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03 Dec. 22. World Gets First Look at B-21 Raider
The Defense Department unveiled its newest bomber aircraft, the B-21 Raider, yesterday evening in Palmdale, California. As the first strategic bomber in more than three decades, the Air Force’s B-21 will serve as the backbone of America’s bomber force, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said.
It’s a testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation and it’s proof of the department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future.”
The B-21 Raider is expected to serve within a larger family of systems for conventional long-range strike, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; electronic attack; communication; and other capabilities. It is nuclear capable and designed to accommodate manned or unmanned operations. Additionally, it will be able to employ a broad mix of stand-off and direct-attack munitions.
At the hangar of aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman, the B-21 was unveiled amidst dramatic music and lighting effects. The new bomber has a silhouette similar to that of the B-2 Spirit bomber.
“The B-21 looks imposing,” Austin said. “But what’s under the frame and the space-age coatings is even more impressive.”
The range of the B-21, Austin said, is unmatched by any other bomber.
“It won’t need to be based in-theater, it won’t need logistical support to hold any target at risk,” the secretary said.
Like the B-2 Spirit, the B-21 Raider is a stealth aircraft. It will be hard for adversaries to see that it’s coming, Austin said.
“Fifty years of advances in low-observable technology have gone into this aircraft,” he said. “Even the most sophisticated air-defense systems will struggle to detect a B-21 in the sky.”
Austin also said the B-21 Raider is designed to be easily maintainable, which will help ensure that the aircraft is always ready to go when its needed.
“We don’t really have a capability unless we can maintain it,” he said. “The B-21 is carefully designed to be the most maintainable bomber ever built.”
As a dual-capable penetrating strike stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider is capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear munitions. It will be able to support joint and coalition forces across the full spectrum of operations, Austin said, and is also designed to be flexible enough to meet the evolving threat environment. “The Raider was built with open-system architecture, which makes it highly adaptable,” Austin said. “As the United States continues to innovate, this bomber will be able to defend our country with new weapons that haven’t even been invented yet. And the B-21 is multi-functional. It can handle anything from gathering intel, to battle management, to integrating with our allies and partners. And it will work seamlessly across domains, and theaters, and across the joint force.”
The B-21 Raider was built by Northrop Grumman and was developed through deep partnership with stakeholders in the U.S. military, Austin said.
“The B-21 is the result of deep teamwork at this plant,” he said. “Our Air Force pilots, maintainers and DOD civilians have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with their industry counterparts. In fact, they’ve been on the production line here in Palmdale to assist. The B-21 is a testament to the best of America’s vibrant and diverse industrial base. This sort of advance that makes us great, and this sort of advance doesn’t just happen. It takes investment. It takes cooperation. And it takes partnership.”
The secretary said he and the Defense Department are committed to continuing with that kind of cooperation with the defense industrial base to ensure that the best technology America can offer will be available to contribute to the nation’s defense.
“The Department is going to continue to invest in tech,” he said. “We’re going to bring new companies into our supplier base, and we’re going to keep honing our acquisitions process to get the right capabilities before we need them.”
Development on the B-21 Raider began in 2015 when the Air Force awarded the engineering and manufacturing development contract. The Air Force expects to acquire a minimum of 100 of the aircraft.
The “B-21” designation, according to the Air Force, was chosen because the aircraft is the first new bomber of the 21st century, while the name “Raider” was chosen to represent the Doolittle Raiders, who flew a surprise attack during World War II.
“Eighty years ago, on a cold and rainy April morning, four months after Pearl Harbor, 16 U.S. Army bomber planes took off from an aircraft carrier in the Pacific,” Austin explained. “Then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle embarked on a daring mission. At high cost, he and his team of aviators flew more than 650 miles to strike distant enemy targets. And the Doolittle Raiders, as they came to be known, showed the strength and the reach of American airpower.”
Like the Doolittle Raiders defended America during WWII, the B-21 Raider is expected to do the same now and into the future, Austin said.
“This isn’t just another airplane. It’s not just another acquisition,” Austin said. “It’s the embodiment of America’s determination to defend the republic that we love. It’s a testament to our strategy of deterrence — with the capabilities to back it up, every time and everywhere. That’s what America does.”
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the U.S. Air Force unveiled the B-21 Raider to the world today. The B-21 joins the nuclear triad as a visible and flexible deterrent designed for the U.S. Air Force to meet its most complex missions.
