The U.S. Air Force on Wednesday awarded billionaire Elon Musk's SpaceX an $83 million contract to launch a GPS satellite, breaking the monopoly that Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co have held on military space launches for more than a decade. The Global Positioning System satellite will be launched in May 2018 from Florida, Air Force officials said.
Having specific, big goals can guide commercial innovation and technologies in dealing with current and future threats under tight defense budgets. Deterring a space Pearl Harbor can serve as such a goal. At the same time, DII can provide access to the commercial innovation and technologies that this deterrence needs. Therefore, connecting DII and space Pearl Harbor deterrence is a win-win combination.
The Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office plans to reach out to U.S. industry in about a month for ways to put existing weapons technologies to new uses as the department scrambles to maintain its competitive edge over Russia and China. "We're looking for things we can put our hands on today, go test today," said Will Roper, director of the SCO, or what he called the Pentagon's "take risk" office.
A Chinese citizen pleaded guilty March 23 to a "years-long conspiracy to hack into the computer networks of major U.S. defense contractors," the Justice Department announced. The episode is a reminder of the Pentagon's ongoing struggle to keep defense secrets out of the hands of foreign hackers.
Military innovation is all the rage in U.S. Navy circles these days, and indeed throughout the Pentagon. It has to be, in an age when U.S. expeditionary forces square off against newly ambitious, newly capable antagonists on those antagonists’ turf. How can U.S. Navy chieftains speed up the search for newfangled weaponry, methods and tactics? My advice: to be innovative, innovate. Make it routine. Make the experimental mindset part of everyday naval life.
“Lockheed Martin has a legacy of making fast aircraft,” Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson said March 15 during the company’s annual media day. “We are now producing a controllable, low-drag, aerodynamic configuration capable of stable operations from takeoff to subsonic, transonic, supersonic and hypersonic, to Mach 6.” Hypersonic flight is defined as anything about Mach 5, meaning five times the speed of sound or 3,600 miles per hour. To put it into perspective, a jet flying at hypersonic speeds could cross the continental United States in about half an hour.
A $13 billion U.S. aircraft carrier is about to hit the open seas. It’s the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the most expensive and most advanced warship ever built. The ship was christened in November 2013 and is scheduled to be commissioned this summer, said Lieutenant Jesus Uranga of the Navy Office of Information. It had been slated to be commissioned this month.
While the U.S. Navy has long enjoyed freedom of action throughout the world’s oceans, the days of its unchallenged primacy may be coming to a close. In recent years, a number of countries, including China, Russia, and Iran, have accelerated investments in anti-access/area denial (A2/AD)capabilities such as advanced air defense systems, anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles, submarines, and aircraft carriers. These capabilities are likely to proliferate in the coming years, placing greater constraints on U.S. carrier operations than ever before.
Carter discussed innovation programs between DoD and the private sector, the department’s innovation initiatives, data security, cyber security and the accelerated campaign to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Taking risks and being willing to fail to progress is imbued in the innovative community, he said. “And we have to try to imbue our [DoD] folks with the same kind of spirit – [to] go out there and try something new,” the secretary said.