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07 May 21. Japan set to boost Philippines’ HADR readiness. Japan is providing the Philippine Armed Forces (PAF) with lifesaving equipment adopted by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) under its official development assistance (ODA) programme, according to its defence and foreign ministry officials.
The PAF will be the first foreign defence force to be offered such assistance, which is clearly aimed at strengthening the ties between both countries amid China’s assertive claims in the East and South China seas.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD), the ODA – worth US$1.1m – will include equipment such as jackhammers, engine cutters, and sonars aimed at enhancing the PAF’s ability to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR)-type operations.
JGSDF personnel will also be dispatched to provide training on the use of the equipment after delivery.
The move further boosts Japan’s defence relationship with the archipelagic Southeast Asian country, following an agreement by Manilla in August 2020 to acquire three fixed, long-range air surveillance radars and a mobile air surveillance radar from Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MEC) at a cost of US$100m.
Specific information on the radar systems being acquired under the Horizon 2 Air Surveillance Radar System effort have not been disclosed, but these are understood to be an improved version of the MEC J/FPS-3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the J/TPS-P14 mobile radar. These are expected to be delivered to the Philippines from 2022.
The aid was made possible following Tokyo’s policy shift in its 2015 foreign aid charter that has enabled it to use official channels to provide support to foreign defence forces in areas such as disaster relief and maritime security activities.
Japan had earlier transferred Beechcraft King Air TC-90 aircraft to the Philippine Navy (PN) which are being used to boost its HADAR and maritime situational awareness and security capabilities.
The Philippine Coast Guard has also commissioned 10 Japanese-made 44-metre patrol vessels through a foreign aid loan Two larger 94-metre vessels are also expected to be fielded around 2022. (Source: AMR)
06 May 21. Britain and US pledge to ‘preserve freedom of the seas’ before huge operation in Indo-Pacific. The UK is undertaking its biggest deployment of maritime and air power since the Falklands war.
Britain and America’s navy chiefs said they were “operating in lockstep to preserve the freedom of the seas” as they met in Washington on Tuesday before a massive joint deployment to the Indo-Pacific region.
The UK’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said the deployment of the new Carrier Strike Group (CSG) was a testament to the strength of the special relationship “in an increasingly contested world”, as well as a recognition of the economic advantages of the region.
The programme represents the UK’s biggest deployment of maritime and air power since the Falklands war.
Adml Radakin said Britain plans to increase its naval presence in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of the recent integrated defence and security review.
The defence review, which was published in March, identified China and Russia as two key global adversaries.
“We see China as being a challenge and a competitor,” Adml Radakin told reporters at Washington’s Navy Yard on Wednesday.
“I think when we talk about a tilt to the Indo-Pacific, it’s about recognising the economic weight here. By 2040 to 2050, 40 per cent of the world’s GDP is going to be harbored in that region.
“This amazing thing called the high seas, this global commons, which allows trade and prosperity to flourish, that exists all around the world. The Indo-Pacific is a crucial part of that. And therefore, we will look to signal our belief in the freedom of the high seas, and in a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The two-day visit is the first in-person event between Adml Radakin and his American counterpart, Admiral Mike Gilday, under the Biden administration.
It comes as HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier begins its maiden deployment to the Indo-Pacific region this month, joined by a US Destroyer, USS The Sullivans, and a detachment of US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
The deployment to the Asia-Pacific region will see the CSG travel more than 26,000 nautical miles over 28 weeks.
The CSG will visit 40 countries as part of the journey.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will also sail through the South China Sea, which Beijing has become increasingly assertive over in recent years, on her way up to Japan for the final section of the trip.
However, she is not expected to sail through the Taiwan Strait, which China would see as a provocation.
Adml Radakin said Britain’s tilt to the Indo-Pacific region included having a “littoral-ready group” operating at the western end of the Indian Ocean as well as “reaching further East” while building relationships with the Five Powers Defence Arrangements.
