Defense News videographer Colin Kelly shot this video Tuesday of the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) launching from the Navy aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush (CVN-77).
Like Pentagon officials, defense industry executives and employees within their organizations, your correspondent is looking for any small clue that might show a path leading toward a deal that would void or again delay pending national defense cuts. Yet, when one player cracks open a door, another quickly slams it shut. More
When it comes to political marketing and sloganeering, congressional Republicans deserve a lot of credit.
Congressional aides — even Democratic ones — and longtime Washington defense hands and analysts often remark how impressive it is how the GOP comes up with their catchy themes.
Last week featured two, one from each chamber. One worked. Will the other? More
One might call this week on Capitol Hill “Sequestration-palooza.” That’s because there are three hearings featuring senior Pentagon officials focused on the pending decade-long reduction in planned national defense spending. And other hearings will focus on the nation’s overall budget and economic situation, including sequestration.
First up is a Tuesday Senate Armed Services Committee hearing featuring Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and all four service chiefs. Expect gloomy predictions of canceled weapon programs, massive layoffs, unmet combatant commander requirements, and more. Your Defense News/Intercepts correspondents will be live-blogging the deliberations. Follow Congressional Reporter John T. Bennnett, Land Warfare Reporter Paul McLeary and Air Warfare Reporter Aaron Mehta for live updates.
How big would the U.S. defense budget be if sequestration happens? Turns out, despite the sometimes-apocalyptic rhetoric, big. And how would the post-Afghanistan defense budget draw down compare to slowdowns in Pentagon spending that occurred after the Korean, Vietnam and Cold wars? Turns out, it would be smaller.
All of that is according to the work of a study group commissioned by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), released earlier today.
As the above CSIS graph shows, under sequestration, annual Pentagon spending would drop 31 percent from its 2010 peak to its sequester-era low. That compares to a 33 percent decline after Vietnam, and a 36 percent post-Cold War drop. And after the Korean war, yearly Defense Department budgets fell off by 43 percent.
That means after America’s longest war (Afghanistan) ever, Pentagon spending would undergo the smallest post-1952 draw down, according to CSIS. More
Sequestration is going to happen. At least that’s what yet another Republican U.S. House leader says.
“I think the sequester is going to happen,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said Sunday on “Meet the Press.” More
The late Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, was interviewed by Ken Burns for the World War II documentary “The War.” In the early 1940s, Washington had banned Americans of Japanese descent not already in the U.S. military from serving. When that changed in early 1943, Inouye told Burns he was eager to prove “that I was a good American.”
Inouye joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, earning the Medal of Honor, the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. Inouye died Monday due to respiratory issues. He had been hospitalized for several weeks.
On Nov. 5, the U.S. Army managed to fly a Black Hawk helicopter around the Diablo Range in California for two hours with no pilot at the controls — marking the first time that a Black Hawk had flown autonomously.
The service’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) said that the chopper showed that it was capable of obstacle field navigation and safe landing area determination, while its ability to sense and respond to the terrain, conduct statistical processing, risk assessment, threat avoidance, trajectory generation, and autonomous flight control all passed the test.
“This was the first time terrain-aware autonomy has been achieved on a Black Hawk,” said Lt. Col. Carl Ott, Chief of the Flight Projects Office at AMRDEC’s Aeroflightdynamics Directorate said in a release.
The JUH-60A Black Hawk was equipped with a 3D-LZ LADAR for terrain sensing, and “a risk-minimizing algorithm was used to compute and command a safe trajectory continuously throughout 23 miles of rugged terrain in a single flight, at an average speed of 40 knots,” Matthew Whalley, the Autonomous Rotorcraft Project lead added.
The aircraft kept up a steady altitude of 200 and 400 feet above ground level during the test, while the onboard software was able to find a safe landing spot within a forest clearing, hitting its target within one foot accuracy.
With the clock ticking toward the fiscal cliff and deep defense cuts, there is mounting evidence a final deal will be struck after Christmas Day.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reportedly advised his caucus on Wednesday to not make any plans for the holiday, suggesting the House will be in town in case it needs to vote on what likely will be a framework deal that extends some tax cuts, delays defense and domestic sequestration, and sets the table for a big fiscal deal by next summer.
Then, on Thursday morning, Gordon Adams, who oversaw defense spending for the Clinton administration, tweeted this comment made by House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., during a forum in Washington: “Van Hollen no agreement before Christmas on the cliff.”
Later Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also suggested Congress will be working over the Holiday week.
“We don’t know if we’ll be home for Hanukkah or Christmas,” Pelosi told reporters.