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Member since: Wed Mar 16, 2005, 10:12 AM
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Drummin Up New Bidness


EADS To Army: Bring On Armed Aerial Scout Competition
By Richard Whittle
Published: October 18, 2012

WASHINGTON: The U.S. arm of European aerospace and defense giant EADS urged the Army on Thursday to buy new armed scout helicopters instead of upgrading its aging OH-58D Kiowa Warriors -- and challenged competitors to top the performance two potential EADS entries recorded in recent flight demonstrations.

"It's time for a competition," declared David Haines, EADS North America's vice president for rotorcraft programs, speaking at a press breakfast scheduled scant days prior to the largest yearly gathering of Army leaders and their industrial suppliers, the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting in Washington. "Keeping the Kiowa Warrior, quite frankly, for another 20 years isn't a satisfactory solution."

The Army has been struggling for years to come up with a replacement for the Kiowa, built by Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. of Fort Worth and upgraded several times over its roughly four decades in service. Early this year, the Army invited contractors to fly demonstrations of helicopters that, with modifications, might make suitable replacements, and five contractors responded. Those demonstrations are to end in November, and the Defense Acquisition Board, a top-level Pentagon committee, is to decide in December whether the results warrant funding a competition for a new Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) helicopter or whether the OH-58D should be upgraded again.

Company and Army pilots flew demonstrations from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3 at Alamosa, Colo., of two potential derivatives of the company's helicopters. One is the "Armed Aerial Scout 72X," a derivative of the UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter the company has built for the Army in Columbus, Miss. The second -- the"Armed Aerial Scout 72X+" – is based on EADS subsidiary Eurocopter's civilian EC-145.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Oct 21, 2012, 07:21 AM (1 replies)

Navy Fears Pentagon Neglects New Missile Sub; SSBN(X) Must Survive Almost 80 Years


Navy Fears Pentagon Neglects New Missile Sub; SSBN(X) Must Survive Almost 80 Years
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: October 18, 2012

WASHINGTON: Right now, the Navy is designing the ballistic missile submarine that will provide 70 percent of the nation's nuclear deterrent until 2080. Yet even as the service prepares to award research and development contracts this December, the submarine community is deeply worried that the rest of the military is neglecting the program -- which has already had to make some painful trade-offs on schedule, numbers, and capability. And the service has not even started work on whatever nuclear missile the new sub will end up carrying for the latter half of its life.

The SSBN(X) program to replace the 1980s-vintage Ohio missile subs is a massive effort that few non-submariners talk about. "People are assuming it away," said Rear Adm. Robert Thomas, a submarine officer who is now head of the strategic plans and policy section (J-5) on the Joint Staff.


It's easy to procrastinate because the timelines are so long. The first SSBN(X) will not deploy until 2031 -- which is already two years later than the original plan and starts after four Ohios will have already retired. That means the missile submarine fleet will drop to just 10 subs for over a decade. Even when all the new subs are in service, the fleet will stand at only 12 missile submarines, compared to 14 today.


The original vision for the SSBN(X) would have cost $7 billion a sub, a figure the Navy has brought down to $5.6 billion and hopes to reduce to $4.9 billion. To cut those costs, the Navy has cut capabilities across the board, but particularly for conventional combat against enemy subs and warships. According to official briefing slides, the revised design will have the "minimum [torpedo] capacity," "minimum acoustic sensors," and "reduced force protection features" in general, suited only for self-defense against enemy hunter-killer subs rather than for taking the offensive. (It will also have fewer and smaller launch tubes for nuclear missiles: 16 87-inch tubes instead of 20 97-inchers).

unhappycamper comment: I'm laughing my ass off that the original cost of the SSBN(X) is only seven billion dollars. (Virginia-class subs currently cost somewhere between $5 to $7 billion dollars a pop.) And the Navy wants to get the cost down to $4.9 billion dollars, which is more than a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier ($4.5 billion dollars) costs.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Oct 21, 2012, 07:06 AM (0 replies)

Lockheed Looks Abroad To Sell LCS, MH-60, Radars -- But Who's Buying?


