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  1. #21

    US defense secretary orders immediate review of F-35 and Air Force One

    27 January, 2017 SOURCE: Flightglobal.com BY: Leigh Giangreco Washington DC

    No surprise here, and I expect Mattis to not take too long to come up with some conclusions.....................it should stop a lot of the dross that has been both spouted and written being portrayed as the "truth"...............

    The US defense secretary has ordered an immediate review of the Air Force One recapitalisation and Lockheed Martin F-35 programmes, following president Donald Trump’s earlier threats to lower the costs of both platforms.

    In a 26 January memo, Defense Secretary James Mattis ordered the deputy secretary of defense to examine ways to reduce the cost of the both the F-35 and Air Force One replacement programmes. Lockheed’s stocks dropped sharply following Mattis’ announcement.

    Under the presidential aircraft recapitalisation review, the White House Military Office and deputy secretary will identify specific areas where costs could be cut. This could include autonomous operations, aircraft power generation,cooling, survivability and communications capabilities, the memo states.

    Although Trump has criticised the entire F-35 programme, the review will take only the C variant into consideration, which accounts for the smallest share of Lockheed’s programme of record. The Super Hornet needs a catapult to launch from a carrier and would not be able to replace the short-takeoff and vertical landing B variant.

    “In parallel, the deputy secretary of defense will oversee a review that compares F-35C and F/A-18E/F operational capabilities and assess the extent that the F/A-18E/F improvements (an advanced Super Hornet) can be made in order to provide a competitive, cost effective, fighter aircraft alternative,” Mattis writes.

    The decision to pit the F-35C against an advanced Super Hornet follows Trump’s 21 December tweet, which targeted the F-35 programme’s cost overruns and suggested Boeing price out a “comparable Super Hornet.” While even an advanced Super Hornet is unable to compete with the F-35 in terms of stealth, FlightGlobal previously noted the F/A-18E/F could provide a natural, non-very low observable (VLO) stealth replacement for the C variant. The Super Hornet could still perform well against less sophisticated threats.

    A Super Hornet and F-35 battle has some precedent already. In November, Canada announced the government would purchase 18 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets as an interim fix for its current capability gap and later launch an open competition to replace its aging fleet of CF-18 fighter jets.

    The C variant may represent a small margin of Lockheed’s production, but any decision by the U.S. Navy to reduce or abandon its buy would trigger a significant cost increase to the US Air Force, Marine Corps and international partners involved in the joint programme, Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst Andrew Hunter said earlier this week.

    “Although there have been some changes on the international [partners], on the whole it’s held up very well over the last several years,” Hunter said. “But if the Navy fell off the table that would have a very profound impact on unit costs.”

  2. #22

    Mattis Orders F-35, Air Force One Reviews to Cut Cost of Programs

    By: Valerie Insinna, January 27, 2017

    WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has called for reviews of the F-35 and Air Force One replacement programs in the hopes of isolating new ways to drive down the price of both platforms, the Pentagon announced today.

    The announcement follows weeks of criticism by President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly faulted both aircraft programs for being too expensive. A Pentagon spokesman notes that the reviews “are a prudent step to incorporate additional information into the budget preparation process,” indicating that the Trump administration may be willing to shake up the 2018 budget with alterations to each program of record.

    According to Mattis’ Jan. 26 memo, the F-35 review will identify opportunities to lower the cost of the Lockheed Martin-manufactured joint strike fighter while maintaining the jet’s current requirements. It also calls for an assessment on whether an advanced Super Hornet, made by Boeing, can provide a “competitive, cost-effective fighter aircraft alternative” to the F-35C, the Navy’s carrier-launched variant.

    The review of the Presidential Aircraft Recapitalization program — the Pentagon’s formal name for the Air Force One replacement — will aim to reduce the cost of the program by potentially lowering requirements in areas such as autonomy, power generation, cooling, survivability and communications, Mattis wrote in a second memo. The Air Force selected Boeing to build two new Air Force One aircraft in 2015.

    Trump and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg have met twice since Dec. 5, when the president tweeted that the program should be cancelled. After the latest meeting at Trump Tower on Jan. 17, Muilenburg told reporters that he and Trump had*made “some great progress on simplifying the requirements for Air Force One." That, and using commercial practices, would lead to "substantial cost reduction" on the program, which Trump has said will cost about $4 billion.

    Meanwhile, the joint strike fighter program review opens up the possibility that the Navy could replace a portion of its F-35C buy with advanced Super Hornets instead*—* a boon to Boeing and a major hit to Lockheed. Trump has alluded to his desire to see the Super Hornet emerge as a competitor to the F-35, tweeting in December that "based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!”

