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04 Dec 20. Officials Describe How Arms Sales Benefit the US Partners. Officials today announced the fiscal year 2020 arms transfer figures and other Defense and State Department security assistance and cooperation accomplishments and statistics.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency leads the department’s efforts to enable security cooperation for U.S. allies and partners, said Heidi H. Grant, DSCA director.
Many assume that this is limited to just the provision of defense articles and services under the Foreign Military Sales, or FMS program, she said. However, the DSCA security cooperation mission encompasses much more, including humanitarian disaster relief, international military education and training and institutional capacity building programs that aim to assist partners and strengthen their policies and processes.
For example, DSCA trained some 31,000 foreign military students in department school houses and deployed 55 advisors to 13 allied and partner nations.
“I can’t say enough about how the training the United States provides our allies and partners can have a huge impact on a military or even a society,” she said.
“The range of security cooperation programs allows us to provide full spectrum capability and develop strong long-term relationships. Those enable ally and partner militaries to address shared security issues,” she said.
The 2020 FMS arm sales totaled $50.78bn, Grant said. Arms sales funded under the Title 22 Foreign Military Financing Program, totaled $3.3bn.
Sales funded through the Title 10 Foreign Assistance Act, which are building partner capacity programs, such as global train and equip, totaled $2.69bn, she said.
“The sales demonstrate the United States continues to be the global security partner of choice,” she said. “Not only do we already offer the most advanced defense equipment in the world, we’re also increasingly adapting to meet the technological needs of our allies and partner militaries in conjunction with the Department of State and Commerce by addressing export issues in support of our U.S. industry partners.
“We’re increasingly expanding our sales, moving beyond standard U.S. programs of record, and offering a rising number of non-program of record systems, which are opportunities to integrate ally and partner nation systems into the U.S. platforms,” she continued.
“By moving beyond standard U.S. programs of record, and U.S. inventory, including these systems that are newly developed but not yet deployed by U.S. forces, we’re enhancing our ability to respond quickly and consistently to our international partners,” Grant added.
DSCA proactively identified opportunities to help many allies and partners balance FMS financial obligations with current financial realities, she said. For example, DSCA identified opportunities such as offering eligible allies and partners the opportunity to delay planned payments to future years on current procurements, established unique payment plans on procurements currently in development and returned excess funds currently on deposit with the United States.
These opportunities along with several recent reforms such as reduced administrative fees associated with FMS and offering competitive financing, lowered the cost of doing business with the United States, Grant mentioned.
Among the capabilities that DSCA has recently begun to offer to allies and partners is assisting in reducing the partners’ risk to civilian harm caused by military operations, she said.
“We’re consistently working with our allies and partners to facilitate the employment and military capabilities consistent with our values. We have been particularly focused on minimizing civilian harm resulting from their operations including expanding training, ensuring the provision of targeting capabilities to partners, and providing additional advisory support, with a specific emphasis on mitigation of civilian harm.”
- Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said the State Department plays in overseeing the U.S. in defense trade and is always in close coordination with the DOD.
Arms sales are a continuance of strong support for the U.S. defense industry and American workers, he said.
Up to 1 million of these workers depend on U.S. defense exports for their job security, he noted.
“These individuals and the companies they work for represent a part of American entrepreneurship and innovation. And, they also help maintain the United States as the world leader in the defense and aerospace sectors to ensure our armed forces sustain their military edge.” (Source: US DoD)
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.
“I’m proud to welcome each of these new members to the Defense Business Board and I look forward to their contributions to help guide the Department’s business efforts in the coming years,” said Acting Secretary Miller. “These individuals have a proven record of achievement within their respective fields and have demonstrated leadership that will serve our Department, and our nation well.”
About the Defense Business Board
The Defense Business Board, established in 2002, provides the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense along with other senior leaders within the Department of Defense with independent advice on business management issues. This private sector perspective is based on proven and effective “best business practices” from corporate America and presents new ideas to help senior leaders meet DoD management challenges.
Also today, Acting Secretary Miller thanked 9 outgoing members of the Defense Business Board for their service and commitment to the Department. These members are: Michael Bayer, Arnold Punaro, Atul Vashisitha, John O’Connor, David Venlet, Paul Dolan, Scott Dorn, David Walker and David Van Slyke who had been serving in expired positions. “I want to thank each of these members for volunteering their time and talents in service to the Department of Defense and in turn, our country,” Said Acting Secretary Miller. (Source: US DoD)
04 Dec 20. Congress directs DoD to build interim homeland missile defense interceptor. Congress is directing the Pentagon to build an interim homeland intercontinental ballistic missile defense interceptor, a weapon that is not in the Missile Defense Agency’s current plans to counter threats from North Korea and Iran.
The fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, released Dec. 3, gives the Pentagon — through the Missile Defense Agency — 30 days to “commence carrying out a program to develop an interim ground-based interceptor capability” once the bill is signed into law.
The Pentagon’s solution “should address the majority of current and near- to mid-term projected ballistic missile threats to the United States homeland from rogue nations” and “at a minimum, meet the proposed capabilities of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle program,” the language of the bill stated.
The interim interceptor should use existing kill vehicle booster technology, according to the bill.
Lawmakers were unhappy with the sudden cancellation of the RKV program, which would have improved the current ground-based interceptors that make up the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system at Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Instead, the Pentagon decided to start from scratch with a new Next-Generation Interceptor development program that wouldn’t be ready until the 2030s, although MDA’s director has since said it’s possible to field the NGI by 2028.
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the defense policy bill included a provision requiring the agency to develop an interim interceptor for the GMD system.
The NDAA will require the delivery of 20 interim interceptors by 2026 after a rigorous test program. According to the legislation, the MDA director must ensure that the interim GBI meets, at a minimum:
- Vehicle-to-vehicle communications.
- Kill assessment capability and the ability to counter advanced countermeasures, decoys and penetration aids.
- The ability to be producible and manufacturable.
- The ability to use mature technology and have options to integrate the new kill vehicle into other missile defense interceptors other than GMD system GBIs.
The language includes waivers to get out of the development effort. These include if the technology isn’t feasible, if the capability is not in the national security interest of the United States and if an interim system can not be fielded at least two years earlier than NGI would be fielded. To seek a waiver, the defense secretary must issue a report to the relevant congressional committees explaining why the waiver is needed alongside an updated schedule.
The defense secretary will also not be allowed to delegate authority to carry out the program below the level of an undersecretary of defense, the bill stated.
Unless there is a waiver, the defense secretary is required to include budget justification to Congress with the fiscal 2022 defense budget request.
