The Navy’s jet-powered P-8 Poseidon patrol plane boasts plenty of advances over the P-3 Orion turboprops it will replace, but for the sensor operators the favorite feature will be very basic: They won’t throw up as much.

The P-3′s notoriously rough ride at low altitudes and the gunpowder-like stench from the launch tube shooting sonar buoys out the back meant that, “typically, every mission or two you’d have somebody get sick [and] start throwing up into their air sickness bag,” said Navy Captain Aaron Rondeau, a P-3 veteran who now runs the P-8 program. “We haven’t seen that much with the P-8.” Keep reading →

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: During a decade of relentless focus on counterinsurgency, the military has let other skills erode, skills it will have to struggle to get back even as budgets tighten. In particular, the capacity of the US and allied navies to hunt enemy submarines has suffered even as potential adversaries like China and Iran have built up their sub fleets.

That’s not to say it wasn’t necessary to put Afghanistan and Iraq first — just that we’ve paid a price. “They were good choices,” said Rear Adm. Phil Davidson of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, speaking at the annual Joint Warfighting Conference hosted by the US Naval Institute and the electronics industry group AFCEA. “They were needed for the current fight,” Davidson went on, “but these choices were not without cost.” Keep reading →

Reaping the Benefits of a Global Defense Industry

Greg Sanders CSIS photo

  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 →

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD [updated 7:30 am Thursday 19 April with Congressional comment and Raymond Pritchett's retraction] : The smartest man in the Department of the Navy, Under Secretary Robert O. Work, erupted today in a passionate defense of the service’s integrity in how it counts its ships and of the controversial Littoral Combat Ship‘s place as the most numerous class in the future fleet. Keep reading →