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Project Professional – Defence
Project Professional A Project Professional is required to work on a 12 month contract, with the possibility of extension for our Defence client based in Cumbria. This is a 12 month contract with a leading UK defence business. Overview of the Project Professional contract role The ability to carry out a full range of activities in support of project management, given responsibility for aspects of a project and facilitating the effective delivery of projects/programmes. Support bid and tendering processes, gathering and compiling data. Contribute to the development of project definitions. Support the development of project plans. Prepare analyses and collate data (including determining the availability of resources) to support the effective development of more detailed plans. Gather data, update project plans and generate project progress reports on behalf of the project manager. Monitor, within defined frameworks and in assigned areas, activities carried out on projects/programmes to support their effective delivery. Maintain project documentation. Identify and expedite actions to respond to issues and deviations from the contract. Support the resolution of problems and issues to facilitate development of timely and effective solutions. Deputising for the Project Leader as required. Assist Control Account Managers in the Project Planning and Control Processes. Identify and expedite actions to respond to issues and deviations from project plans. Develop and maintain relationships with stakeholders to meet their requirements, and lead in swift resolution of major issues. Support the Risk & opportunity Management processes.
Key skills required for the PMO Support contract HNC / Certificate in Project Management or equivalent level of qualification LCM Awareness/ Assessor Specialist Professional Qualification
The role is based in Barrow in Furness, Cumbria – commutable from Carnforth, Milnthorpe, Lancaster, Morecambe, Penrith, Workington, Whitehaven and The Lake District If you are a Project Professional looking for a new contract either apply online or if would like to find out about other Project opportunities please contact Kris Foston on or phone (phone number removed) Do you know anyone who might be looking for a new role? You could benefit from our candidate referral scheme. Outsource UK is one of the country’s largest and most successful independent recruitment consultancies, specialising in the IT, Digital, Financial Services and Engineering sectors. We recruit talented people for contract and permanent opportunities, offer a consultative approach and have a reputation for providing a superior service to both clients and candidates. Please visit our website
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11 Dec 20. Massive Type 31 ‘frigate factory’ unveiled in Rosyth. A vast building hall for the Royal Navy’s next-generation Type 31 frigates has been unveiled in Rosyth.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace welcomed the start of steel construction of Babcock’s mammoth module hall in a virtual message of support.
Standing at 147 metres long, the hall includes 30 metres high, aptly named ‘megadoors’ and will be able to accommodate two vessels being assembled at the same time side by side.
Robertson has been awarded a £31.5m contract by Babcock to build the Module Hall. This project maintains 100 jobs, and creates five new full-time roles at Robertson and supports a further 100 positions nationally throughout Robertson’s supply chain. The company has also committed significant orders to local Scottish suppliers for the Assembly Hall build.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “Defence underpins a wealth of jobs and investment across the entire United Kingdom. Babcock’s ‘frigate factory’ in Rosyth demonstrates the huge footprint of prosperity that defence brings. This vast industrial facility will see Scottish shipbuilders build our latest warships that will take pride of place in the Royal Navy fleet.”
Ground-breaking for the new hall commenced in April 2020. The steel structures are now in place in preparation for Ship Assembly, which will commence in 2021. Equipped with state-of-the art manufacturing facilities and new digital systems, the programme represents a revitalisation of the shipbuilding industry.
The unveiling of the Module Hall follows the substantial £16.5bn settlement for Defence over the next four years that will modernise the armed forces, reinvigorate the shipbuilding industry and bring jobs and prosperity to every part of the UK.
Learning lessons from previous programmes to reinvigorate the shipbuilding capabilities at Rosyth, the new hall will have gantry stair access inside the structure to remove the need for scaffolding. This means personnel will be able to safely access the vessels without leaving the building.
Type 31 will be the beating heart of the Royal Navy’s surface fleet, deterring aggression and supporting the UK’s national interests across the world. The programme employs more than 1,250 people across the UK, which will create a legacy of infrastructure, innovation and skills for the shipbuilding sector. Off the back of the programme, Babcock have also jumpstarted a further 150 apprentice roles to set the sector up for success in the next generation. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
11 Dec 20. Defence consultancy Coras Solutions has opened a new office in Canberra to strengthen the support of Defence capability. On Thursday night, Defence consultancy Coras Solutions officially opened its Canberra office on Lonsdale St, Braddon. The office was opened by Commodore Ray Leggatt on behalf of Chief of Navy and witnessed by 80 Defence and industry guests. This significant milestone culminates Coras’ most successful year since it started business in December 2015.
CDRE Leggatt said, “Coras’ rapid business growth and expansion into Canberra is important for Defence as industry plays a critical part in the delivery of Defence capability.”
The new office in Braddon is modern, light-filled and spacious. It includes cutting-edge technology to promote collaboration in the office, and virtually with other Coras offices and their clients – an essential requirement that the recent environment has demanded. (Source: Defence Connect)
11 Dec 20. Fifth hunter-killer submarine named Anson. Anson, the Royal Navy’s latest Astute Class attack submarine, has officially been named in a virtual ceremony at BAE Systems’ Barrow-in-Furness shipyard today. Astute Class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, and Anson is the fifth to be officially named.
The last HMS Anson (1942-1951) was a King George V-class battleship, which saw active service in World War Two. All eight Anson vessels have been named after an Admiral of the Fleet, George Anson (1697-1762), who commanded at the first battle of Cape Finisterre and was First Lord of the Admiralty during the ‘7 Years War’.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “Anson will play a vital role in defending the UK from deep-sea threats posed by adversaries around the world and provide a competitive edge for decades to come. The name Anson already exemplifies the long and rich history of our Royal Navy and now, thanks to Anson’s latest maritime technology, showcases excellence in UK shipbuilding. In keeping with a tradition that goes back centuries, the Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet and Archdeacon for the Royal Navy, blessed the boat via video message.”
