 billion a year.

While a lot of work had gone into JTRS the program was at an easy stage to end. The contract with Boeing was set to end early next year as it transitioned to production. This means termination costs will be limited. It also means that a great deal of the work already done may be used by the new radio program already announced. That means the DOD will get some return for their investment.

Reportedly the Army had recommended termination as part of their budget proposal as the JTRS recently tested in a large exercise had many issues. These were not necessarily related to the design or construction but did indicate that the radio might have future issues when it went into service.

Canceling production of this program will save billions each year but there is still a requirement for a new radio and a new effort is part of the plan. Money from the current JTRS effort will be transferred to a new line to begin again. The new plan focuses on designing capabilities and then asking manufacturers to make systems that can work with the software rather then building a whole new hardware piece.

In order to make the kind of cuts being talked about the U.S. military will lose many more new programs as well as soldiers, ships, aircraft and support personnel. The example of the U.K. comes to mind which if the U.S. is similar will see the loss of a great deal of capability.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

OD News Briefing with Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen from the Pentagon

OD News Briefing with Secretary Gates and Adm. Mullen from the Pentagon
May 20, 2010

SEC. GATES: I have a brief statement and -- oh, I should say good afternoon.

The last time I did one of these and didn't even say good afternoon, several of you commented on it. So good afternoon.


SEC. GATES: I have a brief statement and then Chairman Mullen and I'll be happy to take your questions.

As you know, I have challenged this department to become more efficient in the way it is organized, staffed and operated and, in so doing, find the savings necessary to sustain essential military force structure and capabilities. Earlier this week I met with the department's senior leadership to establish a plan and process for accomplishing this goal. Getting this done will require the priority attention of our entire leadership team and include all services, commands, components and elements of America's defense establishment.

At the same time, we'll be reaching out to the Congress, academia, think tanks and elsewhere for specific and workable proposals on how to change the way this department does business.

It is also important to note that contrary to some of the commentary, this initiative is not about cutting the overall Defense budget. It remains my firm belief that during an era of continued conflict, the United States requires a Defense budget that grows modestly but steadily in real terms for the long haul.

The president's budget proposal, presently under consideration by the Congress, proposes such a real growth path. However, the department will face very difficult choices with regard to sustaining needed military capabilities in the years ahead unless it is able to shift resources away from excess management structure or lower- priority areas and towards current and future combat capabilities.

So this is about belt tightening, making tough choices and essentially refocusing available resources, not about cutting the overall Defense top line, now or in the future.

Similarly, while we will continue to take a hard look at all aspects of the department's budget, the focus of this effort is on overhead costs and business operations, not core military functions such as force structure, uniformed personnel or future combat capabilities.

My intent with these internal shifts is to protect required budget growth for those elements of the department most central to doing our core military mission. In so doing, I also hope to begin to change the cultural mindset of this department so that civilian and military employees carry out their jobs with an increased sense of care and urgency when it comes to how they spend the vast amount of tax dollars entrusted to us by the American people.

Finally, I should note that the Congress has begun the process of acting upon our FY '11 budget request, with the House Armed Services Committee passing its proposed defense authorization bill yesterday. While I do not have all of the details, I am very concerned about the initial reports. In particular, it appears that the committee continues to insist that the department add an extra engine to the Joint Strike Fighter, or JSF, program. In addition, the detailed conditions they have imposed on the overall JSF program would make it essentially un-executable and impose unacceptable schedule and budget costs.

The JSF is one of the department's most important, largest and costliest acquisition programs. Our team has taken aggressive steps to restructure and manage it through this critical phase in development. I am therefore determined to ensure that it remains on track. Accordingly, as I have stated repeatedly, should the Congress insist on adding funding for a costly and unnecessary JSF extra engine or direct changes that seriously disrupt the JSF program, or impose additional C-17 aircraft, I will strongly recommend that the president veto such legislation.

Let me be clear. I believe the defense budget process should no longer be characterized by business as usual within this building or outside of it. When -- we in DOD must make tough choices and decisions to ensure that current and future military combat capabilities can be sustained in a time of budget stringency.

