Tag: Defense

Would That He Were President Elect

While Joe Biden signed off regarding making the direct payments so miserly in the stimulus bill, Bernie Sanders is promising a filibuster of the veto override of the Defense Authorization Bill, which would delay the vote for at least 3 days, unless the house bill to raise payments to $2000.00 gets an up or down vote in the Senate.

I get that the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) came together with a zeal and a competence that is never seen opposing wars, or ill-guided tax cuts, or genocide, and anointed Biden, but Bernie is still being Bernie:

For most of the last few decades, budget standoffs in Washington tended to follow the same script: Republicans threatened to block some domestic spending bill or fully shut down the government unless Democrats agreed to let the GOP own the libs with something bad like a JPMorgan giveaway, a tax break for the rich or a draconian cut to a social program.

When Democrats controlled Congress, they never mustered the courage to respond with their own version of the same shrewd tactics. Even toward the end of the Bush era when the Iraq War was deeply unpopular, they never made a serious attempt to hold up a bloated GOP-written Pentagon bill in order to try to get their way on a progressive initiative.

But at the end of one of the worst years in recent history, it seems things are changing.

In a long overdue script-flipping move, Sen. Bernie Sanders is now moving to halt a major defense bill until and unless Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell allows a full vote on legislation to give millions of starving Americans $2,000 in emergency aid. That legislation passed the House yesterday over opposition from a majority of House Republicans, who tried their best to deny their own constituents much-needed aid.

Now the bill is in McConnell’s hands, and Sanders is pulling a McConnell on McConnell. He is imperiling the GOP boss’s top priority — the defense bill that authorizes pay increases for soldiers, military training, new weapons systems, while also complicating attempts to draw down troops deployed in Afghanistan. That McConnell-backed legislation could be stalled unless he agrees to Sanders’ demands and stops obstructing a progressive priority.

Sanders could keep the Senate in session until New Years Day, limiting the ability of corrupt Georgia Senators Purdue and Loeffler to campaign in the runup to the runoff.

 I am heartened by this, but I expect the Democrats to figure out a way to capitulate, because that is what Democrats do, particularly in the Senate, and particularly under the leader ship of Chuck Schumer.

Have Some British Fighter Pr0n

Not Exactly Pretty

I’m ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille

I don’t believe in the cost savings through tech

Hopefully, this will work better than the F-35

Does not appear to be variable cycle

The RAF and “Team Tempest” have released renderings of their next-generation fighter proposal at an online event.

It’s interesting, but based on prior performance, the F-22, the F-35, the Typhoon, and the Rafale, we are at least ¼ century from the aircraft being deployed operationally.

Rather a far cry from the 180 day interval between contract signing and first flight for the P-80 Shooting Star:

Team Tempest and the Royal Air Force recently held a virtual event to provide an update about the development opportunities of the new sixth generation aircraft to industry and government representatives from Northern Ireland, the first of a series of events to engage with industries across the UK. Within the press release there is also some new renderings of the aircraft which, we have to note, is not in its final shape as it’s being designed “from the inside out” and the airframe’s exterior design may change to reflect changes in the internal systems.

Of note is the details on propulsion, specifically the statement that thermal management will be an integral part of the engine.

This is likely in response to an issue with both the F-22 and F-35, which is that they are basically thermos bottles relying on fuel to cool mission and flight critical systems, which means that both aircraft need to carry additional fuel, and weight, for cooling.

The statement implies that the amount of fuel that needs to come back to base would be less, which would either lower weight, or increase range and endurance.

Rolls-Royce is working on the advanced combustion system technology that will power Tempest. The next-generation system is being designed to be hotter than previous ones to increase the efficiency of the engine, its range and speed, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Together with the higher-temperature combustion, there will be a new thermal management system that will use the turbine as a heat sink to recycle thermal energy, removing the need for overboard venting and improving the efficiency, and an increased electrical power production, reportedly in the order of one megawatt, that will be used to power all the aircraft’s subsystems.

This follows the assessment by Rolls Royce that future fighter aircraft will have unprecedented levels of electrical power demand and thermal load that need to be managed accordingly to maintain the airframe’s low observability. Being more specific, the company stated that they will integrate an Electrical Embedded Starter Generator that will function both as an APU and as an electrical generator after the engine is spooled up.

This is actually in some ways quite similar to what RR did with Trent 1000 for the Boeing 787, which is an all electric (no bleed air) design.

If you are into this, time to get your geek on.

Finally, Someone Finally Fires Henry Kissinger

Donald Trump once again did the right thing for the wrong reason, because he fired one of the worst war criminals in American history from the Defense Policy Board in a fit of pique.

Why this ghoul still prowls the halls of power is an indictment the whole US foreign policy and defense establishments:

Several members of the top federal advisory committee to the U.S. Department of Defense have been suddenly pushed out, multiple U.S. officials told Foreign Policy, in what appears to be the outgoing Trump administration’s parting shot at scions of the foreign-policy establishment.

The directive, which the Pentagon’s White House liaison Joshua Whitehouse sent on Wednesday afternoon, removes 11 high-profile advisors from the Defense Policy Board, including former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright; retired Adm. Gary Roughead, who served as chief of naval operations; and a onetime ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman. Rudy De Leon, a former chief operating officer at the Pentagon once considered by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis for a high-level policy role, will also be ousted.