    Boeing's "advanced Super Hornet" includes modifications such as a new cockpit, conformal fuel tanks and sophisticated sensors and radar, and the company offers it as an entire aircraft or a menu of upgrades to existing F/A-18s. The Navy has adopted some of the offerings, such as a new jammer and*active electronically scanned array(AESA) radar.

    Lockheed Martin is confident that the review will prove that the F-35's stealth and sensor capability is critical for meeting the requirements of all the military services, the company stated in a news release. However, it acknowledged that more could be done to lower costs.*

    "We also believe there are opportunities to continue to drive down program costs by using sound buying practices such as multi-year procurement that enable the government to purchase thousands of critical components at an economic scale," the company added. "With more than 200 aircraft delivered and initial operating capability declared by the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force, we are confident that now is the right time to begin taking advantage of this and other proven smart buying strategies.”

    Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work is charged with overseeing both reviews, and results must be made available to support budget planning decisions, which are likely to happen late this spring, the memos stated.

    A Boeing spokeswoman stated that the company looks forward to working with the Pentagon and "providing any information requested as they move forward with these reviews."

  3. #23

    Trump Signs Order Promising a ‘Great Rebuilding’ of the Military

    By: Aaron Mehta, January 27, 2017

    Updated 1/27/2017 at 7:24 PM EST with the text of the executive order.

    WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order that will lead to what he called "a great rebuilding" of the military.

    The directive, signed during the commander in chief's first visit to the Pentagon, calls for reviews of readiness capabilites, as well as formal looks at the nuclear and missile defense portfolios now in the hands of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who was officially sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence during the visit.

    During a brief speech, Trump described the American military as "the greatest force for justice and peace and goodness that have ever walked the face of this earth. Your legacy exists everywhere in the world today where people are more free, more prosperous, and more secure because of the United States of America."

    As a result, Trump said signing what he called an "executive action" would lead to "developing a plan for new planes, new ships, new resources and new tools for our men and women in uniform, and I’m very proud to be doing that.

    "As we prepare our budget request of Congress, and I think Congress is going to be very happy to see it, our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace. And we do want peace," he added.

    A draft of the order was published online Thursday by the Washington Post. As part of that draft order, the Pentagon was directed to conduct a 30-day review of the US-led effort to defeat the Islamic State group, and to evaluate how prepared the American military is to deal with near-peer competitors like Russia and China. It also instructed the Pentagon and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop — within 90 days — an emergency budget amendment to boost military spending this year, and for Mattis to update and revise existing budget plans for fiscal year 2018, the Post reported. Finally, the draft requested Mattis develop a new national security plan by next January, which would include plans for modernizing the nuclear forces and developing new missile defense capabilities.

    However, the final version of the language, released late Friday, varies from the draft version.

    In the actual signed version, the focus is on improving readiness long term. The language ordering updates to the FY18 budget on a timetable are no longer there, instead replaced with a broader order to "develop levels" for 2018 in conjunction with OMB. The report now orders a full-up Nuclear Posture Review and a Ballistic Missile Defense Review, which will be led by the department.

    Perhaps most notably, the final language does not include any mention of the Pentagon drafting a nationals security plan, instead directing the secretary to develop a National Defense Strategy "upon transmission of a new National Security Strategy to Congress." Loren DeJonge Schulman, a former official at the National Security Council and the Pentagon, now with the Center for a New American Security, said that language was a particularly odd aspect of the draft.

    “While a new administration giving written guidance to the Department of Defense on its strategy and budget isn't unprecedented, the draft EO is both strange and problematic,” Schulman said earlier in the day. “It's a major case of putting the cart before the horse. Telling the department where and how to invest before the administration conducts any review of its strategy isn't just bad process, it's bad for the military.

    “Written commander's intent is nothing new at DoD, but giving this text force of law for the executive branch is overkill - the content of the EO could just as easily be conveyed to Mattis as marching orders. But an EO gives it a public (and press) component since they have to be published on the federal register,” Schulman noted.*

    More specifically, Schulman raised questions about the order for the Pentagon to develop a national strategy rather than the NSC.

    “Buried in the text is a huge issue: tasking DoD to develop a national security strategy,” she said. “The National Security Strategy is a report transmitted by the president to Congress and normally drafted by the president's national security staff.* Assigning the pen to the Pentagon is unprecedented and bizarre.”

