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3/3/11 - Windy Thursday Stuff
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Author:  TSPking [ Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:39 am ]
Post subject:  3/3/11 - Windy Thursday Stuff

Obama Signs Two-Week Budget Extension (Be Interesting to See What Is Achieved at the End of the Two Weeks!!!)

The Senate approved and sent to President Obama on Wednesday morning a measure
that would finance the government for two more weeks, until March 18.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/us/po ... l?emc=eta1

U.S. Navy Protects Carriers And Subs

The U.S. Navy brass loves to perpetuate the cliché that the first question any U.S. president asks during
a time of overseas crisis is: Where are the carriers? But what the service is less likely to trumpet is
that this has been the very same question among federal budget cutters through the years, especially
since the end of the Cold War.
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/ ... And%20Subs

Simplify Response To Urgent War Needs: GAO

In a new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) describes a fragmented Pentagon
response to commanders' urgent operational needs.

Short-Term Bill Delays Fight Over Deeper Spending Cuts CQ TODAY ONLINE NEWS
March 1, 2011 - 9:46 p.m. By Kerry Young, CQ Staff

Congress has diffused an end-of-week battle over shutting down the government, but lawmakers have won themselves
only a brief reprieve from what probably will be a difficult budget fight in the coming weeks. The Senate is expected
to clear a short-term spending bill (H J Res 44) Wednesday that would keep the government running through March 18,
after the current stopgap (PL 111-322) expires March 4.

Leaders in both chambers are hopeful that the extra two weeks will be enough time to work out a deal on a broader
spending bill covering the rest of fiscal 2011. But that seems unlikely, given the deep divide between House
Republicans, who are pushing major spending cuts, and Senate Democrats, who have blanched at the House GOP's approach.

It's likely that more short-term spending bills, called continuing resolutions (CRs), will be needed for fiscal 2011,
which runs through Sept. 30. And that means the threat of a government shutdown might linger for months. Neither side
has given much ground on the large spending questions facing Congress. Republicans are pushing $61.5 billion in cuts
compared with fiscal 2010, along with several potentially deal-breaking policy riders, including provisions that would
block environmental regulations and the implementation of the health care overhaul (PL 111-148, PL 111-152).

House Republicans included those policy provisions, along with the spending cuts, in a measure (HR 1) they passed Feb. 19.

Democrats have blasted the cuts as excessive. They have said they would support some spending reductions, but not
on the scale proposed by the House. Still, with both sides agreeing in principle on the need to curtail spending,
they could, in theory, reach an agreement. But there's almost no chance of reaching a bipartisan compromise on
the policy provisions, many of which are dear to House conservatives who campaigned on a promise to repeal the
health care law.

"It's obvious we would want more than two weeks to do this, but the Republicans are bound and determined to stuff
the next matter with a lot of this really bad stuff out of [the broad House bill]," Majority Leader Harry Reid,
D-Nev., said Tuesday. House GOP appropriators made it easy, though, for Reid to agree to move the short-term CR.

The two-week measure is free of the controversial policy provisions, and it cuts $4 billion partly by rolling back
funds once intended for earmarks, which lawmakers in both chambers have forsworn. The bill also would eliminate
several programs that the White House has sought to terminate. White House Weighs In

On Tuesday, the White House ventured more publicly into the spending debate than it had before, suffering what
appeared to be a minor defeat in the process. Although President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, spoke early
in the day about fiscal 2011 appropriations, the president was unable to convince Boehner to embrace a longer-term
continuing resolution, as the White House wanted.

After the phone conversation, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the administration liked
the idea of a monthlong CR that would have doubled cuts to $8 billion. "We do believe that if $4 billion in cuts
over two weeks is acceptable, that the $8 billion over four or five weeks is something that we could agree on," he said.

While the move may have been intended to take back the initiative in the fight over fiscal 2011 spending, Reid
quickly conceded that Democrats would take up and clear the House's short-term measure. He announced Tuesday
that he intended to clear the House's two-week CR within 48 hours and now appears on track to beat his own deadline.

Still, Reid said that the White House shouldn't stay on the sidelines of the ongoing spending fights. "I think
they should be involved more," Reid said. "And, I think they will be." Negotiations Continue

House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said the two-week CR would give senators time to work with his
chamber to resolve their objections to his longer-term bill.

