Monday, March 30, 2015

Navy and Air Force Planning Joint Exploration of Next Generation Fighter Follow Ons to F-22 and F/A-18E/F - USNI News

Navy and Air Force Planning Joint Exploration of Next Generation Fighter Follow Ons to F-22 and F/A-18E/F - USNI News: The Navy and the Air Force could team up for their early look into their next crop of fighters due out in 2030, the Navy’s director of air warfare told USNI News on Thursday.

Starting next year, the two services are in a position to set out on a joint analysis of alternatives (AoA) for the follow on to Navy’s Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter, said Rear Adm. Mike Manazir to USNI News following a House Armed Service Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces hearing on combat aviation.

“We’re partnering with the Air Force in their F-X program,” he said.
“We are pressing forward — subject to guidance from [Office of Secretary of Defense] (OSD) — and we are looking at doing a joint analysis of alternatives (AoA) so we can look at similarities and differences. We’re allowed to take a joint AOA and then define a service solution that would be good for each service.”

As part of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, the Navy has set aside $5 million to start the F/A-XX work — planned to replace the Super Hornets in the 2030s.

“We feel we need a replacement for the gaps that will occur when the F-18 E and F Super Hornet — and somewhat the [EA-18G Growler] as well — start to go away from their service life perspective in about 2030,” he said.

New catapults need fix to launch jets with fuel pods

New catapults need fix to launch jets with fuel pods

The state-of-the-art catapult on the newest supercarrier is unable to launch jets loaded with external fuel tanks, a problem that could cripple carrier operations. But Navy officials say a software change in the works will correct the problem before the system's planned operational launch of aircraft in 2017.

The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System catapult puts too much force on external fuel tanks carried by legacy and Super Hornets, and EA-18Gs Growlers, a grave limitation until fixed and one more challenge for a ship that has seen cost overruns and delays.

The catapult loading problem was first reported by Bloomberg News on March 25. The problem was identified in April 2014 during testing at Lakehurst, N.J., said Victor Chen, spokesman for Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division.

"The Navy understands the issue, views it as low technical risk, and has a funded plan in place to fix it," he said. "The resolution of this issue is straight-forward because the Navy will leverage this inherent capability of the system to tune the catapult forces for these wing tank configurations. There is no impact to ongoing shipboard installation or shipboard testing and this will not delay any CVN 78 milestones."

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Ancient History Magazine Needs Your Help

Ancient History Magazine is a new magazine from Karwansaray Publishers. Karwansaray is an independent publishing house in the Netherlands. We specialize in the publication of historical books and magazines for a large, interested and informed audience.

Our most well-known publication is Ancient Warfare, a bimonthly magazine on the military history of the ancient world. Ancient Warfare is currently in its ninth year and we are edging toward publication of the fiftieth issue, later this year. Four years ago, Ancient Warfare got a little brother: Medieval Warfare, which covers warfare in the period between ca. AD 500 and 1500. At the same time we also took over publication of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy, and turned it into a very successful wargaming magazine.

About Ancient History Magazine

Ancient History Magazine - or AHM for short - will be similar to Ancient Warfare, except that it will explore the whole of the ancient world instead of focusing solely on military matters. Like our other magazines, an issue of AHM will be centered around a particular theme. But because the subject matter is so comprehensive, more room will be made available for non-theme-related articles, so that each issue will have something for everyone. We created a 10-page PDF issue for our readers to get an idea of what we're planning to do.

Friday, March 27, 2015

McCain Slams $46B Spent on Axed Programs

McCain Slams $46B Spent on Axed Programs: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain on Thursday blamed the Pentagon's struggles to field new weapon systems on "years of mistakes and wasted resources."

The Arizona Republican also provided a snapshot into his thinking about the kinds of new weapons he believes the Defense Department should be pursuing.

"We need to make the necessary investments now in next-generation technologies that can enable us to outpace our adversaries," McCain said.

"Those include cyber and space control capabilities, directed energy weapons, unmanned combat aerial vehicles, and our future power projection capabilities, especially the future of the aircraft carrier and the carrier air wing," he said. "I intend to be a champion for these kinds of new technologies."

McCain long has been a leading critic of the Defense Department's purchasing system. And now his perch atop the Armed Services Committee gives him an opportunity to reform it.

McCain told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that he and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, are "working closely" on Pentagon acquisition reform. For his part, Thornberry this week introduced a bill with a list of proposals.

DARPA Aiming for More Agility on Future Tech

DARPA Aiming for More Agility on Future Tech: Biotechnology, undersea systems and big data are among the areas that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has identified as key to moving America's technology forward, according to a new report released today.

The agency's bi-annual "Breakthrough Technologies for National Security" report acts as an analysis of recent DARPA work and a guide for what areas the agency expects to invest in over the coming years.

Timed to coincide with today's testimony on the Hill by DARPA director Arati Prabhakar, the report concludes that while the US remains a leader in many technological areas, other nations continue to close that gap. Not helping that situation is the simple truth that the US has been forced to focus on the situation in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Prabhakar pointed to things like the Defense Innovation Initiative, more commonly known as the "third offset," as a result of the Pentagon working to quickly take stock in a changed world.

Navy Jets With Extra Fuel Can’t Be Launched Off New U.S. Carrier - Bloomberg Politics

Navy Jets With Extra Fuel Can’t Be Launched Off New U.S. Carrier - Bloomberg Politics: The U.S. Navy’s top warplanes can’t belaunched off its newest aircraft carrier if they’re carryingfuel tanks needed to extend their flight range because theship’s high-tech catapults cause too much wear.

Military weapons testers view this as a deficiency thatwould “preclude the Navy from conducting normal operations” on the USS Gerald R. Ford until it’s corrected, said Air Force MajorEric Badger, spokesman for the Pentagon’s testing office, in an e-mail.

The previously undisclosed troubles with the catapultsystem from San Diego-based General Atomics add to shortcomingsfor the first in a new class of aircraft carriers being built byNewport News, Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Long Road Ahead For Possible A-10 Follow-On | Defense content from Aviation Week

Long Road Ahead For Possible A-10 Follow-On | Defense content from Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force’s interest in a possible new close air support (CAS) platform to replace the A-10 Thunderbolt II is about “capacity,” says Air Combat Command chief Gen. Herbert “Hawk” Carlisle – a sign that a projected downturn in the number of fighters in the inventory will make it insufficient to meet current missions.

The look at a new CAS platform is only in the study phase, but Carlisle says careful review is needed not for capability as much as potentially fielding extra aircraft to augment a dwindling fleet.

“There is a capability requirement for the future threat. There is also a capacity discussion,” Carlisle tells Aviation Week. “As … you look at the real high-end players and … if they get to the capability that we anticipate that they will get to … we have to keep thinking about how we maintain that capacity … There may be an inflection point in the future that says at this point we need more capacity and to get that we have to do it at lower cost.” However, with the current threat and budget environment “we are not there yet.”

Carlisle opened the door to a new platform designed to handle the CAS mission during remarks last month at the annual Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium.  The Air Force recently conducted a week-long summit on CAS with its sister services in an effort to “re-energize” the discussion on the mission area, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said. A look at an A-10 follow-on was one of the topics of discussion, though Carlisle notes there is no urgency to move forward now, in large part due to budget pressure.

The challenge ahead is twofold. The service could simply face a shortfall of available assets to cover the panoply of missions required – from combat air patrols in the U.S. to supporting wars abroad as well as low-intensity conflicts.

NATO Chief: Cyber Can Trigger Article 5

NATO Chief: Cyber Can Trigger Article 5: NATO leaders on Wednesday reiterated the alliance's stance on treating cyber attacks against a member as an Article 5 issue, which would potentially draw a military response from the entire alliance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a key alliance planning summit on Wednesday morning that "cyber is now a central part of virtually all crisis and conflicts, NATO has made clear that cyber attacks can potentially trigger an Article 5 response."

Just last week, Stoltenberg engaged in a contentious back and forth with Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of Russia's Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, at an event in Brussels when the Russian representative asked if NATO would bomb countries it suspects have been involved in cyber attacks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

F-35 Software Challenge Won't Delay IOC

F-35 Software Challenge Won't Delay IOC: The F-35B joint strike fighter remains on track to go operational for the Marine Corps this year, despite a recently discovered software fusion problem that manifests itself when multiple F-35 sensor suites attempt to communicate.

Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan, the head of the F-35 Joint Program Office, said the problem with the targeting software is being worked by a team of experts from inside and outside the Pentagon, and expressed confidence the issue would be solved relatively shortly.

He also noted the Marines are aware of the issue and have decided it is not anything that should prevent them from reaching initial operating capability (IOC) with the 2B software package.

The software issue highlighted by Bogdan involves the sensor fusion that occurs between F-35 jets. The fighter is designed to gather information through its sensor suites and share it with other F-35s in the area, with up to four jets gathering situational awareness data and creating a joint operational picture for the pilots.

