Roll Call: The News Source of Capitol Hill Since 1955
October 26, 2014

Interview: Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, Commander, US Army’s I Corps

Defense News interviews Lt. Gen. Stephen Lanza, who “assumed command of the US Army’s I Corps at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in February. I Corps, the only regionally aligned unit of the Army’s three corps, supports the Pacific region. The command conducts military-to-military engagements, capacity-building exercises and security force assistance operations across the Asia-Pacific region. It comprises the 7th Infantry Division and 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command at Lewis-McChord, the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, I Corps (Forward) at Camp Zama, Japan, and the US Army-Alaska brigade combat teams at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright.”

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Congress Rips VA Again

Stars and Stripes reports that “the VA and its inspector general were hit with new criticism from Congress this week over the handling of records manipulation in the Phoenix veterans’ hospital system.”

“Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake on Thursday said newly appointed VA Secretary Bob McDonald is failing to terminate misbehaving executives such as disgraced Phoenix director Sharon Helman, despite a new law that fast-tracks firings.”

“Meanwhile, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., on Wednesday questioned the VA inspector general’s integrity and independence after a 2008 memorandum was made public showing the IG knew about VA records manipulation in Phoenix years before it blew up into a national scandal.”

Panel Calls for Discussion on U.S. Military Plans

Medill News Service reports that “a prestigious defense review panel has warned that the U.S. government must “sound an alarm” to build public support among the American people for increased defense spending.”

“’We saw a train wreck coming when we looked at the growth of the threats around the world,’ said panel member Eric Edelman, a former ambassador to Turkey and Finland and a former undersecretary of defense for policy.”

“’There’s this huge disconnect between where we see the world going with the U.S. military and what our policy is,’ said panelist Michele Flournoy, another former undersecretary of defense for policy.”

New Poseidon Arrives at NAS Jacksonville; 5th P-8A Delivery of Year

Boeing delivered the 18th P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft on Oct. 15 to the US Navy ahead of schedule, further expanding its fleet. The P-8A joined previously delivered aircraft being used to train Navy crews at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., in preparation for the next deployment.

The 18th Navy P-8A departs from Seattle for NAS Jacksonville. (Boeing photo)

The 18th Navy P-8A departs from Seattle for NAS Jacksonville. (Boeing photo)

The second operational squadron — the VP-5 ‘Mad Foxes’ — is currently conducting missions operating out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Prior to VP-5’s arrival in Japan, the VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ were deployed for seven months before returning to the U.S. in July 2014. While deployed they completed 600 sorties and 3,500 flight hours.

The P-8 is the first new maritime patrol aircraft to enter Navy service in more than 50 years. While on deployment Navy crews are flying anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; maritime domain awareness; search and rescue; carrier strike group coordination; and theater security cooperation missions throughout the Western Pacific.

The P-8A is a revolutionary, low-cost solution and key component of the naval aviation mission offering greater payload capacity, higher operating altitude and easily upgradeable systems. Boeing is using a first-in-industry in-line production process to build P-8A aircraft to military specifications, while leveraging the same processes and tooling that produces 737 commercial aircraft. The result is that the Navy is receiving the maritime patrol aircraft it needs, on cost and on schedule.

Overall, the Navy plans to acquire 117 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet. Currently, Boeing is on contract to build 53 aircraft. The first P-8A production plane arrived at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., in March 2012.

U.S., South Korea Quit Longstanding Plan for Shifting Wartime Military Control

The Washington Post reports that “U.S. and South Korean officials agreed Thursday to set aside a long-delayed timeline for giving Seoul control of both nations’ military forces in South Korea during wartime, a signal of continued anxiety about the threat North Korea poses to its southern neighbor.”

“Military leaders from both countries agreed instead to adopt a conditions-based approach to determining when the United States will relinquish responsibility for commanding South Korean and U.S. forces on the peninsula in the event of a military conflict. That duty has fallen to the United States for the past 60 years.”

“A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the change publicly, said the arrangement replaces an earlier transfer plan that, after several delays, had been slated to take effect in 2015.”

Poll: Doubts Around U.S. Effectiveness with ISIS

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reports that “the public continues to support the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria. But most Americans say the U.S. military effort against ISIS is not going well, and just 30% think the U.S. and its allies have a “clear goal” in taking military action.”

