Trump Administration Moves Space Force Plans Forward

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Space Force logo designs were released by the Trump campaign to supporters for a vote. Source: Trump campaign

With a speech by Vice President Mike Pence, along with an interim report issued by the Pentagon, the U.S. government has begun laying out its plan to create a Space Force as a branch of the U.S. military. The plans will shake up an organization that has managed the launch of 116 satellites over the past eight years. Continue reading

Thales Gains Back Market Share with New Radio Contract

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Thales AN/PRC-14 8 C
IMBITR radio. Source: Thales

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

Joint Tactical Networking Center: Making Software Radios Interoperable, Secure, and Affordable

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

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

Congress Releases FY19 Defense Policy Bill

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conduct strike group operations.
Source: U.S. Navy

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.

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The U.S. Defense Budget: Balancing Need Against Cost

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

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

Top 100 Federal Contractors FY2017

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

F-35B & F-35C in formation. Photo: Lockheed Martin

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

Trump Calls for Space Force

by Bill Ostrove, Space Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

In a move designed to disrupt the military space establishment, President Donald Trump called for the creation of the Space Force as a “separate but equal” branch of the U.S. military. While Trump has mentioned the creation of a Space Force previously, the June 18, 2018, announcement came as a surprise. The Department of Defense and the White House both opposed earlier congressional plans to separate space operations from the rest of the Air Force. Continue reading

Top Contractors Hold Their Positions as Defense Spending Begins to Rise

by Richard Pettibone, Aerospace & Defense Companies Analyst, Forecast International.

F-35A Weapons Carriage (Lockheed Martin Photo by Matt Short)

As defense markets continue to adapt to dynamic economic and political forces, the major players continue to hold their entrenched positions.

Regional turmoil in parts of the Middle East, Europe and Asia continue to drive the need for more spending. Further, international sales for many firms are set to expand, driven by fear over the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), a more bellicose Russia, and regional pressures from China and North Korea. Continue reading