In most cases, Bogdan told reporters Tuesday, the software fusion worked well. But in the most extreme cases, with multiple air and ground threats affecting a set of four F-35s, "we found out that the fusion model sometimes, not all the time, sometimes creates an inaccurate picture for the pilot," he said.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AFSOC Rebuilds Air Breathing Fleet Under New CO, Lt. Gen. Heithold « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

AFSOC Rebuilds Air Breathing Fleet Under New CO, Lt. Gen. Heithold « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary: Still in his first year as leader of Air Force Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold has lots of plans, but they no longer include replacing AFSOC’s U-28A manned surveillance aircraft with MC-12W Liberty spy planes.

“There was discussion about moving to the Liberty birds,” Heithold told an audience at the Air Force Association on March 18. “That discussion is over.”

Actually, there was more than just discussion. A recapitalization plan in place when Heithold took over AFSOC last July envisioned replacing the single-engine U-28A with twin-engine MC-12Ws transferred from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, headquartered at Beale Air Force Base, Calif.. But that plan met resistance when it reached Capitol Hill.

EXCLUSIVE Air Force Weapons Schedule Woes Worsen; Costs Dip $229M « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

EXCLUSIVE Air Force Weapons Schedule Woes Worsen; Costs Dip $229M « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary: For the third year in a row, Air Force weapon programs have busted their schedules, taking longer to field, this time adding another 112 months to the 29 major weapons programs that the service monitors.

It’s a pattern. In 2012, schedule performance “continues to remain problematic and shows no signs of improvement.” In 2013, schedule problems mounted, getting a “poor” rating from the service, with more than 102 months added to major programs between September 2012 and September 2013.

Here’s the summary for the 2014 schedule problems from the annual Air Force report — “Performance of the Air Force Acquisition System” — on acquisition performance by Robert Pollock, director of the services’ acquisition excellence and change office (did you have to take a breath after that title?).

Schedule Performance remains challenged. An additional 112 cumulative months of schedule was added to Active ACAT I’s Portfolio for the 29 programs that consistently reported DAEs updates in FY14. Improvement is observed in schedule achievement due to several programs accomplishing their predetermined milestones; however approximately half of the ACAT I’s are estimating their next APB milestone objective will be missed by 3 months or less and one third of AF ACAT I MDAP/MAIS programs are estimating they will miss their upcoming milestone objective by six months or more. The active ACAT I MDAP average cycle time from Milestone B to C is 81 months and MS B to Initial Operating Capability (IOC) is 103 months.

Iran’s Hard-Liners Show Restraint on Nuclear Talks With U.S. -

Iran’s Hard-Liners Show Restraint on Nuclear Talks With U.S. -

A coterie of Iran’s hard-line Shiite Muslim clerics and Revolutionary Guards commanders is usually vocal on the subject of the Iranian nuclear program, loudly proclaiming the country’s right to pursue its interests and angrily denouncing the United States.

But as the United States and Iran prepare to restart nuclear talks this week, the hard-liners have been keeping a low profile.
“They have been remarkably quiet,” said Nader Karimi Joni, a former member of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij, a volunteer paramilitary group.
Their silence is a result of state policies intended by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to seriously try to find a solution through negotiations. Ayatollah Khamenei has largely supported the nuclear talks and the Iranian negotiators, whom he has called “good and caring people, who work for the country.”
The restraint by the hard-liners also reflects a general satisfaction, analysts say, with the direction of the talks and the successes Iran is enjoying, extending and deepening its influence in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Marines could lead the charge against Boko Haram

Marines could lead the charge against Boko Haram: Marines could play an important role in containing — if not defeating — Boko Haram, according to a new study published just days after the radical organization announced its allegiance to the Islamic State group.

The study was commissioned by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, and was conducted by the CNA Corporation. It proposes ways to defeat Boko Haram within the confines of what its authors describe as a complicated relationship between Washington and Nigeria.

Boko Haram has carried out a number of atrocities across Nigeria, including kidnapping hundreds of school-aged girls and forcing them into marriage. Its recent allegiance to the Islamic State group has troubled world leaders.

The strategy proposed by CNA to combat the group includes the short-term goal of working with Nigeria's neighbors to contain Boko Haram, all the while advocating for a "whole of governance" or counter insurgency approach to eventually dismantle it.

With Marines possessing more than a decade of experience with COIN in Iraq and Afghanistan, and units regularly conducing military exchanges in the region, experts agree that the service could prove an important tool in working towards containment and eventual defeat of Boko Haram.

As Gerald R. Ford nears delivery, two big hurdles remain

As Gerald R. Ford nears delivery, two big hurdles remain: The Navy's newest carrier is on track for its March 31, 2015, delivery. But significant hurdles remain with the ship's catapults and its arresting gear, which will receive intensive scrutiny and testing for the remainder of the year.

Construction of the first-of-class Gerald R. Ford is 89 percent complete, Rear Adm. Thomas Moore, program executive officer carriers, told reporters March 19. Most of what remains is finish work. However, the test program is only 37.5 percent complete and, though on schedule, this will be the focus in the coming year.

Two technical issues will receive the bulk of attention. First is the electromagnetic aircraft launch system, or EMALS, which replaced the steam-powered catapult system. It is "ahead of the curve," Moore said. Two of four catapults are built. The ship will launch dead loads (weighted sleds) into the James River in June.

And then there is the advanced arresting gear, arguably the source of most headaches during the carrier's construction. The system could manage only 20 arrests between failures – a rate 248 times higher than should be expected, according to an April 2014 Congressional Research Service report. This led to a major redesign of the water-twister, which absorbs about 70 percent of the energy during a landing.

Testing of the upgraded AAG will continue in Lakehurst, New Jersey, even as the system is installed on the carrier. That means more fixes could be required after installation — a situation Moore described as "not optimal," but a risk that builders have to accept at this point because the system is about two-years behind.

Mission for New Bomber: Avert Procurement Death Spiral - Blog

Mission for New Bomber: Avert Procurement Death Spiral - Blog: Some time this year, Air Force leaders will pick either Northrop Grumman Corp. or a Boeing-Lockheed alliance to design and eventually build the United States’ next-generation bomber. The highly anticipated decision will be seen as a momentous occasion and perhaps as the beginning of a new era of combat aviation. The bomber selection also will be fateful for the competing firms, which view losing the contract as an existential threat.

Amid much excitement and buzz in the industry over the prospect of a shiny new aircraft, however, are growing concerns about the bomber’s long-term future. Program champions have said they harbor no doubt that the next stealth bomber will be able to evade enemy missiles, but question whether it can survive the Pentagon procurement gauntlet.

The long-range strike bomber program will be getting off the ground at a crucial time when the Defense Department is seeking to regain its footing on major weapons procurements. A number of acquisition reforms are being introduced in an effort to avert the troubles that have dogged big-ticket programs in recent years. Skeptics and congressional critics will be holding up the bomber as a litmus test of the Pentagon’s presumably improved buying practices.

After decades of failed procurements, the Air Force will be under pressure to bring this one home. Program supporters and contractors are especially anxious to prove that this will not be a repeat of the B-2 saga. The procurement of the last stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit, was truncated after just 20 aircraft and has lived in infamy for its $2 billion per unit price tag. The Air Force has promised the next one will cost no more than $550 million, or $55 billion for a projected buy of 100 bombers. They would begin service in 2025.

Lawmakers Press Top Officers for Arctic Plans

Lawmakers Press Top Officers for Arctic Plans: For weeks on Capitol Hill, lawmakers have been peppering Pentagon officials about their plans in the Arctic. Russia, it seems, is winning in the Arctic while the US military hasn't even got its snow boots on.

Lawmakers in most instances referenced the testimony of Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, acknowledged the region as strategically important. Russia had just decided to reactivate six brigades, four of them in the Arctic, Dempsey said in response to questions from Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

It was a factoid that appeared long after Dempsey's mention of it at that March 3 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, bolstered by an Associated Press report March 12 that the Russian military had launched sweeping military maneuvers in the Arctic and other areas, a show of force ordered by President Vladimir Putin amid spiraling tensions with the West over Ukraine. The five-day Arctic drills involved 38,000 servicemen, more than 50 surface ships and submarines, and 110 aircraft.

The combination fueled a push and pull in budget hearings that seemed to produce little beside agreement between lawmakers and military officials that the Arctic is important. Between the Navy and Coast Guard, some lawmakers were confused about who is responsible for the region.

House Aides Preview Major Pentagon Reforms

House Aides Preview Major Pentagon Reforms: Reform of the Pentagon's weapons buying habits will lead Rep. Mac Thornberry's agenda as head of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) say committee aides, a long-term plan the Texas Republican will formally outline on Monday at a Washington think tank.

Unlike a seemingly endless history of similar initiatives that have fizzled out or gone down in flames however, Thornberry appears to be taking a slower, long-term approach to the problem. And he's starting at the beginning, with a series of proposed changes to how program managers actually operate on a day-to-day basis.

"Acquisition reform will be one of his top priorities every year as chairman" said one House Armed Services aide who requested anonymity.

