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50% off My Charmies Wristbands

50% off My Charmies Wristbands

My Charmies

$12 for $24 Worth at MyCharmies.com

My Charmies MyCharmies.com Get the latest craze in wristbands. For $12, today’s offer will get you your choice of either a white or blue wristband with ALL 10 Charms from MyCharmies.com! This also includes the shipping cost. My Charmies wristbands can attach 10 different Charms all of which have a positive message. Wearing My Charmies is a great motivational tool for youths as it is a constant visual reminder of the types of qualities that are important to them. It is also a great conversation starter for parents with younger kids too. It helps introduce ideas of acceptance and tolerance; lessons you’re never too young to learn! – Promotional Value Expires May 20, 2012, afterwards voucher is valid for amount paid. – No Cash Value or Cash back – Cannot combine with other offers or promotions – May buy multiple vouchers – Voucher redeemable 24 hours after deal offer closes – Deal includes your choice of either a white or blue wristband with ALL 10 Charms

 

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February 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

51% off CHAOS IN THE CAGE 10 MMA Event on Feb 18th

51% off CHAOS IN THE CAGE 10 MMA Event on Feb 18th

CHAOS IN THE CAGE 10

 

$22 for one Admission Ticket to CHAOS IN THE CAGE 10 (Seating in Rows 4-7) ($45 Value). Limited Quantities Available

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The Pioneer Event Center’s (PEC) Chaos in the Cage 10 45000 Valley Central Way. Lancaster, CA 93536 (661) 726-1911 Ext. 150 Fight fans this is your night and opportunity to check out Professional Mixed Martial Arts with 8 Live Cage Fights at Chaos in the Cage at the Pioneer Event Center on Feb the 18th with doors opening at 5pm and fights start at 6:30. You’ll be right in front of the action with this Local Living offer as you will be catching the actions from the best seats in the house from rows 4-7 for only $22 which is a $45 Value. It will be a night of Champions as Chaos in the Cage 10 will feature the CITC Welterweight belt on the line and the CITC Flyweight belt up for grabs. With fights featuring Jesse Miramonte, Sal Farnettie, Daniel McWilliams, William Wheeler, Jeremy Bennett, Tony Dalton, David Mancha, Eddie Mendez and Kyle Griffin younger brother of UFC vet Tyson Griffin… with special guest Jason Mayhem Miller! – Good for one Admission Ticket – No Cash Value or Cash back – Cannot combine with other offers or promotions – Dress code enforced- No Gang Attire – Bring voucher to Will Call to redeem tickets – Seating for rows 4-7

February 15, 2012 Posted by | antelope valley bargains | Leave a comment

100 Romantic ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day

ROMANTIC VALENTINE

Just a few of these ideas will make your man feel loved. To show him how truly special he is, pick a bunch of ideas and surprise him with your loving bouquet of sweet sentiments on February 14. From 100 to one, we have lots of romantic Valentine’s Day inspiration for you!


100. Send your sweetie a sweet, short and sexy text
 or email. (Not to his work email!)

99. Leave a little note in his briefcase or laptop bag so he will find it when he gets to work.

98. When your significant other gets home, be waiting in the bedroom dressed in your favorite sexy lingerie (or nothing at all!) … you know what happens next.

97. Plan a surprise outing! Start with dinner at his favorite restaurant, then reveal tickets to a show or sports game.

96. Take a hot air balloon ride together.

95. Surprise him with that special something he has been coveting (no matter how big or small).

94. Send flowers or cookies for no reason at all.

93. Take his dog for a walk.Love Notes on Mirror

92. Stock his fridge with his favorite beer and his shelves with his favorite snacks.

91. Stop by your sweetie’s office around lunchtime with his favorite noontime nosh.

90. Take a drive together — car trips provide some of the best time for talking one-on-one.

89. Snuggle after sex — even if you are tired.

88. Give a back massage.

87. Offer a foot rub — without asking for one in return!

86. Fill up his gas tank.

85. If he comes home after a boy’s night WAY past the time he said he would, let it go. 

84. Make breakfast in bed.

83. Stay in bed all day — pajamas optional. 

82. Take a late-night, hand-in-hand stroll.

81. Sign up for a class you know he has been wanting to take together.

80. Make up silly nicknames for each other that you ONLY call each other in private!

79. Make a mousepad (or a mug or a calendar) with your picture on it for his desk.

78. Start a hobby together.

Young Couple with Wine77. Do something nice for his mother, brother, sister, etc.

