Metro-East News

Roger That: Pentagon directing a 25-percent cut of all headquarter functions

Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald.
Belleville News-Democrat reporter Mike Fitzgerald. News-Democrat

The Department of Defense is directing 25 percent across the board cuts to its headquarter functions, including within the military services, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, defense agencies and the combatant commands, according to Federal News Radio.

An Aug. 24 memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work orders the reductions for fiscal years 2017 to 2020.

“We anticipate Congress will require a 25 percent reduction in the funding of DoD headquarters in lieu of the 20 percent requirement previously established by the department,” the memo stated. “Even if Congress fails to act, the department needs the savings that will be achieved through this reduction to fund higher priority requirements in support of the warfighter and to address underfunded strategic needs.”

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Congressional leaders signaled their support for the Air Force’s new Long Range Strike-Bomber on Wednesday but voiced concerns about the difficulty of replacing an aging bomber fleet at a time of fiscal austerity, according to Air Force Times.

“The ability to project power and convincingly strike from far distances is one of the most important components of our military arsenal today,” ranking member Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., said at a hearing of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee.

“This new program is going to occur at a time of intense budget pressure, not just within the Air Force alone but also the entire Department of Defense,” Courtney said. “With the aircraft expected to be in service well into the century, it is important we get this right.”

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Thanks to the combined efforts of Boeing and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) a new, lifesaving video game technology is officially in development, according to the blog Back In The USA.

The Halo-like “bubble-shield” with the nickname, Block Access to Deny Entry (BlockADE) won’t stop bullets, but it will detect nearby explosions. Once detected, it heats the air or water around the area between the device and explosion to create a protective plasma shield. It’s important to understand the shield will not act as a force field. It will only reduce damage and minimize casualties.

According to a patent filed on May 30, 2012, the department approved the patent for a “method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc” on March 17, 2015 for the Boeing Company in Chicago.

DARPA explains BlockADE, “These deployable systems are expected to have many potential applications ranging from blocking access to munitions caches to creating temporary buildings for those impacted by natural disasters.”

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Iraq and Syria may have been permanently torn asunder by war and sectarian tensions, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said Thursday in a frank assessment that is at odds with Obama administration policy, according to Military Times.

“I'm having a tough time seeing it come back together,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart told an industry conference, speaking of Iraq and Syria, both of which have seen large chunks territory seized by the Islamic State.

On Iraq, Stewart said he is “wrestling with the idea that the Kurds will come back to a central government of Iraq,” suggesting he believed it was unlikely. On Syria, he added: “I can see a time in the future where Syria is fractured into two or three parts.”

Contact reporter Mike Fitzgerald at mfitzgerald@bnd.com or 618-239-2533.

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