His kickoff effort which he hopes will be included in the fiscal year 2016 defense bill focuses on things like giving Pentagon program managers more control over what kinds of contracts are awarded, instituting mandatory training on how to include commercial items in their programs, and changing the promotion and rotation schedule for procurement officers to make their positions more permanent.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

US paratroopers to train Ukrainian national guard

US paratroopers to train Ukrainian national guard: Nearly 300 US paratroopers will begin training Ukrainian national guard soldiers next month, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The 290 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, dubbed Sky Soldiers, will train the Ukrainian troops in the western town of Yavoriv.

Colonel Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said the training, originally set for mid-March, is now due to take place in late April.

The program underwent "some review" so it got off to a late start, he explained.

The American paratroopers will train six Ukrainian national guard companies, "with a focus on internal security and territorial defense," said Eileen Lainez, a Defense Department spokeswoman.

"While we continue to believe that there is no military resolution to this crisis, Ukraine has the right to defend itself."

France displaces Britain as key US military ally

France displaces Britain as key US military ally: Once a source of irritation for the United States, France has nudged aside Britain to become the US military's key European partner.

The growing ties between the two militaries were on display this month when France's top military officer, General Pierre de Villiers, hosted his US counterpart, General Martin Dempsey, aboard France's aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle.

The French flagship, which arrived in the Gulf in February to take part in US-led air strikes on the Islamic State group, is operating under US command -- a first for the French naval forces.

During the carrier's mission, US F-18 fighter jets have touched down on the deck of the De Gaulle and French Rafale fighters have visited American vessels.

On the deck of the carrier, the acrimony that plagued US-French relations 12 years ago over the American invasion of Iraq seemed a distant memory.

The new relationship is reflected in the warm rapport between the top generals, Dempsey and de Villiers, who have forged an "unmistakable" bond, according to Dempsey's spokesman, Colonel Ed Thomas.

"That trust has influenced French and American officers many levels down," he said.

US commanders were also grateful when France took the lead in military operations against Islamist extremists in the Sahel region of Africa, with US forces providing logistical support and drones to back up the effort.

"I think it is quite clear that this is a significant new development," said author Linda Robinson of the RAND Corporation think tank.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Republican Budgets in Both House and the Senate Add to Military Spending -

Republican Budgets in Both House and the Senate Add to Military Spending - Congressional defense hawks seized the upper hand in their fight with deficit hawks on Thursday, securing billions of dollars for the Pentagon in a victory that presages a broader revolt against tight spending limits.

After intervention by Republican leaders, the House Budget Committee voted out an otherwise austere spending plan, promising to add $2 billion in additional “emergency” war funding to a budget that already raised combat funds by $38 billion. That money, over the objections of deficit hawks, will be added Monday as the full House prepares to debate the tax-and-spending blueprint.

In the Senate, a revolt by defense advocates forced the Budget Committee to add $38 billion in military spending through a war account not subject to statutory spending restrictions. That came little more than 24 hours after the Senate committee unveiled a budget plan that capped war spending at President Obama’s $58 billion request and added parliamentary language intended to thwart any increases in the account.

DoD Acquisition Starting To Turn Corner? F-35 Costs Down 2% « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

DoD Acquisition Starting To Turn Corner? F-35 Costs Down 2% « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary: The simple lead for this story would be: F-35 costs dropped almost 2 percent over the last year.

But the real lead should be: after decades of botched programs, bloated budgets, technical screwups and long delays we may be seeing what Winston Churchill might have called the beginning of the beginning of the end of acquisition malfeasance by America’s military. The 79 major programs monitored for the Pentagon’s authoritative Selected Acquisition Report dropped $9.1 billion from last year.

The F-35 comprises 20 percent of the SAR portfolio, so its $7.5 billion (1.9 percent) price decrease from last year is an important driver behind the overall drop. Inflation and lower labor costs drove most of the decrease. (Readers can scroll down to see the prices for each variant of the F-35.)

“We are extremely pleased with the nearly $60 billion decrease in Operations and Support costs of the F-35 program during the last year alone,” Lorraine Martin, Lockheed’s F-35 general manager, said in a statement. “This is a result of a laser focus by the entire government and contractor team on reducing costs across the board whether it’s improving quality in manufacturing, increasing supply chain delivery speed, and dramatically reducing concurrency items.”

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Navy ship could position Marines off African coast

New Navy ship could position Marines off African coast: The Navy's newly christened mobile landing platform afloat forward staging base Lewis B. Puller could get early work positioning Marines off the coast of Africa.

Marine Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford alluded to a plan that would place the new vessel in the Corps' seabasing arsenal during a panel discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies earlier this month. The Puller was christened in February, but has yet to be commissioned.

"In the European Command, we have a gap, in, frankly [U.S. Africa Command], we have a gap, in our ability to do crisis response from the sea," Dunford said. "...[Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert] and I expect from both commanders a letter that will request a mobile landing platform afloat staging base to fill that gap."

Dunford said Marine and Navy officials are in a dialogue with the commanders of EUCOM and AFRICOM to find ways to address equipment gaps for crisis response missions. The Marine Corps' unit that responds to crises in Africa is currently based in Spain.

While the afloat forward staging base, a variant of the mobile landing platform, is a possible stopgap, there are multiple solutions under consideration, Dunford said.

Laser Weapons Could Be Outfitted on Special Ops Aircraft - Blog

Laser Weapons Could Be Outfitted on Special Ops Aircraft - Blog: Air Force Special Operations Command may one day fire more than cannons and small-diameter bombs off its gunships, its commander said March 18.

AFSOC is considering how it could integrate emerging technologies such as laser guns and high-powered microwaves on its AC-130J Ghostrider gunship, said Air Force Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold.

“We’re moving in that direction,” Heithold said during a discussion at the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute in Arlington, Virginia. “Industry partners out here have got the technology.”

Retrofitting AC-130Js with lasers is still in the distant future, he noted. “We think that there’s going to be a small number of them in the Block 50 configuration that might have high energy lasers.”

The Navy already has successfully deployed and operated its directed-energy laser weapon, known as LaWS, on the USS Ponce. The technology is appealing to military leaders because of its destructive power and its affordability compared to traditional kinetic weapons. LaWS — which runs on electricity — costs less than $1 per shot.

High-powered standoff microwaves are also on Heithold’s list. He noted there was “great value” in the technology, and that it is also a nonlethal weapon that can effectively stop enemies.

AFSOC currently hasn’t put any money into these initiatives, but researching innovative weapons and technology is something SOCOM commander Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel has demanded. “He wants some leap ahead technologies,” Heithold said.

Navy's Next Generational Nuclear Submarine Fund Has No Money |

Navy's Next Generational Nuclear Submarine Fund Has No Money | The Navy and Congress have yet to find money for a newly created account designed to pay for the services' fleet of next-generation nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines slated to begin service in 2031 – the Ohio Replacement Program.

The special fund is a product of the concern from lawmakers and admirals that the cost of the Ohio Replacement program would bankrupt the rest of the Navy's shipbuilding budget.

As a result, the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act established the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund – a special account created specifically to fund the Ohio Replacement program. However, Congress has yet to assign any funding to the account.

"We need to have some processes in place in order to make sure you are ready to go and there is money in this fund," Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said Wednesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee's Navy shipbuilding hearing.

Service leaders told lawmakers there are not enough funds in the services' shipbuilding accounts to move any over into the new fund for the Ohio Replacement.

"We need to work with you all (Congress) to put this fund to work. Right now it is a framework without funding in it. What was authorized was to use other funds from shipbuilding to go into the Sea Based Deterrence Fund," said Navy acquisition executive Sean Stackley. "Today, we don't have other funds from shipbuilding to move into that fund --particularly to the magnitude needed for the Ohio Replacement program."

Dual Band Radar Swapped Out In New Carriers

Dual Band Radar Swapped Out In New Carriers: In something of a surprise move, the US Navy revealed the long-touted dual band radar (DBR) being installed in new carriers of the Gerald R. Ford class will only be fitted on the first ship, and a new, yet-to-be-chosen radar will be installed on subsequent ships.

The revelation came Tuesday as Rear Adm. Thomas Moore, program executive officer for aircraft carriers, spoke at the McAleese Credit Suisse defense conference in Washington.

Moore indicated the move, decided upon last fall, was not due to particular problems with the DBR, now under development by Raytheon. Rather, he said, the decision was based on economics and need.

"It's a very capable radar," he said of the DBR, but analysis showed the carrier didn't need all the system's capabilities. The move to the EASR, he told reporters, could save up to $120 million on the second ship, the John F. Kennedy.

A specific EASR radar has not been chosen, Moore said, noting that "several candidates" were on the market.

Army Wants Upgrades to Improve M4A1 Carbine's Performance, Accuracy |

Army Wants Upgrades to Improve M4A1 Carbine's Performance, Accuracy | The U.S. Army is considering several upgrades to the M4A1 Carbine that could improve its accuracy and performance and change the weapon's appearance.