76. Let him pick the movie this time.

75. Make a special dinner for him.

74. When he gets home, hand him a glass of wine, sit down together and let him talk about his day.

73. Do chores or errands without being asked and without complaining.

72. Put the toilet seat down.

71. Leave a note on the bathroom mirror so he will see it first thing in the morning.

70. Send a sexy picture message to his phone.

69. Leave a note for him to meet at his favorite bar or club. When he arrives, do some fun role-play and pretend you are meeting for the first time.

68. Wash his car for him.

67. Do his laundry.

66. Recreate your first date — then recall all the feelings you had for each other that very first night.

65. Make a creative coupon book (free massage, free night out with the guys, etc.) without an expiration date!

64. Book a couple’s massage.

63. Plan a romantic getaway to a bed and breakfast.

62. Dedicate a day to the one you love — plan a day filled with his favorite things.

61. Plan a surprise party for him.

60. Send him a nice (or naughty!) card. Even if you live together, mail it!

59. Take out the trash.

58. Buy him a calendar and fill it with important dates (our first dinner together, our three-year anniversary, etc.).

57. Have a romantic/sexy photo session done together or have sexy pictures taken of yourself and make a private album for him.

56. Make a big deal out of the holidays.

55. Scatter rose petals on the bed

54. If he has to work late, have his favorite take-out delivered to the office, and pre-pay, of course!

53. Have a talk about the future and let him know that he is a part of it.

52. Buy his favorite perfume, and simply put it in the medicine cabinet for him to discover on his own.

51. Declare a day of the week “your” day — always spend that day together, even if you just snuggle on the couch together.

50. Take him home to meet the family.

49. Propose.

48. Go on a picnic.

47. Explore your adventurous sides together — do something daring that neither of you have tried before, such as bungee jumping or sky diving. The experience will bring you closer.

46. Designate a place as “yours” — your favorite restaurant or bar — and frequent it together often.

45. Volunteer together. Work side-by-side at your local animal shelter, nursing home or as you gather donations for your local food bank.

44. Take him to an art gallery or art walk.

43. Arrange to have a house cleaner come to his place and spruce things up!

42. Introduce him to your best friends.

41. Walk him out when he leaves for work.

40. Make him a special bag lunch with a note written on a napkin inside.

39. Get him a subscription to his favorite magazine.

38. If he has a business trip, offer to drive to the airport, so he doesn’t have to take a cab.

37. Leave a sweet note on a post-it on his car windshield or steering wheel.

36. Flirt with him unabashedly.

35. If he has been working out extra hard or dieting, compliment him on his weight loss or how big his muscles are getting.

34. Rent some silly comedies and spend the night laughing together.

33. Take a shower together.

32. Offer to shave his face or ask him to shave your legs.

31. Guys, offer to paint your ladies toes.

30. Go stargazing. Bring a bottle of champagne.

29. Try an activity that he loves, such as golf, or that she loves, like shopping! (No complaining!)

28. Get up early on the weekend and do some of the chores he has on his list.

27. Laugh at his jokes.

26. Compliment her on her new hairstyle, shoes, outfit, etc.

25. Frame a picture of the two of you during a special trip.

24. Ask his mother for the recipe to his favorite dish that she made him growing up.

23. Ask her father for her hand and his blessing.

22. Buy a little teddy bear to sleep with when you are not there.

21. Get her oil changed and her brakes checked.

20. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride. (Bonus points if this is at Christmastime or Valentine’s Day.)

19. Buy her favorite chocolates and sneak some into her purse.

18. Buy him a new tie.

17. Iron his shirts.

16. Feed each other dinner. Or better yet, dessert.

15. Sneak a sexy note into the pocket of his slacks or into her purse.

14. Kiss him when he leaves in the morning and when he gets home at night.

13. Brag about him to his friends for something really macho that he does.

12. Tell her mother how smart you think she is.

11. Go on a bike ride — extra credit for using a tandem bike.

10. Baby him when he is sick.

9. Leave lipstick kisses on the bathroom mirror.

8. Go to the park together (even if you don’t have kids). Go down the slide, play on the teeter-totter and go on the swings.

