Friday, March 20, 2009

China ends naval stand-off and credits Barack Obama
"It is time to call an end to it. It might be that the US military wanted to flex its muscles, but the Barack Obama administration managed to bring the situation under control for the good of both countries."

Earlier this month, the Pentagon revealed that one of its unarmed maritime surveillance ships had been harassed by five Chinese naval boats in waters some 75 miles off the southern Chinese island of Hainan. China said the US ship was engaged in spying. The Pentagon then raised the stakes by sending in a destroyer to protect the USNS Impeccable as it carries out its surveys in the region.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

These thousand bases constitute 95 percent of all the military bases any country in the world maintains

Before reading this article, try to answer this question: How many military bases does the United States have in other countries: a) 100; b) 300; c) 700; or d) 1,000.

According to the Pentagon's own list PDF, the answer is around 865, but if you include the new bases in Iraq and Afghanistan it is over a thousand. These thousand bases constitute 95 percent of all the military bases any country in the world maintains on any other country's territory. In other words, the United States is to military bases as Heinz is to ketchup.

The old way of doing colonialism, practiced by the Europeans, was to take over entire countries and administer them. But this was clumsy. The United States has pioneered a leaner approach to global empire. As historian Chalmers Johnson says, "America's version of the colony is the military base." The United States, says Johnson, has an "empire of bases."

Pentagon may sink plans for destroyer scheduled for BIW

A new generation of Navy destroyers that Bath Iron Works hoped would support thousands of jobs may be abandoned under the budget Defense Secretary Robert Gates will submit in April.

That's the opinion of defense industry analysts who are familiar with the DDG-1000, a Cold War-era design with a price tag estimated at more than $3 billion each.

Two Obama administration proposals that could face difficulties in Congress include missile defense funding.

A key bellwether vote in the new Congress came on February 13 when only three Senate Republicans broke ranks from their party and voted with Democrats for President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill.

If support from three Senate Republicans seems sparse, try comparing it to the House of Representatives, where not a single Republican voted in favor of the stimulus. This opening salvo was followed by subsequent unified Republican opposition to an expansion of health care for children, an employment discrimination measure, and a housing foreclosure bill.

Pentagon in "intense review" of Europe missile shield
A plan to expand a controversial U.S. ballistic-missile shield into Eastern Europe is being scrutinized as part of a 2010 budget request to be sent to Congress next month, the Pentagon's chief financial officer told Congress on Wednesday.

"I can tell you that issue is under intense review," Robert Hale, the Defense Department's comptroller, told the House of Representatives' Budget Committee.

Defense spending has more than doubled in the last eight years.

A top Pentagon budget official told a congressional panel yesterday that the military is reexamining how it uses contractors and how it spends money on large, costly weapons programs.

Testifying before the House Budget Committee, Robert F. Hale, undersecretary of defense-comptroller and chief financial officer at the Pentagon, noted that more jobs that had been done by government employees over the last decade are now outsourced to contractors.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

$159 billion Future Combat Systems program
Americans generally are supportive of using innovative - and expensive - technology to create weapons systems to defend our country.

U.S. Army, GAO Feud Over FCS Status,%20GAO%20Feud%20Over%20FCS%20Status
U.S. Army officials and congressional auditors have reignited a lively debate over the status of the land service's Future Combat Systems modernization program.

Government Accountability Office found $295 billion in cost overruns in 95 major defense projects.
President Barack Obama's pledge to end waste in federal contracting will face an early test when agencies dish out around $100 billion for projects funded by the economic stimulus package.

****Department of Defense's $1 trillion-plus oint Strike Force (JSF) aircraft

The Department of Defense's $1 trillion-plus plan to build and deliver multiple versions of the Joint Strike Force (JSF) aircraft to multiple customers is behind schedule, over budget, and upside down, according to a report from the Government Accounting Office (PDF).

Upside down because the military is accelerating procurement of operational aircraft before it has even taken delivery of test units, according to the non-partisan GAO.

"Procuring large numbers of production jets while still working to deliver test jets and mature manufacturing processes does not seem prudent," the report states.

Obama's defense budget offsets will ring hollow
But when Carter came to the White Houses in 1977, rather than simply invest in rebuilding America's military, he promised America one better. He endorsed Defense Secretary Harold Brown's "offset" strategy.
Instead of fixing the equipment on hand or buying new stuff, the Pentagon would invest in "next generation" technology that would offset the fact that the Soviets had a lot more ships, planes, and people. Brown planned to provide the American military with an overwhelming technological competitive advantage.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Congress [is] "notoriously reluctant to cut weapons funding,"
Top Pentagon and military service leaders, under orders from President Barack Obama to crack down on cost overruns and waste in weapons programs, will meet early on Wednesday to discuss possible cuts, according to a source who works closely with officials involved in the meeting.