Army weapons and contracting officials recently launched a market survey to see what the small-arms industry has to offer as far as better rails, triggers, charging handles and sights for the M4A1.

"The government is seeking to procure M4A1-Plus (abbreviated as M4A1+) components as non-development items ... for improvements to the M4A1 Carbine," according to the March 13 document posted on "It is anticipated that the M4A1+ components will be evaluated as a system. The system must then install on/interface with stock M4A1 Carbines."

The Army decided to replace the standard M4 with the M4A1 in 2013 after the service abandoned a five-year effort to replace the M4 with a brand-new carbine.

The M4A1 is the special operations version of the M4 that's been in use for more than a decade. It features a heavier barrel and a full-auto trigger. The Army's decision to dump the current three-round burst trigger resulted in a more consistent trigger pull and better accuracy, weapons officials said.

The selection of the M4A1 came out of the service's M4 Product Improvement Program, which looked at improvements such as an improved rail, trigger pull, bolt and bolt-carrier group.

The M4A1+ effort will look for add-on components that will "seamlessly integrate with the current M4A1 Carbine ... without negatively impacting or affecting the performance or operation of the M4A1 weapon," the document states.

US Plans Show-of-Force Exercise in E. Europe

US Plans Show-of-Force Exercise in E. Europe: With an eye toward Russia's ability to mass troops quickly, the US plans to demonstrate its own ability to move manpower and heavy vehicles as soldiers begin a 1,100-mile convoy through six countries en route to their home station in Vilseck, Germany.

The US Army squadron wrapping several months of training with allies in Poland will take its Strykers through the Baltics March 21 through April 1, stopping in a new community each night. The vehicles are part of an armored brigade's worth of equipment the Army plans to station in Europe.

"It's helped us further develop our understanding of freedom of movement in Eastern Europe," said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, the Army's most senior commander in Europe, in an interview with Defense News and Army Times reporters and editors.

The "Dragoon Ride" will take 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, troops from training locations in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland and convoy them through Latvia and the Czech Republic to Vilseck.

"[Russian President Vladimir] Putin exercises freedom of movement all the time" within Russia, Hodges said, and the US plans to demonstrate how it converges people and vehicles, a "tremendous opportunity" to practice and reassure allies in the face of Russian aggression. To pull it off, the Army is navigating diplomatic requirements and assessing infrastructure among Eastern European allies.

Senate GOP Budget Sticks to Spending Caps

Senate GOP Budget Sticks to Spending Caps: Senate Republicans on Wednesday unveiled a 2016 budget blueprint that contains a defense plan in stark contrast with a proposal crafted by their House counterparts.

The GOP-run Senate Budget Committee's spending resolution would keep the military's base funding at existing budget caps. That means congressional defense authorizers and appropriators would have $499 billion to work with.

The Senate panel also is proposing $58 billion for the overseas contingency operations (OCO) fund, a controversial war-funding account many in Washington consider something of a "slush fund."

"We hope the committees will pursue a legislative agenda consistent with this budget resolution," a Republican Budget Committee aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters Wednesday.

McCain endorses House plan to boost defense spending | TheHill

McCain endorses House plan to boost defense spending | TheHill: McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, earlier in the week dismissed using the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund to increase defense spending as “a gimmick.”
He explained his change of mind by arguing the House path is preferable to the Senate Budget Committee’s proposal to create a defense reserve fund as a placeholder for a future debate over defense spending levels.

“I am with some reluctance endorsing the idea of the OCO,” he told reporters. “I don’t like OCOs. I think they should have gone away some time ago. But if that’s the only way to get the required level of defense spending, I would support what the House did.

“I will reluctantly endorse a proposal such as the House enacted,” he said.

House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) has allotted $523 billion to the Pentagon’s base budget, including more than $90 billion for its emergency war account.

The Senate budget goes in the other direction by creating a new budget point of order limiting the use of the overseas contingency fund.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pentagon plans hard look at missile defense programs | Reuters

Pentagon plans hard look at missile defense programs | Reuters: The U.S. Defense Department has launched a major review of missile defense programs and capabilities, after military commanders called the current strategy "unsustainable" given tough budget pressures and rising threats around the world.

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described the review in a Feb. 4 memo to top officers in the U.S. Army and Navy, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

This year's review would also cover regional ballistic missile defense issues, the global reach of the U.S. Patriot missile defense system, and U.S. power projection capabilities.

Hagel said a strategic review by top Pentagon officials last fall had concluded the current ballistic missile defense policy was sound, but recommended an update of a 2011 joint study to help shape the Pentagon's fiscal 2017 budget process.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert and Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno, in a memo dated Nov. 5, had called for a reassessment by the Pentagon.

The Pentagon's current focus on forward-deployment of assets was too costly, they wrote, urging a shift to a more holistic approach that included use of non-kinetic "left of launch" technologies such as electromagnetic propogation and cyber.

U.S. Plans Satellite-Launch Contest as Russian Engines Dropped - Bloomberg Business

U.S. Plans Satellite-Launch Contest as Russian Engines Dropped - Bloomberg Business: The U.S. Air Force has crafted a strategyfor military satellite launches that would end its dependence onRussian-built engines and culminate in a competition for as manyas 28 missions, the service’s purchasing chief said.

The contest between at least two teams of rocket andpropulsion companies, buttressed by Pentagon spending for newengine research, would cover launches from 2020 to 2024,according to an Air Force document and a statement by WilliamLaPlante, the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition.

“The approach involves shared investment with industrytoward the ultimate goal of two or more domestic launch serviceproviders in innovative public-private partnerships,” LaPlantesaid in the statement Tuesday to a House Armed Servicessubcommittee in Washington. The service expects Pentagonapproval of its strategy “in the coming weeks,” LaPlante said.

Rising U.S.-Russia tensions over President Vladimir Putin’ssupport of separatists in Ukraine spurred questions in Congressabout dependence on Russian-made RD-180 engine on U.S. rockets.A joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., the twobiggest U.S. government contractors, provides those launchesusing the RD-180 on the workhorse Atlas booster.

4-star: Budget cuts will force global strategy changes

4-star: Budget cuts will force global strategy changes: One of the Pentagon's top officers warned that the military's fundamental strategy for how it would confront two simultaneous crises in different parts of the world will have to change if Capitol Hill rejects the Obama administration's 2016 defense budget request.

Adm. James "Sandy" Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said the nation faces a "pivotal" moment as lawmakers decide whether to lift the budget caps and the sequestration mechanism that was passed into law in 2011.

"There is no free lunch," Winnefeld said Tuesday at a conference of defense business leaders in Washington.

President Obama formally requested $534 billion for the Pentagon's base budget next fiscal year, about 7 percent above the $499 cap that was written into law a few years ago with the Budget Control Act. Winnefeld said anything below $534 will trigger massive changes in the military's strategy and its footprint of forward-deployed forces around the world.

"Those are going to have to change if we go below the president budget submission," Winnefeld said.

Monday, March 16, 2015

World Events, F-35 Delays Drive Hornet Push

World Events, F-35 Delays Drive Hornet Push: The US Navy's case for requesting more Boeing-made F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters rests with two issues: requirements and replacements.

It's been only two years since the US Navy quit buying F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters — part of a long-planned transition to the F-35C joint strike fighter — but a confluence of events has led to the new possibility that more attack aircraft could be ordered from Boeing.

When the US Navy submitted its fiscal 2015 request a year ago, it was the first budget since the 1970s that did not include some version of the F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter. Procurement of F/A-18 E and F Super Hornets ended in 2013, and the last of 138 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare versions was included in the 2014 budget.

Congress, however, added an unplanned-for 15 Growlers in the 2015 budget, responding to a Navy unfunded priority list request to meet a joint tactical need. The move keeps open Boeing's St. Louis production line an extra year, through 2017.

Now, a strike fighter shortfall the Navy thought it could manage by a variety of methods is being further exacerbated, and it seems highly likely that when the new unfunded requirements list is submitted to Congress by mid-March, it will include a request for new Super Hornets.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Winning The War Of Electrons: Inside The New Maritime Strategy « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

Winning The War Of Electrons: Inside The New Maritime Strategy « Breaking Defense - Defense industry news, analysis and commentary: We must win the war of electrons in a more dangerous world. That’s the stark imperative behind the bland title of the new maritime strategy released today by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

“There is an offensive warfighting tone to this document that says, where the United States has interests, it needs access, [and] it can have that access,” said the new Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Joseph Dunford, speaking this morning at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. What Dunford didn’t say explicitly, but the strategy does, is that we may have to fight for that access against increasingly sophisticated adversaries — including in cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum, domains where we long took dominance for granted.

Despite its benign title — “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” — and plenty of boilerplate, the new strategy has a definite edge. In contrast to the 2007 strategy it replaces, which demurely didn’t mention any specific country as a threat, the new strategy calls out China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran by name. And in a departure from longstanding naval doctrine, it takes the traditional four functions of the fleet — deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security — and adds a fifth: “all-domain access.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

UTC Boss: Sikorsky No Longer a Good Fit

UTC Boss: Sikorsky No Longer a Good Fit: United Technologies is considering spinning off its Sikorsky subsidiary after concluding the helicopter manufacturer is no longer a fit for the company.

