Archive for the ‘deployments’ Category

Defense Trade Currents

March 16, 2008

By William Hawkins
The Washington Times
March 16, 2008

The legacy of the draconian cuts in military force levels and procurement during the 1990s continues to cast a pall over U.S. national security planning. That American soldiers and Marines have been overstretched by repeated deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan is well-known, and steps are being taken to expand their strength.
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It is not just the combat forces, however, but the defense industry upon which they depend for arms and equipment, that also needs to be reconstituted.
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The “procurement holiday” of the Clinton administration cost the defense industrial base a million jobs. The Pentagon promoted a consolidation of firms and elimination of “excess” capacity. This reform was supposed to improve efficiency but it also reduced domestic competition. Now, to stimulate competition, or even just access sufficient capacity, foreign firms are invited to supply U.S. forces with hardware.
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The most recent example is the awarding of a $35 billion U.S. Air Force contract for 179 new KC-45A aerial refueling tankers based on the Airbus A330 airliner built by European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS). Boeing has built every previous USAF tanker and has won contracts for its KC-767 tankers from Japan and Italy. But it lost the military competition at home to the foreign firm that is also its main global rival in the commercial airliner sector.
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The USAF contract comes at a critical time for EADS. Its A380 “superjumbo” airline project is well behind schedule, and there have been problems in the Airbus A350 midsized airliner project (crucial to its future battles with Boeing), and in its A400M military airlifter.
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EADS is Europe’s largest defense contractor yet is much smaller than Boeing because Europe went on an even deeper disarmament slide after the Cold War and has done little to reverse course.
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The once-mighty NATO armies deployed to stop a Soviet blitzkrieg across Germany have melted away to where they can hardly maintain a few brigades in Afghanistan to fight lightly armed insurgents. European firms are desperate for American taxpayers to bail them out with military contracts. .
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The question is: Can the United States depend on a steady supply of production, including decades of space parts and upgrades, from foreign industries in decline — and where military investment and research are funded at only a fraction of what America devotes to defense?

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Troop depression on rise in Afghanistan

March 6, 2008
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – U.S. troop morale improved in Iraq last year, but soldiers fighting in Afghanistan suffered more depression as violence there worsened, an Army mental health report says.

And in a recurring theme for a force strained by its seventh year at war, the annual battlefield study found once again that soldiers on their third and fourth tours of duty had sharply greater rates of mental health problems than those on their first or second deployments, according to several officials familiar with the report.

All spoke on condition of anonymity to….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080306/ap_on_go_
ca_st_pe/troops_mental_health;_ylt=
Aiix9QQIVsx7t.Kf54Ccmbas0NUE

Strategic airlift on artificial life support

November 5, 2007

Jim Saxton
The Washington Times
November 5, 2007

When there is a conflict in some far-off place and the decision is made for the United States to intervene militarily, it is vital that our troops and their supplies and equipment get there fast. For this, a modern airlift fleet is essential. But some in Congress do not understand this and have created “artificial barriers” to providing the airlift necessary to accomplish efficient, rapid, and safe deployments.

The Pentagon’s strategic airlift strategy, we have been told, will require “300 capable strategic aircraft” to ferry our military personnel and their equipment to various future theaters of conflict.

Today, there are two possibilities as far as those airlifters are concerned: the C-17, the most modern and by far the most capable; and the C-5, an aircraft first built in the 1960s. Assuming 300 airlifters will do the trick….

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/
article?AID=/20071105/COMMENTARY/111050012