Ian Booth, Submarine Delivery Agency CEO, said, “This is the first submarine to bear the name HMS Anson but the eighth naval vessel to carry the title which has a rich history spanning several hundred years.
I am certain she will carry on that heritage well into the future as she joins a world-beating, cutting-edge submarine fleet that is of strategic importance to the UK’s security and prosperity.”
Advanced nuclear technology means the Astute Class submarines never need to be refuelled. The extremely capable boats can circumnavigate the world without surfacing and are limited only by the amount of food that can be stored and the endurance of the crew. The submarines manufacture their own oxygen and fresh water from the ocean.
Astute is the first class of Royal Navy submarines not to be fitted with optical periscopes. Instead, they use high-specification video technology with images delivered into the submarine control room via fibre-optic cables. BAE Systems Submarines is responsible for the design, build, testing and commissioning of the seven-strong Astute fleet. The Astute and Dreadnought programmes support 9,000 jobs at the shipyard in Barrow and thousands more across the UK supply chain.
Cliff Robson, Managing Director of BAE Systems Submarines, said, “Today marks an important milestone in Anson’s build programme and is the culmination of many years’ hard work. We have already delivered four highly-capable Astute-class submarines to the Royal Navy and Anson now takes another significant step towards joining her sister submarines.”
Sister boats HMS Astute, HMS Ambush and HMS Artful are already in service, contributing to operations and supporting the Continuous at Sea Deterrent. HMS Audacious, the fourth of class, left Barrow earlier this year and is currently undergoing sea trials.
Boats six and seven – Agamemnon and Agincourt – are in construction at the Barrow shipyard. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
09 Dec 20. US Navy looks to develop integrated carrier strike group air assets. As the US Navy (USN) deals with the uncertainty of the future carrier force, the service is focusing on how to create a fully integrated carrier strike force that better combines fixed-wing, rotary, and tilt-rotor aircraft with manned and unmanned operational concepts, Rear Admiral Gregory Harris, USN Air Warfare Division director, told Janes. While the USN has been flying these different kinds of aircraft off various vessels and platforms, Rear Adm Harris noted, the service is now looking at how it combines different kinds of ships and aircraft within the strike group in new and novel ways.
That’s a growing focus, he said, as the USN integrates more unmanned systems into the mix, introduces new aircraft operations such as the carrier on-delivery (COD) missions of the tiltrotor CMV-22B Ospreys and the F-35C Joint Strike Fighters and benefits from the increased capabilities from support aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon doing antisubmarine (ASW) operations.
The USN will get a glimpse of that integrated strike group capability, he offered, during the second half of 2021 when F-35Cs and CMV-22Bs will combine with E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft aboard aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) on deployment.
“When you combine the F-35C, E-2D Hawkeye, and CMV-22B Osprey with the EA-18G Growler on the same cruise, you’ve added unprecedented stealth and fusion, EW (electronic warfare) and vertical lift,” he emphasized.
But the USN wants to do more than integrate new or updated carrier-based aircraft with the strike group, it also wants to develop different operational concepts for other aircraft, notably rotary-wing platforms, on other strike group ships as well as carriers. (Source: Jane’s)
08 Dec 20. BAE Delivers Warship Support to HMCS Toronto. BAE Systems has successfully completed planned systems maintenance and repair on HMCS Toronto, a Royal Canadian Navy ship, allowing the vessel to return to sea. The work was undertaken at the home of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base, UK.
BAE Systems readied the Halifax-class frigate for her next assignment by providing support to the ship’s crew on an emergent defect, assisted with some general maintenance activities, and assisted with refuelling and restocking the ship and her crew of 240 personnel.
During this period, the ship’s company identified previously unknown minor maintenance issues and approached BAE Systems for their assistance to resolve them, as these were outside the original statement of work. The flexibility of the BAE Systems team enabled them to successfully rectify the issues in collaboration with the crew.
Jon Pearson, Warship Support Director, BAE Systems said: “The support we provided to HMCS Toronto in Portsmouth demonstrates our ability to support allied nations navies with the capabilities we provide daily to the Royal Navy. Not only can we can deploy these services and expertise in the UK, but we can do so in locations around the world from the Middle East to the Caribbean, the South Atlantic, the Far East and North America.”
HMCS Toronto recently took part in the NATO group exercise Joint Warrior in October, alongside the UK’s aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, and other warships HMS Defender, HMS Diamond and HMS Kent, all of which are maintained and supported at Portsmouth Naval Base by BAE Systems.
Joint Warrior is the Royal Navy-led multinational cooperative deployment designed to provide a complex environment in which participants hone tactics and specialist skills within a war-style setting and prepare for deployment as a Joint Task Force.
HMCS Toronto was accompanied by two other Canadian Navy ships, HMCS Ville de Québec and HMCS Halifax, which also called at Portsmouth Naval Base briefly on their way to their next mission. (Source: ASD Network)
08 Dec 20. Austal Australia Launches 1st of 2 Cape Class Patrol Boats for Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard. Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) is pleased to announce that Austal Australia has launched the first of two Cape-class Patrol Boats for the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG), under construction at the Company’s Henderson, Western Australia shipyard.
Under a A$126m contract awarded by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT), Austal is constructing two 58 metre Cape-class Patrol Boats for the TTCG, scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2021.
