The Insider

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 10, 2010 at 6:35 PM

United Nations leaders are scheduled to announce tomorrow a $460 million relief program to deal with the Pakistan flooding disaster, according to a cable today from Anne Patterson, the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad, that is being distributed in military and diplomatic circles.

According to the missive, the 90-day Pakistan Initial Flood Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) will address seven sectors: food ($156 million), water, sanitation and hygiene ($110 million), shelter ($105 million) health ($56 million), logistics ($16 million), nutrition ($14million) and protection (less than $2 million).

After 30 days, officials would review the plan in light of “humanitarian needs and gaps,” the cable states.

The missive asks recipients to keep the information “on close hold” until tomorrow, when UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes is expected to announce the plan in New York.

The relief plan follows an initial position by the Pakistani government, which “questioned the duration of the U.N. plan for emergency flood relief and also required that the U.N. scale back the plan to limit the clusters involved and to deal only with relief and not early recovery,” the cable states.

As for the role of the U.S. military in the disaster, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters flew eight relief flights yesterday, delivering goods and evacuating 565 flood victims, according to the cable. That brings the total number of helicopter sorties to 40, with 221,000 pounds of supplies delivered and 2,305 victims evacuated to the city of Khwazakhela, according to Patterson's cable.

In a briefing with donors in Pakistan today, U.N. officials stressed that “a nationwide response” is necessary to deal with the crisis, Patterson's cable states. Also needed is an “emergency response capability” in the provinces Sindh and Punjab, where such capabilities are “nascent at best,” according to the document.

“[W]hile access is is not the issue in Punjab and Sindh, the sheer number of affected individuals -- estimated to be more than 8.8 million collectively -- will create significant problems in the coming weeks,” the cable states.

U.N. officials plan to set up a command and control center “at an Islamabad hotel” to manage the crisis, the missive adds.

By Christopher J. Castelli
August 10, 2010 at 2:29 PM

EADS North America said today its CEO, Sean O’Keefe, was a passenger on a private aircraft that crashed in Alaska last night.

Local authorities are reporting that there are survivors and a rescue operation is under way. "No other details are available at this time," said Guy Hicks, EADS North America spokesman.

CNN is reporting Ted Stevens, the former Republican senator from Alaska, was also a passenger on the plane.

(UPDATE 3 p.m.: CNN is now reporting that Stevens was killed in the crash. Reuters is reporting that O'Keefe survived.)

By Dan Dupont
August 9, 2010 at 7:15 PM

Asked today what will happen to Gen. Ray Odierno, who has been nominated to take over as commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command, if JFCOM is dissolved, Gates said he has talked to the general (now in charge of U.S. forces in Iraq) and Odierno is on board with the move, which Gates estimates will take about a year. After that? Gates quipped that just as was the case in Iraq, Odierno's responsibility is to work himself out of a job, and then Gates will find him another one.

By Dan Dupont
August 9, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Reports of U.S. Joint Forces Command's impending demise were all it took for Virginia lawmakers to step into action, calling an "emergency" press conference for today at 4:00:

Washington, D.C. – Governor Bob McDonnell, Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Congressman Glenn Nye (VA-02), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), and Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) will hold an urgent press conference today to discuss Secretary Robert Gates’ announcement today of plans to eliminate Joint Forces Command. The press conference will be held at 4:00 p.m. at the Webb University Center at Old Dominion University.


Governor Bob McDonnell

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04)

Congressman Glenn Nye (VA-02)

Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03)

Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01)

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Defense Secretary Robert Gates just told reporters Virginia may stand to gain more than it loses from JFCOM's demise if he is successful in cutting what he hopes to cut in many areas. How? According to Gates, a few billion dollars for more Navy shipbuilding may be in the offing if the cuts are permitted.

By John Liang
August 9, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Until the Pentagon completes its restructuring of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and has a better idea of what its future tactical aircraft requirements will be -- and until it knows more about what unmanned aircraft and bombers can bring to the table -- "it will be difficult for DOD to make informed investments in legacy aircraft upgrades and modernizations, and new aircraft procurements," a new GAO report released today states.


