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May 25, 2000

May 25, 2000 -- Stepping forward to support the Army's plan to transition from a heavy, mechanized Cold War force to a lighter, quicker one and ensure it stays on track in succeeding budgets, House lawmakers today approved legislation designed to prohibit the use of dollars budgeted for the plan for other Army programs.

The House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote a $288.6 billion fiscal year 2001 defense bill that adds $4 billion to the Clinton administration's request. The committee did not consider any amendments to the defense bill during today's mark-up.

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May 25, 2000 -- A senior House lawmaker yesterday called on the president to refrain from agreeing to cut strategic offensive weapons below 2,500 warheads at the U.S.-Russia summit early next month. Any rash agreements, House Armed Services military research and development subcommittee Chairman Curt Weldon (R-PA) warned, could have grave consequences for U.S. national security.

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May 24, 2000

May 24, 2000 -- The House Appropriations defense subcommittee wants to kill the Discoverer II satellite program because there is no firm requirement for the platform and development costs could shoot well past $1 billion, according to the panel's fiscal year 2001 defense-spending bill.

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May 24, 2000 -- Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) today foreshadowed what may be a bitter fight on the Senate floor over language in the Senate's fiscal year 2001 defense authorization bill that restricts the energy secretary from making any organizational changes to the newly created National Nuclear Security Administration. During a nomination hearing for Air Force Gen. John Gordon, Levin said the language "is an unprecedented restriction on an agency administrator," and pointed out that the language is not yet law.

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May 24, 2000 -- The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence says the military's human intelligence capabilities are "acceptable" and continuing to improve, but a number of hurdles must be cleared before the five-year old Defense HUMINT Service (DHS) becomes a fully established organization.

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May 24, 2000 -- Testing of a laser weapon designed for Israeli border protection against short-range rockets has been slowed because of a problem with a tacking system mirror, according to Army sources and documents.

A crucial test of the system against a live rocket will be delayed several weeks, these sources say.

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May 23, 2000

May 23, 2000 -- House and Senate leaders are considering several ways to reach agreement on the Clinton administration's $7.6 billion fiscal year 2000 Kosovo supplemental request, now that the Senate has split the money among three separate spending bills. The House added the money to its FY-01 military construction bill but the Senate used three bills -- military construction, agriculture and foreign operations -- as vehicles to attach the emergency funds that will go toward Kosovo operations, fighting the drug war in Colombia and repairing damages caused by Hurricane Mitch.

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May 22, 2000

May 22, 2000 -- Two new precision weapons have been certified for use on the F-16 Falcon, further enhancing the aircraft's ability to perform precision strike missions. prime contractor Lockheed Martin announced late last week.

The new weapons are the Wind-Corrected Munitions Dispenser and the GBU-27, a 2,000-pound "bunker buster."

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May 22, 2000 -- A plan suggested by the House and Senate that allows the Army to enter into multiyear contracts for two helicopters and an armored fighting vehicle will reap nearly $200 million in savings for the service, according to a May 12 estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.

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May 19, 2000

May 19, 2000 -- Concerned the National Security Agency will be unable to modernize its antiquated signals intelligence infrastructure without rigorous oversight from outside observers, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence wants the director of central intelligence to develop "a plan for review, approval, and continued monitoring of NSA's integrated modernization program," according to the panel's fiscal year 2001 intelligence authorization report.

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May 18, 2000

May 18, 2000 -- The House Armed Services Committee, concerned the Defense Department's attempt to bolster the ejection-seat industrial base is favoring one company over another, is refusing to provide the nearly $11 million requested by DOD in its fiscal year 2001 budget for an ejection-seat development effort.

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May 18, 2000 -- The Air Force's Electronic Systems Center has awarded a $26 million initial production order to Raytheon to build the first 11 Digital Airport Surveillance Radars, the company announced yesterday.

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May 18, 2000 -- The Pentagon should forget about any plans to split the Joint Strike Fighter production contract between competitors Boeing and Lockheed Martin and instead focus on choosing the best design for the potentially $300 billion program, the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee said today.

"It may be that there is an ability to subcontract (JSF work), but that will be the winner's decision, not the government's," Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) told InsideDefense.com.

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May 17, 2000

May 17, 2000 -- The Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee has created an airlift fund to protect the C-17 program against raids for money to pay for tactical fighter programs, Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-AK) said today.

The subcommittee marked up a $287.6 billion fiscal year 2001 spending bill this morning. The bill includes $3 billion above President Clinton's FY-01 defense request and $1 billion less than the House appropriators' mark.

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May 16, 2000

May 16, 2000 -- Adm. Vernon Clark, President Clinton's nominee to be the next chief of naval operations, said today he will launch a new force-level study to determine exactly how large the Navy fleet should be if he is confirmed for the job. "I don't think we have enough ships," Clark told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing.

Clark, the commander-in-chief of U.S. Atlantic Fleet, will become the 27th chief of naval operations if the Senate confirms him.

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May 16, 2000 -- Defense Secretary William Cohen has picked Maj. Gen. Robert Noonan to replace outgoing Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, the Pentagon announced today.

Cohen also announced several other key Army appointments, including a new deputy chief of staff for personnel, a new director of information systems for command, control, communications and computers, and a new three-star commander of the Eighth U.S. Army in Korea.

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May 16, 2000 -- The Meteor air-to-air missile, developed by Matra BAE Dynamics in London, has been selected as the missile of choice for the Royal Air Force's Eurofighters, beating out an upgraded version of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile offered by the Lexington, MA-based Raytheon.

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May 16, 2000 -- A five-man Air Force team will arrive in Sierra Leone tomorrow to inspect the country's main airport to see if it could handle more U.S. military air flights into the civil war-torn country, Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon said today. Bacon said the team would be on the ground at the airport outside of Freetown for about two days.

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May 16, 2000 -- Irked by media reports that not all of the military services are fully supportive of the Joint Strike Fighter program, Defense Secretary William Cohen told reporters today that JSF is just as important to the Navy and the Air Force as it is to the Marine Corps.

"This aircraft is important, not only to the Marine Corps; it is also equally important to the Air Force, which will depend for a very large number of the Joint Strike Fighter to fill its inventory in future years," Cohen said. "It is also equally important to the Navy."

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May 15, 2000

May 15, 2000 -- Defense Secretary William Cohen today described the political situations in Russia and China as long-term, major challenges the Defense Department will have to monitor as department officials decide how to structure U.S. forces in the future.

"Western thought" has not swept through Russia and China like it has throughout much of the world, leaving a variety of uncertainties, Cohen said in Washington, DC, at a conference sponsored by the Economic Strategy Institute.

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