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unhappycamper's Journal
unhappycamper's Journal
June 8, 2013

Will Sequester Scuttle DoDís Energy Efficiency Efforts?


Will Sequester Scuttle DoD’s Energy Efficiency Efforts?
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on June 07, 2013 at 1:09 PM

WASHINGTON: The Defense Department is the largest single consumer of energy in the United States. It consumes 1 percent of America’s massive demand, burning billions of gallons of fuel a year. Indeed, as Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a recent speech, DoD is “the largest single consumer of fossil fuels on the face of the earth.” And just getting that fuel to forward operating bases in Afghanistan means troops risks their lives daily in fuel convoys. So making the armed forces more energy-efficient is important for tactical, ecological, and budgetary reasons.

The problem is that it costs money now to save money later. Congressional Republicans have been particularly skeptical of Mabus’s ambitions for a “Great Green Fleet” of ships and jets (our favorite is the “Green Hornet,” as the biofuel version of the F-18 is known) that run on biofuels. Add to that skepticism the fact that the mandatory cuts known as sequestration are cramping DoD energy investments across the board. As our colleagues at BreakingEnergy reported this morning:

The Defense Department had previously considered large outlays for energy as a necessary evil. “Our view was, when we were at war, we would bear those costs,” (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategy Daniel) Chiu said. “But we’ve realized that that’s not a sustainable approach from a budgeting or a planning perspective.”….

“All of this is happening against a backdrop of shrinking budgets,” Chiu said. “This has made this an extremely difficult job, because this is not a matter of adding new requirements, this is a matter of prioritizing new requirements. This is a very tough fight.”
June 8, 2013

Birthing Ships is Never Easy; Give LCS A Break


The $584 million dollar USS Freedom

Birthing Ships is Never Easy; Give LCS A Break
By Robert D. Holzer on June 07, 2013 at 1:21 PM

The chorus of criticism facing the first ships of the Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class calls for a little historical context to be brought to this debate. Almost all new ship classes experienced considerable “birthing pains in their early days.

This is not new. Indeed, the first six frigates acquired by the American Navy in 1797 all came in late and over budget.

The most strident criticisms about LCS focus on the USS Freedom (LCS-1, built by Lockheed Martin) and Independence (LCS-2, built by General Dynamics and Austal), which in addition to being the firsts of their respective ship design types, are essentially research and development firsts-of-class ships –– virtual prototypes. This means that these ships are experimental with characteristics, issues and challenges that will be corrected in follow-on ships. The Navy contributed to this situation, describing the lead units of both variants as “Sea Frame 0” platforms, begging the question: “what’s a ‘Sea Frame,’ anyway?

All the first-of-class surface warships in recent Navy history have experienced significant problems to one degree or another, all of which generated considerable criticism at the time of their construction and initial deployment.

unhappycamper comment: The original Deepwater Plan had these bad boys costing around $200 million dollars each. USS Freedom came in at $584 million dollars delivered; the USS Independence came in at $704 million dollars, delivered.

I have a few issues with these Little Crappy Ships:

1. Why did the single hull cost $584 million?
2. Why did the trimaran hull cost $704 million dollars?
3. Why did Congress order 15 more of them?
4. Is anybody besides the MIC in charge?
June 8, 2013

F-35 Launches First Air To Air Missile; Concurrency Costs Plunge $500 Million


F-35 Launches First Air To Air Missile; Concurrency Costs Plunge $500 Million
By Colin Clark on June 07, 2013 at 6:03 PM

WASHINGTON: It’s been a tough week for critics of the F-35. Concurrency costs dropped an impressive half billion dollars — note to Winslow Wheeler — and the Air Force version launched an air to air missile for the first time.

The F-35A launched the AMRAAM missile on Wednesday (it can take the Pentagon a while to clear even good news for release). Here’s how a statement described the vent this afternoon:

“This is the first launch where the F-35 and AIM-120 demonstrated a successful launch-to-eject communications sequence and fired the rocket motor after launch – paving the way for targeted launches later this year in support of Block 2B fleet release capability,” the Joint Program Office said.

Block 2B refers to the software that will allow the plane to fly and fight with many of its weapons, though not all.
June 8, 2013

HASC Rejects Base Closure, F-35 Restrictions During NDAA Markup


Amendments stack up on the desks of House Armed Services Committee members at their markup of the 2014 defense bill.

