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Daily News

September 06, 2001

Sept. 6, 2001 -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld today reiterated the Pentagon's need for "every nickel" of its $328 billion fiscal year 2002 defense budget.

"We need the money that's in that budget, and we need it with as few changes as is possible," Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon press conference. "We've spent time on it, and we have sent forward the bill that we feel together provides the kind of approach that we feel is appropriate for the year 2002, and we're going to be working our heads off trying to get it."

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Sept. 6, 2001 -- Lockheed Martin has completed the first phase of F-16 flight testing with conformal fuel tanks, the company announced today. The testing with an Air Force Falcon required a cooperative arrangement between the company and the service at Eglin Air Force Base, FL, which netted the government $3.3 million to cover expenses.

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Sept. 6, 2001 -- Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) is polishing a final draft proposal for a far-reaching relationship between the United States and Russia, he said today during a missile defense debate with Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME).

Weldon chairs the House Armed Services military readiness subcommittee and has been working on the document for about 45 days, he said. The National Defense University Foundation and National Defense Industrial Association sponsored the debate as part of their ongoing missile defense series held at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC.

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September 05, 2001

Sept. 5, 2001 -- A joint U.S.-Russian early warning center in Moscow could be up and running by late next year if recent negotiating progress ends an impasse over taxes and contract liability within a couple of months, according to a Defense Department official working the issue.

Russian refusal to exempt U.S. equipment imported for the center from Russian taxes "and other garbage" has slowed work on the Joint Data Exchange Center (JDEC) outside central Moscow, but recent talks have shown Russian willingness to resolve the issue, the Pentagon official said.

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Sept. 5, 2001 -- The Air Force has approved the preliminary design of the contractor team working on the Defense Department's next-generation protected satellite communications system, team leader Lockheed Martin announced today.

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Sept. 5, 2001 -- If preventative measures fail, the Pentagon must prepare to respond to attacks on its interests with the aid of a new warfighting strategy and a new way of sizing its forces, according to Rep. Ike Skelton (D-MO), the House Armed Services Committee's ranking member.

His recommendations would mean a larger military force than today's. Skelton also called for a larger defense topline and a greater share of discretionary spending to match the military's force structure with his strategy proposals.

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Sept. 5, 2001 -- A senior Pentagon official yesterday highlighted the administration's difficulties trying to persuade skeptical members of Congress and foreign countries that the way it views security issues is no longer framed in the Cold War-style mentality of arms control agreements.

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Sept. 5, 2001 -- Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI), chairman of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, told InsideDefense.com today he would seek a waiver to the fiscal year 2002 congressional budget resolution preventing spending that takes money from the government's Medicare surplus. Inouye said he needs the waiver to fully fund the Bush administration's request of $328 billion in FY-02 Pentagon spending.

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Sept. 5, 2001 -- The Defense Department and industry have failed to produce weapons for the military "faster, better and cheaper" because the Pentagon is buying more systems at once than it can afford, according to retired Air Force Gen. Larry Welch, president of the Institute for Defense Analyses.

Speaking today at the "ComDef 2001" conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Welch challenged the Pentagon and industry to curtail the number of programs the Defense Department buys simultaneously.

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September 04, 2001

Sept. 4, 2001 -- Senior administration officials have declined to give unconditional support to the embattled V-22 program in recent weeks, instead choosing to express support for the tiltrotor concept only and reserving judgment about the merits of the Osprey program itself until after engineering studies and other reviews are complete.

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Sept. 4, 2001 -- Air Force Col. Ronald Haeckel has been named the National Nuclear Security Administration's principal deputy administrator for defense programs, the agency announced today. Haeckel, slated for promotion to brigadier general, officially assumed the defense programs job this morning.

"In this position . . . Haeckel will be responsible for helping to ensure a secure and reliable stockpile of nuclear weapons and associated materials, capabilities, and technologies in a safe, environmentally sound, and cost-effective manner," according to the announcement.

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Sept. 4, 2001 -- U.S. military representatives will meet with Chinese officials in Guam later this month to discuss safety on the high seas and in international airspace to prevent future incidents like last spring's collision between an EP-3 reconnaissance airplane and a Chinese fighter aircraft, the Pentagon said today.

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Sept. 4, 2001 -- The Army's Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $50.8 million contract to provide systems technical support for the Abrams tank and Wolverine heavy assault bridge programs, the company announced today.

The work will run from August 2001 through July 2006, according to a GDLS statement. The initial contract covers basic services through June 2002.

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August 31, 2001

Aug. 31, 2001 -- The devices the Army uses to simulate the sounds, smoke and flash of cannon shells being fired or striking targets are not safe and should be replaced, according to a General Accounting Office report released this week.

"In brief, we found that the safety record for the Army's existing battle effects simulators includes more than 120 documented incidents of malfunctions, many of which resulted in injuries such as third-degree burns, loss of appendages, and lacerations," the Aug. 29 report states.

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Aug. 31, 2001 -- The Ballistic Missile Defense Organization has successfully test-launched for the first time the booster that will be used for the ground-based element of its midcourse national missile defense system, booster builder Boeing announced today.

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Aug. 31, 2001 -- A senior Pentagon official in charge of personnel retention today said today the Air Force's pilot shortage would not be resolved anytime soon and must therefore be worked around.

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August 30, 2001

Aug. 30, 2001 -- The Pentagon's top civilian official in charge of reserve affairs said today that DOD officials are exploring cheaper ways of establishing and maintaining civil support teams trained to deal with weapons of mass destruction attacks on the U.S. homeland.

Currently, the "initial start-up costs" are averaging $5 million per team, Craig Duehring, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, told reporters in a round-table discussion. Subsequent annual costs run at about $2.6 million per year, he added.

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Aug. 30, 2001 -- The Pentagon's senior reserve affairs official today highlighted the difficulty of conducting another round of base closures and the negative effects it would have on retaining National Guard and Reserve personnel assigned to bases slated for closure.

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August 29, 2001

Aug. 29, 2001 -- Navy Secretary Gordon England is balking at calls to reopen an investigation into the Israeli attack on the U.S. Navy surveillance ship Liberty (AGTR-5) that occurred off the Sinai coast on June 8, 1967. Survivors of the attack, however, say a full investigation is needed to uncover the truth about the incident.

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Aug. 29, 2001 -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Ryan said today the service continues to look for ways to reduce unneeded force structure and installations, and one area identified for a possible reduction is a surplus of about 100 aging C-130 transports.

The Air Force has "probably an additional hundred C-130s (compared to) what we need to execute the missions out there," the outgoing chief said at a roundtable meeting with defense reporters. Air Combat Command chief Gen. John Jumper will become the new service chief next month.

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