However the First Sea Lord said the UK would also “continue to be strong in the Euro-Atlantic” as well as maintaining its naval responsibilities in other parts of the globe. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
07 May 21. Stratcom Leader Describes Growing Threat From Nuclear-Armed China and Russia. The United States and its allies face an increasing set of threats from potential adversaries such as China, Russia and North Korea. U.S. Strategic Command’s mission is to deter these threats through the deployment of a set of strategic capabilities, including nuclear armed submarines, bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Navy Adm. Charles A. Richard, the commander of Stratcom, spoke virtually today about how his command is deterring these threats at the Brookings Institution.
“Strategic deterrence is the most important mission in the Department of Defense. It’s our number one priority,” he said.
Now for the first time in history, the U.S. faces two nuclear capable strategic peer competitors at the same time, he said.
Richard said he’d love to see a reduced role of nuclear weapons by the U.S., Russia and China and would like to extend them an olive branch.
“I’d love for the day that I could report we don’t need a U.S. Strategic Command,” he said, because political agreements have been achieved with verification.
A good starting point on the path to reduction, he said, would be to have a conversation with Russia about its non-treaty accountable weapons. Conversations with China would be tremendously beneficial as well.
“One thing you can say about the U.S. and Russia — even all the way through the Cold War, as tense as that was at certain points — is that we talked all the way through and there was great value in that,” he said, adding that having open communications can certainly bring the threat level down to everyone’s mutual benefit.
In the meantime, however, Stratcom works diligently to achieve a credible nuclear deterrent that is safe, secure and effective, he said, adding that nuclear deterrence is not just about protecting the U.S., it’s also about protecting allies.
China, he said, is a growing threat. Their strategic and conventional forces are rapidly expanding in all domains.
Russia is undergoing a very extensive nuclear modernization program as well, he added.
Because of these growing threats from China and Russia, modernizing America’s own nuclear triad is of paramount importance, he said.
Richard also highlighted the importance he places on having a highly skilled and motivated workforce to operate and maintain the nuclear triad. These would include scientists, software developers, engineers and technologists. (Source: US DoD)
06 May 21. Austin, Milley Discuss Progress of Retrograde From Afghanistan. American service members will move out with professionalism and dedication to fulfill the newest mission in Afghanistan, ending the U.S. presence in the country by September, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said today. Austin and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held their first joint press conference at the Pentagon. Austin said the military will carry out President Joe Biden’s orders to end America’s longest war. He hastened to say this is not the end of American support to the Afghan government and Afghan National Security Forces. Once U.S. and partner troops are out of the country, the U.S.-Afghan bilateral relationship will change and grow in different ways, he said.
“I am enormously proud of the men and women of the military, who are now — and who have for the past 20 years — dedicated themselves to an important mission,” the secretary said. “That mission is now changing. But they are meeting the challenge with the same professionalism with which they have met every task assigned to them. We’re going to do everything that we can to make this drawdown deliberate, orderly and safe and to protect our people and our partners.”
Milley said the mission is to conduct, “a responsible coordinated and deliberate retrograde of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, in good order.” The retrograde will be synchronized with allies and partners.
“We’ve been steadily transferring functions and responsibilities to the Afghan security forces for considerable amount of time,” Milley said.
Throughout this process, diplomatic efforts will be ongoing between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
“With respect to the Taliban, there continued to be sustained levels of violent attacks, primarily against the [Afghan National Security Forces]; there have been about 80 to 120 enemy-initiated attacks a day for the past year,” he said. There have been no attacks against U.S. and partner forces.
He said the Afghan military and police and the Afghan government are cohesive and effective now. “The president of the United States’ intent is to continue to support both the ANSF and the government of Afghanistan,” he said. “To date, we have closed one base in Helmand; approximately 60 C-17 equivalents have departed with various equipment and rolling stock; and over 1,300 pieces of equipment, have been transferred either to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction or to the ANSF for their use.”
Additional troops and capabilities have transferred to the region to boost security. This includes six additional B-52 Long Range Strike bombers and a package of 12 fighter bombers. “In addition to that, the [secretary of defense] extended the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group,” Milley said.
Austin said Afghan forces are capable. He noted an instance in Lashkar Gah in which the Afghan security forces conducted a counterattack and performed fairly well.
“We will continue to support them after we retrograde with, with funding, with over-the-horizon logistics,” Austin said. “We will remain partners with the Afghan government, with the Afghan military; and, and certainly we hope, through our continued support, the Afghan security forces can be effective.”