HASC Rejects Base Closure, F-35 Restrictions During NDAA Markup
By Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on June 05, 2013 at 5:12 PM

[updated with final results] CAPITOL HILL: Bipartisan majorities in the House Armed Services Committee have steamrollered proposals to slow down the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and to permit the Pentagon to plan for base closures, but reformers at least made a respectable run at the windmill during markup of fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

“The one and only rule is, ‘my district can’t be reduced by anything,’ (which means)] we wind up paralyzed,” said HASC’s most senior Democrat, Washington Rep. Adam Smith, in a characteristically acerbic moment. With the $52 billion-a-year cuts known as sequestration in the offing, he said, “I don’t think this committee has the luxury to be so darn parochial anymore.”

The HASC vote came one day after nine think tanks banded together in large part of convince Congress that it must accept a round of “base closure and realignment,” or BRAC. One expert at the Capitol HIll gathering, Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute, argued that Congress must consider closing bases in the United States, where the Pentagon estimates it has 20 percent excess capacity. Eaglen cautioned against the trend on Capitol Hill to call for first closing foreign bases, which, of course, don’t have lots of congressional constituents. “It’s a nice convenient thing. It plays well at home,” she said, “but it’s terribly destructive.” In a budgetary “war game” played by the think tanks, she said, they had actually added money for overseas bases.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter vote demonstrated how powerful domestic constituencies can be. It’s backed by the three armed services that buy jets — albeit with different degrees of enthusiasm from the Marines (most pro-F-35) to the Navy (least) — and it supports jobs in 47 states. So the surprise isn’t that 51 committee members from both parties voted against Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth’s amendment to slow the program until the next installment of its complex software is “fully verified and tested.” The surprise was that nine other members joined Duckworth in voting “aye,” actually breaking (barely) into double digits.

June 8, 2013

As Wars End, a Rush to Grab Dollars Spent on the Border


A Border Patrol agent near towers with radar, cameras for day and night, and a laser pointer, part of a system built by Boeing.

As Wars End, a Rush to Grab Dollars Spent on the Border
Published: June 6, 2013

TUCSON — The nation’s largest military contractors, facing federal budget cuts and the withdrawals from two wars, are turning their sights to the Mexican border in the hopes of collecting some of the billions of dollars expected to be spent on tighter security if immigration legislation becomes law.

Half a dozen major military contractors, including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, are preparing for an unusual desert showdown here this summer, demonstrating their military-grade radar and long-range camera systems in an effort to secure a Homeland Security Department contract worth as much as $1 billion.

Northrop Grumman, meanwhile, is pitching to Homeland Security officials an automated tracking device — first built for the Pentagon to find roadside bombs in Afghanistan — that could be mounted on aerial drones to find illegal border crossers. And General Atomics, which manufactures the reconnaissance drones, wants to double the size of the fleet under a recently awarded contract worth up to $443 million.

The military-style buildup at the border zone, which started in the Tucson area late in the Bush administration, would become all but mandatory under the bill pending before the Senate. It requires that within six months of enactment, Homeland Security submit a plan to achieve “effective control” and “persistent surveillance” of the entire 1,969-mile land border with Mexico, something never before accomplished.
June 8, 2013

When The F-35 Is Too Hot To Handle


When The F-35 Is Too Hot To Handle

June 7, 2013: Over the last five years, testing of the STOVL (vertical takeoff and landing) or “B” version of the new American F-35 fighter showed that its F135 engine, the most powerful to ever be used in a fighter, generated enough heat to damage carrier decks. The F-35B engine heat effect was reduced by adjusting of the F135 exhaust (dispersing over a larger area). This, however, did not eliminate the other heat related problems. Components beneath the deck required better protection from the higher heat levels. On the smaller helicopter carriers (like the Wasp class) it was found that many nearby systems on the much smaller flight deck could be damaged by an F-35B landing or taking off too close to things like weapons (Phalanx and the like), antennas, aviation fuel outlets, fuel pipes, life rafts, life rails, safety nets, some electrical gear, and most other equipment that was safe to leave near the older AV-8B Harrier STOVL. So these items have to be either moved or provided with more heat protection.

The basic problem was that the F-35B is larger, and puts out more engine blast, than the current AV-8B, which has been in service since 1969. That early version was used mainly by the British Royal Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. It was an 11 ton aircraft (7 tons when taking off vertically) that carried about two tons of weapons. In the 1980s, a more powerful 14 ton version was developed, which could carry three tons of weapons. That generated more heat, but not enough to be a problem. The F-35B, which will replace the AV-8B, is a 27 ton aircraft that can carry six tons of weapons and is stealthy. In vertical takeoff mode the F-35B will carry about twice the weapons as the Harrier and have about twice the range (800 kilometers).