Lockheed Looks Abroad To Sell LCS, MH-60, Radars -- But Who's Buying?
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.
Published: October 19, 2012

It's true that Foreign Military Sales hit a record $65 billion for fiscal 2012, driven largely by Asia and the Middle East, and it's those two regions Lockheed is targeting. Global sales help not only the company but the United States as well, claimed Michele Evans MS2's business development chief, because they equip friends and allies with compatible equipment, keep the industrial base open, and keep production volumes up so all customers, US and foreign alike, can reap economies of scale.

But scale is what's lacking in most foreign sales, compared to Pentagon purchases. The biggest foreign deal that MS2 could tout today was last year's $3 billion sale of 24 MH-60R helicopters to Australia, America's best friend in the Pacific. (Sikorsky builds the actual helicopter, but Lockheed integrates the high-value-added avionics). The MH-60 is also competing for sales to Denmark and South Korea, with a decision expected by the end of the year, but even if the Lockheed-Sikorsky team wins both contracts, the two together will total less than 20 helicopters. Lockheed said other countries have also expressed interest in the aircraft, including Brazil and undisclosed states in Africa, but there's nothing solid yet. So the best case in the near-term is less than 44 MH-60s sold abroad. Compare that to the U.S. Navy's multi-year contracts to buy 300.

Lockheed also touted international interest in a derivative of the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship, which they're calling the "Multi-Mission Combatant." Why the rename? The US Navy is buying the LCS for specialized supporting roles, with plug-and-play "mission modules" to kit it out variously for minesweeping, sub-hunting, or fighting small boats, depending on current needs. Foreign customers with much more modest fleets are looking at the LCS as a jack of all trades, so they want it to be able to switch from one role to the next without heading back to port to change out modules.


Cosgrove touted the Multi-Mission Combatant's suitability for the shallows and narrows of the Gulf and Southeast Asia. But he declined to name any specific potential customers, saying only that "we're having a busy time [with] a steady trickle of requests for briefs." But this is hardly the first time that Lockheed or General Dynamics, which builds a different version of the LCS, have suggested the LCS for sales abroad, only to be stymied by the ship's high cost compared to traditional corvettes and fast attack craft available on the global market.

unhappycamper comment: "$3 billion sale of 24 MH-60R helicopters" = one shitload of profit for Sikorsky and Lockheed.

You can rename the $500 million dollar LCS, but it still costs $500 million dollars. I wonder if anyone will notice?
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Oct 21, 2012, 06:56 AM (0 replies)

Nearly 30% of Vets Treated by V.A. Have PTSD


A new study by the Veterans Administration reveals nearly 30% of its patients who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD. Jamie Reno reports.

Nearly 30% of Vets Treated by V.A. Have PTSD
Oct 21, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
Jamie Reno

The Department of Veterans Affairs has quietly released a new report on post-traumatic stress disorder, showing that since 9/11, nearly 30 percent of the 834,463 Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD.

Veterans advocates say the new V.A. report is the most damning evidence yet of the profound impact multiple deployments have had on American service men and women since 9/11. Troops who've been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan are more than three times as likely as soldiers with no previous deployments to screen positive for PTSD and major depression, according to a 2010 study published by the American Journal for Public Health.

The report, which revealed that 247,243 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have been diagnosed with PTSD, was buried on the V.A.'s website without fanfare. "As far as we can tell, V.A. didn't tell anyone these numbers were made public," says veterans advocate Paul Sullivan at Bergmann & Moore, a law firm that focuses entirely on veteran disability issues. No press release. Nothing. I actually found the report while searching for new data. I simply changed the V.A.'s web address from second quarter to third quarter by altering one digit, and the new numbers appeared. Magic, eh?

Why was there evidently no effort to publicize these new PTSD numbers? Josh Taylor, a spokesman for the V.A., would not directly answer that question, but told /The Daily Beast/ that the agency still estimates that the overall PTSD rate is 20 percent across the entire population of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, not just those who have come to a V.A. facility and are reflected in the report that shows the rate at 30 percent.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sun Oct 21, 2012, 06:12 AM (0 replies)

Another $3.4 Billion Dollar Wonder Christened


Amphibious assault ship christening set for today at Pascagoula shipyard
Published: October 19, 2012 Updated 4 hours ago

PASCAGOULA -- Huntington Ingalls Shipbuilding will christen the LHA-6 America, an amphibious assault ship for the U.S. Navy today at the Pascagoula shipyard.

