Aviation Week: “A large, classified unmanned aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman is now flying—and it demonstrates a major advance in combining stealth and aerodynamic efficiency. Defense and intelligence officials say the secret unmanned aerial system (UAS), designed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, is scheduled to enter production for the U.S. Air Force and could be operational by 2015.”
“Neither the Air Force nor Northrop Grumman would speak about the classified airplane… If the previous patterns for secret ISR aircraft operations are followed, the new UAV will be jointly controlled by the Air Force and the CIA, with the program managed by the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office and flight operations sustained by the Air Force.”
“The Pentagon is preparing for a mission to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile on board a U.S. ship, using a system that has not yet been tested at sea,” Fox News reports.
“The operation would be part of an agreement struck in September by Syria, the U.S. and Russia to eliminate Syria’s deadly chemical weapons stockpile by mid-2014. The U.S. is still waiting on the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the international group leading the destruction efforts, to formally approve the U.S. mission.”
“U.S. defense officials who briefed reporters at the Pentagon Thursday morning say the Motor Vessel Cape Ray, a ship owned by the Department of Transportation, is currently being outfitted in Norfolk, Va., with a Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, designed to dilute the chemical weapons stockpile.”
“The Pentagon faces budget cuts of $487 billion over the next 10 years — and the threat of $500 billion more under sequestration. But paring down the budget by killing weapons programs is no easy task on Capitol Hill, where politicians, backed by the defense industry lobby, fight to protect jobs in their home districts,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“For instance, Congress has spent about $400 million in the last two years to churn out improved versions of the M1 Abrams tank that the Army doesn’t want. The Navy cruiser Anzio out of Norfolk, Va., was supposed to be retired this year but lawmakers kept it afloat. Just last month, 33 lawmakers wrote Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to express ‘deep concern’ about the Air Force’s consideration of cutting the A-10 attack jet fleet.”
The U.S. Navy last week announced that the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft had achieved initial operational capability (IOC) and the first two planes departed for deployment. That means the P-8A is ready to conduct operational missions, tasked with tracking and targeting enemy submarines and ships.
And this week, on December 4, the 13th production P-8A arrived at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. The aircraft is the eighth Poseidon Boeing has delivered to the Navy in 2013 – all on or ahead of schedule. It also is the last Lot 2 delivery.
Overall, the Navy plans to acquire 117 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet. Currently, Boeing is building 37 aircraft as part of four low-rate initial production contracts. The first P-8A production aircraft arrived at NAS “Jax” in March 2012.
Based on its Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airliner, the P-8A is a breakthrough both in capability and production methods. Boeing is building this “military derivative” with an in-line process that’s an industry first. The result is that the Navy is receiving the maritime patrol aircraft it needs, on cost and on schedule.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “just announced plans to trim his staff by about 200 positions over the next five years. But inside the secretary’s top policy shop, a closer look at the planned cuts show where Hagel’s priorities lie after more than a decade of war,” Defense One reports.
“In the office of Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller, Hagel is making sure to protect several key areas, namely homeland defense, cyber threats and the pivot to the Asia-Pacific region. Miller, who spoke to a small group of reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday, said despite the budget crunch, key policy areas were protected, including outer space threats and countering weapons of mass destruction. The Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs units will actually be beefed up in the restructuring.”
Said Miller: “The reality is that the world has changed since 2009 when the current structure was put in place.”
The Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s futurist think tank, will no longer report directly to the secretary of Defense, according to a new organization plan introduced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, USA Today reports.
“The office, directed since 1973 by 92-year-old director Andrew Marshall, will now report to Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller… ONA’s future had been in doubt earlier this year, as budget pressures led some inside the Pentagon to consider eliminating it. But the office has plenty of defenders in Congress and in Washington. A wide network of ONA alumni populate defense-oriented think tanks throughout Washington.”
In August, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued the order that same-sex spouses of military personnel be given full spousal benefits. State compliance, however, has been inconsistent.
The New York Times reports that “as of mid-November, National Guard units in eight states —Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and West Virginia — were refusing to process applications for benefits at Guard facilities.”
Although the situation has improved, “Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia [are] in outright rebellion. But that’s still three defiant states too many.
“If the resistance persists much longer, [Secretary Hagel] will need to respond with concrete actions, including transferring federal funding, equipment and work assignments to National Guard bases in states more respectful of civil rights.”
