army

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As the Air Force Association girds for its annual conference, which starts Monday here in Washington, I was struck by several comments from several experts that the traditional dichotomy between air power and ground forces — often the focus of internecine budget battles between the Army and Air Force — isn’t that relevant any more. Aircraft… Keep reading →

The Sikorsky-Boeing concept for the Joint Multi-Role demonstrator, a predecessor to the Future Vertical Lift aircraft.

WASHINGTON: It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better yet to learn from other people’s. On Friday, I watched three battle-scarred acquisition experts — including the admiral who turned the F-35 around — advise a young officer from the Future Vertical Lift initiative, who was furiously taking notes. The panel’s theme: how FVL, which… Keep reading →

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in happier days, taking command of the Defense Intelligence Agency just two years ago.

In this exclusive exit interview with Breaking Defense contributor James Kitfield, the outgoing chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, talks about metastasizing Islamic terrorism, his struggles to reform intelligence-gathering, and the risk of lurching from crisis to crisis in an Internet-accelerated world.  – the editors. “Disruptive.” That’s how Michael Flynn’s enemies… Keep reading →

Brad Carson, Under Secretary of the Army, talks to solders in Afghanistan.

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 →

uscapitol2

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 →

Most Apache units, both active-duty and Guard, have spent the last decade operating in two-gunship teams like this one, not the larger formations required for conventional wars.

WASHINGTON: In the emotionally charged debate over the Army National Guard, the “don’t cut our Guard!” side has been much louder than the pro-cuts camp. That’s why it’s interesting to read this pretty low-key letter from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defending the cuts. The simple fact it’s Hagel’s signature on the letter speaks to the… Keep reading →

Joint MultiRole Bell Valor

WASHINGTON: What is Future Vertical Lift? There is no one answer, but rather a range of possibilities. At one extreme is a single mega-program, building four variants for the four services to replace a host of existing helicopters, a vision in some ways even more ambitious than the long-troubled tri-service Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). At the… Keep reading →

A BAE Systems prototype of the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) ambulance variant.

General Dynamics said today it will not bid for the Army’s largest combat vehicle program, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle. Nor will GD take the government to court to try to change the terms of the competition, despite having denounced them as intolerably tilted towards competitor BAE Systems and protested, unsuccessfully, to the Army. With bids… Keep reading →

An unmanned TerraMax mine-clearing vehicle, followed by equally unmanned TerraMax cargo trucks.

The future of military robotics may not look much like a robot. It may just be a truck that drives itself. That’s the simple, pragmatic approach pursued by Oshkosh — a company better known for trucks than Terminators — with its TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle. But after eight years of experiments for three different military… Keep reading →

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) after Thursday evening's press conference on the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015.

THE CAPITOL: “We do emphasize readiness,” Sen. Carl Levin told me. “I for one would rather have a smaller force that is ready than a bigger force that is less ready.” With those words — his parting shot as I hounded him through the Capitol’s marble halls after his official press conference yesterday on the… Keep reading →

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