31 mai 2021 | International, Naval

US Navy FY22 budget request prioritizes readiness over procurement

US Navy FY22 budget request prioritizes readiness over procurement

The U.S. Navy has asked for a budget that would boost near-term readiness by investing in ship and aircraft maintenance but shrinks procurement and force structure, again pausing plans to grow the fleet.


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  • Recalculating: GPS, L-band and the Pentagon’s untenable position on 5G

    27 avril 2020 | International, C4ISR

    Recalculating: GPS, L-band and the Pentagon’s untenable position on 5G

    Daniel S. Goldin   Last week, Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission, submitted the L-band Ligado spectrum proposal for approval, which, he said, will “make more efficient use of underused spectrum and promote the deployment of 5G” with “stringent conditions to prevent harmful [GPS] interference.” All five FCC commissioners voted to affirm the proposal, which was formally published in a 70-page report. L-band is a critical piece of spectrum that will help accelerate the deployment of U.S. 5G so we can compete and ultimately win against China. The Department of Defense argues that use of the L-band (as Ligado proposes) will interfere with GPS, which is essential to our military and economy. The FCC’s final order concludes that the testing upon which the DoD and other opponents based their GPS interference claims was invalid. L-band opponents’ interference measurement (termed 1dB C/No) is “inappropriate” and “there is no connection presented in the technical studies” that prove this measure of interference “relates to performance-based metrics” of a GPS receiver. In short, the FCC said there is no harmful GPS interference, and opponents have been using a flawed methodology and an invalid test with which the FCC “strongly disagree[s].” The FCC’s recent report is not the first time the Ligado proposal was determined to cause no GPS interference. In early 2019, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration under David Redl reviewed the Ligado proposal carefully — along with the 20 government agencies that comprise the review body — and determined there is no interference. The NTIA then wrote a recommendation for approval and, before it could get to the FCC, it was blocked, eventually leading to Redl’s dismissal. Further, over 5,000 hours of testing, including 1,500 hours at a high-tech U.S./DoD-sponsored and designed facility (performed by the world-recognized standard-in-testing National Institute of Standards and Technology scientists and engineers), proved no harmful GPS interference. Afterward, a DoD expert who monitored and confirmed the testing results told me “there is no interference problem, only a bureaucracy problem.” Yet DoD has continued to blitz the executive and legislative branches, galvanizing opposition with a compelling plea: Ligado hurts GPS, which endangers military operations and will harm the economy. Powerful. But factually wrong. And if wrong, why is Defense Secretary Mark Esper continuing to lobby against the FCC? The FCC is an independent agency. The Communications Act of 1934 charged the FCC with regulating communications for important reasons, including “for the purpose of national defense.” So why is the DoD employing principles of war — offensive operations to mass upon and seize the objective — toward the demise of Ligado’s proposal and, perhaps implicitly, Ligado itself? Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House Armed Services Committee are weighing in on the DoD’s behalf. They have been presented partial, one-sided information. Mr. Esper is a capable, reform-minded defense secretary who has brought much-needed change to the Pentagon. But he has also been advancing one-sided recommendations from his senior staff for GPS issues, some with longstanding connections to the highly influential Position, Navigation, and Timing Advisory Board — which enjoys a level of influence akin to a special interest group within the U.S. government. A reading of the defense secretary’s November 2019 letter to the NTIA reveals that even the DoD was never really sure about its own GPS interference claims, stating merely there are “too many unknowns,” the “risks are far too great,” testing shows “potential for” disruption and the Ligado system “could have a significant negative impact.” Yet, once the Ligado proposal was presented for approval on April 15 — with no new testing or analysis since November — DoD leadership tweeted that Ligado’s signal “would needlessly imperil” DoD capabilities that use GPS, and risk “crippling our GPS networks.” If taken at face value, this means the DoD has spent over $50 billion over 45 years on a military GPS system that is so fragile it can be rendered useless by a 10-watt transmitter (a refrigerator light bulb) operating 23 MHz away. If true, this would represent one of the most egregious mismanagements of taxpayer dollars in federal procurement history. The pandemic has shown that China is coercing nations in need of medical assistance to adopt Chinese 5G infrastructure. Coercion from Chinese dominance in 5G would be worse. Agencies like the FCC and NTIA are in the national security arena now. As Attorney General William Barr stated in February, “we have to move decisively to auction the C-band and bring resolution on the L-band. Our economic future is at stake. We have to bear in mind in making these spectrum decisions that, given the narrow window we face, the risk of losing the 5G struggle with China should vastly outweigh all other considerations.” It is time for bold, forward-looking leadership and a wartime mindset. Chairman Pai deserves credit for setting this example. His courageous decision, coupled with support from the FCC commissioners and the strong statements of support from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Barr, signals a new determination to win the 5G race. L-band spectrum will enable other key elements of the U.S. 5G strategy and private sector innovation faster than any other option. It also demonstrates that a science-based approach to technology and policy is critical, otherwise we will grind to a near halt on every major decision — like this one — to China’s benefit. America is truly “exceptional,” and the envy of every political system the world over, because our system is anchored on the rule of law and institutions that allow stakeholders’ competing interests to be adjudicated. All parties have had many years to make their cases. The FCC’s world-class scientists and engineers have come to a conclusion. The DoD has no new information; it just does not like the result. After all the internal policy battles are fought, there is only one constituency that matters: the American people and their national and economic security, consistent with U.S. policy objectives grounded in facts. This is why we must embrace this scientifically sound and strategically wise decision by the FCC and move forward, guided by another more apt principle of war: unity of effort. https://www.c4isrnet.com/opinion/2020/04/24/recalculating-gps-l-band-and-the-pentagons-untenable-position-on-5g/