There are roughly 300,000 members of the Afghan army and Afghan police. “It’s not a foregone conclusion, in my professional military estimate, that the Taliban automatically win and Kabul falls and all those kind of dire predictions,” Milley said. “There’s a significant military capability in the Afghan government. And we have to see how this plays out.” (Source: US DoD)
05 May 21. Better acquisition data would improve DOD oversight. While better data would help the Defense Department more effectively assess investments and risks over time, according to a watchdog official, several challenges exist.
First off is the ability of the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment to conduct data-driven oversight of the individual services’ weapons programs, Shelby Oakley, the director for contracting and national security acquisition for the Government Accountability Office, told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness at an April 28 hearing.
“Oversight is still important even if the services are running the show for their own programs,” she said. “DOD, as the portfolio manager of all of [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] weapon programs, has to play a role in determining what we are investing in and understanding and deciding what those risks are and where they are.”
Plus, the military services aren’t always working from the same playbook as the Pentagon’s acquisition offices, she said.
“There’s a little bit of a struggle there in terms of what data and how they are going to get transparent data from the services to be able to make smart decisions from an OSD level for those programs,” Oakley said.
Stacy Cummings, DOD’s acting undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, said that while there’s willingness and policies in place to share acquisition data with the military services, that data needs to be standardized — something that DOD is working on.
“Right now, our analytics is very, very people-focused. We want to move it to be system-focused. We want to be able to take machine learning, put data into a system where we can look at it more holistically for trends as opposed to the way we historically have looked at data, which is to dive … into individual programs,” Cummings said.
Cummings wrote in her submitted testimony that DOD was in the midst of creating data and analytics capabilities to assess the impact of the Adaptive Acquisition Framework, which is a rewrite of DOD acquisition policies into a more easily navigated “pathway” format. That’s been especially notable for software, which currently has 16 early adopter pathway programs.
DOD is expected to complete its data standards by the end of the year and is also developing metrics to measure performance of the acquisition framework’s pathways, Cummings stated in submitted testimony. The plan is to pilot initial metrics that have been identified using manual data collection for a select number of programs, according to the testimony. Published reports are slated for the end of fiscal 2021.
Cummings told lawmakers the goal is to use that data to find and analyze trends in a way that can affect outcomes and allow the Office of the Secretary of Defense to better “oversee the success of our policies.”
“We want to bring that up and look for trends, and then let our policy and our oversight drive the trends in the right direction as opposed to trying to oversee a program that’s being overseen by a service acquisition executive, a [program executive officer], and a program manager,” Cummings said. (Source: Defense Systems)
05 May 21. DOD Experts Say There’s More Work to be Done to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction. A critical mission of the Defense Department is to dissuade, deter and defeat actors who threaten to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and its interests, four WMD experts told a House Armed Services Committee panel.
Testifying before the HASC’s subcommittee on intelligence and special operations were: Jennifer C. Walsh, who is performing the duties of undersecretary of defense for policy; Brandi C. Vann, acting assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs; Navy Vice Adm. Timothy G. Szymanski, deputy commander of U.S. Special Operations Command; and Rhys M. Williams, acting director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The hearing addressed DOD’s fiscal year 2022 budget request for counter-WMD, or CWMD, strategies, policies, priorities, programs and state of readiness.
“[DOD] continues to improve its ability to dissuade, deter and defeat these threats while maintaining the ability to respond to and mitigate the effects of WMD use,” Walsh emphasized. “We are taking action to meet WMD challenges, and, as the nature of WMD threats is evolving, we know we have more work to do.”
DOD has three lines of effort to organize its WMD work to counter such threats: prevent acquisition, contain and reduce threats, and respond to crises, she added.
“As the department increases its focus on competition among great powers, developing the capabilities necessary for us to fight and win in a cyber-contested environment in those theaters becomes critical,” Walsh said.
“As administration officials direct and develop new national and departmental strategy reviews and guidance documents, DOD’s CWMD stakeholders will be focused on addressing the dynamic CWMD threat and ensuring that it gets space in [strategy reviews and guidance documents], including posturing the department to mitigate biological threats more effectively and improving readiness for … challenges in Europe and Asia,” she said.
