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  • As deadline nears, Senate approves $674 billion defense budget bill

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    As deadline nears, Senate approves $674 billion defense budget bill

    By: Leo Shane III and Joe Gould WASHINGTON — With the fiscal year winding down, Senate lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a multi-agency appropriations deal that would prevent a government shutdown and give the Defense Department its full-year budget on schedule for the first time in a decade. The measure, which provides for more than $606 billion in base defense spending and nearly $68 billion more in overseas contingency funds, is in line with White House requests and spending targets outlined in the annual defense authorization bill approved earlier this summer. “After subjecting America's all-volunteer armed forces to years of belt tightening, this legislation will build on our recent progress in rebuilding the readiness of our military and investing more in the men and women who wear the uniform,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said before the Senate vote. The funding total — approved by a 93-7 vote — amounts to an increase of more than 3 percent for military spending in fiscal 2019, but as important as the boost is the timing of the measure. In recent years, Congress has struggled to pass any appropriations measures before the start of the new fiscal year, relying instead on a series of budget extensions to avoid partial government shutdowns. That has infuriated Pentagon leaders, who have said the fractured appropriations process prevents them from keeping equipment purchases and new program starts on time. If the House finalizes the appropriations measure next week and President Donald Trump signs it into law in the following week (all parties involved have already signaled they expect to do so ), it will mark the first time since 2008 that Congress and the White House have passed their spending plans on time. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., called that “a major victory” for Congress and the military. The measure funds a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops starting next January and a boost in military end strength of 16,400 spread across the active-duty and reserve forces. Operation and maintenance spending totals $243.2 billion of the defense total, and research and development efforts another $96.1 billion. Defense health and military family programs would receive $34.4 billion. The appropriations fund 13 new Navy ships ― including three DDG-51 guided missile destroyers and two Virginia-class submarines ― 93 F-35 aircraft, 58 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, 66 AH-64 Apache helicopters, 13 V-22 aircraft, and $1.5 billion for the upgrade of 135 Abrams tanks. The National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account would also see a $1.3 billion boost from the appropriations plan. In order to avoid political fights over non-defense spending levels, lawmakers agreed to package the military budget bill with the full-year funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education. In addition, the legislation contains a budget extension for a handful of agency budgets lawmakers have not yet finished negotiating. The move will prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month, when the fiscal year ends. Several senators lamented before the vote that all of the appropriations bills have not yet been finalized, but for the first time in years, defense advocates aren't among those complaining. In addition to the full Defense Department appropriations plan, lawmakers last week finalized a spending plan for military construction projects and the Department of Veterans Affairs, covering nearly all aspects of national defense and military personnel spending.

  • How the Air Force plans to use space to project power in the 21st century

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    How the Air Force plans to use space to project power in the 21st century

    By: Daniel Cebul NATIONAL HARBOR, Md.— As the National Defense Strategy and National Security Strategyhave made clear, space is set to become a crucial war fighting domain, as nearly every operation the military conducts relies on space assets. So when the leaders of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, Space Command, commander in Europe and Africa and special operations head all shared a stage at the Air Force Associations annual conference to discuss operations, its no surprise they chose to focus on how the service plans to leverage space assets to project power in the 21st century. One reason space is so important, not just to the Air Force, but all military services, is that space assets enable multidomain operations that are becoming the norm in the modern warfare. Citing the Air Force's successful strikes against Assad-regime chemical weapons manufacturing sites in Syria in April, Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, explained the mission was successful because “we had well-vetted and thorough multidomain operations.” Another key reason the Air Force is doubling down on space is because the outcome of a conflict with a near-peer will largely depend on winning the battle in space. “If deterrence fails I am convinced ... if we are up against a peer or near-peer we are going to have to fight for space superiority,” said Gen. John Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command. “As the National Defense Strategy talks about, that's going to require capability from multiple domains to come forward,” he added. Raymond noted the need to control assets in space was prioritized in the National Security Strategy, which talks about “unfettered access to and freedom to maneuver in space as a vital national interest. That's significant, it wasn't in the last National Security Strategy.” And unlike in previous endeavors beyond Earth's atmosphere, the U.S. is no longer going it alone. Looking at the spectrum of operations “from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief on one end to kinetic on the other end, there is nothing that isn't done without multidomain operations or integration of air, space and cyber together, and there is nothing we do not do without our allies," Raymond said. "So by definition multidomain, [and command and control] has to be coalition friendly.” Considering the need for U.S. partners in space and how the space environment has evolved, Raymond explained, "we haven't needed to have partners in space before. It was a benign domain.... That is not the case today and we are working really hard to develop those partnerships that we enjoy in all other domains than space.” But projecting power from space requires work to be done on terra firma by the U.S. and its allies. Gen. Timothy Ray, commander of U.S. Air Force global strike command, explained “The ability to improve much faster at our bases and our power projection platforms absolutely has to be an integrated conversation. We talk about integrating air space and cyber we fundamentally have to master the integration of our bases.”