After 38 expeditions, more than 250 visitors, countless orbits and immeasurable benefits to humankind, the International Space Station is marking its 15th year of service as a one-of-its-kind destination for science, research, collaboration and exploration. As prime contractor for building and sustaining the ISS, Boeing celebrates the ISS as a model for international cooperation and engineering fortitude. President Ronald Reagan outlined the vision of the International Space Station in 1984 and the ISS became an orbiting reality in 1998 with the launch of the first module, the Zarya. ISS now spans the length of a football field and makes regular appearances during chats with schoolchildren, YouTube videos, and even cinema. The scientific benefits of the ISS as a national lab are improving lives on earth, through achievements in treating salmonella, Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy and osteoporosis. Ensuring generations to come benefit from the ISS is critically important to the inspiration and realization that is space exploration – visit Beyond Earth for more information.
A new National Security Insiders poll finds a strong majority “thought the recent agreement between world powers and Iran—to limit its nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief—is a ‘good deal,’ despite scathing criticism by Iran hawks and Israel.”
“However, several Insiders were quick to point out their support is on the condition the deal serves as a temporary placeholder while a better one is crafted.”
Wall Street Journal: “Until recently, Afghans and U.S. officials alike assumed that, despite Mr. Karzai’s posturing, an agreement would eventually be reached. But now, they are beginning to confront the real possibility that American support may completely vanish in the coming months—potentially precipitating the collapse of a state that has few other sources of sustenance.”
“Few politicians in Kabul voiced support for the president’s stance. Even one of his brothers, Mahmood Karzai, has sounded an alarm… The loudest praise for Mr. Karzai came from the Taliban insurgents.”
The Washington Post reports that “Vice President Biden on Tuesday said the United States is ‘deeply concerned’ by China’s move last week to establish an air defense zone over a disputed chain of islands in the East China Sea, but he stopped short of demanding that Beijing withdraw its declaration.”
“Biden blamed China’s action for raising regional tensions with a pair of U.S. allies, Japan and South Korea, which the vice president warned would ‘increase the risk of accidents and miscalculation.’”
Scheduled to open in 2017, the National Museum of the U. S. Army, located at Ft. Belvoir, Va., and will honor fourteen generations of American soldiers whose leadership, character and sacrifice has forged our nation. Since 2010 Boeing has partnered with the Army Historical Society to support the creation of the National Museum of the U.S. Army.
This year in support of that endeavor Boeing partnered with the Army Historical Society to create and online Soldiers’ Stories Video Gallery to build awareness of the museum project and to compliment Boeing’s sponsorship of the Soldiers’ Stories Gallery at the museum.
The Boeing sponsored Soldiers’ Stories gallery will tell the stories of ordinary soldiers that have served our country. In the same way, each Soldiers’ Stories video tells the personal experience of the soldier and also demonstrates one or more of the seven Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.
Click here to watch the story of Sergeant First Class Joe Bowser, a veteran who served in Balad, Iraq as he tells his story of personal courage and shares with us his current work with Wounded Warriors.
You can view the other nine Soldiers’ Stories videos here.
Defense News reports that “in an unprecedented move, US President Barack Obama has appointed Christine Fox, the Pentagon’s former chief program and budget analyst, to serve as acting deputy defense secretary while the search continues for a candidate to fill the position on a full-time basis, defense sources said.”
“When she replaces Ash Carter, who steps down Wednesday after two years on the job, she will become the senior-most woman to hold a DoD post. After leaving the Pentagon in June she became a senior adviser to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, but remained an unpaid consultant to Carter, allowing her to keep current on DoD issues.”
“Since the Senate confirmation process typically takes months, it is highly unlikely a replacement would be in place before the end of the year. Bringing back Fox allows other DoD senior officials to remain in their roles at a pivotal time as the Pentagon develops its FY ’15 budget and as even steeper defense spending cuts loom and launches the latest Quadrennial Defense Review — in which she will play an integral role.”
Stars and Stripes reports that “two of the Navy’s new P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft have arrived at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Navy officials in Japan said Monday.”
“The P-8’s long-planned arrival in the western Pacific comes about a week after China unilaterally declared a broad swath of the East China Sea’s air space as its national air defense identification zone and demanded that military aircraft identify themselves and file flight plans with the Chinese government.”
“The United States, Japan and other Asian nations have stated that their military aircraft will not recognize the zone, which includes airspace over the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands.”