    That issue now appears to be a non-issue, although other questions have now arisen. In particular, iIt is unclear at the moment exactly how much the executive order can do about the budget — a view the House Armed Services Committees Democrats made clear in a tweet during the event, when it sent out a note that "Fun fact: Under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has the exclusive power to rebuild the military."

    Another potential challenge with the order is the expected clash between what the Pentagon wants and the views of Trump’s nominee to head OMB, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C.. Mulvaney strict budget hawk who is widely expected to refuse budget increases unless they are balanced out with cost cuts from elsewhere in the government, and defense analysts generally agree that for Trump to reach the heights of military spending he seeks, he will have to increase the defense budget significantly, something that could be a challenge under Mulvaney’s strict guidelines.

    Todd Harrison, a budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also notes that pushing out any sort of budget move out of OMB in the near term may be difficult, as Mulvaney’s views are likely to clash with those of the professional staff who have been there a while — requiring Mulvaney and his team to go back and redo much of the preliminary work that has been laid down already.

    Before signing the executive order on Friday, Trump convened an hourlong meeting with Mattis, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, who runs the National Guard Bureau. They were joined by Pence and the president's national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, a defense official said.

    The meeting was run by Trump and focused predominantly on his desire to "accelerate the defeat of ISIS," the official said. The president set no deadlines, however, and "the chiefs did most of the talking," the official added. The discussion, he said, was "very cordial."

    "I think everyone's in agreement that we want to defeat ISIS quickly," the official said.

    The leaders also discussed the president's focus on rebuilding the military and improving its ability to respond to contingencies.

    At the meeting's outset, Trump as provided with a briefing on the military's geographic combatant commands, which oversee US military operations throughout specific parts of the world, the official said. "And then there was an interesting discussion on the role of the National Guard, and how they work for state governors."

    The full text of the executive order is as follows:

    By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including my authority as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, I hereby direct the following:

    Section 1. Policy. To pursue peace through strength, it shall be the policy of the United States to rebuild the
    U.S. Armed Forces.

    Sec. 2. Readiness.
    (a) The Secretary of Defense (Secretary) shall conduct a 30-day Readiness Review. As part of this review, the Secretary shall:
    (i) assess readiness conditions, including training, equipment maintenance, munitions, modernization, and infrastructure; and
    (ii) submit to the President a report identifying actions that can be implemented within the current fiscal year and that are necessary to improve
    readiness conditions.
    (b) Concurrently with the Readiness Review, the Secretary, together with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), shall develop a Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget amendment for military readiness, including any proposed reallocations.
    (c) The Secretary shall work with the Director of OMB to develop levels for the Department of Defense's FY 2018 budget request that are necessary to improve readiness conditions and address risks to national security.
    (d) Within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall submit to the President a plan of action to achieve the levels of readiness identified in the Secretary's Readiness Review before FY 2019. That plan of action shall address areas for improvement, including insufficient maintenance, delays in acquiring parts, access to training ranges, combatant command operational demands, funding needed for consumables (e.g., fuel, ammunition), manpower shortfalls, depot maintenance capacity, and time needed to plan, coordinate, and execute readiness and training activities.

    Sec. 3. Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces.
    (a) Upon transmission of a new National Security Strategy to Congress, the Secretary shall produce a National Defense Strategy (NDS). The goal of the NDS shall be to give the President and the Secretary maximum strategic flexibility and to determine the force structure necessary to meet requirements.
    (b) The Secretary shall initiate a new Nuclear Posture Review to ensure that the United States nuclear deterrent is modern, robust, flexible, resilient, ready, and appropriately tailored to deter 21st-century threats and reassure our allies.
    (c) The Secretary shall initiate a new Ballistic Missile Defense Review to identify ways of strengthening missile-defense capabilities, rebalancing homeland and theater defense priorities, and highlighting priority funding areas.

    With reporting by Andrew deGrandpre of Military Times.
    Last edited by buglerbilly; 28-01-17 at 04:03 AM.

  4. #24

    Trump: Military Spending 'More Important' Than Balanced Budget

    By: Aaron Mehta, January 27, 2017

    WASHINGTON*—*US President Donald Trump said Thursday that a strong military is “more important” than a balanced budget, signaling a willingness to use deficit spending to fund the Pentagon*—*a move that may fly in the face of his pick for the Office of Management and Budget.

    Speaking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity Thursday night, Trump said “a balanced budget is fine. But sometimes, you have to fuel the well in order to really get the economy going. And we have to take care of our military. Our military is more important to me than a balanced budget because we'll get there with a balanced budget.”