Next-Generation Interceptor called into question
In the House version of the defense policy bill, lawmakers did not ask for an interim interceptor but required that MDA notify congressional defense committees within a week if any changes are made to the requirements for the NGI. The agency would also be required to brief Congress within two weeks of awarding a contract for the interceptor. Those provisions made it into the final bill where the NGI is addressed.
Congress is also requiring an independent cost assessment of the NGI program that is conducted through the director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office. The findings should be made available to the MDA director, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, and the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering to inform the award of a contract for the NGI’s design or development — or both.
The Pentagon released a request for proposals for the NGI program in April. The competitors are a Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne team; a Boeing, General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Aerojet Rocketdyne team; and a Northrop Grumman and Raytheon team.
The bids are in, and teams are waiting for MDA’s decision on which two teams will be selected to compete to build the interceptor.
The NDAA would also bar the MDA director from making a decision on initial production until the NGI has two successful intercept flight tests and congressional defense committees are briefed on the details to include the degree of operational realism.
A forced pause
Congress is also forcing MDA to pause its plans for a layered homeland defense system that would include regional missile defense capability already resident with the Navy and Army to bolster homeland defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles.
MDA wants to establish layers of defensive capability relying on the Aegis weapon system, particularly the SM-3 Block IIA missiles used in the system, and a possible Aegis Ashore system in Hawaii. The underlay would also include the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system. The Army is already operating a THAAD battery in South Korea and Guam.
The layered approach would buy time while the Pentagon scrambles to field a new interceptor to replace older GBIs after canceling the RKV program, but the agency conveyed little detail in its FY21 budget request on what the underlay would look like.
The Senate Armed Services Committee wanted to limit half of the funding appropriate for the underlay development until a report was submitted on a strategy to build the architecture. And the House Armed Services Committee wanted an analysis of alternatives on using THAAD and Aegis for homeland missile defense.
In the NDAA, Congress plans to withhold 50 percent of the funding designated to develop the plan until the defense secretary submits a detailed report on the proposal for a layered homeland missile defense architecture along with budget justification materials that would go along with the FY22 budget request. That report would be due March 1, 2021.
The report should include a description of the requirements for the architecture that are “based on an assessment by the intelligence community of threats to be addressed at the time of deployment of such a system and validated by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council,” the NDAA language read.
An assessment of how the proposed architecture requirements are or are not addressed by the existing GMD system including deployed GBIs, and planned upgrades should also be included in the report. Lawmakers want an analysis of the interceptor solutions proposed for the underlay including Aegis, SM-3 Block IIA and THAAD; the number of locations required for deployment; and required production numbers. This would include what modifications might need to be made to the THAAD system.
What does it take to destroy an ICBM?
The report also must include a description of any upgrades needed for the command-and-control, battle management, and communications systems that would support the underlay as well as required sensors for tracking and discrimination.
Lawmakers want to know how the postponement of the discrimination radar that was planned for Hawaii might impact the underlay plans.
As required in the report is a description of the effects on the Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyers should SM-3 Block IIA missiles be used in the underlay.
Congress also wants a list of specific possible locations for interceptors and radars and should include environmental or permitting considerations.
Policy considerations, life-cycle cost estimates and industrial base assessments should also be a part of the report, the bill noted.
The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency was also given homework in the NDAA. A report would be due to congressional defense committees no later than Feb. 28, 2021, that discusses how the development and deployment of regional THAAD and Aegis systems “to conduct longer-range missile defense missions would be perceived by near-peer foreign countries and rogue nations” as well as “how such near-peer foreign countries and rogue nations would likely respond to such deployments,” the NDAA read. (Source: Defense News)
04 Dec 20. Somalia Force Posture Announcement. The President of the United States has ordered the Department of Defense and the United States Africa Command to reposition the majority of personnel and assets out of Somalia by early 2021.
The U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from Africa. We remain committed to our African partners and enduring support through a whole-of-government approach.
While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy. We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition.
As a result of this decision, some forces may be reassigned outside of East Africa. However, the remaining forces will be repositioned from Somalia into neighboring countries in order to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia.
The U.S. will retain the capability to conduct targeted counterterrorism operations in Somalia, and collect early warnings and indicatorsregarding threats to the homeland. (Source: US DoD)
04 Dec 20. New DOD Directive Will Improve Acquisition Reform, Officials Say. On Sept. 8, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist signed Defense Department Directive 5000.01, “The Defense Acquisition System.”
It supports the National Defense Strategy by improving on business reform and developing a more lethal force based on faster delivery of technological innovation and a culture of performance that yields a decisive and sustained U.S. military advantage, said Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment.
Speaking yesterday at the National Training and Simulation Association, Lord recalled how the environment looked several years ago. “U.S. technological advantage was beginning to fade a bit, and our acquisition system was too slow and risk averse for us to keep up with our adversaries. So, the department required new, wide-ranging asymmetric capabilities to counter threats, and disruptive technologies to ensure our overmatch, and a fundamentally different acquisition approach that leverages speed, innovation and risk-taking to give U.S. forces the capabilities needed for future operations.”
She said the directive supports the six goals within the A&S mission:
- To enable acquisition innovation approaches that deliver warfighting capability at the speed of relevance;
- To build a safe, secure and resilient defense industrial base that’s both commercial and organic;
- To ensure safe and resilient DOD installations;
- To increase weapon system mission capability while reducing operating costs;
- To promote acquisition and sustainment initiatives with key international partners;
- To recruit, develop and retain a diverse acquisition and sustainment workforce.
Besides delivering needed capability to the warfighter at the speed of relevance, Lord noted that the directive also focuses on improved sustainment of those weapons systems. She noted that 70 to 80 cents on the dollar over the lifecycle of a program is focused on sustainment.
It’s also the first major reform of the defense acquisition workforce management framework in almost three decades. “We are pivoting from a one-size-fits-all certification construct to a component-and-workforce-central, tailorable continuous learning construct,” she said. “This shift to modern talent management will empower the workforce for success today and into the future.”
Stacy A. Cummings, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, also spoke about developing the new directive.
“There is not just a one-size-fits-all in order to deliver capability,” she said. “It’s really about applying common sense and critical thinking to the decision making of the program manager, the program team, as well as the decision authority, and looking at what is the right acquisition strategy for that capability.”
Cummings added that the department is working to capture lessons learned and looking for pathways that are flexible, adaptive, innovative and spur critical thinking. (Source: US DoD)
04 Dec 20. The Air Force wanted to mothball over 100 planes. Here’s what Congress says it will permit.
Congress is seeking to block the Air Force from retiring any of its A-10 Warthog attack planes, KC-135 refueling tankers and RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drones this fiscal year.
On Dec. 3, the House and Senate Armed Services committees put forward the conference report of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act — a final version of the defense bill that includes input from both chambers. The bill is expected to be approved by Congress sometime next week and will then move to the desk of President Donald Trump, who has threatened to veto it.
