Tag Archives: sequestration

Managing the Transition: Matching Army Robotics Force Structure and Strategy

LTC Stuart Hatfield Army RoboticsLieutenant Colonel Stuart Hatfield is the Robotics Branch Chief, Dominant Maneuver Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, Department of the Army in the Pentagon, where he manages the Army’s $800 million budget for Robotics and Unmanned Ground Systems. LTC Hatfield is the Army Staff lead integrator for Unmanned Ground Systems, and he co-chairs the Joint Staff Unmanned Ground Systems Integrated Product Team to synchronize concepts, requirements, technology, and standards for remote and autonomous systems across the Department of Defense. LTC Hatfield was honored by the National Defense Industrial Association as the 2012 Ground Robotics Champion.

Interview by UTS Editor George Jagels


Weekly Defense Notes

With the AUSA show over, TDM gets back to work. Here’s our (belated) rundown of interesting defense news from last week.

The JLTV program is dealing with significant uncertainty due to sequestration, the continuing resolution in Congress, and the government shutdown. Breaking Defense quotes one colonel as saying this is the “most depressing” situation he’s seen in 34 years of service. Evidently, testing on the 22 prototypes by AM General, Lockheed Martin, and Oshkosh stopped on four hours notice early this month. Now they are several weeks behind. Oh well, there’s always the Aztek!

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments recently came out with a study cheerfully entitled “Chaos and Uncertainty: The FY 14 Defense Budget and Beyond.” Among many interesting points, the study notes that the cost of one soldier in Afghanistan will be $2.1 million annually. Like other things in life, deployments must work on economies of scale.


Sequestration: Going Nowhere Fast

Otto Kreischer at AOL Defense wrote an interesting rundown of a sparsely attended Aerospace Industrial Association (AIA) briefing at the Press Club. Rather than just overtly defense-related company CEOs speaking on the negatives of sequestration, this press conference sported research university and health sector officials in an effort to show the broad-based evils of slashing the budget. The author’s verdict: With few Congressional aides and almost no major reporters in attendance and a changed political climate, it seems that “the fat lady is about to sing in the anti-sequester opera.”

Even a few months ago, we wouldn’t have believed that this would actually happen. Cuts of projected increases, sure. But given the military’s extremely vocal and virulent dislike of the Budget Control Act’s methods, the legislation as written being acted upon is pretty stunning. Now that the prospect appears more likely, bromides like “partisan dysfunction” and “broken Washington” give way to more targeted accusations.


President Signs Defense Bill, Calm Does Not Reign

After well over a year of genuine concern, misplaced worry, fear mongering, and, of course, partisan bickering, the defense sequestration portion of the Budget Control Act of 2011 appears to be behind the U.S. Now Americans can get together and really solve the nation’s problems. Just kidding! It’s only been delayed for two months while Congress and the executive retool their talking points for the predicted debt-ceiling fight.

President Obama signed a $633 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week, though he rued certain portions of the bill. But with no line-item veto available, the NDAA is now law. Not exactly what the kids learn on Schoolhouse Rock.

Today’s Links

  • At Fort Sill, the Army holds a meeting to discuss Anti-UAS measures:

U.S. ground forces detect an enemy unmanned aircraft performing reconnaissance  over their forward operating base. Now the soldiers must determine how to  neutralize the Unmanned Aerial System threat: whether to jam the electronic  signal from its ground controller, kill the ground controller or shoot down the  Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS.

  • The Afghan Army is not retaining its soldiers too well these days, but at least they’re not joining the Taliban:


Defense CEOs Address Looming Sequestration

On 3 December 2012, the Press Club in Washington, DC, hosted four defense industry CEOs for a discussion on sequestration and national security. The speakers included Wes Bush (Northrop Grumman), David Hess (Pratt & Whitney), Dawne Hickton (RTI International Metals, Inc.), and David Langstaff (TASC). As the capitol buzzes with endless talk over the politics behind the fiscal cliff, the speakers, all of whom are associated with aerospace, gave some much-needed specifics to the years-old anxiety surrounding defense sequestration.

If the definition of defense policy is matching force structure to strategy, then according to the panel of CEOs, the Budget Control Act of 2011, which enacted sequestration, will severely inhibit this policy. No one spared a breath to defend the legislation; sequestration was variously described as “a peanut butter approach” (Hess), “a meat axe” (Bush), and “indiscriminate” (Langstaff). Though deficit reduction appeared to be a priority for the group, the quick and dirty defense cuts possibly coming in 2013 would make current U.S. national security strategy unworkable in their view.