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  • Air Force calls for 74 more squadrons to prepare for possibility of war against major power

    September 18, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Air Force calls for 74 more squadrons to prepare for possibility of war against major power

    By: Stephen Losey How will the Air Force get to 386 squadrons? Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on Monday called for growing the Air Force from its current size of 312 operational squadrons to 386 by 2030, as it prepares for a possible conflict against a major nation such as China or Russia. This 24 percent increase in squadrons is the centerpiece of the service's “Air Force We Need”proposal, which has been in the works for six months. This proposal seeks to lay out what it would take for the Air Force to fight a peer adversary and win, as well as defend the homeland, provide a credible nuclear deterrent, counter a medium-sized rogue nation that might try to take advantage of the Air Force's focus on the major adversary, and fight violent extremists such as the Taliban and the Islamic State. This follows the National Defense Strategy that the Pentagon unveiled earlier this year, which is structured around the need to shift away from the violent extremist fight and instead focus on deterring or fighting nations with significant, well-developed militaries. In her keynote address at the Air Force Association's Air, Space, Cyber Conference, Wilson referenced the massive Russian military exercises launched last week, involving more than 300,000 of their troops, and China's unveiling of its first aircraft carrier and its ongoing militarization of islands in the South China Sea to extend its long-range bombers' reach. “We must see the world as it is,” Wilson said. “That was why the National Defense Strategy explicitly recognizes that we have returned to an era of great power competition.” But Wilson reiterated the service's view that the Air Force is not big enough to carry out all the missions currently being asked of it. The Air Force has to meet the threats facing the nation with its most basic unit: the squadron, Wilson said. “Our operational squadrons are the combat power of the Air Force," Wilson said. "They are the clenched fist of American resolve.” Full article:

  • Ukraine plans new naval base as US offers more weapons sales

    September 18, 2018 | International, Naval

    Ukraine plans new naval base as US offers more weapons sales

    By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES Ukraine announced plans to establish a naval base along the Sea of Azov, a move that came a day after the U.S. said it is mulling more military assistance for Kiev to counter Russia's actions. “This (base) will create conditions for rebuffing the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation in this region,” the Ukrainian government said in a statement on Sunday. U.S. military officials have been watching as tensions have increased in the Sea of Azov and the strategic Kerch Strait, which connects Ukrainian port cities to the Black Sea and from there to the Mediterranean. Since April, Russia has delayed the transit of hundreds of commercial ships attempting to sail through the Kerch Strait. Some security analysts have described Russia's actions as a de facto blockade. Full article:

  • After Pacific tour, Navy’s No. 2 talks readiness, staying ahead of competition

    September 18, 2018 | International, Naval

    After Pacific tour, Navy’s No. 2 talks readiness, staying ahead of competition

    By CAITLIN DOORNBOS | STARS AND STRIPES YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran heard right from the source how the Navy's largest foreign command is keeping up with readiness challenges, including a significant maintenance backlog and an ever-increasing competition landscape. Moran — the service's second-highest ranking officer — visited Navy bases in South Korea and Japan last week on a listening tour that he said brought helpful insight into on-the-ground operations in the Pacific. “We in Washington have our own views about things and it's largely programmatic in nature, budgetary in nature and some policy,” he told Stars and Stripes in an interview Thursday. “But to get feedback from sailors, commanding officers, chiefs and master chiefs in the fleet really helps us refine and make sure that we're supporting from Washington what they need [in the Pacific].” Readiness challenges At Yokosuka on Thursday, Moran spent time on the waterfront discussing ship maintenance. The base is home to U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility Japan Regional Maintenance Center, which is working on what Moran called a “not insignificant” backlog. A request for exact numbers on that backlog went unanswered. The 7th Fleet is operating with fewer ships than it had planned after two of its guided-missile destroyers — the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain — were severely damaged in separate fatal collisions at sea last year. While Yokosuka added an additional destroyer — the USS Milius — earlier this year, the fleet remains down two operational ships because Milius was originally intended to be an additional ship in support of Indo-Pacific operations, former Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift told Stars and Stripes last year. Moran said the McCain, which is being repaired in Yokosuka, is expected to get out of drydock this fall and the Navy is aiming to have it underway in the spring. The Fitzgerald is undergoing maintenance in Pascagoula, Miss., and the service has said the goal is to return it to sea by 2020. Moran said ship maintenance “is a key critical element for overall fleet readiness.” “Everybody recognizes that we've got to do the maintenance that's built up over time. While that's important to everybody, no one likes to be in the yards,” Moran said. “There's a cost of doing that right now and we have to re-baseline the maintenance of our ships across the fleet, particularly [in the Pacific] because it is so active, it has been a very busy place for a long time.” On Sept. 12, Moran and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith toured Yokosuka's USS Blue Ridge, which has been undergoing maintenance for about two years. Crews first re-lit the boilers on the Navy's oldest commissioned operational ship in June, and Moran said the 7th Fleet's flagship is “about ready to go to sea.” “She's outfitted like an old ‘57 Chevy that we've took the engine out, took the dashboard out and put all modern capability in, and man, she sounds and she's going to run kind of nice,” Moran said. The Blue Ridge's staff moved back onto the ship this summer. Capt. Brett Crozier, the Blue Ridge's commander, said it was an honor to host Moran. Full article:

  • Pentagon spending could lead to consolidation of cybersecurity industry

    September 18, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Pentagon spending could lead to consolidation of cybersecurity industry

    By: Justin Lynch Spurred in part by Russia's campaign of hybrid warfare in Ukraine, the Pentagon will purchase more electronic warfare equipment, a move that could lead to consolidation in the cybersecurity industry, an analyst said in a new report. Russia's use of electronic warfare combined with conventional combat tactics during its 2015 invasion of Ukraine exposed how the Department of Defense needed to increase its spending on cybersecurity, Brad Curran, an analyst at Front & Sullivan told Fifth Domain. Greater use of offensive cyber and electronic weapons by Russia means that the U.S. is expected to boost defense of its communications systems, and possibly look to increase its own offensive weapons. A September report from Frost & Sullivan projected a 2.9 percent compound annual growth rate in cybersecurity spending from the Pentagon through 2023. Securing electronic communications “is a high priority,” Curran said. The Defense Department is “just getting started” and it will be “a continuous effort to make sure our combat networks are secure.” The focus could benefit firms like Raytheon, which have invested heavily in electronic warfare, Curran said. Curran said that government purchases of enterprise systems will likely stay the same or even shrink because many of the acquisitions are meant to boost efficiency. One example is the government's investment in the cloud. But he predicts an increase in purchases of electronic warfare and offensive cyber capabilities, which will favor larger defense firms. The result will be consolidation of the cybersecurity industry among the biggest companies. During the Black Hat conference, one cybersecurity firm described the industry as “cut-throat” and added they expected industry consolidation because of purchases from the largest contractors. In 2017, the Pentagon awarded more than $1.22 billion to cyber contractors. That money went to 69 prime contractors and 50 different companies. The Pentagon's 2019 budget request for cybersecurity totals $3.6 billion, according to the report, half of which is dedicated to operations and management. The Air Force has the largest share of cybersecurity programs, at $2.19 billion. Booz Allen Hamilton was the top recipient of public contracts from the Pentagon in 2017 with a total of $115.4 million in awards, according to the report. In August, the Pentagon awarded Booz Allen Hamilton a $91 contract to manage cybersecurity for the Ballistic Missile Defense System. But while artificial intelligence will be an area that the U.S. government focuses its investments on the future, Curran said it is not currently a major factor in acquisition. “The future is AI but right now it is more of a concept," he said.

  • Halifax Shipyard launches Canada’s lead Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel

    September 17, 2018 | Local, Naval

    Halifax Shipyard launches Canada’s lead Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel

    Canada's lead Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessel, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf, was launched today, Sept. 15, 2018, marking a significant milestone for the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) and the revitalization of the Royal Canadian Navy's combatant fleet. At 103 metres and 6,615 tonne, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf is the largest Royal Canadian Navy ship built in Canada in 50 years. The ship was transitioned from our land level facility to a submersible barge yesterday, Sept. 14, 2018, and launched in the Bedford Basin today. The lead ship in the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship program is now pier side at Halifax Shipyard where our shipbuilders will continue working to prepare the ship for sea trials in 2019. HMCS Harry DeWolf is scheduled to be turned over to the Royal Canadian Navy in summer 2019. Construction of the second and third ships, the future HMCS Margaret Brooke and Max Bernays, are well underway at Halifax Shipyard. Later this month, the first two major sections of the future HMCS Margaret Brooke will be moved outside. The National Shipbuilding Strategy was created to replace the current surface fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. Through a competitive, open and transparent process, Irving Shipbuilding was selected to construct the Royal Canadian Navy's future combatant fleet—Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels followed by Canadian Surface Combatants. As a result of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Irving Shipbuilding has become one of Atlantic Canada's largest regional employers, with thousands of Canadians now working in skilled, well-paying jobs. The Halifax Shipyard, long at the centre of Canadian shipbuilding, is now revitalized and home to the most modern, innovative shipbuilding facilities, equipment, and processes in North America.

