Congress, by refusing to allow the Defense Department to cut aging weapon systems and enact compensation reform in fiscal year 2015, has put the Pentagon in a $70 billion budget hole as it contemplates the FY-16 budget submission, according to Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, who sees DOD's embattled overseas contingency operations fund as a way to address the situation.
Work, who spoke Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said Congress should allow the Pentagon to indefinitely continue using its OCO budget to address America's global security responsibilities amid the onset of sequestration and the political unwillingness to allow DOD to put its fiscal house in order. He likened the current budgetary relationship between DOD and Congress as something out of "La La Land."
"If you add up all the things where Congress told us 'no' after we submitted our budget, it's $31 billion [worth of] no's," Work said. "No, you can't get rid of the A-10; no, you can't get rid of the U-2. No, you can't get rid of those cruisers; no, no, no, no, no. And then, no, you can't do compensation reform and that's another $11 billion to $39 billion."
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus met with reporters this morning:
Navy operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have cost less than $100 million so far, according to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.
The cumulative cost of the strikes includes 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles that were launched against ISIL targets in Syria as well as the incremental costs accumulated to the carrier George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), which was already stationed in the northern Arabian Gulf, Mabus said during a Sept. 30 Defense Writers Group breakfast in Washington.
The Tomahawks and the ordnance dropped by naval aircraft makes up the vast majority of the cost, Mabus said. Naval Air Systems Command currently estimates the price tag of one Tomahawk at $1.14 million, a Navy spokeswoman wrote in a Sept. 24 email to Inside the Navy.
Related ISIL news from yesterday:
As the Air Force continues to play a key role in the ongoing air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, U.S. Central Command is relying, in part, on partner nations to provide ground-based targeting information that it can then feed through its Joint Terminal Air Controllers and integrate with surveillance data gathered from its own airborne platforms.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, the Air Force's assistant deputy chief of operations, plans and requirements, told reporters during a Sept. 29 Pentagon briefing that the service is using multiple intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets to make targeting decisions, and is in many cases merging its own intelligence with that of partner nations with troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria. U.S. JTAC personnel then validate that data before taking action.
"Particularly when we're working with Iraqi security forces, we're determining -- via Iraqi security forces in this example -- where their location is and feeding that back to the operations center where we have a JTAC validate that to ensure that we are appropriately targeting," Harrigian said. "As you look to where we've been targeting in Syria, we've been leveraging overhead assets and ISR to determine we have the appropriate target and then target it with necessary weapons to gain the effectiveness we're looking for."
Global Hawk news:
Global Hawk prime contractor Northrop Grumman has provided the Air Force with the initial results of a congressionally mandated study that looks at options for employing U-2 spy plane sensor payloads on the remotely piloted RQ-4B Global Hawk.
Based on those early results, the company reaffirmed its long-standing position that Global Hawk could carry the Optical Bar Camera (OBC) and Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) after some air vehicle and software modifications and says it is negotiating with the Air Force to demonstrate the design.
The sensors are used for national security surveillance and treaty verification missions on the manned U-2 aircraft but are not compatible with the Global Hawk in its current configuration.
Inside the Navy's coverage of last week's Modern Day Marine expo:
The recently passed congressional continuing resolution will not have an impact on the multibillion-dollar Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar program and the Marine Corps anticipates an imminent request for proposals release for the program's Block 2.
William Taylor, program executive officer for land systems, told Inside the Navy Sept. 25 after his presentation at the annual Modern Day Marine conference at Marine Corps Base Quantico VA, that G/ATOR would have its last program review Sept. 26 with the Navy's acquisition chief.
The meeting would determine if the Marines can release an RFP for Block 2 of the G/ATOR program, he continued.
The Marine Corps and the Office of Naval Research have extended their request for information to solicit ideas from industry for technologies and concepts that will enhance the transfer of Marines and their combat equipment from ships to the beach, service officials said last week.
ONR on June 6 issued an RFI to solicit new approaches that could be immediately implemented as well as proposals for "connectors-after-next capabilities." The original deadline for proposals was Aug. 29, but the Marines and ONR recently extended the due date to Nov. 29.
The RFI was extended in order to best take advantage of huge volumes of ideas that are "hiding in plain sight," James Strock, director of the Marine Corps' seabasing integration division, told Inside the Navy after a Sept. 24 roundtable at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA.
The Marines are emphasizing the importance of seabasing to the future of the service with a reorganization that will elevate the seabasing integration division to a stand-alone unit within the service's requirements arm.
The Marine Corps plans to release its first draft request for proposals for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle Increment 1.1 program in October and a second iteration of the document in February, according to a service official.
Helicopter news from ITN's front page:
The Navy recently told the House Armed Services Committee that it has not identified funding to upgrade the last of the legacy AH-1Z attack helicopters with the newest engines, according to a congressional source.
The Marine Corps plans to procure 189 AH-1Z aircraft, but 36 of those will not be upgraded with the latest T700-401C engine configuration, Navy spokesman Billy Ray Brown confirmed in a Sept. 26 email to Inside the Navy.
The Navy's FY-15 budget request contained $45 million for H-1 upgrades, but included no funding to upgrade the AH-1Z's legacy T700-401 engine to the newer T700-401C configuration, the House committee noted in its mark up of the FY-15 defense authorization bill. The House passed the legislation May 22.
News from Inside Cybersecurity:
A White House official's call for the U.S. military, agencies and industry to boost accountability for cybersecurity has after a month elicited only a terse comment from the Defense Department, but the Pentagon is taking initial steps to address the thorny problem, according to documents and a former DOD policy chief.
Eric Greenwald, the White House's senior director for cybersecurity -- and a former deputy director for operations in U.S. Cyber Command -- urged greater accountability in an Aug. 22 speech. The military's "enforcement pattern is not as consistent as it needs to be for a lot of commanders to be able to understand what the consequences are going to be for data breach," he said.
If a base commander were "informed that he had a truck-sized hole in the chain link fence surrounding the perimeter of the base and was informed about this and told that this represents a risk, and then didn't do anything about it, and a few days later several trucks went missing from the motor pool, that commander would be relieved of command and possibly dismissed from the military," he said.
-- John Liang