On land the F-35B also causes heat problems with the PSP (Perforated Steel Planking) used for rapidly constructed airfields. PSP is one of those prosaic innovations that everyone takes for granted. PSP is perforated metal matting that is used to rapidly create all-weather airstrips that can handle jet fighters and helicopters.

The original Marsden Mats of World War II were made of a rust-resistant steel alloy. The sheets of steel had holes in them (to allow for drainage) and slots by which they could easily be linked together. In less than two days engineers could build an airstrip over a kilometer long (usually 1.3 kilometers or about 4,000 feet) that could handle aircraft up to 28 tons. That meant four engine bombers like B-17s and B-24s (but not the 30 ton, when empty, B-29) could land on these airstrips.
June 8, 2013

Major General Michael T. Harrison Suspended By Army For Allegedly Mishandling Sexual Assault Case


Major General Michael T. Harrison Suspended By Army For Allegedly Mishandling Sexual Assault Case
By ROBERT BURNS 06/07/13 10:36 PM ET EDT AP

WASHINGTON — A two-star general who commands U.S. Army forces in Japan has been suspended from his duties for allegedly failing to report or properly investigate an allegation of sexual assault, the Army said Friday.

Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison was suspended by the Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, and Army Secretary John McHugh, the Army said. It provided no details about the alleged sexual assault case.

Until the investigation of Harrison's role is completed, Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer will take his place in Japan, the Army said.

Harrison already had been selected to become deputy commander of the Army component of U.S. Central Command, based in Kuwait. That new assignment was publicly announced in February by the Pentagon, which said at the same time that Boozer would replace Harrison as commander in Japan.

unhappycamper comment: Nothing will happen with Military Sexual Trauma until two things happen:

1. The military folks who have broken military discipline are charged, tried, discharged and imprisoned.
2. The military folks who have broken military discipline are charged, tried, discharged and imprisoned.
June 7, 2013

Pentagon: Israel approved document that revealed details of missile base


The Five-sided Puzzle Palace

Pentagon: Israel approved document that revealed details of missile base
By Matthew Schofield and Sheera Frenkel | McClatchy Washington Bureau
Posted on Thursday, June 6, 2013

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials deny that they inadvertently revealed secret details about a proposed Israeli missile base when they put the $25 million project up for bid.

Department of Defense officials said Israeli officials had reviewed in advance and approved the 1,000 pages of specifications for the Arrow 3 anti-missile defense system base that were posted on a U.S. government website for contractors. The United States is paying for construction of the base. It routinely posts details of such projects so that contractors may estimate the cost of building them.

“We have a long-standing relationship with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and we advertised the project in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations,” Brian Temple, the public affairs chief for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District – the branch of the U.S. government that worked out the arrangement with the Israeli government – said in an email.

He said Israel’s Ministry of Defense was responsible for determining how secret any project was and that “they determine whether they will be procured using classified or unclassified procedures.”
June 7, 2013

Judge denies motion from Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's lawyers to overturn case based on selective p


Judge denies motion from Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's lawyers to overturn case based on selective prosecution
By Paul Woolverton
Published: 08:15 AM, Thu Jun 06, 2013

A pretrial hearing in Fort Bragg Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair's sexual misconduct court-martial ended Wednesday with the judge rejecting some of Sinclair's efforts to stop his prosecution.

Sinclair's lawyers alleged he was being unfairly singled out for punishment while other upper-ranked officers were treated more leniently. The judge, Col. James Pohl, disagreed.

But Sinclair also had a victory when the lead prosecutor announced that the government will restart the jury selection process. Sinclair's lawyers had challenged the jury pool on the premise that it was improperly selected and too limited in its scope of potential jurors for him to get a fair trial.

The jury will consist entirely of Army generals. At a court-martial scheduled to start July 16, the panel will be asked to consider whether Sinclair forced a captain under his command in Afghanistan to twice perform oral sex on him.
June 7, 2013

Revealed: NSA Collecting Phone Records Of Millions Of Americans Daily


Exclusive: Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama

Revealed: NSA Collecting Phone Records Of Millions Of Americans Daily
By Glenn Greenwald
OpEdNews Op Eds 6/5/2013 at 20:37:47

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America's largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk -- regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.


Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

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