This year’s NDAA contained policy provisions on everything from the Pentagon’s organizational structure to military bases named for Confederate officers. For the Air Force, the biggest concern was whether Congress would greenlight the divestment of more than 100 aircraft, which service leaders said would free up funding for modernization priorities that include space technologies and the Joint All-Domain Command and Control concept (which was recently updated to Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control).
Lawmakers have opted to let the Air Force retire some bombers, tankers and cargo planes, but they stridently protected others like the A-10 and Global Hawk from any reductions.
Here is a breakdown of what the Air Force wanted to send to the boneyard, and how Congress responded:
A-10: Congress’ battles with the Air Force over the venerable A-10 have been legion over the past decade, with the service seeking to retire the entire fleet in the mid-2010s. In FY21, the Air Force sought a more modest adjustment — the retirement of 44 A-10s, or about three squadrons worth of aircraft, leaving about 237 Warthogs to fly close-air support missions in the next decade.
But Congress put the kibosh on that as well, stipulating in the NDAA that no funding be used to divest or retire any of the 281 A-10s currently in the Air Force’s inventory.
Bombers: The Air Force hoped to retire 17 of its oldest B-1s, which leaders said were putting strain on the fleet due to the manpower needed to keep them running. In the defense bill, Congress repealed an existing law that requires the Air Force to maintain at least 36 combat coded B-1 aircraft — essentially agreeing to a reduction to the B-1 fleet.
However, lawmakers put several new stipulations in place: The Air Force must maintain 92 bombers of any kind in its primary mission aircraft inventory. The service must place four retired B-1s in storage so that they can be reclaimed if necessary. And it cannot remove any B-1 maintenance billets, ensuring that the B-1s that stick around will get the time and attention needed to keep them flying.
ISR fleet: Congress also rejected the Air Force’s plan to retire all the Global Hawk Block 20 and 30 surveillance drones — a total of 24 aircraft — which would have left RQ-4 Block 40s and the U-2 spy plane around to conduct the high-altitude surveillance mission.
Over the past decade, the Air Force has tried multiple times to divest its Global Hawks and U-2s, with Congress refusing to permit the retirement of either aircraft. In response, Congress has stipulated a list of requirements the Air Force must meet before lawmakers consider that request. Specifically, lawmakers have asked for certifications from the Defense Department that the Air Force is developing a cost-effective way to replace the RQ-4 or U-2, or a waiver from the defense secretary stating that a better but more expensive capability is in development.
Neither has been received, lawmakers wrote in the conference report.
“The conferees understand and acknowledge that modernizing airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities will necessitate divestment of legacy systems,” the conference report stated. “However, the conferees remain concerned about the Air Force’s continued inability to execute an ISR acquisition and replacement plan that appropriately manages operational risk to the global combatant commanders, as well as the service’s failure to comply with current public law.”
Tankers: The Air Force wanted to divest 13 KC-135s and 16 KC-10s in FY21, but the NDAA sketches out an alternative plan — one that forbids any KC-135 retirements over the next three years.
Congress will allow the Air Force to move down to 50 primary mission KC-10A aircraft in FY21, 38 primary mission KC-10A aircraft in FY22, and 26 primary mission KC-10A aircraft in FY23.
The Air Force currently has 56 KC-10s that are considered primary mission aircraft, so the language would allow the service to retire six aircraft in FY21 and a total of 30 tankers over the next three years, a source familiar with the bill told Defense News in June, when the House Armed Services Committee released identical language.
Cargo planes: The service hoped to retire 24 C-130Hs, most of which would be directly replaced by 19 C-130Js that are set to be delivered in FY21. While the NDAA does not address the issue directly, it sets a minimum airlift aircraft inventory at 287 aircraft, including 230 combat-coded cargo planes. The report also included a provision that would prohibit the Air Force from retiring only Air National Guard airlift assets. (Source: Defense News)
03 Dec 20. CJCS Milley Predicts DoD Budget ‘Bloodletting’ To Fund Navy.
“Look, I’m an Army guy,” Milley said. “And I love the Army…but the fundamental defense of the United States and the ability to project power forward will always be for America naval and air and space power.”
In a major speech outlining important strategic shifts for the United States, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, an Army general, today predicted “a lot of bloodletting” in the Pentagon as the military strives to get the Navy the hundreds of new ships it says it needs to confront China.
“I would advocate, and bias going forward, heavy investment” in sea, air and space-centric platforms, Milley said. As for the other priorities, he said, “none of it gets cut to zero; this is a matter of balancing things. It’s a very, very difficult exercise we’re going to have to go through. It’s going to be ruthless, there’s going to be a lot of bloodletting and a lot of stuff left on the floor. We’re gonna have to do that in the coming years — no question about it.”
Milley’s comments indicate the Army is likely to be the loser in the coming budget wars.
There have been rumblings for weeks that the new Navy shipbuilding plan, which calls for a fleet of about 500 ships, would be impossible under current budget projections, leading the Pentagon to eye Army and Air Force accounts to make up the difference.
Milley all but confirmed that.
“I don’t want to reveal my cards,” on the numbers being considered, he said at a virtual Navy Institute event. “But I probably already did by saying we’re a maritime nation. We are, and the defense of the United States depends on air power and sea power primarily. People can say what they want and argue what they want, but that’s a reality.”
The irony of Milley’s comments is the deep skepticism within the ranks of the Navy when Mark Esper, a former Army officer and Army Secretary, and Milley, a 4-star Army general and Chief of Staff of the Army, took over the top civilian and uniformed posts at the Pentagon in 2019.
But in the end, it might just be Esper’s demands that the Navy grow quickly and extensively — beyond what even the admirals were asking for — that will buttress the Navy and put a dent in the Army’s budget.
“So, look, I’m an Army guy,” Milley said. “And I love the Army…but the fundamental defense of the United States, and the ability to project power forward [are] going to be naval and air and space power.”
As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Milley provides his best military advice to civilian policy makers and presides over the uniformed heads of the five military branches. His doorway into both the Oval Office and the Defense Secretary’s suite gives him a unique window into how strategy is shaped and debated, and today he made clear where he believes money should be spent.
The chairman spoke the same day that Navy leaders were to brief the Pentagon’s new shipbuilding and modernization plan, dubbed Battle Force 2045, to Congress. The project, pushed by Esper before he was fired last month, would grow the Navy to at least 500 ships, including at least 150-200 unmanned vessels.
Whatever the details of the plan are, it’s sure to cost more money than the Navy can currently spend.
With budgets across the federal government expected to remain flat, or even decrease due to economic pressures caused by the COVID pandemic, that money would have to come from other parts of the Pentagon budget.
