NewsBrief November 22, 2019

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Cost Estimating NewsBrief: November 22, 2019

US Electronic Warfare: You’re Doing It Wrong

(Breaking Defense) Despite rising budgets and high-level attention to electronic warfare, the Pentagon’s “efforts have been unfocused and are likely to fail,” warns a congressionally mandated study out today. What the US needs, the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments report says, is a radically new approach that can outfox Russia and China. In the much-delayed 2020 budget, the Pentagon requests $10.1 billion (in the unclassified budget) for electronic warfare – but the lion’s share goes to traditional platforms like the Next Generation Jammer for the Navy’s EA-18G Growler and the SEWIP system for surface warships. (The Army and Air Force have largely disbanded their EW corps and left the mission to the Navy since 1991, and they’re only now trying to rebuild). These platforms are big, they’re expensive, they have humans aboard, so they’re not expendable – yet their radars, radios, and jammers give away their presence to the enemy by emitting powerful signals. Read More

Pentagon audit’s secret to success is failure

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON ― How did the Defense Department succeed in completing its first two full financial-statement audits in the large and complex organization’s history? It embraced failure. In testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support on Wednesday, the official who spearheaded the first two annual audits, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, said Pentagon leaders in prior years wanted to avoid the hefty expense of an audit until the department felt it was prepared to pass. That was “a major mistake,” said Norquist, who was the the chief financial officer at the Department of Homeland Security when that agency performed its audit. Instead Norquist planned to use the audit to identify deficiencies and then fix them. DoD just announced it completed the second audit last week. Read More

DOD Awards $48.9 Million to Universities for Major Research Equipment

(U.S. Dept of Defense) Continuing its long history of successful collaboration with the scientific community, the Department of Defense announced awards to 172 university researchers totaling nearly $49 million under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program. These grants will benefit 91 institutions across 40 states in fiscal year 2020. The Department of Defense is a committed participant in and champion of the country’s scientific ecosystem. Through DURIP, the Department supports purchases of major research equipment to augment current and develop new capabilities. This effort enables universities to perform cutting-edge research that boosts the United States’ technological edge while ensuring that our future science, technology, engineering and math workforce remains second to none. Read More

DCS Awarded $93.4M Task Order to Support AFLCMC/WIH Helicopter Program Office; Larry Egbert Quoted

(ExecutiveGov) DCS Corporation has been awarded a potential five-year, $93.4 million prime task order to support the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance & Special Operations Forces Directorate’s Helicopter Program Office (HPO) under the Air Force’s EPASS program, DCS announced on Wednesday. “This is an exciting new opportunity for DCS to grow our Wright-Patterson AFB footprint and expand our support of DoD helicopters through these ACAT 1 programs,” said Larry Egbert, executive vice president of DCS. Read More

Using data, emerging technologies to drive DoD’s readiness

(Federal News Network) Defense Department officials told Congress earlier this year that timely, adequate, predictable, and sustained funding over the last two years has significantly increased the number of brigade combat teams readiness at the highest levels. Every military service and agency is better prepared to address threats around the world and in the United States from a people and equipment perspective. But there is still a long way to go to ensure continued and complete success in getting people, equipment, weapons, food and all the things that makes a military run well in place. The National Defense Strategy recognized this challenge. Read More

The financial crisis changed the bond market forever

(Quartz) Last week in Zurich, Richard Clarida, vice chairman of the US Federal Reserve bank, made a speech about how monetary policy—the raising and lowering of interest rates—has become more challenging in a low inflation environment. Among the figures and evidence he presented was startling picture of what central bankers call r*. r* is a calculation of the natural rate of interest, or roughly the short term or risk-free interest rate that would prevail if monetary policy was neutral (not trying to boost or slow the economy). It fell after the financial crisis and stayed low and is beginning to look like what economists call a structural change. Read More

How Lockheed Martin Is Trying To Link Everything on the Battlefield

(DefenseOne) The Pentagon’s efforts to digitally connect everything on the battlefield has a big challenge to overcome: getting disparate vehicles and weapons to share data. “The interoperability of various, different systems, that’s really where we are struggling. We don’t have that machine to machine connection to begin with,” Air Force Brig. Gen. David Kumashiro recently told the audience at last week’s Defense One Outlook 2020 conference. Read More

India’s Space Agency to launch three satellites to boost border security

(SpaceWar) TA third-generation Earth-imaging satellite Cartosat-3 and 13 commercial nanosatellites from the US will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Andhra Pradesh. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced on Tuesday that it will launch three Cartosat earth observation satellites between November 25 and the first week of December to beef up border security surveillance. Cartosat satellites are part of the Indian Remote Sensing Program (IRSP) and are used for Earth’s resource management, defence services, and monitoring. Read More

State Department OKs $6.9 billion in arms sales in one day

(DefenseNews) WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department on Wednesday cleared four potential foreign military sales packages, which combine for an estimated price tag of over $6.9 billion. The four packages, if approved by Congress, would involve AH-64E Apache helicopters for Morocco ($4.25 billion), C-130J aircraft for New Zealand ($1.4 billion), naval guns for India ($1.02 billion), and jammers for improvised explosive devices to Australia ($245 million). The notifications were posted on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. DSCA notifications are not final sales; once cleared by Congress, the sales enter negotiations, during which quantities and costs can shift. Read More

UK Backs Hybrid-electric Re-engining of Britten-Norman Islander

(CNN) Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) this week received a $12 million UK government grant to support its plans to develop a hybrid-electric propulsion system for the nine-seat Britten-Norman Islander twin-engine aircraft. The Project Fresson team plans to spend the next 30 months developing a demonstrator version of the re-engined aircraft, which is used for a variety of roles, including short regional airline connections to island locations. The goal of Project Fresson is to secure approval from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency and UK Civil Aviation Authority to offer the hybrid-electric powerplant as a modification for the Islander by the end of 2022. Read More

Thanksgiving – Statistics & Facts

(Statista) Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays in the United States. Since it became a public holiday in 1862, it has taken place on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Family and friends usually gather together for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in order to be thankful for a good harvest or blessings in life. The usual Thanksgiving meal in the United States features turkey roast, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet (mashed) potatoes, bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, vegetables of the season, bread rolls with butter and pumpkin pie with whipped cream as dessert. Read More

2019 Thanksgiving Fun Facts – Infographic with 61 Facts

(WalletHub) Settlers of the Plymouth Colony and their Wampanoag tribe predecessors kicked off a grand tradition way back in 1621. And for that we should all be thankful, if for nothing else than a day off from work and school. But the Thanksgiving we celebrate today is a lot different than that first festival in honor of a particularly bountiful harvest. Sure, we still eat turkey, potatoes and pumpkin. And we continue to use the occasion to reflect on the things we cherish most, such as friends and family. But a pair of additional F’s – football and Friday – has become just as important to some. Read More

Taco Bell wants you to take its tacos, stick ’em in a blender, and serve them as bisque this Thanksgiving

(CNN) For years, Thanksgiving feasts have featured bland roast turkeys, canned cranberry sauce and boxed stuffing mix. Thanks to Taco Bell, these painfully generic holiday dishes will plague American families no longer. Instead, the food chain wants you to serve blended Taco Bell Rolled Chicken Tacos at your traditional holiday dinner. Taco Bell headquarters hosts an annual Friendsgiving dinner for its employees, where every dish features an innovative Taco Bell spin. Past delicacies have included nacho fries au gratin (?) and sauce packet-flavored butter (!). Read More