“The Northrop Grumman team develops and delivers technology that advances science, looks into the future and brings it to the here and now,” said Kathy Warden, chair, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. “The B-21 Raider defines a new era in technology and strengthens America’s role of delivering peace through deterrence.”
The B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power, leading a powerful family of systems that deliver a new era of capability and flexibility through advanced integration of data, sensors and weapons. Its sixth-generation capabilities include stealth, information advantage and open architecture.
“The B-21 Raider is a testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation. And it’s proof of the Department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future. Now, strengthening and sustaining U.S. deterrence is at the heart of our National Defense Strategy,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. “This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress. And because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production.”
The B-21 is capable of networking across the battlespace to multiple systems, and into all domains. Supported by a digital ecosystem throughout its lifecycle, the B-21 can quickly evolve through rapid technology upgrades that provide new capabilities to outpace future threats.
“With the B-21, the U.S. Air Force will be able to deter or defeat threats anywhere in the world,” said Tom Jones, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. “The B-21 exemplifies how Northrop Grumman is leading the industry in digital transformation and digital engineering, ultimately delivering more value to our customers.”
The B-21 Raider is named in honor of the Doolittle Raids of World War II when 80 men, led by Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle, and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on a mission that changed the course of World War II. The designation B-21 recognizes the Raider as the first bomber of the 21st century. (Source: US DoD/Northrop Grumman)
01 Dec 22. Secretary of Defense Establishes Office of Strategic Capital.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III today established the Office of Strategic Capital (OSC), a Department of Defense organization that will help build an enduring technological advantage by partnering with private capital providers.
OSC will connect companies developing critical technologies vital to national security with capital. Critical technologies such as advanced materials, next-generation biotechnology, and quantum science often require long-term financing to bridge the gap between the laboratory and full-scale production, often referred to as the “Valley of Death” in industry.
“We are in a global competition for leadership in critical technologies, and the Office of Strategic Capital will help us win that competition and build enduring national security advantages,” said Secretary Austin. “By working with the private capital markets and by partnering with our federal colleagues, OSC will address investment gaps and add a new tool to the Department’s investment toolbox.”
These technology companies also suffer from a limited supply of longtime-horizon “patient capital,” which results in an inability to transition technology into military capabilities – even for technologies developed with the help of federal research grants or contracts. Moreover, many of these technologies are essential for future defense capabilities but are not purchased directly by the DoD, meaning existing procurement programs are unable to support the relevant companies’ immediate capital needs.
“America’s strategic competitors are working to influence U.S. technological innovation to their advantage,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Heidi Shyu. “OSC is part of a broader administration-wide effort to ‘crowd-in’ private capital in areas where our efforts can boost our future security and prosperity. Our hope is that OSC will be able to strike its first deals by early next year.”
As an office overseen by the Secretary of Defense, the OSC will have an advisory council that includes the Under Secretaries of Defense. The OSC will work across policy, acquisition, and research efforts to increase the amount of capital available to critical technology companies. OSC will also help counter non-market actions by strategic competitors that use U.S. capital markets to advance their own technology goals.
In support of the Under Secretary Defense for Research and Engineering, OSC will complement the innovation organizations already executing programs to support critical technology developers. OSC aims to scale investments between science and technology-focused organizations, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and commercially-oriented organizations, such as the Defense Innovation Unit, by increasing the capital available to critical technology companies to help them reach scaled production.
While existing offices rely on grants and contracts to deploy capital, OSC is investigating the use of non-acquisition-based tools, such as loans and loan guarantees. Many other federal agencies use credit programs to participate in capital markets through loans, loan guarantees, development funds, and other tools.
These types of federal investments have been vital in helping companies such as Apple, Cray Research, and Sun Microsystems early in their development. The OSC is unique within DoD by seeking to use proven credit programs, making strategic public-private investments in supply chains, and supporting critical technology companies from early-stage to full production. Read more about the OSC at: www.cto.mil/osc (Source: US DoD)
01 Dec 22. Federal officials warn of heightened threat of attacks in coming weeks, months. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned on 30 November that the threat environment in the US will remain heightened through the end of January 2023. The agency stated that there is a sustained threat posed by actors looking to commit violence in response to midterm election certification procedures and in conjunction with the anniversary of the 6 January 2021 attack in the capital Washington DC. The upcoming holiday season will also increase the possibility of incidents due to large crowds gathering for festivities. The DHS added that groups and sole perpetrators motivated by a plethora of ideologies continue to pose a threat. According to the agency, the threat pertains especially to schools, places of worship, LGBTQI+ community gatherings and government facilities. (Source: Sibylline)
30 Nov 22. DLA Expanding DOD Visibility of F-35 Supply Chain. The Defense Logistics Agency is increasing supply chain visibility of the F-35 joint strike fighter while working to boost readiness.
