22 Jul 16. Clinton Picks Kaine, a Foreign Policy Heavyweight. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Friday announced Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate, creating a formidable foreign policy tandem in a year when Republicans hope to own national security as their issue. Kaine, 58, serves on the Senate’s Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Budget committees, where he has been both an ally and a critic of the White House in the war on the Islamic State. Kaine has faulted both the administration and Congress on the lack of a new authorization of the use of military force for the president. (Source: Defense News)
21 Jul 16. Navy’s $12.9bn Carrier Isn’t Ready for Warfare, Memo Says. The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier isn’t ready for warfare. The $12.9bn USS Gerald R. Ford — the most expensive warship ever built — may struggle to launch and recover aircraft, mount a defense and move munitions, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester. On-board systems for those tasks have poor or unknown reliability issues, according to a June 28 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.
“These four systems affect major areas of flight operations,” Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, wrote Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers Frank Kendall and Sean Stackley. “Unless these issues are resolved, which would likely require redesigning” of the aircraft launch and recovery systems “they will significantly limit the CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations,” Gilmore wrote, using a technical name for the carrier.
The reliability woes mean that delivery of the Ford — the first of three carriers ordered up in a $42bn program — will probably slip further behind schedule. The Navy announced last week that the ship, originally due by September 2014, wouldn’t be delivered before November this year because of continuing unspecified testing issues.
The service has operated 10 carriers since the retirement of the USS Enterprise in 2012. Extended deployments of the remaining ships have placed stress on crews and meant added strain meeting global commitments from the battle against Islamic State to ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, home to $5 trillion in annual trade. A prolonged delay could also hamper the military if a new conflict arises.
“Based on current reliability estimates, the CVN-78 is unlikely to conduct high-intensity flight operations” such as a requirement for four days of 24-hour surge operations “at the outset of a war,” Gilmore wrote.
As delivery of the Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. vessel approaches, “my concerns about the reliability of these systems remain and the risk to the ship’s ability to succeed in combat grows as these reliability issues remain unresolved,” Gilmore said.
Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the Navy’s announcement of additional delays last week “unacceptable,” adding that it was a “case study in why our acquisition system must be reformed.”
A Navy spokeswoman, Lieutenant Kara Yingling, said the Navy was aware of the report but referred additional comment to Kendall’s office. Kendall spokesman Mark Wright said in an e-mail “we don’t feel it is appropriate to release our response to this internal memo.” (Source: defence-aerospace.com/Bloomberg News)
22 Jul 16. Pentagon Revises Manual to Clarify Protections of Journalism. The Pentagon has revised its Law of War guidelines to remove wording that could permit U.S. military commanders to treat war correspondents as “unprivileged belligerents” if they think the journalists are sympathizing or cooperating with enemy forces.
The amended manual, published on Friday, also drops wording that equated journalism with spying.
These and other changes were made in response to complaints by news organizations, including The Associated Press, which expressed concern to Defense D