Further, we will strongly resist efforts to impose programs and changes on the department that the military does not want, cannot afford, and that takes dollars from programs and endeavors the military services do need.

I spent my first two years on this -- in this job principally focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I did not expect to have more time to also focus on reforming how the department does business.

President Obama has given me that time and that opportunity. I intend to spend every day, for as long as I remain secretary of Defense, doing all I can to implement these reforms that are so critical to sustaining our military in the years ahead.

Admiral.

ADM. MULLEN: Thank you, sir.

The only thing I would add is, the uniformed military is fully in support of where Secretary Gates is headed with respect to this. When I was a chief of service, head of the Navy a few years ago, we put a great deal of effort into this same kind of approach.

And the proper stewardship of the taxpayers' dollars is high on absolutely everybody's list. I don't underestimate the challenge that is here. But I think being able to get at overhead and shift it to the tooth, to -- and do so inside the force structure that we have right now is absolutely critical.

I also just wouldn't underestimate his ability to do this. Having grown up in the budget world, having watched him oversee and execute the many programs that are now no longer with us, many people said that that was not possible.

It is possible and quite frankly it's needed, if we're going to have the resources that we need and apply them where we need them. So I look forward to continuing to support that effort, along the lines of the outcomes that the secretary has described.

SEC. GATES: Anne.

Q Does the United States consider the sinking of the South Korean warship an act of war? And seeing as the United States has vowed to defend South Korea, what do you plan to do about it? What are your options?

SEC. GATES: Well, first of all, we certainly support the findings of the Korean -- the South Korean investigation. We obviously are in close consultation with the Koreans. The attack was against one of their ships. And we will -- naturally they would have the lead in determining the path forward. They've laid out some paths forward, and we will be consulting very closely with them as we move ahead.

ADM. MULLEN: I spoke to my counterpart yesterday. And we've been engaged with them since the incident, not just from here, but also Admiral Willard in PACOM, as well as, obviously, General Sharp. And we are all focused on that region, the stability in that region -- that needs to be sustained -- and at the same time very focused on supporting our strong ally in the Republic of Korea.

Q But could you say whether or not you agree that -- with the South Koreans that it is in fact an act of war? And can you go over some of the options that you have to respond?

SEC. GATES: I think that -- I think basically what we've said is about all there is for us to say. We accept the findings and support the findings of the investigation. The Republic of Korea has outlined several paths forward, and we will be consulting very closely with them going forward.

Q Admiral, could you address that too, please? It's clearly an act of war, isn't it?

ADM. MULLEN: Again, I think the secretary -- we've said all we want to say on this right now. Certainly we're concerned about it. We've supported them. We've helped them in the investigation and we agree with the conclusion. They're a great friend and great ally, and we'll continue to do that.

Q If I could back to the alternate F-35 engine, billions have already been spent on developing the engine, and $3 billion more, I believe, are what we needed to actually get it ramped up. What exactly are your oppositions to the program, as proponents say that the engine is actually over time going to save money for the program and will actually probably increase safety?

SEC. GATES: The Bush administration opposed this engine. The Obama administration opposes it. We have recommended for several years now against funding this engine, considering it a waste of money. And to argue that we should add another $3 billion in what we regard as waste to protect the billion and a half (dollars) that we believe already has been wasted, frankly, I don't track the logic.

Let me just say we think -- with respect to the -- to the proposal for the alternate engine, we think the proposal is based on unrealistic cost estimates. We do believe that the full-up costs for us are about $2.9 billion. This department has a long and unhappy experience with overly optimistic contractor estimates.

The proposal does provide a fixed price, but not for the engine we need. The proposed engine is based on the design they currently have on the test stand, which we are deeply concerned may not meet the performance needs of the Joint Strike Fighter. Any cost to take the design to required JSF performance levels would presumably be paid by taxpayers.

