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Special Ops Office Needs To Grow; Meet Adm. McRaven’s Favorite Pundit, Linda Robinson

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: When Linda Robinson speaks, special operators listen. The “silent professionals” are — for good reason — traditionally tight-lipped. The chief of Special Operations Command, Adm. William McRaven, proved that again today during a panel at the Wilson Center, giving eloquent non-answers to questions about what might transpire in Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen. But McRaven… Keep reading →

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Syria, North Korea, China & Beyond: Does Army’s Future Lie In ‘Messy Middle’?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: What does America need an army for, anyway? The question has bedeviled policymakers since the Founding Fathers, who wrote their distrust of large ground forces into the Constitution. The question returns as budgets come back down after every land war. This time around, the Army leadership has not given the country a clear answer,… Keep reading →

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Navy’s Ray Mabus: ‘Sequestration Looms Over Everything’ On Shipbuilding

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: Sequestration is not the Navy’s only shipbuilding problem. In the near term, the automatic cuts to the 2013 budget are bedeviling efforts to save money by buying ships in bulk. Negotiators are racing the clock to salvage a multi-year procurement contract to buy 10 DDG-51 Aegis destroyers for the price of nine; Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters today he was “optimistic.”

In the longer term, however, after the 10-year, $500 billion cut in defense spending required by sequestration, the Navy has dug a different hole for itself. The service has crafted a 30-year shipbuilding plan that requires massive increases in funding to levels that the Navy’s acquisition chief Sean Stackley admitted to Congress had not been seen since the Reagan build-up.

“Can you present… a scintilla of evidence” that the 30-year plan can be funded, an exasperated Rep. Randy Forbes, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s panel on seapower, asked during a hearing this morning. 

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Special Operations: What New Powers They Need From Congress & Pentagon

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: America’s commandos have been darlings of the Congress, Pentagon, and the media since 9/11. Now, as Special Operations Forces reorient from Iraq and Afghanistan to lower-profile missions worldwide in places like Mali, they will need new sources of funding and new legal authorities — changes that may rub both Congress and the four armed… Keep reading →

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2014 Budget: Three Reasons Why Pentagon’s Request Is Irrelevant

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


[updated 2:30 pm with Hagel, Hale, & Ramsey briefings; Republican responses; and Sharp analysis] PENTAGON: “NOTE: These program descriptions and dollar values do not reflect potential sequester impacts.” That disclaimer — in boldface italic type and a different color of ink, just to make sure you can’t possibly miss it — blazes across the top… Keep reading →

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Sec. Chuck Hagel Lays Groundwork For Cooperation With China, Reducing Military Pay & Benefits Growth

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: In his first major address as Secretary of Defense, former Senator Chuck Hagel paid homage to the usual pieties — but he also, very cautiously, laid the groundwork for two unpopular policies: seeking greater cooperation with China, including controversial “mil-to-mil” exchanges of military officers; and controlling the costs of pay and benefits for military… Keep reading →

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Air Force Maj. Gen. Kane Proposes Shake-up Of How Service Budgets, Buys And Plans

Posted by Colin Clark on


Senior Air Force leaders are likely to test a new decision model proposed in a very interesting paper co-authored by an Air Force major general and a lieutenant colonel. The real power of the paper lies in the technical model it presents to help the Air Force (and presumably other services) better balance risk, capabilities,… Keep reading →

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Gen. Hoss Cartwright Talks Immigration, Cyber, China & Afghans With iPhones

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: The cheerfully controversial James “Hoss” Cartwright, retired vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke Friday in an intimate and academic setting that allowed the retired Marine Corps fighter pilot to muse aloud about subjects from the Civil War to quantum computing, from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (he’s a skeptic) to aircraft carriers… Keep reading →

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Army Issues RFP For $6 Billion M113 Replacement: Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle Program

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: After 53 years in service, the Army’s M113 armored transport might finally get replaced. Last night, the Michigan-based Tank-Automotive Command (TACOM) issued a draft Request For Proposals for a new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle. The final RFP is expected in June and the contract award in mid-2014. Variants of the General Dynamics Stryker and the… Keep reading →

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How To Cut The Defense Budget Without Killing The Force

Posted by Loren Thompson on


The House passed the second Continuing Resolution of the year today, avoiding the direst scenario that had haunted many in American defense circles. But the CR’s passage does not mean anyone has avoided sequestration, as the mandatory budget cuts are known. And cutting $50 billion a year from the Pentagon budget for the next 10… Keep reading →

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