7. Let him teach you a new skill.

6. Buy a little gift and surprise him at the end of a long week.

5. Go hiking together.

4. Take a trip to the beach.

3. Watch the sun set or rise together.

2. Share the morning paper and some mimosas over the weekend.

1. Grab him spontaneously and kiss him like you mean it.

 

Love your guy?  Make sure he knows it! Find out how to celebrate your relationship >>

 

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DoD, Capitol Hill square off for BRAC fight

In 1991, a Democratic Congressman from California fought hard to keep an Army base open in his congressional district. While he lost that fight and Fort Ord was forced to close, the lawmaker’s political career did not end there.

Leon Panetta went on to become director of the Office of Management and Budget and chief of staff to President Clinton, during which time two more base realignment and closure (BRAC) rounds took place.

In 2005, during what some people call “the mother of all BRACs,” Panetta served as co-chairman of the California Council on Base Support and Retention, where he fought to keep the Defense Language Institute and the Naval Postgraduate School open, both located in his hometown of Monterey, Calif.

Over the course of his career, Panetta has both fought against BRAC and made the case for it.

Now, as Defense Department secretary, he has said that as part of the 2013 budget, the Pentagon will ask Congress for legislation to establish a new BRAC commission to oversee up to two rounds of domestic base closures.

Panetta’s January announcement was met with immediate resistance from Congress, with influential members saying the proposal was dead on arrival as far as they were concerned.

However, Panetta’s experience, especially his understanding of the community-level concerns, could help the Defense Department gain congressional support for further base closures, according to past BRAC officials.

“He has been on all sides of this issue,” said David Berteau, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). “I think therefore he has some unique standing, and if he chooses to put that standing into play, I think it could go a long way toward getting the authorization for a round.”

Berteau served as a senior BRAC official during the 1990s base closures.

After Fort Ord closed, then-Rep. Panetta urged his community back home to move on from the painful decision and start thinking about how the military base could be reused. Part of the old base is now home to a campus of California State University, which includes the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, as well as conservation land and commercial buildings.

Panetta’s unique background allows him to weigh in with members of Congress on a personal level, Berteau said. “If he’s personally willing to make the case, it will put a lot of credibility behind the request.”

That level of authority could come in handy, especially during an election year.

“Don’t ever forget: BRAC is the third rail of defense politics,” an issue so charged and controversial no one wants to touch it, said Ray DuBois, former acting undersecretary of the Army and now a senior adviser at CSIS. From 2001 to 2004, DuBois served as the deputy undersecretary of Defense for installations and environment, overseeing BRAC during that time.

The fact that President Obama is making a BRAC request during an election year shows just how serious the administration is about getting it done, Berteau said.

Resistance is already fierce.

When asked what he would do to a Pentagon request for domestic base closures, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said: “Kill it.”

Such a request would be dead on arrival, at least in the House, McKeon told an audience Feb. 1 at a Reserve Officers Association conference.

McKeon was not alone in his opposition. Several Congressmen and senators issued press releases vowing to protect military bases and installations in their districts.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., questioned whether BRAC rounds ever result in savings.

“Before we have another BRAC round, I think we need to do a cost-benefit analysis of whether we’re really going to save any money,” she said during a Feb. 2 briefing on Capitol Hill.

Defense analysts agree that while closing bases costs money upfront, it produces savings in the long run.

According to the Government Accountability Office, the 2005 BRAC round, which was mostly completed last fall, will start paying for itself in 2018, a date that has slipped due to unforeseen costs.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, indicated he was open to discussing a BRAC request. “I think everything would be on the table,” he said. “We’re willing to negotiate on something like that.”

Meanwhile, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, Washington Rep. Adam Smith, has said he supports base closures.

“I think without question we’re going to have to do base realignment,” he said in an interview. “I don’t see how any person looking at the strategy and looking at the changes coming down could conclude otherwise.”