"We can have a conversation about it," Rogers said. "Frankly, two weeks is plenty of time. Plenty of time in the House.
I know the Senate works a bit more slowly, but two weeks should be plenty." Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.,
said he had doubts about reaching an agreement, but did not rule out that possibility. "I am hoping we can get it
done in two weeks," he said.

In the House, stripping the short-term CR of controversial policy measures helped draw significant Democratic
support while keeping most Republicans on board.

The move had the support of 104 Democrats, including Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland and Norm Dicks
of Washington, the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. Only six Republicans voted against it, including
Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, the head of the chamber's Tea Party Caucus. Many freshmen are more concerned with
spending cuts than immediately barring environmental and health regulations through a stopgap bill, said David
Schweikert, R-Ariz., who won his seat in 2010. "Doing a lot of the policy changes in a continuing resolution is
a tough place to do it," he said, adding that Republicans will try to get their legislative priorities in their
fiscal 2012 budget.

During the debate on the CR, veteran appropriators have stressed the need to finish the budget work for fiscal 2011
and to do a better job on fiscal 2012. Congress didn't pass any of the regular spending bills for fiscal 2011 before
the year started on Oct.1.

Rogers noted that five months of fiscal 2011 have lapsed, during which federal agencies have been operating in a
budgetary limbo. "It is high time we start looking forward, instead of constantly looking back to clean up past
mistakes and inaction," Rogers said. "We must move forward quickly in regular order - passing bills on time in
an open and transparent fashion - to avoid these budget uncertainties in the future." Hoyer, a former appropriator,
urged Republicans not to fixate on their stated target of a "nice, round figure" of $100 billion in savings, a number
based on GOP campaign promises to undo domestic spending increases enacted since Obama became president. Instead,
they should seek more moderate targeted cuts that could be completed quickly, and signed into law, Hoyer said.

"The sooner we can agree on a long-term package of smart cuts, not reckless, arbitrary, job-destroying cuts,
the sooner we can stop funding the government in disruptive two-week increments," Hoyer said.

U.S. Air Force to Wring 5 Percent From Buying Plans

The U.S. Air Force intends to wring 5 percent from its $220 billion, five-year modernization plan,
as part of a larger efficiency drive, service procurement chief David Van Buren said.

Navy LCS Procurement Plan Does Not Justify F136 Engine Case, Mabus Says
By Carlo Munoz, March 2, 2011

The decision by the Navy to issue dual contract awards for its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program is not an
argument for buying a second engine for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), service secretary Ray Mabus told
Congress yesterday.

Mabus' comments during yesterday's House Armed Services Committee on the Navy's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request
were in response to assertions made by committee member Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J).

Andrews argued that the same reasons Navy officials opted to award two LCS contracts in January--to increase
competition in the program and drive down costs--are the same reasons why members of Congress are pushing for
a second engine for the JSF.

In January, the Navy late last month awarded dual multimillion procurement deals to Lockheed Martin [LMT] and
Austal USA to build dual versions of the LCS. The 20-ship deal was split down the middle, with separate 10-ship
contracts being awarded to both companies. The Lockheed Martin team was awarded $437 million for development and
construction on its half of the LCS, while Austal USA won $432 million for its portion of the build.

A month later, House members voted to terminate the controversial F136 engine program as part of its version of
the FY '11 defense appropriations bill. Currently, the JSF is outfitted with the F135 engine built by Pratt & Whitney [UTX].
The F136 is built by a joint development team of General Electric [GE] and Rolls-Royce.

For their part, Mabus said Navy acquisition officials had called upon their counterparts in the Air Force, just to
see if there was any overlap in what the service was planning and the ongoing JSF second engine debate, as part of
the sea service's internal discussions over the dual LCS buy.

"It is a very different [program]...that was their answer back to us. It was a very different plan," Mabus said.
"On the LCS we always, always planned to have two suppliers. Even if we went down to one version, we were going
to bid out for a second shipyard. That has not been the case with the second engine."

