Showing posts with label Def Ind Base. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Def Ind Base. Show all posts

26 September 2021

It’s time to break up the military-industrial complex

Katrina vanden

Two days after the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, the House Armed Services Committee voted to set the Pentagon’s 2022 budget. Given that U.S. officials claim to be winding down decades-long wars, even maintaining current levels of military spending would seem a mystifying choice. But the committee didn’t just vote to maintain current spending levels. It voted to increase them by a whopping $24 billion.

Which begs the question: Are we spending this money because we need to, even though our military budget is already higher than those of the next 11 largest countries combined? Or are there other incentives at play?

Ties between the government and the private sector — what President Dwight D. Eisenhower famously called the “military-industrial complex” — form the foundations of our national defense. Since 9/11, between one-third and half of the nearly $14 trillion the Pentagon has spent went to for-profit defense contractors. Dozens of members of Congress and their spouses own millions of dollars’ worth of stock in those companies.

8 October 2018

White House Report Warns 'All Facets' Of U.S. Defense Industrial Base Are At Risk

Loren Thompson

A long-awaited White House report on the state of the U.S. industrial base finds that "all facets of the manufacturing and defense industrial base are currently under threat," and warns that entire industries vital to national security are facing "domestic extinction."

The report, which was directed by an executive order that President Donald Trump signed on July 21, 2017, took a year to complete, involving a dozen federal agencies and 300 workers. Its findings were distilled down to 50 pages plus appendices summarizing the stresses eroding U.S. industrial strength. Many of the recommendations derived from the analysis are contained in a classified (secret) annex -- some of which are already being implemented.

4 October 2018

COMCASA and the Future of India's Defense Industrial Base

By Robert Farley

Ankit Panda offers a concise summary of what the COMCASA agreement, which ensures cooperation on communications technology and policy, means for the future of U.S.-India relations. It clears up one of the last big roadblocks for U.S.-Indian interoperability, making arms transfers easier and paving the way for improved cooperation on innovation and production. The U.S. Department of Defense has also suggested that India (along with Indonesia and Vietnam) will not be sanctioned under CAATSA for purchasing Russian military equipment.

The closer relationship between the United States and India has big implications for the future of India’s defense industrial base (DIB). India is adopting a technology-management model that resembles that of the United States in some ways, even though the structure of the Indian DIB remains radically different.

22 July 2018

Trump’s ‘America First’ Policy Could Leave U.S. Defense Industry Behind


Signs that President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy could harm U.S. businesses and curb the United States’ clout around the world surfaced this week in an unexpected place—a small town outside London, during the world’s largest civil and military air event. The biennial gathering at the Farnborough International Airshow in the United Kingdom brings together military officials, diplomats, and arms dealers from around the world for plane-watching and deal-making. In other years, the United States has sent the Defense Department’s top weapons buyers, and top-end American products, such as the F-35 stealth fighter jet, have taken center stage.

18 May 2018

Assessing the Health of the Defense Industrial Base

By John Adams

This week, the Department of Defense is scheduled to send the White House a long-awaited comprehensive interagency assessment on the health of the defense industrial base, identifying areas where efforts must be taken to strengthen domestic manufacturing capabilities and highlighting materials on which the U.S. is dependent upon China. Responding to an Executive Order issued by President Trump last summer, the report promises to shake up the way DoD has managed supply chain vulnerabilities for the past decade.

3 November 2017

Defense Industry Moves Toward Multi-Material 3D Printing

By Vivienne Machi

As additive manufacturing technology becomes more prevalent, engineers are now working on ways to 3D print different materials together to produce cost-efficient and sustainable parts for the aerospace industry. Additive manufacturing involves the process of using modeling software and specialized equipment to build layers of material into a three-dimensional object. 

11 September 2017

Pentagon Official Sheds Light on Ongoing Industrial Base Study

By Yasmin Tadjdeh

Certain defense sectors will undergo stress tests as part of a study about the state of the industry that was recently ordered by the White House, a Pentagon official said Sept. 6. 

“We’re going to be pressure testing the defense industrial base,” said John McGinn, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense of the office of manufacturing and industrial base policy in the office of the undersecretary of defense for acquisitions, technology and logistics. “We’re going to be … looking at different [operational] scenarios” to see how they would react to different contingencies, he added.

The assessment is required under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on July 21. The Pentagon, working with other agencies including the Departments of Commerce, Labor, Energy and Homeland Security, has 270 days to finalize a report.

