WASHINGTON: Over the years I’ve heard dozens of defense executives grumble about the government “stealing” their intellectual property but, when push comes to shove, no one has ever wanted to talk about it for fear of ticking off “the customer.” Since the Pentagon is their only customer, their reluctance is understandable. But a smallish Texas… Keep reading →
PORTSMOUTH, VA: This is a Navy town, just minutes from the massive Atlantic Fleet base at Norfolk. But when Navy and Marine Corps leaders convened here yesterday for their annual conference on expeditionary warfare, traditionally a Navy-Marine affair, they reached out to the other services in unprecedented ways. Message No. 1: After 12 years of… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The military should soon deploy a new weapon in its efforts to keep troops fit and fed: foccaccia. That’s right, those tough folks who can live on snakes and water may soon get their hands on a Meal Ready To Eat filled with a pretty tasty Italian delicacy covered in Italian herbs and a… Keep reading →
[UPDATED with Burke remarks on biofuels & other alternative energy] WASHINGTON: Budget crunch be damned, the Defense Department’s effort to get more energy-efficient is still in business, said the assistant secretary in charge. Even without the free-flowing supplemental funds and the flexibility of the “rapid equipping” initiatives that allowed for speedy spending at the height… Keep reading →
Half the US forces in Afghanistan may be coming home, but K-MAX, the little unmanned helicopter, will stay until the end. A pair of the remote-controlled cargo choppers arrived in Afghanistan in late 2011 for what was billed as a short-term experiment, but the Marines liked it so much that the trial deployment was repeatedly extended, and now the military has confirmed it will keep them on “indefinitely.” (The extension was first reported yesterday by Reuters). Three love letters to the remote-controlled cargo chopper from military officers, obtained exclusively by Breaking Defense, show why.
Technologically, K-MAX is just plain neat. It’s a small one-man chopper built by Kaman Aerospace Corp. – originally for logging operations, where it airlifted tree trunks out of tight areas . It was converted to a remotely piloted vehicle by Lockheed Martin. Tactically, K-MAX allows delivery of supplies to forward outposts by air, without risking human pilots or, worse yet, sending ground convoys through the gauntlet of Taliban ambushes and roadside bombs.
“What stood out most in my mind … was the permanent scorch marks burnt into the earth up and down ‘ambush alley,’” recalled Marine Corps Maj. Kyle O’Connor, who served in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2011. So many improvised explosive devices (IEDs) had gone off in one narrow mountain pass, an unavoidable chokepoint for US supply convoys, that “that stretch of road continually had scars marking where explosions had scorched the earth,” O’Connor wrote in a letter endorsing the K-MAX for the prestigious Collier Trophy. “Those memories,” he went on, “are what drove me to be part of a program meant to save lives by limiting the amount of exposure our ground convoys had to danger”: the unmanned K-MAX, whose first six-month deployment had O’Connor in command. Keep reading →
This November, the Defense Logistics Agency will require companies selling microcircuits to the military to stamp their products with an unlikely seal of authenticity: plant DNA.
It’s an innovative initiative in the fight against counterfeit computer chips, which has been a major concern in the Senate, but it’s only one piece of the answer. DLA plans to put out a formal Request For Information sometime this month to ask industry to offer other, complementary authenticity-checking technologies, and Congress is watching closely. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: As the wars draw down and budgets shrink, the massive Army Materiel Command — 70,000 military and civilian personnel at arsenals, depots, and other facilities in all 50 states — is shifting gears and taking on new missions.
Some longstanding efforts are winding down, explained Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, AMC’s new deputy commander, at a breakfast hosted this morning by the Association of the US Army. The command is buying less ammunition and more of what it buys will be training ammo as opposed to live rounds for combat. Likewise, after a massive investment in uparmored Humvees and MRAPs, the Army has more trucks than it expects to need, and it’s up to AMC to get rid of them. “As tactical wheeled vehicles come down, we’ll be able to divest some of those,” McQuistion said. Keep reading →
BREAKING: SecDef Panetta says Pakistan has reopened PAKGLOC supply lines – for real this time? http://1.usa.gov/P34Etc SydneyFreedberg
WASHINGTON: As the United States military begins to leave Afghanistan, the Defense Logistics Agency is emptying its warehouses there of stockpiled supplies such as copper wire and shipping them back to the States, says DLA Director Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek.
Harnitchek expects the supply agency’s spending will shrink from a wartime peak of $46 billion last year to a bit over $30 billion once (most) US troops leave the country in 2014. Although he doesn’t plan to cut the agency’s workforce of 27,000 civilian and military personnel, Harnitchek said at this morning’s Defense Writers’ Group breakfast that he is seeking another 10 percent in savings through efficiencies in how DLA buys supplies, from holding “reverse auctions” to reducing inventories. Keep reading →