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.
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
On July 30, the Japanese Ministry of Defense announced that it had decided to procure Lockheed Martin’s radar over rival Raytheon’s to equip two AEGIS Ashore installations. AEGIS Ashore is a U.S. military technology for land-based ballistic missile defense and early warning derived from a long-standing naval AEGIS program. Continue reading
Thales has been awarded a $37 million contract from the U.S. Army to equip the new rapidly deployable security force assistance brigades (SFABs) with the PRC-148C Improved Multiband Inter-Intra Team Radio (IMBITR), establishing it as the first dual-channel, certified networking radio to enhance communications at the tactical edge, providing interoperability for joint and coalition forces. Continue reading
The Joint Tactical Networking Center (JTNC) was created following the cancellation of the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) program. The U.S. Department of Defense needed an entity to store the software communications waveforms developed under the JTRS program, and consequently established the JTNC. Continue reading
U.S. House and Senate lawmakers completed the conference markup of the FY19 defense authorization bill on July 23. The defense policy bill adheres to the spending levels agreed upon in the bipartisan budget act, providing a defense base budget of $639.1 billion. That figure comprises $616.9 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Defense, $21.9 billion for nuclear programs in the Department of Energy, and around $300 million for defense-related activities outside the DoD. Another $69 billion is provided for Overseas Contingency Operations, for a total of $708.1 billion in discretionary defense spending. When including $8.9 billion in mandatory spending, the FY19 topline authorized in the legislation totals $717 billion. The separate congressional appropriations process will finalize how much money the military actually has available to spend in FY19.
According to The Guardian, President Donald Trump’s call for a major boost in U.S. military spending has been met with an uproar from opponents warning that such a policy would waste millions of taxpayer dollars. To lend perspective on the issue, in fiscal year 2015, military spending in the United States accounted for 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. Right now the U.S. military has the ability to fight just under two world wars simultaneously. The International Institute for Strategic Studies says the U.S. accounts for more than a third of the world’s military spending. Continue reading
The General Services Administration’s U.S. Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation released its annual Top 100 Federal Contractors report – Fiscal Year 2017. The top 100 federal contractors accounted for $283 billion of the obligated dollars, up 8 percent compared to $262 billion in FY16. Lockheed Martin remains the dominant contractor with $50.7 billion (almost 10% of the obligated total), followed by Boeing with $23.4 billion (4.6% of the obligated total). Continue reading
The Philippines Department of National Defense (DoND) confirmed on June 20 that the second phase of the most recent 15-year, three-phase Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Act has received approval from President Rodrigo Duterte. Continue reading
The historic meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim
Jong-un in Singapore resulted in the signing of a joint statement that carries significant implications for relations between the two countries, and for U.S. military relations in the region. The statement is big on ambition but short on details. Most significantly, Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the statement reads. The two leaders also committed to establishing new diplomatic relations, while Trump committed to providing security guarantees to North Korea. Continue reading