The current engine -- their current engine, the alternate engine proposal, the engine is far less mature than the JSF engine. The proposed engine is still in development, has about 200 hours of testing compared to 13,000 for the F-135. Even the immature engines in the proposal would be more expensive than the JSF engine during the critical period of the program. And finally, the GE proposal assumes receiving a guaranteed buy of over half the JSF engines for three years in order to allow them to catch up.

As I've said before, only in Washington does a proposal where everybody wins get considered a competition, where everybody is guaranteed a piece of the action at the end. Yeah, we're in favor of competition. But my idea of competition is winner takes all, and we don't have that kind of a situation here.

Q Is there a safety readiness and operational readiness concern that the alternate engine may actually boost operational readiness?

SEC. GATES: I don't think that anybody -- I haven't heard that argument by anybody.

ADM. MULLEN: I mean, I have no concern. The services have not expressed that concern. We've flown with single engines historically and done so very well.

Q Your opening statement -- I want you to be clear for the world who's following weapons issues and all that. You're ruling out major cuts in the '012 budget comparable to your April '(0)9 cuts -- your April '09 cuts.

SEC. GATES: No, I'm talking about ruling out a cut to the top line.

Q But you're not ruling out potential more weapons program cuts?

SEC. GATES: No. I think we've -- I think that, you know, there are some that are still being looked at, both by the department and by the services. But the principal areas that we're looking at are business operations and overhead.

Q Will you stay here through next year to see that '012 budget through? Because what you're proposing can be rope-a-doped if there's a perception you're leaving at the end of the year. Rope-a- dope means they could, you know, resist --

SEC. GATES: I know what rope-a-dope means. (Laughter, laughs.) I've been in -- I started in the government 44 years ago. I know exactly what that means. (Laughter.)

ADM. MULLEN: (Laughs.)

Q A serious question, though.

Do you now anticipate staying here through the end of '011 to see the '012 budget through?

SEC. GATES: We'll see.

Q Okay.

Q Can you tell us when you first expect concrete results of some kind in Kandahar over the next -- later this year? And are you having to reassess the timeline and the strategy, even, in Kandahar, given the recent violence there and given the political difficulties you face?

ADM. MULLEN: The Kandahar -- all the efforts with respect to Kandahar -- and in some ways, they are already under way. General McChrystal was here last week, and certainly indicated no indications to change his execution plan.

The recent violence level which has spiked is, quite frankly, not unexpected. General McChrystal has said, General Petraeus has said, I have said we expect this to be a tough year. And in fact, the insurgents -- you know, the poppy season is over. They've gone back to get their weapons. It's that time of year. So that the violence level would rise doesn't -- doesn't surprise me at all.

We've got the right strategy, the right leadership. The issues in Kandahar are really focused on this, General McChrystal has said -- this rising tide of security. This isn't going to be a D-Day, cross- the-line kind of operation and with a very heavy focus on the governance piece there, as well.

And I think that's actually the biggest challenge that we have. And governance now versus governance as we -- as -- as the Kandahar situation changes over time will be a primary area of focus.

Q Mr. Secretary --

Q Do you have anything to add to that?

Q -- are you still confident that General Odierno is going to be able to meet his withdrawal deadline?

SEC. GATES: Yes. I mean, we clearly are paying close attention to political developments.

I think that the completion of the recount in Baghdad has -- is clearly a positive development, particularly insofar as it reaffirmed the original count from the legitimacy of the election.

So we obviously do -- you all know this department as well as anybody. We plan for everything. But right now, every expectation is that we will meet the 50,000 as of the 1st of September.

Q How much more can he push back on the withdrawals? I mean, May was supposed to be a big month for withdrawals, and he's still slow-rolling it.

SEC. GATES: Well --

Q At what point can you no longer get there from here?

SEC. GATES: I think that he has delayed some withdrawals a little bit, in part because of the postponement of the election from January to March. But he has -- sort of between now and the 31st of August, as far as I'm concerned, General Odierno has total flexibility in terms of how he manages the drawdowns. And if he wants to back-end load it, then we can -- then TRANSCOM can make it work; then I have no problem with that at all.

