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Monday, September 26, 2016
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SeDef Carter speaks to troops at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Source: US Air Force

SeDef Carter speaks to troops at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Source: US Air Force

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Ash Carter kicked off a visit to DoD’s nuclear deterrence enterprise, telling airmen at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, that DoD will invest, innovate and sustain to rebuild that enterprise’s capabilities that remain the bedrock of U.S. defense strategy.

The secretary spoke at a hangar on the flightline of the base. He thanked the airmen at the base, and by extension, thanked the thousands of other technicians who man, maintain, guard and operate the bombers, ICBMs, ballistic missile submarines and the command-and-control systems around the world.

"As you know, everyone has their role to play," he said, "and while each physical piece is important, it’s really the people who make the whole greater than the sum of the parts."

Bedrock of U.S. Security

The secretary emphasized throughout his talk with the airmen that America’s nuclear deterrence is the bedrock of U.S. security and the highest priority mission in the Defense Department.

"Because while it is a remarkable achievement that in the more than seven decades since 1945, nuclear weapons have not again been used in war, that’s not something we can ever take for granted," he said. "And that’s why today, I want to talk about how we’re innovating and investing to sustain that bedrock."

Carter has a long history with the nuclear mission, working in the 1980s on basing for the MX missile system. He speaks from experience when he says the deterrence mission has both remained the same and changed.

"At a strategic level, of course, you deter large-scale nuclear attack against the United States and our allies," he said. "You help convince potential adversaries that they can’t escalate their way out of failed conventional aggression. You assure allies that our extended deterrence guarantees are credible -- enabling many of them to forgo developing nuclear weapons themselves, despite the tough strategic environment they find themselves in and the technological ease with which they could develop such weapons. And, if deterrence fails, you provide the president with options to achieve U.S. and allied objectives -- a responsibility that I know President Obama takes with the utmost seriousness, as you do -- all to reduce the risk of nuclear weapons being used in first place."

The nuclear deterrent also provides an umbrella under which service members accomplish conventional missions around the world, the secretary said.

Changed Nuclear Landscape

But the nuclear landscape has changed and it will continue to pose challenges, Carter said.

"One way the nuclear landscape has changed: we didn’t build new types of nuclear weapons or delivery systems for the last 25 years, but others did, at the same time that our allies in Asia, the Middle East, and NATO did not," the secretary said, -- "so we must continue to sustain our deterrence."

Russia has modernized its nuclear arsenal, and there is some doubt about Russian leaders’ strategies for the weapons.

"Meanwhile, North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations underscore that a diverse and dynamic spectrum of nuclear threats still exists," Carter said. "So our deterrence must be credible, and extended to our allies in the region."

North Korea is building nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them, the secretary said. The North Korean threat spurs spending on missile defense in the United States and the deployment of systems to South Korea, he added.

"We back all of that up with the commitment that any attack on America or our allies will be not only defeated, but that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an overwhelming and effective response," Carter said.

India and China are behaving responsibly with their nuclear enterprises, the secretary said.

"In Iran, their nuclear aspirations have been constrained and transparency over their activities increased by last year’s nuclear accord, which, as long as it continues to be implemented, will verifiably prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Carter said. "The last example I’ll cite is Pakistan, where nuclear weapons are entangled in a history of tension, and while they are not a threat to the United States directly, we work with Pakistan to ensure stability."

Nature of Deterrence Remains the Same

Despite the changes since the end of the Cold War, the nature of deterrence has not changed, the secretary said. "Even in 2016, deterrence still depends on perception -- what potential adversaries see, and therefore believe -- about our will and ability to act," he said. "This means that as their perceptions shift, so must our strategy and actions."

A large-scale nuclear attack is not likely, the secretary said. The most likely scenario is "the unwise resort to smaller but still unprecedentedly terrible attacks, for example by Russia or North Korea, to try to coerce a conventionally superior opponent to back off or abandon an ally during a crisis," Carter said. "We cannot allow that to happen, which is why we’re working with our allies in both regions to innovate and operate in new ways that sustain deterrence and continue to preserve strategic stability."