Vann said the Nuclear Chemical and Biological Defense office, including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is responsible for ensuring the department maintains the capability and readiness to counter WMD across the threat landscape. She also said NCD is aligning to meet the direction given by the president’s interim national security, strategic guidance, and the secretary’s priorities. “Our efforts will enable us to close today’s gaps rapidly, mitigate vulnerabilities, anticipate emerging threats, and strengthen our domestic and international partnerships,” she said.
But the pace of technology continues to move faster and faster, Vann pointed out.
“As a result, the players on the world stage are shifting; the conflict landscape is changing and so are the hazards that we all face — making our jobs ever more complex,” she told subcommittee members. “Overcoming these changes and the emergence and reemergence of unique [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] threats requires the department to first understand the emerging threats landscape and then develop adaptive capabilities to respond to these threats as they arise. In doing so, we can ensure that the joint force can fight and win in CBRN-contested environments, prepare for surprises from emerging threats, and reduce the risks that they pose.”
Vann discussed modernizing the force, and she said fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, additive manufacturing and rapid medical countermeasure development provide an opportunity to adapt DOD’s defense capabilities quickly and effectively. “We should embrace the technological revolution within the private sector and lead game-changing technology advancements to ensure our warfighters are best prepared for the future threat,” she added.
“We will continue to remain behind the warfighter and ahead of the threat to ensure joint forces’ ability to survive, operate and regenerate combat power in the future,” Vann said.
“Clearly, WMD are complex transregional challenges that demand the application of specialized expertise and authorities across our government, as well as our foreign allies and partners,” Szymanski testified. “The Department of Defense plays a unique and critical supporting role to our interagency colleagues, especially at the departments of Energy, State, Treasury and Commerce [and] our law enforcement entities to prevent and contain WMD threats, even as we prepare to respond to WMD crises.”
The vice admiral said U.S. Special Operations strives to improve its methodology and ensure it provides timely, reliable, relevant and actionable information to support senior department decision-making. “Our aim is to better support senior leaders charged with employing our joint force today, developing and preparing for tomorrow and helping to design a military that is ready to fight and win against both current and future web threats,” Szymanski said.
“There are few greater challenges to U.S. national security than those posed by WMD in emerging threats,” Williams said. “As the globalized threat landscape evolves, DTRA’s uniquely skilled workforce and robust, collaborative network of partners are ready to evolve with it, continuing to safeguard the lives and interests of the United States and our allies abroad.” (Source: US DoD)
05 May 21. ‘A Lot of Risk’ in Army’s Proposed 2022 Budget, Service Leaders Say. As details remain under wraps, lawmakers fret about possible cuts. There is one thing that Congressional representatives and the Army’s top leaders seem to agree on: the service’s upcoming budget request is not going to be what anyone wants.
“I think there is a lot of risk in the budget,” John Whitley, the acting Army Secretary, said Wednesday during a hearing before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
Little is publicly known about the Biden administration’s 2022 defense spending request, except that it will be submitted to Congress far later than usual, and that its $715bn top line is a slight increase from this year’s $705bn. In March, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville hinted that the spending plan would force him to choose between better weapons and more soldiers.
At the hearing, most of the representatives voiced their concern about not yet knowing what the Army may face to their 2022 funding. Some were also concerned the $715bn was not enough to meet the national security requirements and expectations for the military. Whitley said that the Army’s budget has remained essentially flat over the past three years.
“I’m afraid that when we do have a budget that we can talk about, we’re not going to be pleased with the results because it’s going to force us into making some terrible decisions,” said Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark. “We have to come to grips as a country if we’re going to accept less resources, those requirements are going to have to be pared down as well.”
Whitley said that the Army learned during the last sequestration that funding cuts can be deep and it can take a long time to rebuild. The Army is only in a good place today because of investments and realignments made within the service, he said.
Cuts to investments in modernization for the Army could make the current level of readiness for the service to become “fragile,” according to Whitely and Gen. James McConville, the chief of staff of the Army.
The budget’s risks are placed on backs of the soldiers and their families, who could see them deploy more than they should, McConville said.
Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, voiced his concern that it seemed the Army is going to take “the lion’s share of the cuts” when it comes to the budget.