There was a mast-stepping ceremony Friday for the ship, which involves placing coins under the mast, an ancient tradition, one explanation of which is to ensure payment of the crew's wages upon their return should the ship wreck. The tradition has been passed down through the millennia to ensure good luck on ships.

Six pennies were placed near the mast to represent the America's hull number, and their dates reflect significant events in American history to go along with the ship's name and also important dates of the ship's sponsor, Lynne Pace.

Lynne Pace is the wife of retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

NOTE: The $3.4 billion dollar number comes from wikipedia which is notoriously low.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Oct 20, 2012, 09:38 AM (2 replies)

The Moral Equivalent of Nuremberg


The Moral Equivalent of Nuremberg
Thursday, 18 October 2012 16:58

The recent study focused on the cities of Basra and Fallujah, where serious fighting occurred during the war. Fallujah was the scene of two large, extremely destructive coalition assaults in 2004. Five years later, doctors at Fallujah General Hospital finally became so alarmed by the increase in birth defects they petitioned the United Nations to investigate, explaining in a letter: “In September 2009, (the hospital) had 170 newborn babies, 24 percent of whom were dead within the first seven days (and) a staggering 75 percent of the dead babies were classified as deformed.” In comparison, their letter stated, in August 2002, before the invasion, 530 babies were born; six of them died within the first week, with a single birth defect reported.

About eight months later, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published the results of an epidemiological study, which found that Fallujah was experiencing higher rates of cancer, leukemia and infant mortality than Hiroshima and Nagasaki did in 1945

The University of Michigan study, which was published in the Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, monitored 56 families in Fallujah. Between 2007 and 2010, more than half the babies born in those families had some kind of birth defect. That figure was under two percent prior to the year 2000. The most common abnormalities included congenital heart defects, brain defects, malformed or missing limbs and cleft palate.

In addition, between 2004 and 2006, 45 percent of the pregnancies among those families resulted in miscarriage.

unhappycamper comment: **Caution! Contains disturbing images. Google images with: basra birth defects
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Oct 20, 2012, 09:01 AM (2 replies)

Neoconservative Jingoism Plus Mormon Delusion Equals Perpetual War


Neoconservative Jingoism Plus Mormon Delusion Equals Perpetual War
AlteNet / By Frank Schaeffer
October 19, 2012

The danger to our military families posed by having a man in the White House whose knowledge of the world seems to only extend to avoiding military service, tax shelters, investing in Chinese sweat shops and a stint as a missionary in France, comes from the fact that to be a good Mormon one has to be jingoistic and combative about foreign policy. So if he's elected let's pray Romney isn't a good Mormon! Let's hope he's faking it!

Bill Maher said: "In 100 years this country will be Mormon. It's a stupid religion and a stupid country. They were made for each other." I hope Maher's wrong. However one proof that he's right about our stupidity is that we Americans debate the impact Romney may have on the economy while ignoring his unique Mormon-inspired potential to get Marines like my son killed.

And that's where Romney's combination of Mormon theologically-inspired ignorance of the world and neoconservative stupidity will be deadly if Romney's elected.

Don't get me wrong I could care less about Romney's personal religious beliefs. It's his foreign policy and how those "personal beliefs" may get people like my Marine son killed that scares me.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Oct 20, 2012, 08:12 AM (1 replies)

Allowing Sequestration Defense Cuts May Right Our Listing Ship of State


A composite of figures from the World Bank, NATO and the International Institute for Strategic Studies

Allowing Sequestration Defense Cuts May Right Our Listing Ship of State
Thursday, 18 October 2012 14:34
By Charles M Smith and Dina Rasor, Truthout | Solutions


Defense contractors have strong lobbies in Washington. They work through so-called independent "associations" which support a strong military. They have forged connections with many, if not most, members of Congress, especially those with major defense contractor employment in their states and districts. The military is generally in favor of more spending, though sometimes Congress adds on pork money for pet weapons projects that the military doesn't need and doesn't want. They also try to influence public opinion. The Navy has been running "recruitment" ads which seem a lot like ads to tell the public and Congress how necessary the Navy is to many aspects of national security. And as Dina Rasor's column last week highlighted, the US Air Force uses air shows to wow the public with their planes doing impressive stunts that don't have anything to do with real warfare.