NATO is reexamining the nuclear strategy to integrate conventional and nuclear deterrence to deter Russia, he said.

Meanwhile, across the Pacific, the United States engages in formal deterrence dialogues with its allies Japan and South Korea, Carter said, "to ensure we’re poised to address nuclear deterrence challenges in Asia."

Carter said the U.S. is taking steps to ensure that its nuclear triad -- bombers, ICBMS and ballistic missile submarines -- do not become obsolete.

"We’re now beginning the process of correcting decades of under-investment in nuclear deterrence," the secretary said.

Nuclear Underfunding

DoD has underfunded its nuclear deterrence enterprise since the end of the Cold War, Carter said.

"Over the last 25 years since then, we only made modest investments in basic sustainment and operations, about $15 billion a year," he said. "And it turned out that wasn’t enough."

The fiscal year 2017 budget request invests a total of $19 billion in the nuclear enterprise, Carter said. Over the next five years, he said, plans call for the department to spend $108 billion to sustain and recapitalize the nuclear force and associated strategic command, control, communications, and intelligence systems.

The budget also looks to modernization, the secretary said. Plans call for replacing old ICBMs with new ones that will be less expensive to maintain, keeping strategic bombers effective in the face of more advanced air defense systems, and building replacements for the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines, the secretary said.

"If we don’t replace these systems, quite simply they will age even more, and become unsafe, unreliable, and ineffective," Carter said. "The fact is, most of our nuclear weapon delivery systems have already been extended decades beyond their original expected service lives. So it’s not a choice between replacing these platforms or keeping them. It’s really a choice between replacing them or losing them. That would mean losing confidence in our ability to deter, which we can’t afford in today’s volatile security environment."

While these plans are expensive, they are only a small percentage of total defense spending, the secretary said.

"In the end, though, this is about maintaining the bedrock of our security," Carter said. "And after too many years of not investing enough, it’s an investment that we as a nation have to make, because it’s critical to sustaining nuclear deterrence in the 21st century."

Source:  US DoD
Associated URL:
Source Date: September 26, 2016
Author: im Garamone DoD News 
Posted: 09/27/2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
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Army will evaluate AH-64 program

Source: U.S. Army

Army will evaluate AH-64 program

Source: U.S. Army

WASHINGTON - This year, as part of a strategic portfolio analysis and review, or SPAR, the Army will "rank order" all 780 or so of its equipment programs -- from helicopters to boots to rifles -- in terms of their impact on warfighting.

The results of that analysis will be made available to Army leaders to help guide them in making decisions on how to allocate dwindling Army modernization funds better.

In the fiscal year 2017 budget request presented to Congress, about $125 billion was allocated to the Army. Of that, about 18 percent, or $23 billion, was earmarked for modernization, including research, development, testing and evaluation, as well as procurement of new equipment. That's about a 33 percent drop in modernization funding from 2011, said Lt. Gen. John M. Murray, deputy chief of staff, Army G-8.

That drop in funding comes because the Army doesn't expect to get an increase in its base budget, and it is prioritizing readiness and force structure over modernization.

"The priority is retaining force structure and readiness -- nobody tells us to do that," Murray said. "That is a deliberate choice by the senior leaders of the Army. They understand the risk we have taken in modernization. And they understand it's a compounding risk."

Still, Murray said, the Army must plan now to provide the Army of the future with the tools it will need to fight, and the Army must take action now to make that happen, despite an understanding that more money is probably not going to materialize.

"It would be irresponsible of the Army, of me in particular, to sit back here and say there's nothing we can do until we get more money," he said.

The idea of the SPAR, which is an idea that originated inside the G-8, is to take a look at all existing Army programs, as well as some concepts or ideas the Army might like to have, and prioritize them in a way that will allow Army senior leaders to make "some very tough choices" about what should be kept and what should be let go.