Greg Hayes, UTC's president and CEO, told an investor conference Thursday that the company is exploring options for divesting Sikorsky, the largest manufacturer of military helicopters in the US.

Sikorsky is "just not quite as attractive as the rest of the businesses," Hayes said, noting the subsidiary's role "as a platform provider, as opposed to a system provider, differentiates Sikorsky from the rest of the portfolio."

Hayes called the decision "not an easy one," but called it "the right one for Sikorsky's customers, for Sikorsky's employees, and for our shareholders."

In January 2014, Defense News reported that UTC was eyeing the sale of Sikorsky, best known for its popular Black Hawk helicopter line. UTC also owns aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems.

U.S. Air Force leader eyes SpaceX launch certification by June | Reuters

U.S. Air Force leader eyes SpaceX launch certification by June | Reuters: The U.S. Air Force hopes to certify privately-held Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, to launch some U.S. military and intelligence satellites into space using its Falcon 9 rocket by June, a top official told Reuters on Tuesday.

"I think we're still looking at ... June," Lieutenant General Ellen Pawlikowski, the top uniformed officer in charge of Air Force acquisition, told Reuters after a speech at the annual Women in Defense conference.

Pawlikowski, nominated by President Barack Obama to head Air Force Materiel Command, said she was disappointed the Air Force had not been able to certify SpaceX for the launches by December, as initially hoped, but said she was "encouraged that we're close."

The general said allowing SpaceX to enter a market dominated by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of the two top Pentagon suppliers, Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, would let the Air Force leverage the commercial market and help reduce the cost of launching satellites into space.

Pawlikowski, who trimmed the cost of satellite programs by $3 billion during her tenure as the head of Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center, welcomed a variety of initiatives under way across the Pentagon to benefit from investment by commercial firms like SpaceX.

US Navy Details New Strike Fighter Need

US Navy Details New Strike Fighter Need: It's been only two years since the US Navy quit buying F/A-18 Super Hornet strike fighters — part of a long-planned transition to the F-35C joint strike fighter — but a confluence of events has led to the new possibility that more attack aircraft could be ordered from Boeing.

When the US Navy submitted its fiscal 2015 request a year ago, it was the first budget since the 1970s that did not include some version of the F/A-18 Hornet strike fighter. Procurement of F/A-18 E and F Super Hornets ended in 2013, and the last of 138 EA-18G Growler electronic warfare versions was included in the 2014 budget.

Congress, however, added an unplanned-for 15 Growlers in the 2015 budget, responding to a Navy unfunded priority list request to meet a joint tactical need. The move keeps open Boeing's St. Louis production line an extra year, through 2017.

Now, a strike fighter shortfall the Navy thought it could manage by a variety of methods is being further exacerbated, and it seems highly likely that when the new unfunded requirements list is submitted to Congress by mid-March, it will include a request for new Super Hornets.

"We have a shortfall in Super Hornets, we do," Adm. Jon Greenert, chief of naval operations, told Congress on March 4. "And we're going to have to work our way through here in order to manage it."

Odierno: Budget cuts do not support global security environment | Article | The United States Army

Odierno: Budget cuts do not support global security environment | Article | The United States Army

While the Department of Defense contemplates some $500 billion in budget reductions, the global security environment continues to worsen, Army's chief of staff said.

Ultimately, Gen. Ray Odierno said, there is no parity between what the Army is doing - or may be asked to do - and the resources it will be given to accomplish those tasks.

"We're being asked to reduce a bit quicker than I think we should," he said, addressing a March 11 meeting of the Baltimore Council of Foreign Affairs


The general said the increasing "velocity of instability" in a technologically competitive era calls for an Army capable of swift reaction, and possessing a comprehensive, innovative approach to problem solving.

The "Army of the future," he said, must be able to quickly integrate new technologies and new concepts. He said the Army's success will result from its ability to adapt, and to solve problems.

"We're about people who operate within organizations and our success is based on how well an organization can solve a problem," Odierno said.


A current test of the Army's ability to adapt and solve problems is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a terrorist organization that today serves as one of the largest threats to global security. Odierno said the group takes advantage of disenfranchised populations and ungoverned territories.

The general described Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL, ideology as a deep-seated dissatisfaction with many people in different parts of the world. He said the terrorist group serves as a rallying point for those who join it.

While Odierno said recent military actions have "stopped the advance" of ISIL and are now preventing the group from gaining more territory or improving their position in Iraq or Syria, he balked at a solely military approach to overcome the group.

"I don't think that will defeat ISIL," he said. "I think that will encourage it even more."

Instead, Odierno said people of the Middle East, such as those in Iraq and Syria, must be involved in helping to take ISIL down from both a military and ideological perspective, with economic conditions in mind.

Continued training of Iraqi and Syrian security forces is also critical in creating organic deterrence against terrorist threats, Odierno said.

"This is a long-term ... generational [issue]," he said, also citing the need to reach beyond borders and continually assess the conditions in regard to terrorist cells ungoverned by geography or international law.


The United States spent more than a decade fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, and threats continue to bubble up out of that region. At the same time, new threats have grown elsewhere in the world.

Concerns from North Korea, China, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for instance, continue to plague U.S. forces and their allies. As such, Odierno said the Army has fervently assessed NATO capability and the security relationship to respond to those threats.

Of the Asia-Pacific rebalance, Odierno said there is some concern that China's growing military capability could influence trade in the vast region. "We want to make sure that trade stays free and open, and that our partners are able to continue to participate in that."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Army researching uniforms that automatically decontaminate | Article | The United States Army

Army researching uniforms that automatically decontaminate | Article | The United States Army

One day, Soldiers may wear uniforms and chemical protective suits that decontaminate themselves and are cool enough to wear for extended periods.

Researchers, such as chemist David McGarvey, Ph.D, at the Army's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, or ECBC, on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, are part of a team led by the Natick Soldier Systems Center that is developing just those technologies.

The idea is that uniform items are pre-treated with a chemical that can render things harmless including nerve or blister agents.

"We have collaborators at the Air Force Research Laboratory that design reactive chemical components that can be placed on fabrics," McGarvey said. "If Soldiers are in the field, they may not know they have been contaminated. They might be going through a foliage area that had been previously contaminated, something might brush off on the uniform, or they might be in a position where logistically they can't get to a decontamination area - either because of the mission or because there isn't a decontamination setup available. We are trying to increase Soldier survivability through that type of capability."

In such cases, McGarvey said, the chemicals built into the Soldier's uniform begin working immediately to neutralize that contamination.

McGarvey is not developing those reactive components himself. Instead, he is taking swatches of uniform fabric - just one centimeter square - that have been treated with those reactive chemicals, applying one milligram of simulated chemical warfare agent - or the real thing - and then using a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer to determine what those chemical warfare agents are broken down into when they come in contact with the fabric treatment.

What he wants to determine is how the reactive agents work, and what is created as part of the reaction - and if the byproducts of that reaction are themselves dangerous to Soldiers.

"We are able to observe the chemical weapon material and we are able to identify the breakdown products and determine how well it works for decontamination," McGarvey said. "We determine how effective the fabrics are at doing their job, and determine what the breakdown products are. We explain the mechanism of how these agents work, so the fabric developers can change their formulation and then make better fabrics."


It is not just regular Army uniforms that may one day be pre-treated with such chemicals. At the forefront of the effort are replacements for chemical warfare protective suits that not only decontaminate themselves, but which are also lighter weight so they put less burden on the Soldiers who wear them.

Any Soldier that has worn the "Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology," or JSLIST, knows how uncomfortable the uniform can be. The ensemble usually includes the JSLIST suit itself, which is designed to keep chemical warfare agents from ever reaching a Soldier's body, along with rubber gloves, rubber boots, a gas mask, and a hood.

The JSLIST suit is a challenge for Soldiers. For one, the suit decreases Soldier mobility. Additionally, while the suit provides chemical protection, it also comes with a significant heat burden - especially in warm climates - that greatly decreases the effectiveness of Soldiers.

"A lot of our theater operations are taking place in very hot climates," McGarvey said. "The main problem the Army is worried about is, even if they don't run into a chemical weapon, the Soldier could be rendered combat-ineffective just by wearing the suit. Within a few hours, for the JSLIST suit that is being currently used, there is a heat burden. In the desert sun it gets to be a problem."

McGarvey said development is underway for a new product called the "Uniform Integrated Protective Ensemble," or UIPE. The UIPE is meant to one day replace the JSLIST. Important requirements for the UIPE include a different design so that it is easier for Soldiers to move while wearing the suit: improved mobility. Also, the fabric used is meant to be thinner. Additionally, he said, the UIPE is being designed with specially designed vents that provide some breathability to the uniform.

The first iteration of UIPE - UIPE 1 - has already undergone field testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground, though it is not yet fielded, McGarvey said.