The United States spends more per capita than any of the top ten spenders on defense, except sparsely populated Saudi Arabia. In the 1980s we felt that we drove the Soviet Union to economic crisis as it tried to match our Reagan defense buildup. The Soviet Union is gone, yet we have continued to spend an incredible amount of our GDP on defense, as if we were immune to the same problems of defense over-spending that struck down the Soviet Union. Now we are in an economic recession, with a significant budget deficit and a large national debt. Yet we are debating mainly how to protect and increase defense spending!

It is apparent from this chart that we are still, as Phil Ochs sang, "the cops of the world." Other countries, which have a huge stake in maintaining peace and security, are, in effect, free riders on United States defense spending. Our allies in NATO spend about one seventh of our per capita defense spending. We spend more than 20 times the amount that India spends on defense. India actually has traditional concerns on its borders with China and Pakistan, while our borders are about the safest in the world.


We can immediately see the consequences of our domestic problems. Decaying schools, infrastructure and cuts in police and fire protection are a major threat. Leaving at risk portions of our population without a minimal safety net is not in accordance with our country's moral framework and is also a threat to provoke social unrest. And our internal decay makes it hard for us to compete with the rest of the world, including Europe and other countries that are relying on us to spend the money being the cops of the world.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Oct 20, 2012, 07:56 AM (1 replies)

Sham Debates and Endless War: The Shame of Our Political Discourse


Sham Debates and Endless War: The Shame of Our Political Discourse
William Astore | Writer, Professor, Retired Lt. Colonel, Air Force
Posted: 10/19/2012 3:39 pm

Here's something I'd like to see this campaign season: our two major party candidates debating our wars rather than ignoring them. Both President Obama and Governor Romney prefer to praise the troops rather than to address the tragic consequences of continuing military action in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The latter, when they're addressed at all, are reduced to sound bites and homilies about the need to "stay the course" and "support our troops."

Praising our military while ignoring the wars we send them to is perhaps the biggest shame of American political discourse today (and that is indeed saying a lot). Think about it. The eleventh anniversary of our war in Afghanistan recently passed with barely a murmur in the media. This is three times as long as the U.S. military fought in World War II. Presidential conventions and debates occur with no sustained discussion of Afghanistan (Iraq having been already consigned to political oblivion). The most vital, essential, and sacred decision we can make as a nation -- when to send our troops into harm's way and under what conditions we grant them the authority in our nation's name to take the lives of others -- this is neither critiqued nor discussed in our political discourse.

Even as we build more military bases and deploy more troops overseas, even as we elevate defense spending to new heights, our political elites work to isolate war from their politics and our society. But war is inseparable from politics, as the Prussian theorist of war, Carl von Clausewitz, reminded us two centuries ago. At the same time, celebrating the actions of our troops as selflessly heroic is a powerful political argument in and of itself, one that is meant to obscure the reality that the sum of all their actions -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- is a reflection of our society, a reflection that has alienated many of our friends in the world community.

For good reason the U.S. Constitution puts the military under civilian political control. A confirmed democracy needs serious debate about any war contemplated. Yet we refuse to debate war openly and with honesty. We waste the energies and lives of our young, even as we sow the dragon's teeth of future wars through misadventure.
Posted by unhappycamper | Sat Oct 20, 2012, 06:56 AM (2 replies)

DoD to cut Tricare Prime in 5 West areas


DoD to cut Tricare Prime in 5 West areas
By Patricia Kime - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Oct 18, 2012 22:05:45 EDT


Active-duty family members in Prime pay no enrollment fees or co-pays. Military retirees pay annual enrollment fees of $269.26 for an individual and $538.56 for families, and their co-pays for outpatient care are just $12. Prime requires no deductibles.

Two of the a$$hole$ who led the charge:


Posted by unhappycamper | Fri Oct 19, 2012, 09:03 AM (2 replies)
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