Pentagon Budget Faces Increased Pressure After Elections

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

Rep. Adam Smith has balked at developing a low-yield nuclear warhead, which would be mounted on a Trident missile. Source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ronald Gutridge

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.

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Forecast Roundtable – The Khashoggi Murder and its Effects on Saudi-U.S.-Turkey Relations

 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

Trump Opens the Door to Defense Spending Cuts as Sequestration Looms

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

An F-35 Flies Alongside an F-16. Source: U.S. Air Force

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

Examining U.S. Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo departs from King Salman Air Base on October 17. He is accompanied by the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid bin Salman. Photo: Ron Przysucha / U.S. Department of State

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

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

President Trump Touts an Air Traffic Control System that Is Similar to Canada’s

by Greg Giaquinto, Electronic Systems Analyst, Forecast International.

Air Traffic Control Radar. Source: Pixnio

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to relinquish America’s air traffic control (ATC) system to a private, nonprofit entity with its own board comprising airlines, unions, airports, and federal officials, according to Wired.  In essence, Mr. Trump wants to privatize ATC to look something like a corporation.  This would be similar to Canada’s ATC system.  Continue reading

Andrés Manuel López Obrador Wins Presidency in Mexico

by Bill Ostrove, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

Andrés Manuel López Obrador won a resounding victory in Mexico’s presidential elections held on June 30.  With about two-thirds of the vote counted, López Obrador has over 20 million votes, or about 53.3 percent of the total. His next closest competitor, Ricardo Anaya Cortés, has only 22.5 percent, while José Antonio Meade Kuribreña of the ruling PRI Party has only 16 percent. 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

Merkel’s Comments Bring Germany’s Defense Budget Clash Under the Microscope

by Dan Darling, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Following the move by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 8 to declare that the United States would withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Iran nuclear deal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated – for the second time in a year – that Europe can no longer count on the United States for its protection.  Continue reading

President Trump Nears Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal

by Derek Bisaccio, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

White House briefing on situation in Syria in April 2018, ahead of President Trump’s decision to conduct missile strikes on Syrian government positions. Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead.

Toward the end of April, French President Emmanuel Macron made a three-day state visit to the United States to meet with his American counterpart, President Donald Trump, to discuss in particular the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal. The French president, who enjoys a productive relationship with President Trump, sought to urge his American counterpart to remain in the deal. Continue reading