12 septembre 2023 | International, Aérospatial

UK, Japanese, Italian partners agree next steps for fighter jet | Reuters

Britain's BAE Systems , Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries , and Italy's Leonardo have agreed the next steps to deliver the concept phase of a next-generation combat aircraft, BAE Systems said on Tuesday.


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  • US Air Force orders freeze on public outreach

    13 mars 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    US Air Force orders freeze on public outreach

    By: Valerie Insinna , David B. Larter , and Aaron Mehta WASHINGTON — The Air Force is slashing access to media embeds, base visits and interviews as it seeks to put the entire public affairs apparatus through retraining — a move it says is necessary for operational security, but one which could lead to a broader freeze in how the service interacts with the public. According to March 1 guidance obtained by Defense News, public affairs officials and commanders down to the wing level must go through new training on how to avoid divulging sensitive information before being allowed to interact with the press. The effort, which represents the third major Defense Department entity to push out guidance restricting public communication over the past 18 months, creates a massive information bureaucracy in which even the most benign human-interest stories must be cleared at the four-star command level. Before settling on retraining its public affairs corps and commanders, the service considered an even more drastic step: shutting down all engagement with the press for a 120-day period, a source with knowledge of the discussions said. Instead, the service settled on the retraining plan, a temporary move which Brig. Gen. Ed Thomas, director of public affairs, said could be completed “in the coming weeks.” “In today's challenging information environment marked by great power competition, we will continue to be as transparent with the American public as possible while protecting sensitive information on our operations and capabilities,” Thomas told Defense News. “We owe both to the public, and it is vitally important for the public to understand what we are doing on their behalf and with their tax dollars.” But two former Air Force secretaries and an influential congressman all raise the same concern: that intentionally or not, this will send a message that engaging with the public simply isn't worth the risk. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., told Defense News the memo fits into a trend of recent moves inside the Defense Department towards less transparency, which could ultimately undermine DoD's efforts to address long-standing problems. Gallagher serves on the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, which oversees several key Air Force programs like the B-21 bomber. “I fully support the National Defense Strategy's focus on great power competition,” Gallagher told Defense News, “but I think the department has it backwards; It is precisely because of the scale of the challenges before us that transparency is more important than ever. I worry that by failing to discuss problems, we will only ensure there is no public pressure to fix them.” Shrinking Air Force access The renewed focus on operational security stems from the Trump administration's recently released national defense strategy, according to the Air Force guidance. That document, which was marked as “for official use only,” was distributed to public affairs officials following a February 2018 memo on operational security signed by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein. “As we engage the public, we must avoid giving insights to our adversaries which could erode military advantage,” the March 2018 guidance read. “We must now adapt to the reemergence of great power competition and the reality that our adversaries are learning from what we say in public.” Until wing-level spokesmen have been certified by their corresponding major command, responses to reporter queries that potentially could include details about “operations, training or exercises, readiness or other issues which may reveal operational information to potential adversaries” are subject to approval by the Air Force's public affairs headquarters at the Pentagon, known as Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs or SAF/PA. Exceptions can be made for human interest stories, community engagement pieces or other lighter, fluffier news, which can be approved by major command public officials. What this means is that if public affairs officials at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas haven't received their training, a local story about military working dogs would need the approval of Air Education and Training Command before being allowed to proceed with an interview or any engagement. Beyond limiting the Air Force's interactions with journalists, the new guidelines pose new restrictions on public appearances such as air show demonstrations, trade shows, industry conferences and think tank events, which can move forward if authorized by SAF/PA's engagement division. And although Air Force band performances will be permitted to continue, all band members who interact with the media must receive training from public affairs. Exactly what constitutes sensitive information is unclear. The Air Force's guidance lays out “potential engagement areas” alongside topics that could possibly pose “operational security risks.” Classified information and vulnerabilities are included in the latter area, but so are details about flag exercises, the