  • How Air Force Tankers, Transports Can Survive In High-Tech War

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    How Air Force Tankers, Transports Can Survive In High-Tech War

    By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. “We're looking at airframes of the future that will have common cockpits, advanced propulsion systems, (and) signature management," Miller said. The goal “really is understanding (how) to modify or build an airplane that allows us to operate through that threat environment." AFA: Air Mobility Command's tankers and transports would be big, slow targets in a major war, but without them, most of the US military can't move. The imperative to fly fuel, supplies, and troops in the face of high-tech threats – from anti-aircraft missiles to cyber attack – is forcing AMC to change its approach to aircraft upgrades, communications networks, and what they ask airmen to think about every day, its new commander told reporters here this morning. AMC wants to stimulate innovative thinking by all its people, Gen. Maryanne Miller said, but “not so much on innovation for innovation's sake” – they have to be “much more focused.” On what? “It needs to be on our resilient and agile response,” she said, “being able to operate in that contested, degraded, or operationally challenged threat environment.” There are a lot of buzzwords in that sentence, but they add up to a major change in mindset for strategic transport and logistics. While roadside bombs have ravaged ground convoys in Afghanistan and Iraq, US pilots and sailors can usually assume that they'll arrive alive. Until last year, the joint Transportation Command – overseeing Air Mobility Command, Military Sealift Command, and the Army's Surface Deployment and Distribution Command – didn't even factor into its war plans that an enemy might shoot down planes or sink ships. But Air Mobility Command is already under constant attack in cyberspace, and advanced adversaries such as Russia, China, or even Iran have long-range missiles to challenge US dominance of the air and sea – what's known as an Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) strategy. Transportation Command is now well into a congressionally-directed Mobility Capabilities & Requirements Study (MCRS) that “is looking at all the things that you're describing,” Miller said when I asked about such factors. TRANSCOM is working with the Pentagon's independent office of Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation (CAPE) and the Air Force, she said, with AMC providing extensive data on how it's operated over the years. Due out “later this fall,” she said, the study will look at the evolving threats and make recommendations on how many tankers and transports AMC needs, and of what kinds. Full article:

  • Air Force Uses AI to Accelerate Pilot Training

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    Air Force Uses AI to Accelerate Pilot Training

    By Mandy Mayfield The Air Force is hoping a suite of new artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies will help accelerate the speed at which pilots and airmen are trained, the Air Education and Training Command leader said Sept. 18. “We are actually allowing our students to explore these [AI] tools of learning and measuring what's going on in their brain, what's going on in their body, what's going on with the effectiveness of them doing the job we are trying to teach them to do,” Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, Air Education and Training Command commander, said at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space and Cyber Conference at National Harbor, Maryland. AETC is in the midst of an experimental program, the Pilot Training Next initiative, which is utilizing AI to train pilots — in hopes of not only streamlining the process of airmen becoming flight ready — but also improving the quality of their education, Kwast said. “So the data is very promising in that we can accentuate the adult brain to learn fast, better and, I'll say, [with] more ‘stick' — meaning that when you learn something you remember it longer and better,” Kwast added. As pilots use the “emerging technologies” to learn, the Air Force is learning alongside them, aggregating each pilot's data onto a grade sheet, he said. Although leadership is enthusiastic about the new technologies, the program is still underway and results about its effectiveness aren't available yet,, Kwast said. “We aren't at the place where we can say what we can do with it yet.” Some of the beta testing should be completed by the summer of 2019, he added. Maj. Justin Chandler, a Pilot Training Next team member, also touted the technologies, saying they allow future airmen 24-hour access to pilot instruction. “The artificial intelligence allows us to ensure that they [student pilots] don't pick up bad habits,” Chandler said.

