WASHINGTON: This afternoon, a congressionally chartered panel of prestigious defense experts denounced sequestration as “self-defeating” and a “serious strategic misstep” that “Congress and the President should repeal…immediately.” But will it preach to anyone not already in the choir? While bipartisan, the National Defense Panel is most heeded by House Republicans. They see it as a valuable… Keep reading →
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Posts by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
PENTAGON: The grander the title, the blander the content. That’s normally a safe rule in Washington. But if analyzed closely, this afternoon’s “State of the Air Force” briefing by service Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, plus the accompanying pamphlet A Call To the Future, actually do articulate a remarkably clear… Keep reading →
As the Defense Department’s budget goes down, the number of contracts awarded without competitive bids is going up. The share of contracts awarded without competition has risen from 39 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012, according to a report I co-authored with Jesse Ellman and Rhys McCormick on DoD Contracting Trends. The news for… Keep reading →
[CORRECTED data on competitor Oshkosh] LOCKHEED MARTIN “LIGHTHOUSE,” SUFFOLK, VA: “We’re in a really tough competition…a knife fight in [a] phone booth,” said Tom Kelly, who runs Lockheed Martin’s government relations for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program. In the defense contracting world writ large, Lockheed is the 800-pound gorilla. In the three-way competition to replace… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: “We have the presumption we’re going to have the competitive edge when it comes to technology,” said Rep. Randy Forbes, “[that] just because we’ve had it in the last several decades that somehow or other we’re destined to have it in the future.” That’s a dangerous mistake, Forbes said Thursday at the Carnegie Endowment,… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Sometimes $800 million is not enough. Congress really, really wants the Navy to buy a 12th San Antonio-class amphibious warship. The Marine Corps really, really wants the ship, which would be designated LPD-28. And of course shipbuilder Huntington-Ingalls really, really wants the contract, which would help fill a multi-year gap in amphib construction.… Keep reading →
A robot helicopter that can carry three tons of cargo, the Marine Corps K-MAX certainly has the cool factor. But does it have a future? After a six-month pilot project in Afghanistan got extended into a 33-month deployment that made 2,250 tons of deliveries, the two experimental aircraft have come home. Prime contractor Lockheed Martin… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: This hurts us more than it hurts you. That’s the essence of the regular Army’s message to the National Guard about the Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI), a controversial cost-cutting plan that — among other things – strips the Guard of all its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. Pain is on its way for all of… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: Watch the skies. While they’re far from falling, the head of Air Force Space Command said today, the heavens aren’t the “peaceful sanctuary” they once were, either. Nothing short of a nuclear missile could pull the plug on a satellite constellation as robust as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Gen. William Shelton said, semi-reassuringly.… Keep reading →
THE WATERGATE: United we stand, Great Britain’s ambassador to the US insisted today. Despite all the strains on the Atlantic alliance — post-Snowden backlash against American spying, rising anti-EU sentiment in Britain, German dependence on Russian energy — the US, the UK, and their continental European allies stand together against what he called Russian “hybrid… Keep reading →
[UPDATED 2:10 pm with comment from President Obama & Pentagon spokesman Kirby] Western media are hardly going easy on Russia. But in all the often-excellent coverage I’ve read so far of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 disaster – which claimed 295 lives – no one* is pointing out two basic facts that point towards Russia and… Keep reading →