What’s a few billion between friends? You can download the details below – more than 100 pages of them – but here are the bottom lines of the 2013 reprogramming requests the Pentagon has submitted to Congress: For fiscal year 2013, the administration wants “reprogramming authority” to reshuffle an extraordinary $9.6 billion between accounts in… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: In lawless, inaccessible regions of the world, drone strikes are America’s least-worst option for pursuing terrorists, a panel of experts agreed today — and many of the civilians whose deaths are blamed on US drones were actually killed by local factions on the ground or never existed at all.
“They are actually our least horrible option,” said Prof. Christine Fair, a South Asia expert at Georgetown University who has made many trips to Pakistan, including to the badlands known formally as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). “I am… within the strict case of FATA, a drone proponent,” she said, speaking Monday afternoon at the American Security Project in Washington, DC. And while most Pakistanis deplore the drones when polled about them, Fair added that FATA residents she spoke to who have first-hand knowledge of specific strikes and who really died in them are, “very positive…. They know who’s being killed.” Keep reading →
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 →
The U.S. and Pakistan are in talks to establish close cooperation and collaboration by their armed forces to counter insurgents who cross the Afghan-Pakistan border, a senior defense official said Wednesday.
The official, speaking on background, cited those discussions as additional signs of the improvements in the chronically troubled relations with Pakistan, part of a persistent drumbeat of positive views the official offered during a luncheon session with defense reporters. Keep reading →
BREAKING: SecDef Panetta says Pakistan has reopened PAKGLOC supply lines – for real this time? http://1.usa.gov/P34Etc SydneyFreedberg
CAPITOL HILL: The US must not go ahead with planned cuts to the Afghan National Army and police, a panel of experts urged the House Armed Services Committee today. Instead, we must keep spending $6 billion a year to support 350,000 Afghan security personnel, go slowly on drawing down our own forces — and escalate the drone war in Pakistan by striking Taliban sanctuaries previously off-limits. Keep reading →
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 →
CAPITOL HILL: Apologizing to Pakistan, the economic impact of sequestration, and the possibility of a cyber-war “Pearl Harbor” dominated today’s hearing of the defense panel of the all-powerful Senate Appropriations committee.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein — who also chairs the intelligence committee — asks Defense Secretary Leon Panetta why we couldn’t just apologize to Pakistan for the errant airstrikes that killed Pakistani troops and thereby end the long wrangle over reopening supply lines to Afghanistan, which Islamabad closed after the bloody incident. A breakthrough had appeared imminent on the eve of the NATO summit in Chicago, only for negotiations to collapse. Keep reading →
THE CAPITOL [updated 9:40 pm with details from Senate press release]: The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously passed its mark-up of the annual defense spending bill, rejecting all proposed cuts to the Air National Guard, cutting the Defense Department’s civilian and contractor workforce by 5 percent over five years, and restricting aid to Pakistan.
Pakistan reopens US supply lines to Afghanistan, drops demand for apology for friendly-fire deaths, gets more $$$: http://econ.st/LacJLL. SydneyFreedberg