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Defense Watch: Five-Year Term For TSA, Biometric Advantage, Polar Star

Five-Year Term. Recent legislation signed into law by President Trump that authorizes a five-year term for the head of the Transportation Security Administration applies to the agency's current administrator, David Pekoske, his spokesman told Defense Daily. Pekoske became administrator in August 2017, and is the agency's seventh chief since its formation in November 2001 following…

Blue Origin: Reusability Key Factor in Future Air Force Space Architecture

The Air Force is prioritizing reusability for its future space systems as demonstrated in its recent launch service agreement awards, a Blue Origin official said Oct. 19.The service has been “foot-stomping” the idea that reusable launch systems will be part of its next space architecture, as it will improve reliability and lower the cost of…

CBO Says Navy’s 30-Year Plan Would Cost A Third More Than Service Estimates

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report on Thursday finding the Navy’s plan to increase shipbuilding to get toward 355 ships would cost a third more than the service estimates when including all costs in shipbuilding.Whereas the Navy’s plan estimated new ships would cost about $631 billion over 30 years with an average of…

U.K. Cleared For $3.5 Billion Buy of 16 Extended Range Chinooks

The State Department has cleared the United Kingdom $3.5 billion purchase of 16 H-47 Extended Range Boeing [BA] Chinook heavy lift helicopters.The U.K. has about 60 Chinooks in its inventory and first bought the helos in the mid-1980s. The Extended Range Chinooks have twice the fuel capacity of standard H-47s. Worldwide, 20 countries have the…

National Guard Officials Ready Midterm Election Security Response, Call For Improved DHS Assistance

Top National Guard officials say their cyber components have improved capabilities for incident response since the 2016 election, but have not received calls to assist with active election security support efforts ahead of the upcoming November midterms. Maj. Gen. Michael Stone and Col. Kenneth Donnelly, of the Michigan and Louisiana National Guards, respectively, told attendees…

Contractor Support For Cayuse Warriors Continues In Afghanistan

The Afghan Air Force continues to require contractor support for operations and maintenance of the MD Helicopters' MD-530 Cayuse Warrior attack helicopters but is becoming "increasingly capable," according to the Government Accountability Office.U.S. Train, Advise, and Assist Command–Air advisers "help train Afghan pilots and maintainers and collect information on their tactical abilities," a new GAO…

Security Agencies Warn Of Foreign Influence Campaigns

Institutions of democracy in America continue to be threatened by foreign influence campaigns led by Russia, China, Iran and others, U.S. departments and agencies warned in a joint statement last Friday.“We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran, to undermine confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment…

U.S., South Korea Suspend Another Joint Military Exercise

The U.S. and South Korean militaries have suspended another joint exercise this year as diplomatic efforts continue with North Korea, the Defense Department said Oct. 19.Defense Secretary James Mattis and Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo suspended Exercise Vigilant Ace, an annual large-scale exercise to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and ROK forces, “to give…

Members of S.C. Delegation Confirms WH Visit to Save Embattled Plutonium Plant, But Won't Talk Details

A delegation of high-profile South Carolina politicians met with President Donald Trump Thursday in Washington to make a last-minute plea to save an embattled plutonium-disposal plant in the Palmetto state — a plant Trump's own Department of Energy wants to convert into a weapon factory.Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) all…

Lobbyist Who Worked to Keep DoE From Turning Arms-Disposal Facility Into Nuke Weapon Plant Laid Off

Longtime Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility lobbyist Stephen Marlo was laid off on Friday, the veteran government-affairs man told Defense Daily in a telephone interview.Marlo was let go by Aptim, the Woodlands, Texas. That company was created by a private equity firm in 2017 from what used to be the federal services unit of CB&I. Aptim was…