ADM. MULLEN: And we've -- we've looked at the executability of it. And it is -- and, in fact, he has -- and I take issue with the slow-roll piece, because he has actually brought out a significant number of people and equipment. And he continues to focus on that. So like the secretary said, we're very comfortable we can meet that deadline.

Q Secretary, back to Korea, are you concerned that the takeaway for both North Korea and maybe beyond, Iran, is that the U.S. is stretched so thin that it's impotent to respond in a meaningful way?

SEC. GATES: Absolutely not. You know, the truth of the matter is we've said for a long time that, if there were a problem in Korea, our main arms would be the Navy and the Air Force.

And so we -- those are not stretched in the same way that the -- that the ground forces are. But again, the key to remember -- the key thing to remember here is that this was an attack on a South Korean ship, and the South Koreans need to be in the lead in terms of proposing ways forward.

Q Yes, sir. If we could get back to your opening statement on overhead, at your speech -- during your speech at the Eisenhower Library, you referred to perhaps the Pentagon being too top heavy on generals and admirals. Can you talk a little bit more about that? What options do you have or what are you considering to maybe winnow down the number of senior-level officers, which has grown, as you pointed out, while the overall force has shrunk in recent decades?

And then maybe you, sir, can comment on what the uniformed services are likely to think about that.

SEC. GATES: First of all, I was very clear at the Eisenhower Library speech that I was talking about not just generals and admirals, but also senior civilians. And I used specific examples of downgrading senior civilian positions, as well, to lower levels. So this is -- this is not a problem that is confined by any means to the -- to the uniformed services.

And you know, some of our combatant commanders are already looking at whether they can make some reductions in that area. We will proceed with care on this, but I think we have to -- we have to figure out a way to try and -- I realize this may be a contradiction in terms -- but to try and make this department more agile. And where, as I said at the -- in that speech, where my approval of a guy and a dog going to Afghanistan doesn't have to go through five four- star headquarters.

ADM. MULLEN: And my -- the way I certainly look at that, Brian, is that there are no boundaries on where to look; that every aspect of what we do needs to be examined to ensure we don't have overhead we can't afford, that we don't have -- or overhead which is -- which we're expending a great deal of resources on at the expense of our people, our force structure and our systems, and that we really have to focus it in that regard.

And I, for one, believe the target numbers that the secretary's laid out are not that tough to get to, quite frankly. It's going to take a considerable amount of effort to do it, but I think, doing it well, that it can be achieved. And we don't achieve it, quite frankly, at our own peril, in terms of sustaining what we need to fight the two wars we're in and to meet the security challenges that we have around the globe.

Q Can I ask, while you're examining the different paths that you suggested that the South Korean government was -- had presented to you, are any of the American forces in South Korea on a higher state of alert?

ADM. MULLEN: They're on their normal state of readiness. We're engaged very routinely out there. We have a considerable number of forces that are stationed both, obviously, on the land and in the air and sea. And the forces are clearly aware of what's gone on. But we haven't changed any readiness levels as a result of this up to this point.

Q Sir, I wonder if you can tell us about your visit yesterday with Fort Carson and -- given the reports of troubles in warrior transition unit there. What did you see? What were your impressions? Do you agree with those reports?

SEC. GATES: Yeah, I spent -- I spent two hours in meetings at Fort Carson. I met first with about 10 wounded warriors in the Warrior Transition Unit and some of their spouses, and then I spent an hour with a cadre of the doctors, the caseworkers, the social workers and so on.

And, as I told my staff meeting this morning, I didn't hear a single complaint about the warrior transition unit itself. And several of the soldiers spoke highly also of their rear detachments -- in other words, the support back at their bases.

We still have work to do in terms of the medical disability boards and the amount of time that takes. There were -- there were some vocational training programs that had worked very, very well that had had to be terminated for a lack of funding, and I want to see if we can't get those started again. It was a partnership between the WTU and a local community college in Colorado Springs in terms of vocational training for the soldiers.

But I think that what I heard was reassuring. I will -- I will tip my hand a little bit. One of the wounded-warrior soldiers gave me a long op-ed that he has written that he would like to have somebody publish that has sort of his view of the WTU, which is a different one than has been discussed before. So I came away from that meeting very encouraged.