“A healthy manufacturing and defense industrial base and resilient supply chains are essential to the economic strength and national security of the United States,” the order said. “Modern supply chains, however, are often long and the ability of the United States to manufacture or obtain goods critical to national security could be hampered by an inability to obtain various essential components.”

A loss of more than 60,000 American factories, key companies and millions of manufacturing jobs since 2000 “threatens to undermine the capacity and capabilities of United States manufacturers to meet national defense requirements,” the order said.

5 August 2017

America’s Top Drone Company Just Teamed Up with a Chinese Industry Titan


Less than a year ago, DJI knocked the California-based 3D Robotics out of the consumer market. Now, the US firm has turned to software — and a partnership with its vanquisher. 

It’s like the drone equivalent of IBM partnering with Apple.

Today (Aug. 1), 3D Robotics announced a partnership with DJI, where the California-based company will integrate its site-scanning software with the Chinese firm’s drones.

Once upon a time, all the way back in 2015, 3D Robotics (3DR) was one of the most promising new consumer-drone companies, touted as one of the main companies, alongside DJI, Parrot, and Yuneec, that would bring small personal drones into the mainstream. Chris Anderson, the company’s co-founder and Wired’s former editor in chief, quit his post at the magazine—after publishing one last cover story about the future of drones—to concentrate on 3DR in 2012. But 3DR struggled to produce its flagship drone, the Solo, at scale, then suffered weak holiday sales; in the process, 3DR burned through the majority of the nearly $100 million it had received in venture capital, laid off 150 people, and decided that it was going to leave the hardware market to concentrate entirely on software for commercial drones.

“We were the American DJI,” Anderson told Quartz, of the company’s brand-name recognition in the nascent drone market. “We went head to head with them in consumer—now in the commercial era, we are partnering with them.” 

25 July 2017


President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to launch a cross-government study of whether the country’s manufacturers can fully supply the military’s needs during a war or lower-level conflict, officials said Friday.

The review will investigate whether there are enough manufacturers to supply everything from submarine propeller blades to circuit boards and military-grade semiconductors, and whether there’s enough skilled labor to keep those factories running, presidential adviser Peter Navarro said during a press briefing.

The review will look for single points of failure that government policy can address, said Navarro, who is director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

He called the order “one of the most significant presidentially led actions on the state of the defense industrial base since Dwight Eisenhower was in office.”

The Pentagon will lead the review, which will loop in the Homeland Security, Commerce, Energy and Labor departments and numerous other agencies, Navarro said.

6 July 2017

Defense Industry in a Race to Buy Into Hot Startups

In just one year, the nation’s largest defense contractor has injected close to $20 million into tech startups. And more investments are coming, says Chris Moran, executive director and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures.

Moran spent three decades in Silicon Valley before joining Lockheed Martin in June 2016. The company’s $100 million venture capital shop had been dormant for a few years and Moran was hired to revive it.

His most recent pickup is Terran Orbital, a manufacturer of tiny spacecraft known as nanosatellites.

Space companies have been popular targets of investors. Defense contractors are especially attracted because of the crossover appeal for military and commercial options. Lockheed became an early financer of New Zealand's Rocket Lab, which is building a carbon-composite rocket to launch small satellites into orbit for less than $5 million.

Other markets the defense industry is pursuing feverishly are cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. Lockheed last year struck a deal with Cybereason, whose machine learning software helps detect network attacks as they happen. This is a huge breakthrough compared to traditional cyber defenses that are the equivalent of closing the barn doors after the horses left. “Artificial intelligence looks for pattern changes to prevent attacks before significant damage occurs,” Moran says in an interview. “Cybereason was one of the early practitioners in this space.”

29 June 2017

* Setting up the defence industrial ecosystem

Last week was an interesting one for Indian defence manufacturing. On Monday, Tata Advanced Systems Ltd and US plane-maker Lockheed Martin Corp. signed an agreement at the Paris Air Show to produce F-16 fighter jets in India. On Tuesday, in Delhi, Reliance Defence entered into a strategic partnership with Serbia’s Yugoimport for ammunition manufacturing in India. On Wednesday, back in Paris, Reliance Defence joined hands with France’s Thales to set up a joint venture that will develop Indian capabilities in radars and high-tech airborne electronics.