Mabus also noted that Navy procurement officials have already financed up front "all of the non-reoccurring engineering,
all of the [research and development] for both variants" of the LCS. On the other hand, the most recent estimates for
similar work required for the F136 engine variant were close to $3 billion, he added.

FY '11 began last Oct. 1, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates has agreed to fund the engine on a monthly basis while
the government is running under a temporary CR keeping all funding at FY '10 levels until March 4. With Congress now
cobbling together the details of another temporary CR to prevent a government shutdown that would begin on March 4,
the future of the F136 remains hazy.

Even if the LCS approach could be applied to the F136, getting the engine into the field successfully would pose
its own slate of problems, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead said during the same hearing.

Any cost savings generated by having to engine producers would be eaten up by the need to maintain separate logistics
and supply lines for each variant, Roughead pointed out.

Given those supply lines would have to be supported by support vessels and aircraft, the Navy "cannot afford to have
redundancy" because space is so limited on those boats and aircraft. By acquiring two engines, the sea service's
logistics and support operations would be overstressed, he said.

U.S. House Panel Holds Up Anti-IED Funds

A U.S. House panel is holding up funding for critical equipment that would help
protect troops in Afghanistan from roadside bombs.

U.S. To Spend $800M as It Leaves MEADS Program

Over the next three years, the U.S. government plans to spend more than $800 million on a missile defense
"proof of concept" that Army Secretary John McHugh has little confidence will even work.

House takes hard line on Humvees


Boeing's new unit targets rising military bandwidth demand

Company receives orders for five hosted payloads in past 18 months
http://defensesystems.com/articles/2011 ... -unit.aspx

Army keeps tight grip on tactical network project

Battery of tests will ensure equipment functions properly when fielded
http://defensesystems.com/articles/2011 ... twork.aspx

As hardware shrinks, ruggedization challenges grow

Military is trending toward rugged computers that have power, but also are lighter
and more nimble for warfighters on the go
http://defensesystems.com/articles/2011 ... uters.aspx

Hidden Data Training

FYI, Training on hidden data. It's worthwhile if you can spare 20-30 minutes.
Some of it is probably not new, but still an opportunity to increase our
understanding and knowledge.
https://dodiisclear.dia.mil/Navy_Hidden ... chPage.htm

Marines Boot Social Media Pioneers From Afghanistan After Facebook Freakout

It started off as an experimental effort to cover the war in the era of social media. But launching a forum
where anyone could weigh in about a combat unit's fight proved to be more than the Marines were willing to
handle. The media pioneers have been sent home - largely over some comments left on a Facebook wall.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/03 ... al-media/#

Industry group forms cloud commission to advise White House

An industry group with a record of shaping federal information technology policy has established
a cloud computing commission to advise the White House on outsourcing more than $20 billion worth
of IT services to the Web.
http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20110 ... ne=NGtoday

GSA to stop funding D.C.-area private telework centers (????)

The General Services Administration will discontinue funding for 13 private telework centers
in the Washington area at the end of March. About 300 federal employees work at the facilities.
http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20110 ... ?oref=rss#

Two US Airmen Killed at Frankfurt Airport

A gunman shot at U.S. Air Force personnel on a bus outside Frankfurt airport Wednesday, killing two airmen
and wounding two others before being taken into custody, authorities said.
http://www.military.com/news/article/tw ... rport.html

Casey: Two-year dwell time will be reality by October

Starting this fall, all active-duty Army units will have two full years at home between deployments,
and National Guard and reserve units will get four years between deployments, the service's chief
of staff said Wednesday.
http://www.stripes.com/news/casey-two-y ... -1.136452#

XO Movie Night investigation to be detailed to come out 3 March

NORFOLK, Va. - The findings of a Fleet Forces Command investigation into the controversial XO Movie Night
videos made and broadcast aboard the carrier Enterprise from 2005 to 2007 will be announced Thursday afternoon
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/03/n ... n-030211w/

Domestic Dispute (Hmmmm!!)

The administration defends its decision not to extend health care benefits
to same-sex partners of federal employees.

Justices Rule for Protesters at Military Funerals (?????)