  • Here are the top issues the Army’s combat arms leaders are working on to make sure soldiers are ready to fight

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Terrestre

    Here are the top issues the Army’s combat arms leaders are working on to make sure soldiers are ready to fight

    By: Todd South A recent annual conference at the epicenter of the Army's maneuver force training saw combat arms leaders focusing on transforming the force with an eye toward future conflict. Though in past years portions of the annual conference have been open to the media, this year staff decided to close the entire event to outside media. The following information was gleaned from Army releases on the event. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, told attendees that five near-term priorities will drive how well today's soldiers are ready for their next operating environment. Those priorities include: A review of how the Army recruits its soldiers and a plan to improve. Improving the leader-to-led ratio and resourcing in initial entry training. Successfully standing up Army Futures Command. Fielding a new Combat Fitness Test and changing the force's fitness culture. Ramping up Multi-Domain Operations into doctrine and practice. Each of these near-term priorities have some early work already completed, with more on the way. Full article:

  • DIA announces winners in massive intelligence technology contract

    19 septembre 2018 | International, C4ISR

    DIA announces winners in massive intelligence technology contract

    By: Brandon Knapp The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) awarded spots on a contract worth up to $500 million to eight defense companies and one research organization as part of the agency's effort to buy research, development, technical, and engineering services for intelligence missions, according to an announcement from the Department of Defense Sept. 14. DIA selected AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, Harris Corp., KeyW Corp., Leidos Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Macaulay-Brown Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., and Southwest Research Institute for the procurement program, known as HELIOS. The companies won five year contracts that include five additional one-year options. The award winners will have multiple opportunities to compete for task orders on the indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity contract in support of DIA Directorate for Science & Technology missions. Unclassified documents released in 2017 describe in part the scope of HELIOS as offering support services for “sensor technology focus areas including Measurement and Signature Intelligence” as well as “cross-cutting technology areas such as unattended remote sensing, robotics...and data processing, exploitation and dissemination.” Mission areas for HELIOS include space situational awareness, foreign counter space threats, the Internet of Things, data exfiltration, and rapid prototyping. The Virginia Contracting Activity received nine responses to their original open solicitation posted in Dec. 2016. All nine solicitors received a contract with a minimum award of $10,000. The HELIOS program has an estimated completion date of September 2028.

  • These six companies have been selected to compete in the Army’s submachine gun program

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Terrestre

    These six companies have been selected to compete in the Army’s submachine gun program

    By: Todd South After some fits and starts, the Army submachine gun program has reached its next phase as officials have selected the six companies they want to provide guns for consideration. The program caught attention when it was first mentioned at the annual National Defense Industrial Association's Armament Systems forum. Lt. Col. Steven Power, product manager of Soldier Weapons for Program Executive Office-Soldier noted the then-recent posting of a Request For Information on sub gun options for soldier personal security. Fairly quickly, more than a dozen companies sent their offerings, and the designs ranged from the classic Heckler & Koch MP5-style to the smaller M4-type guns chambered in 9mm. Sub guns or subcompact guns have been in use in the military for a variety of purposes dating back to the Thompson Submachine gun developed during World War I and put into use in World War II. That heavy-duty, high-capacity weapon fell out of use in the subsequent decades, while other lighter versions with smaller rounds such as the 9mm came into fashion. Sub guns have long been used by special operations forces, such as the Navy SEALs, for close-quarters battle shooting scenarios. But they were not in common use among the rank and file for some time. That seems to be part of the reason that posting caught the attention of military-gun focused readers. Then, it appeared the program halted when the RFI was canceled after 13 submissions were received. But, in a few short weeks, a Prototype Opportunity Notice by Army Contracting Command was posted, modifying some of the requirements. The new notice wants a “highly concealable [Sub Compact Weapon] system capable of engaging threat personnel with a high volume of lethal force while accurately firing at close range with minimal collateral damage.” The sub gun now had to be optimized specifically to fire a 147-grain 9mm and include 20- and 30-round magazines. It must fire 60 rounds per minute for five minutes without a cookoff. The following companies were selected for the next phase: Trident Rifles, LLC Sig Sauer Shield Arms Global Ordnance, LLC B&T USA Angstadt Arms If selected, the companies could be asked to manufacture up to 350 guns initially, and possibly as many as 1,000 of the sub guns, depending on Army requirements. First, the companies will have until mid-October to provide 15 weapons for an evaluation. The six companies selected make for some interesting developments on the design front. Though details on specific submissions have not been made public, at least two of the companies on the list, Angstadt and Shield Arms, both make M4-style 9mm variants, as reported by Soldier Systems, a military gear-focused website. The Firearm Blog notes that the original MP5-style designs from Heckler & Koch, Zenith and PTR are now off the list, as are some of the companies typically associated with this type of gun. That includes Colt, Beretta, CMMG, CZ-USA, LMT and Noveske, the website reported. Sig Sauer has had recent success, nabbing last year's contract to replace the common sidearm for all the services in the M17 9mm handgun, part of the Modular Handgun System. It also garnered attention from Special Operations Command for its work on the MCX Rattler, chambered in .300 Winchester Blackout, this year. One company not selected, Handl Defense, reportedly told TFB that they planned to file a protest on the selections, alleging they were excluded on a “procedural basis.”

