Browsing: Washington

The Navy nabbed a lot of headlines again this week. Leading the way is news that the Navy’s 10th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock will be named for Rep. John Murtha – a story first reported by Scoop Deck’s own Phillip Ewing. An unfortunate T-39 crash killed four in Georgia also made headlines, as did the Thursday announcement that changes were coming to the performance evaluation system and advancement policy (check Monday’s Navy Times for more on that). And the president also reaffirmed his 2011 Afghan withdrawal plan this week.  Here’s seven stories in seven minutes from the past seven…

Scoop Deck blogger Lance M. Bacon took a day trip with Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead this week. This is the play-by-play report. Roughead speaks with reporters en route to Kings Bay, Ga., Tuesday morning. (photo by MC2 Kyle Malloy) 0620 Flying with the CNO definitely has its advantages. Here are a few: When the itinerary says departure time is 0615, you are wheels-up at 0615. No sitting on the tarmac for 30 minutes waiting to get in the departure line. Unlike commercial airlines, which incarcerate you in a 20-inch cell they call a “seat,” all the spots…

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates haven’t really said anything about the push to buy more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. And that silence may be telling. Now that summer’s over, Congress is back in session this week.  And lawmakers may finally hammer out a deal allowing the Navy to buy a new batch of Super Hornets. So far, the Super Hornets haven’t gained any of the attention that some other hot-button aviation issues have. For example, Gates recently threatened a White House veto of the entire defense bill if it includes cash for a extra F-35 engine that he…

Capitol Hill is buzzing about this report today from Congressional Quarterly: The Pentagon’s Joint Estimating Team, established to independently oversee the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, determined that the plane won’t be able to move out of the development phase and into full production until 2016, rather than in 2014 as the program office has said. But we’re not so sure this is really all that new. We’ve heard about the Joint Estimating Team’s critical assessments before, in this GAO report from May. That report notes a two-year gap in completion dates cited by the Joint Estimating Team and the JSF program office.…

There’ve been a lot of rumors swirling around Washington that the 50-year-old national defense strategy (being able to fight two big wars at the same time) is about to get canned in favor of a new one. Really? What happens if the senior-most military leaders decide that preparing for asymmetrical conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan is more important than fighting a second peer competitor? What are the implications of that for the Navy? That was a question posed by Navy guru Ron O’Rourke the other day during a panel discussion of Naval aviation in Washington. “That would amount to a change in the current force sizing…

Maybe Congress can only fight over one aircraft at a time. And these days, it’s not the Navy’s F/A-18 Super Hornet. Lawmakers have been quietly inserting millions of extra dollars into this year’s budget so the Navy can buy more Super Hornets — airplanes many say are needed to close the looming “fighter gap.” A retired naval aviator who watches closely the mechanics of Washington tells Scoopdeck that the very public battle over the Air Force’s pricey plane is providing some political cover for the Super Hornets’ advocates. “With all the controversy over the F-22, the F/A-18 is kind of…

There is some pretty clever technology coming down the pike along with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Another reporter and I were wondering the other day about whether the U.S. is actually going to sell all of those bells and whistles to all of the eight foreign militaries that are also buying the F-35. So I posed the question to Cheryl Limrick, the spokeswoman over at the JSF office. Will all of the F-35 international customers really have the same, peer capabilities? Or will the U.S. keep any of the technology for itself? She said: “All JSF participants (US and…

Yesterday we heard rumors that legislators on Capitol Hill would tell the Navy to buy more Super Hornets — despite the fact the Navy has not formally asked for any. That’s no longer a rumor: Today Rep. Gene Taylor marked up the defense authorization bill to include permission for the Navy to enter into a new multi-year contract with Boeing to buy more Super Hornets. Here’s his logic:“This mark clearly indicates that the Navy should build more of these planes instead of trying to extend the life of the older and less capable F/A18A thru D Hornets. It makes absolutely…

Take a look at this. …A reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch thinks Congress is going to step in and force the Navy to buy more Boeing-made Super Hornets. (St. Louis is the home of Boeing headquarters) This comes as we’re hearing more about the size of the fighter gap. We’re going to keep an eye on tomorrow’s House Armed Services seapower and expeditionary forces subcommittee meeting. The meeting is what they call a “mark-up” – or the time when legislators like to pencil in big changes to funding bills.

Lots of times when Navy officials travel, they don’t actually pay for the trips. Instead, it’s business, associations and foreign governments that pick up the tab. Check out this site here that shows all the trips taken by Navy officials and who paid for them. Just plug in “Navy” or “Naval” in the “Base or Office” search box. (…$5,299 to fly to London and attend the Historic Naval Ships Association Conference in 2006? That’s good work if you can get it.)

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