Rep. Randy Forbes

The Navy's UCAS demonstrator made history as the first drone to take off and land from an aircraft carrier. Its proposed successor is called UCLASS.

WASHINGTON: August is the month of decision for UCLASS, the Navy’s controversial program to build armed drones that fly off aircraft carriers. At stake: whether the “Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance & Strike” aircraft will be primarily a scout (surveillance) or a bomber (strike). The new Deputy Secretary of Defense, Bob Work, delayed the Navy’s release of… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: This afternoon, a congressionally chartered panel of prestigious defense experts denounced sequestration as “self-defeating” and a “serious strategic misstep” that “Congress and the President should repeal…immediately.” But will it preach to anyone not already in the choir? While bipartisan, the National Defense Panel is most heeded by House Republicans. They see it as a valuable… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: “We have the presumption we’re going to have the competitive edge when it comes to technology,” said Rep. Randy Forbes, “[that] just because we’ve had it in the last several decades that somehow or other we’re destined to have it in the future.” That’s a dangerous mistake, Forbes said Thursday at the Carnegie Endowment,… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

KINGS BAY NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE, GEORGIA: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came here Wednesday to celebrate the Navy’s nuclear deterrence force. But just 20 minutes in, a petty officer second class stood up in front of almost 200 of his comrades and pointed out the $95 billion elephant in the room: Can the Navy afford to… Keep reading →

An Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine (SSBN).

WASHINGTON: “Unsustainable.” That’s the Navy’s own official assessment of the spending rates required to keep the fleet large and modern enough to do its missions. For the service to state this in writing ratchets up not just the rhetoric but the likelihood of future budget battles in the Pentagon and on the Hill — especially… Keep reading →

The amphibious ship USS San Antonio, LPD-17.

[UPDATED with comment from Seapower Chairman Randy Forbes] “This is not a slam dunk. This is really the first step.” That’s the cautiously optimistic word from retired Navy captain Brian Schires, chairman of the recently formed Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition (AWIBC), on the $800 million the House Armed Services Committee just authorized towards the… Keep reading →

Amendments pile up on desks at HASC #NDAA 2015 IMG_6956

CAPITOL HILL: “Given sequestration, given all the cuts…we can have a larger force or we can have a ready force,” said Rep. Adam Smith. “I’m going to choose the latter.” But the 2015 National Defense Authorization markup that the House Armed Services Committee will pass sometime tonight raids $1.4 billion from operations, maintenance, and training funds.… Keep reading →

Rep. Randy Forbes vows to preserve the USS George Washington, seen here at the center of its battlegroup

[UPDATED with details from the subcommittee mark] WASHINGTON: Just hours before the House Armed Services Committee rolls out its mark-up of the 2015 defense policy bill, the chairman of HASC’s seapower subcommittee is vowing to save the USS George Washington from early retirement and to preserve the nation’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers. [Updated: The seapower subcommittee’s… Keep reading →

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CAPITOL HILL: “I think this is a papering-over of their dismantling of the Navy,” House Armed Services seapower subcommittee chairman Randy Forbes told me this afternoon. “They aren’t having the courage or the straightforwardness or transparency to call it what it is.” Between the Pentagon’s proposed reduction in warships currently in the water and its… Keep reading →

The US hospital ship Mercy gets resupplied at sea.

Quantity has a quality all its own. The Navy announced this afternoon that it has changed the arcane rules by which it counts ships, adding 10 coastal patrol craft, two hospital ships, and a high-speed transport to what it calls the “battle force.” The new rules would also keep 11 cruisers the Navy plans to not-quite-mothball… Keep reading →

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