number and location of operational assets, or information related to current readiness — some of which are routinely shared with the public. The guidance notes that “neither list is all inclusive,” and that public affairs professionals “use sound discretion and exercise discretion when evaluating all engagement opportunities.” Pausing a turnaround The guidance comes as the Air Force was finally repairing a damaged public affairs reputation. The service infamously clamped down on talking after the 2008 firing of both its chief of staff and service secretary, which had a chilling effect across the service. The situation culminated in a 2016 informal poll by Foreign Policy magazine, which found reporters ranking the Air Force as the worst service to deal with. That result resonated heavily within Air Force leadership, triggering promises of more open lines of communication. Deborah Lee James, Wilson's predecessor as Air Force secretary, told Defense News it was her belief the service needs to be more open, not less. “I have not seen the memo. However, I am sorry to hear about this development. If true, it certainly runs against the grain for what I tried to do as secretary of the Air Force,” James said. “Sometimes there's positive news to talk about, and our airmen can be the best communicators. Sometimes there's negative news to talk about. But much better that we be the ones to describe that news and frame it for the American people.” Whit Peters, who from 1997-2001 served as both Air Force secretary and undersecretary, acknowledged there are times when the military needs to keep information back for security reasons. He said the memo restrictions remind him of the way the service handled information during the conflict in Bosnia. But he also warned the memo may have a chilling effect far beyond its printed text. “The penumbra of this memo is worse than the memo itself. If you're already an Air Force officer, who is disinclined to talk to the press, this just gives you one more reason to think it is not career enhancing to talk to the press,” Peters said. “And that is unfortunate because the Air Force at all levels needs to be talking to the American public about what a valuable service it provides.” “I still think the Air Force does not do enough publicly to explain its mission and to explain why it needs to rejuvenate its whole fleet, both in air and space,” Peters continued. “So I would hope this doesn't get in the way of the Air Force telling its story on why it's important, and why it needs to be funded by the taxpayers.” The Navy: A Case Study A test case for the potential impact of the memo can be seen in the recent status of the Navy. In March 2017, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson issued a memo that directed admirals to continue to engage with the media. But it also implored Navy officials not to give “too much” information — even unclassified information — in a public setting. “When it comes to specific operational capabilities however, very often less is more,” he said in the memo. “Sharing information about future operations and capabilities, even at the unclassified level, makes it easier for potential adversaries to gain an advantage.” The memo, which was broad and lacked specific guidance, created a persistent atmosphere of uncertainty throughout the Navy where leaders and program managers have been unsure about what they can talk about and what they can't. And last October, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis released a memo calling for employees to be “vigilant” in preventing leaks. “It is a violation of our oath to divulge, in any fashion, non-public DoD information, classified or unclassified, to anyone without the required security clearance as well as a specific need to know in the performance of their duties,” he said. The information chill both inside the Navy and DoDwide has been noticed by lawmakers, who have called on the military to err on the side of transparency. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., discusses the budget and transparency at the Surface Navy Association's annual symposium on Jan. 10, 2018. At a Navy conference in January, Gallagher dismissed Richardson's concerns about giving away secrets in the press, arguing that if the Navy doesn't talk about what it's doing, members of Congress can't convince their fellow members not on defense committees, let alone their constituents, that more resources are necessary. “Despite the old adage that ‘loose lips sink ships,' non-existent strategic communications can sink entire navies,” he continued. “If the bias is towards silence to prevent adversaries from finding out about unique capabilities or potential weaknesses: guess what, there will never be a public constituency for acquiring or mitigating them. “And, oh by the way, our adversaries probably have a decent idea of what we're up to anyways.” The powerful chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), spoke out in January as well, saying that while secrecy is important, so is transparency, saying it makes a difference in DoD's bottom line. “As we've talked before, some of the folks in DoD are reluctant to talk too openly about our shortfalls because you're broadcasting that to your potential adversaries,” Thornberry said. “And I admit, it's a fine balance. But if we're going to convince my colleagues who are not on this committee, as well as the American people, to fix these things, I think we do have to at least talk somewhat openly about what our problems are.” https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2018/03/13/air-force-orders-freeze-on-public-outreach/

