Roll Call: The News Source of Capitol Hill Since 1955
December 21, 2014

Cyber Spying Could Affect Defense Industry

Defense News reports that “to see the impact of cyber attacks on US industry and its Pentagon customers, one need look no further than last month’s Zhuhai Airshow, where China’s military showed off its J-31 stealth fighter and JY-26 “Skywatch-U” 3-D long-range air surveillance radar.”

“Analysts have pointed out that the two designs hew very closely to two Lockheed Martin products — the F-35 joint strike fighter and the company’s radar offering for the Air Force’s Three Dimensional Expeditionary Long-Range Radar (3DELRR) competition, respectively. Reports of a major cyber breach of Lockheed’s programs by Chinese hackers have been around since April 2009, and a general consensus has emerged across industry that China’s military has benefited from that information.”

“That kind of infiltration is costing US industries billions of dollars, warned Brett Lambert, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, during November’s NATO Industry Forum in Split, Croatia.”

1,000 82nd Airborne Soldiers Headed to Iraq

The Fayetteville Observer reports that “about 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division are schedule to deploy to Iraq next month in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.”

“The paratroopers will go to four sites to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces, according to the Pentagon. The deployment is scheduled to last nine months.”

“‘They have extensive knowledge and experience in training and are disciplined and ready soldiers,’ said. Maj. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.”

1,000 82nd Airborne Soldiers Headed to Iraq

The Fayetteville Observer reports that “About 1,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division are schedule to deploy to Iraq next month in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.”

“The paratroopers will go to four sites to train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces, according to the Pentagon. The deployment is scheduled to last nine months.”

“‘They have extensive knowledge and experience in training and are disciplined and ready soldiers,’ said. Maj. Gen. Richard D. Clarke, commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division.”

15 Growlers Included in FY15 Spending Bill

MSF12-0095-250_TUIn one final act before adjournment, Congress has taken action to meet the Navy’s requirement for additional airborne electronic attack and preserve the F/A-18 manufacturing line. The Omnibus spending bill – passed by Congress last week and signed by President Obama – included $1.46 billion in additional funding for 15 EA-18G Growlers and a production line slow down, extending F/A-18 deliveries through 2017.

This action supports the Navy’s request for 22 Growlers as part of their unfunded priorities list and preserves the ability to request additional aircraft in FY16 based on the warfighter requirements. It also supports 60,000 American jobs and 800 suppliers associated with the F/A-18 production.

The Growler is the most advanced electronic attack platform, providing tactical jamming and electronic protection to all U.S. military forces and allies around the world. It is the only electronic attack aircraft in production today.

Click here to see what Navy operators have to say about their experiences with the Growler.

For more information about the Growler, please visit

U.S. Seeks Closer Military Ties with China

The Wall Street Journal reports that “the next commander of U.S. military forces in the Pacific said Thursday he wouldn’t deviate from his predecessor’s strategy of seeking stronger military ties with China and other countries in the region despite conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea.”

“Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., who currently commands U.S. Navy forces in the Pacific and was confirmed last week as the next chief of the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command, said China has been increasing tensions in the South China Sea in recent years, pushing several of the region’s countries to seek the U.S. as their security ally.”

“’I think China’s actions are making countries out here—some of them—look to the U.S. as their security partner of choice, not China,’ Adm. Harris said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.”

U.S. Considers Response to North Korea Hacking

“American officials have concluded that North Korea was ‘centrally involved’ in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers, even as the studio canceled the release of a far-fetched comedy about the assassination of the North’s leader that is believed to have led to the cyberattack,” the New York Times reports.

“Senior administration officials, who would not speak on the record about the intelligence findings, said the White House was debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea of what amounts to a cyberterrorism attack. Sony capitulated after the hackers threatened additional attacks, perhaps on theaters themselves, if the movie, “The Interview,” was released.”

“Officials said it was not clear how the White House would respond. Some within the Obama administration argue that the government of Kim Jong-un must be confronted directly. But that raises questions of what actions the administration could credibly threaten, or how much evidence to make public without revealing details of how it determined North Korea’s culpability, including the possible penetration of the North’s computer networks.”

Nearly $3 Trillion Spent on Two Wars

“The Afghanistan war, the longest overseas conflict in American history, has cost the US taxpayer nearly $1tn and will require spending several hundred billion dollars more after it officially ends this month,” according to Financial Times calculations and independent researchers.

“Around 80 per cent of that spending on the Afghanistan conflict has taken place during the presidency of Barack Obama, who sharply increased the US military presence in the country after taking office in 2009. The enormous bill for the 13-year conflict, which has never been detailed by the government, will add to the pervasive scepticism about the war in the US, where opinion polls show a majority of Americans believe it was a bad idea.”

“With the Iraq war having already cost the US $1.7tn, according to one study, the bill from the Afghanistan conflict is an important factor in the broader reluctance among the American public and the Obama administration to intervene militarily in other parts of the world — including sending troops back to Iraq.”

Splashdown! NASA’s First Step toward Mars Mission

Orion launches successfully from Cape Canaveral (NASA photo)

Orion launches successfully from Cape Canaveral (NASA photo)

NASA took another step closer to returning America to deep space December 5 with the test launch of the Orion spacecraft.  Orion’s Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) launched Friday just after 7 a.m. from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and carried with it the potential to re-ignite America’s engagement in space travel as the rocket lifted off the pad.

