The Scout Report 69th Edition
Military, Veterans and Defense Industry Issues and Analysis
June 11, 2012
There is a lot of great material this week for you to review. Take your time and check out our featured stories this week to get a better understanding of the issues in aerospace, defense and veterans issues. We even threw in some good celebrity gossip at the end to get you to scroll down!
The week ahead:
Tradeshows and Conferences:
Eurosatory 2012 (Mon-Fri, 11-15 June) Paris, France
Taking place every two years in Paris, Eurosatory has a reputation as one of the biggest land and airland defense tradeshows in the world. They expect over 1,400 exhibitors and 55,000 visitors to this years show. In 2010, 54 countries were represented and visitors from a total of 130 countries attended. This is the big one for land based technology in the defense industry.
Congress: The Senate is in session this week while the House of Representatives has a constituent work week scheduled.
Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (2:30 PM, Tues, 12 June)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee hearing on proliferation prevention programs at the Energy Department and at the Defense Department in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2013 and the Future Years Defense Program
Witnesses: Assistant Defense Secretary for Global Strategic Affairs Madelyn Creedon; Kenneth Myers III, director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and director of the U.S. Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction; Anne Harrington, deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration, testify
Location: 232-A Russell Senate Office Building
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Wed, 13 June)
Full committee hearing on “Economic Opportunity and Transition Legislation.”
Location: 418 Russell Senate Office Building
Senate Armed Services Committee – Hearing (10:30 AM, Wed, 13 June)
Defense Subcommittee hearing on the FY2013 budget request of the Defense Department.
Witnesses: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testify
Location: 192 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Hearing (10:00 AM, Thur, 14 June)
Full committee hearing on “The Law of the Sea Convention (T.Doc.103-39): Perspectives From the U.S. Military.”
Witnesses: Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations; Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp Jr.; Gen. William Fraser III, commander of the U.S. Transportation Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command, Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; and Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, testify
Location: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Hearing (2:30 PM, Thur, 14 June)
Full committee hearing on T.Doc.103-39, “The Law of the Sea Convention.”
Witnesses: Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld; former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte; John Bellinger III, former legal adviser for the State Department, currently with Arnold & Porter LLP; and Steven Groves, fellow at the Heritage Foundation, testify
Location: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
House of Representatives: Constituent work week
Think tanks and other news events:
Center for New American Security 2012 Annual Conference, (Wed, 13 Jun) Willard InterContinental, Washington, D.C.
This year’s CNAS Annual Conference theme is “Rethinking U.S. Security: Navigating a World in Transition” and features panels on the so-called “Asian pivot”, getting Afghans into the lead, how to reintegrate veterans into their communities, and what U.S. defense and national security strategies will look like in the future. CNAS heavyweights like Nathaniel Fick, Andrew Exum, and John Nagl will be on hand in addition to names like Michele Flournoy, Robert Zoellick of the World Bank, Rajiv Chandresekaran of The Washington Post, and Anne-Marie Slaughter.
Government Executive: The Expanding Role of Open Source Information and Social Media for the Intelligence Community, (7:30 AM, Tue 11 Jun) Washington, D.C.
Description: Open source information and social media have caused a huge growth in the amount of data available to the intelligence community. In a budget-constrained environment, this information explosion may become a major source for producing intelligence and protecting our nation. RSVP online.
Participants: Dr. Patrick O’Neil, Director of Analytic Development, Open Source Center, David Abruzzino, Director, Open Source Intelligence Exchange, Fairmont State University, Craig Parisot, Chief Operating Officer, Invertix, Tim Clark, Editor at Large, Government Executive
Location: Ballroom, National Press Club, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20045
The Heritage Foundation: Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era (12:00 PM, Tue 11 Jun) Washington, D.C.
Description: The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East illustrated how, in a high-speed, media-centric world, conventional diplomacy has become an anachronism. Not only do events move quickly, but so too does public reaction to those events. The cushion of time that enabled policymakers to judiciously gather information and weigh alternatives is gone. In Real-Time Diplomacy, Philip Seib analyzes the essential, but often unhappy, marriage between diplomacy and new media, evaluating media’s reach and influence, and determining how policy makers might take advantage of media’s real-time capabilities rather than being driven by them. RSVP online.
Participants: Philip Seib, Author, The Honorable Mike Hammer, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State, James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation
Location: Lehrman Auditorium, The Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Center for Strategic and International Studies: Global Views of the United States (11:00 AM, Wed 12 Jun) Washington, D.C.
Description: The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project will release its new report on America’s image abroad, the result of a survey of more than 26,000 people in 21 countries. The report examines international perceptions of American power, confidence in President Obama, and attitudes toward key elements of U.S. foreign policy. RSVP online.