If history is a guide, the most likely scenario is that Congress will ask for reports on the effectiveness of BRAC in its 2013 policy bill and then wait until 2014 to include language that would authorize a new BRAC commission, Berteau said. “The track record says that you’ve got to request it, knowing you might not get it this year.”

On that schedule, a new BRAC round would not begin until 2015, the same year the 2005 BRAC Commission recommended a new round of base closures.

DoD leadership would be needed to make the case on Capitol Hill as well as within the Pentagon, where the individual military services will likely push back on reductions to infrastructure.

“It takes a strong Defense secretary and strong [Office of the Secretary of Defense] leadership to demonstrate there are cost-savings and infrastructure reductions that can be achieved,” DuBois said. “If you were to leave it up to the services, you would not achieve very much.”

The military services have the tendency to evaluate base closures from their perspective alone, Berteau said. “To see the true potential for BRAC, you need to look at it DoD-wide.”

Following Panetta’s announcement that the Pentagon would be requesting new base closures, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said a new round of BRAC might mean minor changes for the Army, but nothing like the 2005 round.

“The Army went through a very significant BRAC here not too long ago,” he said during a press briefing. “For the Army, I believe, a follow-on BRAC would not have as much impact on the Army, because we’ve pretty much done what we want to. We have to do some minor things, I think, as we go through BRAC, but, I think for the most part, we’ve established our installations.”

The Navy and the Air Force also say they’ve been aggressive in previous BRAC rounds.

The Army had 12 major closures in the 2005 BRAC round, while the Navy had five. The Air Force was also slated for five major closures; but Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., was eventually taken off the list.

While the Marine Corps has far less infrastructure than the other services, it probably has excess capacity, especially as it had zero major closures in the last round, DuBois said.

Berteau said it is premature to say how a BRAC may affect any of the services.

Two keys things haven’t been determined yet, he said. “To get the most out of a U.S. base closure, you’ve got to know what your endpoint is — your force structure, but also your support structure for those combat troops.”

Today’s plans call for the Army’s active-duty force to be reduced from 547,000 soldiers to 490,000, a move tied to the Pentagon’s $487 billion cut, which was mandated by the initial spending caps included in the Budget Control Act of 2011.

However, it is far from certain whether defense will be cut further, Berteau said. “Even if it rests at $487 billion, you still have a good case to make for base closures, but the real case to be made is that it’s probably not the last reduction.”

As the Pentagon considers closing stateside facilities, it will have to look at its depots and laboratories, too, which raises the question: What kind of capability needs to be maintained inside DoD and to what extent does the government feel comfortable relying on the private sector?

“Those questions are much bigger than base closures, but would clearly create an opportunity within base closures,” Berteau said. In the end, “the No. 1 measure of whether you close or realign a base, or not, is the military value, not the budgetary savings. That’s a very powerful dynamic I think the department wants to preserve.”

February 14, 2012 Posted by | SDVOSB | Leave a comment

RELEASE OF SOUTHWEST DEFENSE ALLIANCE ECONOMIC REPORT

RELEASE OF SOUTHWEST DEFENSE ALLIANCE ECONOMIC REPORT

As chairman of the Southwest Defense Alliance I am pleased to announce the

publication of the Alliance’s first economic report. The six-state southwestern area

covered in this report is vitally important to the preservation of our nation’s defense.

The facilities, the air, land and sea ranges, research capabilities and industrial base

combined are a national asset that is irreplaceable.

We hope this report will be a source document for elected and appointed officials,

community leaders, business executives and other interested parties and that it will be

the basis for the development of sound public policy well into the future. Updates to

this report will be provided annually and will be available on our new website.

Lastly, we want to thank all of our sponsors as noted in the report. Without them,

this report would not be possible. A special note of appreciation goes to Chang &

Adams Consulting, Mr. Sean Walsh senior advisor to the Chairman and Director of

Global Affairs of the Bingham Consulting Group, Governor Pete Wilson, Supervisor

Jon McQuiston of Kern County, Mr. Joe Czyzyk, former Chairman of the Los

Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive

Officer of Mercury Air Group, David Herbst, Executive Vice President and Chief

Corporate Officer of the Mercury Air Group and the Los Angeles Chamber of

Commerce.

