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23 Feb 23. 8th U.S.-ROK Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-Top Exercise – Joint Press Release. The United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) conducted the 8th U.S-ROK Deterrence Strategy Committee Table-Top Exercise (DSC TTX), February 22, 2023 at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Following the TTX, the ROK and U.S. delegations visited the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia, February 23, 2023.
During the 54th U.S.-ROK Security Consultative Meeting, November 3, 2022, the ROK Minister of National Defense and the U.S. Secretary of Defense pledged to conduct a DSC TTX annually. This TTX is the first to be conducted during the administration of ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol.
Heo Taekeun, ROK Deputy Minister of Defense Policy, headed the ROK delegation and Dr. Siddharth Mohandas, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia, and Richard C. Johnson, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Policy, headed the U.S. delegation as co-chairs.
ROK and U.S. defense officials, military officers, and diplomats participated in the TTX. Key personnel from the ROK included officials from the Ministry of National Defense (MND), Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Korea Defense Intelligence Agency (KDIA) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). The U.S. delegation included members from the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), and the Department of State. The participants held in-depth discussions on various approaches to the Alliance’s deterrence and response posture in the face of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) evolving nuclear and missile capabilities.
Given the DPRK’s recent aggressive nuclear policy and advancements in nuclear capabilities, the TTX scenario focused on the possibility of the DPRK’s use of nuclear weapons. The U.S. and ROK delegations focused their discussion on Alliance deterrence to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and potential options for responding to DPRK nuclear weapons use. Both sides discussed various options to demonstrate the Alliance’s strong response capabilities and resolve to respond appropriately to any DPRK nuclear use.
The U.S. side highlighted that 2022 Nuclear Posture Review states that any nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its Allies and partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of that regime. Both sides affirmed that the Alliance stands ready to respond to the DPRK’s nuclear threats.
Participants highlighted that improvements in the ROK’s advanced conventional capabilities have strengthened deterrence. As such, the delegations discussed how best to leverage ROK non-nuclear capabilities to support nuclear deterrence against DPRK nuclear threats. Both sides concurred on the need to continue to strengthen extended deterrence, including through robust consultative mechanisms and crisis communication, as well as information-sharing, and joint planning and execution.
Both sides agreed that events such as the DSC TTX contribute to improving mutual understanding regarding the utilization and enhancement of Alliance capabilities. The delegations agreed on the importance of joint efforts to deter the DPRK’s nuclear use, and the crucial value in preparing potential response measures during armistice and reinforcing existing consultation mechanisms to execute those measures. The ROK and U.S. delegations agreed to report to the U.S.-Korea Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) and Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) on the outcome of discussions conducted during the DSC TTX. Additionally, both sides agreed to reflect the strategic approaches discussed during the DSC TTX in the ongoing revisions of the Tailored Deterrence Strategy (TDS) and to conduct follow-on TTXs involving political, military, and interagency participants in the near future to continue the joint planning and coordination process.
Following the DSC TTX, the U.S. and ROK delegations visited U.S. nuclear submarine training facilities located at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia. Rear Admiral Thomas R. Buchanan, Commander of Submarine Group 10, explained the mission of Ohio-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBNs), and emphasized that SSBN forces operated by the U.S. are a key means of providing U.S. extended deterrence to Allies. The United States will continue to work with the ROK to ensure an effective mix of capabilities, concepts, deployments, exercises, and tailored options to deter and, if necessary, respond to coercion and aggression by the DPRK. The United States will continue to field flexible nuclear forces suited to deterring regional nuclear conflict, including the capability to forward deploy strategic bombers, dual-capable fighter aircraft, and nuclear weapons to the region.
The ROK and U.S. delegations highlighted that the joint site visit to an SSBN base, the first of its kind for the Alliance, is a positive demonstration of U.S. extended deterrence. The ROK and U.S. delegations emphasized that the 8th DSC TTX, conducted amidst continuing DPRK provocations, reaffirmed that U.S. commitments, including extended deterrence, to the ROK are ironclad and demonstrate strong Alliance coordination. In light of the DPRK’s ongoing missile and nuclear development, the ROK and the United States will maintain close cooperation and continue a range of efforts to enhance extended deterrence. (Source: US DoD)
23 Feb 23. DOD Aims to Boost Small Business Involvement in Nation’s Defense. The Defense Department’s Office of Small Business Programs has several efforts underway to make it easier for the nation’s small business community to become more involved in providing goods, services, technology and research in support of the nation’s defense.
Farooq A. Mitha, director of OSBP, spoke Wednesday at the Professional Services Council in Arlington, Virginia. He told representatives of small businesses about his office’s most recent efforts including the Department’s newly released Small Business Strategy.