  • Army Awards Northrop $289M For IBCS Missile Defense Network

    2 octobre 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Army Awards Northrop $289M For IBCS Missile Defense Network

    By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. Chief of Staff Mark Milley declared air and missile defense the Army's No. 5 priority -- one of the Big Six which the service is pushing to accelerate, if necessary at the expense of everything else in their budget. UPDATED with contract details WASHINGTON: The Army just gave Northrop Grumman a $289.3 million vote of confidence in its much-criticized IBCS missile defense network, a major priority for major war. The award was announced — without even naming IBCS — on Friday, the last work day of the 2018 fiscal year. IBCS is meant to link multiple Army air and missile defense (AMD) systems that weren’t designed to work together — Patriot, THAAD, Sentinel radar, and the future IFPC anti-aircraft/cruise missile system — into a single network. (It’s an awful nested acronym for IAMD Battle Control System, where IAMD in turn stands for Integrated Air & Missile Defense). The goal is to exchange targeting data so quickly and precisely over vast distances that any launcher in range can intercept incoming threats spotted by any radar. It’s a capability of significant value against North Korea and vital for a high-tech war against Russia or China, which have massive arsenals of increasingly precise (non-nuclear) ballistic and cruise missiles. Full article: https://breakingdefense.com/2018/10/army-gives-northrop-289m-for-ibcs-missile-defense-network

  • Finland gets the green light to buy F-35, F-18 and billions of dollars in weapons

    13 octobre 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Finland gets the green light to buy F-35, F-18 and billions of dollars in weapons

    Valerie Insinna WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department on Oct. 9 approved the sale of the F/A-18EF Super Hornet and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to Finland, paving the way for the nation to purchase American jets should either Boeing or Lockheed Martin win its ongoing fighter competition. The two U.S. offerings are facing off in a multinational contest that also includes France’s Dassault Rafale, the British-made Eurofighter Typhoon and the Swedish Saab Gripen E/F. The F-35 package, worth $12.5 billion, includes 64 F-35A conventional-takeoff-and-landing jets, 66 Pratt & Whitney F135 engines, and the aircraft’s associated communications and electronic warfare systems. Notably, it contains not only the aircraft’s current logistics system — the troubled Autonomic Logistics Information System — but also its replacement — the Operational Data Integrated Network — which is under development. Meanwhile, the Super Hornet package — worth an estimated $14.7 billion — includes 50 single-seat F/A-18E jets, eight double-seated F/A-18Fs and 14 EA-18G Growlers, which is the electronic attack variant. The package also includes 166 F414-GE-400 engines for the dual-engine fighter, Sniper targeting pods, AN/APG-79 radars, AN/ALR-67(V)3 electric warfare countermeasures receiving sets, and Next Generation Jammer Midband and advanced electronic attack kits for the EA-18G. Both offers include a suite of munitions for the aircraft, including 500 Small Diameter Bomb II weapons, 150 AIM-9X missiles, 200 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range weapons, Joint Standoff Weapons, Joint Direct Attack Munition kits that turn dumb bombs into precision-guided weapons, and assorted test and support gear for training and maintenance. After the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency posted the notification of the potential sale, Finland’s Ministry of Defence released a statement clarifying that the announcement represents an important procedural step forward for the HX Fighter Program, but that negotiations with all competitors are ongoing. “The announcement of the notification procedure does not constitute a procurement decision by Finland, as the decision to procure multi-role fighters will be made by the Government in 2021,” the statement said. “Furthermore, the types and quantities of multi-role fighters and weapons specified in the notification do not represent the final content of the Finnish procurement package; instead, the list published by the DSCA indicates those items and quantities that the US administration is prepared to sell at this stage of the procurement process.” Finland also addressed the price of the packages, which exceed the $12 billion budget set by the country for the total cost of the program. “In the FMS procedure, the quantities and prices proposed for approval are generally set higher than what the purchasing country has indicated in its own request. The purpose of this formality is to avoid the need to submit a new and time-consuming Congressional Notification in the event that the purchasing country makes changes to the procurement package,” it said. The winner of the HX competition will produce up to 64 fighters to replace Finland’s Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornets, which are expected to be retired by 2030. Instead of issuing a requirement for a particular number of aircraft with set capabilities, Finland is allowing the vendors to create packages of aircraft and weapons that best meet the Air Force’s operational needs — and the nation’s budget. Despite financial setbacks to the country caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Finland’s Defence Ministry in August proposed a massive 54 percent spending boost to the defense budget to $5.8 billion in 2021 (4.87 billion Euros), with much of the increase caused by the HX competition. Corrected on 10/9/20 at 3:23 p.m. EST to reflect the correct budget numbers. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/10/09/finland-gets-the-green-light-to-buy-the-f-35-or-super-hornetand-billions-of-dollars-in-weapons/

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