Ashley J. Hall

Chairman

Brigadier General (ret)

United States Army

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WH Budget Asks Federal Employees to Sacrifice

The budget unveiled Monday by President Obama proposes to increase the contribution federal employees make towards retirement by 1.2% over three years beginning in 2013.

The stated purpose of the proposed change is to “make reasonable changes to federal worker retirement while maintaining the ability to attract and retain highly qualified individuals [to the federal workforce].”

The budget also proposes to eliminate the FERS annuity supplement for new employees. The estimated savings of these proposals are $27 billion over 10 years.

The 2013 budget proposal also detailed some of the changes made to date as they relate to the federal workforce. On his first day in office, the President froze salaries for all senior political appointees and then went on to eliminate bonuses for all political appointees in the Administration and cut back on performance awards to all other employees.

Starting in 2011, he froze pay for federal civilian employees for two years. And for 2013, the President is now proposing a 0.5% pay increase for federal employees in his budget:

“A permanent pay freeze is neither sustainable nor desirable. However, in light of the fiscal constraints we are under, the Administration is proposing a 0.5 percent increase in civilian pay for 2013. Compared to the baseline, this slight increase in civilian pay would free up $2 billion in 2013 and $28 billion over 10 years to fund programs and services and is one of the measures the Administration proposes to help meet the discretionary caps.”

The Administration doesn’t anticipate any negative impact from these proposed changes, if they were to be implemented. The budget states, “These changes are not expected to have a negative impact on the Administration’s ability to manage its human resources, nor inhibit the Government’s ability to serve the American people.”

The 2013 budget proposal also recommends establishing a commission to look at ways to modernize federal personnel policies. Dubbed the Commission on Federal Public Service Reform, it would consist of members of Congress, representatives from the President’s Labor-Management Council, members from the private sector, and academic experts. The Commission would be tasked with developing recommendations in areas such as employee compensation, staff development and mobility, and personnel performance and motivation.

Unions are unimpressed with the proposals in the budget. AFGE President John Gage said, “Federal employees have already contributed $60 billion with pay freezes. The White House and congressional leaders should not treat federal employees’ paychecks like an ATM machine. The White House should respect those who choose public service over big banks and other corporations.”

Republicans in the House and Senate have proposed going further with the cuts. Members of the House have suggested extending the pay freeze to pay for a payroll tax cut extension, and members of the Senate have suggested extending the pay freeze and shrinking the size of the federal workforce to prevent cuts to defense.

The proposed cuts to the federal workforce unveiled in the budget are not new ideas as Congress has been proposing similar measures in recent months. However, now that the White House is apparently on board with at least some of the proposals, it presumably puts some of them closer to becoming reality.

© 2012 FedSmith Inc. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent of FedSmith Inc.

February 14, 2012 Posted by | SDVOSB | Leave a comment

Improving Government Performance: Closing the IT Gap

The 21st Annual Federal CIO Survey Conference

Federal CIO Survey

Agenda || Sponsorship || Venue ||  Contact

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Grand Hyatt, Washington DC

The Federal Government has already begun transitioning to a more transparent, open, and innovative environment.  At the TechAmerica Federal CIO Survey Event, we unveiled the results of our 2011 CIO Survey, identifying key issues and trends that emerged this year. We discussed the ways in which the Administration and Congress might focus on 21st century challenges and how technology innovation is essential to transforming government.

Download the Report

TechAmerica CIO Survey

Click Here to Download the 2011 CIO Survey

View the 2011 CIO Survey Press Release 

Watch the Event 

Debbie Granberry, VP Business Development, CSC, and Chairman of the TechAmerica Federal Civil Committee, kicks off the program and welcomes the morning keynote speaker

Martha Johnson, Administrator, GSA, delivers the morning keynote

CIO Survey - Norm Lorentz, Grant Thornton
Norm Lorentz, Director, Global Public Sector, Grant Thornton LLP, 
presents the findings of the 2011 CIO Survey