The First Amendment protects hateful protests at military funerals, the Supreme Court
ruled in an 8-to-1 decision.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/us/03 ... l?emc=eta1

Obama's 'Where's Waldo?' presidency

Barack Obama is often strangely absent from the most important debates.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... ailarticle

GOP leaders surprised by White House entry into budget-cutting talks

Vice President Biden will assume the role of lead Democratic negotiator.
http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?a ... dcn=e_gvet

Fed Notes 'Modest to Moderate' Growth of Economy

Retail sales and manufacturing grew in most regions, the report said,
while the labor markets improved modestly.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/busin ... l?emc=eta1

Oil soars to more than $100 on Libyan unrest

Crude oil prices climbed to a 29-month high in New York on Wednesday, settling at more than $100 for
the first time since September 2008 as fighting near key oil ports in Libya fueled anxiety that instability
there could be prolonged and might inspire unrest in another oil-exporting nation.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... ailarticle

Administration seeks help in selling off excess federal buildings

Seven-member panel of experts would examine status of 14,000 vacant facilities
and 55,000 underutilized buildings.
http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?a ... dcn=e_gvet

S.E.C. Proposes Crackdown on Wall Street Bonuses

The proposal would require Wall Street firms to disclose bonus figures to the Securities
and Exchange Commission, which could then ban any "excessive" awards.
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/ ... /?emc=eta1

Officials Disagree on Penalties for Mortgage Mess

Regulators cannot agree on how much to punish banks as well as exactly who should benefit from a settlement.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/busin ... l?emc=eta1

House may kill Obama's foreclosure-prevention programs

The Obama administration's main initiative to help struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure
could soon be killed in the House, where many Republican lawmakers have complained about
the program's lackluster results.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... ailarticle

Midwest union battles highlight debate over improving schools

INDIANAPOLIS - The Republican faceoff with labor unions in the Midwest and elsewhere marks not
just a fight over money and collective bargaining but also a test of wills over how to
improve the nation's schools.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... ailarticle

Teachers Wonder, Why the Scorn?

Many teachers see demands to cut their pay, benefits and say in how schools are run
as attacks not just on their livelihoods, but on their value.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/educa ... l?emc=eta1

Postal Service pleads its case to Congress

Cash-strapped agency says it needs immediate relief to avoid defaulting on advance
payments to its retiree health fund.
http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?a ... dcn=e_gvet

Agencies Fine and Sue Companies That Purported to Aid Jobless

Civil and criminal actions follow an inquiry into bogus employment and business opportunities.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/busin ... l?emc=eta1

Gates: U.S. did 'lousy job' listening to Karzai (Karzai has not done a great job of being honest)

WASHINGTON (AP) - American officials have done a "lousy job" taking Afghan President Hamid Karzai
seriously, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress on Wednesday as he sought to diffuse...
http://www.navytimes.com/news/2011/03/a ... ai-030211/

Egypt's military says prime minister has resigned

http://ap.stripes.com/dynamic/stories/M ... TE=DEFAULT

Yemen's President Saleh under new pressure

SANAA, YEMEN - Yemen's leader came under new pressure Wednesday as influential clerics,
tribal leaders and some members of Yemen's opposition presented a plan for a peaceful
transition of power.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... ailarticle

Yemeni parties join protesters to reject presidential offer

SANAA, YEMEN - Tens of thousands of people, including a controversial preacher, turned out in cities
across Yemen on Tuesday as opposition parties joined demonstrators in rejecting embattled President
Ali Abdullah Saleh's offer to form a unity government.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... ailarticle

Gates Warns of Risks of a No-Flight Zone

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates told Congress that even a modest effort to establish a
no-flight zone in Libya would require "a big operation in a big country."
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/world ... l?emc=eta1

Rebels in Libya Win Battle but Fail to Loosen Qaddafi's Grip

From the feeble cover of sand dunes, assaulted by a warplane and artillery from a hill,
rebels repelled an attack by Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's fighters
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/world ... l?emc=eta1

Libyan rebels push back assault by Gaddafi forces in port city of Brega

BREGA, LIBYA - Rebels fought off a coordinated assault by military jets and armored ground forces near
a key oil port Wednesday, thwarting Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's most significant attempt yet to
retake eastern territory that he lost last week amid a nationwide uprising.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... ailarticle

Obama to Discuss Armed U.S. Agents in Mexico



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