“An all-out interservice fight over the budget has been in the making for years now,” Todd Harrison, the defense budget expert at CSIS, said. The coming flat defense budgets will actually feel like a decline to the services because of so many baked-in operations and maintenance costs, he predicts. “If the Navy grows, then that means the other services will have to get much smaller. Ultimately, I think the Army is likely to be the biggest loser in this fight, as it was at the end of Korea, the end of Vietnam, and the end of the Cold War.”
The White House might add as much as $16 bn to the Navy’s shipbuilding budget in 2022, sources suggest, with as much as $10bn of that coming from elsewhere in the Pentagon. We recently reported that the Army and Air Force are likely to be bill payers. The White House requested $19bn for shipbuilding in the 2021 budget, meaning the 2022 ask could potentially come in at over $30 bn.
Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite said last month he and Esper had developed a plan to fund the new fleet through a mix of Navy and Pentagon money. Esper has indicated the shipbuilding account could grow from 11% of the Navy budget to 13%, a move that would push the account to roughly $27bn, but the new numbers suggest that could go even higher if the navy and other parts of the Pentagon cut deeply enough.
It was notable that both Milley, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday today each rejected suggestions the Navy would try to reduce the number of super carriers below the currently legally mandated eleven. The massive flat tops can project consistent air power like no other ship in the world, but the slow vessels are also increasingly seen as relatively lightly-defended targets for long-range Chinese missiles.
Speaking before Milley at the same conference, Gilday said the new plan calls for keeping “the line of supercarriers to remain around 11,” while Milley said “we’ll stick with the 11 for now until we have something else.” Esper in recent months had suggested the number of carriers could fall to about eight.
Another aspect of the plan revealed by both Milley and Gilday is the desire to build as many as six “light” carriers, similar to the Navy’s current amphibious ships, to ferry F-35Bs across the globe. The ships would be much smaller than the current carriers, making them more nimble and harder to target in the expanse of open ocean, though it is unclear what their final size or shape might be. “We know we need to be smaller, more distributed and equally as lethal” as the larger ships, Milley said.
Pentagon officials have said they expect some kind of public release of the new Navy plan in coming weeks.
The Pentagon is now finalizing its budget request for 2022, and it’s in this document we can expect the promised “bloodletting.” Meanwhile, House and Senate conferees just announced agreement on a defense policy bill for fiscal year 2021 (the National Defense Authorization Act, as distinct from the defense appropriations bill) which authorizes nine new Navy ships — including two Virginia-class attack submarines, twice what Trump requested — and creates a $2bn Pacific Deterrence Initiative to “send a strong signal to China.”
Whatever the 2022 plan might say, it will surely be reconsidered by the Biden administration when it assumes power in January. President-elect Joe Biden has yet to select his nominee to be Secretary of Defense, but indications are it may be Michele Flournoy, who has expressed a willingness to meet China head-on.
“We have to have enough of an edge, that first and foremost we can deter China from attacking or endangering our vital interests and our allies. That means resolve,” Flournoy told Defense News recently.
The former CENTCOM commander, Gen. Lloyd Austin, and the Obama-era head of the Department of Homeland Security and general counsel of the Department of Defense, Jeh Johnson, are also in contention for the job. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
03 Dec 20. Miller Seeks to Strengthen Hemispheric Partnership. Acting Defense Secretary Christopher C. Miller stressed the need to strengthen partnerships in the Western Hemisphere during the virtual Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas.
The conference — hosted by Chile — marks 25 years of meetings. The ministers discussed the situation in the Americas and how the countries of the hemisphere can more closely work together.
“Our nations share common interests that transcend our differences, including humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and combating transnational threats,” Miller said in prepared remarks for the conference. “Moreover, with our like-minded partners, we share common values such as human rights, democracy and respect for the rule of law.”
Miller said holding the conference is even more important since the international rules-based system in place since the end of World War II is under “duress” from China and Russia.
Those countries are working to undermine the free and open order and exploit nations to benefit Russia and China. The two great power competitors often use predatory practices and coercion to bend smaller nations to their wills.
“At the same time, problems posed by transnational criminal organizations, social unrest, natural disasters and the global pandemic further endanger the peace and security we have all worked hard to build over the past two and a half decades,” Miller said.
There are three nations in the hemisphere that are problems — Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The defense ministers must discuss these three nations and efforts to persuade these nations to return to democratic rule through free and fair elections and end violence in their countries, he said.
Even if nations disagree on some events in the region, there are more they agree on, the acting secretary said, and he praised efforts in the hemisphere to enhance humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The nations are also working together to address transnational threats.
“In the realm of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, we recognize that these challenges extend beyond borders, threatening the well-being of all our citizens,” Miller said. “This requires us to look for ways to work together across the region as efficiently as possible.”
Miller highlighted Chile’s disaster cooperation mechanism — a tool that facilitates information exchange on humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities among conference states.
“For our part, I am proud to note that U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command…have executed 441 coronavirus relief projects in support of 30 nations in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean — with a total value of $30.4m,” he said.
He also pointed to the 2019 deployment of the hospital ship USNS Comfort to the region to provide humanitarian assistance and medical care to Venezuelan refugees.
“In late 2021, we will again deploy the Comfort to the region to relieve pressure on our partners and increase their resilience,” Miller said.
The secretary also highlighted Southcom’s Health Engagement Assistance Response Team pilot. This is an aerial medical deployment focused on non-COVID-19 patients in urgent need of medical care in Central America and the Caribbean.
Spotlight: Coronavirus: DOD Response
The most recent hurricane season — the most active since weather records have been kept — also saw Southcom providing aid to hard-hit nations in Central America completing 243 missions, saving 850 lives and delivering over one million pounds of humanitarian assistance to partners hit by Hurricanes Eta and Iota.
“Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones, homes and their livelihoods caused by these natural disasters; and these events underscore the importance of our work together at this conference,” the acting secretary said.
Transnational criminal organizations remain a threat in the region. From drugs to refugees to weapons, these groups foster violence and corruption wherever they operate, he said.
“I am proud of the progress we’ve made on this front, but we must also do more to thwart resource predation by both state actors and criminal groups, which has increased this year,” the acting secretary said. “Activities such as illegal mining, wildlife trafficking and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing threaten economic and national security and are detrimental to our pursuit of stability and prosperity.”
Miller also spoke of the 20th anniversary of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
“We recognize that a military is at its best when it is inclusive and representative of the society it defends and when it accounts for the unique security needs of the entire population,” he said. “That’s why the Department of Defense is committed to building a more diverse workforce at all levels, promoting equal opportunity for all, and ensuring we incorporate the perspectives of men and women into our plans, policies and operations.”
