Entries Tagged as 'Defense spending'

Obama administration spending billions on new global strike weapons

By Bill Van Auken
April 24, 2010

The Obama administration is spending billions of dollars to develop new weapons systems, including powerful conventional warhead missiles capable of striking any target in the world within less than an hour.

The US Air Force carried out two separate test launches April 22—one at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and the other at Cape Canaveral, Florida—designed to further the development of these weapons systems.

The first system, known as Conventional Prompt Global Strike, or CPGS, would be capable of striking anywhere across the globe within under an hour of a launch order, using intercontinental ballistic missiles fired from the US to deliver conventional warheads against targets in other countries.

Capable of striking a target with an impact speed of up to 4,000 feet per second and a payload of up to 8,000 pounds, these warheads would be able to obliterate everything within a 3,000-foot radius. …

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) carried out a test launch Thursday of a space plane known as the Falcon, or Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2), a suborbital vehicle that is the prototype for the CPGS delivery system.

It was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on a decommissioned ballistic missile, from which the plane separated just outside of the atmosphere, hurtling back to the Earth at a speed of more than 13,000 miles per hour, more than 20 times the speed of sound. The plane was supposed to crash into the Pacific Ocean near a US military test site on the Kwajalein Atoll.

The other unmanned space vehicle launched Thursday from Cape Canaveral was the X-37B. The Pentagon remained tight-lipped about the highly classified program, refusing to say even when the 29-foot plane—which resembles a smaller version of the space shuttle—would return to earth, much less specify what it was carrying or give any detailed explanation of its mission.

While it is estimated that the cost of developing the X-37B will run into the billions, the precise amount also remains classified, included as part of the Pentagon’s “black” budget. …


Pentagon's new strategy beefs up Army, Marines

By John Yaukey
January 27, 2010

Draft of 4-year plan suggests major impact on Isle bases

Boots on the ground will trump jets in the air or boats in the
water in the Pentagon’s forward-looking, four-year plan due out Monday
alongside the 2011 defense budget.

The Quadrennial Defense Review will recommend beefing up the Army and Marine
Corps, now stretched thin in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a draft
version of the document.

Many of the cuts in expensive weapons have already started.

For Hawai’i and Guam — home to some of the most expensive conventional weapons the nation deploys, as well as to legions of foot soldiers — the report will have manifold consequences, although it’s not yet clear what they are.

The various military branches are expected to outline how they’ll be affected by the QDR and the proposed 2011 defense budget Monday.

The defense budget has been growing by an annual average of 4 percent, which would mean a $563 billion package for 2011, depending on whether it includes special funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If included, the war funding could boost the overall request to $700 billion or more.

The Obama administration has said it wants to include war funding in the annual budget, rather than adding it in as needed, the way the Bush administration did.

“The defense budget is now more people-oriented,” said Loren Thompson, a top defense analyst with the Virginia-based Lexington Institute. “You’re going to see more emphasis on fighting unconventional warfare and less on weapons like aircraft carriers and bombers — more on people and less on equipment.”


Preventing a Space Pearl Harbor: SBSS Program to Monitor the Heavens

Defense Industry Daily
January 18, 2010

In January 2001, a commission headed by then US Defense Secretary-designate Donald Rumsfeld warned about a possible “space Pearl Harbor” in which a potential enemy would launch a surprise attack against US-based military space assets, disabling them. These assets include communications satellites and the GPS system, which is crucial for precision attack missiles and a host of military systems.

“The US is more dependent on space than any other nation. Yet the threat to the US and its allies in and from space does not command the attention it merits,” the commission warned.

One of the systems that grew out of the commission’s report was the Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) project, which is developing a constellation of satellites to provide the US military with space situational awareness using visible sensors. …

The SBSS system is intended to detect and track space objects, such as satellites, anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, and orbital debris, providing information to the US Department of Defense as well as NASA. The SBSS is a stepping stone toward a functional space-based space surveillance constellation. …

The initial SBSS satellite is expected to improve the US government’s ability to detect deep space objects by 80% over the MSX/SBV system.

