WASHINGTON: In an Army budget outlook that’s otherwise as grim as television tuned to a dead channel, there is one bright spot: cyberspace. “You know, we say that ‘flat is the new growth’ in DoD,” Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld, said at yesterday’s Bloomberg conference. “[Even] special operations forces”… Keep reading →
The National Guard has lost the budget battle inside the administration. But it has hardly lost the war. “We are disappointed by today’s budget preview, but we are not surprised. Nor are we defeated,” declared retired Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, president of influential National Guard Association of the United States, in a statement released shortly… Keep reading →
Yesterday, Hill staffer Vickie Plunkett made some mid-sized waves at the Association of the US Army’s winter conference when she noted that the military can legally close bases and arsenals without seeking congressional approval — and publicly urged the Army to “take your chances” and try it. This afternoon, we got this remarkably supportive reaction… Keep reading →
[UPDATED 6:30 pm] HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: The ever-beleaguered Army has a reputation — not undeserved — for being bland, conformist, and bureaucratic, an organization where brilliant mavericks are forced to retire at colonel and the guys who make general don’t rock the boat. Just ask any of the long-serving and long-suffering officers convening here in Huntsville, home… Keep reading →
“To be honest, we feel betrayed.” That’s what one National Guard gunship pilot told me when I asked him about the Army’s plan to strip the Guard of all its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. That plan — still awaiting approval by President Obama before he includes it in his budget request for fiscal year 2015… Keep reading →
The war hasn’t started, yet. But unless the regular Army and the National Guard can resolve their differences behind closed doors before the president’s budget request is publicly submitted sometime in February — and prospects are dim — there will be open, brutal conflict on Capitol Hill on a scale not seen since the 1990s.… Keep reading →
[UPDATED 2:15 pm]WASHINGTON: Between sequestration, shutdown, and the Continuing Resolution, it’s been a brutal year for the federal government, especially the Army. Alongside training, maintenance, and morale, most of the service’s conferences have been hammered: “I’m surprised any of us is here,” Army Secretary John McHugh said this morning in his opening remarks to the… Keep reading →
ARLINGTON: A candid Vice-Chairman of the Joint Staff delivered some tough messages to the Army yesterday and got in a few swipes at Congress and “the political leadership” in general. Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld’s raised the most hackles among the serving and retired officers gathered at the headquarters of the powerful Association of the US Army… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: In a telling sign of the uncertain economic and spending climate in the defense world – faced with sequestration and the possibility of a year-long Continuing Resolution — at least three defense conferences have been cancelled in the last two months and defense companies continue to pare their participation in even the biggest shows, the air show in Paris and Farnborough.
Cancelation of the Military Health System Conference, set for Feb. 11-14, was announced in a memo signed by Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and the three service surgeon generals. In past years, the conference has attracted 3,000 attendees and exhibitors. Keep reading →
AUSA: Visitors to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.’s display at this year’s Association of the United States Army meetings in Washington can hardly miss an eye-popping marketing video the company is showing. Running on a huge flat screen hung at the entrance to the company’s spot on the show floor, the video uses simulation imagery of XBox quality to show how Sikorsky’s conceptual S-97 Raider – a compound helicopter based on the X2 Technology Demonstrator the company flew in 2010-2011 – would perform Armed Aerial Scout missions for the Army.
It’s a great show. Zooming through canyons at what looks like the S-97′s projected cruising speed of 220 knots – an impossibility for ordinary helicopters – a Raider in a formation of five uses a video downlink from a Predator drone to take out a group of heavily armed insurgents with laser-guided rockets, firing before the enemy can hear the helicopters coming. Then, at the request of ground troops, another Raider uses its mini-gun to kill six insurgents hiding in a tree line. Keep reading →