He praised the partner nations that are working to increase the meaningful participation of women in the defense and security sectors and promote their safety and security.
“Doing so will ensure that we leverage the full breadth of talent each of our nations provide to meet the security challenges of the 21st century,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
03 Dec 20. DOD Releases List of Additional Companies, In Accordance With Section 1237 of FY19 NDAA. Today, the Department of Defense released the names of additional “Communist Chinese military companies” operating directly or indirectly in the United States in accordance with the statutory requirement of Section 1237 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, as amended.
The Department is determined to highlight and counter the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) Military-Civil Fusion development strategy, which supports the modernization goals of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by ensuring its access to advanced technologies and expertise acquired and developed by even those PRC companies, universities, and research programs that appear to be civilian entities.
The Department released its initial list of companies to Congress in June 2020 and will continue to update the list with additional entities as appropriate.
Qualifying Entities Prepared in Response to Section 1237 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (PUBLIC LAW 105–261) Tranche 4:
China Construction Technology Co. Ltd. (CCTC)
China International Engineering Consulting Corp. (CIECC)
China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC)
Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) (Source: US DoD)
03 Dec 20. Senate to vote on banning $23bn UAE arms sales next week. The Senate will vote next week on legislation to halt the Trump administration’s $23bn sale of F-35 fighter jets, Reaper drones and munitions to the United Arab Emirates, a lawmaker said Thursday.
Four pending joint resolutions of disapproval offer lawmakers a chance to block the Trump administration’s 11th hour proposal to transfer arms to the Emirates. Critics say the sales, meant to bolster the UAE against Iran, ignores risks to Israel and to sensitive military technology posed by UAE’s ties to Russia and China.
Asked about the legislation, Sen. Bob Menendez, who is sponsoring the effort to bar the weapons sale with Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters: “It’s ripe, it’s ready, it has privilege on the floor. We are gathering support for it and I would think sometime next week.”
The deal includes 50 F-35s, 18 MQ–9B Reapers, as well as thousands of munitions and hundreds of missiles. It was approved by the U.S. State Department in November after the UAE agreed to formalize diplomatic relations with Israel.
Because there are four resolutions targeting different parts of the sale, it remains unclear how the votes will be structured and whether each one will attract a different level of support. The resolutions are privileged, which means they can be called up without the approval of Senate leaders.
In the House, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., introduced corresponding resolutions, but there’s been no announcement on the timing there.
In an interview Thursday, Murphy said the Trump administration briefing on the sales he and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee received last month convinced him the sale is being rushed to box in the incoming Biden administration. But he believed the deal, if it’s not defeated in Congress, may be open to change by the next president.
“I believe the Biden administration will be able to put additional conditions on sales or hold back weapons, but I haven’t dug into the fine print yet,” Murphy said. “My worry is there are certain sales we will be obligated to make.”
On Twitter on Tuesday, Murphy affirmed America’s alliance with the UAE but called the sales “very dangerous.” His concerns included the UAE’s breach of the international arms embargo in Libya and its alleged transfer of U.S. materiel to “extremist militias” in Yemen. He argued that the UAE’s acquisition of armed drones would fuel a regional arms race.
Emirati Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba responded to Murphy with an extraordinary Twitter thread Thursday, denying the UAE had ever transferred U.S. technology to an adversary and asserting the sales would aid the U.S. defense industrial base.
Washington has trusted Abu Dhabi enough to sell advanced American-made gear like F-16 jets, Patriot missiles and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense systems, he noted.
“The description of the UAE as having ‘very close, active defense partnerships with both China and Russia’ is a gross overstatement,” one tweet said. “The UAE has economic & diplomatic relationships w/ both and has only made purchases from each when the US could not supply critical equipment.”
Hinting that Abu Dhabi could buy advanced drones elsewhere, Al Otaiba said the materiel is needed to respond to a “growing sophistication and deployment by adversaries across the region, including Iran and non-state actors.
“We would rather have the best US-equipment or we will reluctantly find it from other sources, even if less capable,” he said. (Source: Defense News)
03 Dec 20. Chairman Discusses Future Defense Budgets. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley is a realist, and he sees future defense budgets, at best, remaining flat or possibly going down significantly in the years ahead.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon yesterday that COVID-19 has hit the nation hard, and that carries over to the budgeting process. The upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic must be countered and remedied before the United States can budget its military to prevail in great power competition.
Great power competition with China and Russia is the main factor in the strategic environment today.
To be a great power requires a strong and capable military to be sure, but it also requires a strong and capable economy. “You have to have a very resilient country as a whole; you have to have a great education system; you’ve got to have great infrastructure,” he said. “You have to look at it as a whole, of which the military is one piece of the whole.”
The military is expensive with a budget this fiscal year of $750bn. But preparing the military to meet the threats of the future while fighting the battles of today would require about 3 to 5 percent real growth each year. “And we would want to have a sustained, predictable, adequate budget in a timely way every year,” Milley said. “But that’s also not necessarily going to happen, and I don’t anticipate that it will happen.”
Pentagon officials must do a quick reality check on the national budget. “I suspect that, at best, the Pentagon’s budgets will start flattening out,” he said. “There’s a reasonable prospect that they could actually decline significantly, depending on what happens in the environment.”
The military is not divorced from the rest of America. The military does not operate in a vacuum. What happens outside the gates affects those inside them. “We have had a significant pandemic,” the general said. “We’ve had … an economic situation nationally for almost going on a year now. We’ve got significant unemployment.”
Moving forward, the nation’s most important priority is to take care of the coronavirus pandemic. The United States has to get that behind us and breathe new life into the economy, Milley said. “Once you do that, then you can put additional moneys into a military.”
But even if everything goes perfectly in the fight against COVID-19, the military budget will flatten, he said. “That doesn’t mean that the world’s going to end for us,” he said. “What that means is that we have to tighten up and take a much harder look at priorities and where we put the moneys we do get.”
The DOD must absolutely optimize the money it will get, and ruthlessly enforce priorities, he said.
“We have to … take a hard look at what we do [and] where we do it,” he said.
Part of this is looking at overseas footprints. “There’s a considerable amount of money that the United States expends on overseas deployments or overseas bases and locations, etc.,” Milley said. “Is every one of those absolutely, positively necessary for the defense of the United States? Is every one of them tied to a vital national security interest? Is every one of those exercises that we do really critically important?”
DOD leaders must take hard looks at everything the department does. “I think [it] is warranted, and I have no problem in leading us through that to the extent that we can,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
02 Dec 20. USN and USMC: Services Continue Efforts to Rebuild Readiness, but Recovery Will Take Years and Sustained Management Attention. The Navy and Marine Corps continue to face significant readiness challenges that have developed over more than a decade of conflict, budget uncertainty, and reductions in force structure. These challenges prevent the services from reaping the full benefit of their existing forces and attaining the level of readiness called for by the 2018 National Defense Strategy.