  • Simulation Technologies & Training for Law Enforcement

    September 17, 2018 | Local, Security

    Simulation Technologies & Training for Law Enforcement

    CASEY BRUNELLE © 2018 FrontLine (Vol 15, No 4) The realities of modern frontline policing – from increasingly broad and demanding operational mandates and changing environmental constraints, to the constant pressure of real-time public scrutiny – have never been more challenging. Traditional crime prevention and response have long been coupled with the requirements of community-oriented public safety, counter-terrorism measures. Lately that has further included the implications of social media and the instantaneous reporting of officers' actions, in some cases spread worldwide before formal inquiries can even begin. Effective training solutions, more so than ever before, rely on a holistic and judgmental regime that can replicate to the best possible degree the tactical challenges of response, the fluidity of operational changes on the ground, and the importance of informed decision-making strategies that keeps the safety of the public at the forefront of all policing actions. In an era of hyper-connectivity, public scrutiny can sometimes lead to denouncements of police actions within minutes, through traditional and novel media alike, often riddled with accusations of institutionalized racism, systemic brutality, and discretionary justice. These shifts in technology and the underlying public culture are not exclusive to the United States; they are increasingly fluid game-changers throughout the West and law enforcement policymakers and frontline officers rarely go a day without considering their implications or witnessing their consequences for themselves. There is no doubt that this is will have a positive result in the long run, and simulated training is being seen as one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to ensure the right decision-making processes become ingrained. Increasingly, law enforcement agencies at the local, provincial, and national level are recognizing the utility of replicating these fluid challenges with advanced simulations and virtual and augmented reality technologies. From the use of wireless small arms platforms (such as BlueFire technology from Meggitt Training System) and simulators of cruisers for high-speed pursuits (such as the “souped up” version from General Electric), to customizable hardware that can be used to construct any building interiors at will (as in the flexibility offered by Mobile Police Training Structures), simulations technology has become one of the most effective and cost-efficient measures in ensuring that police are as equipped as possible to handle the evolving challenges of their profession. Full article:

  • F-35 inventory soars in new Pentagon spending bill

    September 17, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    F-35 inventory soars in new Pentagon spending bill

    By: Joe Gould WASHINGTON — Beyond the 77 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters authorized by the 2019 defense policy bill, congressional appropriators are adding another 16 for a total of 93. Congressional conferees on Thursday finalized a $674.4 billion defense spending bill for next year packaged with funding for the departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, or Labor-HHS — and a continuing resolution through Dec. 7 for some other parts of the government. As usual, appropriators used their annual defense spending bill to offer tweaks to the existing shopping list for military hardware from the previous version, which President Donald Trump signed into law last month. The new compromise spending bill, which trumps the authorization bill, buys three littoral combat ships instead of two and 13 Bell-Boeing V-22 Ospreys instead of seven — among other differences. The Navy and Marine Corps continue to invest in vertical takeoff aircraft and announced a $4.2 billion contract for dozens of new V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft just weeks ago. Full article:

  • Army looks to build stronger tactical cyber teams

    September 17, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Army looks to build stronger tactical cyber teams

    By: Mark Pomerleau The Army is looking to build up and resource expeditionary cyber teams that will conduct cyber effects at the tactical edge. These units are called expeditionary cyber support detachments, or ECSDs, and are small teams attached to companies that provide cyber and electromagnetic spectrum effects such as sensing or jamming. These teams have evolved and continue to shift in size and capability. “Every time we go out we're always trying to find something new, some new angle or some way to leverage cyber effects to help the warfighter,” Staff Sgt. Christopher Knight, an ECSD team member told Fifth Domain in a recent visit to Fort Gordon. Knight said it is difficult to find the right staff given the small pool of cyber experts. The ECSDs are recruiting to expand, he said, adding they just received eight more soldiers and are working to train them and develop a pipeline. Currently there are three teams, which fall under the 780th Military Intelligence brigade, with as many as seven soldiers. Full article:

  • Skilled worker, parts shortages still hurting Hornet and Growler maintenance, government watchdog finds

    September 17, 2018 | International, Aerospace

    Skilled worker, parts shortages still hurting Hornet and Growler maintenance, government watchdog finds

    By: David B. Larter A shortage of skilled workers and repair parts is causing backlogs in maintenance depots for Hornets and Growlers, creating headwinds in the Navy's efforts to put more aircraft in the air, the Government Accountability Office found. The Navy, which is chipping away at a readiness crisis among its fighters and electronic attack aircraft, is being hampered by a lack of skilled workers and capacity, specifically at depots on the West Coast at Whidbey Island, Washington, and Lemoore, California. Furthermore some parts needed to repair the Hornets and Growlers were manufactured by suppliers who have gotten out of the business, significantly slowing the process and forcing the Navy to cannibalize parts on aircraft to offset the delays, the September report found. One challenge pointed out by the GAO is the distance between where aircraft are based and maintained and where parts are repaired for the E/A-18G Growlers. The Growlers, largely based at Whidbey Island, many of the components that need fixing must be repaired at the depots in Lemoore. “However, according to officials, Lemoore's depots have limited capacity to repair these aircraft, creating a maintenance backlog,” the report found. The issue of manufacturers getting out of the business was at least in part caused by the Navy's shorting of repair parts accounts during Obama-era budget cuts. A recent study found that between 2011 and 2015, as many as 17,000 suppliers left the defense industry. The Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran discussed the supplier issues with Defense News in April, saying stable funding should get suppliers to come back into the pool. Full article:

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