    Later in the interview, Trump repeated that statement, saying: “I want a balanced budget eventually. But I want to have a strong military. To me, that's much more important than anything.”

    That position may create tensions with his OMB pick, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., a budget hawk who is expected to force fiscal discipline onto the Trump administration.

    Since winning election in November, Trump has repeatedly promised to raise funding support for the US military. His plans include increasing the active-duty Army to 540,000 soldiers, the Navy to 350 ships, an Air Force fleet of 1,200 fighter aircraft and a Marine Corps with 36 battalions. He has also pledged a “state-of-the-art missile defense system” to modernize the Navy’s cruisers and to provide ballistic missile defense capabilities.

    Almost immediately after the election, members of the fiscally conservative Tea Party Caucus in the House raised concerns about such spending plans. Mulvaney is seen as a leading voice from the tea party movement.

    Mackenzie Eaglen, an analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, says Mulvaney made it clear in his testimony that he will send over what she called an “ideologically radical” budget proposal – one that will seek to avoid any sort of deficit spending, and which will be dead on arrival, based on how similar budget proposals have struggled to even get through the Republican-controlled House, let alone survive a battle in the Senate.

    The Senate, with 48 democrats who “cannot be ignored,” will be a check on Mulvaney’s budget aspirations, according to Eaglen, who says they are smart enough to hold defense spending as a hostage to increase non-defense spending.

    “Defense is still the best leverage point Democrats have,” Eaglen said. “They know it, and why would they change now? They will continue to make it a point of leverage.”

    As to Trump’s comments on Thursday, Eaglen says they are in line with previous statements.

    “He doesn’t care [about deficit spending] on defense and that makes perfect sense if you consider defense the first priority, and you see some jobs benefit in things that are already validated and vetted requirements,” such as major defense programs, Eaglen said.

    Todd Harrison, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that the last few months have driven home a lesson on Trump: that when he says something specific, people should take him at his word.

    "When he says he will build a wall, he will try to build a wall. All these things, when he says something specific, it looks like he's going to try and follow through," Harrison said. And here, Trump is saying "he will treat the military differently than other parts of the budget."*

    However, Harrison says that literal reading of Trump's comments also means the president said government spending cuts won't come from defense - and not that the defense budget will get a major boost.*

    Trump’s words will likely be welcomed by Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. In a Jan. 24 hearing, McCain ripped into Mulvaney over concerns about defense spending. McCain has proposed $640 billion for the 2018 defense budget, something supported by his counterpart in the House, Mac Thornberry, R-Texas.

    Joe Gould in Washington contributed to this report. This story was updated at 12:11 PM 1/27/2017 to add Harrison's comments.*

  5. #25
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    The news are really awash with Mr. Trump. What I find notably absent these days is ... Daesh and Mr. Putin. Zero blibs from the Daesh propaganda machine and near zero from Mr. Putin, only reduced coverage by RT.

  6. #26
    Supreme Overlord ARH v.4.0's Avatar
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    Number of Americans killed annually by:
    Attached Images
    Repent!

    The darkest hour of Humanity is upon us. The world
    shall meet it's end and we shall be submerged into a
    new dark age. Repent your sins, for the apocalypse,
    and the end, is extremely f@#king nigh!

  7. #27

    That list is a little disingenuous, omitting as it does the over 7,000 US military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. Not counting the many times larger number of wounded.
    Unicorn

    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
    It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed,
    the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning.
    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unicorn View Post
    That list is a little disingenuous, omitting as it does the over 7,000 US military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan alone. Not counting the many times larger number of wounded.
    US immigration and surveillance laws wouldn't have done much to help soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan either, which was the point.
    Repent!

    The darkest hour of Humanity is upon us. The world
    shall meet it's end and we shall be submerged into a
    new dark age. Repent your sins, for the apocalypse,
    and the end, is extremely f@#king nigh!

  9. #29

    Where does that list come from?

    When I saw it on FB, it listed Billy Bragg, the doyen of Left-wing aficionados in the UK, as the "source"...............more False News?

    Just saying............something about those figures just doesn't add up?

  10. #30

    Take into account that a good deal of those ~11k firearm homicides are gang/criminal related, also includes justifiable homicides as well. At least it's not entirely disingenuous by including suicides, accidents etc, like a certain Mr. Alpers.

    And in the grand scheme of things, considering the total US population, it's actually a pretty insignificant number. Still bad, but when you think about how many people actually own firearms, and the total number of firearms there are in the US, the number is pretty small.

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