Working with Army Training and Doctrine Command, Army Forces Command, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, and others, the G-8 will evaluate each of the Army's 780 or so equipment programs to determine their relative worth to the Army.

"[With modeling and simulations] we'll try to measure their contribution to what the chief has talked about, a decisive action, high-end warfight," Murray said. "[For instance] what does an M1 tank contribute to a high-end warfight?"

In this case of the M1 tank, Murray said they would run a simulation with the tank and measure the outcome of that scenario. They would then run the same simulation without the tank.

"When the capability is in, you are going to come to a certain outcome," Murray said. "If the capability is out, that end state should be different. If it's not, then you have to question the value that capability adds to that warfight."

Murray acknowledges that, when it comes to the fate of Army programs, "everything we're doing is important to somebody." Nevertheless, all equipment programs, regardless of their portfolio, will be evaluated as falling into one of four "buckets," that will determine recommendations for Army leaders on how limited modernization resources might be applied to them moving forward:

I: Accelerate or find a way to bring into the portfolio.

II: Sustain at current level of resources.

III: Reallocate resources to invest elsewhere.

IV: Divest most or all resources.

The SPAR process will be completed and the outcome of that process will be presented to the secretary of the Army and the chief of staff of the Army sometime before April of 2017, for use in the development of the 2019-2023 program objective memorandum.

Murray said the SPAR will not be the final decision on the future of Army programs, but is instead meant to provide well-researched material upon which Army leaders can make those decisions.

"One of the intended outputs is to tee up some hard decisions for the senior leadership," Murray said. "And whether those decisions get made or not, that's not my purview but is well within their purview."

Another aspect of SPAR, Murray said, is that it will provide him with some support for the answers he often provides whenever he is asked what he believes the Army could do with additional funding.

"I've been asked 50 times, 'if you had more money what would you do,'" he said. "And when you give an answer, they say, 'show me the analysis.' Well, this is the analysis. If we need to modernize, and we need to get ready for the next fight that is coming, then we need to start laying a mark on the table."

In addition to evaluating existing Army programs, SPAR will be used to evaluate concepts that the Army doesn't currently have as programs of record but might want to become involved in. One such example is directed energy weapons.

"We would make some assumptions of what it would perform like, what kind of vehicle it would be mounted on, and play it the same way in the model, and see if it makes a significant difference in the outcome of the scenario," Murray said.

Evaluation of Army programs with SPAR is already underway. Should the analysis turn out to be valuable, he expects the Army to repeat the process again each year in time for providing input to the following year's program objective memorandum.

"It's all about finding resources within the budget we've been given to accelerate the critical capabilities for our future warfight, or to go after new programs, new technologies, for that future warfight," Murray said.

Source:  US Army
Associated URL:
Source Date: September 27, 2016
Author: By C. Todd Lopez 
Posted: 09/27/2016

Monday, September 26, 2016
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USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) Oceanographic Survey Ship

Source: U.S. Navy

USNS Bowditch (T-AGS 62) Oceanographic Survey Ship

Source: U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON - U.S. Marine Management Inc., of Norfolk, Virginia, has been awarded a $34,501,319 modification under a previously awarded firm-fixed-price contract (N00033-09-C-2504) to exercise one 182-day award term option period for the operation and maintenance of six United States Navy Oceanographic Survey Ships (T-AGS).

These ships operate worldwide and support the Naval Oceanographic Office performing acoustic, biological, physical, and geophysical surveys, providing much of the U.S. military's information on the ocean environment.

Work will be performed worldwide, and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2017.

The U.S. Navy working capital funds in the amount of $34,501,319 are obligated for fiscal 2017 and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The Navy’s U.S Military Sealift Command, Norfolk, Virginia, is the contracting activity. The contract award number is N00033-09-C-2504.

Source:  U.S. DoD
Associated URL:
Source Date: September 26, 2016
Author: U.S. DoD 
Posted: 09/27/2016



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