Roll Call: The News Source of Capitol Hill Since 1955
April 17, 2014

Spending Caps May Force $66 Billion Defense Cut

“The Pentagon’s planned five-year spending plan for procurement and research-and-development projects, set forth in its 2015 budget proposal, would be cut by $66 billion if US federal spending caps remain in place,” Defense News reports.

“The cuts would impact dozens of Pentagon programs, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 joint strike fighter, Boeing KC-46 tanker and Airbus Light Utility Helicopter.”

“The Pentagon’s five-year spending plan submitted with its 2015 budget proposal is $115 billion above defense spending caps. If the caps remain in place, the Army would not sign another multiyear procurement deal with Sikorsky for new Black Hawk helicopters and a fourth brigade of General Dynamics Stryker double-hull vehicles would also be canceled.”

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Pentagon Seeks Funds to Counter Biological Weapons

“The Pentagon wants to spend more money on a secret program to track weapons of mass destruction because of new information showing an increased need to locate chemical and biological weapons,” USA Today reports.

“The increased funding for the Nimble Elder program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) is ‘driven by recent classified DoD guidance,’ according to DTRA’s budget plans, which were released in March.”

“Nimble Elder, Pentagon documents show, involves WMD-tracking teams that work with combatant commands around the world to either deploy rapidly to crisis spots around the world or are already based in those areas. They collaborate with technical support groups to ‘provide the (combatant commands) and other U.S. government agencies with the capability to counter WMD threats.’”

Using Drones as WiFi Hotspots

“A small collection of aging surveillance drones are about to have something in common with a typical Starbucks: the ability to provide high-speed Wi-Fi access,” Defense One reports.

“The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is a step closer to perfecting the repurposing of aging surveillance drones into high-bandwidth mobile hotspots designed to ensure warfighters have aerial Wi-Fi access in the most remote places on Earth.”

“As one might expect, the technology behind DARPA’s effort through its Mobile Hotspots program is a little more complex than the coffee shop’s.”

Our Everyday Heroes

On a snowy National Medal of Honor Day at Arlington National Cemetery, three everyday American citizens received a prestigious civilian community service award from those who have received the nation’s top military honor, the recipients of the Medal of Honor. Recognized for their selfless service, Michael Landsberry, Connor Stotts and Troy Yocum were honored by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation with the Citizen Honors Award.242493 Medal of Honor_073

Michael Landsberry, a mathematics teacher at a Nevada middle school, made the split-second decision to protect the lives of his students, sacrificing his life in the process. Connor Stotts, an Eagle Scout, rescued three friends who were in danger of drowning. In 2009, Troy Yocum walked 7,880 miles across America in a “Hike for Heroes,” raising $1.3 million to support over 1,800 military families. Two years later, he founded Active Heroes, a charity that supports military families and wounded veterans.

“That’s what heroes do,” said Roger Krone, president of Boeing Network and Space Systems and the Citizen Honors keynote speaker. “They inspire us to reach beyond what we thought we were capable of and provide an example to emulate.”

The Citizen Honors Award is presented to people who, when confronted with extraordinary circumstances, make a decision to act. The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation performs a national search to identify 20 finalists for the award. From among those finalists, a panel of Medal of Honor recipients selects the three individuals to receive the award.

Boeing has been a supporter of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation since its inception in 1999. The company has made a $3 million dollar multi-year commitment to support the Foundation’s Citizen Honors program and education outreach, including expanding the reach of the Medal of Honor Character Development Program.

“They chose to put the interests of others before their own…that is why these awards are so important. They serve to inspire us to be better people,” Krone said.

242493 Medal of Honor_187

 

U.S. Army Changes Gear Strategy

Military Times reports that “the Army is putting the finishing touches on a bold new strategy for how it pre-positions stocks of critical equipment around the globe, how it uses those stocks to speed deployments — and who pays for it.”

“Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno ordered the revised strategy last year as part of his vision to make the service more capable of deploying quickly to meet threats, and assist in humanitarian and disaster relief missions.”

“And a key element of the plan is to pass off some of the cost of using and resetting the equipment to the combatant commanders.”

The piece continues: “The idea is to break up the massive stocks of vehicles, weapons, and ammunition the Army has traditionally warehoused across the Middle East, Europe and aboard ships into smaller, theater-specific “activity sets” that troops can simply fall in on. This way, units can fly in with only their personal gear and make use of the heavy equipment already in place, then leave the equipment behind once the event is over.”

Video: One Soldier’s Return

Stars and Stripes shows the emotional return of one U.S. soldier: “Seven months after leaving his family for deployment to Afghanistan, Pfc. Jeremy Monteleone embraced them again, pulling his daughter into his arms and cradling, for the first time, his 7-month-old son.”

Study: Global Military Spending Drops, but Not in Emerging Countries

The Times of India reports that “world military expenditure fell in 2013 as the United States and other Western countries cut back, but spending in emerging economies grew, a Swedish think tank said on Monday.”

“The 1.9 per cent global decline followed a 0.4 per cent drop in 2012, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said.”

“‘The increase in military spending in emerging and developing countries continues unabated,’ said Sam Perlo-Freeman, director of SIPRI’s Military Expenditure Programme.”

