Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 30, 2014

Posts in "Procurement"

October 30, 2014

Video: In the Cockpit of a U-2 Spy Plane, Up High and Down Low

We recently wrote how it looked like the storied U-2 spy plane would likely avert retirement yet again this year, as well as about how the plane is difficult to land and flies so very, very high. Watch the video above to see what it looks like from the cockpit when the U-2 gets way, way up there, then check out the view from a chase car during the landing.

If you want to watch another U-2 landing as viewed from a chase car, here’s a taste. Then, for another view from 70,000 feet, try here or here, with the second link offering some testimonials from U-2 pilots.

And if you want to read about the U-2′s competition in the Obama fiscal 2015 budget, McClatchy recently penned a feature on the Global Hawk.

October 22, 2014

Globalization and ‘The End of the Military-Industrial Complex’

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Lynn, as deputy secretary of Defense, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee in an undated photo. (Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

William J. Lynn III, the former No. 2 at the Department of Defense, has published a piece in Foreign Affairs headlined “The End of the Military-Industrial Complex.” It is not that his case should be ignored or otherwise discounted; it’s well worth reading. But it does require a caveat, which is mentioned at the end of this post. Full story

Coburn Wastebook: Iron Man Suit, FEMA Golf Courses, Navy Magazines

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Sen. Tom Coburn on Jan. 14. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (@tomcoburn) is out with his final edition of his annual Wastebook of government spending, and besides the massages for rabbits and money to watch grass grow, a variety of Defense Department projects and other national security-related programs get the Oklahoma Republican’s sardonic smack. Full story

October 2, 2014

U-2: Here to Stay?

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Bono, in Italy in September, from the other U2. (Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)

I have a story up for CQ Weekly subscribers about the U-2 spy plane, which has endured for decades despite constant debates about its relevance — not unlike the band U2. Full story

September 26, 2014

School Militarization Now a Thing (and Not Just in San Diego)

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MRAP vehicles sit in the Redistribution Property Accountability Team yard at Kandahar Airfield on March 8 near Kandahar, Afghanistan. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

First came the concerns about militarization of local police spurred by Ferguson, Mo. Next came attention for a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle given to the San Diego Unified School District by the Pentagon. Now the attention has expanded to school militarization nationwide, with a CBS News analysis out Friday. Full story

September 18, 2014

Missile Defense Test Was No “Softball Shot,” Says Boeing

That missile defense test from June, the first successful one in five years? It wasn’t “some softball shot,” as critics allege, according to Boeing officials managing the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program. And in so far as it was “scripted,” they said, it was only because fully simulating a nuclear missile attack isn’t easy. Full story

Rocket Launch Race Taking Off: Jeff Bezos Vs. Elon Musk

485517059 445x295 Rocket Launch Race Taking Off: Jeff Bezos Vs. Elon Musk

Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in April. (Bruce Weaver/AFP/Getty Images)

The multibillion dollar battle pitting Elon Musk‘s SpaceX vs. defense industry giants Lockheed Martin/Boeing over Pentagon satellite launch contracts was already one of the most interesting in the national security world, if not all of the federal government. This week, it has gotten even hotter. Full story

September 15, 2014

IG: Missile Defense Agency Could’ve Saved Millions on Contract, Didn’t

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(FILE PHOTO) An unarmed Minuteman II intercontinental ballistic missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (USAF/Getty Images)

[Updated Sept. 16, 11:03 a.m.] If only the Missile Defense Agency had taken a look at some audits, it could’ve saved millions of dollars on a $1 billion contract, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released Monday. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 3:21 p.m.
Budget, Procurement

September 8, 2014

Security Clearance Contractor USIS Rebuffs Edward Snowden Attack (and More)

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A man holds up a placard during a protest march outside the American NSA facility “Dagger Complex” in Griesheim near Darmstadt, central Germany on July 26. (Boris Roessler/AFP/Getty Images)

USIS, the biggest federal contractor for background checks for security clearances, had to be happy to get a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services contract worth $190 million recently, because the company had been on a bad news streak. All the contract seemed to do, though, was give ammunition to its critics — including a chorus of them from Capitol Hill — prompting USIS to issue a “myth vs. fact” declaration Monday. Full story

August 18, 2014

Defense Philanthropy, Ukraine Vs. Russia in the Week Ahead

This is the slowest week event-wise of the August congressional recess so far, at least as it pertains to defense and national security. There are, however, a few items of note. Full story

August 15, 2014

Defense Industry Donations and the Alan Grayson Police Militarization Amendment

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A police officer watches over demonstrators protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 13 in Ferguson. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

With images of heavily armed police confronting protesters in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a national debate about police militarization, a campaign finance research organization has released a study showing how much defense industry money House members got before a June 19 vote that rejected Rep. Alan Grayson’s amendment to block military equipment transfers to local law enforcement. The organization, MapLight, found that those who voted against it got 73 percent more in defense industry donations than those who voted in favor.

But there are probably bigger reasons for the vote going the way it did. And the issue could come up again in Congress — Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., promised Friday to review the program before his committee’s fiscal 2015 defense policy bill comes to the floor; Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., has put forward new legislation; and others are calling for hearings. So it’s worth reviewing the motivations for those votes.

Full story

August 13, 2014

Where National Security Is (and Mainly, Isn’t) in 2014 Elections

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Braley helps out on the grill in the Pork Tent at the 2014 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Aug. 7. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When Iraq popped up this week as an issue in the Iowa Senate race between Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst based on her comments about troop levels in recent years, it marked something rare: an occasion where a national security debate surfaced in the 2014 elections for purely national security reasons.

Despite a whole host of places around the globe where security is a rising topic in the news — Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Russia — defense and foreign policy has largely been on the sidelines in congressional races. Even when it has been debated, it has usually been  for other reasons, such as how it reflects on President Barack Obama’s performance. But because of that, and more, national security could still play a role in the 2014 elections.

Full story

August 4, 2014

Defense Contracts, Gaza in the Week Ahead

The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is underway, as discussed last week. Here is the full schedule of that, and a brief preview on the security angle. For some other events this week, read on.

Programming note: Even during the August congressional recess, we’ll still be posting here at Five By Five, just maybe less each day than usual. Don’t let that stop you from visiting frequently. Full story

August 1, 2014

DARPA Wants to Chop Military Materials Development Time From 10 to 2.5 Years

Say you’re trying to design a hypersonic plane. It will have to deal with shell temperatures of several thousands of degrees of steel-melting heat.

That’s where the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to start — with an “outer aerodynamic shell for a hypersonic vehicle that would glide through the atmosphere” — in testing a new development concept for speeding up the deployment of new military materials into the field. Full story

July 30, 2014

GAO: Littoral Combat Ship Too Fat

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The littoral combat ship USS Freedom, LCS 1, departs San Diego Bay for deployment to the Asia-Pacific region last year in San Diego, Calif. (Christine Walker-Singh/U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

Moving from the construction phase into testing, it turns out the littoral combat ship has gotten too heavy, and that has slowed it down, according to the Government Accountability Office. Full story

By Tim Starks Posted at 2:24 p.m.
Navy, Procurement

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