“As the main logistics entity for the Department of Defense, we have worldwide storage and distribution assets in partnership with U.S. Transportation Command that enable us to meet demands and also widen the government’s visibility of parts,” Rick Teal, program manager for DLA’s F-35 Supply Chain Integration Program, said.
DLA is entering its third year as the product support provider for North American Regional Warehousing, in which it stores F-35 retail parts at six DLA Distribution warehouses located at Air Force and Navy industrial sites. Two DLA Distribution centers also support global wholesale demands for the F-35 jet and propulsion systems by storing parts in support of the F-35 Global Spares Pool. The GSP replenishes supplies for over 860 F-35s fielded to 16 countries — 8 allied partner nations and 8 foreign military sales customers.
F-35 sustainment follows a contractor logistics support model that makes commercial industry responsible for ensuring systems are ready for operation when and where the military services need them. If mission readiness and performance outcomes shift, however, military officials need visibility across the supply chain to understand why and to address causes with industry.
“With legacy aircraft, we can see where everything is moving, how it’s moving, why it’s moving and where the hiccups are,” Teal said, adding that the DOD has taken steps to be more involved in sustainment, shifting to what he called an organic management process that makes DLA a key contributor to operational success.
“The first attempt to making the supply chain more organically visible was to stand up DLA Distribution support, and as the fleet grows with different logistics and sustainment concepts evolving, we’ll continue to grow too,” he said.
The fleet is expected to swell to 1,400-plus aircraft by the end of 2025 at over 26 bases, 10 ships and worldwide industrial sites. DLA and TRANSCOM are working with the F-35 Joint Program Office and the Lightning Sustainment Center, a DOD-led team that includes international partners and industry, to outline near-term warehousing and transportation requirements.
DLA is also in the early planning stages with the F-35 JPO and services to determine how to best transfer sustainment management activities from the contractor to the Air Force and Navy as specified in Section 142 of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
“At this juncture the planning is immature, and even though it shifts sustainment responsibilities from the prime contractors to the services, changes will continue to leverage organic government facilities, capabilities and systems in addition to industrial capabilities — just like our support for other weapons systems,” Teal said.
The group will go through a provisioning process to determine what parts of the aircraft will be fixed in-house or commercially and what supplies need to be stocked so DLA can catalog the items, create National Stock Numbers and maintain that information in government systems.
“Instead of cataloging major systems end to end, DLA catalogs primarily those parts that are going to be going through the supply chain continuously, things that we know we’re going to buy on a recurring basis because our customers have a steady need for them,” Teal continued.
Although cataloging can take years to complete, it’s expected to result in easy access to a range of supply chain data because it’s stored in government systems rather than industry’s, he said. That enables leadership to better measure performance metrics and take corrective measures on distinct supply chain issues.
DLA is already sending F-35 components to customers deployed in support of U.S., joint and international missions, but better supply chain visibility will improve that support especially in contested environments, Teal added.
DLA is continuing to build upon current support as adjustments in F-35 sustainment structure are planned, implemented and tested. DLA Distribution and TRANSCOM recently finished the second phase of test shipments to partner nations in which TRANSCOM assets — a blend of organic airlift and contracted commercial sources like FedEx and UPS — tested importing and exporting of F-35 supplies including hazardous material to the two partner nations.
Tapping into TRANSCOM shipping capabilities strengthens distribution efforts since the command has well-established routes and modes of transport and allows in-transit visibility, Teal said. And that’s likely to continue as the Air Force and Navy assume sustainment responsibility, he added.
DLA Disposition Services is also accepting F-35 assets for demilitarization and disposal from U.S. and international customers, a mission that’s also expected to build as more systems are fielded, more jets fly and repair cycles increase. (Source: US DoD)
28 Nov 22. U.S. Senate eyes tightened restrictions on Chinese semiconductors. The Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate urged lawmakers on Monday to back his proposal to bar the U.S. government from doing business with companies that use semiconductors made by producers the Pentagon considers Chinese military contractors.
