Janine Davidson

Defense in Depth

Janine Davidson examines the art, politics, and business of American military power.

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Showing posts for "Defense Industrial Base"

Building a Survivable, Exquisite, Expensive Unmanned Aircraft Misses the Point

by Robert A. Newson
An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator flies near the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) after launching from the ship in the Atlantic Ocean in this May 14, 2013 handout photograph released on May 16, 2013 by the U.S. Navy. (Erik Hildebrandt/U.S. Navy/Courtesy Reuters)

By Robert Newson

The Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) aircraft should be at the heart of a comprehensive debate about the future of unmanned technology and related concept of operations. Unfortunately, the current debate is narrowly focused on how advanced, large, and expensive to make the UCLASS.

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Can Ash Carter Finally Tame the Defense Acquisitions Behemoth?

by Guest Blogger for Janine Davidson
Then-Pentagon acquisitions chief Ashton Carter takes a reporter's question after it was announced that Boeing won a contract to build new refueling planes for the U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon in Washington, February 24, 2011. President Obama formally nominated Carter on December 5, 2014 to serve as the twenty-fifth secretary of defense. (Jim Young/Courtesy Reuters)

By Alex Haber and Jeff Jeffress

For decades, pundits and policymakers have bemoaned the Pentagon’s cumbersome, sluggish procurement processes and rampant overspending, especially compared to industry counterparts. Though these arcane protocols will be challenging to improve, the stars appear to be aligning for actual reform.

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Explainer: How Defense Offsets Help Drive the Global Defense Industry

by Guest Blogger for Janine Davidson
General Dynamics employees work on an Abrams battle tank during a tour of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, Lima Army Tank Plant, in Lima, Ohio, April 23, 2012. (Matt Sullivan/Courtesy Reuters)

By Patrick Costello

This explainer comes courtesy of Patrick Costello, deputy director of CFR’s Congress and U.S. Foreign Policy program. He offers a concise introduction to the complex world of defense offsetscompensation agreements whereby defense companies invest in foreign governments in return for their business. Costello explores the history, growth, and future of the offsets market. If you want to learn about this issue, this is the best place to start.

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Taiwan Wants to Buy U.S. Subs; This Would Be a Bad Deal for Both Countries

by Lauren Dickey
A Dutch-made submarine docks in a military port in Taiwan's southern city of Kaohsiung, November 7, 2005. Taiwan has long sought to buy additional diesel submarines to supplement its aging fleet. (Jameson Wu/Courtesy Reuters)

This commentary comes courtesy of Lauren Dickey, research associate for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. She discusses the new push by Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou government to expand and reinvigorate the island’s submarine program by acquiring U.S. technology and platforms. She argues that doing so would serve the strategic interests of neither Taiwan nor the United States.

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If the Air Force Has Such a Good Argument for Divesting the A-10, Why is No One Buying It?

by Janine Davidson
a10 divestment U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft are serviced on the flight line at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina in this handout photograph taken on December 2, 2005. A U.S. Congressional panel has rejected the military's proposal to retire the entire fleet of A-10 close-air support planes, as the annual defense policy bill continues to make its way through the House of Representatives. The White House said retiring the planes would save $4.2 billion through 2019. (Tech. Sgt. James Arrowood/Courtesy Reuters)

One of the most controversial proposals by the Air Force this year is its plan to divest the A-10 jet aircraft.  The “warthog,” as it is known, is a slow moving, low-flying, ear-piercingly loud jet airplane built around a giant “Avenger” Gatling gun, which has provided intimidating fire power for troops in contact on the ground for nearly 40 years.  By divesting an entire fleet, instead of just a few airplanes, the Air Force saves “billions, not millions” across the board in production and maintenance.

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Introducing Defense in Depth

by Janine Davidson
A view of the Pentagon and Washington, DC. A view of the Pentagon and Washington, DC (Courtesy U.S. Department of Defense).

Defense in Depth is a new blog about the art, politics, and business of American military power. I will track the big issues facing policymakers as they grapple with downshifting in Afghanistan, rebalancing to Asia, and maintaining a ready and capable force structure amidst sustained fiscal pressures.

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