The MSX/SBV system was a late 1990s missile defense test satellite; by 2002 most of its sensors had failed. However, 1 small package called the SBV sensor was able to search and track satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) using visible light. …

Building on the success of the MSX/SBV visible sensor, the SBSS Block 10 will further develop the technology and replace the SBV sensor. Block 10 will involve the development of 1 satellite as a pathfinder for a full-constellation of space-based sensors. …

Jan 15, 2010: Boeing in Seal Beach, CA received a $30.9 million contract exercising the option for CY2010 maintenance and operations services to provide the requirements for the development and delivery of the logistics infrastructure of the Space Based Space Surveillance Block 10 system. At this time, $7.8 million has been obligated.


Northrop wins huge contract

The Huntsville Times
January 9, 2010

The Army has awarded a $577 million contract to Northrop Grumman for engineering and manufacturing development of the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System.

In an announcement Friday, the Army said the program’s aim is to give soldiers a single system that simplifies workload while providing the Army’s contribution to a Joint Single Integrated Air Picture that can be used across all the armed forces.

In 2008, the Army narrowed competition for the work to Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. At that time, a Northrop Grumman executive said during an appearance in Huntsville the company was looking forward to developing and demonstrating some novel concepts for the system, which could be a large program for the company and the Army. …


US approves 2010 military budget

Capital FM
December 19, 2009

The US Congress on Saturday sent US President Barack Obama a massive annual military spending bill that funds current operations in Afghanistan and pays for the troop withdrawal from Iraq.

In a rare weekend vote, the Senate approved the 636.3-billion-dollar package, which cleared the House of Representatives 395-34 on Wednesday, by an 88-10 margin.

Obama is expected to send Congress an emergency spending measure of at least 30 billion dollars early next year to pay for his recently announced decision to send 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan.

The bill includes 101.1 billion dollars for operations and maintenance and military personnel requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan and to carry out the planned withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq by August 2010.

The package also funds the purchase of 6,600 new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armoured vehicles configured to better resist improvised explosive devices — roadside bombs used to deadly effect by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bill includes 80 million dollars to acquire more unmanned “Predator” drones, a key tool in the US air war in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

That campaign deploys unmanned Predator and larger Reaper drones equipped with infrared cameras and armed with precision-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles.

With little public debate in the United States, the pace of the drone bombing raids has steadily increased, starting last year during ex-president George W. Bush’s final months in office and now under Obama’s tenure.

The spending bill upholds Obama’s ban on torture of detainees in US custody, continues a general provision forbidding the establishment of permanent bases in Iraq or Afghanistan, and provides no funds to close the prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/International/US-approves-2010-military-budget-6871.html#ixzz0aJMyn2R7
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

Political clash expected soon over rising U.S. debt

The Miami Herald
By Rob Hotakainen
November 29, 2009

In the past, members of Congress never have been particularly eager to remind the public that they regularly vote to raise the ceiling on the national debt, which now exceeds $12 trillion [$12,000,000,000,000].

The debt has more than doubled since 2002, and in the last two years it’s been rising at a clip of more than $3.8 billion a day. Each U.S. citizen now has a share that’s estimated at more than $39,000. …

A bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators is threatening to vote against an increase in the debt limit unless Congress passes a new deficit-fighting plan.

“I will not vote for raising the debt limit without a vehicle to handle this. … This is our moment,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. …

Feinstein said it could be similar to the process for closing military bases, in which members must vote to take or leave the entire package. …


CentCom planners study massive move of equipment to Afghanistan

By William R. Levesque
November 27, 2009

With President Barack Obama poised to ramp up troop levels in Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command planners are in the midst of the military’s biggest logistical challenge since the Vietnam War.

How do you marshal billions of dollars in equipment to escalate one war in Afghanistan while scaling back another in Iraq? …

In a wide-ranging interview with the St. Petersburg Times this week, [Army Maj. Gen.] Dowd said landlocked Afghanistan presents greater difficulties than Iraq with its fewer routes of supply.

