Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Two Aircraft Carriers Under Construction

Work began on two aircraft carriers of the new Gerald R. Ford class in 2011.The Gerald R. Ford(CVN 78)and John F. Kennedy(CVN 79)are under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding,Virginia.
The Gerald R. Ford class is characterized by reduced manning requirements down to engineering advancements;increased durability;better survivability;advanced aircraft handling and greater sortie rates;new integrated warfare systems and weapons/material handling systems;and new electrical engineering.The new carriers will need about 1,000 fewer crew than the preceding Nimitz class.
The Gerald R. Ford is slated for a 2015 delivery.Newport News Shipbuilding is a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries,which was spun off from Northrup Grumman.
The U.S. Navy will continue to have 11 aircraft carriers in the fleet,once the Gerald R. Ford is completed.Between the imminent retirement of the USS Enterprise(CVN)and that point,however,there will only be ten carriers for two or three years-a subject of controversy in the halls of Congress until it ultimately acceded to the Navy's plan.
Huntington Ingalls Industries(HII)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NASA - Memorial for Judith Resnik

NASA - Memorial for Judith Resnik

Fifty Years Later:John Glenn,Marine and Astronaut

Astronaut John Glenn recently concluded his distinguished aviation career when he gave up his pilot's license at the age of 90.It was getting too hard for him to climb into his Beechcraft Baron.Still alert,Senator Glenn,who represented Ohio in the U.S. Senate from 1974-99,attended the fiftieth anniversary commemoration of his first orbital spaceflight by an American on 20 February at the Kennedy Space Center.
Senator Glenn's career in military aviation isn't nearly as well known as his NASA years,yet was outstanding in its own right.He flew 59 combat missions as a U.S. Marine pilot in World War II in an F49 Corsair in the South Pacific.That was followed by 63 combat missions in the Korean War in an F9F Panther jet interceptor,as well as 27 missions in an F-86F Sabre on an exchange program with the U.S. Air Force in that war,downing 3 MiG-15s near the Yalu River just before the truce that obtains to this day.
For his achievements,Senator Glenn was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars and two Oak Leaf Clusters;an Air Medal with three Silver Stars and two Oak Leaf Clusters;and an Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star.He also received two Presidential Unit Citations,one for the United States and the other for Korea.
As well as orbiting the earth three times in a Mercury space capsule in February,1962,Senator Glenn became the oldest astronaut to fly in space when he joined the crew of the space shuttle Discovery in 1998 at age 77.On that flight,he was the subject of a biomedical evaluation of the effect of spaceflight on the elderly,with his 1962 space flight serving as a baseline for the study.Initially opposed to women being astronauts,he changed his mind about that and delivered a stirring tribute to Mission Specialist Judith Resnik,the second American woman in space,who tragically died in the space shuttle Challenger disaster on 28 January,1986.
For his storied accomplishments,Senator Glenn was also honored with the Congressional Gold Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Special Ops Commander

Admiral William McRaven,Commander,U.S. Special Operations Command,seeks more authority to preposition his forces and equipment to sensitive areas as intelligence and open sources dictate,according to The New York Times.This could mean expanding their presence in the underepresented areas of Asia,Africa and Latin America without getting State Department consent or the approval of the other combatant commanders-parties who have a concern about turf being violated,either their own or another nation's.
The admiral,himself a product of the Navy SEALs,personally oversaw their training for the bin Laden capture or kill mission.As a young captain,he had been assigned to the White House since right after 9-11.He has perhaps been the world's chief terrorist hunter ever since,searching globally for both Taliban and al-Qaida militants.
Admiral McRaven is said to occasionally accompany his men on their secret missions.A colleague describes him as possessing the rare attribute of combining the qualities of a great leader and a big thinker.A key figure in the ascent of special ops to their current prominence in this age of infantry downsizing,he may well be regarded with a mixture of admiration and annoyance in the corridors of power.
Emblematic of this ascent is the making of the film "Act of Valor,"which stars actual Navy SEALs in a true to life drama and is slated for release on 24 February.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New DIA Campus Gets Green Light

The Intelligence Community Campus-Bethesda,a redevelopment project led by the Defense Intelligence Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,has received design approval by the National Capital Planning Commission.Work on the 300 million dollar facility,an airy office block concept,is expected to begin within a few months,with completion of the rectangular building in just over a year's time.
The DIA currently has facilities spread around the national capital region,as do its counterparts at the Central Intelligence Agency.Just who will be using the campus besides the DIA itself has not been disclosed,but the CIA is a possibility,along with perhaps the sprawling National Security Agency,the DIA's Department of Defense colleagues.
The Bethesda,Maryland complex is located on the former site of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency,which was relocated to Fort Belvoir,Virgina,as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005.Neighbors in the affluent Palisades housing estate nearby were none too pleased with the parking garage for the ICC-B,fearing it would block their views of the Potomac River and lay waste a wooded area.The Planning Commission,however,is insisting that the DIA and Army Corps drastically scale the garage footprint back.The Army Corps said it didn't know if it could reach that goal,but it would try.
Some 3,000 intelligence staffers are to work at the sophisticated compound off Macarthur Boulevard,near the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.The DIA is the principal provider of information on foreign military intentions and capabilities to combatant commanders,defense policy makers,and troops in the field,preventing strategic surprise and delivering a decision advantage to them in the interests of the national security of the United States.Its director is a three star military officer-currently Lieutenant General Ronald L. Burgess,Jr.,U.S. Army.
The DIA has a workforce of about 7,000 military and civilian personnel,who deploy worldwide alongside warfighters and interagency partners in support of military planning,operations and weapons acquisition.