sequestration

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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 →

lockheed boeing long range strike bomber

PENTAGON: The grander the title, the blander the content. That’s normally a safe rule in Washington. But if analyzed closely, this afternoon’s “State of the Air Force” briefing by service Secretary Deborah Lee James and Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, plus the accompanying pamphlet A Call To the Future, actually do articulate a remarkably clear… Keep reading →

The amphibious ship USS San Antonio, LPD-17.

CAPITOL HILL: Sometimes $800 million is not enough. Congress really, really wants the Navy to buy a 12th San Antonio­-class amphibious warship. The Marine Corps really, really wants the ship, which would be designated LPD-28. And of course shipbuilder Huntington-Ingalls really, really wants the contract, which would help fill a multi-year gap in amphib construction.… Keep reading →

Brad Carson, Under Secretary of the Army, talks to solders in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON: This hurts us more than it hurts you. That’s the essence of the regular Army’s message to the National Guard about the Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI), a controversial cost-cutting plan that — among other things – strips the Guard of all its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. Pain is on its way for all of… Keep reading →

Gen. William Shelton, commander of US Air Force Space Command.

WASHINGTON: Watch the skies. While they’re far from falling, the head of Air Force Space Command said today, the heavens aren’t the “peaceful sanctuary” they once were, either. Nothing short of a nuclear missile could pull the plug on a satellite constellation as robust as the Global Positioning System (GPS), Gen. William Shelton said, semi-reassuringly.… Keep reading →

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WASHINGTON: The chairman of the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee, Rep. Rob Wittman, is strikingly optimistic about the chances for consummating the so-called grand bargain and ending the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. When I buttonholed him after a Tuesday Defense Writers’ Group breakfast, Wittman went so far as to say that “I think there’s… Keep reading →

Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel jokes with reporters at Eglin Air Force Base. (The aircraft behind him is an F-35A).

Defense Secretaries always “try to get out of Washington and visit as many of our bases and talk to as many of our people” as they can, as Sec. Chuck Hagel said this week at Kings Bay submarine base in Georgia. But when you’re SecDef, you always take Washington with you. Physically, that means the… Keep reading →

Rep. Mike Rogers Ala.

CAPITOL HILL: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor isn’t physically absent from here yet, but he is close to politically dead after last night’s stunning political defeat by a little known Tea Party supporter from the southern Virginia constituency. I spoke to half a dozen close watchers of defense politics this morning and all but one… Keep reading →

Most Apache units, both active-duty and Guard, have spent the last decade operating in two-gunship teams like this one, not the larger formations required for conventional wars.

WASHINGTON: In the emotionally charged debate over the Army National Guard, the “don’t cut our Guard!” side has been much louder than the pro-cuts camp. That’s why it’s interesting to read this pretty low-key letter from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defending the cuts. The simple fact it’s Hagel’s signature on the letter speaks to the… Keep reading →

An A-10 "Warthog" flies low over two ground troops.

  CAPITOL HILL: The House Appropriations Committee bucked the trend today, voting 23 to 13 to retire the beloved A-10 Warthog ground attack plane. Both the House and Senate Armed Services committees have voted to save it. While HASC and SASC are the authorizers who set defense policy, it’s the appropriators who vote the money to… Keep reading →

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