GAO suggests that Congress consider requiring that costs associated with modernizing and sustaining the legacy fleet be included in future investment plans, and recommends that DOD 1) better define requirements and the size and severity of projected shortfalls, 2) clearly articulate how systems like unmanned aircraft are accounted for, and 3) complete a comprehensive cost and benefit analysis of options for addressing expected shortfalls. DOD agreed with the second recommendation and partially agreed with the others, citing current and planned actions. GAO believes its recommendations remain valid.

UPDATE (2:40 p.m.): Bloomberg News is reporting that Boeing may get an extra $7 billion "to extend the use of the Navy's older fleet of F/A-18 jets, partly because of delays in Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 Joint Strike Fighters," quoting the GAO report.

By John Liang
August 9, 2010 at 5:37 PM

At least one analyst is downplaying the notion in the news last week that China's new missile could be a "carrier killer." As the Associate Press reported last week:

U.S. naval planners are scrambling to deal with what analysts say is a game-changing weapon being developed by China -- an unprecedented carrier-killing missile called the Dong Feng 21D that could be launched from land with enough accuracy to penetrate the defenses of even the most advanced moving aircraft carrier at a distance of more than 1,500 kilometers (900 miles).

But Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute doesn't seem to think so. In a blog entry posted today, he writes:

I haven't seen the intelligence reports, so maybe all the alarm is warranted. But I doubt it. China has yet to conduct a single realistic test of the conventionally-armed ballistic missile. Even if it performs as feared, there is a glaring omission in all the threat mongering: the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) has no reliable way of actually targeting U.S. carrier task forces when they are at sea. No matter how accurate the new missile's guidance system may be, Chinese military commanders need to know where to aim it -- especially since a near miss with a conventional warhead has pretty much the same military value as missing by a hundred miles. So how exactly is the PLA supposed to find U.S. carriers, when they are constantly moving and actively excluding hostile forces from their immediate vicinity?

The answer is that it can't. "Four and a half acres of sovereign U.S. territory" -- the way carrier proponents often describe flattops -- may sound like a huge target, but in fact it is a mere speck in the vast expanses of the Western Pacific. For example, the modestly-sized South China Sea that Beijing keeps trying to claim for itself contains over a million square miles of water, in which a carrier can easily hide. And that's only a small part of the East Asia littoral. I calculated a decade ago that to acquire continuous target-quality information for the entire South China Sea, the PLA would need over a hundred low-earth-orbit reconnaissance satellites moving in three parallel tracks. At the moment, China only has a handful of such satellites, and as a result most of the time its overhead sensors aren't anywhere near areas of interest. It also has over-the-horizon radars and roaming submarines, plus a fleet of reconnaissance aircraft, but these do not add up to the seamless targeting network the PLA would need to track and attack a U.S. carrier.

By John Liang
August 6, 2010 at 9:16 PM

The Army this afternoon released its second annual "Sustainability Report" highlighting energy and environmental achievements and milestones supporting the service's sustainability concept and goals. Specifically, according to a Pentagon statement:

The annual sustainability report informs primary stakeholders, partners, the American people, and other interested parties on the Army's progress to embody the principles of sustainability in its operations and installation management.

"Army leadership has come to understand the potential for sustainability to strengthen national security.  What had previously yielded benefit through environmental initiatives is emerging as an important tool for countering the destabilizing effects of emerging challenges from competition over limited and diminishing resources, as well as population movements, pandemics and other climate change-related events," said Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal, who serves as both the Army's senior sustainability official and chief management officer.

Throughout the Army, efforts are underway to further recognize sustainability as an organizing principle.  Army sustainability results from aligning the Army's mission with environmental stewardship and community well being, plus the economic benefit accrued from reduced waste and increased efficiency.