Austal Chief Executive Officer David Singleton said the launch of the vessel, Hull 398, provided a genuine sense of accomplishment and anticipation throughout Austal’s Australasian business.
“With 10 vessels already in operation with the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy, and a further 6 ordered by the Navy, the Cape is undoubtedly one of Austal’s most successful and proven naval vessel designs,” Mr Singleton said.
“Now, we’re exporting the Capes to the world, and we look forward to additional international orders that will continue to build Australia’s sovereign shipbuilding capability,” Mr Singleton added.
The new TTCG Capes are based on the 58 metre aluminium monohull patrol boat, first developed by Austal in Australia for Australian Border Force. The vessels have a 4,000 nautical mile range and 28-day patrol cycle, with a crew of up to 22. Each Cape is equipped with two high-speed 7.3 metre rigid hull inflatable boats used for intercepting other vessels.
Austal is also delivering 21 Guardian-class Patrol Boats for 12 Pacific Island nations and Timor Leste under the SEA3036-1 Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project, with eight patrol boats delivered since 2018. Austal provides in-service support to both the Cape and Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleets through an expanding service centre network including Henderson, Western Australia, Cairns, Queensland and Darwin, Northern Territory. (Source: ASD Network)
10 Dec 20. Philippine Air Force inducts first six S-70i Black Hawk helicopters. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has officially inducted into service the first six of 16 Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters ordered in 2019, the Department of National Defense (DND) in Manila announced on 10 December.
The six rotorcraft, all of which were delivered in November, entered service in an “acceptance, turnover, and blessing” ceremony held that same day at Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Pampanga Province, that was presided over by Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana.
Delivery of the remaining 10 platforms is expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2021.
Lorenzana was quoted by the state-owned Philippine News Agency (PNA) as saying that the newly acquired helicopters will provide the PAF with “prompt and sustained” day-and-night tactical lift, transport, and search-and-rescue capabilities, among other things.
“These brand-new combat utility helicopters (CUHs) will be used for missions such as transport of cargo and personnel, medical evacuation, casualty evacuation, aerial reconnaissance, disaster relief operations, troop insertion and extrication, combat resupply, combat search-and-rescue, and limited close air support,” he stated.
Manufactured by PZL Mielec, a Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky company in Poland, the helicopters are being acquired under a USD241.5m government-to-government contract to meet the PAF’s CUH requirement under the ‘Horizon 2’ phase of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program (RAFPMP). (Source: Jane’s)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
09 Dec 20. Congress axes CMO office in 2021 defense bill. The Defense Department’s third top position will get eliminated after just two years in existence, according to language in the final version of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.
The House and Senate versions of the bill contained provisions that would dismantle the CMO position. The Senate receded its version adding a requirement the position be repealed “with enumerated amendments” once the bill is signed into law, according to the conferees explanatory statement. The defense secretary would then have a year to transfer the CMO’s duties and resources to other personnel or organizations.
The CMO role was initially created in 2018 to help the Defense Department implement reforms to business operations and oversee administrative defense agencies and components often referred to as the Fourth Estate. Despite touting billions in cost savings over the past year, the position has been embroiled in controversy from the initial resignation of the first CMO, Jay Gibson, over cost savings, to increased scrutiny and defense-wide reviews that followed.
Those same cost-savings, upwards of $37bn according to DOD, could be at risk if there’s no continuity in leadership. Peter Levine, a senior fellow with the Institute for Defense Analyses and DOD’s former deputy CMO said that while he doesn’t have a strong attachment to the chief management office he hopes that Congress sticks to whatever it decides.
“Congress has been changing around the organization of that part of the way the Department of Defense works seemingly every year or two for the last six or seven years. I sure hope that whatever they resolve … I hope they stick with it for a while because if you want to have significant attention on management reform, you gotta not have those people spending all their time reorganizing the office,” Levine told FCW before the final bill was released.
A recent Government Accountability Office report supported that perspective, noting that “uncertainty” about the CMO position could present a challenge when implementing consistent reform efforts, including defining what constitutes reform and having formal written policies — both of which are lacking.
To affect lasting organizational change, Levine, who was also the acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said homing in on a manageable set of issues while maintaining intensity and focus at the senior leadership level is key for the incoming administration.
“You can’t take on everything at the same time and you can’t delegate it all down because if you do that, not much is going to happen,” Levine said.
“In order to get significant management improvements implemented in the Department of Defense, you have to have continuous engagement from the senior leadership,” he said.
“It’s hard because the senior leadership of the department always has day-to-day crises that are coming up and trying to take their attention. So there has to be a conscious decision…to maintain some focus on these reform efforts, because I know they’re important for the long term interests of the department.”
Congress is expected to vote next week on the bill, which is under presidential veto threat. (Source: Defense Systems)
25 Nov 20. MoD Comms Chief Departs after Five Year Tour of Duty. Carl Newns has left his job as director of comms at the Ministry of Defence after five years in post, PRWeek has learned. Having departed from his MoD role, Carl Newns has taken up a new job in the Cabinet Office as a director in the cross-government National Resilience Communications Hub and will focus on COVID-19, as well as winter planning. The MoD is now recruiting for the £120,000-per-year post and the department’s comms will be managed by four senior staff – including Matt Jackson, head of external comms and Sean Reilly, head of internal comms – until Newns’ successor is appointed in the new year.
Newns, who appeared in this year’s PRWeek Power Book list of the most senior public sector comms people in the UK, has had a 30-year career working in government.
He spent two decades at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, starting out as a desk officer for its Latin America department.
Newns also held the roles of head of news and later deputy director of comms strategy, before taking up the role of director of comms at the MoD.