“If American business wants the federal government to buy their products or services, they shouldn’t be using the kind of Chinese-made chips that, because of Chinese government involvement, put our national security at risk,” Senator Chuck Schumer said in remarks opening the Senate after its Thanksgiving holiday recess. “We need our government and our economy to rely on chips made right here in America.”
Schumer and Republican Senator John Cornyn introduced their proposal as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, an annual bill setting policy for the Department of Defense expected to pass the Senate and House of Representatives in December.
As one of the only major pieces of legislation Congress passes every year, the NDAA is closely watched by a broad swath of industry and other interests because it determines everything from purchases of ships and aircraft to pay increases for the troops and how to address geopolitical threats.
Lawmakers also use the bill as a vehicle for a wide range of policy measures. The proposal from Schumer and Cornyn would broaden an existing ban on government use of Chinese chips.
The 2023 NDAA authorizes more than $800bn in spending.
“We need to stay tough on the Chinese government and its actions,” Schumer said. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
29 Nov 22. China Military Power Report. In November 2022, the Department of Defense released its annual report on the Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, known as the China Military Power Report.
(Source: US DoD)
29 Nov 22. Defense Intelligence Agency forms ‘China mission group’ to track rival. The Defense Intelligence Agency is pulling together a group of analysts and experts to monitor competition with China, a world power Pentagon officials consider the leading threat to U.S. national security.
John Kirchhofer, the DIA’s chief of staff, on Nov. 29 said his agency, which produces, analyzes and disseminates military intelligence, established a “China mission group” that will reach full operational capacity early next year.
“It’s as simple as this: We created a box and we called it China,” he said during a livestreamed Intelligence and National Security Alliance event. “If you are in DIA and you are working China, you’re in that box.”
Whereas the CIA is focused on providing intelligence of all kinds to the president, the DIA is the principal source of foreign intel for combat endeavors. The new mission group will become the agency’s repository for China knowledge and knowhow, meaning insiders including Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier as well as outsiders will know where to turn “for whatever deep expertise” is needed, according to Kirchhofer, the third-ranking officer.
“This is us integrating to the maximum extent possible on an existential threat to the long-term success of the United States,” he said.
After decades of fighting in the Middle East and investment in counterterrorism and technologies related to smaller-scale conflict, the U.S. is now focusing on China and the Indo-Pacific, a region home to some of the world’s largest militaries, ports and populations.
Defense officials in Washington are warning about the dangers posed by Beijing, and have rallied allies and partners to counteract its global ambitions. The annual China Military Power Report sent to Congress this week notes that China is the only country with the will and military capacity to eventually challenge what it called the U.S.-led “world order,” Defense News reported.
While much of the intelligence community “has been heavily focused in Europe, and that goes back decades,” Kirchhofer said, “that’s not necessarily where this long-term threat is coming from, even with Russia being as belligerent as they are today.”
DIA plans to move more resources — including people, communications and information technology — to the Pacific. Talks to extend the military intelligence agency’s footprint are already underway with friendly nations. The Army, Navy and Air Force are taking a similar tack.
The shift will help “with resiliency in the event of a crisis and some needed redundancy in the event of worst-case scenarios,” according Kirchhofer.
