Stars and Stripes reports that “an effort to help S.C. National Guard members find jobs will be expanded to serve all military members, Gov. Nikki Haley announced last week.”
“Advisers for Operation Palmetto Employment will be stationed at the 12 S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce offices around the state, including the Beaufort County location on Castle Rock Road, to assist military members searching for jobs.”
“The program started in October 2011 and was expanded with a $750,000 Department of Defense grant, Haley said Feb. 24 during a luncheon in Columbia.”
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it would be a “serious mistake” to cut the defense budget in the midst of an international standoff with Russia, The Hill reports.
Said Gates: “I think that cutting the defense budget in significant ways right now is a serious mistake. When we’ve cut the budget before at the end of the Cold War, at the end of Vietnam and other times, it’s been because we thought the world was going to be safer place.”
He added: “No one can make that case right now. You look at the situation in Ukraine and our relationship with Russia, you look at the tensions between China and Japan in the South China Sea, you look at Iran and North Korea. These guys are operating on the 20th century model of nation states, boundaries matter, strategic interests matter.”
“A Pentagon program that analyzes the body movements of world leaders to predict their actions is scheduled to issue a report on an unnamed leader in the fall,” USA Today reports.
Researchers for the Body Leads project “have studied the movements of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rear Adm. John Kirby, spokesman for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, said Friday the project conducted studies of Putin in 2008 and 2012 but is not studying him now.”
“Since 1996, the researchers have examined 15 world leaders, Kirby said, including Putin, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. No Americans have been studied.”
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.
President Obama “is not the first American president to be confronted by provocations and military actions from Moscow. All 12 presidents since World War II have faced such challenges. But Obama is one of the first to have a broad range of potentially biting nonmilitary responses to employ—a measure of how much Russia has been integrated into the world’s financial system since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War,” Defense One reports.
“It is why American policymakers are so convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has miscalculated by dispatching troops to Crimea. And why you hear over and over again from the White House and State Department that Putin does not seem to understand the interconnectedness of the 21st-century world.”
CNN reports that “in the world of military strategy, every contingency must be examined, especially the worst-case scenario.”
“Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made that clear when he told National Public Radio in an interview broadcast Friday how U.S. officials must plan for the possibility that Vladimir Putin’s Russia has access to American battle plans and other secrets possibly taken by classified leaker Edward Snowden.”
“‘If I’m concerned about anything, I’m concerned about defense capabilities that he may have stolen from where he worked, and does that knowledge then get into the hands of our adversaries — in this case, of course, Russia,’ Flynn said of the former National Security Agency contractor who fled to Moscow to seek asylum.”
“A diplomatic crisis between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar could pose problems for US foreign policy in the Arabian Gulf,” Defense News reports.
“On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar for the first time since the formation of the 33-year-old Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in what was described as Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the gulf state’s involvement in regional conflicts.”
“The trio said in a joint communique that Qatar has failed to implement a GCC security agreement adopted in November to refrain from involvement in other nations’ politics and supporting organizations that threaten the gulf’s stability.”
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.
USA Today: “Cut the Army to 450,000 soldiers and it might not be able to sustain a war with high casualties in its opening days. That smaller Army might also be led by poorly qualified field commanders.”
“Until Wednesday, the Army and the Pentagon have been vague about the effects of dropping from its preferred level of 490,000 soldiers to the 440,000 to 450,000 forecast in President Obama’s budget. It has about 520,000 soldiers now.”
Janine Davidson: “I am sympathetic to the critics’ arguments that we cannot wish away the need for robust and ready ground forces. But considering the numbers in historical and strategic perspective, and assuming the Army is not forced to cut more soldiers due to sequestration (a big gamble), this round of cuts does not seem quite as dramatic.”
Stars and Stripes reports that “a Senate measure to strip military commanders of authority over prosecutions of sexual assaults and other serious crimes failed Thursday in a procedural vote.”
“The bill known as the Military Justice Improvement Act needed 60 votes under Senate rules in order to end debate and move to a final vote, but received 55. Even if the bill had passed, however, a similar measure is considered highly unlikely to pass the House of Representatives.”
“It was championed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who said placing prosecution authority with independent military prosecutors, rather than with the chain of command, would encourage reporting by victims now intimidated to do so because of retaliation from superiors.”
Military Times posts an exclusive: “After years of silence on the intensely controversial issue of military retirement reform, the Pentagon on Thursday unveiled a detailed proposal for fundamental, far-reaching changes to the current pension system, Military Times has learned.”
“The changes would preserve the current system’s defining feature of a 20-year, “cliff-vesting,” fixed-income pension. But it would ultimately provide smaller monthly checks, according to documents obtained by Military Times.”
“To compensate for that, the new proposal would offer three new cash payments to be provided long before old age — a 401(k)-style defined contribution benefit awarded to all troops who serve at least six years; a cash retention bonus at around 12 years of service; and a potentially large lump-sum “transition pay” provided upon retirement to those who serve 20 years or more.”
“In the broad view, the new plan would lower the total economic value of the military retirement package. But maybe not by that much. Details vary, but several options show a roughly 10 percent reduction in cumulative lifetime payments.”
After revolutionizing the way U.S. Marines and Air Force Special Operations perform their mission-sets, the V-22 Osprey program now has its sights set on redefining what it means to be a multi-mission and multirole aircraft in the 21st Century. The Bell Boeing team announced in early September successful initial testing of a V-22 in the role of aerial tanker, as an Osprey equipped with a roll-on, roll-off prototype aerial refueling system demonstrated flight and maneuvering coordinated with an F/A-18C and an F/A-18/D Hornet trailing the Osprey.
The demonstration is a valuable step in moving the V-22 into the aerial refueling role, and highlighted safe deployment, retraction, and stable positioning of the refueling drogue trailing the V-22, as well as a Hornet fighter aircraft flying in positions adjacent to the deployed drogue. A second series of flights tested the hose and drogue system in the low-speed role to simulate speeds used in refueling other capable rotorcraft. Future testing of the system will include aircraft in a fuel-receiving position directly behind the V-22, connection with the refueling drogue and ultimately in-flight refueling.
The V-22 is key contender for the coming Navy Carrier Onboard Delivery competition, and the aerial refueling demonstration marks a major milestone in developing capabilities that bolster the Osprey’s position in that contest. With the tiltrotor’s speed, range and runway independence, future carrier groups could task a V-22 to deliver supplies to the afloat task force or ashore, roll on the refueling kit and refuel everything from fighter aircraft to vehicles on the ground, then task that aircraft for a MEDEVAC or special operations insertion – all within a single day.
Defense News reports that “for months, top Air Force officials have been preparing Washington for a budget that cuts back on force structure in favor of modernization. During Tuesday’s budget reveal, they made good on their promise.”
“For FY 2015, Air Force procurement accounts would have a proposed fund of $18.5 billion, alongside $15.9 billion for research and development. Roughly 62 percent of the procurement fund would go towards aircraft.”
“Overall, the service’s budget request was $109.3 billion.”
Marine Corps Times reports that “William Kyle Carpenter, a Marine Corps veteran who was severely wounded during a November 2010 grenade attack in Afghanistan, will receive the nation’s highest combat valor award later this year, Marine Corps Times has learned.”
“Carpenter, a 24-year-old medically retired corporal, will become the service’s third Medal of Honor recipient from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which date back to October 2001. The Marine Corps is finalizing plans with the White House for a ceremony in Washington, officials said.”