Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts in "Air Force"

July 29, 2014

Pentagon Weather Satellites Raise Hacking Vulnerability, Watchdog Finds

No one has ever done a security assessment of a Defense Department weather satellite program used by the Pentagon to monitor potential battlefield conditions, according to an inspector general report. There might not even ever be a security assessment to make sure it meets DOD’s standards, in fact. And because that system is interwoven with another program by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, it makes that one more vulnerable to hacking. Full story

July 21, 2014

Taxpayer Group Knocks Senate Defense Spending Bill

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Pilots in a EA-18G Growler complete a nighttime, touch-and-go landing during Field Carrier Landing Practice for the Carrier Air Wing 5 of U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan on May 14. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Taxpayers for Common Sense found fault with the House’s fiscal 2015 Defense spending bill, and the group now has its share of gripes with the Senate’s $549.7 billion version, too, for spending money on programs the Defense Department doesn’t want and adding money beyond what the Obama administration requested. Full story

July 11, 2014

Video: Taking Photographs of an F-16 Inside Another F-16

Air Force photographer Sgt. Larry Reid, Jr. has a fascinating, and fascinatingly difficult, job. Imagine having a very narrow window in which to photograph a Thunderbird mid-flight with more than seven G’s pushing on you… Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 11:23 a.m.
Air Force

Official Says Pentagon Wants Satellite Launch Competition; Lawmakers Unsure

The Pentagon’s acquisition boss took some guff at a House hearing over a massive satellite launch contract that has prompted a lawsuit by a company that thinks it got shoved aside unfairly. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 9:58 a.m.
Air Force, Procurement

July 10, 2014

F-35 Fire Looks Like a One-Off So Far, Pentagon Official Says

There’s an ongoing evaluation to get to the bottom of a June F-35 engine fire, but a top Pentagon official said Thursday that “There’s a growing body of evidence this may have been an individual situation, not a systemic one.” Full story

Some ‘Told You So,’ Some Uncertainty on the F-35

451312505 2 445x316 Some Told You So, Some Uncertainty on the F 35

This picture taken Oct. 28, 2013, shows a model of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II during a press day of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition in Goyang. (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

A mysterious F-35 engine fire, the grounding of the fleet, a visit from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel scheduled for Thursday and the resulting possible pullback from an international debut at a British air show have put the Joint Strike Fighter — the most expensive weapon system ever — in the, well, hot seat. Full story

July 8, 2014

How the Defense Industry Might Become More Like the Automobile Industry

495261817 2 445x296 How the Defense Industry Might Become More Like the Automobile Industry

LEIPZIG, Germany: The future of the defense industry? The new Honda Civic Type R Concept at the 2014 AMI Auto Show on May 30. (Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

William J. Lynn III, the former No. 2 man at the Defense Department, compares the state of the defense industry to the car business from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. “It was basically unpatriotic to drive a European or an Asian car,” he said Tuesday. “Look what’s happened now. Of the top 10 most American-made cars now, five have foreign name plates.” Full story

July 1, 2014

Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

451550778 445x295 Future Military Helicopters Program to Slim Down One Way, Not Another, Leader Says

U.S. Army soldiers stand next to a Black Hawk helicopter during a military exercise near the town of Gjakova, Kosovo on July 1. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

In about a month, the number of designs moving forward for the technology demonstration program that’s associated with a long-term plan for replacing the current fleet of military helicopters will be pared down, a top program official said Tuesday. And he’s not worried about the rug being pulled out from underneath the program because of budget pressures. Full story

June 26, 2014

POGO Knocks Wasteful Defense Spending-Bill Spending — F-35, Carrier Refueling

467988801 445x295 POGO Knocks Wasteful Defense Spending Bill Spending    F 35, Carrier Refueling

A staff member prepares the replica of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jet at the exhibition center ahead of the Singapore’s Airshow on Feb. 9. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Project on Government Oversight has issued something of report card on the House version of the fiscal 2015 defense spending bill. The group likes some things the House did, but not others. Full story

June 25, 2014

On A-10 ‘Warthog,’ Rank and File Defy the End

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A-10 ‘Warthogs’ make a flyover before the start of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix auto race in 2012. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Building on a post here recently about the Air Force’s foiled attempts to cut expenses thanks to congressional opposition, Megan Scully detailed for Roll Call how and why the House recently voted to block retirement of the A-10 “Warthog” aircraft. Full story

June 23, 2014

Video: Ground-Based Missile Defense System Intercepts Target

The video comes from the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, which pushes for missile defense spending, although it is derived from footage taken directly from the website of the Missile Defense Agency. The Alliance released it Monday. Over the weekend, the Defense Department hailed the successful test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system.

Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:43 p.m.
Air Force, Technology

June 18, 2014

Air Force Tries to Save Cash, Congress Won’t Let It

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An A-10 Thunderbolt parked on a tarmac in the Czech Republic where it was taking part in joint NATO military exercises in 2012. AFP PHOTO/ RADEK MICA (Radek Mica/AFP/GettyImages)

Everywhere Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James turns to cut her budget, Congress puts up a roadblock. Trying to get rid of the A-10: “So far it’s not gone over tremendously well,” she said. A proposal to shutter bases via the Base Realignment and Closure process: “I would give that zero probability of passing this year.” The notion of slicing aircraft here and there: “That hasn’t gone over very well either.”

It leaves James with few options of her own choosing, she told defense reporters at a breakfast Wednesday, along with some alternatives she doesn’t want — and a future she views as unrealistic. Full story

June 16, 2014

Pentagon Waste on Table in Advance of House Spending Bill Consideration

The House is about to take up its annual bill for Defense spending. It’s a $491 billion measure, $570 billion if you count the war-related spending account, so there’s a lot of money to be scrutinized.

Some of the bill’s provisions take aim at withholding funds; some of the bill’s provisions increase funds for programs the Pentagon doesn’t want; and some provisions will be targeted for new cuts or increases when the bill comes to the floor. Full story

June 13, 2014

What the Departure of Eric Cantor Means for National Security

gop002 030514 445x303 What the Departure of Eric Cantor Means for National Security

Cantor, right, and Boehner attend a news conference at the RNC after a meeting of the Republican caucus on March 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Everyone is still digesting the fallout from this week’s surprise primary election defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., but the part related to its effect on national security and foreign policy is pretty well-chewed, enough to examine it as a whole. Full story

The New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

158859200 445x233 The New Stealth Bomber Is (Finally, Maybe) Coming

A stealth bomber flies over the parade route during the 124th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2013 in Pasadena, Calif. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The Air Force’s top acquisition chief said Friday that the department is “days away” from seeking proposals from industry on the mostly classified new Long-Range Strike Bomber, one of its three top procurement priorities. Unless it isn’t: “I’m learning in the Pentagon, ‘days away’ can go on for a long time,” William LaPlante joked.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council, LaPlante shared additional information on the timeline and expectations for the bomber that the Air Force plans to buy 80-100 of by 2026 at a cost of as much as $550 million each (although affiliated costs could drive the price up, and analysts suggest the total price could near $81 billion). Full story

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