Posts Tagged: Pentagon

FAA Cleared for Takeoff

The U.S. Senate is expected to approve a bill this morning written by the House that will resume operations at the Federal Aviation Administration — at least until Sep. 16, reports the New York Times’ Edward Wyatt. At issue in the FAA’s shutdown is a Congressional dispute over whether the agency should give subsidies so rural airports get commercial airline service. The broader issue is Congress’s astonishing indifference about a functioning federal agency. (more…)

Oshkosh, Wisconsin loves the Afghanistan war

Here is the (relatively) positive side of a Pentagon budget that has doubled in the last ten years. Oshkosh Corp. of Oshkosh, Wisconsin just won a $3 billion Army contract to build 23,000 of something called Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, or FMTVs, reports Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (more…)

Turbulence for Boeing

It has already been a rough year for Boeing due to the Great Recession and a Pentagon “efficiency drive” that may threaten some of the Chicago-based company’s defense contracts. Now the World Trade Organization has ruled, according to European Union officials, that Boeing got more than $10 billion in illegal assistance from both the Pentagon and NASA for research and development of aircraft. Also, Boeing received illegal aid from the state governments of Illinois, Washington, and Kansas, reports Jonathan Sterns, Jennifer M. Freedman, and Andrea Rotham of Bloomberg News.

The news is “according to EU officials” because the WTO ruling is not released to the public until next year. (more…)

A relatively leaner Boeing, thanks to the Pentagon

Boeing HQ in Chicago

Chicago-based Boeing says it will cut costs, including possible layoffs, in order to adhere with a Dept. of Defense plan to reduce overhead expenses among military contractors. Last month Obama administration officials met with military contractor executives to let them know the Pentagon plans to trim $10-12 billion per year from its contracting budgets. More streamlined contracting is (more…)

Earmarks and the F-35

A House plan to eliminate earmarks that largely benefit military contractors has made headlines the past couple of days. But these earmarked projects make up only $1.7 billion of the federal budget. The Washington Post’s Dana Hedgpeth reports on a much bigger instance of government waste:

Michael Sullivan, the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s top analyst on Lockheed Martin’s jet fighter, also known as the F-35 Lightning II, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing that the cost of the program has increased substantially and that development is 2 1/2 years behind schedule. (more…)

The Death Knell of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?

The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock and Greg Jaffe have a helpful report on Senate Armed Services Committee testimony provided yesterday by Defense Sec. Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Gates and Mullen both said they supported an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the policy.

I criticized Barack Obama for not pushing to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” his first year in office. What Obama has done here, though, is win the support of military leaders — something that Bill Clinton was painfully unable to accomplish when that president pushed to end discrimination against homosexuals in the military. Maybe Obama needed to wait to get Gates and Mullen to publicly support a repeal before he advocated for a repeal.

However, even if the White House has made the right moves, a repeal requires the Senate passing legislation. Given the Senate’s track record in the Obama administration of delay and uniform Republican opposition, the president should first issue an executive order putting a moratorium on the discharge of gays from the military.

Robert Gates’ Radical Idea To Get The Pentagon and Foggy Bottom To Cooperate

The Washington Post’s Mary Beth Sheridan and Greg Jaffe reports that Defense Sec. Robert Gates wants to merge together the Pentagon and State Departments responsibilities for nation-building in failing states like Somalia and Yemen:

The proposal would concentrate existing and new money in three long-term funds totaling as much as $2 billion. They would be dedicated to training security forces, preventing conflicts and stabilizing violence-torn societies around the world. The funds would exist separately from the war budgets, and allow for quicker and better-coordinated response to looming or actual conflicts, officials said.

In a memo to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gates noted that the huge increase in Pentagon funding for stabilization efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan has prompted complaints about the militarization of U.S. foreign policy.

The proposal “sets forth a new approach that could transcend these debates. It argues for a new model of shared responsibility and pooled resources for cross-cutting security challenges,” Gates wrote in the unclassified Dec. 15 memo, which was obtained by The Washington Post.

It is hard to see, though, how a $2 billion program can transcend any national security debate. (more…)

Can The Fort Hood Massacre Lead To National Security Reforms?

The Washington Post’s Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson report that White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan will review what federal agencies could have done to prevent the Ford Hood massacre. The FBI and Pentagon are faulted for not sharing sketchy e-mails with military personnel that were sent by Nidal M. Hasan, who is the alleged murderer of thirteen people. But it’s unclear if there are actionable lessons to be learned from the massacre. What we know so far mostly leads to the evergreen problem of national security agencies poorly communicating with one another.

Fallout From Obama’s Guantanamo Policy

Interesting little nugget here: The New York Times’ Elizabeth Bumiller reports that Phillip Carter, the Pentagon’s deputy asst. secretary for detainee issues, resigned last Friday after only seven months on the job. Several Obama appointees have yet to even be confirmed by the Senate, yet Carter is out. His resignation bolsters the case made when Gregory Craig resigned as White House Counsel — that the Obama administration thinkgs it made a crucial mistake in imposing a deadline to close Guantanamo Jan 20. 2010.

We Have the Successor to the Navy’s $600 Toilet Seat!

Walter Pincus of the Washington Post knows how to find the nitty gritty that uncovers the big picture.  Here he picks up on a new report by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction that uncovers (drum roll, please) . . . the $20 washer!   Aecom Inc. of Los Angeles charged the Pentagon $196.50 for a set of 10 washers that should have been priced at $1.22.  It’s not as great an image as theoverpriced toilet seat, but what a great markup for Aecom!  That’s a margin of at least $19.40 per washer!  And according to an inspector general spokesman, contrary to what Aecom claims, “they’ve never reimbursed the government for the washers.”