  • F-35 stress tests raise possibility of longer service life

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    F-35 stress tests raise possibility of longer service life

    SOURCE: FLIGHTGLOBAL.COM, BY: GARRETT REIM After completing static, drop and durability testing on the F-35A, Lockheed Martin believes that early results indicate potential for an increased service life certification of the stealth fighter. The F-35's service lifetime is designed to be 8,000h, but each test airframe is required to successfully complete two lifetimes of testing, the equivalent of 16,000h. The F-35A exceeded the requirement by completing three full lifetimes of testing, 24,000h, prompting Lockheed to moot the potential service-life extension. “We look forward to analyzing the results and bringing forward the data to potentially extend the aircraft's lifetime certification even further,” said Greg Ulmer, Lockheed Martin's vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “Already certified for one of the longest lifetimes of any fighter, an increase would greatly reduce future costs for all F-35 customers over several decades to come.” The USAF plans to fly the F-35A until at least 2070, so a longer lifespan per aircraft may allow the service to reach that goal without having to purchase new fighters. However, as aircraft age they become more expensive to maintain and operate, making it unclear if a service life extension of the F-35A would be economical. The F-35A airframe completed its testing at BAE Systems in Brough, England. The F-35B and C variants were tested at Lockheed Martin's facility in Fort Worth, Texas, though the company did not release the results for those variants. All variants will eventually undergo final teardown inspections at the National Institute for Aviation Research in Wichita, Kansas.

  • White House sets ‘new direction’ in biodefense strategy

    19 septembre 2018 | International, Sécurité

    White House sets ‘new direction’ in biodefense strategy

    By: Robert Burns, The Associated Press WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Tuesday released a new biodefense strategy that it said takes a more comprehensive approach to preparing the nation for deliberate biological attacks and natural outbreaks of infectious disease. The goal of the strategy, which was required by Congress, is to more effectively prevent, prepare for and respond to biological threats, which the document said are "among the most serious threats" facing the U.S. and the world. "Biological threats emanate from many sources, and they know no borders," Trump said in a written statement. "They have great potential to disrupt the economy, exact a toll on human life, and tear at the very fabric of society." Trump said his administration's plan takes a "new direction" with a more coordinated, centralized approach based on lessons learned from past incidents such as the West Africa Ebola epidemic of 2014. The Department of Health and Human Services is designated as the lead agency in coordinating federal biodefense actions and assessing whether the plan is working. A privately sponsored group that has studied biodefense issues since 2014 applauded the White House's strategy. The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense has warned that the U.S. is dangerously vulnerable to a large-scale biological attack and has urged Washington to develop a more comprehensive strategy. "The White House made a great start with the implementation plan they included with the strategy," said Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor who is co-chairman of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel. "We look forward to the White House assigning responsibilities for each element of this plan to specific federal departments and agencies, and establishing timelines for their completion." At a White House briefing, John Bolton, the president's national security adviser, told reporters there is "no particular immediate threat" of biological attack. Alex Azar, the secretary of Health and Human Services, told reporters the threats are "very real and they're growing." He said the strategy is the first to include naturally occurring threats like the Ebola virus. Previous approaches focused on the threat of terrorists unleashing deadly germs or a nation such as North Korea launching a biological attack.

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