In its application form, the MoD said it is seeking an “exceptional” person to lead the department’s comms team, set strategy and advise ministers on all aspects of communications.
According to the ministry, the person appointed will have responsibility for an annual budget of about £34m to “deliver high-quality communications”, and 100 staff, both civilian and military.
The MoD said: “The successful candidate will be an inspiring and empowering leader with first-rate stakeholder management experience.”
The new comms chief will also oversee a likely reduction in the department’s overall staff headcount.
This is part of a wide-ranging review of government comms personnel which will see the numbers across 20 departments reduced from 4,500 to hundreds by April 2023.
The MoD said the new comms director will lead on “reform programmes, delivering a programme of positive change while ensuring staff are engaged and informed during a period of uncertainty”.
The ‘Reshaping GCS’ programme will “integrate Defence communication more closely into the cross-government communication function,” it said.
Newns declined to comment on his departure from the MoD.
BATTLESPACE Comment: We understand that Mr Newns has just been shunted sideways to the Cabinet Office. (See Features ‘Review of the Defence Communications Directorate’s response to Declassified UK.’) Sources suggest that there is a link between the Declassified UK’s case against the MoD and carl Newns departure. Specialist publication such as BATTLESPACE have, in recent years, been sidelined by the MoD comms machine so they can concentrate on news management without specialist comment! One good example being the lack of invitations to any specialist press to the recent AWE demonstration. If the MoD wants to get its new High Tech message across, we suggest that is uses the outlets who understand this technology!
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
04 Dec 20. US to maintain two large bases in Afghanistan despite drawdown. The US has confirmed that it will continue to maintain two large bases in Afghanistan despite the drawdown of its forces in the war-torn country. The US has confirmed that it will continue to maintain two large bases in Afghanistan despite the drawdown of its forces in the war-torn country. According to a Reuters report, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told in an event that the US will keep two large bases and several satellite bases in Afghanistan. This comes after the US administration announced that it will reduce its troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 by the middle of January. At the event, Milley also confirmed that the US military will continue to support Afghan security forces, as well as counter-terrorism operations against militant groups. However, he did not confirm which bases will be closed as a result of the drawdown. Currently, the US has around 4,500 troops stationed in the country. Last month, the US Department of Defense Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C Miller announced that it will reduce its troops in Afghanistan in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s plans to bring US forces back home from the ‘forever wars’. The plan also included reducing military personnel in Iraq. Separately, the US-backed Afghan Government and the Taliban have agreed on framework rules for peace talks following two months of discussions. The US has been gradually reducing its presence in Afghanistan since early this year under a separate agreement with the Taliban. It is expected to completely withdraw from the country by May. (Source: army-technology.com)
08 Dec 20. ‘Good progress’ made in tackling unacceptable behaviour in the military. Good progress has been made introducing new measures to clamp down on unacceptable behaviour in the military, an independent review released today has concluded. The review – led by Danuta Gray, Non-Executive Member of the Defence Board – examined progress one year on from the Wigston Report, which looked at behaviour across defence and made 36 recommendations to stamp out incidents of inappropriate conduct.
Since the Wigston Report’s publication, a new helpline has been set up to provide support for service personnel experiencing or witnessing bullying, harassment or discrimination and ‘active bystander’ training has been completed by 30,000 personnel. The new training, which has been made mandatory, aims to change behaviour by encouraging those who witness unacceptable conduct to call it out.
Guidance and training on issues such as diversity and inclusion and reporting sexual harassment have also been refreshed, with essential training available to all personnel irrespective of rank.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said, “While the vast majority of our remarkable Armed Forces hold themselves to the highest standards, there is sadly still a minority who exhibit unacceptable behaviours. We have made some excellent progress in the last year, as shown through the creation of the anti-bullying helpline and active bystander training, but we know there is still more to do. I would like to thank Danuta for her report and look forward to driving improvements in the upcoming months. As well as recognising areas of progress, the review released today highlights some areas where the implementation of the Wigston recommendations has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, preparatory work to assess where to conduct training was affected in early 2020 to help relieve pressure on the Army, Navy and RAF as they supported the government in its Covid-19 response.”
Non-Executive Member of the Defence Board Danuta Gray said, “Good progress has been made implementing the recommendations across Defence. While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant some work was paused earlier this year, there has been much to be proud of and I look forward to seeing improvements develop in due course.”
The review led by Danuta Gray has recommended 13 actions to further drive forward the recommendations made in the Wigston report, including helping leaders provide advice about dealing with unacceptable behaviours, and building awareness of individuals’ lived experience through teaching and training. The Ministry of Defence will now consider how best to take forward each recommendation. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
08 Dec 20. Biden picks Lloyd Austin, retired Army general, to lead Pentagon. President-elect Joe Biden has reportedly selected Lloyd Austin III, a retired four-star Army general who most recently led the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq, as his nominee for defense secretary.
Austin would become the first Black leader of the department if confirmed, but likely faces a steep path because he will require a waiver from Congress due to his recent service, an exception granted to only two secretary nominees in the last century.
News of the pick was first reported by Politico, and confirmed by CNN.
Austin joined the Army in 1975, but his career is defined by post-9/11 conflicts. He was on the ground early in Iraq, where he was assistant division commander for the 3rd Infantry Division, and Afghanistan, where he commanded the 10th Mountain Division (Light). In 2008, he was named commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. Austin also served as director of the Joint Staff, and in 2012 became vice chief of staff of the Army.
