- December 11, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Five Existential Challenges Facing Elon Musk’s SpaceX (From Forbes)
SpaceX has transformed the commercial space market, accomplishing feats not previously thought possible for a privately-held company. However, the jury is still out concerning whether the company has a sustainable business strategy. There are at least five challenges that might threaten the enterprise’s existence over the long run: commercial market stagnation, military market access, civil space safety, weak enterprise profitability [ Read More…]
- December 11, 2018
- Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- Why General Mark Milley and Why Now? (From RealClearDefense)
At Saturday’s Army-Navy Game, President Donald Trump took the unusual step of announcing that he would be nominating the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Mark Milley to replace the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, when his current term ends. Why General Milley? Perhaps it is because much like President Trump, [ Read More…]
- December 7, 2018
- Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Space Race: How The Air Force Can Respond Faster As China, Russia Threaten U.S. Orbital Systems (From Forbes)
These are worrisome times for America’s space warriors. Russia and China are developing diverse ways of degrading or destroying U.S. national-security spacecraft, and the Air Force must respond. It can’t do things the old way, because that will take too long. Speed is of the essence. The service is already taking advantage of so-called “section 804” authorities to rapidly field [ Read More…]
- December 6, 2018Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- Is IBCS Another ‘Too Big To Succeed’ Army Program? (From RealClearDefense)
Nobody can accuse the Army’s acquisition system of thinking small. The Army has a nearly three-decades-long history of inventing massive, highly integrated and extremely complex modernization programs that go through years of research and development, cost billions of dollars and, in the end, often produce nothing. In contrast to these difficulties, the Army is really good at developing modifications and upgrades to existing platforms and systems that not only extend their life but improve their effectiveness. The Abrams, Bradley, Stryker, [ Read More…]
- December 4, 2018Paul Steidler
- Postal Service Task Force Report: Seven Things to Know
This afternoon the U.S. Treasury Department issued an important and much anticipated task force report on the United States Postal System. The Postal Service faces major financial and operational challenges. The 74-page document is in response to an executive order President Trump issued on April 12. Seven key takeaways follow. It clearly is a pro-taxpayer document. The report warns that the Postal Service has a negative net worth of $62 billion, that without major reform it will continue to suffer [ Read More…]
- December 4, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Trump Says U.S. Defense Spending Is “Crazy.” It May Signal An Important Shift. (From Forbes)
President Trump shocked the defense establishment Monday by describing the current level of U.S. defense spending as “crazy,” and calling for a halt to what he characterized as an “uncontrollable arms race.” Official Washington is accustomed to dismissing such tweets as little more that mindless rants, but there is mounting evidence that President Trump’s attitude towards defense spending is evolving. Aside from the opportunity costs of spending $700 billion annually on the military, budget director Mick Mulvaney is warning the [ Read More…]
- December 3, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- A Stealthy Anti-Ship Missile Could Help U.S. Turn The Table On Chinese Navy (From Forbes)
The U.S. Navy faces a tough challenge in containing Chinese military forces in the Western Pacific, in part because it has under-funded anti-ship weapons since the Cold War ended. But it is about to get a potent new weapon called the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) based on an Air Force munition made by Lockheed Martin. LRASM is a stealthy cruise missile that is very difficult for enemy defenders to intercept. Thanks to a precision routing and tracking sensor built [ Read More…]
- November 29, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Delay In U.S. Army Upgrade Of Chinook Helicopter Would Devastate Boeing Workforce In Pennsylvania (From Forbes)
The Boeing helicopter plant in Ridley Township, PA is one of the last vestiges of heavy industry in the lower Delaware Valley. But it could suffer a devastating blow if the Army goes forward with a proposal to delay production of the Block II version of the Chinook helicopter. Chinook is the Army’s heavy-lift rotorcraft, but it has lost so much payload capacity as new equipment was added that in its current configuration, it will not be able to transport [ Read More…]
- November 27, 2018Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- As Defense Budgets Tighten, A New Engine Is Critical To Us Army Aviation’s Future (From DefenseNews)
The U.S. Army needs to plan for flat or even declining defense budgets. One area that would be particularly hard-hit if budgets tighten is Army aviation. The Army currently operates some 2,000 Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, both which are in the midst of major upgrade programs. A new improved turbine engine is the most important of these. The Army will have to choose between a traditional, single-spool design offered by General Electric and an innovative, dual-spool engine built by [ Read More…]
- November 26, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- Air Force Push For Better Pilot Protection Upsets Competitive Landscape In Ejection Seats (From Forbes)
As the Air Force’s flying community becomes more diverse and its headgear becomes heavier, the service is seeking to improve the protection provided to combat pilots by ejection seats. Ejection seats have saved hundreds of lives, but they subject the human body to unusual stresses that can cause severe injury. Pilots who are big or small are more likely to suffer serious injury, as are those wearing helmet-mounted displays. So the Air Force is developing a next-gen ejector seat that [ Read More…]
- November 23, 2018Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- The Pentagon’s Move To The Cloud Is Right But Presents Unique Challenges (From RealClearDefense)
Moving government IT activities to the cloud is imperative. Operating in the cloud holds out the promise of improved cybersecurity, better data management and information sharing, faster access to cutting-edge technologies and reduced costs. Yet, despite the top-down pressure to move aggressively towards the cloud, progress by government departments and agencies has been relatively slow. The reasons for this range from reluctance to adopt new technologies and a new operating/contracting model, to security concerns, the importance of data sovereignty, the difficulties [ Read More…]
- November 15, 2018Daniel Gouré, Ph.D.
- Tanks: Vital to Defense
Executive Summary Click here to read the full report as a pdf. In 2013, a year before Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States came within months of shuttering the last plant in the Western Hemisphere capable of building main battle tanks. The Obama Administration, believing that the United States no longer faced the threat of conflict with a major land power, sought to save money by terminating the Abrams upgrade program and closing for four years the factory, called the [ Read More…]
- November 15, 2018Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D
- If America’s Military Loses World War III, Low Readiness Will Likely Be The Reason (From Forbes)
A congressionally-mandated commission on defense strategy has released its report, warning that the U.S. might lose a multi-front war in the future if it does not restore its military edge. One area that needs close attention is readiness, which seems to have eroded in recent years. Pilots are getting less flying hours, maintenance backlogs are growing, and spare parts are often in short supply. This is not just a consequence of strained budgets, it also reflects the way readiness is [ Read More…]