The UIPE 2, the follow-on design, is expected to include self-decontamination features as well, and will be a boon to those units that are most likely to come into contact with chemical warfare agents.

"We're looking at Special Operations and things like that," McGarvey said. "They want people to maintain a high level of mobility. There is less certainty that they are going into a contaminated area. So the idea is to have something that is flexible, lightweight, and which provides a certain level of protection."

For Soldiers in the rest of the Army - non-Special Operations units - the UIPE could be equally effective.

"They have the possibility, even if they are not aware they have been contaminated, that they can remain safe in that circumstance," McGarvey said. "It is a way to reduce the logistical burden to the Army and a way to protect Soldiers who have been contaminated."

On the horizon, McGarvey said, is UIPE 3. He said goals there include more efficient chemicals built into the fabric that can handle a wider variety of chemical warfare agents as well as a larger volume of such agents.

"We are always looking for something that is faster, more effective, and that can handle a higher amount of agent," he said. "It's also important that the materials be compatible with human skin."

McGarvey said that some of the chemicals in testing now are already approved for human use. Some, for instance, are related to chemicals found in hand sanitizers.

"They've been [Food and Drug Administration] approved, approved for consumer use for human skin contact. And they've already been shown to be biocidal - one of the points of the suits is to protect against biological threats as well as chemical threats," he said. "Since these compounds are known to be biocidal, it's a good starting point. And we've also seen very good results against chemical weapons with some of them."

The ECBC is not alone in developing agents that can be incorporated into the fabric of both regular military uniforms, as well as chemical warfare protective suits. The ECBC is part of a team that includes the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Commandant: USMC Modernization Is Ebbing

Commandant: USMC Modernization Is Ebbing: The US Marine Corps' top general told lawmakers that the service's modernization account is "lower than it has been historically," and at 9 percent of his total budget, it is "one of my greatest concerns."

In testimony at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday, Gen. Joseph Dunford defended the service's procurement strategy for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle, discussed potential ammunition shortfall downrange and the possibility of upgrading individual weapons. Dunford fretted his modernization account had fallen below an optimal 12 percent of the service's budget.

"That is actually is one of my greatest concerns," Dunford said, in response to a question from Sen. Jodi Ernst, R-Iowa. "Today, I think we're doing a pretty good job resetting our capabilities to the fight we had yesterday, but I'm not satisfied we're investing in capabilities we need for the fight tomorrow."

With top Navy officials who testified, Dunford lamented budget instability and sequestration cuts as the Marine Corps juggles a strategic pivot to the Pacific, its presence — albeit diminished — in Afghanistan and the burgeoning fight against the Islamic State group.

Boeing, Saab Unveil Ground Launched SDB

Boeing, Saab Unveil Ground Launched SDB: Boeing and Saab have teamed up to develop a Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB) program, with three successful test launches of the new system completed last month.

The three tests, conducted at a range in Sweden, proved that the Boeing and Saab design could successfully launch a SDB weapon from the ground, sync up with GPS and guide the weapon to its target, opening up what Beth Kluba, vice president for Boeing Weapons and Missile Systems, called "all-angle, all-aspect attack."

The system essentially sticks a GBU-39B small diameter bomb, widely used by the US military and a number of international customers, on the front of a M26 rocket. The M26 is set to be demilitarized by 2018 under a set of cluster munitions treaties, meaning the GLSDB program would essentially be recycling an item that countries were planning to stockpile or scrap.

The weapon is designed to be launched out of a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), used by a number of US allies already, avoiding the need to design a new launch system. That MLRS can hold six weapons per pod, with two pods per vehicle.

Executives from the two companies are positioning the system as a low-cost product that meets a requirement gap by combining off-the-shelf products.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unique Army tactical vehicles being integrated for Network Integration Evaluation 15.2 | Article | The United States Army

Unique Army tactical vehicles being integrated for Network Integration Evaluation 15.2 | Article | The United States Army

In preparation of Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, 15.2, Fort Bliss, Texas, transforms into the epicenter for one-of-a-kind vehicles equipped with the most technologically advanced Army network systems.

Engineers, technicians and Soldiers are beginning to immerse the Integration Motor Pool, or IMP, to integrate systems onto the vehicles that will be used during NIE. During spring, NIE 15.2 will be executed and Soldiers, from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, will begin testing the systems.

The development of NIE 15.2 has been in the works for more than a year, as System of Systems Engineering and Integration, Capability Package Directorate, or CPD, begins the fleet vehicle build - planning has become reality. The average Army tactical vehicle transforms into a unique prototype and people from throughout the country begin to travel to Fort Bliss to get a first-hand look.

"Our triad mission is to ensure that a synchronized, integrated, and validated NIE network is established," said Col. Terrece Harris, director of capability package, which oversees the vehicle builds and collaborates with experts on the systems. "Our processes, which includes fleet build enables us to achieve our ultimate objective, which is ensuring that Soldiers receive approved NIE equipment through the capability set fielding efforts."

Before building the entire fleet of more than 200 vehicles, the System Integration Division designed and built more than 20 vehicles known as golden vehicles. The golden vehicles are the original designs, which the rest of the fleet will be based upon.

"We design and build vehicles that don't currently exist, getting the golden vehicles just right is crucial to the entire NIE timeline" said John Pollard, chief of System Integration Division within CPD. "Once we begin our fleet build, there is no room for error."

While CPD has the overall responsibility of the entire fleet, people such as, Jim E. Fulbrook, Ph.D., lead training developer for vehicular integration for Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance/Electronic Warfare, or C4ISR/EW Interoperability Initiative, Intra Vehicle Network, also known as VICTORY IVN, focus on particular systems.

Fulbrook visited the IMP to sharpen his training presentation for the Soldiers, who will begin new equipment training in March. The development of this system in particular, has a history going back to NIE 12.2 and has come back with updated technological capabilities based on previous experience.

"We are adding a lot more features related to warnings, cautions, and safety, that give the Soldiers more information about the functionality of systems when there are problems," Fulbrook said.

With NIE Soldier feedback, system engineers are able to make improvements and updates based on real evaluations rather than assumptions. The NIEs are executed on a semi-annual basis to keep the acquisition process continuously moving and to provide industry a streamline of feedback.

"There is new equipment being tested all the time due to all the technological advances," said Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Shell, liaison officer, who creates a communication bridge for the incoming vehicles to the IMP. Shell said he has become accustom to tight schedules and continuous environment changes.

"With equipment constantly changing, we have to face the challenges head on," Shell said. "We do this because we are the ones who need to make sure our Soldiers have survivability in combat."

Monday, March 9, 2015

Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group to Depart for Middle East on Monday in First NIFC-CA Deployment - USNI News

Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group to Depart for Middle East on Monday in First NIFC-CA Deployment - USNI News: The Navy’s most technologically capable carrier, cruiser and destroyer are shipping out for a Middle East deployment on Monday, according to a release from Fleet Forces Command.

The departure of Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. and Naval Station Mayport, Fla. will mark the first deployment of a Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air—or NIFC-CA (pronounced: nif-kah) capable CSG.

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG-60) and a squadron of Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye maritime surveillance aircraft form the backbone of the capability that creates a network of sensors and shooters the service promises to greatly extend the lethal range of the CSG.

The Navy declared an initial operational capability (IOC) for the E-2s late last year.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

C.I.A. to Be Overhauled to Fight Modern Threats -

C.I.A. to Be Overhauled to Fight Modern Threats - John O. Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is planning to reassign thousands of undercover spies and intelligence analysts into new departments as part of a restructuring of the 67-year-old agency, a move he said would make it more successful against modern threats and crises.

Drawing from disparate sources — from the Pentagon to corporate America — Mr. Brennan’s plan would partly abandon the agency’s current structure that keeps spies and analysts separate as they target specific regions or countries. Instead, C.I.A. officers will be assigned to 10 new mission centers focused on terrorism, weapons proliferation, the Middle East and other areas with responsibility for espionage operations, intelligence analysis and covert actions.

During a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Brennan gave few specifics about how a new structure would make the C.I.A. better at spying in an era of continued terrorism, cyberspying and tumult across the Middle East. But he said the current structure of having undercover spies and analysts cloistered separately — with little interaction and answering to different bosses — was anachronistic given the myriad global issues the agency faces.
“I’ve never seen a time when we have been confronted with such an array of very challenging, complex and serious threats to our national security, and issues that we have to grapple with,” he said.
One model for the new divisions is the agency’s Counterterrorism Center, an amalgam of undercover spies and analysts charged with hunting, and often killing, militant suspects across the globe. Once a small, occasionally neglected office in the C.I.A., the Counterterrorism Center has grown into a behemoth with thousands of officers since the Sept. 11 attacks as the C.I.A. has taken charge of a number of secret wars overseas.
But Mr. Brennan also cited another model for his new plan: the American military. He said that the Defense Department’s structure of having a single military commander in charge of all operations in a particular region — the way a four-star commander runs United States Central Command — was an efficient structure that led to better accountability.
Mark M. Lowenthal, a former senior C.I.A. analyst, said that the reorganization “is not going to go down smoothly” at the agency, especially among clandestine spies who have long been able to withhold information from analysts, such as the identity of their foreign agents. “The clandestine service is very, very guarded about giving too much information about sources to the analysts,” he said.