His career culminated as the head of U.S. Central Command, which he led from 2013-2016. His time at CENTCOM coincided with the rise of the Islamic State group, better known as ISIS, as well as the effort to grow an anti-ISIS military force in Syria. That train-and-equip mission led to an explosive congressional hearing, where Austin was ripped by members of Congress after he admitted the effort, underway for five months, had produced only “four or five” fighters.
Since leaving the Pentagon, Austin has joined the corporate boards of Raytheon Technologies, one of the largest defense firms in the world, as well as steel company Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare.
According to Title 10 of the United States Code, the defense secretary is among nine Senate-confirmed roles at the Pentagon that would require a waiver if the nominee has been a military officer in the last seven years. Austin retired from the Army in May 2016.
The waiver requires approval by Senate and House majorities, and the president’s signature. Given ongoing concerns about civil-military relations following the Trump administration, which relied significantly on former military officers in civilian roles, Biden may struggle to get enough votes to pass Austin through.
When the Senate in 2017 approved a waiver for retired Gen. Jim Mattis to serve, 17 Democrats voted against it, including three on the Senate Armed Services Committee: Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand and Elizabeth Warren.
Citing a commitment to civilian leadership of the Pentagon, SASC ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., said then that “waiving the law should happen no more than once in a generation. Therefore I will not support a waiver for future nominees. Nor will I support any effort to water down or repeal the statute in the future.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Dec 20. Gen Chuck Yeager, ‘Right Stuff’ test pilot who broke sound barrier, dead at 97. Chuck Yeager, the steely “Right Stuff” test pilot who took aviation to the doorstep of space by becoming the first person to break the sound barrier more than 70 years ago, died on Monday at the age of 97. Yeager’s death was announced on his twitter account by his wife, Victoria.
“It is w/ profound sorrow, I must tell you that my life love General Chuck Yeager passed just before 9pm ET. An incredible life well lived, America’s greatest Pilot, & a legacy of strength, adventure, & patriotism will be remembered forever,” Victoria Yeager said in the tweet.
Yeager, an unlikely candidate to become one of the most famous aviators in history, joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 just to work on the engines of airplanes, not to fly them. His first plane ride made him throw up.
Yeager was passed over for the burgeoning U.S. space program because he never went to college but he was hardly heartbroken not to become an astronaut. He considered them mere passengers “throwing the right switches on instructions from the ground.”
Author Tom Wolfe was so impressed by the mien of the rough-hewn man from Hamlin, West Virginia, that he made Yeager a prominent character in “The Right Stuff,” his 1979 book about the early days of the space program.
Wolfe said Yeager was blessed with “the right stuff” that made him a legendary test pilot but Yeager said it was more a matter of luck, better-than-average vision and a thorough knowledge of his planes.
Those attributes served Yeager well in World War Two. Flying a P-51 Mustang named Glamorous Glennis in tribute to his girlfriend, Glennis Dickhouse, he was credited with 12 “kills” of German planes – including five in a single dogfight.
After the war he became a test pilot and was assigned to Muroc Air Force Base in California as part of the secret XS-1 project, which had a goal of hitting Mach 1, the speed of sound. Yeager was a 24-year-old captain, testing out a dozen planes a week, when he first outraced sound on Oct. 14, 1947, in the bright orange Bell X-1 craft.
NOT DETERRED BY BROKEN RIBS
He had broken two ribs in a horseback riding accident a few days before but did not tell his superiors for fear they would ground him. Because of the pain, he had to use a sawed-off broomstick to close the X-1’s cockpit before takeoff.
A B-29 bomber carried the X-1 26,000 feet (7,925 m) over California’s Mojave Desert and let it go. Neither Yeager nor aviation engineers knew if the plane – or the pilot – would be able to handle the unprecedented speed without breaking up. But Yeager took the 31-foot (10 meter) X-1, powered by liquid oxygen and alcohol, to Mach 1.06, about 700 mph (1,126 kph) at 43,000 feet (13,000 meters), as if it were a routine flight.
He then calmly brought the craft, which was also named for Glennis, who was by then his wife, gliding down to a dry lake bed, 14 minutes after it had been cut loose on a flight that was a significant step toward space exploration.
Yeager said he had noted a Mach 0.965 reading on his speedometer before it jumped off the scale without a bump.
“I was thunderstruck,” he wrote in his 1985 autobiography “Yeager.” “After all the anxiety, breaking the sound barrier turned out to be a perfectly paved speedway.”
Yeager was unfazed by having a job that took him to the brink of death with every outing – such as the 1953 flight on which he safely landed his X-1A after hitting Mach 2.4 and then losing control of the aircraft for 51 seconds.
“It’s your duty to fly the airplane,” he told an interviewer. “If you get killed in it, you don’t know anything about it anyway so why worry about it?”
Charles Elwood Yeager was born in Myra, West Virginia, on Feb. 13, 1923, one of five siblings. As a schoolboy, he liked math and could type 60 words per minute – an indication of the hand-eye coordination that would serve him so well in the cockpit.
Yeager had no interest in airplanes as a youth – he did not even see one until he was 18, when he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps to be a mechanic.
After his test pilot heyday, Yeager commanded fighter squadrons and flew 127 combat missions during the Vietnam War.
In the early 1960s, he was in charge of astronaut-style training for Air Force personnel but that program ended when the U.S. government decided not to militarize space. Still, 26 people trained by Yeager went into orbit as NASA astronauts.
Yeager reached the rank of brigadier general and in 1997 he marked the 50th anniversary of his historic flight by taking an F-15 past the speed of sound. He then announced that it was his last military flight.
Yeager became something of a social media sensation in 2016 at age 93 when he began fielding questions from the public on Twitter and responding in a curt and sometimes curmudgeonly manner. When asked what he thought about the moon, he replied, “It’s there.”