Both services have made encouraging progress identifying the causes of their readiness decline and have begun efforts to arrest and reverse it (see figure).
However, GAO’s work shows that addressing these challenges will require years of sustained management attention and resources. Recent events, such as the ongoing pandemic and the fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard affect both current and future readiness and are likely to compound and delay the services’ readiness rebuilding efforts.
Why GAO Did This Study
The 2018 National Defense Strategy emphasizes that restoring and retaining readiness is critical to success in the emerging security environment. The Navy and Marine Corps are working to rebuild the readiness of their forces while also growing and modernizing their aging fleets of ships and aircraft. Readiness recovery will take years as the Navy and Marine Corps address their multiple challenges and continue to meet operational demands.
This statement provides information on readiness challenges facing (1) the Navy ship and submarine fleet and (2) Navy and Marine Corps aviation. GAO also discusses its prior recommendations on Navy and Marine Corps readiness and the progress that has been made in addressing them.
This statement is based on previous work published from 2016 to November 2020—on Navy and Marine Corps readiness challenges, including ship maintenance, sailor training, and aircraft sustainment. GAO also analyzed data updated as of November 2020, as appropriate, and drew from its ongoing work focused on Navy and Marine Corps readiness.
What GAO Recommends
GAO made more than 90 recommendations in prior work cited in this statement. The Department of Defense generally concurred with most of GAO’s recommendations. Continued attention to these recommendations can assist the Navy and the Marine Corps as they seek to rebuild the readiness of their forces. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Government Accountability Office)
02 Dec 20. Milley Makes Case for U.S. Military Keeping Up With Global, Technology Changes. The geopolitical world has changed mightily over a generation, but that is nothing compared with the changes in technology, and the U.S. military must keep pace to defend the nation, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley touched on a wide range of subjects during a virtual talk with The Brookings Institution’s Michael O’Hanlon. Milley started with a discussion of the changes he has seen in his 40-year military career.
There’s a lot of change that’s occurred at paces that are much more rapid than in any time period we’ve ever seen in history.”
Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Milley was commissioned in 1980. The United States and Soviet Union were still involved in a Cold War, and most military thinkers believed it would last through the foreseeable future. The Soviets had invaded Afghanistan. Iran was an Islamic Republic and had taken American hostages from the U.S. Embassy in 1979. There were terror attacks inside Saudi Arabia, and China had decided to build a modern military capable of taking on the United States.
“We, the military, were utterly committed in the middle of what we thought was almost a never-ending cold war with the Soviet Union,” he said, noting that it was a fundamentally different geopolitical world.
Add to that technology. He noted that the first ever email was sent in 1970. In the early 1990s came the first websites; fast forward to 2008, and the first iPhones were released. Milley called it an explosion in information technology that didn’t exist when he was commissioned.
Today, the U.S. military is “extraordinarily capable” and powerful in all domains of warfare, he said. “But what’s important to know and recognize as a fact is the gaps between us and potential adversaries — say China or Russia, for example — those have shortened and closed a little bit over the last 10, 15, 20 years,” he said.
The United States military has been involved in counterinsurgency warfare. At the same time, China and Russia took stock of American military prowess and modernized. The Chinese capitalized on a burgeoning economy to invest in military capabilities, thus closing the gap with the United States.
In 1980, the Soviet military was the pacing threat for the United States. Today, the pacing threat is the rising People’s Liberation Army.
Coupled with that are other changes: Urbanization around the world has sped up, and, by mid-century, 80 percent of the people will live in cities. “There’s a lot of change that’s occurred at paces that are much more rapid than in any time period we’ve ever seen in history,” the general said.
The National Defense Strategy took note of these changes and charted a course for the U.S. military to follow. The strategy was the brainchild of then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “That will be one of the significant contributions that Gen. Mattis has made among the many that he’s made over the years,” Milley said.
The first aspect of the strategy is the return of great power competition.
Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States was the last superpower standing. It was a “unipolar world,” but no more, said Milley. China, Russia and the United States have powerful militaries.
China and the United States have concomitant, powerful economies. And there are other poles in the world including the European Union, India and Brazil, he said. “We’re in a multipolar world,” he said. “When you get into an environment that has multiple poles it automatically becomes more complex almost by definition — and more dynamic. So, that’s one condition that we are in for sure and likely to remain in for a considerable length of time.”
And, again, technology plays a part. Precision-guided munitions made their debut near the end of the Vietnam War. After thousands of sorties failed to knock out the bridges that brought supplies to North Vietnam, TV-guided weapons enabled the U.S. Air Force to hit them. Desert Storm showed the maturity of these weapons. The talk at the time was controllers could choose the window the weapon went in. Precision-guided weapons have only gotten more precise and are effective from greater ranges.
“Precision munitions today are almost ubiquitous,” Milley said. “Most of your significant powers in the world have precision munitions so … most countries can hit targets, at great distance with great precision.”
The information explosion enables nations to see globally better than at any time in human history, he said. Wearable electronics, iPhones and chips in other electronics pinpoint positions.
“You’ve got an ability to see and an ability to hit at range that has never existed before,” the general said. “Those two facts — just those two alone — indicate that we are having a fundamental change in the character of war.”
This change is driven by technology. Robotics, hypersonic weapons and artificial intelligence are among the emerging technologies driving this change. “It’s … theoretically conceivable that in some point in the future, you could have entire tank units without crews, or entire squadrons of airplanes without pilots, or ships or carrier strike groups without sailors,” Milley said. “I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it’s theoretically possible.”
Milley said there are five to 10 rapidly approaching technologies that are going to have fundamental, significant impacts on the conduct of military operations.
“I would argue that the country that masters all of those technologies and develops the proper military documents with the proper organizations and the proper leader development will have a decisive advantage in the next conflict,” he said. “I think that it’s reasonable to think that sometime in the mid to late 30s, early 40s, perhaps midcentury-ish … you’ll start seeing real, significant use of those technologies and combinations by advanced societies.” (Source: US DoD)
02 Dec 20. Milley: Budget ‘reality check’ may impact foreign exercises, basing plans. Pentagon planners need a “reality check” about future defense budgets and must accept that military dollars may be drying up, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Wednesday.
“I suspect that, at best, the Pentagon’s budgets will start flattening out. There’s a reasonable prospect that they could actually decline significantly, depending on what happens” with the broader economy, Gen. Mark Milley said at an event hosted by the Brookings Institution.