AF attacks biological agents with heat, humidity > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

AF attacks biological agents with heat, humidity > U.S. Air Force > Article Display

A recent Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) on a C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft at Orlando International Airport, Florida, showed how hot, humid air can decontaminate large pieces of equipment from biological agents.

The Air Mobility Command-hosted demonstration of the Joint Biological Agent Decontamination System (JBADS) several weeks ago, signaled the multi-year project is coming to a close. The success of the new technology is the result of collaboration among several Defense Department and other government organizations.

During the demonstration, an Air Force Research Laboratory technical team simulated anthrax contamination by using an environmentally safe, commercially available organic insecticide. The team, with contract support from AeroClave LLC, then showed how heat and humidity in a closed environment can eliminate both interior and exterior biological contamination.

"Although final results of the JCTD are pending, preliminary indicators point to a 'complete kill' of the biological simulant," said Larry Magnuson, the AMC JBADS operational manager.

JBADS is a revolutionary decontamination process designed to meet an urgent joint service need to expedite the return of a biologically contaminated aircraft to full service without placing aircrew members and support personnel at risk of exposure. U.S. Transportation Command and U.S. Strategic Command sponsored, and AMC managed, the demonstration.

In the final Operational Utility Assessment, November 2014 through January 2015, AFRL conducted two separate JBADS demonstrations using high levels of heat and relative humidity (170 F and 90 percent relative humidity). The two decontamination cycles ran three and four days, respectively, to complete. The goal of each demonstration was to reduce simulant concentrations to "below infectious levels."

An additional goal was to ensure that the JBADS process was not harmful to aircraft equipment and material. An independent assessment is still underway to confirm the findings; however, the preliminary results indicate that all JBADS goals were met. The final assessment report is expected by April.

Dr. Donald Erbschloe, the AMC chief scientist, hosted the final out-brief that was attended by the Air Force chief scientist as well as representatives of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering (Emerging Capabilities & Prototyping), Department of Homeland Security, Joint Requirements Office, Joint Science and Technology Office, Joint Program Executive Office, USTRANSCOM, U.S. Strategic Command, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Air Force Special Operations Command and AMC.

"This series of JBADS demonstrations culminates a seven-year effort to find a process that will neutralize biological warfare agents and naturally occurring diseases such as pandemic influenza and Ebola without harming aircraft systems and ensuring the safety of aircrew, maintainers, and ground handlers," Erbschloe said.

Erbschloe said the results look promising.

"The success of the demonstration would not have been possible without the outstanding research and support provided by a large cross section of DOD agencies and industry working in full cooperation. This was a true team effort."

With the completion of the JBADS demonstrations, the results will be forwarded for future development while the aircraft and the associated equipment remain available for future DOD studies and deployment if needed.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Marines Considering New Platforms to Extend Africa Reach, Including the Gulf of Guinea - USNI News

Marines Considering New Platforms to Extend Africa Reach, Including the Gulf of Guinea - USNI News: The Marines are looking to employ new types of ships to extend the reach of special crisis response units into Africa, senior service leaders have told USNI News.

Shortly after becoming commandant late last year, Gen. Joseph Dunford directed his staff to study putting forward deployed Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CR) forces — currently land based — on platforms other than the traditional amphibious warships that comprise the Navy and the Marine Corps Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Units (ARG/MEU).

In comments to USNI News on Feb. 12, Dunford singled out Military Sealift Command’s Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) variants of the Mobile Platform (MLP) as one option to expand the reach of the SPMAGTF-CR beyond their ground bases Moron, Spain, and Sigonella, Italy.

“They have flight deck capability, command and control capability and about 240 berthing spaces for Marines. This would be a great opportunity for us to be able to use the V-22 and small numbers of Marines,” he said.
“But at the low end of the spectrum… by no means are they a warship. They are not a replacement for an amphibious ship but they [can] augment our capabilities to meet our requirements on a day-to-day basis.”

Navy Plans to Expand, Speed-Up LCS Modifications |

Navy Plans to Expand, Speed-Up LCS Modifications | Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told lawmakers Wednesday that the service hopes to expand and speed up modifications to its fleet of Littoral Combat Ships so that technological upgrades slated for a new variant of the ship are retrofitted onto the existing fleet before 2019.

The Navy plans to begin procurement of a new up-gunned, more survivable LCS variant, called a Frigate or FF, by 2019 – so that the last 20 ships in a planned fleet of 52 LCS are equipped with additional lethality and survivability technologies.

Now, as directed by former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the Navy is preparing to unveil its acquisition strategy for the new vessel by May of this year. Part of this new strategy includes speeding up the upgrades to begin prior to the previously scheduled 2019 date, Mabus explained.

"We are working on survivability and lethality upgrades for ships past 2019 -- for ships through 52. We are hopeful that we can move that up some so that we don't wait until 2019 for modifications," Mabus said Wednesday to the Senate Appropriations Committee – Defense Subcommittee. "It's a very high priority."

At issue is the extent to which considerable technical modifications to the ship planned for the new FF variant can be back-fitted onto other existing LCS and those under construction.

Among other things, the modifications include a long-range beyond-the-horizon missile capability, specially configured space armor, improved air defense radar and a more effective electronic warfare system, Navy officials said.

Navy Ups Its Fleet Size Goal to 308 Ships By Fiscal Year 2020 - USNI News

Navy Ups Its Fleet Size Goal to 308 Ships By Fiscal Year 2020 - USNI News: The Navy has increased its force structure goal by two ships, saying it would like to have 308 ships in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 instead of the 306 it stated last year.

The increase reflects the addition of a third Afloat Forward Staging Base and a 12th amphibious transport dock, Navy spokesman Capt. Danny Hernandez told USNI News. The Navy added the additional AFSB to its plans last year, and Congress pushed the LPD on the Navy over the past two budget cycles.

Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley first cited the higher figure in testimony last week to the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert echoed that number in testimony to the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee today.

Service officials confirmed that the Navy’s Force Structure Assessment, conducted in FY 2012 and revised in FY 2014, was being reviewed again – a standard practice as the Navy prepares its 30-year shipbuilding plan. The review is still working its way through Navy leadership, and therefore the 308-figure is not final yet. But it indicates the Navy is looking for opportunities to grow its fleet, rather than bring in new platforms to replace older ones. The FSA review should be finalized this spring, USNI News understands.

Stackley: Fleet Needs More BMD Ships to Meet Demand - USNI News

Stackley: Fleet Needs More BMD Ships to Meet Demand - USNI News: The Navy’s acquisition chief stressed the importance of modernizing ships in the fleet – particularly the ballistic missile defense (BMD) fleet – to keep them operating for their full service life, even as tight budgets are forcing the Navy not to upgrade five Aegis guided missile destroyers with a BMD capability over the next five years.

In a keynote speech on Wednesday at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ ASNE Day 2015, Sean Stackley said the only way to reach a 300-ship navy is by “ensuring the ships in our inventory today are mission-capable and relevant for their full service life.” He noted the Navy is midway through refueling the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines (SSGN-726) and conducting refueling and complex overhauls of the Nimitz-class aircraft carriers (CVN-68), as well as being mostly through modernizing the amphibious dock landing ships.

“Perhaps most significantly, we’re on the front end of modernizing our Aegis cruisers and destroyers. Come what may in the budget environment, we need to complete this effort,” Stackley said.

Cost for U.S. Weapons Programs Increased by $27 Billion Last Year - Bloomberg Business

Cost for U.S. Weapons Programs Increased by $27 Billion Last Year - Bloomberg Business: The costs for 47 of the Pentagon’s top 78weapons programs increased last year by a combined $27 billion,according to Congress’s watchdog agency.

“This undesirable cost performance shows the need forcontinued oversight” as “programs continue through theacquisition cycle,” the Government Accountability Office saidin the draft of its annual report on weapons costs, which isscheduled for release this month.

Many of the programs that increased in cost did so by lessthan 5 percent, including a 1.3 percent increase for LockheedMartin Corp.’s F-35 fighter, the most expensive U.S. weaponssystem. The F-35 program’s “costs have risen over the past yearwithout any change in quantity, meaning it is paying more forthe same amount of capability,” the GAO said.

The biggest increase was 146 percent for the WIN-TIncrement 2 tactical communications network made by GeneralDynamics Corp., although that stemmed largely from the Army’sdecision to buy 3,167 more units.

U.S. considering possible Middle East missile defense: general | Reuters

U.S. considering possible Middle East missile defense: general | Reuters: The U.S. military is considering sending its THAAD missile defense system to the Middle East, a senior U.S. Army general said on Wednesday, citing what he called an urgent need to respond to foes with missile systems and the will to use them.

General Vincent Brooks, head of U.S. Army Pacific Command, said no decisions had been made about deploying a U.S.-owned Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in the Middle East or South Korea, another region where he saw an urgent need given the threat posed by North Korea.