In Moscow, on Friday, defence minister Arun Jaitley and his Russian counterpart signed off on a road map for strengthening bilateral military ties. Meanwhile, at home in India, the army rejected, for the second year in a row, an indigenously-built assault rifle after it failed field tests—a pointed reminder of how the country’s sub-par defence industry continues to damage the military’s operational preparedness.

12 June 2017

Let the Strategic Partnership policy weaponise make in India

By Richard Heald

With the announcement of the Strategic Partnership policy, the Indian ministry of defence (MoD) has rolled out a significant initiative aimed at revitalising the ‘Defence Industrial Ecosystem’. This announcement could be ground-breaking. Cementing partnerships with Indian companies is already recognised as an important opportunity for big foreign defence manufacturing companies, providing an impetus to ‘Make in India’.

The British defence sector, with its unique expertise and already established long-term commitment, is looking at these developments with attention. The devil will be in the details.

But to date, the plans are radical and make the elusive target of 70 per cent indigenous manufacturing, which MoD is committed to, realisable.

It’s been over a decade since India’s private sector was directly involved in defence manufacturing. Citing security concerns, India’s defence procurement has largely been driven by various defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) and the Ordnance Factory Board. While defence manufacturing was ‘liberalised’ in 2001and opened up to not just Indian private players but also to foreign entities (49 per cent FDI), a defence production base outside of the DPSUs and the OFB has not yet been prevalent.

7 June 2017

An Assessment of the Strategic Partnership Model in Defence Industry

Laxman K Behera

In a major policy reform intended to promote Make in India in defence manufacturing, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on May 31, 2017 the much-anticipated Strategic Partnership model for the Indian private sector.1 The model, whose concept was first suggested by the Dhirendra Singh Committee in its July 2015 report, populates Chapter VII of the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 (DPP 2016). It visualises designating a few private companies as Strategic Partners (SPs) that would not only assume the role of system integrators but also lay a strong defence industrial foundation by making long-term investment on production and R&D infrastructure, creating a wider vendor base, nurturing a pool of skilled workforce, and making a commitment to indigenisation and technology absorption. The ultimate aim of the model is to enhance India’s self-reliance index in defence procurement which continues to remain at an abysmally low level despite a huge defence industrial complex much of which is managed by state-owned Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

Strategic Partnership: The Model

The strategic partnership model seeks to identify a few Indian private companies as Strategic Partners who would initially tie up with a few shortlisted foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to manufacture big-ticket military platforms. In the initial phase, the selection of SPs would be confined to four segments: Fighter Aircraft, Helicopters, Submarines, and Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV)/Main Battle Tanks (MBT). In each segment, “only one SP would generally be selected”, says the new DPP chapter.

6 June 2017

Private Defense Firms Are Here To Stay – What Does That Mean For National Security?

By Charles Mahoney

June 1 (UPI) — Share prices of many military and intelligence contractors have risen sharply since President Donald Trump‘s election.

Investors are betting that an increase in defense spending will provide a windfall for these firms. For instance, General Dynamics, a large contractor that develops combat vehicles and weapons systems for the U.S. military, saw its stock price jump by more than 30 percent in the months after the election. Likewise, Kratos Defense and Security Services, a smaller firm that builds drones for the U.S. Air Force, saw its shares soar more than 75 percent between November 2016 and May 2017.

This trend may be short-lived. Congress still must decide whether Trump’s proposed 10 percent increase in defense spending is practical given current budget constraints.

5 June 2017

Fog clears over industrial licensing for defence industry but questions remain

Amit Cowshish

The notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on May 19, 20171 delegating the power to issue licences for the manufacture and sale etc. of arms and ammunition to the Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) raises more questions than it provides answers.

The powers and functions delegated through this notification are the ones that are exercisable by the MHA under the following provisions of the MHA-administered Arms Act, 1959: sub-section (1) of section 5 (dealing with licences for manufacture, sale, etc. of arms and ammunition), clauses (b) and (c); section 7 (dealing with prohibition of acquisition or possession, or of manufacture or sale, of prohibited arms or prohibited ammunition); and, Chapter III (containing provisions relating to licenses).

The notification also says that the delegated powers are to be exercised in respect of the category of arms and ammunition and defence items specified in the schedule that forms a part of the notification. This would have been alright but for the fact that the items mentioned in this schedule are actually defence items that were notified by the DIPP vide Press Note 3 of 2014 series 2 with a view to bringing about absolute clarity about the defence items that require industrial licence under the provisions of the DIPP-administered Industrial (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951.

