CAPITOL HILL: It was a bad day to be Bob Work. At his first public hearing before Congress as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Work received a bipartisan battering from a House Armed Services Committee deeply dissatisfied with the administration’s $58.6 billion request for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. At issue was not the $53.7 billion… Keep reading →
It’s a delicate time for the Navy’s controversial Littoral Combat Ship, largely because of acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox. It was Fox who wrote the memo directing the Navy to slash its long-term LCS buy from 52 vessels to 32. So we’d love to know how strained the smiles were yesterday when Fox stepped aboard… Keep reading →
After three years of the “age of austerity” in Western military spending, investors’ imperatives and corporate strategies show one indication of how the defense-industrial base will evolve over the next decade. Investors want public companies that demonstrate an attractive risk-adjusted total return, not just M&A-fueled arbitrage plays. In response, companies are husbanding or harvesting their financial… Keep reading →
After our story yesterday on Robert Work and Shawn Brimley‘s disconcerting vision of future robotic war, we got a thoughtful response from Brimley that, with his permission, we’ve published below. The Editors. Bob and I wrote the paper because we feel strongly that there are some powerful trends affecting the relationship between technology and military… Keep reading →
More robots, fewer people. That’s where the US military is headed in the future. But what kind of robots? Army Gen. Robert Cone, four-star commander of the powerful Training and Doctrine Command (aka TRADOC), said that the service is studying how robots could help replace 25 percent of the soldiers in each of its 4,000-strong combat brigades. That’s because the… Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: The best case for sequester is still a disaster – but we’re not going to get the best case. That’s the common denominator from a range of budget options rolled out today by an extraordinary alliance of four thinktanks. Their consensus recommendations to cut military readiness, Army brigades, Navy carriers, Air Force ICBMs,… Keep reading →
[UPDATED 3:15 pm with Under Secretary Work's comments] CRYSTAL CITY: The automatic budget cuts known as sequestration aren’t the only nightmare scenario looming in March for the Department of Defense, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said this morning. If Congress keeps on funding the federal government on the current ad hoc basis, by simply extending the current “continuing resolution” – now set to expire March 27 — instead of by finally passing proper appropriations bills, the impact would be equally bad.
“Most of the attention is put on sequestration because it was such a big deal leading up to the fiscal cliff,” Mabus told reporters after his public remarks at the Surface Navy Association’s annual conference. “We have an equal, equal concern about CR.” Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: “We’re long past the point of doing more with less,” said the blunt-spoken Under Secretary of the Navy, Robert Work. “We are going to be doing less with less in the future.”
But with a continuing resolution, sequestration in three weeks, and to-be-determined defense cuts a likely part of any “grand bargain” to avert the fiscal cliff, how much less is maddeningly unclear. So it’s impossible to make intelligent plans or choices. Keep reading →
The Navy will christen its newest amphibious warfare ship in Pascagoula, Miss. on Oct. 20th. The boldly-named, $3 billion America is a major departure from past designs — and, quietly, the Navy has decided not to build many more like it in the future.
The Chief of Naval Operations himself, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, has said that getting more amphibs in the fleet is his “biggest shipbuilding concern.” But the Navy is only building two vessels to the LHA-6 blueprint, America itself and LHA-7 Tripoli, for which shipbuilder Huntington-Ingalls recently received a fixed-price contract. Subsequent LHAs will revert to a more traditional design. Keep reading →
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA: Navy undersecretary Robert Work fired a salvo in the budget wars Wednesday, taking swipes at the Army while extolling the Navy-Marine Corps team as ideally suited for the post-Afghanistan, Pacific-focused strategy.
“The United States Army is only going to have three combat brigades based overseas,” Work said in his red-meat speech to an audience dominated by serving and retired Marines at the National Defense Industrial Association’s annual conference on expeditionary warfare. (Work is a retired Marine himself). What’s more, two of those Army brigades will be in Europe (a light-weight airborne brigade in Italy, a medium-weight Stryker unit in Germany) versus just one in Asia (a heavy armored unit in South Korea). Work pointedly discounted other Army units in the Pacific theater — even the 25th Infantry Division, which is based all the way out in Hawaii — on the grounds that they were still on US soil. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: While the Littoral Combat Ship is not suited for the front lines of a war with China, it would provide vital protection to US supply lines in such conflict, said Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work, and against Iran, LCS would be in the battle from “day one,” with eight LCSs ultimately operating out of Bahrain. Indeed, the two potential theaters of war are so different that the Navy may consider focusing the “much more maneuverable” Lockheed Martin version of the LCS on fighting fast attack boats in the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf, while the very different General Dynamics design, with its larger flight deck and fuel tanks, operates primarily in the vast reaches of the Pacific. Keep reading →