The meeting with the cadre and so on, I think that some of the concerns that were expressed there were the number of soldiers who had a variety of problems that had been assigned to warrior transition units that were not the victims of combat injuries, and the motivation for some of those soldiers and so on.

But, again, the professionals had very high respect for the soldiers they were trying to -- trying to treat. They have a -- they have a pretty robust professional staff. In terms of counselors, they have their own psychiatrist that's associated with the program, they have counselors. And they have an occupational therapist, they have a social worker. And so they -- they've got a -- they've got a pretty robust staff. They still would like some more, but, frankly, we just hired about all there are available.

So I came away encouraged, but also, as I do from every one of these sessions, with something of a to-do list.

Yeah.

Q Secretary Gates, you've tried to keep politics out of defense, and I was wondering, what's your confidence level that President Obama will actually veto the defense policy bill in a -- in an election year? And what are you going to do to convince him that that's the case?

SEC. GATES: Well, I obviously did not issue the statement that I did in my testimony on the Hill without talking with the president first. So I try not to climb too far out on a limb without knowing nobody's back there with a saw.

Q But you think he's going to actually go ahead and veto the bill?

SEC. GATES: Well, we'll have to see at the time that the decision has to be made. But I did not -- he was fully aware that I was going to make that statement. And, frankly, I think that if he were not prepared to substantiate that, he probably would have waved me off at the time.

Yeah.

Q Mr. Secretary, as with the alternate engine, will you recommend a presidential veto if the final defense bill contains the half-percent pay raise that the HASC has added in that you all did not want?

SEC. GATES: No. As I said with respect to the carrier, I want change, but I'm not crazy. (Scattered laughter.)

ADM. MULLEN: I mean, this is -- this is a very important issue. And part of this is, I think I saw somebody accrue this out over the next 10 years, and you may have done this, but it's $5.2 billion that we didn't ask for. And while certainly we're all concerned with compensation, that's another 5.2 billion (dollars) that's going to have to come from somewhere, and typically those get authorized without any money being put behind them, and we've got to take them out of hide back here in the building. And that's one of the things we're trying to get away from.

Q So not the case that the raise is a foregone conclusion for the immediate future?

SEC. GATES: Well, we'll see what the Senate does.

Q Can I change the topic to Pakistan? We have a couple senior American officials who recently visited there. There's some reporting in the -- in the Pakistani press that among the topics that was discussed is North Waziristan and a timetable for the Pakistanis' moving in there. I wonder, Admiral Mullen, can you bring us up to date a bit on what your understanding is as to when and if the Pakistanis are willing to go into North Waziristan?

And, Mr. Secretary, can I ask you -- there's been a lot of rhetoric out of the administration since the Times Square incident that Pakistan must do more in response to that. I'm curious, what exactly do we want them to do more of? Since there's clearly -- obviously, they've made an offensive against TTP, which seems to be the organization behind this. What more are we seeking the Pakistanis to do in response to this?

ADM. MULLEN: Well, as far as this visit that General Jones and Director Panetta took, I think I really need to refer you to them. And the fact is, I haven't -- I actually haven't spoken with either of them since they -- since they returned.

With respect to North Waziristan and my engagement with General Kayani: Well over a year ago, you know, he'd indicated that, as has been reported, you know, that there are plans to -- plans to execute that mission. But very specifically, you know, the timeline's really up to him, and it goes back to what I understand and believe, that, you know, he's stretched. He's got two fronts. He's got a military that's lost a lot of soldiers, sacrificed a great deal. And so that -- it makes a lot of sense to me, you know, that he does get to pick this timeline. They're struggling in the build phase in Swat, behind the security that he's established there. So this is not a one-of kind of thing. It's really part of an overall campaign plan.

And the other thing I'd say is, what he's told me he would do -- when I have dealt with him in the past, what he has said he would do in the future he's always done.

SEC. GATES: I would just add to that that he has, I think, seven divisions and 140,000 troops in that area. So it is -- it is a huge effort that Pakistan is -- is making.