20 April 2017

Mapping the World's Biggest Weapons Exporters – and their Best Customers


War kills. And war sells. These maps show the world's four biggest arms exporters and their major clients.

While they reveal a lot about who mongers weapons to whom, the sequencing on this graph is a bit misleading.

11 April 2017

Defence acquisition reform in limbo

With former defence minister Manohar Parrikar’s return to the position of chief minister of Goa, the global defence industry is asking one big question: What will happen to the defence reforms announced by him?

India faces a significant shortage of critical defence equipment, including fighter aircraft, submarines and helicopters, which India’s defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) have been unable to address. This reality was publicly stressed yet again in March by a parliamentary standing committee on defence.

If the Indian military is to manage this challenge, critical policy issues such as defence procurement reform need to be finalized.

To address this issue, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Parrikar introduced the concept of nominating “strategic partners” in defence production. The idea appears to be that the government should designate vetted private Indian companies to specific areas of national security importance, such as manufacture of fighter aircraft, tanks or submarines, to develop technologies and systems.

20 March 2017

Defence Expenditure: A Challenge for Defence Economists

Amit Cowshish

The only sub-theme that vies for pride of place alongside the debate on the alleged shenanigans of an inept civilian bureaucracy is the gross inadequacy of defence outlays. Governments have come and gone since 1947, but the sluggish trajectory of annual defence budgets continues, interrupted only by pay commissions and wars. It does not require any great power of prophesy to rule out a steep hike in the defence budget in the coming years. The history of the defence budget over the past seven decades should be enough to drive home this truth.

More specifically, the growth in annual defence allocations since 2014 only indicates that it is naive to expect that the gap between the demand projected by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the actual allocations made for defence in the union budget will soon be a thing of the past.

Defence analysts never tire of mentioning the year 2004 when the then outgoing government made a provision for a defence modernisation fund in the interim budget, seen till date as a bold step to address the problems besetting the modernisation of the armed forces. But it is the same political dispensation which, despite being in power now for almost three years, not only has not revived the defence modernisation fund but has also failed to cut the mustard when it comes to raising the defence expenditure.

28 February 2017

Building Deterrence

by Manmohan Bahadur

In war, and more importantly, in preparing for war, uncertainties abound. The spectrum of conflict is becoming larger and time compression due to computing technology and the opening up of the aerospace frontier demands acquisition of knowledge. The arena too has expanded from land/sea/air to the cybersphere, space and the electromagnetic domain. Call it new generation or hybrid warfare, it is incumbent on decision-makers to plan India’s approach towards capability building to meet the threat of war.

While casualties have a deleterious impact on society, it is the country’s standing in the comity of nations that is at stake. The mantle falls on people charged with the brief of war prevention, war planning and war making; the political executive has a major part in all three since policy formulation directly effects the creation of deterrence.

There are two macro issues that demand attention. First, the restructuring of the Higher Defence Organisation (HDO), characterised presently by the incessant demand for a Chief of Defence Staff linked with theatre commands, a la the US, and now China. Clinical analysis is necessary to tackle this issue, which has become an emotive one. Second, for too long have we pussy-footed on the need to develop an indigenous defence manufacturing base — changes are happening, but just about.

17 February 2017

"Breaking the Norm": A New Acquisition Approach

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By George Landrith

It may have been easy to overlook, given the steady stream of news coming out of Washington of late, but one of the more significant developments for the defense industry in quite some time is currently unfolding in the acquisition policy sphere.

In the last month, two defense industry giants have pulled out of one of the few major new acquisition competitions the Pentagon currently has running – with an expected business opportunity north of $16 billion. The reason why may surprise you.

Defense Department procurement generally follows a well-worn path: one of the services identifies the need for a new or upgraded platform; contractors pour time and research and development dollars into their offerings without official guidance on the necessary capabilities and requirements expected; the service issues a formal Request For Proposal (RFP) late in the game; and the service eventually settles for whichever one of the offerings most closely resembles what they were actually looking for. Thus wasting a lot of time and money, without necessarily providing the best outcome.

The Air Force, to their credit, has taken a different path for their 2017 T-X trainer competition, which seeks to replace the existing and rapidly aging 1960s-era T-38 trainer fleet with an initial 350 new aircraft and accompanying ground-training systems. The new trainers, with an expected initial operating capability scheduled for 2024, will help future pilots learn to fly the fifth-generation aircraft that now populate fighter wings.