Debbie Granberry, VP Business Development, CSC, and Chairman of the TechAmerica Federal Civil Committee, introduces the 25 Point Plan panel

Panel 1: The 25 Point Plan for IT Reform with GSA, HUD, State, and USDA

Steve Watkins, Editor, FedTimes, introduces the lunch keynote speaker

Lunch Keynote: Beth McGrath, Deputy Chief Management Officer, U.S. Dept of Defense

Program Management Panel with USDA and iCollege

Debbie Granberry, VP Business Development, CSC, and Chairman of the TechAmerica Federal Civil Committee, introduces Roger Baker

Afternoon Keynote: Roger Baker, Assistant Secretary Information & Technology and CIO, U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs

Tom Johnstin, General Manager, Federal Systems, Computer Aid, Inc, provides closing remarks

Photos

CIO Survey

CIO Survey

CIO Survey

CIO Survey
Download additional photos from the event

Agenda

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Life Better When Viewed from a Comfy Chair?

Yes!

The world may actually be a better place when viewed from a comfy chair!
Hundreds of genuine La-Z-Boy products to choose from.

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FAA directed to make (air)space for drones

 

 

 

Drones, perhaps best known for their combat missions in Afghanistan, are increasingly looking to share room inU.S. skies with passenger planes. And that’s prompting safety concerns.

Right now, remote-controlled drones are used in the U.S. mostly by the military and Customs and Border Patrol in restricted airspace.

Now, organizations from police forces searching for missing persons to academic researchers counting seals on the polar ice cap is eager to launch drones weighing a few pounds to some the size of a jetliner in the same airspace as passenger planes.

On Monday, the Senate sent to President Obama legislation that would require theFederal Aviation Administration to devise ways for that to happen safely in three years.

“It’s about coming up with a plan where everybody can get along,” says Doug Marshall, a New Mexico State University professor helping develop regulations and standards. “Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to cause an accident.”

The drones’ appeal is they can fly anywhere it’s too dangerous or remote for people, and they cost less than piloted helicopters or planes.

In Mesa County, Colo., for example, sheriff’s deputies have negotiated a special agreement with the FAA to fly a 2-pound helicopter up to 400 feet above ground so a camera can snap pictures of crime scenes or accidents. An infrared camera helps deputies track a missing person or a suspect in an overgrown ravine.

“It’s a tool in the toolbox,” says Ben Miller, the program’s manager.

‘Huge potential market’

One reason advocates expect police to adopt drones is they’re less expensive than manned helicopters. A Draganflyer X6 drone such as the one Mesa uses costs about $36,000. Another squad car, for instance, costs about $50,000, Miller says.

“There is a huge potential market for civilian and commercial uses of unmanned aircraft systems,” says Ben Gielow, general counsel for the industry group Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

The market will almost double over the next decade to $11.3 billion, according to a March estimate by the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va., which analyzes the aerospace and defense industries.

Commercial pilots have raised safety concerns. Although pilots are required to spend time flying planes and are tested on their abilities to hold licenses, no similar rules exist for the controllers of remote aircraft. Likewise, the FAA doesn’t certify drones like passenger planes against engine failure or wings falling off.

Capt. Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, says the people who remotely control aircraft should meet the same training and qualifications as regular pilots. His group is also concerned about controllers losing contact with drones.

“We have a long way to go,” Moak says of having drones fly safely with passenger jets.

Despite their many successful flights in Afghanistan, drones occasionally crash.

In August, for instance, an unmanned Shadow drone collided with a C-130 cargo plane. The cargo plane had to make an emergency landing at a base in eastern Afghanistan, but nobody was injured.

A drone occasionally goes awry here, too. In August 2010, the military considered shooting down a Navy Fire Scout drone that wandered close to restricted airspace near Washington, D.C., after controllers lost their link to the drone. But controllers regained contact.

Smaller drones need rules

The legislation calls for the FAA to set up six experimental locations where drones can fly. Competition for them and the high-paying jobs among researchers and manufacturers they’re expected to attract has already begun.

“Members are already jockeying for their particular area,” says Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, co-chairman of a House caucus of 49 members who advocate using drones.

The legislation also calls on the FAA to establish rules for smaller drones weighing up to 55 pounds within 27 months. The schedule for all drones is Sept. 30, 2015.