Participants: Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center
Location: B1 A/B Conference Room, CSIS, 1800 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
Major themes and issues from last week:
Lauren Jenkins, Think Progress
Our own @Laurenist was up with a post on ThinkProgress.com this week looking at how 15 states are investigating how a website called GIBill.com has been marketing for-profit schools to veterans. The site until recently looked like an official government site that recommended schools that take the GI bill benefits of new veterans by highlighting paying clients who were all for-profit schools, many of which have shady reputations for actually granting useable degrees to students. The irony is that all nearly all schools take the new GI Bill to varying degrees but aggressive marketing tactics from commercial schools is squeezing official information on the program out. Good stuff from one of our own.
ScoutComms Client News:
The Home Depot has joined Military Spouse Magazine to launch a competition that will award a deserving active duty or active reserve military spouse a $10,000 scholarship towards their education. Dubbed the ‘Orange Honor’ scholarship, entrants must submit an essay by July 3, 2012 explaining how the scholarship and their education will have a positive impact on their lives. Spread the word to our great military spouses for this unique opportunity.
Veterans and Military Issues:
Matthew M. Burke, Stars and Stripes
This is a very good comprehensive story on the new acceptance of alternative methods of treating PTSD symptoms in our veterans. Ideas that were scoffed at by VA and DoD just three years ago like animal therapy, acupuncture, meditation and art therapy are now showing signs of being worthwhile additions to traditional counseling and pharmaceutical care. Increasingly its becoming obvious that not every veteran is the same and what might work with one, might not with another and while this is difficult for large bureaucratic organizations like VA and DoD to manage there is increasing acceptance of these approaches to help the patients in need. Good story to look through if you are working at all with our veterans.
Robert Burns, Associated Press
The AP’s @RobertBurnsAP has the most surprising story of the week with this piece showing that 155 days into the year the military had lost 154 members to suicide. A shocking pace of nearly a death a day that represents more than 50% more than the number of troops lost to combat. The uptick has caught military officials by surprise after several years of very direct and strenuous efforts to reduce the rate of suicides it seems that the ongoing war, financial woes, prescription abuse and a host of other problems are vexing their efforts. This will be a big story for several weeks to come and we would expect a host of advocacy organizations to seize on these numbers as evidence the military isn’t trying hard enough to stem the tide although we at ScoutComms do not see it that way at all.
Greg Zoroya, USA Today
Details are beginning to emerge on how the Army will fulfill the announcement in May that all of the medical records of every soldier who faced a Medical Review Board since 2001 will be reviewed for discrepancies. The review of some 190,000 records over 90 days will fall under the mission of a special task force under LTG Dave Perkins, commander of Ft. Leavenworth. The issue has been a hot topic since it was discovered that doctors at Madigan Army Hospital had been changing the diagnoses of soldiers with PTSD with consideration of the long-term costs of their care. It’s hoped this review will put the issue to rest as new policies are implemented for future MRB’s.
Oren Dorell, USA Today
The Army will make available a smartphone app in the fall that will allow users to specifically pinpoint graves in Arlington National Cemetery and navigate the vast network of over 250,000 graves. The story also gives a pretty comprehensive update on the work being done to restore faith in the Army’s management of the historic cemetery that was embroiled in controversy over the last three years. By all accounts it seems the facility is on track with many of the improvements needed after the discoveries of misplaced markers, urns in dumps and a host of other issues. ANC has a special place to all who have served and veterans and military members around the world are closely watching this situation.
Greg Zoroya, USA Today
U.S. troops in Afghanistan are suffering a significantly larger amount of multiple limb amputations in combat due to increasing size of Taliban bombs and a reduction in the amount of metal those devices contain making them more difficult to detect. These advances mean more than 60% of the amputations this year, some 31 cases of 52, involve multiple limbs a rate that hadn’t surpassed 1/3 in past years. In response the military is placing ever more experienced medical personnel on medical evacuation aircraft to get the best care possible as far forward for the wounded. It’s too early to say if this trend will continue but if the enemy is having success there is no reason to doubt they won’t keep trying.
Military, Budget and Industry Issues:
Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg
The State Department has approved a record number of export licenses in the last year for U.S. military parts and services. The licenses are valued at $44.3 billion representing an increase of more than $10 billion from last year and were led by some $219.9 million to Brazil and another $217.3 million to India. Both countries are mostly getting military aircraft and associated equipment. Overseas sales are a major part of the hopes for survival among aerospace and defense manufacturers as continuing belt tightening in the U.S. for the foreseeable future puts their profit prospects at greater risk.
Paul McLeary, Defense News
The market for so-called ‘throwable robots’ is a growing one for military forces looking to find out what lies in closed compounds and rooms. The makers of one of the most promising models, the Throwbot XT, have now added a microphone to their small system to allow users to hear what’s going on around the robot. Recon Robotics claims to have some 3,700 systems in use with 30 countries. The system is in a competition with three other small robots in operational tests under the auspices of the Joint IED Defeat Organization in Afghanistan including models from MacroUSA, QinetiQ, and iRobot. This niche of the robot market promises to be one of continued growth as the future of warfare is envisioned to include more urban warfare with fewer troops.