Carter may have been referring to the Navy, which has a more obvious role to play in a defense strategy oriented toward the Asia-Pacific theater, and which has been making a case for a far larger fleet to counter China’s. In March, the chairman of the House seapower committee, Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., began saying in public that the Navy should receive a larger slice of the 2022 defense budget than the other services.
But Whitley said the Army is already overstretched when it comes to meeting requirements with the force it has now.
McConville said he would like to increase the end strength of the active force to 550,000, up from 485,000 today, if the demand on the service remains the same, but he said he understands they cannot afford it based on what he’s seen with the budgets.
The Army must then keep investing in the readiness and modernization of the force it does have, considering the competition in the world, he said.
A cut in modernization funding for systems like the Abrams tank could mean that the Army has to slow down its plans, according to McConville.
“We’re going to have to come back once we see what the resources are, and that may drive us to make some tough decisions that people are not going to like,” he said.
The drawdown in Afghanistan may also affect 2022 spending, with soldiers making up most of the forces currently in the country. While the service is still estimating how much the drawdown could cost the Army as people and equipment are moved out of the country, Whitley conceded that predicting the actual costs is difficult and will probably be more than expected.
There may be hope for the Army when it comes to more funding. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., reminded the committee’s members that “we can do what we want here.” He pointed to how they increased former President Donald Trump’s first budget request in 2017 because they believed it was not enough.
He said there will probably have to be a deal made to increase funding for the military at the cost of Biden’s domestic program priorities.
(Source: Defense One)
04 May 21. What’s In Biden’s First Budget? And How Late Will It Be?
The White House could submit its defense budget request later than any administration in at least a century.
It’s that time of year when the defense establishment tries to predict what will be included in the president’s defense budget request and what will be left out.
Lobbyists, experts and journalists analyze—or, more often, over analyze—just about every word uttered by any defense official, looking for hints and clues about what the military wants or doesn’t.
Here are a few things we already know:
- The 2022 Pentagon budget request will total $715bn, up from the $705bn Congress appropriated for this year.
- It will be the first that is not subject to federal spending caps in nearly a decade.
- The controversial war budget account, known as overseas contingency operations, or OCO, is being put out to pasture.
What we don’t know:
- When the Biden administration will actually send the detailed budget request to Congress.
- The nitty-gritty, programmatic details: how many of each plane, ship, armored vehicle, and missile are being requested, and at what cost.
- The results of the Biden administration’s National Defense Strategy process, which will be used to inform military spending in fiscal 2023 and the years beyond.
When will the request arrive?
It’s still unclear, but the Biden administration may submit the tardiest budget request in a century. The Obama administration submitted its first budget request on May 7, 2009. The Trump administration submitted its first spending request on May 23, 2017, which was the latest since the 1920s, said Todd Harrison, director of Defense Budget Analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Last month, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., said he wants the budget request by May 10. With each passing day, the possibility of lawmakers passing the budget by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, becomes increasingly unlikely. If Congress does not pass an appropriations bill, it must enact a continuing resolution, or CR, a stopgap measure that freezes spending at the prior year’s level. If it fails to act, the government will shut down.
“On average, when a budget request has been submitted on time, the delay in enacting the appropriations has only been about one month,” Harrison said during a Monday call with reporters. “In years when the budget request was submitted…more than a week late, we’ve seen the average CR go closer to…almost four months on average.”
Congress has a lot on its plate in the coming months, including the need to confirm a host of top-level Biden administration nominees for top Pentagon billets. Lawmakers are also expected to debate President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill. Another possible hiccup in Congress’ review of the defense budget? There’s no multiyear budget deal in place.
“The fact that there is no framework to actually negotiate a budget deal could further delay defense appropriations,” said Seamus Daniels, another CSIS budget analyst.
Acquisition vs. R&D
The Trump administration’s 2021 budget proposal projected a flat procurement budget and a declining research-and-development budget. Will the Biden administration reverse that?
“In RDT&E funding in particular, I think we might even see it go up a bit, because some of the early indications from this administration is that they really do want to double down on investing in the new technologies that we will need to actually implement this strategic transformation that’s going on,” Harrison said.