Twenty-eight Army installations have undergone integrated strategic and sustainability planning which requires long-term sustainability plans and goals to meet future mission and community needs.  All new Army construction since fiscal 2008 has been required to be designed to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver minimum standard.  Further, efforts are underway to ensure that all new Army acquisition programs include the fully burdened cost of energy in the selection process to maximize the productivity of energy needed to meet our operational capabilities.

By Jason Sherman
August 6, 2010 at 3:33 PM

The Pentagon has announced a trio of potential foreign sales of military equipment and goods: $2 billion in fuel to Israel; $162 million for nine UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters to Colombia; and $152 million deal for technical support of Iraq's Mi-17 helicopters.

By Jason Sherman
August 6, 2010 at 2:46 PM

The Senate last night confirmed two officials to key national security positions: Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis to be chief of U.S. Central Command and James Clapper, a retired Air Force three-star general and former under secretary of defense for intelligence, to be the director of national intelligence.

By John Liang
August 5, 2010 at 3:16 PM

The stage appears to be set for who will compete for the right to continue developing the Pentagon's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon announcing this morning that the two companies had entered into a partnership to compete for the multibillion-dollar contract.

In May, the Missile Defense Agency released an amended and updated draft request for proposals for the contract that would re-open competition for its GMD "development and sustainment" effort. As Inside Missile Defense reported:

"The [Statement of Work] and Task Orders have changed considerably in format and work scope since release of the original" draft RFP in January, the agency states in a May 14 letter attached to the amended request.

According to the original Nov. 25, 2009, FedBizOpps notice, the contract, with a potential annual value of $600 million, would involve "future development; fielding; test; systems engineering, integration and configuration management; equipment manufacturing and refurbishment; training; and operations and sustainment support" for the GMD system and associated support facilities.

"The potential scope described in the previous announcement has been revised to include significant requirements beyond GMD operations and logistics support," the agency notice stated, adding that the contract number had been changed to reflect the new competition.

Boeing had been operating under the second of a series of six-month "bridge" contracts as the main contractor for the GMD program, with MDA never having signed the company to a final deal to complete the system's core elements.

In December 2008, the contract Boeing had been working under since 2001 became "too complex to administer effectively" and associated cost overruns had changed the program's technical content and schedule, MDA said in a statement issued earlier that year. The agency decided to end that contract on Dec. 31, 2008, and have Boeing signed to a new, so-called "core-completion contract," which took place in March.

MDA spokesman Richard Lehner told in a March e-mail that "the GMD Core Contract follow-on modification was signed on March 10, 2010, with an effective date the same. It was not a new contract and therefore it was not formally announced" as a new Defense Department contract award or on Federal Business Opportunities, he added.

In January, MDA decided to open its GMD effort up to other potential offerors, resulting in the draft RFP release.

According to a joint Lockheed-Raytheon statement released this morning:

Together, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon develop, produce and sustain leading interceptor weapon systems for missile defense.  As strategic partners for GMD Development and Sustainment, the companies will apply their proven experience to ensure the reliability and readiness of the GMD element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, which defends our nation, deployed military forces, and friends and allies against a limited attack by intermediate- and long-range ballistic missiles.

"Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are continuing a successful track record of delivering on key missile defense programs," said Mathew J. Joyce, GMD vice president and program manager, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. "Lockheed Martin and Raytheon systems combined have achieved more than 50 intercepts in combat and testing – more than any other team." These systems include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense including Standard Missile-3, Patriot and Patriot Advanced Capability-3, and GMD Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle.

"In addition to our highly successful Standard Missile-3 interceptor and our proven GMD Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle expertise, Raytheon brings important capabilities in manufacturing, mission assurance and readiness that will help to ensure a smooth transition in responding to the government's needs for this critical national system," said Frank Wyatt, Raytheon vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems.

As a strategic partner to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon's role will span systems engineering, development, manufacturing, testing, training and operations and sustainment at all of the key GMD sites.  For this next phase in the GMD lifecycle, the Lockheed Martin-Raytheon team has the most experience, is the best qualified, and provides the greatest value to ensure our warfighters have a ready and capable interceptor weapon system.