In the past few months, Mitha said, the department’s Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, about 96 of them across the country, have been rebranded as APEX Accelerators.
Those APEX Accelerators have an enhanced mission in helping existing and new businesses strengthen the defense industrial base by accelerating innovation, fostering ingenuity and establishing resilient and diverse supply chains.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of market research using these entities,” Mitha said. “We’re going to connect them closer to our other prime contractors that are looking for subcontractors to be part of their supply chains.”
The APEX Accelerators will also do more training with small businesses on issues related to cybersecurity and foreign ownership, control or influence that might affect their ability to work with the federal government, Mitha said.
Efforts are also underway to reinvigorate the Rapid Innovation Fund, Mitha said. That program was designed to help small businesses get their technology from the prototype stage to the production stage — a period of time when many businesses fail that’s commonly called “the valley of death.”
The RIF hasn’t been funded since 2019, and Mitha said he aims to change that.
“We’ve gone four years without money into this program,” he said. “That is a big, big problem at a time when we’re spending more dollars doing prototyping. We need to support more companies to go into production and transition their technologies.”
Mitha said he brought the RIF back into his office to support streamlining entry points into the defense marketplace for small companies and to enable better long-term planning for small business programs. Recently, Mitha advocated for permanency of the Mentor Protégé Program (MPP), which was a pilot for over thirty years. This led to Congress making MPP permanent in the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
Another effort, Mitha said, is the creation of what he said is called the “Small Business Integration Group.” Not every effort aimed at small business development lies in his own office, he said, but the new group will tie together the efforts happening outside his office.
” will bring the services, the defense agencies, OSD , the industrial base and small business stakeholders to be part of an integrated integration group that I will oversee … so we can collaborate better, work closer together, communicate with industry better, and really break down the silos between our programs,” he said.
The Defense Acquisition University trains the acquisition workforce from across the department, and Mitha said a new credential for working with small businesses has been established within DAU.
“We’ve now established common courses, curriculum and training for all these professionals,” he said. “But we’ve made it a credential not a career field. So, what that means is that anybody in the acquisition workforce can get the small business credential.”
Mitha said he expects more instructors and capacity will be needed to help the thousands of acquisition professionals across the department who may want to get the small business credential. (Source: US DoD)
23 Feb 23. Boeing Sets F/A-18 Production Completion Date as Defense Business Pivots to Future Work.
– Defense, Space & Security plans St. Louis workforce growth supporting new and next-generation military aircraft programs and services
– F/A-18 Service Life Modification will continue through the mid-2030s; advanced capabilities development and upgrades for global fleet continuing for decades
Boeing [NYSE: BA] expects to complete new-build production of the F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft in late 2025 following delivery of the final U.S. Navy fighters. Production could be extended to 2027 if the Super Hornet is selected by an international customer.
To meet demand for defense products and services, Boeing plans to continue hiring year-over-year for the next five at its St. Louis site. More than 900 people were hired in the region last year.
“We are planning for our future, and building fighter aircraft is in our DNA,” said Steve Nordlund, Boeing Air Dominance vice president and St. Louis site leader. “As we invest in and develop the next era of capability, we are applying the same innovation and expertise that made the F/A-18 a workhorse for the U.S. Navy and air forces around the world for nearly 40 years.”
The F/A-18 production decision allows Boeing to:
- Redirect resources to future military aircraft programs: To support work on the next generation of advanced crewed and uncrewed aircraft, Boeing plans to build three new, state-of-the-art facilities in St. Louis. These facilities, as well as the new Advanced Composite Fabrication Center in Arizona, and the new MQ-25 production facility at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, represent more than a $1 bn investment.
o Boeing has invested $700 m into St. Louis infrastructure upgrades during the past decade, enabling the introduction of new design and build techniques streamlining processes and improving first-time quality.
- Ramp up production of critical new defense programs: Boeing St. Louis will increase production of the world’s first all-digital training system, the T-7A Red Hawk, and the world’s first carrier-deployed autonomous refueling aircraft, the MQ-25 Stingray, along with ongoing production of new F-15EX Eagle IIs and 777X wing components.
- Focus on modernization and upgrade efforts: Boeing will continue to develop advanced capabilities and upgrades for the global F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler fleet. Throughout the next decade, all Block II Super Hornets in Service Life Modification will receive the Block III capability suite. Boeing will also continue to add advanced electronic attack capability as part of ongoing Growler modifications.
Since the F/A-18 debuted in 1983, Boeing has delivered more than 2,000 Hornets, Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers to customers around the world including the U.S. Navy, Australia, Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.
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