“‘While in some cases it is the natural result of economic growth or a response to genuine security needs, in other cases it represents a squandering of natural resource revenues, the dominance of autocratic regimes, or emerging regional arms races.’”

“The world spent $1.75 trillion (1.26 trillion euro) on the military in 2013, according to SIPRI’s data, which accounted for inflation.”

5th Boeing GPS IIF Spacecraft Sends Initial Signals from Space

When most people think of GPS, they think of the navigation systems in their car, or the map application on their cell phones. Many people don’t realize that GPS was originally designed to provide satellite communications capability for the military. Today, the Air Force continues to operate the constellation of 31 satellites for millions of civilian and military end-users around the globe.

As part of ongoing efforts to enhance this technology, a Boeing GPS IIF satellite was launched into space on Feb 20, 2014, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket.  This satellite joins four Boeing-built GPS IIF satellites already in service that are providing greater navigational accuracy, a more resilient signal, and a longer design life.

Boeing has played an integral role in the program since the first GPS satellite was launched in 1978. The sixth GPS IIF is already at its Florida launch site, undergoing preparations to enter service in the next few months. And with six more satellites ready to be deployed at the Air Force’s request, the Boeing GPS IIF will form the core of the system for many years to come.

For more information about the latest GPS IIF satellite launch, and about the program, click here.

Inside FBI’s ‘Secret Relationship’ with Military Special Ops

The Washington Post provides a lengthy report on the “FBI’s secret relationship with the military’s special operations.” It reports that “the FBI’s transformation from a crime-fighting agency to a counterterrorism organization in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been well documented. Less widely known has been the bureau’s role in secret operations against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other locations around the world.”

“With the war in Afghanistan ending, FBI officials have become more willing to discuss a little-known alliance between the bureau and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) that allowed agents to participate in hundreds of raids in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

“The relationship benefited both sides. JSOC used the FBI’s expertise in exploiting digital media and other materials to locate insurgents and detect plots, including any against the United States. The bureau’s agents, in turn, could preserve evidence and maintain a chain of custody should any suspect be transferred to the United States for trial.”

Flight Over Kabul in U.S. Army Black Hawk

Two Fayetteville Observer reporters “take a tour of Afghanistan’s capital in a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter on Friday, April 11, 2014.”

U.S., Romania Conduct Joint Military Games

The Associated Press reports that “some 450 U.S. and Romanian troops and technical staff kicked off joint military exercises in northwestern Romania on Thursday, flying U.S. F-16 fighter jets alongside Romanian ones.”

“Four F-16s and one Romanian MiG-21 LanceR took off from Romania’s Campia Tarzii military base as the Dacian Viper 2014 exercises began. The weeklong exercise at the base 300 kilometers (190 miles) northwest of Bucharest — the fourth of its kind between the two nations— was planned before Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month.”

“Wing Commander Marian Petrus, commander of 71 Air Base, said Romanian pilots will be trained to fly F-16s.”

Advanced IRST Sensor Will Make Super Hornet Even More Lethal

Future threats are predicted to be even more evasive and lethal than they are today – stealthier, smarter and less predictable.  In a battle environment where radar isn’t an option, Super Hornet operators soon will be able to rely on an upgraded infrared search and track (IRST) senor system to help find threats at great distances, and determine the best weapons to eliminate them.

This advanced IRST sensor had its first successful flight on a Super Hornet last week, demonstrating that the aircraft has the growth capacity needed to evolve and accommodate new capabilities required by the U.S. Navy. IRST is currently planned to deploy by 2017.

“Adding an advanced infrared sensor to the Super Hornet broadens the Navy’s warfighting ability,” Navy F/A-18 Program Manager Capt. Frank Morley said. “Combined with the Super Hornet’s advanced radar and the Growler’s electronic attack radar jamming ability, IRST will allow the fleet to dominate the skies in all threat environments.”

Lockheed Martin provides the sensor, and Boeing integrates it onto the Super Hornet.

You can read more about this important capability here.

IRST Pod

What’s U.S. Army’s Proper Size?

NPR addresses the question of what size is right for the U.S. Army: “With the U.S. military out of Iraq and winding down in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army, which peaked with a force of around 570,000 a few years ago, was supposed to drop to around 490,000 troops.”

“But U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that’s still too big.”

“‘An Army of this size is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy,’ Hagel told a news conference in February.”

 

“Translation? Hagel isn’t planning on occupying any countries. So he wants to cut the Army to about 450,000.”

“But that’s a number that some generals say places the country at greater risk.”

U.S. Military Tests Google Glass

NBC News reports that “BATMAN is working for the U.S. Air Force and could make Google Glass a regular wartime accessory.”

“No, Bruce Wayne has not enlisted. BATMAN stands for Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided (K)nowledge, a research program based at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Its overarching goal is to make U.S. soldiers a little more like superheroes.”

“’It was commissioned to build advanced wearable technologies in a wearable ensemble, so in essence, we are building a Batman suit to improve effectiveness in the battlefield,’ Gregory Burnett, chief engineer for BATMAN, told NBC News.”

“His 13-man team is focusing on Google Glass. They purchased two pairs of the wearable computer through the Glass Explorer program, just like a civilian would, and have been researching the potential and pitfalls of the technology since last May.”

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