“In an ideal world, I believe that we would need 3 percent to 5 percent sustained level of real growth in order to continue the modernization programs and readiness programs, and so on, that we have,” Milley added. “But that’s also not necessarily going to happen, and I don’t anticipate that it will happen. So we have to — we the uniforms, we here at the Pentagon, civilian and military alike — we’ve got to do a quick reality check on the national budget and what is likely to happen in the not too distant future.”
His comments are not likely a surprise to defense watchers, as there was a growing consensus for most of this year that even if President Donald Trump was reelected, defense spending was likely to be flat. But Milley’s prediction is a concrete acknowledgement that as the department works on its fiscal 2022 budget request, it must look for ways to save money.
It’s unclear where savings will come from, but the country’s top officer did say savings can come from drawing down facilities and exercises overseas — comments that may set off alarm bells for U.S. allies and partners.
The department must “take a hard look at what we do, where we do it,” he said. “There’s a considerable amount that the United States expends on overseas deployments, on overseas bases and locations, etc. Is every one of those absolutely, positively necessary for the defense of the United States? Is every one of them tied to a vital national security interest? Is every one of those exercises that we do really critically important?
“Hard looks, real hard looks at everything that we do, I think is warranted. And I have no problem in leading us through that to the extent that we can.”
In the short term, Milley’s predictions seem likely to come true. On Monday, Defense One reported that the Pentagon’s budget top line for FY22 is currently set at $722bn, roughly 2 percent higher than what the military requested in FY21; department officials have argued for several years that anything less than 3-5 percent real growth year over year is effectively flat.
While that budget figure may change when the incoming Biden administration gets its hand on it, the figure is a telling sign that even an administration that has made “rebuilding the military” a key plank of its tenure is looking to cut costs.
More broadly, Milley cast the defense budget as just one part of the overall economic health of the nation, and seemed to say that after the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn that it has caused, the military must accept its place on the list of priorities.
“I believe you have to have a very strong and capable military. But you also have to have a very strong and capable economy, you have to have a very resilient country as a whole, you have to have a great education system, you’ve got to have great infrastructure — all things well beyond the purview of the Department of Defense,” he said.
“Your military is dependent upon a national economy. And we have had a significant pandemic. We’ve had a downturn and an economic situation nationally for almost going on a year now. We’ve got significant unemployment and so on and so forth. So the most important part that you need to do is take care of the COVID piece, get that behind us and breathe new life into the economy. Once you do that, then you can put additional monies into the military.” (Source: Defense News)
03 Dec 20. U.S. Republicans balk as Trump uses defense bill for leverage on Big Tech. President Donald Trump’s threat to veto a defense bill if it does not repeal legal protections for social media companies faced stiff bipartisan opposition on Wednesday, setting the stage for a confrontation with lawmakers scrambling to pass the massive bill by year-end.
Unusually, members of Trump’s Republican Party broke from the president to join Democrats in objecting to his threat to veto the annual National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a $740bn annual bill setting policy for the Pentagon, if it does not include a measure eliminating a federal law – known as Section 230 – protecting tech companies such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc.
“First of all, 230 has nothing to do with the military. And I agree with his sentiments. We ought to do away with 230, but you can’t do it in this bill. That’s not a part of the bill,” Senator Jim Inhofe, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters.
Lawmakers announced on Wednesday that congressional negotiators had completed the conference report on the fiscal year 2021 NDAA, a compromise between separate versions of the bill passed earlier this year by the Republican-led Senate and Democratic-majority House of Representatives.
Congressional aides said the final version of the NDAA does not include the Section 230 repeal demanded by Trump.
The legislation also includes a provision that would strip the names of Confederate generals from military facilities, something that passed both the House and Senate with support from both parties earlier this year, but is also opposed by Trump. The president earlier had threatened to veto the NDAA if it did not allow the Confederate names to remain in place.
“For 59 straight years, the NDAA has passed because Members of Congress and Presidents of both parties have set aside their own policy objectives and partisan preferences and put the needs of our military personnel and America’s security first. The time has come to do that again,” Representatives Adam Smith, the House Armed Services Committee’s Democratic chairman, and Mac Thornberry, the panel’s ranking Republican, said in a joint statement.
Since it is a conference report, and the result of months of negotiations between members of both parties from the House and Senate, it cannot be amended.
Lawmakers take great pride in passing the NDAA every year. It is a rare major bill seen as “must-pass” because it governs everything from pay raises for service members to how many aircraft, missiles and ships should be purchased, to how best to compete with Russia and China.
This year’s bill authorizes the Pentagon to spend about $10bn on buying 93 Lockheed Martin Co F-35 fighter jets, 14 more than the president’s budget request, a congressional source said.
The bill also throws up a roadblock for Ligado Networks’ low-power nationwide mobile broadband network because it would bar the Department of Defense from contracting with companies that use certain satellite communications frequencies, the source said. Ligado wants to tap the L-Band, which is also home to spectrum used by GPS systems, which are used by the military, businesses and consumers.
With Congress in session only until the end of the year, the House and Senate are running out of time to finalize the massive bill and avoid breaking the 59-year streak.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects tech companies from liability over content posted by users, and has been under attack from Trump and Republican lawmakers, who accuse internet platforms of stifling conservative voices.
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Trump was serious about his veto threat and wanted to use what leverage he had to repeal the tech protection law. “The president has made clear the importance of 230,” she told a news briefing.
Trump, who lost his re-election bid to Democrat Joe Biden, is in his last weeks in office.
Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, called Trump’s threat “shameless and indefensible.” Trump and many of his supporters have been calling for the repeal of Section 230 since social media companies began removing or flagging material deemed to be inaccurate, frequently including tweets from Trump.
Republican House member Adam Kinzinger summed up the frustration of many with Trump with his own Tweet on Wednesday, noting how he would respond to a veto.
“I will vote to override. Because it’s really not about you,” Kinzinger wrote. (Source: Reuters)
02 Dec 20. DOD Consolidates IT Services to Improve Efficiency. A 2018 analysis by the Defense Department chief information officer and the Defense Information Systems Agency found inefficiencies in DOD information technology delivery, the principal deputy CIO said.
John Sherman, spoke at the AFCEA International conference yesterday.
That assessment catalogued and analyzed network and computer assets, software, staffing levels and existing support services contracts. It was found that each organization operated its own unclassified and classified network and service desk, he said, requiring over 1,000 civilian personnel and 600 IT contracts to operate and maintain those networks and service desks.
Organizations were dedicating a significant portion of their resources to IT. Even so, they were unable to keep pace with technological advancements and industry best practice due to the prioritization of their limited resources, he said.