Sandra Erwin, The National Defense
Although many believe that Congress will find away to avert the $500 billion sequestration train wreck before it kicks in this January, the threat alone is serving to suppress stock prices, delay mergers and acquisitions and likely lead to job cuts in anticipation of tighter times for the defense industry. While there are still acquisitions proceeding for commercial purchases as a means to diversify away from military pure strategies it remains to be seen how bad things might just get for the U.S. defense makers. More cuts are widely expected no matter what happens with the sequestration debacle.
Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Wired.com Danger Room
It looks like Congress is making moves to ensure that two companies remain to provide satellite imagery to the U.S. intelligence community. There has been months of talks and back and forth between DigitalGlobe and GeoEye on mergers including a hostile take-over attempt by GeoEye that have all failed to materialize. Even though the White House has announced its reviewing its policy of relying on commercial capabilities the Senate Armed Services Committee is making it clear its stance by reinstating some $125 million into the EnhancedView program cut by the administration. The idea of competition remains strong in Congress for now.
Social Media and Communications Issues:
Pete Yost, Associated Press
Under increasing pressure the Obama administration assigned two U.S. Attorney’s in Washington D.C. and Maryland to open investigations into the leaking of classified information U.S. clandestine operations to reporters in recent months. A steady stream of stories on how America is conducting covert operations including the infiltration of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, the Stuxnet virus against Iran and how the President manages the drone campaign around the world has infuriated both parties in Congress. Many observers have noted that all of the stories seem to bolster the national security credentials of Mr. Obama as the election season heats up portraying him as a brave wartime Commander-in-Chief. This may turn out to be nothing more than the old Washington game of “I’ve got a secret” that so many political appointees and government employees engage in with reporters but it looks bad right now and has seriously undermined intelligence operations.
Christine Haughney, New York Times
Wired is a magazine about all things tech but its Danger Room blog has steadily grown as a go-to place for the latest on defense news and breaking stories presented in an often over-the-top style. It seems to be reaching a wide audience within the military though it often gives officials fits with some of their more dramatic flourishes. The fact is that its hitting the target with tough stories and that drives traffic to one of the fastest growing new media outlets.
Other Items of Interest:
The Associated Press
In one of the oddest continuing stories we’ve seen in a while a former National Guard soldier who is competing in the ‘Americas Got Talent’ show is claiming to suffer from stuttering due to injuries he received in combat in Afghanistan. The flaw in his story is that he was a supply clerk who never saw any combat at all having left the country just three weeks after arriving with an ear infection according to his fellow soldiers and the National Guard. The whole thing seemed like a lie from the start when he claimed that though he was a supply clerk he volunteered to go out and clear buildings when he blocked a Rocket Propelled Grenade from his fellow troops. See…that only happens in Hollywood. In the real world supply clerks don’t clear buildings and people who block RPG’s get blown up. He insists he that he believes these things happened and the fact that the “combat photo” he provided the show is someone else was just a simple mistake of clicking on the wrong file on his computer. It will be entertaining to watch this unfold.
Nancy Montgomery, Stars and Stripes
In our second “wait…what?” story this week the former commander of one of the Army’s most elite Airborne brigades pled guilty yesterday to charges of bigamy, adultery, fraud and others involving an affair he conducted with an Iraqi woman he met in 2006. The son of a well-known Army general and a West Point graduate, Colonel Jim Johnson conducted a bizarre series of criminal acts ranging from creating a fake contract for his lovers father, having his wife sent back to the U.S. from Italy so he could move the other woman into his official government quarters and then marrying her after forging a fake divorce decree for his wife of over 20 years. This whole situation is absolutely the most outrageous thing we’ve seen from a senior officer in the military. His court martial continues today as he is fighting six charges still. His wife turned him into military investigators after she had surgery and discovered she had been disenrolled from the military health insurance program though her divorce had not be finalized.
Chelsea J. Carter, CNN
CNN has an interesting look into the remarkable work of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) which held its annual “Good Grief” camp for the family members of service members lost in military service. This gathering in Arlington, Virginia over the Memorial Day weekend brought some 2,000 people including 500 children together to work through the challenges of losing a loved one in service to the nation. This work is so very important and TAPS is at the forefront of helping those in need and has been since 1994. You might have trouble reading this one and not shedding a tear.
The Scout Report is a weekly analysis of the news in the aerospace, defense and veterans sectors and is emailed each Monday morning. Follow us on Twitter @ScoutComms to get your news fix all week. Did you get this as a forward? Subscribe yourself for free here right now!
About Us: ScoutComms is a unique marketing communications and public relations consulting firm based in the Washington D.C. area that focuses exclusively on the aerospace, defense and veterans’ sectors providing our clients deep insight and counsel based on decades of military and public relations industry experience. To learn more about what we can do for your organization visit our website at www.ScoutCommsUSA.com.
Upcoming event? Have an event you would like us to include on our look ahead? Drop us an email at fwellman@ScoutCommsUSA.com and we will make sure we let our readers know.