Army end strength. The Army’s top general has said in recent months that the service’s budget choice is likely to come down to buying new equipment or adding soldiers. While he wants both, Gen. James McConville said he’s looking for cheaper ways to train soldiers so he doesn’t have to cut them.
Navy shipbuilding. In December, the Trump administration released a 30-year shipbuilding plan that called for 403 crewed warships and hundreds of unmanned ships, up from the Navy’s prior goal of 355 ships.
“The fiscal reality is that’s not going to happen,” Harrison said. “The question is, how quickly does this administration actually roll back those shipbuilding plans to something like we had seen before, or even less, and how do they reshape it as they try to make those shipbuilding plans more affordable, something that they can actually fit in the budget request?”
The Trump plan called for buying 12 new ships in fiscal 2022, Harrison said. He predicts the Navy will request between 10 and 12 ships and offer no details for a long-term shipbuilding plan, yet.
F-35 stealth fighter. There’s debate inside the Pentagon and out about just how many fifth-generation F-35s the Air Force needs. In recent months, top Air Force generals have been hot to trot for the Next-Generation Air Dominance, a new warplane secretly under development.
“I think the thing to watch from the F-35 program is not what’s in the budget request,” Harrison said. “It’s what Congress does with it.”
Congress routinely adds more F-35s than the Pentagon asks for each year, although some lawmakers have hinted that those days are over. Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 132 House lawmakers wrote to the leaders of the House Armed Services Committee and House Appropriations defense subcommittee urging continued support for the F-35 program. Over the past seven years, Congress has paid for 94 more jets than the Pentagon requested.
“Now I fully expect that in this budget request DOD is not going to make some huge shifts in the F-35 program,” Harrison said.
He expects the Pentagon to ask for 80 jets, “plus or minus five.”
Nuclear weapons. Harrison predicts the weapon delivery platforms, like the new B-21 bomber and Ground Based Strategic Deterrent ICBM, will continue to get funding. However, Biden may cut funding for low-yield nuclear weapons and a new submarine-launched nuclear cruise missile, Harrison predicted
“I think they don’t want to make any drastic changes right now, pending a new Nuclear Posture Review,” he said.
Harrison also predicts the Biden administration could slow down development of a new long-range nuclear cruise missile.
Missile defense. The Biden administration has already awarded contracts that will advance development of new missile interceptors designed to protect the U.S. from North Korean or Iranaian long-range missiles.
The administration could look to divest existing missile defense systems, said Tom Karako, director of the CSIS Missile Defense Project.
Space. While space has been and is expected to remain a top priority for the Pentagon, one question is if the Biden administration will continue funding Space Development Agency efforts to rapidly launch hundreds of low-Earth orbit satellites. Funding for the office was supposed to jump from $288m today to $870m in fiscal 2022.
“Will the Biden administration continue on that path for now,” Harrison said. “Will they request that 870m? … If they do, that’s going to show they’re committed to these more resilient, innovative space architectures. If they don’t, that could indicate that they don’t really see the value of resilient space architectures.”
Countering China. “I think you will see [in the budget proposal] this larger concern about great power competition and our focus on that part of the world reflected in budget priorities,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a Monday briefing. The Pentagon’s China Task Force is expected to make recommendations as soon as next month, Kirby said. (Source: Defense One)
03 May 21. Honeywell International, Inc. Reaches Consent Agreement With DDTC. The U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has announced that Honeywell International, Inc. has entered into a Consent Agreement to resolve charges that it committed 34 violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the ITAR between July 2011 and July 2018 involving unauthorized exports or retransfers of technical data resulting from the failure to exercise appropriate internal controls.