In June, Boeing and Northrop Grumman announced their intention to partner up to compete for the contract:

"Boeing takes great pride in supporting the Missile Defense Agency on GMD, providing round-the-clock protection of the United States against attack by ballistic missiles, and we are pleased to join with Northrop Grumman in this competition for future development and support of this critical element of America's defense," said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager, Boeing Strategic Missile & Defense Systems. "This partnership offers MDA the most experienced and responsive team, ready to adapt GMD to future needs and requirements. At the same time, this proven team will continue to offer the warfighter an unmatched level of mission readiness, availability and support -- affordably and with the lowest risk."

. . . Boeing will build on its experience of supporting the MDA as prime contractor for the development, deployment, integration and testing of the GMD weapon system since 2001. The Boeing-led team currently operates and sustains the deployed weapon system while developing and testing innovative technologies to provide greater reliability and meet its customer's evolving needs and requirements.

Northrop Grumman is responsible for designing and deploying the command-and-control systems that form the backbone of the GMD ground system, known as GMD Fire Control/Communications (GFCC) products. GFCC products connect and orchestrate GMD components that launch and guide interceptors in flight. Northrop Grumman has developed and sustained ground-based missile systems for more than 50 years and has been prime contractor for the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) weapon system since 1997. Northrop Grumman has been part of the Boeing GMD team for more than 10 years.

By Jason Sherman
August 4, 2010 at 6:58 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has tapped three senior Marines for new posts, including one key Joint Staff billet -- the director for operations -- according to a Pentagon announcement:

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., to serve as the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps and for appointment to the rank of general.  Dunford is currently serving as the commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force; and commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command in Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, to serve as the commanding general, I Marine Expeditionary Force/commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command and for re-appointment to the rank of lieutenant general.  Waldhauser is currently serving as the deputy commandant for plans, policies, and operations in Washington, D.C.

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Robert B. Neller to serve as the director for operations, J-3, Joint Staff and for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general.  Neller is currently serving as the president, Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va.

By John Liang
August 4, 2010 at 5:10 PM

The European aerospace and defense industry's "main credit risks are likely to shift to defense from commercial in the next year," according to a new assessment by the Fitch credit-rating agency.

In a recent investor presentation in London, Fitch analysts found that:

With overall defense budgets in Western Europe under pressure from the general high budget deficits of most countries, the companies most exposed to European defense spending may see their traditional revenue base shrinking in real terms. These companies may choose to pursue growth in many emerging markets, although export opportunities are becoming increasingly competitive and politicised as more and more developed markets-based defense companies chase a limited number of sizeable contracts in countries such as India and Brazil.

By Dan Dupont
August 4, 2010 at 3:52 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee today approved the nomination of Gen. James Mattis for the post of U.S. Central Command chief, as well as the nominations of a couple of key National Nuclear Security Administration officials, according to the panel.

In a statement, the committee said it voted favorably to approve the nominations of Anne Harrington as deputy administrator for NNSA, and Neile Miller for the slot of principal deputy administrator.

Jonathan Woodson's nomination for the post of assistant secretary for health affairs was also sanctioned. All three nominations were sent to the floor for full Senate approval.

In addition, "4,300 pending military nominations in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps" were sent to the floor.

By John Liang
August 3, 2010 at 10:35 PM

One of the main stumbling blocks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's efforts to approve the ratification of the follow-on Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty has been committee Republicans' wish to view the negotiating record of the talks between U.S. and Russian officials that culminated earlier this year. As Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said last month:

"There are so many things that we have not yet had permission to read," Kyl said, including the State Department's record of the negotiations between U.S. and Russian officials that concluded earlier this year. There are "still hundreds of questions that have not been answered from the administration. . . . Both the Armed Services Committee and the (Select) Intelligence Committee have more hearings and more work to do, even if the Foreign Relations Committee is ready to wind her up," he continued, adding: "And of course there's the resolution for ratification -- we have not even begun to consider the things that need to go into that.