"The need is there in ... those two places, urgently, because we have adversaries who have capability and they have demonstrated that they are willing to use it," Brooks told Reuters in an interview.

Brooks did not name Iran, but U.S. military officials have raised concerns in the past about Iran's development of longer-range missiles that could reach Israel and potentially Europe.

The U.S. military must weigh its options, given the high cost involved in deploying the THAAD weapon system, built by Lockheed Martin Corp, Brooks said. He said the U.S. military also continued to explore options for lower-cost systems to defend against lesser threats, but gave no details.

Networking enables Tomahawk to hit moving target

Networking enables Tomahawk to hit moving target: Two flight tests by the Navy and Raytheon in January saw a Tomahawk use targeting data supplied by various platforms to hit a moving ship target (MST). "In the first test, a Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile fired from the destroyer USS Kidd flew a pre-planned mission until a surveillance aircraft sent real-time target information to the Joint Network Enabled Weapons Mission Management Capability (JNEW-MMC) located at Naval Air Warfare Center – Weapons Division (NAWC-WD), China Lake," said a Raytheon news release. "The JNEW-MMC provided updated data to the missile in flight before it successfully struck the MST."

New vision system on way for military helicopter pilots

New vision system on way for military helicopter pilots: A new system using multiple technologies to enhance helicopter pilot capability to see in degraded visual environments is under development.

Lockheed Martin said that under a collaborative agreement it is combining its experience in pilotage and sensor systems with a high-resolution imaging laser radar from H. N. Burns Engineering Corp. for the system.

"Overcoming DVE (degraded visual environments) challenges requires a strategy that blends multiple technologies," said Terry Hoehn, fire control advanced programs director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. "With H. N. Burns Engineering Corp., we are pursuing new DVE solutions to help pilots safely sense their relationship to surrounding terrain and buildings."

Lockheed demos new high-power laser weapon

Lockheed demos new high-power laser weapon: A 30-kilowatt fiber laser weapon system from Lockheed Martin successfully disabled a vehicle engine from a distance of more than one mile.

In the test -- said to represent the highest power ever documented by a laser weapon of its type -- the beam from the Advanced Test High Energy Asset, or ATHENA, quickly burned through the engine manifold of a truck mounted and running on a test platform, Lockheed Martin said.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A paralyzed woman flew an F-35 fighter jet in a simulator — using only her mind - The Washington Post

A paralyzed woman flew an F-35 fighter jet in a simulator — using only her mind - The Washington Post: Over at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, also known as DARPA, there are some pretty amazing (and often top-secret) things going on. But one notable component of a DARPA project was revealed by a Defense Department official at a recent forum, and it is the stuff of science fiction movies.

According to DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, a paralyzed woman was successfully able use her thoughts to control an F-35 and a single-engine Cessna in a flight simulator.

It's just the latest advance for one woman, 55-year-old Jan Scheuermann, who has been the subject of two years of groundbreaking neurosignaling research.

U.S. commander: Arming Ukraine increases pressure on Putin

U.S. commander: Arming Ukraine increases pressure on Putin: There's no expectation Ukraine could defeat Russia militarily if given American weapons, but they could add "muscle" to diplomatic efforts, the commander of U.S. Army Europe said Tuesday.

While emphasizing the U.S. still seeks a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said in Berlin that helping Ukraine with weapons would increase the stakes for Russian President Vladimir Putin at home.

"When mothers start seeing sons come home dead, when that price goes up, then that domestic support begins to shrink," he said.

The Obama administration is still considering whether to provide lethal, defensive weapons to Ukraine amid concerns that such a move might encourage Russia to further escalate its involvement there.

Dempsey Says It’s Time To 'Absolutely Consider' Arming Ukraine - Defense One

Dempsey Says It’s Time To 'Absolutely Consider' Arming Ukraine - Defense One: The top U.S. military officer said for the first time that he supported the possibility of arming Ukraine in that nation’s battle against Russian separatists.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said on Tuesday that the U.S. should consider supporting Ukraine with lethal assistance.

“I think we should absolutely consider providing lethal aid,” Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee during a budget hearing.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had said two weeks ago during his confirmation hearing that he was inclined to support arming the nation. The White House is still mulling over lethal assistance for Ukraine which has struggled to maintain stability after it was invaded by Russian separatists nearly a year ago.

US Army Official: Atlantic Resolve May Expand

US Army Official: Atlantic Resolve May Expand: The US military's plans to send troops into Romania and Bulgaria as a deterrence to Russian aggression could expand to include Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia's southern neighbor, Georgia, according to a US Army official spearheading the effort.

Exercises between US troops with Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, which began last April, will expand through the summer, said Col. Michael Foster, of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vincenza, Italy. The exercises are part of the US Army Europe-led land force assurance training mission, known as Operation Atlantic Resolve — now expanded into "north" and "south" components.

"So by the end of the summer, you could very well see an operation that stretches from the Baltics all the way down to the Black Sea," Foster said, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here on Monday. "As you connect countries, there is almost a line of US troops."

The 173rd this week will also be sending nearly a battalion's worth of soldiers to the Ukraine to train troops from its national guard, considered separate from Atlantic Resolve, Foster said, "but certainly tied into deterring Russian aggression."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

New Army tool enhances electronic warfare capabilities | Article | The United States Army

New Army tool enhances electronic warfare capabilities | Article | The United States Army

Beginning with the early stages of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the Army has steadily increased its electronic warfare, or EW, capabilities from both a manpower and equipment standpoint.

In particular, significant progress has been ongoing since the Army re-established its EW corps and stood up the Project Manager Electronic Warfare office in 2009 to provide materiel solutions that protect Soldiers from radio-controlled improvised explosive device, or IED, attacks and provide them with an accurate and complete understating of their environment across the electromagnetic spectrum.

As the use of EW has become more prevalent, land component commanders and their staffs require a capability that will allow them to become more adept in their understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum. While the technology available to Soldiers within the EW realm has become increasingly sophisticated, the ability to manage the spectrum in which they operate has remained rudimentary.

That is where one of the Army's newest programs comes in. The Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, or EWPMT, will allow for greater control and enhancement of EW capabilities.

The tool will tightly integrate EW as a form of non-kinetic fires with existing kinetic capabilities that will enable the Army to achieve spectrum dominance through an effects-based joint operations plan, ultimately increasing cohesion among all the services.

Incorporating a non-kinetic solution will give commanders more options on how to prosecute a target - by disrupting, destroying or exploiting it. Additionally, in situations involving infrastructure that would be needed for future use by the local populace, that infrastructure would not be destroyed - and therefore not have to be replaced - as is generally the result of a kinetic attack.

Col. Joyce Stewart, product manager for Electronic Warfare Integration, or PdM EWI, and her team oversee EWPMT, which will provide electronic warfare officers, also known as EWOs, with tools to support maneuver commanders in planning, coordinating and executing three main components of EW: electronic attack, electronic protect and electronic support. Additionally, EWPMT supports overall mission command by adding the electromagnetic order of battle to the fight.

"EWPMT is a battle management capability that will support the electronic warfare officer in collaborating and sharing information to decide upon different courses of action across G2/3/6 staffs to provide situational awareness for the brigade combat team, or BCT, commander," Stewart said. It brings 29 Series Soldiers, which includes EWOs, warrant officers and non-commissioned officers, into the virtual command post computing environment and decreases reliance on non-integrated tools like PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets that previously had been used to deconflict and manage a very congested spectrum.

Among the options that EWPMT will provide is a modeling and simulation capability that allows maneuver commanders to actually see the effects of EW on both friendly and enemy capabilities as they develop a course of action. The simulation will also demonstrate the impact of variations in terrain on the range of EW systems.

Once it is integrated into the mission command post, EWPMT will be able to quickly disseminate and receive information from other vital Department of Defense systems. This will allow EWOs to quickly access various associated databases, such as the intelligence and spectrum management databases, to incorporate information that will provide a situational awareness of available assets or understanding of enemy activities.

"Because we are a network, we can communicate with different tools that allow us to create reports that help commanders determine which tactics to use in delivering non-kinetic fires," Stewart said.

EWPMT will advance through iterations of capability drops at the pace of approximately one every 15 months, and PdM EWI is working closely with the training and doctrine community at the U.S. Army Cyber Command Center of Excellence to help in prioritizing the drops.

The first capability drop is specifically focused on the EWO. The goal is to automate the process so that users can become more integrated and synchronized inside the basic combat training environment. Later capability drops will add the ability to incorporate other EW tools that will provide information directly into EWPMT via the tactical operations center.

"In future drops, we are looking at not only enhancing the first capabilities of situational awareness and asset management, but we're also looking in bringing capabilities like spectrum management," Stewart said.

Future capabilities would include mission planning, EW targeting, enabling spectrum management operation and supporting cyberspace operations - all of which would give the EWOs and the elements they support the full capability to achieve cyber, EW and electromagnetic spectrum dominance.