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Amphibious Marine Corps Capability Needed in Time of Dubious International Support

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Marine Corps will need to innovate while maintaining its traditional amphibious capabilities as nations act more in their own interests, suggests a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) deputy commander. Maj. Gen. Melvin G. Spiese, USMC, deputy commanding general, 1 MEF, told a West 2011 luncheon audience that the Corps is exploring innovative solutions to meet new international contingencies. "The U.S. Marine Corps has never met the nation's needs by being conventional in its approach," the general declared. Gen. Spiese emphasized that Marine Corps capabilities hinge on its being able to interoperate with the U.S. Navy. Among those capabilities is amphibious assault, which-as opposed to many new doctrines-remains relevant and important. The general stated that most nations, including friends, act in their own interests. As a result, it is harder to arrange for allies to go along with U.S. policies. Nations change their policies over time as their national interests change. The United States cannot assume these nations will support it as a matter of fact, Gen. Spiese stated. So, the United States should not place itself in a position where pursuing its interests rely on the policies of another nation.

Streamlined Navy Threatened by Further Cuts

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy faces an uncertain future if coming defense cuts strike at its shipbuilding budget. The sea service already is underfunded for its shipbuilding program, so cuts in that area could have severe ramifications in its mission-oriented capabilities. Ronald O'Rourke, a specialist in national defense with the Congressional Research Service, told a panel audience at West 2011 that the Navy did not have procurements that it can cut. The Navy did not use supplemental defense funding to procure new platforms, so it does not have programs that it can cut. "Some of the lower-hanging fruit in terms of efficiencies already have been picked," O'Rourke said. Nor will efficiencies alone be able to make up budget requirements. While the Navy likely will be able to find future efficiencies, if the decline is more than a certain amount then efficiencies etc will not be enough to make ends meet, O'Rourke said. Without its needed capabilities, the Navy could cut back on ocean deployments by limiting them to specific areas. It also could rely more on unmanned aerial systems and extend the operational lives of older ships and submarines.

Offensive Sea Power Sacrificed for Defenses

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

The U.S. Navy may have gone too far in emphasizing defensive measures over offensive capabilities, which it may need to rectify quickly. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that the recent emphasis on missile defense and cyberspace security may have overlooked the need to maintain leading-edge offensive capabilities in related areas. "We've stepped away and become too defensive," the admiral declared. The Navy needs to develop offensive capabilities to take the fight to the adversary instead of merely being reactive, he continued. Protecting the fleet is necessary, but the sea service must not neglect its strike mission. In particular, while citing the importance of cybersecurity, the admiral called for an offensive cyberspace capability-"look at it from a warfighter perspective," he said.

Nontraditional Missions Vital to U.S. Navy Success

January 25, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman

Maintaining maritime security will require humanitarian activities as well as traditional gunboat diplomacy, according to a U.S. Navy fleet commander. Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt, USN, commander, U.S. Third Fleet, told the Kickoff Address audience at West 2011 that being able to provide disaster response and humanitarian assistance will be vital for ensuring maritime security. Many nations "could go either way" in either supporting or opposing U.S. national interests, the admiral explained. If the United States can respond rapidly and effectively when one of those nations suffers a natural disaster, that action could be the tipping agent that swings the nation into the U.S. column, he said. "It's not just kinetic power ... we must be a global force for good," Adm. Hunt declared.

Cool App-titude: NSA Career Links

January 25, 2011
By Rachel Eisenhower

The National Security Agency (NSA) now has an app for aspiring agents.

NG Chooses Waldman for Shipbuilding VP Slot

January 24, 2011
By Henry Kenyon

Northrop Grumman Corporation, Newport News, Virginia, has named Mitchell B. Waldman vice president, government and customer relations at its Shipbuilding sector.

Via Receives U.S. Army Materiel Command Assignment

January 24, 2011
By Henry Kenyon

Lt. Gen. Dennis L. Via, USA, has been assigned deputy commanding general/chief of staff, U.S. Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

QinetiQ Appoints Goss to Executive VP & CFO

January 24, 2011
By Henry Kenyon

QinetiQ North America, McLean, Virginia, has appointed Bill Goss executive vice president and chief financial officer.

U.S. Navy Awards Billions of Dollars for C4ISR

January 24, 2011
By George Seffers

The U.S. Navy awarded several billion dollars in contracts to four companies, including Serco Incorporated, Reston, Virginia; VT Milcom, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Lockheed Martin Services Incorporated, Gaithersburg, Maryland; and AMSEC Limited Liability Company, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Contracts are for the installation and operational certification of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Centers for Program Executive Office (C4I & Space), Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, and other prospective U.S. Government and Foreign Military Sales customers. The C4ISR systems are produced under various production contracts-separate from these four contracts-and are delivered as government-furnished equipment to this contract for installation onboard surface ships, submarines, and shore stations located worldwide. The potential contract values are: Serco, $1.4 billion; VT Milcom, $1.38 million; Lockheed Martin, $1.37 billion; and Amsec, $1.31 billion. These four contractors may compete for task orders under the terms and conditions of the awarded contract. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity.

Boeing Awarded $1.5 Billion Maritime Aircraft Modification

January 24, 2011
By George Seffers

The Boeing Company, Seattle, Washington, is being awarded a $1.5 billion modification to definitize the  previously awarded advance acquisition P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) low-rate initial production I contract to a fixed-price-incentive-firm contract. This modification provides for the procurement of six P-8A MMA and associated spares, support equipment and tools, logistics support, trainers and courseware. The Naval Air System Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity.

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