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

Aircraft Procurement Soars in FY19 Defense Bill

by Shaun McDougall, Military Markets AnalystForecast International.

Three F-35As and an F-35C fly over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Source: Lockheed Martin

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.

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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

Mosul Offensive a Test for Iraqi Forces

by Derek Bisaccio, Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) in Baghdad, October 22, 2016. Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (R) meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (L) in Baghdad, October 22, 2016. Source: U.S. Department of Defense

Early on October 17, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced that the much-anticipated operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State had finally begun. “The hour has come and the moment of great victory is near,” he declared on national TV, thereby setting off the offensive that Iraq’s military and allied militias – backed by international airpower – have been preparing for ever since I.S. forces swept into Mosul over two years ago. Continue reading

Russia Reportedly Upgrading S-300 Defense Missiles for Iran

By Nicole Auger, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

S-300 air defense missile system

S-300 air defense missile system

Shortly after the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and France – plus Germany) was announced, reports regarding the ongoing S-300 air defense system sale between Iran and Russia were put into question. Continue reading