Congress

A member of the Free Syrian Army takes p

CAPITOL HILL: After bitter debate, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 21 to 9 to approve the administration’s request for $500 million in training and weapons for “vetted” Syrian rebel fighters. Now the annual defense spending bill and supplemental Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding pass to the Senate floor, largely unchanged from what SAC’s defense subcommittee… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: The chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, Rep. Rob Wittman, is strikingly optimistic about the chances for consummating the so-called grand bargain and ending the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. When I buttonholed him after a Tuesday Defense Writers’ Group breakfast, Wittman went so far as to say that “I think there’s… Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

The U.S. defense industry, being reshaped by declining post-war budgets, globalization, and the increased pace of technological change, must work with the Pentagon and take proactive steps to maintain our historic preeminence on the battlefield. Our industry does not easily embrace change. In fact, history demonstrates that shifts in the defense industry have largely been… Keep reading →

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: Deborah Lee James had been in office a very short time when she learned of a crisis in the Air Force’s nuclear force and had to hold her first press conference as the service’s top civilian to discuss cheating and drugs. A tough start to a new job. She still faces a myriad… Keep reading →

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CAPITOL HILL: This morning’s Senate subcommittee mark-up of the annual defense spending bill meant good news and extra money for a host of interests, from upstart rocket-maker SpaceX to the giant Boeing company. On the bitterly contentious issue of the Army National Guard’s endangered Apache helicopter fleet, however, the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee put down a… Keep reading →

The Navy's X-47B drone becomes the first unmanned aircraft to launch from an aircraft carrier.

FARNBOROUGH AIR SHOW: The Navy’s carrier-based drone known as UCLASS continues to face challenges from the Joint Staff, parts of the Navy and, perhaps most importantly, Capitol HIll. While the head of the program, Rear Adm. Mat Winter, told reporters here yesterday that a Request for Proposal will be issued “very soon,” the program’s requirements… Keep reading →

Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel jokes with reporters at Eglin Air Force Base. (The aircraft behind him is an F-35A).

Defense Secretaries always “try to get out of Washington and visit as many of our bases and talk to as many of our people” as they can, as Sec. Chuck Hagel said this week at Kings Bay submarine base in Georgia. But when you’re SecDef, you always take Washington with you. Physically, that means the… Keep reading →

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FAIRFORD, UK: Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan hates being labeled the man who oversees the trillion dollar jet fighter, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter as you can tell from the headline. Breaking Defense readers will remember that this estimate is extends more than half a century and includes such assumptions as the Marines will… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, GEORGIA: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came here Wednesday to celebrate the Navy’s nuclear deterrence force. But just 20 minutes in, a petty officer second class stood up in front of almost 200 of his comrades and pointed out the $95 billion elephant in the room: Can the Navy afford to… Keep reading →

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The F-35 Lightning II European debut in July will be welcome, but it remains the Punch and Judy program of the defense aerospace sector, with boosters and detractors taking turns to bash each other’s argument as to the project’s value — or lack thereof. The debate, though sometime not worthy of the word, has risked… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: Election fears ruled the day on Capitol Hill when the full House of Representatives voted to stop the Air Force from retiring the venerable and venerated A-10 aircraft in the chamber’s version of the defense appropriations bill. While we heard little of the backroom chatter and didn’t see the emails that doubtless flew as… Keep reading →

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