Yeager and Glennis, who died of cancer in 1990, had four children. He married Victoria Scott D’Angelo in 2003. (Source: Reuters)
03 Dec 20. The Marine Corps Is Considering Merging All Infantry Jobs Into Just 1 MOS. The Marine Corps will conduct wargames to determine whether infantry jobs should remain specialized or be rolled into a single military occupational specialty. Commandant Gen. David Berger has prioritized redesigning the Marine infantry battalion as part of a 10-year plan to modernize the Corps. He told lawmakers this week that future enlisted infantry Marines “will be at a higher level than we’re producing right now.”
That will mean a longer training pipeline that will help prep grunts for making higher-level decisions, Berger said. But whether infantry Marines will continue training for unique MOSs remains to be seen.
“This is yet to be determined and will be informed throughout the force design implementation process and war gaming of our future force composition,” Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Training and Education Command, said. The possible change was first reported by Marine Corps Times.
The Marine Corps currently has several enlisted infantry MOSs, including riflemen, reconnaissance Marines, machine gunners, mortarmen, snipers, anti-tank missile gunners and light-armor vehicle Marines. It’s not immediately clear which MOSs could be affected by the war games.
Berger said this week that as they reshape the Marine Corps, “we will reshape our reconnaissance and effort and our reconnaissance units and infantry units.”
Infantry Marines, Berger said, are going to be operating in a more decentralized, distributed way in the future, and leaders will be relying on them to make more complex decisions.
“We need to take that Marine to a higher level so that the whole platoon can get to a higher level,” Berger said. “… So infantry training, both on the officer and enlisted side, [will be] more extensive, longer.”
The Schools of Infantry, which train enlisted grunts on both coasts, will begin running “running proof-of-concept courses” for entry-level Marines early next year, Stephenson said. At 14 weeks long, they will be more than 50% longer than the current nine-week course.
The length of the course will likely change as it’s developed and leaders receive feedback from the fleet, he added. The goal, he said, is to produce “the high-quality Infantry Marine that the future force needs to be successful.”
The course will initially focus on building individual skills, with later phases reinforcing those skills in a variety of environments that gradually increase in complexity. It will end with a capstone field exercise.
“The future Infantry Marine Course will incorporate additional tasks and skill sets previously untrained in entry level training with a focus on effective, effects-based decision making in all domains,” Stephenson said. “The course will produce a multi-disciplined Infantry Marine, able to survive, fight, and win in dispersed and contested environments.”
Several other communities have been affected by the Marine Corps’ force design efforts. The Marine Corps is shrinking in size and getting rid of some long-used equipment, such as tanks, to prepare for lighter missions in the Pacific.
Some tank Marines are getting the option to leave the service early as their units shut down. Law enforcement battalions are also preparing for deactivation. (Source: Military.com)
04 Dec 20. US Army deploying 45 SFAB soldiers to Honduras. The US Army is sending approximately 45 Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) soldiers to Honduras in early 2021 for a seven-month stint to work with the Central American nation’s military, the service told Janes. In late November United States Army South (USARSOUTH) issued a solicitation for contracted meal services to support SFAB troops in Olancho, Honduras, from 4 January 2021 until 31 July 2021, and a public affairs officer for the 1st SFAB from Fort Benning, Georgia confirmed the deployment.
Their mission will be to “provide Honduran partners assistance based on their operational and institutional needs to achieve shared strategic objectives through our co-operative relationship,” Major Chris Webb told Janes on 3 December. He noted that these troops will only be working with Honduran forces during this time and will not fan out into other countries. In October 1st SFAB Commander Colonel Thomas Hough said that this mission was on the horizon.
“I think our next opportunity in [the region] to partner is going to be in Honduras [and] that will probably happen over the next couple months,” Col Hough told reporters at the time.
This forthcoming deployment marks the second time that SFAB soldiers will deploy to the US Southern Command area of responsibility. The first time occurred earlier this year when the army sent a 45-member task force into Colombia to support the nation’s military with counter-narcotics operations in an ‘advise and assist’ capacity. (Source: Jane’s)
09 Dec 20. Belgo-Danish-Dutch Composite Special Operations Component Command reaches FOC. Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands declared the full operational capability (FOC) of their Composite Special Operations Component Command (C-SOCC) headquarters on 7 December, NATO announced on its website the same day.
The FOC was declared during computer-assisted exercise ‘Steadfast Jupiter-Jackal 2020’ being held on 1–10 December to train and evaluate the various headquarters of the 2021 rotation of the NATO Response Force (NRF). The functions of the C-SOCC were tested and verified in Oksbøl, Denmark. The Forsvaret, the Danish armed forces, said on its website that the exercise is training C-SOCC headquarters staff in deploying up to six task forces in a counter-terrorism and capacity-building role during the initial phases of an armed conflict in a fictional crisis-racked country south of the Mediterranean Sea. Also participating was the C-SOCC’s special operations air task group (C-SOATG).
The command was launched as a NATO multinational High Visibility Project through a letter of intent signed by the Belgian, Danish, and Dutch defence ministers in February 2017. The three ministers signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to create the C-SOCC in June 2018. Its initial operational capability was achieved in October 2019, according to NATO.