“It’s very exciting, and I think that is putting our money where our mouth is,” he said. “It really shows our long-term commitment to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the potential fight against China.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
29 Nov 22. The US is pushing European allies to take a harder stance towards Beijing as it tries to leverage its leadership on Ukraine to gain more support from Nato countries for its efforts to counter China in the Indo-Pacific. According to people briefed on conversations between the US and its Nato allies, Washington has in recent weeks lobbied members of the transatlantic alliance to toughen up their language on China and to start working on concrete action to restrain Beijing. US president Joe Biden identified countering China as his main foreign policy goal at the start of his administration, but his efforts have been complicated by the focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. But with Russian president Vladimir Putin’s invasion in its 10th month, Washington was making a concerted effort to push China back up Nato’s agenda, the people said. They said the US was trying to leverage the action it had been taking on Ukraine — including being the largest supplier of weapons and aid for Kyiv — into more concrete support for its policies in the Indo-Pacific region. “The shift from the Americans on this has been noticeable,” said one of the people, all of whom declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter. “It’s really quite clear that they have decided now is the time to move on this.” Asked about the push, a senior US official noted that Nato agreed on a new “strategic concept” in June that “addressed the systemic challenges” posed by China. “Our conversations on these issues continue,” the official added. Referring to the 30 Nato allies endorsing the new concept at a summit in Madrid in June, a US state department official said Nato foreign ministers would “address ways to strengthen our resilience and the challenges posed by the PRC [People’s Republic of China]” at their ministerial meeting in Bucharest, Romania, this week. “We deeply value and encourage a united European approach to China,” the official added. Coordinating Nato members’ approaches to China is high on the list of topics to be discussed at the two-day meeting, which starts on Tuesday. “What we have begun doing across the Nato alliance is to think about ways in which the alliance can address that challenge [from China] in concrete terms,” Julianne Smith, US ambassador to Nato, said on Monday. “Allies [will] look to implement what they signed up to,” she added, “to move from what we call assessing the problem to addressing the problem.” (Source: FT.com)
28 Nov 22. US officials said Russia had postponed crucial nuclear weapons talks that were due to begin on Tuesday, marking a setback for the last remaining arms treaty between the powers and providing further evidence of fraying diplomatic ties since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. On Monday, John Kirby, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said: “We haven’t received a real solid answer from the Russians as to why they postponed this. We’d like to see it get back on the schedule as soon as possible.” A Russian foreign ministry official told the Tass news agency that the talks would be rescheduled, but offered no other details. US officials said they were working to ascertain why Moscow postponed the discussions. The meeting would have been the first of its kind since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since its implementation in 2011, the New Start Treaty has limited Moscow and Washington’s strategic nuclear weapons arsenals and allowed the parties to conduct on-site inspections to verify that those limits are being adhered to. It is set to expire in 2026. Over the summer, Russian officials had said they would not allow the inspections to resume, citing US sanctions relating to Russia’s war in Ukraine, which Moscow said would make travelling for the inspections difficult. However, US officials had hoped this week’s meeting would allow them to discuss restarting the inspections. A state department official said Russia made the decision to scrap the talks “unilaterally”, and added that Washington hopes to return soon to the technical talks on implementing the treaty. “The United States is ready to reschedule at the earliest possible date as resuming inspections is a priority for sustaining the treaty as an instrument of stability,” the official said. US and European officials have made considerable efforts to avoid nuclear escalation as Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine rumbles on. Washington is particularly concerned that Russian president Vladimir Putin may try to use a tactical or battlefield nuclear weapon — which are not included in the treaty — in Ukraine as he continues to face military setbacks. (Source: FT.com)
25 Nov 22. U.S. bans Huawei, ZTE equipment sales, citing national security risk. The Biden administration has banned approvals of new telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies (HWT.UL) and ZTE (000063.SZ) because they pose “an unacceptable risk” to U.S. national security.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said on Friday it had adopted the final rules, which also bar the sale or import of equipment made by Chinese surveillance equipment maker Dahua Technology Co (002236.SZ), video surveillance firm Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd (002415.SZ) and telecoms firm Hytera Communications Corp Ltd (002583.SZ).
The move represents Washington’s latest crackdown on the Chinese tech giants amid fears that Beijing could use them to spy on Americans.
“These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications,” FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.
Huawei declined to comment. ZTE, Dahua, Hytera and the Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Hikvision said in a statement that its products don’t threaten U.S. security.
“This decision by the FCC will do nothing to protect U.S. national security, but will do a great deal to make it more harmful and more expensive for U.S. small businesses, local authorities, school districts, and individual consumers to protect themselves, their homes, businesses and property,” Hikvision said, adding that it will continue to serve U.S. customers “in full compliance” with U.S. regulations.
Rosenworcel circulated the proposed measure, which effectively bars the firms from selling new equipment in the United States, to the other three commissioners for final approval last month.
The FCC said in June 2021 it was considering banning all equipment authorizations for all companies on the covered list.
That came after a March 2021 designation of five Chinese companies on the so-called “covered list” as posing a threat to national security under a 2019 law aimed at protecting U.S. communications networks: Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications Corp Hikvision and Dahua.
All four commissioners at the agency, including two Republicans and two Democrats, supported Friday’s move. The agency said it has authority to revoke prior authorizations, but declined to do so. (Source: Reuters)
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