A key unresolved question is how to avoid collisions. The philosophy since the Wright brothers has been for pilots to “see and avoid” other aircraft. Without a pilot on board, the strategy for drones is “sense and avoid,” perhaps giving off a signal that other planes receive.

“You’ve got to find a way to apply today’s technology to regulations that were written many years ago,” says Bobby Sturgell, a former FAA head and now a senior vice president for Rockwell Collins, which makes navigational and other equipment for drones. “The message behind the legislation is, ‘Let’s make this happen.'”

 

February 12, 2012 Posted by | SDVOSB | Leave a comment

A FEW GOOD DRONES

The Pentagon yesterday unveiled a plan to cut 100,000 troops, mothball ships and trim air squadrons — while boosting emphasis on special-operations forces and drone aircraft.

The defense budget would be pared down by a total of $487 billion over the next decade, including $259 billion within the next five years. 

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta outlined the plan at a news conference, focusing on the reduction of military personnel, base closures, limits on pay raises for troops and increased insurance costs for retired personnel. 

“Make no mistake, the savings that we are proposing will impact all 50 states and many districts, congressional districts across America,” Panetta said. “This will be a test of whether reducing the deficit is about talk or action.”

Under the plan, the Army would be reduced from 570,000 soldiers to 490,000 in the next half-decade, and the Marines would shed 20,000, bringing its forces to 182,000 in the same time period. The projected reductions would bring these branches to slightly above their pre-9/11 numbers. 

Offsetting the slimmed-down forces will be an increase in unmanned drone technology. Drones already account for about 31 percent of all U.S. military aircraft, and the drone fleet will balloon by another 30 percent in the coming years.

The plan also provides for the deployment of more special-operations teams at a growing number of small bases across the globe, from which they will be able to launch missions and mentor local allies.

The $525 billion base budget for the 2013 fiscal year is $6 billion less than that for 2012, making this the first time a reduced budget has been presented by the Pentagon since 2001. 

Whether Congress will approve the plan remains to be seen, and the slowed-down pay raises are sure to be unpopular, even though the raise schedule won’t be affected until 2015 and is not drastic. Congress routinely ups pay for troops beyond the Pentagon’s recommendations. Acquisition of new weapons will also be slowed under the plan. 

Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, criticized the plan and said it “ignores a critical lesson in recent history: that while high technology and elite forces give America an edge, they cannot substitute for overwhelming ground forces when we are faced with unforeseen battlefields.”

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorsed the plan.

“This budget is a first step — it’s a down payment — as we transition from an emphasis on today’s wars to preparing for future challenges,” he said. “This budget does not lead to a military in decline.”

War costs, which are separate from the Pentagon’s budget, will decline from $115 billion to $88 billion as a result of the United States’ withdrawal from Iraq.

Panetta’s plan does not acknowledge the possibility of an additional $600 billion in defense cuts that could come as a consequence of the congressional super committee’s failure to come up with a plan to drastically cut the deficit. The defense secretary has called the trigger “catastrophic.”

LEANER FORCES 
The Pentagon unveiled a 2013 budget plan yesterday that would cut the size of the U.S. military. Among the details Defense Secretary Leon Panetta disclosed: 

– The Army would shrink by 80,000 soldiers, from 570,000 today to 490,000 by 2017. That is slightly larger than the Army on 9/11.

– The Marine Corps would drop from today’s 202,000 to 182,000 — also above the level on 9/11.

– The Air Force would retire some older planes, including about two dozen C-5A cargo aircraft and 65 of its oldest C-130 cargo planes.

– The Navy would keep a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers but retire seven cruisers earlier than planned.

– The purchase of F-35 stealth fighter jets — to be fielded by the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps — would be slowed.

– Current plans for building a new generation of submarines that carry long-range nuclear missiles would be delayed by two years.

– Military pay raises would remain on track until 2015, when the pace of increase would be slowed by an undetermined amount.

– President Obama would ask Congress to approve a new round of domestic base closures, although the timing of this was left vague.

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February 10, 2012 Posted by | SDVOSB | Leave a comment