28 Feb 14. While U.S. Strategic Command remains capable and ready to meet its assigned missions, sequestration will continue to stress its human element and ability to meet 21st century threats, Stratcom’s commander told the Senate Armed Services Committee here Feb. 28. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney reported that though the two-year bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act reduce near-term budget uncertainty, significant national security challenges loom, spurring the need for collaboration and a unified command plan. “Against this dynamic and uncertain backdrop, U.S. Strategic Command’s mission is to partner with other combatant commands to deter and detect strategic attack against the United States [and] our allies and to defeat those attacks if deterrence fails,” the admiral said. The unified command plan-assigned missions are strategic in nature, global in scope, and intertwined with the capabilities of the joint military force, the interagency and the whole of government, Haney added. “This requires increased linkages and synergies at all levels to bring integrated capabilities to bear through synchronized planning, simultaneous execution of plans and coherent strategic communications,” he said. According to Haney, the deterrence plan will be executed through provision of a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent force, partnership with other combatant commands, assessment of challenges in space, development of necessary cyberspace capability and capacity, and preparation for uncertainty. However, he acknowledged his concern that the current global security environment is more complex, dynamic and uncertain than at any time in recent history. “Advances in state and non-military capabilities continue across air, sea, land [and] space domains, as well as in cyberspace,” Haney said. The space domain is becoming ever more congested, contested and competitive, Haney reported, adding that worldwide cyber threats are growing in scale and sophistication. “Nuclear powers are investing in long-term and wide-ranging military modernization programs,” he said. Weapons of mass destruction and nuclear technologies continue to proliferate, Haney said. “No region in the world is immune from potential chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear risk,” he said. Terrorist threats are still a source of significant ambiguity, Haney said, and the threat of homegrown violent extremists remains a concern. The admiral noted that the priority is to ensure a safe, secure, and effective nuclear deterrence force in accordance with the 2010 nuclear posturing review. In light of recent personnel issues within the intercontinental ballistic missile force, Haney said he supports Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s initiative to assemble key Defense Department stakeholders to seek long-term, systematic solutions that will maintain trust and confidence in the nuclear enterprise. Haney emphasized that America’s nuclear deterrent force remains safe, secure and effective.
28 Feb 14. Over the past five years, Congress has appropriated more than $42bn for helicopter programs. Estimates from several sources place the current global helicopter market (civil, commercial, and military) at greater than $30bn annually and expected to grow by 30% over the next decade as new replacement programs enter development and new markets come online. Several recent news items highlight this trend:
(1) Changes to US border policy: A recent article by John Bennett at Defense News cited that last year the Senate passed sweeping immigration-reform measure that proposed $38bn for new American-made helicopters, drones, vehicles, and other hardware to help secure the southern border of the United States. Although the House of Representatives has said that they would tackle immigration reform piece by piece instead of as part of a comprehensive reform as the Senate did, a January 28th GOP white paper implied the process is moving forward althou