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

Report: ‘Top 25 Federal Contractors Hiring Vets’

Marine Corps Times reports that “companies that do business with the federal government employ a big chunk of the U.S. workforce — and if you’re a veteran looking to join their ranks, federal law requires that they give you a leg up.”

“How can you take advantage?”

“The local One-Stop Career Center should be one of your first stops, according to government and private-sector officials.”

“Thousands of these Labor Department offices, also called American Job Centers, are scattered across the country, offering information and job openings posted online at www.careeronestop.org.”

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USAF: New B-52 Engines Needed

Defense News reports that “the head of US Air Force Global Strike Command wants the service to consider installing new engines on its aging B-52 fleet, but budget realities could intervene.”

“’I’ve got people looking at it. I can’t say I’m going to gain any traction on it, but I’ve got people looking at it,’ Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson told reporters last week at an event hosted by the Mitchell Institute.”

“While noting that there is no money planned in the fiscal 2016 budget request for such a program, Wilson said industry representatives have expressed confidence that putting newer engines on the bombers could reduce fuel consumption and sustainment costs.”

U.S. Military Creates Domestic Ebola Quick-Strike Team

Fox News reports that “the Defense Department said Sunday that it is preparing a quick-response medical team to help health-care professionals should the Ebola virus spread in the United States.”

“Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the training of the 30-member team and said the effort was in response to a Department of Health and Human Services request.”

“Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the move is ‘an added, prudent measure to ensure our nation is ready to respond quickly, effectively and safely in the event of additional Ebola cases.'”

Defense Department and Industry Partner to Write History

Taking innovation cues from the non-defense world is one way the defense industry can help the U.S. military maintain global technological supremacy. Finding and keeping the right talent to execute on current programs while setting long-range plans to identify what’s next on the horizon is another.

That’s the perspective Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Chris Chadwick shared in his remarks at the Center for a New American Security on Oct. 14 in Washington. The forum focused on the important partnership between industry and defense to find new and innovative ways to equip the most capable military in the world now and in the future.

Chadwick cited examples, such as the gaming industry, where there’s already heavy investment in R&D as an area where defense companies can leverage technologies to benefit the warfighter. Partnering with non-traditional companies can speed development and make platforms more affordable.

To find these creative solutions for the U.S. military, the defense industry also must attract the best and brightest people. This starts by inspiring young people with the art of the possible and continues with a commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs to foster the talent.

With the right team and a vision for the future, Chadwick said defense companies should also form a strong partnership with government to help the DoD stay ahead of its adversaries. Industry seeks stability and clarity in the requirements while the Defense Department expects companies to deliver on time and on cost. Aligning the defense industry with government achieves these objectives and provides a special opportunity, Chadwick said, to find the way forward, and to write the history together that needs to be written.

Navy Review Raises Sea Dragon Questions

The Virginian-Pilot reports that “a month ago, when the Navy released one of its investigations into a crash that killed three sailors, an official said the service remained ‘absolutely confident’ in the safety of the Sea Dragon, its oldest helicopter.”

“An internal Navy review of the crash suggests otherwise.”

“The confidential safety investigation report, obtained by The Virginian-Pilot, says a full risk analysis is needed to ensure the aging MH-53E Sea Dragon fleet is safe to fly for another decade.”

“The report is also critical of the three-star command responsible for developing, equipping and maintaining all Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, including the Sea Dragon.”

Army Studies Route for Fighting Vehicle Future

National Defense Magazine reports that “the shadow of the cancelled ground combat vehicle hung over the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting and exposition, but the service is already looking at options for a Bradley infantry fighting vehicle replacement that could be developed in the future.”

“’Both because of affordability challenges and because we want to have an opportunity to explore those design concepts, our future fighting vehicle approach at this stage is about building knowledge [and] allowing technology to mature before we commit to a specific future design,’ Brig. Gen. David Bassett, head of the ground combat systems program executive office, said Oct. 14.”

“The Army will decide by fiscal year 2016 whether to move forward with a new clean sheet design for the future fighting vehicle or an upgraded Bradley, he said.”

New Navy Aircraft Goes Operational

Defense News reports that “the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye was declared to be operational, meaning that deployment training for the US Navy’s newest airborne warning and control aircraft can begin in earnest.”

“Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for the Advanced Hawkeye was achieved Oct. 10 when Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 (VAW-125) was certified to have five operational aircraft, five trained air crews and a fully-certified maintenance team.”

“With IOC declared, the VAW-125 Tigertails now will train with Carrier Air Wing 1, scheduled to deploy next year aboard the carrier Theodore Roosevelt.”

