Last week began with the U.S. Army refusing to release the complete list of 41 projects it wants to cancel and 39 projects it wants to delay. The cuts, according to top officials and budget documents, would save the service $2.4 billion in fiscal 2021.
But only Congress would get the list, Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, Army budget director, declared on Tuesday.
While $2.5 billion is just a drop in the Pentagon’s $741 billion proposal, it’s still a lot of money to the people and companies who work on those projects.
So at a Thursday briefing, reporters pressed Army officials, who coughed up a “top 10” list of programs to be cut or eliminated. Not good enough.
At a Friday luncheon, National Press Club President Michael Freedman asked Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy why the Army would not account for the remaining 60 projects that would be cut or delayed.
“We’ll get ‘em today,” McCarthy replied.
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From Defense One
Trump Targets Major Weapons Projects To Fund Wall // Katie Bo Williams and Marcus Weisgerber
The funds will be drawn mainly from procurement for major programs like the F-35 fighter jet. $1.3 billion will come from the National Guard alone.
Judge Puts Pentagon’s Giant JEDI Cloud Contract On Hold // Patrick Tucker
The up-to-$10 billion cloud contract is enjoined until “further notice from the court” while Amazon pursues a lawsuit.
Esper Says White House ‘Never’ Pressured Him on JEDI // Kevin Baron
Denying claims that Trump meddled, Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he alone chose to review the $10 billion cloud contract.
Nothing’s ‘Irreversible,’ But the Pentagon’s New Bureaucracies Aim to Come Close // Marcus Weisgerber
As budget hearing season gets underway, expect to hear a lot about “irreversible implementation” of changes toward great power competition.
Report: Grumman, Navy Knew Chemicals Were Contaminating Drinking Water
That’s what Newsday found after examining thousands of pages of confidential documents related to Grumman’s decades of dumping metal degreaser trichloroethylene and other chemicals at its famed factory in Bethpage, New York, that built the Apollo lunar module and military warplanes: “Grumman, the Bethpage aerospace giant, knew as far back as the mid-1970s that its toxic chemicals were contaminating area groundwater, but it kept secret crucial information that could have helped stop what is now Long Island’s most intractable environmental crisis, a Newsday investigation found. On numerous occasions, particularly during a critical 15-year period, the company made public statements that directly contradicted the alarming evidence it held, as it avoided culpability and millions in costs.”
The town, New York state, U.S. Navy, and Northrop Grumman have spent years fighting over the scale and cost of cleaning up what’s known as “the plume” of chemicals under Long Island. The state says it will take 110 years to get rid of the contaminants, starting with a 30-year, $585 million effort.
Debris Found in Fuel Tanks of New 737 Max Aircraft
Sound familiar? Similar quality control issues that have plagued the Boeing-made KC-46 tanker and 787 Dreamliner have now popped up on grounded 737 Max airliners that are being stored until regulators approve the planemaker’s fixes to the computer systems believed to have caused two deadly crashes. It’s been nearly one year since Will Roper charged that Boeing had assembly line culture problems that were leading to trash, parts and tools — known as foreign object debris — being left inside the planes it built.
Sikorsky, Boeing Show Off New Helicopter
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill, were in Florida this morning to see the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant that’s competing against Bell’s V-280 Valor to replace the Black Hawk. Here’s some video from Defense News’ Jen Judson. Last month, McCarthy saw the V-280 fly autonomously.
Bombardier Will Not Sell Bizjet Division to Textron
The Canadian company had been in talks with the Cessna-maker, but they have ended, after Bombardier finalized a deal to sell its trainmaking business to Alstom and commercial jet business to Airbus, the Wall Street Journal reports.
First Flight for Gulfstream Jet
The new Gulfstream G700, a plane unveiled in October, flew for the first time on Feb. 14. The plane is expected to have a 7,500 range, among the longest for a business jet. As we pointed out when the plane was announced, militaries around the world use modified Gulfstream jets for intelligence, and regular ones for VIP transport.
Blue Origin Opens Engine Factory
Naturally, it’s in Huntsville, Alabama, better known as The Rocket City. That factory will build the company’s BE-4 and BE-3U engines. Both engines will be used on Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket. The BE-4 will also be used on United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket.
Colorado Springs Spending $350K Lobbying For Space Command
Peterson Air Force Base was home to Air Force Space Command and it’s the current home of U.S. Space Command, something local officials don’t want to change, The Gazette reports. The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC plans to “spend $350,000 on a public relations campaign managed by a Washington, D.C., PR firm, a New York economic development consultant and a Washington, D.C., political advisory firm. The goal: to convince Trump and his advisers that Colorado is the ideal location for the permanent home of the newly relaunched command.”
NHL, USAFA Botch Hockey Game
They’re calling it the Fyre Festival of sports, a play on the luxury Bahamas concert that turned out to be a sham. Clearly, not something you want to be compared to. On Saturday, the NHL held its latest outdoor game at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs. It was the second time the NHL held a game at a service academy (the Washington Capitals played the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Naval Academy in 2018). This year, the Colorado Avalanche, who regularly play in Denver, faced off against Los Angeles Kings. There was an F-16 Thunderbird parked behind one of the goals and a runway theme around the rink. Here’s a picture. Only problem, the NHL and AFA were completely unprepared to handle the 43,000-plus fans, many of whom did not make it to their seats until well into the second period because traffic was so bad in and out of the campus, which is a military installation. The concession lines were ridiculous. One fan died after falling from a bridge. I highly suggest reading this Woody Paige piece if you want a better account of this nightmare. Oh, and the Air Force blamed the fans for not arriving early enough. Hey Air Force, the No. 1 rule in sports is Don’t Blame the Fans.
- Former deputy director of national intelligence Sue Gordon will join Duke University as a Rubenstein Fellow in August 2020. She will teach political science and public policy courses.
- Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman has been selected to become the first senior enlisted advisor to Gen. Jay Raymond, the U.S. Space Force chief of space operations.
- Former Raytheon executive Todd Probert has been named president of CAE’s Defence & Security business.
- Lockheed Martin has appointed Greg Karol senior vice president of Human Resources effective March 2.
- Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, and Joseph Grogan, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, have been named members of the National Space Council.