"What thoughtful people need to do is to say, 'Slow down, you will have a better chance of getting the treaty through if you try to do it the right way," he continued. "If you try to run roughshod over those who have legitimate questions to ask, you try and jam it through and you don't take into account the things that we've raised here, then you are less likely to get it ratified than you are if you do it right,' even, I would suggest, if we get into the next Congress."

Looks like he and other treaty skeptics may have gotten their wish. In a letter sent to panel members by Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) this afternoon and first reported by Politico, Kerry writes:

Responding to requests from several senators, the Executive branch has now provided a thorough summary of the New START negotiating record regarding missile defense.

Kerry's letter also lists the other documents provided by the White House:

* On May 13, the treaty text, protocol, and annexes were submitted to the Senate, with a detailed article-by-article analysis of every provision.

* On May 13, the President also submitted a comprehensive plan for maintaining and modernizing the nuclear weapons complex.

* On June 30, the Intelligence Community submitted a National Intelligence Estimate assessing its ability to monitor compliance with the terms of the New START Treaty.

* On July 2, the State Department submitted a report assessing international compliance with arms control agreements, including Russia’s compliance with the original START Treaty.

* On July 12, the State Department submitted an analysis of the New START Treaty’s verifiability.

* Over the course of the last month, the Executive branch has responded to hundreds of questions for the record that members posed to Committee witnesses.

Kerry's letter states that committee members should be prepared to vote on approving the treaty on either Sept. 15 or Sept. 16.

By John Liang
August 3, 2010 at 7:52 PM

Traditional satellite manufacturers should be quaking in their boots every time someone says a certain three letters: UAV. That's among the assertions made in a recent study conducted by independent research organization Market Intel Group LLC, which states that future UAVs "pose a commercial threat as well as a significant opportunity to existing and planned satellite networks." Specifically:

Truly persistent UAVs, first lighter-than-air then more traditional fixed-wing aircraft, will soon behave like satellites. At least five efforts are currently underway in the United States to prototype stratospheric airships as a means to fly UAVs over one point for between a month and five years. DARPA, the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, finished initial work on such airships nearly three years ago and should reach the same point for aircraft by 2013.

Such persistent UAVs may end up taking away from satellites "traditional" and evolving functions as well as customers. They may also provide a robust opportunity for satellite vendors to "join-in on the action" in this market, by taking, for example, a healthy slice of the Command and Control sector.

The next technology forecast in Market Intel Group's (MiG) UAV series: UAVs for Commercial Applications – will detail traditional space capabilities that will probably migrate, to some extent, to persistent UAVs. Satellite vendors' response to this evolving threat is mixed: For example, Boeing's leadership is "bullish" on persistent UAVs and their space experts have partnered with their unmanned aircraft team. That company recently announced that its military aviation divisions would concentrate on unmanned aircraft for the foreseeable future.

On the other end, a number of satellite service providers have no idea that UAVs could be more than the flying camera and Hellfire platforms of current military operations.

Typical Stratospheric UAV Coverage Area (Radar, Laser & Optical)

Why is this important? UAVs that hold position at perhaps 65,000' over one point, indefinitely, function more like geostationary satellites than like aircraft. Such systems are sometimes called "pseudolites" by the GPS community, for example, because they will deliver 'satellite' capabilities from other platforms. But the UAV capabilities will be delivered at perhaps one-tenth of similar space capability costs, while also reaching unmodified transceivers like cell phones.

MiG's available UAV forecasts include studies on Border Security and Counter-Insurgency. Both of those fields will also be revolutionized by true persistence. For example, insurgents require anonymity to survive. The fight is essentially over when they are identified. Most of those prototype stratospheric airships are intended to strip that anonymity and so end the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today's satellite technologies will never deliver similar capabilities.