What we have seen here is yet another new phenomenon, and that is the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan not only trying to overthrow the government of Islamabad, in Islamabad, but also launch attacks against -- outside of Pakistan and, in this case, against us. I think that when the Pakistani Taliban approached Islamabad a year and a half ago, or whenever it was, was a wake-up call for the Pakistanis that these -- that this group was a -- an existential danger for the government of Pakistan itself. We now have a mutual interest in trying to stop this group, stop it from carrying out attacks inside Pakistan, stop it from carrying out attacks outside of Pakistan, and especially in the United States.

And so I suspect that the main theme of these talks was -- that were held was, how can we intensify our cooperation in dealing with this mutual threat that we face? My impression has been that there has been close cooperation since the bomber was arrested. So I think it's more about that than any qualitative change.

STAFF: Perhaps time for one more, sir?

SEC. GATES: Yes.

Q Mr. Secretary, the U.N. resolution on Iran, is this the kind of thing that you've been calling for for months? Is it enough? And most importantly, do you think it's really going to change Iranian behavior?

SEC. GATES: Well, I think first of all, it's -- as best I can tell, if the resolution were to be passed in anything like its current form, it's actually somewhat stronger than I expected. But as I discussed with a lot of our allies, the importance of the resolution is twofold.

First, it serves as a reminder of Iran's international isolation, that all of the major powers are arrayed against Iran's nuclear- weapons ambitions. Second, and more concretely, it -- the resolution provides a new legal platform that allows individual countries and organizations such as the E.U. to take significantly more stringent actions on their own that go way beyond, well beyond what the U.N. resolution calls for in and of itself. So I think that the resolution has benefit on two levels.

And I would just make a final comment. If the resolution did not have an impact in Iran, it's not clear to me why the Iranians would have made -- are making and have been making such an extraordinary effort to prevent it from being passed. If it were irrelevant as far as they were concerned, I don't think you'd see them expending the kind of diplomatic and other kinds of energy to try and prevent its passage.

Thanks.

Q So do you expect it to change their behavior?

SEC. GATES: Well, we'll see. I think it's a combination of things. As I said, it's not just the U.N. resolution. It's the -- it's the actions of individual countries over and above that. It is -- it is a variety of pressures on Iran. You know, by itself, we've seen other resolutions before that have not, obviously, changed their behavior. But as we go along in this process, I think that the ratcheting up of what other countries are willing to do on their own, using the resolution as a basis, does have the potential to change behavior.

Thank you.

Technorati Tags:



DOD Releases Defense Reviews, 2011 Budget Proposal, and 2010 War Funding Supplemental Request

DOD Releases Defense Reviews, 2011 Budget Proposal, and 2010 War Funding Supplemental Request - Update
Department of Defense
February 1, 2010

President Barack Obama today sent to Congress a proposed defense budget of $708 billion for fiscal 2011. The budget request for the Department of Defense (DoD) includes $549 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs and $159 billion to support overseas contingency operations (OCO), primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq. This proposal continues the reform agenda established in last year's DoD budget request and builds on the initiatives identified by the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and 2010 Ballistic Missile Defense Review (BMDR).

The QDR examines DoD strategies and priorities. It assesses the threats and challenges that the nation faces and re-balances DoD’s strategies, capabilities, and forces to ensure the U.S. military has the flexibility to address today’s conflicts and tomorrow’s threats. The BMDR evaluates the ballistic missile threat to the U.S. and its allies and articulates policy. It determines the appropriate role of ballistic missile defense in the country’s national security and military strategies.

“The fiscal 2011 budget request builds on the reforms begun in last year's defense budget,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “These substantial changes to allocate defense dollars more wisely and reform the department’s processes were broadened and deepened by the analysis and conclusions contained in the Quadrennial Defense Review.”

The fiscal 2011 base budget request represents an increase of $18 billion over the $531 billion enacted for fiscal 2010. This is an increase of 3.4 percent, or 1.8 percent real growth after adjusting for inflation. The DoD needs modest real growth to maintain, train, and equip the forces that sustain our wartime efforts.

