Army missile buyers are conducting a “market survey” to uncover potential long-term problems in the industry’s ability to deliver new technologies. In a “request for information” published this summer, the Army Aviation and Missile Command asks for expert views on what technologies the service will need in 2025-2030 and what “technical issues” present the greatest barrier to providing advanced technologies to the Defense Department.
Based on their responses to the Army’s questions, selected organizations were invited to a workshop to further discuss the issues. One area of concern, according to sources, is the industry’s manufacturing capacity and its ability to produce next-generation lightweight materials for missiles and other weapons. The findings of the market survey will shape an Army “missile roadmap” now in the works.
The launch of a new policy shop responsible for “counternarcotics, counterproliferation and global threats” is one piece of a broad reorganization recently unveiled by Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman. The rationale for creating this office, he explains, is the notion that “people who do bad stuff tend to do more than one bad thing.”
According to this thinking, it’s fair to assume that certain crimes beget other crimes. “If they’re dealing drugs, they’re very likely to also be trafficking in WMD materials, women and children, involved in organized crime. And so that will be a major preoccupation of that assistant secretary,” Edelman says.
As it begins a campaign to boost political support for its F-22 stealth fighter jet, the Air Force plans to showcase the aircraft at its vaunted “Red Flag” annual training exercise scheduled in January at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.
Red Flag only accepts aircraft that are “combat ready,” says one of the training commanders, Lt. Col. Craig Anfinsen.
Twelve F-22 Raptors, based at Langley Air Force Base, Va., took part in one exercise in Alaska, Northern Edge, in June. At Nellis, the Raptor will fly against the 64th and 65th aggressor squadrons, whose pilots – operating F-16 and F-15 fighters — will do their best to simulate shooting the F-22 pilots down.
Europe’s declining defense spending is putting a damper on NATO’s grand plan to create a fast-reaction force that would be ready to deploy on short notice. The top commander of NATO, Gen. James Jones, recently told reporters at the Pentagon that the so-called “NATO response force” is having a tough time getting financial support. Jones had hoped to declare the NRF operational on Oct. 1, but the force is far short of the 25,000 troops originally intended. The Pentagon agreed to supply 5,000 personnel.
“I continue to have questions about the willingness of nations to contribute forces to each rotation in the amount necessary,” Jones said. NATO has no central funding for NRF operations. None of the member countries wants to be financially responsible for mobilizing the force.
This comes as no surprise, given spending trends in Europe. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that Europe is the only region of the world that cut military spending in 2005 (by 1.7 percent). The biggest drops were in Italy and Britain.