The C-SOCC will provide the NRF’s composite special operations component command in 2021. The Forsvaret said the C-SOATG was already certified for NRF 21 during an exercise in late summer in which special forces were airlifted by C-130 transport aircraft from Aalborg to the Danish Baltic Sea island of Bornholm. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Dec 20. Tim Marlow has been reappointed by the Prime Minister as Trustee of the Imperial War Museum for a four year period from 30 October 2020 to 29 October 2024. Tim Marlow is Chief Executive and Director of the Design Museum in London. Formerly Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts and Director of Exhibitions at White Cube, Marlow has been involved in the contemporary art world for the past thirty years as a curator, writer and broadcaster. He has worked with many of the most important and influential artists of our time to deliver wide-ranging and popular programmes and brings a commitment to diverse and engaging exhibitions to his new role showcasing the transformational capability of design. Marlow sits on the Board of Trustees for the Imperial War Museum, Sadler’s Wells, Art on the Underground Advisory Board and Cultureshock Media. Marlow was awarded an OBE in 2019. This role is not remunerated. This reappointment has been made in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments, the process is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Government’s Governance Code requires that any significant political activity undertaken by an appointee in the last five years is declared. This is defined as holding office, public speaking, making a recordable donation or candidature for election. Mr Marlow has not declared any activity. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
10 Dec 20. Change of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Latvia: Paul Brummell. Mr Paul Brummell CMG has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia in succession to Mr Keith Shannon. Mr Brummell will take up his appointment in summer 2021.
Full name: Paul Brummell
Married to: Adriana Mitsue Ivama Brummell
2018 to present
FCDO, Head, Soft Power and External Affairs Department, Communication Directorate
2014 to 2018
Bucharest, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
2013 to 2014
Full-time Language Training (Romanian)
2009 to 2013
Bridgetown, British High Commissioner
2005 to 2009
Nur-Sultan, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
2002 to 2005
Ashgabat, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
FCO, Deputy Head, Afghanistan Emergency Unit
2000 to 2001
FCO, Deputy Head, Eastern Department
1995 to 2000
Rome, First Secretary (Political, Press and Public Affairs)
1993 to 1994
FCO, Head, Science and Technology Section, Environment, Science and Energy Department
UK Mission to the UN, New York, Conference Support Officer
1989 to 1992
Islamabad, Third later Second Secretary (Political)
1988 to 1999
FCO, Desk Officer, South America Department
FCO, Desk Officer, Research Department
08 Dec 20. Change of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Greece: Matthew Lodge. Mr Matthew Lodge has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic in succession to Ms Kate Smith CMG. Mr Lodge will take up his appointment during summer 2021.
Full name: Matthew James Lodge
Married to: Alexia Arnaoutoglou-Ipeiroti
2017 to present
Paris, Minister and also United Kingdom Permanent Delegate to UNESCO
2014 to 2017
Kuwait, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
2010 to 2013
Helsinki, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
2008 to 2010
FCO, Head of Afghanistan Group, South Asia and Afghanistan Directorate
Baghdad, Deputy Head of Mission
2004 to 2006
FCO, Private Secretary to the Permanent Under Secretary
2003 to 2004
FCO, Head of Greece and Cyprus Section, EU External Directorate
2001 to 2003
Brussels, Second Secretary – Political/Military, UK Permanent Representation to the EU
Paris, Second Secretary – Press and Public Affairs
1998 to 2000
Athens, Second Secretary – Political/EU/Press and Public Affairs
1996 to 1997
FCO, Desk Officer – Bosnia Section, Eastern Adriatic Department
04 Dec 20. Change of Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Argentina: Kirsty Hayes. Mrs Kirsty Hayes has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Argentine Republic in succession to Mr Mark Kent CMG. Mrs Hayes will take up her appointment in September 2021.
Full name: Kirsty Isobel Hayes
Marriage status: Married
Children: One daughter, one son
2018 to present
Home Office, International Director
2014 to 2018
Lisbon, Her Majesty’s Ambassador
Full-time language training (Portuguese)
2011 to 2013
FCO, Head, International Organisations Department
FCO, Head, Corporate Communications Department
2009 to 2010
Special Unpaid Leave
2008 to 2009
Colombo, International Contractor to UN Development Programme Regional Centre
2007 to 2008
FCO, Deputy Head, Human Resources, Training, Recruitment and Development Section
2006 to 2007
FCO, Head, Human Resources, Diversity and Development Team
2005 to 2006
FCO, Head, Institutions/France Team, Common Foreign and Security Policy Group
2004 to 2005
Maternity Leave then Special Unpaid Leave
2002 to 2004
Washington DC, Private Secretary to Her Majesty’s Ambassador
2001 to 2002
Washington DC, Temporary Second Secretary – Economic
2000 to 2001
Hong Kong, Vice-Consul – Political/Economic
1999 to 2000
FCO, Desk Officer, Environment Policy Department
10 Dec 20. President-elect Joe Biden has selected former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough as his pick for the next Veterans Affairs secretary, Military Times has learned. If confirmed, the 51-year-old McDonough would be only the second non-veteran ever to hold the post. He would be the second member of former President Barack Obama’s national security team to be given a Cabinet level post in the new Biden administration, following Tony Blinken, who Biden has tapped to be his Secretary of State. According to a source familiar with the choice, Biden opted for McDonough because of his past in crisis management in the Obama administration and his depth of knowledge of government operations. (Source: Defense News)
09 Dec 20. US Army, Navy name top advisers to guide cyber readiness. The Army and Navy named principal cyber advisers who will help their services become better prepared in the digital domain. The Army appointed Terry Mitchell to the position in September, a spokesperson confirmed recently to C4ISRNET. Mitchell will advise the secretary of the Army and chief of staff on cybersecurity matters to include implementation of various items tasked in the 2018 Department of Defense cyber strategy. The Department of the Navy has selected Chris Cleary, most recently the Navy’s chief information security officer, to serve in the role effective Nov. 22, according to a spokesperson. In a release issued Dec. 9, the Navy said Cleary will work with the Department of Navy chief information officer. The DoD principal cyber advisor and the DoD CIO and will advise the secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval operations, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, the commandant of the Marine Corps and other appropriate senior military officers. (Source: Defense News)
09 Dec 20. Statement on New Appointments to the Defense Policy Board. Today, the Department of Defense announces that it intends to appoint Hudson Institute China policy expert Michael Pillsbury to serve as the Chair of the Defense Policy Board, and former National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty as a member.