As a result of this analysis, the department launched the “Fourth Estate Network Optimization,” which is consolidating IT systems that are separate from the military services. This is being done in an incremental way to reduce the risks that a massive undertaking like this could pose if it were launched across all the services, he said.
The end goal, he said, is to eventually create one efficient IT system across the department, including all of the services.
All network and service desks will be operated by the Defense Information Systems Agency, Sherman said. This will improve visibility of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, reduce operating expenses, enable adoption of commercial innovations, allow organizations to focus on their core missions, create a consistent user experience and most importantly, it will benefit the warfighter.
Over the next year a majority of DOD organizations that are not part of the military services will migrate to this global service desk, he said.
“While we have made remarkable progress over the past year and a half in creating the foundation necessary to establish a single service provider for the department, we also recognize that this is not the time to rest on our laurels,” he said. “It will be a multi-year effort. And, we have significant work ahead of us.” (Source: US DoD)
30 Nov 20. The US Army is adjusting its pre-positioned stock for more than just war. The U.S. Army is taking steps to ensure its pre-positioned stock in the European and Asia-Pacific theaters is right-sized not just for conflict but for strategic competition with Russia and China, according to the service’s new commander in charge of materiel.
The service published a strategy for aligning its Army pre-positioned stock, or APS, a few years ago in order to modernize and configure the fleet for combat.
APS historically has been designed to be ready for troops to draw from rapidly to respond during a regional conflict. But since the strategy’s publication, the Army has realized “that we needed to take it to another level,” Gen. Edward Daly, Army Materiel Command chief, told Defense News in a November interview.
Daly assumed command in July after serving as the AMC deputy commander under Gen. Gus Perna. Perna is now in charge of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed — an effort to rapidly develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We needed to relook [at] the purpose of Army pre-positioned stocks because, in the past, Army pre-positioned stocks were essential and key to great power conflict,” he said. “Now, based on the Army senior leaders’ intent, we want to focus it as much on great power competition, to use those stocks in great power competition as much as we had planned on using those stocks for great power conflict.”
This means the Army will exercise its APS more, according to Daly, and will also consider whether it must reset locations and composition of stock in theater. “I feel very, very comfortable. We’re on a good glide path in understanding what those requirements are” over the next five to 10 years, Daly said without going into detail. Certain details related to APS are classified.
The Army is also planning its budget to ensure APS is right-sized for the competition phase of operations in the upcoming five-year budget plan spanning from fiscal 2023 through fiscal 2027, Daly said.
On the European front, the Army is “taking an introspective look,” Daly said. “We know definitively some things we’re getting added to Europe. The second [armored brigade combat team] is an example, with some enablers in … Powidz, Poland.”
The Army reactivated V Corps earlier this year, which will be based in Poznan, Poland, just an hour away from Powidz. V Corps will assume command and control of Atlantic Resolve rotational units as well as assigned units like the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and the 41st Field Artillery Brigade, according to the newly combined U.S. Army Europe and Africa.
Defender Europe, a division-sized exercise that was supposed to kick off in full force in 2020, was dramatically scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the goals of the exercise was to ensure the Army’s APS had the right equipment in the right places. But the European stock might require more tweaking as the Army measures it against what is needed to operate in a competition phase, according to Daly.
The Pacific stock will have a different flavor. The Army is working through a strategy there that requires a great deal of relationship-building with a bigger variety of countries in order to configure APS in the theater.
“We have, at AMC, as part of the Army guidance, focused on building and equipping new unit capabilities — the security force assistance brigades, the multidomain task force capabilities — and you layer in modernization efforts like long-range precision fires, etc. Now, inevitably, what you will get is a composition that potentially looks a little bit different than what it is today” when it comes to APS in the Pacific, Daly said.
As the strategy fleshes out in the theater, Daly said it’s likely APS won’t just be concentrated on the Korean Peninsula and Japan as it has been in the past.
“When you look at all the island chains and you look at how the Pacific is,” he said, “I think it’s safe to assume that there’ll be a little bit more geographical separation and probably more locations going forward than what we have now.”
Army Under Secretary James McPherson described the process of building out APS in the Pacific as a slow process because relationships with island nations must be developed over time.
“We don’t introduce ourselves to a potential partner or ally and say: ‘By the way, we’d like to put weapons platforms on your runway here.’ That’s not how it works,” he said in an interview with Defense News at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in October. “It’s much, much slower than that. We have a couple of, you know, lunch dates first and then maybe a dinner date, and we grow from there.”
While the Army has identified several countries with which it has good relations as potential locations, the relationship-building with other countries might involve inviting their students to the United States or offering to locally base humanitarian disaster relief supplies.
Beyond islands potentially hosting stock, the Army might also reconfigure its APS-3 Afloat, which is a fleet of giant, floating warehouses containing military equipment.
But the changes the Army is making will not require a new strategy, Daly said.
“I think it’s more of a refinement of the current strategy,” he explained. “I think we have less to do now because of the great work that obviously Gen. Perna and Army senior leaders did.” (Source: Defense News)
30 Nov 20. Defense Department Seeks to Achieve Agile, Adaptive Acquisition. The acquisition and sustainment community recently rewrote the Defense Department’s 5000-series acquisition regulations. America’s modeling and simulation community will be able to help the department achieve some of the goals it hoped to reach with the rewrite, the deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment said.
“The same technologies … you investigate at I/ITSEC are the ones that will allow us to move to an agile and adaptive acquisition framework and be much more agile,” Alan R. Shaffer said today during a presentation to the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference.
Digital engineering, digitization, modular open systems architecture and model composability are all key within the I/ITSEC community, Shaffer said.
“They’re also the bedrock for an agile acquisition framework and will provide us the tools we need to cut development time,” he said.
Modeling and simulation, Shaffer said, can be an integral part of speeding delivery of the tools the U.S. military needs to be competitive.
“We should be able to do a much better job in assessing to be fit for purpose by use of simulation and the performance of red versus blue systems and simulators to really understand how what we are going to buy in the Department of Defense will operate in a real world,” Shaffer said.
Digital engineering, digital twins and systems engineering, Shaffer said, can provide greater capability to U.S. forces, reduce acquisition cycle times, reduce costs and schedules for testing, and bring about a reduced cost for sustainment of systems after they are delivered.
“This cumulative effect of capabilities is what I/ITSEC is all about,” he said.
Shaffer industry attendees of the virtual conference to think about the convergence of technologies that allow tools to be used for both operational assessment as well as testing and training.
“Think about software that will allow us to support acquisition development, training of troops, and test, all simultaneously — I think it’s within our grasp,” he said.
The department also needs help from the modeling and simulation industry to accelerate acquisition and fielding timelines and to provide more depth in its analytic understanding necessary for decision making, Shaffer said. (Source: US DoD)
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