- Alleged Violations: In December 2015, Honeywell initially disclosed to the Department that it had identified multiple ITAR-controlled drawings that ISC personnel had exported without authorization via DEXcenter to Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in July 2015. By March 2017, based on an internal investigation and additional analysis conducted at the Department’s request, Honeywell ultimately identified 71 ITAR-controlled drawings that between July 2011 and October 2015 it had exported without authorization via DEXcenter to Canada, Ireland, the PRC, and Taiwan, 65 of which form the basis of the alleged violations. The 71 drawings, which Honeywell identified in its first voluntary disclosure and supplemental correspondence with the Department as controlled under Categories VIII(i), XI(d), and XIX(g) of the United States Munitions List (USML), contained engineering prints showing layouts, dimensions, and geometries for manufacturing castings and finished parts for multiple aircraft, military electronics, and gas turbine engines, including the F-35 JSF, F-22, and B-1B Lancer bomber. Some of the drawings contained technical data designated as SME. In its September 2016 full voluntary disclosure, Honeywell informed the Department of multiple corrective actions it had taken to prevent the types of violations it disclosed from recurring. The actions included: 1) a mandatory second-level review requirement for all international document transfers through DEXcenter; 2) mandatory training measures to address the risk of human error due to misidentifying export classification or authorizations, especially in the RFQ context; and 3) enhancing DEXcenter to further reduce the risk of human error by limiting the user’s ability to select an export authorization that does not match a drawing’s export classification and by providing additional warnings, reminders, and training resources and requirements.
In October 2018, Honeywell submitted a second voluntary disclosure describing how personnel in the same organization within Honeywell Aerospace, ISC, committed another series of ITAR violations that were similar to the violations disclosed in the first voluntary disclosure. According to the second voluntary disclosure, a team of U.S. ISC personnel invented what Honeywell referred to as “an alternative process, which the team believed complied with export compliance requirements,” for soliciting RFQs. Under the alternative process, ISC personnel either failed to review the export control classifications for multiple technical documents or used a classification analysis method that did not properly categorize the documents as described on either the USML or the Commerce Control List (CCL). Additionally, ISC personnel without authorization exported technical drawings using a different file exchange tool than DEXcenter called Daptiv. (Source: glstrade.com)
03 May 21. Strategic Forces chair ‘not fully convinced’ on ICBM modernization. A top lawmaker on nuclear weapons is “convinced, but not fully convinced” on the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a hot-button program to modernize intercontinental ballistic missiles, as he heads into defense budget and policy talks in Congress.
Sen. Angus King, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said he wants more information about extending the life of the 400 Minuteman III missiles the GBSD would replace. Arms control advocates and some Democrats have targeted the $1bn GBSD program, pointing to its cost.
“I would say that I’m convinced, but not fully convinced,” King, I-Maine, told reporters Saturday after leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. “The other question I’m going to be pursuing is what’s the cost of the life extension for another 40 or 50 years versus a new technology for that same period. I won’t be surprised if the costs are pretty similar, or perhaps even if the new technology is cheaper.”
King, who caucuses with Democrats, is one of a handful of moderates whose views would be crucial in the debate over GBSD. Another is Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., who vowed in recent public remarks to ensure GBSD “stays on track.”
Some modernization advocates are concerned Congress may opt to cut GBSD’s budget for fiscal 2022 as a compromise path ahead of the Biden administration’s far-reaching nuclear posture review. King acknowledged next year’s funding levels are open to debate.
“I think that’s the most immediate question facing us. And it was one of the questions that I was seeking answers to on this trip,” he said.
Northrop Grumman, to which the Air Force awarded a $13.3bn contract in September to develop GBSD, has a lot riding on the outcome of the debate. So do the states that host the Minuteman III, deployed across Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming.
King said that during the visit he entered a missile silo and learned about the onerous process of disassembling the aging Minuteman IIIs in order to maintain them and ensure they work. After that, he said, his “inclination” was the country needs GBSD “simply because at some point [with a] life extension, you reach a point of diminishing returns.”
Arms control advocates and modernization proponents differ over whether more studies or cost comparisons are needed. King said he will examine past studies and decide if gathering more data makes sense.
“Could we extend the Minuteman for another five years? Sure. Ten years? Maybe. Fifteen years? Then it gets to become a much more difficult job,” he said. “And we’re looking for protection for this country into the indefinite future until hopefully the world comes to its senses and we can get rid of all these weapons.”
King, meanwhile, is taking in multiple points of view. While he met with U.S. Strategic Command’s Adm. Charles Richard, who argues the Minuteman III is dangerously obsolete, King also held a Zoom videoconference meeting last week with former Defense Secretary Bill Perry, now an opponent of modernizing the ICBM inventory.
King was joined on the trip by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; John Hoeven, R-N.D.; and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, as well as Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb. (Source: Defense News)
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