“Just a Third of the Public Says U.S. Campaign Against ISIS Is Going WellThe new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Oct. 15-20 among 2,003 adults, finds that 57% approve of the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, while just 33% disapprove. Support is highest among Republicans (68%); majorities of Democrats (54%) and independents (55%) also approve.”

“Yet negative evaluations of how well the U.S. military campaign against ISIS is going also cross party lines: 64% of Republicans, 61% of independents and 52% of Democrats say the military campaign is going not too well or not at all well.”

Wastebook: Pentagon Programs Named in Senator’s List of Government Waste

Stars and Stripes reports: “Exploding military sleep apnea claims, Afghanistan buildings that keep burning down and the Navy’s Currents magazine have all made one of Congress’ most notorious lists of wasteful government spending.”

“Sen. Tom Coburn’s annual Wastebook, released Wednesday, listed those defense costs and others among 100 initiatives worth $25 billion that he says were conducted by a Department of Defense and federal government with too little oversight and a Congress that often serves ‘purely parochial, political’ goals.”

“’Only someone with too much of someone else’s money and not enough accountability for how it was being spent could come up some of these projects,’ Coburn, R-Okla., said in a released statement.”

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.

Event Today: Crisis in US-Russia Relations

The Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is hosting a discussion on “Crisis in US-Russia Relations: The View from Moscow” today at 6 pm ET.

The program is described: “At a time when communication between Russia and the United States is at its worst since the Cold War and official visits between countries are rare, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is bringing together many of the architects of the US-Russia relationship to discuss Lenin’s famous question, ‘What is to be done?'”

A live stream will be available here.

Is Leon Panetta in Trouble?

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s publisher “has to be loving the amount of press Panetta is getting for Worthy Fights, even if not all of it is positive. Weeks after it first came out, it’s still making front-page news. And the splashy book party isn’t even until next week,” Defense One reports.

“As we learn today, there was an issue as to whether Panetta got all the security clearances from CIA to go ahead with publication before the book was printed. Such security clearances have haunted other writers who have left Pentagon jobs—Stan McChrystal’s book, for example, learned first-hand of the onerous process by which his work had to be reviewed and cleared before it could be published. Panetta learned that, too.”

Report: Top 10 ‘Disruptive Technologies’ in Next Military Era

National Defense Magazine reports: “there is growing concern in the Pentagon that the U.S. military is in a technology rut. Even though American technology has been the gold standard for decades, countries like China intend to challenge that lead.”

“How the nation’s military will keep that edge in a rapidly changing and dangerous world is the proverbial 64-million-dollar question. The national security challenges are multiplying: From the crisis in Ukraine, unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East, uncertainty in Pakistan, the drawdown in Afghanistan, unnerving tensions in the South China Sea.”

“The U.S. military continues to rely on many technologies that, although still dominant, are several decades old. After 13 years of grinding warfare and large-scale counterinsurgency operations, ‘We’re seeing first-hand that the rest of the world has not stood still,’ said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.”

The piece continues: “Against this backdrop, the writers and editors at National Defense Magazine identified key technologies that will give military forces a decisive edge in future wars and stay ahead of the game in an uncertain and volatile world.”

Working Capital Review: How to create growth through disruption.

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.


(Boeing photo)

Pentagon Increases U.S. Presence in Europe

Navy Times reports that “as the nation’s eyes are on the Ebola outbreak and the fight with Islamic State militants, the situation in Europe is getting decidedly colder — think Cold War.”

“In mid-October, two U.S. Navy ships steamed into the Black Sea; hundreds of U.S. Army troops began training with NATO allies in Eastern Europe; and the Navy stood up its first shore-based missile defense site, in the former Soviet bloc state of Romania.”

Campaign Contributions Go to Both Parties from Defense Firms

Defense News reports that “for every campaign contribution from a major arms manufacturer to a Republican candidate or group, one of comparable size to a Democrat is not far behind.”

“Defense-sector insiders have said for months that they would prefer Republicans to control the House, which they have for several years, and the Senate, which most prominent analysts say likely will happen after the Nov. 4 midterm elections.”

“Their thinking is that GOP leaders would move annual Pentagon policy and spending bills much earlier than has Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in recent years. Congress might actually send the president full-year defense appropriations bills under full GOP control, something Pentagon and industry officials want.”

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