The fiscal 2011 OCO request will provide additional resources needed to sustain U.S. forces in Operation Enduring Freedom – in Afghanistan and elsewhere – and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Included are funds for pay and benefits, logistics and other support, force protection, continuing efforts to counteract improvised explosive devices, as well as funding to fully support the buildup in Afghanistan and to carry out a responsible drawdown in Iraq.

“The choices made and priorities set in these budget requests and strategic defense reviews reflect America's commitment to succeed in the wars we are in while making the investments necessary to prepare for threats on or beyond the horizon,” said Gates.

Also accompanying the 2011 budget proposal is a fiscal 2010 supplemental request of $33 billion to support the added costs of the President's new strategy in Afghanistan and strengthen U.S. force levels with approximately 30,000 additional troops.

“To make sure we have the resources needed to support our troops deploying to the Afghanistan theater, I will be asking the Congress to enact the supplemental by spring 2010,” said Gates.

Key highlights of the proposed DoD budget are outlined in the attached summary and charts. For more information and to view the entire fiscal 2011 budget proposal, please visit http://www.budget.mil and download the "FY 2011 Budget Request Overview Book."

The 2010 QDR and BMDR are available online at www.defense.gov/DefenseReviews.

Transcripts from applicable budget and strategic defense review briefings can also be viewed at www.defense.gov/transcripts.

Technorati Tags:
, ,



Lockheed Martin Responds to the FY2011 NASA Budget Proposal to Cancel Orion

Lockheed Martin Responds to the FY2011 NASA Budget Proposal to Cancel Orion

February 3,2010 7:28:00 AM

BETHESDA, Md., Feb 03, 2010 -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) today released the following statement regarding the FY2011 budget request to cancel the Orion Project as part of NASA's Constellation Program:

We are keenly disappointed in the Administration's budget proposal for NASA that would cancel Project Orion as part of an elimination of NASA's Constellation Program. Orion's maturity is evident in its readiness for a first test flight in a matter of weeks. In fact, Orion can be ready for crewed flights to low Earth orbit and other exploration missions as early as 2013, thus narrowing the gap in U.S. human space flight capability when the shuttle is retired later this year.

Significant investment has already been made by the nation and private industry in Orion, which is human rated to provide a level of safety unmatched by any previous or currently proposed crewed vehicles. Nearly 4,000 people at more than 500 commercial companies and hundreds of small business suppliers across the country have worked diligently on the Orion project to support the nation's human space flight efforts. New facilities have been built and others upgraded. Innovative technologies such as a launch abort system, autonomous rendezvous and docking, closed-loop life support systems, state of the art solar power and avionics systems have been incorporated. And the next-generation of engineers, scientists, teachers and students, so critical to America's future, has been inspired. Cancellation of Orion would sacrifice these capabilities and accomplishments.

The President's budget proposal will, of course, be reviewed by Congress and ultimately will require Congressional approval. As the budget process moves forward, Lockheed Martin is committed to working with Congress, the Administration and NASA to ensure a safe, viable and robust space exploration program that does not cede U.S. leadership in space.

Technorati Tags:
, ,



Defense Job Cuts Begin To Add Up

August 20, 2009 by · Comment
Filed under: BNET 

The Obama Administration made the ending of several large acquisition programs the key to their 2010 budget proposal. Not only did they not ask…

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

U.S. Department of Defense Still Not Sold on Split Tanker Buy

Responding to growing pressure from Congress and some in industry to the idea of splitting the KC-X tanker procurement between Boeing and EADS Secretary of Defense Gates said that the idea would be bad policy. The Hill reports that any cost savings from more rapid production would be offset by the increased logistical tail of having two separate systems. In this day and age when the quantities of equipment purchased is minimal the U.S. cannot afford a dual source for one mission. While some have said that this proposal would more rapidly field capability a split fleet would require two supply chains, training networks and support networks. More will be found out when the Obama administration releases its FY10 budget proposal in the near future.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

>