  • Lockheed sees earnings growth in space business

    21 octobre 2020 | International, C4ISR, Sécurité, Autre défense

    Lockheed sees earnings growth in space business

    Joe Gould WASHINGTON ― Space emerged as Lockheed Martin's business area with the highest growth, driven by hypersonic weapons programs and an anticipated next-generation interceptor award, CEO James Taiclet said Tuesday on the company's third-quarter earnings call. Though F-35 fighter jet deliveries and classified programs drove growth in Lockheed's aeronautics segment, and demand for Hellfire missiles drove the missiles and fire control segment, low single-digit increases were largely Lockheed's norm for the quarter. “When we speak of hypersonics, I think there's a very big upside there because there's a very big threat. It's getting worse out of Russia and China, and the U.S. and its allies are going to have to meet it both on offensive and defensive hypersonic systems,” Taiclet said, adding that classified space systems are a “wide-open field.” Taiclet also said he expects the government will work with industry to counter emerging kinetic and non-kinetic threats to space assets, ground stations and the links between them. He pointed to the Space Development Agency's selection of Lockheed, which is one of the firms building its “transport layer” — a low-Earth orbit constellation of satellites that can transfer data globally through optical intersatellite links. Taiclet touted the satellite constellation's eventual ability to transmit data at high speeds to aircraft, ground troops, and surface and undersea vessels as synergistic with Lockheed's push into 5G networking, which Taiclet calls “5G.mil.” A telecom executive before he joined Lockheed in June, Taiclet speculated that the company's toehold will give it an advantage as competition in this business area heats up. SDA Director Derek Tournear previously stated that the transport layer will be the space component of Joint All-Domain Command and Control, or JADC2, a Pentagon effort to connect any sensor to any shooter across domains and services. The effort now has a “C” at the beginning — CJADC2 — for “Combined.” Lockheed reported Tuesday that its space segment's net sales in the third quarter of 2020 increased $163 million, or 6 percent, compared to the same period in 2019. The segment earned $90 million for government satellite programs due to higher volume (primarily Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites), and about $60 million for strategic and missile defense programs due to higher volume (primarily hypersonic development programs). Space's operating profit in the third quarter of 2020 decreased $61 million, or 20 percent, compared to the same period in 2019. There was a decrease there of $50 million due to lower equity earnings from the corporation's investment in United Launch Alliance ― a joint venture with Boeing. Lockheed announced last week it will partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne to compete for the Next Generation Interceptor program, which is run by the Missile Defense Agency. The MDA plans to downselect to two companies, with an eventual winner expected to have a system ready in 2028. On Tuesday's call, Taiclet said Lockheed's acquisition of Integration Innovation Inc.'s hypersonics portfolio this month was to provide a new capability in thermal management for hypersonic glide bodies. The deal with i3 of Huntsville, Alabama, was part of a broader mergers and acquisition strategy, that includes joint ventures and commercial partnerships, to add to the company's “technological firepower” in areas like mission systems, he said. “We plan to be active, but we plan to be very, very prudent,” he noted. It was disclosed last week that the Pentagon's nascent hypersonic missile, during a March 19 test in Hawaii, hit within 6 inches of its target. The Army is developing a ground-launched capability and plans to field a battery-sized hypersonic weapon to soldiers by 2023. Lockheed executives were upbeat about space launch. Under a recent Pentagon award, potentially worth billions of dollars, to launch national security payloads over the next five years, ULA will receive 60 percent of the contracts and SpaceX will get 40 percent. Asked Tuesday about competition between ULA and SpaceX, Lockheed Chief Financial Officer Ken Possenriede acknowledged SpaceX as “more than an emerging threat right now.” “Of the recent competitions we've had with them, we've been pleased with where ULA landed relative to SpaceX,” Possenriede said. “We also think we now have a price point that is compelling to customers that will allow ULA to get its fair share of awards over SpaceX.” https://www.defensenews.com/2020/10/20/lockheed-sees-earnings-growth-in-space-business/

  • CACI adds space, intel firms to growing tech portfolio

    1 novembre 2021 | International, C4ISR

    CACI adds space, intel firms to growing tech portfolio

    Defense contractor CACI International on Thursday announced it made two acquisitions in the last quarter, in line with plans to increase its technology-focused business, according to CEO John Mengucci.

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