The DPB provides independent, informed advice concerning matters of defense policy and focuses on issues central to strategic DoD planning as well as policy implications of force modernization. Each member is appointed based on his or her professional experience.
“The Department of Defense is proud to announce its intent to appoint Mr. Pillsbury and Ms. Gordon-Hagerty to the Defense Policy Board,” said Dave Vasquez, a Department of Defense spokesman. “We have every confidence the DPB and the Department will be well served by the decades of national security experience each of these individuals bring to the Board. We greatly look forward to their service to the Department.”
About the Defense Policy Board
The Defense Policy Board was established to provide the Secretary of Defense and the Deputy Secretary of Defense, independent, informed advice and opinions concerning matters of defense policy through the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (USD(P)). (Source: US DoD)
09 Dec 20. Biden’s defence secretary choice faces congressional scrutiny. The incoming Biden administration announced on 8 December that it has selected retired US Army general Lloyd Austin III as its future defence secretary. The announcement follows weeks of speculation and, if approved by Congress, Austin would be the first black US secretary of defence.
“Throughout his lifetime of dedicated service – and in the many hours we’ve spent together in the White House Situation Room and with our troops overseas – General Austin has demonstrated exemplary leadership, character, and command,” President-elect Joe Biden said in a statement. “He is uniquely qualified to take on the challenges and crises we face in the current moment, and I look forward to once again working closely with him as a trusted partner to lead our military with dignity and resolve, revitalise our alliances in the face of global threats, and ensure the safety and security of the American people.”
Austin spent more than four decades in uniform, including serving as the vice chief of staff of the army, as the Combined Forces commander in Iraq and Syria, and as the head of US Central Command (USCENTCOM). He retired from service in 2016 before joining the board of directors for Raytheon Technologies. However, US law requires that all Pentagon heads must be out of uniform for seven years before being sworn in to ensure civilian control of the department. Given the timing shortfall, both the House and the Senate are required to approve a waiver before the Senate can confirm Austin to the post. (Source: Jane’s)
04 Dec 20. Statement on New Appointments to the Defense Business Board. Today, Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller announced the appointments of Henry Dreifus, Robert McMahon, Cory Mills, Bill Bruner, Christopher Shank, Joseph Schmidt, Keary Miller, Alan Weh, Earl Matthews, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie to the Defense Business Board (DBB). Individuals appointed to the Defense Business Board are selected for their expertise and executive management experience in the private and public sectors. (Source: US DoD)
09 Dec 20. USN Command Master Chief Donald O. Myrick, currently assigned as the command master chief for the Office of the Naval Inspector General, Washington, D.C., has been selected to replace Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason L. France as the command senior enlisted leader for U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
08 Dec 20. AAR forms Aviation Safety and Training Oversight Committee. AAR (NYSE: AIR), a leading provider of aviation services to commercial and government operators, MROs and OEMs is pleased to announce that it has formed an Aviation Safety and Training Committee (the “ASTC”) at the Board of Directors (“Board”) level. The ASTC will be comprised of three independent directors, with retired United States Air Force General Duncan J. McNabb, who last served as the ninth Commander, United States Transportation Command, serving as Chair, and Robert F. Leduc and Jennifer L. Vogel joining him as committee members. The ASTC will assist the Board in the oversight of aviation safety matters relating to AAR’s operations, including training employees, promoting a robust safety culture and helping ensure the delivery of services and products with safety as the highest priority.
“Forming the ASTC at the Board level is the strategic evolution of AAR’s commitment to aviation safety, which is of the utmost importance because of the number of aircraft we touch every day and AAR’s importance to the overall aviation chain of safety,” said David P. Storch, AAR’s Chairman of the Board. “We have proactively established the ASTC to help the Board in continuing to fulfill its fiduciary duties overseeing aviation safety matters and ensuring that AAR continues to have a best in class safety program.”
“The ASTC is comprised of seasoned aviation professionals who will provide valuable oversight and guidance regarding aviation safety matters,” said John M. Holmes, AAR’s Chief Executive Officer. “As a Company, we’re proud and honored that our customers trust us to perform maintenance on their planes and the ASTC will help us deliver safety programs that are on the cutting edge of industry practice.”
“I am delighted to chair the newly formed ASTC at AAR as the Company continues its journey to be best in class in delivering aviation safety,” said Duncan J. McNabb. “The ASTC will provide oversight regarding AAR’s training programs and safety culture, and I look forward to working with AAR leadership, the committee members, and the Board on this important initiative.”
10 Dec 20. CAE welcomed Ben Nicholson as Vice President Washington Operations, effective December 14, 2020. He will be based in Washington, D.C.. In this role, Mr. Nicholson will serve as the senior executive for CAE’s government relations in Washington, D.C., and will be responsible for representing the company with the United States Congress, federal agencies, foreign governments and industry associations. He will provide guidance on U.S. government foreign policy and national priorities related to the defense and security, civil aviation and healthcare sectors, including their impact on CAE pursuits and objectives in the U.S. and international markets. (Source: PR Newswire)
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