Foreign arms sales by the US increased by 36% in the 2015 budget year, hitting $46.6 billion, and demand looks to remain high. "It's worldwide. The demand signal is coming in Europe, in the Pacific and in Centcom," said Vice Admiral Joe Rixey.
Becoming a better buyer of goods and services is a key tenet of acquisition reform at the Pentagon as it purses its third Better Buying Power initiative. However, issues of time, expectations and risk vs. return are challenges that must be overcome.
Russia's decision to send S-400 surface-to-air missiles to Syria will not deter US airstrikes against the Islamic State group, according to Lt. Gen. Charles Brown Jr. "Yes, it does complicate things a little bit, and we'll put some thought to it, but we still have a job to do here, and we’re going to continue to do that job -- to defeat Daesh [the Islamic State group]," he said.
The South China Sea "is clearly becoming the focal point of growing tensions between the United States and the People’s Republic of China," writes Dean Cheng. "As China continues to challenge the United States on the competing principles of sovereignty and freedom of the seas, the reefs, spits, rocks, and islands in the Spratlys have become the center of the battle."
US defense companies fear that European and Gulf buyers will turn to Russian and Chinese weapons systems due to America's cumbersome and slow bureaucracy. "[W]hat I'm hearing from a bunch of our executives, is the pitch from the foreign competitor hasn't changed, but now that the pressure of time, with the pressure of need, it's starting to actually resonate a bit more," said AIA Vice President for International Affairs Remy Nathan. "We're not changing our message and our approach and our orientation to the partner, and the other guy's pitch is starting to sound better and better."
Polls show the US public is becoming more concerned with security issues after terrorist attacks in Paris, bringing the debate to the forefront for presidential hopefuls.
China's Chengdu Airlines has taken delivery of the first Chinese-made jetliner, the ARJ21 manufactured by Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China. The aircraft has struggled with production problems. "ARJ21 has been a waste of money," said Rand Corp.'s Keith Crane, citing the aircraft's inability so far to receive US and European certification.
Drones offer several potential advantages over human inspectors in cars and railcars for inspecting tracks, and CSX is looking into the technology, according to CEO Michael Ward. The unmanned aircraft should be able to cover much greater distances within a given time span and offer a unique ability to scan the underside of bridges.
A new poll shows GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz gaining ground on frontrunner Donald Trump. Cruz pulled ahead of retired brain surgeon Ben Carson.
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