The Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following Tuesday’s midterm elections, setting the stage for what could be a prolonged battle over defense spending and policy. The Pentagon’s topline was already facing cuts recently announced by the Trump administration, but the change in power in the House will give Democrats momentum as they push for increased domestic spending.
With deterrence against a Russian incursion along its Baltic flank a paramount strategic concern of NATO, military mobility has emerged as a key Alliance focus over the past several years. Issues related to rail and roadway sovereignty across national borders, diplomatic notices, environmental concerns, bridge and tunnel heights, railcar and custom regulations, plus others, all combine to slow down west-to-east military resupply and reinforcement capabilities.[i] Continue reading
By Matthew Beres and Dan Darling, Forecast International.
Welcome to the Forecast Roundtable Podcast. Forecast Roundtable brings together expert analysts, industry professionals, and government officials to discuss the latest issues in the aerospace and defense markets. Produced at the Forecast International headquarters, Forecast Roundtable offers unique and in depth insight and discussion on any range of topics from geopolitics to aerospace and defense markets.
This episode features Daniel Darling, Jim Head, and Derek Bisaccio on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and how his death impacts Saudi Arabia’s arms imports. Continue reading
President Donald Trump has called on department secretaries to deliver 5 percent cuts for their upcoming FY20 budget requests, opening the door for a potential decline in defense spending. At the same time, Trump said the defense budget would “probably” total $700 billion in FY20. Initially, it was unclear if this $700 billion figure applied only to the Pentagon, or to the total national security budget, which also includes programs and agencies outside of the U.S. Department of Defense, such as nuclear programs within the Department of Energy. Continue reading
The news of the disappearance and killing of The Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi has put a spotlight on the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially the close security ties between the two countries. President Donald Trump remains reluctant to address arms sales in response to the crisis. He has contended that terminating those sales would hurt the U.S. economy.[i] Congress, however, is not buying the president’s argument and may seek to force his hand, if nothing else by seeking to delay or slow down the approval process for weapons.[ii] Continue reading
The British Ministry of Defence has launched exclusive negotiations with Boeing regarding a potential buy of Wedgetail E-7 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed on October 2 that discussions with the U.S. manufacturer are underway, though exactly how many aircraft and at what cost are still yet to be outlined. Continue reading
Aircraft programs won big in the FY19 defense appropriations bill, which was released by Congress in September. Lawmakers bolstered the major service aircraft accounts by a combined $2.5 billion in the bill, which includes an additional $1.2 billion for the Navy, $841.8 million for the Air Force, and $500.6 million for the Army. Most of the major changes made to the aircraft coffers stemmed from the House Appropriations Committee markup, which originally called for an additional $2.4 billion in aircraft funding. The Senate markup added $1.7 billion for aircraft, but the Army would have actually lost nearly half a billion dollars under the Senate bill.
The U.S. Air Force is finally getting a new helicopter to replace its aging UH-1N Huey fleet. The venerable Huey will be replaced by the MH-139, a militarized version of the AW139, being built by a team of Boeing and Leonardo. The UH-1Ns primarily provide ballistic missile base security but also perform VIP transport and search-and-rescue operations. Continue reading
Earlier in September, a curious development took place in Spanish-Saudi bilateral relations. On September 4, Spain announced that it had terminated the sale of 400 precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia and would return a $10.6 million payment to the Gulf nation.[i] The announcement won praise from human rights agencies, but prompted head-scratching even within the Spanish government. Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat the day after the report emerged, the Spanish Consul to Saudi Arabia, Pablo Perez, said, “The Spanish embassy was surprised by these claims,” noting that “our ties with Saudi Arabia are fraternal and friendly.”[ii] Around a week later, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell announced a reversal, saying that the Spanish government “found no reason not to carry” the munition sale out.[iii] Continue reading
The U.S. Congress continues to push the Department of Defense to develop new missile defense technologies, but it remains to be seen if some of these efforts will come to fruition. In particular, the FY19 defense authorization bill recently signed into law calls for developing a new space-based missile defense layer and a boost phase intercept capability. Last year’s FY18 defense authorization bill also included provisions for space-based and boost phase missile defense, if consistent with the Ballistic Missile Defense Review. The new FY19 authorization bill essentially reworks those original provisions, and calls for the development of these technologies subject to the availability of appropriations. Continue reading