Navy Building New EW Strategy, Breaking Defense Reports

With our adversaries making rapid advances in commercial electronics, the Navy is building a plan to retake control of the electromagnetic spectrum, Breaking Defense reports. In the new plan, the EA-18G Growler will become the cornerstone of a network that will also include drones, surface forces and submarines. Click here to read the article.

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(Boeing photo)

Russia: U.S. Practices Military ‘scenarios’ at Country’s Borders

Reuters reports that “Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused the United States on Thursday of working on military “scenarios” near Russia’s borders that he said were a source of grave concern.”

“Interfax news agency quoted Shoigu as expressing surprise at a speech on Wednesday in which U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said U.S. armed forces ‘must deal with a revisionist Russia – with its modern and capable Army – on NATO’s doorstep.'”

“Russia’s relations with the West have reached a post-Cold War low over the conflict in Ukraine, with Moscow denying accusations that it has supplied weapons and troops to back pro-Russian separatists in the east of the former Soviet republic.”

Obama Authorizes National Guard, Reserves Call Up If Needed For Ebola

Reuters reports that “President Barack Obama on Thursday authorized the Pentagon to call up reserve and National Guard troops if they are needed to assist in the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.”

“Obama signed an executive order that allows the government to call up more forces and for longer periods of time than currently authorized. There is no actual call-up at this point.”

“The U.S. has committed to send up to 4,000 military personnel to West Africa to provide logistics and humanitarian assistance and help build treatment units to confront the rapidly spreading and deadly virus.”

Homeland Security Secretary: More Cooperation with Army

Executive Gov reports that “Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has called for closer cooperation between his department and the U.S. Army to counter threats and address public concerns through fact-based dialogue and messaging, DoD News reported Tuesday.”

“Jim Garamone writes Johnson noted the need to align efforts, particularly in counterterrorism, as threats evolve and terrorists utilize technology to recruit fighters and spread their message.”

“’[A] phenomenon we’re seeing among terrorist organizations is a very adept use of social media,’ Johnson told his audience at an Association of the United States Army conference this week.”

Keeping the Army Strong

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Up to two Phantom Badgers can be transported internally in a CH-47. (Boeing photo)

Being strong has new meaning in the 21st Century Army. The men and women of today’s Army need to be outfitted with the latest technology. They also need to be supported on the ground and from the air by equipment and capabilities to carry out the mission and return home safely.

It’s a tall order to equip and protect the more than 675,000 soldiers that make up today’s Army. That’s why the service looks to industry partners like Boeing to stay abreast of innovation and jointly support new solutions. Boeing will highlight examples of these solutions including new cybersecurity initiatives, attack program advancements, and the Sikorsky-Boeing team’s progress on the Joint Multi-role technology demonstrator at this year’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition meeting held Oct. 13 to 15 in Washington D.C.

The show features a wide range of Boeing products and services including the CH-47 Chinook and AH-64 Apache helicopters, Phantom Badger, ScanEagle unmanned airborne system, and weapons and directed energy systems. Other highlights include cybersecurity applications to improve situational awareness and protect information systems. Also the innovative Phantom Badger combat support vehicle will be displayed for the first time with its mortar module and ammunition trailer.

AUSA provides a forum for more than 500 Army and industry exhibitors to gather and discuss how to jointly shape the future Army with the best systems and tools to defend the nation. Boeing strives for continued excellence in meeting these warfighter needs, both now and in the future.

Watching the Weather: The Airmen of NOAA

Armed with Science, a U.S. Defense Dept. blog, reports that “tucked away in the cavernous NOAA Satellite Operations Facility, four airmen work together to oversee the operation of America’s weather satellite constellation. Capt Tyson Johnson talks about his day to day duties and the critical information he and his team (which includes some 40 NOAA engineers) provide for our nation’s military and civilian population.”

Hagel: U.S. Army Readiness Improved, but More Needed

Reuters reports that “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday the U.S. Army has improved its combat readiness this year but is still short of what is needed to defend the nation with minimum risk after being hit with deep across-the-board budget cuts last year.”

“Hagel said a congressional budget deal late last year had helped to stabilize defense spending and enabled the Army to devote more resources to maintenance and training. But he warned that the gains could be reversed unless lawmakers act to avert a return to the deep spending cuts in October of next year.”

“‘Our soldiers deserve … a stable and predictable budget that gives them and their families the training and support they need,’ Hagel said in a speech at an Army convention.”

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