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will launch atop the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for Exploration Mission 1 in 2018, sending astronauts to an asteroid and onward to Mars. Boeing is building the core stages and avionics for the SLS, integrating the vehicle with the Orion to eventually carry crew and cargo as far as Mars.

Thousands of onlookers gathered from all over the world to watch the Orion test flight in person, eager to see the first launch in more than 40 years of a vehicle designed for human travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere. It fires the imagination of young and old, offering possibilities that scientists and engineers are working every day to bring to reality.

Orion launched, without crew, on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and splashed down off the California coast hours later. During its 4.5 hour trip, Orion orbited Earth twice and travelled to an altitude of 3,600 miles into space to test the elements that pose the greatest risk to astronauts, providing critical data needed to improve Orion’s design and reduce risks to future mission crews.

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Learn more about the test flight’s ultimate mission, Mars, by visiting and watching the Boeing Innovation Videos at

Top Global Hot Spots to Watch

 Top Global Hot Spots to Watch

The Atlantic: “Foreign policy often involves making difficult and debatable choices about which parts of the world matter more to a given country—and which, by extension, matter less. It’s about defining national interests and determining where those interests are most evident and endangered. This is why the United States has done far more to stop ISIS in Syria and Iraq than, say, sectarian war in the Central African Republic.”

“In short, it’s about priorities. And according to a new survey of U.S. foreign-policy experts and practitioners, those priorities could look a lot like the map above in 2015, at least from America’s point of view. The map sorts potential conflicts around the world into three tiers of risk: red for high-priority threats, orange for moderate-priority threats, and yellow for low-priority threats. According to Paul Stares, the report’s lead author, it’s a color-coded snapshot of “where the balance of U.S. attention and resources should be devoted” in the coming year. As such, it’s also a guide to the places and conflicts that are likely to receive relatively little attention from America’s national-security apparatus in the months ahead.”

CBO: Navy Shipbuilding Plan Underfunded

Defense Industry Daily reports that “The latest review external link by the US Congressional Budget Office concludes like in past years that the US Navy’s shipbuilding plan is underfunded, especially in the out years. “’CBO’s estimate of the cost of new-ship construction in the Navy’s 2015 shipbuilding plan is $66 billion, or 13 percent, higher over the next 30 years than the Navy’s estimate.'”

Study Criticizes U.S. National Security Policy Direction

National Defense Magazine reports that “the United States does not have a credible strategy to combat enemies like Islamic extremist groups and needs to rethink its entire national security decision-making process, a new military-funded study suggests.”

“‘I don’t think we understand completely the fight we are in,’ said Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland, commanding general of U.S. Army Special Operations Command.”

“Despite 13 years of grueling wars, he noted, the national security apparatus has not adapted to changing threats and has not learned to cope with complex challenges.”

“‘We are in a competition where it looks like football to us, but it’s really a game of soccer with elements of rugby and lacrosse,’ he said Dec. 12 during a gathering of think tank experts and military officials hosted by RAND Corp. senior analyst Linda Robinson. She is one of the authors of a new study sponsored by Army Special Operations Command, titled, “Improving Strategic Competence: Lessons from 13 Years of War.”

Building the Capability for a Mars Landing

Human exploration to deep space has long been a dream of Earth’s inhabitants. Finally, we are building the capabilities to make the long journey – and return home safely. It all begins with the rocket that can escape Earth’s atmosphere with enough power left over to carry large elements of those capabilities into deep space to support a long-term human mission. The rocket is NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), and Boeing is right now manufacturing SLS flight hardware in New Orleans at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility.

Boeing has just released a video, “38 Stories of Power,” showcasing the rocket build and NASA’s vision for pioneering the deep space frontier.

In the video, Paisley Matthews, Boeing program integration manager for the Space Launch System, explains how Boeing researchers are designing innovative technologies that will thrust humans and cargo into deep space, building the capability for a manned Mars landing in 2030.

It’s no small challenge.

SLS is the largest vehicle ever planned or that exists today – it will tower 384 feet tall or about 38 stories. The rocket will weigh about 6.5-million pounds, have a payload equivalent to the weight of 22 elephants and produce 9-million pounds of thrust.

The SLS will launch for the first time in 2018 for Exploration Mission 1, with an uncrewed capsule, for a trip around the moon.

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Obama: ‘Turning Point’ for US Military

The Christian Science Monitor reports that “President Barack Obama on Monday saluted troops returning from Afghanistan and declared the United States is moving past the time for large deployments aimed at nation building, marking what he called a “turning point” for the U.S. military.’

‘Obama noted that nearly 180,000 troops were deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan when he took office, and that number will be down to less than 15,000 at the end of the month.”

“‘The time of deploying large ground forces with big military footprints to engage in nation building overseas, that’s coming to an end,’ the commander in chief said in a speech to 3,000 at New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, a launching point for deployments to Afghanistan.”

Congress: Pressure Grows for Spending Bills

Defense News reports that “for congressional Republicans, it’s put up or shut up time.”

“After capturing control of the Senate and expanding their House majority in November’s midterm elections, GOP leaders viewed a massive government-wide spending bill as a way to set their committee chairs up to craft their own appropriations measures next year.”

“’Clear the deck’ became a rally call among Capitol Hill Republicans, eager to revive the practice of passing annual appropriations bills throughout the year. How GOP leaders did it wasn’t pretty late last week — and there are angry members in both parties — but the “cromnibus” spending bill they shoved through the House as part of a larger package was, in part, aimed at doing just that.”

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