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Daily News

November 12, 2001

Nov. 12, 2001 -- The Defense Department says a proposed $247 million cut to the president's fiscal year 2002 Joint Strike Fighter budget request would delay the availability of the next-generation strike fighter by one year "at a minimum."

The program schedule would be affected all the way out to FY-13, DOD argues in an appeals package sent by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to House and Senate authorizers in late October. The authorizers are still hammering out a conference bill and report.

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Nov. 12, 2001 -- The Defense Department has asked House and Senate conferees to reject a House Armed Services Committee proposal for a new process by which individuals, companies and defense agencies could "challenge" existing DOD programs.

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Nov. 12, 2001 -- President Bush issued an executive order last week establishing an interagency task force that will recommend ways in which ordinary American citizens can prepare for future terrorist strikes.

Called the "presidential task force on citizen preparedness in the war on terrorism," the group will submit its recommendations to Bush in less than 40 days and disband a month later, according to the Nov. 9 executive order.

Those recommendations, the executive order states, are to include advice for citizens on how they can:

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November 09, 2001

Nov. 9, 2001 -- The Defense Department's senior requirements group has begun implementing a series of organizational changes to repair a series of structural weaknesses, the General Accounting Office asserts in a report released today.

The report, however, says it is too soon to tell if the initiatives will be successful.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff identified five weaknesses in the structure of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council between 1999 and 2001, and steps have been taken to remedy each of them, GAO said.

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November 08, 2001

Nov. 8, 2001 -- Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter victory has contributed to the company's improved ability to borrow money, a leading debt rating agency said yesterday.

Fitch, Inc., has upgraded Lockheed Martin's senior unsecured debt rating from "BBB-" to "BBB," citing lower operating leverage, a successful divestiture program and higher operating cash flow visibility relative to debt.

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Nov. 8, 2001 -- The Army has canceled the TOW Fire-and-Forget missile program in its recently completed long-term spending plan, according to sources and documents.

The cut will save the Army more than $600 million if the Office of the Secretary of Defense sustains the decision. Some in OSD and the Army, however, are opposed to the termination, sources say.

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Nov. 8, 2001 -- Newport News Shipbuilding has formally agreed to Northrop Grumman's $2.6 billion buyout offer, the two companies announced today.

The agreement comes after nearly seven months of wrangling between Northrop and General Dynamics. In April, GD offered NNS a deal in which GD would pay $2.1 billion in cash and take on $500 million in NNS debt. The following month, Northrop Grumman offered 75 percent in shares of Northrop Grumman stock and 25 percent in cash, as well as the debt.

Members of Congress also weighed in, arguing on behalf of constituent companies.

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Nov. 8, 2001 -- The Commerce and State departments have not clearly established export jurisdiction for a large number of items the United States has agreed to manage under the Missile Technology Control Regime, the General Accounting Office said in a report released today.

Forty-seven of the 196 items restricted by the MTCR are subject to unclear jurisdiction, and some appear on both departments' lists of controlled export items, the Nov. 8 report said. In some cases, one department claims jurisdiction over items not on its own list but on the other's.

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Uzbekistan

Nov. 8, 2001 -- U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Tommy Franks said today the potential capture of the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif by Taliban opposition forces would allow the United States to more safely transport humanitarian aid or troops over land into Afghanistan.

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Nov. 8, 2001 -- The Senate Armed Services Committee today approved by voice vote five civilian nominations for the Defense Department.

According to a committee statement, the panel met and approved the following nominees sent to Congress by President Bush:

* Les Brownlee as under secretary of the Army;

* Marvin Sambur as assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition;

* Dale Klein as assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs;

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Nov. 8, 2001 -- Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones said today he is exploring buying AC-130 gunships to provide fire support to forward-deployed Marines.

The AC-130 gunship is used by the Air Force for close air support, air interdiction and force protection. Noting the Marine Corps has no requirement for the gunships at the moment, Jones suggested the aircraft would fit naturally with Marine Corps missions.

Jones said the U.S. military's recent use of AC-130s over Afghanistan helped him realize the benefits of acquiring brand new gunships for the Marine Corps.

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November 07, 2001

Nov. 7, 2001 -- The Defense Department hopes to save more than $250 million once a series of business improvement initiatives are implemented, senior Pentagon officials said today.

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Nov. 7, 2001 -- Suborbital launch vehicles will likely be one of Orbital Sciences Corp.'s "major growth engines" over the next two years, according to the company's chairman and chief executive officer.

"On the basis of expanding testing demand alone, we expect to see significant growth over the next two to three years in suborbital vehicle business from its current $75-80 million annual revenue rate in 2001," David Thompson told investment analysts during a conference call today on the company's third-quarter earnings.

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November 06, 2001

Nov. 6, 2001 -- Rockwell Collins President and Chief Executive Officer Clay Jones said today that his company would likely get more than $130 million in subcontracting work during the Joint Strike Fighter's engineering and manufacturing development phase.

Late last month, the Pentagon awarded a Lockheed Martin-led team an $18 billion EMD contract for the multi-role fighter aircraft, a contract that could be worth $200 billion over 40 years. Rockwell Collins, which is on that team, says it could get up to $2 billion from that total.

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Nov. 6, 2001 -- The Defense Science Board concludes in a new report that U.S. efforts to propagate official messages worldwide need more attention because existing information dissemination efforts are poorly coordinated.

More strategic emphasis is needed to properly present the U.S. message, the advisory board argues, because the government is a large institution that has often failed to coordinate or devote enough attention to ensuring its message gets out. "Today, as in the past, sound U.S. policies frequently are misunderstood," the report notes.

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November 05, 2001

Nov. 5, 2001 -- The first 25 days of Operation Enduring Freedom has cost the United States an estimated $400 to $800 million, according to a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments report.

If operations continue at "roughly the same tempo and with roughly the same forces," the Defense Department is likely to incur between $500 million and $1billion per month for the duration of the U.S. military strikes against the Taliban and al Qaeda network, the report said.

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Nov. 5, 2001 -- Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) said this morning Congress needs more information from the Defense Department about why it changed the Navy's DD-21 destroyer program into the DD(X) initiative before Senate appropriators can decide whether to support DD(X). Without further explanation from DOD, Senate appropriators will have no choice but to proceed with DD-21 or "dump it completely," and they would prefer to "act wisely" on the program, Inouye said.

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Nov. 5, 2001 -- Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is asking the Office of Management and Budget to quickly provide the Bush administration's position on a sweeping legislative proposal, backed by the House, that would require EPA and other federal agencies to identify proposed actions -- including regulations and enforcement actions -- that would have an adverse impact on national defense.

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Nov. 5, 2001 -- The White House today released $902 million in funds for homeland security and recovery efforts, part of which would pay for National Guard troops to augment security along the U.S.-Canadian border.

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Nov. 5, 2001 -- General Dynamics Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Chabraja said today he is confident his company's failed bid to acquire Newport News Shipbuilding would not hurt its chances of winning future Pentagon contracts.

At a conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs in New York City and broadcast over the Internet, Chabraja said that while General Dynamics could still get entangled in antitrust battles with the government over future acquisitions, there are areas where the company could grow without creating a monopoly.

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