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NEWS IN BRIEF 28 Mar 05

18 Mar 05. New U.S. Military Strategy Stresses Flexibility. The Pentagon on March 18 unveiled its update of the Bush administration’s national security strategy, placing an emphasis on military forces being flexible and “agile” to deal with a new era of uncertainty. The new documents tone down the pre-emption strategy that drove the administration’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, and instead underscore a need for the United States to closely cooperate with allies to achieve its long-term goals. The new strategy also says top-level commanders must include so-called stability operations in their plans for major combat actions. Combat and stability operations “must be fully integrated and synchronized in campaign planning,” the new strategy says. Critics say there was a major strategic gap at the end of the U.S. invasion of Baghdad, when the combat plan proceeded far faster than anticipated and left many commanders poorly prepared for the sudden postwar stability phase of their mission. The White House in late 2002 made public the Bush administration’s new National Security Strategy, which, among other things, put into writing the controversial pre-emption policy. The Pentagon’s two new documents — a new National Defense Strategy, crafted by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his staff, as well as new National Military Strategy developed by the Joint Chiefs — describe in extremely broad terms how the armed forces will carry out these strategies. (Source: defense News, VINCE CRAWLEY)

17 Mar 05. The U.S. Army’s top weapons buyer has reversed himself on testimony at the heart of whether taxpayers’ interests are being adequately protected in a $108bn modernization project led by Boeing Co. Claude Bolton, assistant secretary for acquisition, corrected the record after testifying Wednesday to a Senate Armed Services panel about a special commercial framework used for the Future Combat System, the costliest U.S. Army program undertaken to date. He had been responding to Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who heads the subcomittee that oversees Army and Air Force programs. McCain raised questions about whether Boeing, the Pentagon’s No. 2 supplier, should be using contracting provisions designed to attract small companies unschooled in doing business with the government, rather than normal federal procurement rules. “I now understand you were asking whether the contractor, Boeing, submits certified cost and pricing data pursuant to” the Truth in Negotiation Act, or TINA, under which the government conducts audits, Bolton wrote McCain. “The answer is no,” he said in the letter dated Wednesday and obtained Thursday by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based watchdog group. (Source: Reuters)

23 Mar 05. Defence Aviation Repair Agency. Adam Ingram M.P., The Armed Forces Minister said in Parliament that the MoD is conducting a review of the potential future status options for DARA and its Business Units. This work is being carried out without prejudice or preconception. The analysis currently being done by Morgan Stanley to test market interest does not, in any sense, imply that we see sale to the private sector as a preferred option, and any industry interest in any of DARA’s business units will be judged impartially against a full range of options, including retaining DARA in-house. The criteria for any final decision will be quality of support to the front line and overall value for money. I aim to reach conclusions about the way forward for DARA, if at all possible, by the middle of 2005.

01 Apr 05. China Ban Stays, But EU Firms Still May Get Boost. The European Union’s push to lift its 15-year-old embargo on arms for China faltered suddenly in mid-March, but European businesses still may benefit from their political leaders’ attempts to please Beijing, a former U.S. State Department analyst said. Europe’s bid to sell more goods — from Airbus airliners to power plant generators — may benefit from China’

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