CentCom is now conducting an assessment of air strips in Afghanistan, and Dowd said engineers will have to expand them in order to resupply larger numbers of troops by air.

“I’m a little concerned about” airfield capacity, Dowd said. “We’ve got to expand and make it better.” …

Obama is expected to announce next week an escalation of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan that will send as many as 30,000 additional troops on top of the 68,000 already there.

Much of the U.S. equipment in Iraq will never return to the states.

Often, it isn’t cost-efficient to do so, planners say.

Much of it will be sold to Iraqi security forces, Dowd said. Other gear not sent to Afghanistan after refurbishment in Kuwait might be placed in storage somewhere in CentCom’s area of responsibility, which includes 20 nations in the region. …


Pentagon Expected to Request More War Funding

The New York Times
By Elisabeth Bumiller
November 4, 2009

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top military officer said Wednesday that he expected the Pentagon to ask Congress in the next few months for emergency financing to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though President Obama has pledged to end the Bush administration practice of paying for the conflicts with so-called supplemental funds that are outside the normal Defense Department budget.

The financing would be on top of the $130 billion that Congress authorized for the wars just last month.

Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who is chairman of the House appropriations defense subcommittee, cited $40 billion last week as a hypothetical amount for the supplemental financing request. The number represented a standard calculation of $1 billion for every 1,000 troops deployed. …

Mr. Obama did include the $130 billion for the wars as part of his regular $668 billion defense budget this year, the first time that has happened since 2001. President George W. Bush regularly financed the wars with emergency requests that usually came after the Pentagon budget was introduced. …


Obama chooses missile defense critic for advisory post

October 28, 2009

President Obama today nominated of Philip Coyle, a leading critic of Bush administration missile defense schemes, to be a top White House scientific advisor.

Coyle, who was the head weapons tester at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration, was nominated to become the Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. There he will lead a team tasked with giving scientific advice to Obama on a range of national security issues and will report to Director John Holdren.

Since his last tour at the Pentagon, Coyle has been a leading analyst on weapons systems for the Center for Defense Information, a component of the World Security Institute, a defense-minded think thank. From that perch, he’s been actively involved in several of the national security debates involving advanced technology and a staunch watchdog on the missile defense system the Bush administration rushed to deploy throughout its tenure.

Coyle has often pointed out that the testing done by the Pentagon on ballistic missile defense components since 2001 has been either shoddy or thin. Moreover, he has repeatedly questioned the basic rationale for investing billions to deploy ballistic missile defense around the world, especially in Eastern Europe.

“In my view, Iran is not so suicidal as to attack Europe or the United States with missiles,” he testified before the House Armed Services Strategic Forces subcommittee in February, “But if you believe that Iran is bound and determined to attack Europe or America, no matter what, then I think you also have to assume that Iran would do whatever it takes to overwhelm our missile defenses, including using decoys to fool the defenses, launching stealthy warheads, and launching many missiles, not just one or two.”

Coyle has often argued that the Bush administration rushed to deploy missile defense systems around the world to build momentum and keep money flowing into the program. He has repeatedly said that the Missile Defense Agency has been amassing hardware that is either not aligned with the threat or can’t be relied on in case of an actual emergency.

Over $120 billion has been spent on ballistic missile defense since its inception during the Reagan administration. …


Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal

Julian Borger
September 20, 2009

Pentagon told to map out radical cuts as president prepares to chair UN talks.

Barack Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country’s arsenal …

Obama has rejected the Pentagon’s first draft of the “nuclear posture review” as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials.

Those options include:

• Reconfiguring the US nuclear force to allow for an arsenal measured in hundreds rather than thousands of deployed strategic warheads.

• Redrafting nuclear doctrine to narrow the range of conditions under which the US would use nuclear weapons.

• Exploring ways of guaranteeing the future reliability of nuclear weapons without testing or producing a new generation of warheads.

The review is due to be completed by the end of this year, and European officials say the outcome is not yet clear. But one official said: “Obama is now driving this process. He is saying these are the president’s weapons, and he wants to look again at the doctrine and their role.” …