Madeline Albright, who was the strongest advocate of the sanctions on Iraq, which resulted in something approaching 100,000 deaths as well.

The board seems to be primarily to be a way to provide a veneer of historical wisdom, and most brutal, policies of the American empire.

Also booted in today’s sweep of the board, which is effective immediately, were former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and David McCormick, a former Treasury Department undersecretary during the George W. Bush administration. Both had been added to the board by Mattis in 2017. Jamie Gorelick, a Clinton administration deputy attorney general; Robert Joseph, a chief U.S. nuclear negotiator who convinced Libya to give up weapons of mass destruction; former Bush Deputy National Security Advisor J.D. Crouch II; and Franklin Miller, a former top defense official, have also been removed.


The board, overseen by the Pentagon’s top policy official, the undersecretary of defense for policy, serves as a kind of in-house think tank on retainer for top military leaders, providing independent counsel and advice on defense policy. The Defense Policy Board includes former top military brass, secretaries of state, members of Congress, and other senior diplomats and foreign-policy experts. The status of two other members of the panel—or who would replace the ousted members—was not immediately clear.


The White House had sought to add Scott O’Grady, a former Air Force fighter pilot shot down over Bosnia, to the board to prepare him to be nominated for a top Pentagon position, as well as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a close ally of President Donald Trump. The administration had also vetoed adding retired Adm. Eric Olson, a former U.S. Special Operations Command chief, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, as well as Gordon England, a former deputy secretary of defense during the Bush administration, over perceived anti-Trump ties. 

Like I said, the wrong reason to fire them all, but good riddance to this bastion of conventional (and wrong) thinking.

The Good News is that They Just Completed the First Ever Full Audit of the Pentagon

The bad news is that they just completed the first ever full audit at the Pentagon.

The audit was, to use military jargon, a complete clusterf%$#:

The Pentagon has failed what is being called its first-ever comprehensive audit, a senior official said on Thursday, finding U.S. Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve.  

Results of the inspection – conducted by some 1,200 auditors and examining financial accounting on a wide range of spending including on weapons systems, military personnel and property – were expected to be completed later in the day.

“We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding that the findings showed the need for greater discipline in financial matters within the Pentagon.

“It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial,” Shanahan added.

No, the fact that you did an audit was bureaucracy 101, and you f%$#ing failed in f%$#ing flying colors.

Shanahan said areas the Pentagon must improve upon based on the audit results include compliance with cybersecurity policies and improving inventory accuracy. In a briefing with reporters, he did not provide a figure detailing how much money was unaccounted for in the audit.

It was unclear what consequences there would be after the audit, but Shanahan said the focus would be on fixing the issues.

Translation:  How do we overpay contractors to wallpaper this over.

A 1990 federal law mandated that U.S. government agencies be audited, but the Pentagon had not faced a comprehensive audit until this one was launched in December.

Defense officials and outside experts have said it may be years before the Pentagon is able to fix its accounting gaps and errors and pass an audit.

I’m not sure how to fix the mess, but a good start is to remove the authority of the people who created the mess.

A good start would be for there to be another Truman Commission, but given the predilection of politicians these days for grandstanding, and their deep distaste for the hard work involved in real oversight, I’m not holding my breath.

Hint: It’s called pay, benefits, and job security

Aviation Week & Space Technology is wringing its hands over the shortage of Aviation and Defense (A&D) workers.

Given that there is little job security, and pay and benefits have been declining for years, it’s not surprising that people are loathe to enter the field:

Uncle Sam’s contractors want you—and your sons and daughters. And at this rate, they could be eyeing the family dog. But perhaps they should expand their search.

From 737 gliders parked around the Seattle area to a $2.5 billion merger and acquisition (M&A) among Beltway Bandits orbiting Washington, headlines in the aerospace and defense sector lately have been replete with examples of workforce constraints manifesting in money terms. What is more, the Pentagon soon will unveil a review of the defense industrial base (DIB) that will spotlight concerns over talent recruitment and retainment.

The need for more technology-oriented workers and the difficulty in getting them is the talk of industry. Just this month, word came that Boeing was rehiring some of its retirees to help alleviate 737 production issues.


At the Farnborough Airshow in July, senior executives pondered how to recruit talent, especially managers, from other industries such as automotive. “Discussions at the air show confirmed concern about supporting an upturn in activity with the correct personnel in this competitive hiring environment,” ZRG’s report notes. The traditional approach of recruiting from the same sector has huge limitations, it was noted.

But Foster tells Aviation Week that the truism “Companies do not want to spend the time or money training new workers” ultimately holds for upper management as well as the factory floor. Everybody wants you to already know their industry, their company, she says.

Also, companies want managers in 45-55-year-old range, she says. Seasoned, but with growth potential. However, there is a deficit in that age range because not a lot of prime candidates were entering then. At the same time, older workers are eyeing the exits. “If there was ever a time to retire, it is now.” For starters, look at the stock markets. Besides, it can be increasingly hard to live a high-travel business life, Foster notes.

You spend 30 years sucking the marrow out of your workforce, and then you are surprised when your workforce goes away.

Modern American MBA mismanagement.