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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘equipment’

Should the US Remilitarize Military Procurement?

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

The US military is facing potentially catastrophic funding cuts due to last year’s so-called “sequestration” deal between the President and the Republicans in Congress. If Congress and the President fail to agree on future tax and spending policy, on January 1, 2013 automatic cuts will automatically begin, which will result in an almost $50 billion dollar cut from the 2013 defense budget. It is also estimated that over the course of the next ten years the act will, in theory, cut as much as $492 billion from the defense budget.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has described these cuts as “catastrophic.” Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa (D Hawaii) has agreed with Panetta, calling them “devastating and disastrous.”

Pressure has never been greater to ensure that the defense procurement system works at maximum efficiency. Ideally, this means that the procurement system should provide the armed services with high quality, reliable and affordable weapons and equipment, on schedule and without unplanned cost increases.

Unfortunately, at present there is little sign that either the Obama administration or Congress are ready to make the dramatic, comprehensive reforms that are needed for America’s complex and confusing Federal Acquisition Regulations which govern the procurement system. Today’s economic problems, however, are serious enough so that they might open the way for reforms that would make a significant difference to the way the system works.

Ever since the early days of the Reagan build-up in the early 1980’s, there has been a lively and, at times, nasty debate over military procurement reform. The bureaucratic system, which the US Department of Defense uses to design, develop and produce the seemingly infinite number of military weapons and equipment required, is widely recognized as broken. Almost all new weapons and new equipment are delivered to our troops late, and these items almost always seem to end up costing far more than originally planned. Often, a new weapon which had been in development for years, is cancelled because the leadership of the Defense Department decides that it has grown too expensive, as shown below. The cancellation then results in wasted billions that have already been spent .

In the 1950’s, the Pentagon may have had some significant problems, but the procurement system itself was not one of them. As one former Air Force General said, “Procurement decisions were made by the highest ranking officer technically qualified to make the decision.”

In the early 1960’s, under then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, a new management system was put into place. McNamara removed authority for major procurement decisions from the Army, Air Force and Navy and gave it to senior political appointees in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Essentially, the decision-making power was given to a group of civilian political appointees and analysts who owed their positions to McNamara and no one else. These civilians were known as the “Whiz Kids.” Their ideas were neatly summed up by Charles Hitch, McNamara’s Comptroller of the Defense Department when he said, “We regard all military problems … as economic problems in the efficient allocation and use of resources.”

By reducing the role of the men and women in the military to the mere fulfilling of a set of economic, statistical requirements, Secretary of Defense McNamara not only eliminated the role of traditional warrior virtues in the conduct of US military operations, he also removed officers with real-world experience from the procurement process. Many of the failures experienced by the US military since the McNamara era have been due to the excessive use of business management principles and techniques instead of reliance on strategy and doctrine based on military experience.

The McNamara system has undergone several minor reforms since the early 1960’s, notably the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. This legislation strengthened the role of the nation’s senior military officer, namely, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. It made him the principal military advisor to the President and thus no longer just the “first among equals.” Regrettably, the Goldwater-Nichols Act Act failed to give the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs solid authority over the procurement process. Even worse, as former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman put it, “The intention of the legislation was to get uniformed people completely out of procurement.”

Taylor Dinerman

BDS Campaign Against Caterpillar Stymied by the Truth and the Palestinian Authority

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

The intense Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Caterpillar Inc. has been dealt a significant blow in recent weeks, after the company issued a stinging rebuke of the campaign’s accusations, and it was revealed that the Palestinian Authority recently bought Caterpillar equipment.

Caterpillar, long a favored target of BDS ire because Israel uses its equipment in Judea and Samaria, undercut the justification for the campaign by exposing a basic falsehood on which the campaign is built in an email exchange between Just Foreign Policy Director and Huffington Post blogger Robert Naiman and Caterpillar Spokesman Jim Dugan on the Huffington Post Monitor website last Friday.

Dugan, responding to a post written by Naiman encouraging divestment of Caterpillar because it “sells to Israel,” wrote that the bulldozers

“that get most of the attention are provided to the Israeli government as part of a program administered by the United States government that supports US allies.”

To remove any doubt about whether Caterpillar sells equipment to Israel, Dugan elaborated on the specifics of the transactional process:

“This is how it works. Caterpillar sells equipment to the U.S. government, which then transfers the equipment to the Israeli government, which then transfers it to the Israeli military.”

Instead of addressing the substance of Dugan’s email, Naiman cites former director of the U.S. Office of B’Tselem and fellow BDS supporter Mitchell Plitnick – who he apparently believes to be more authoritative on the subject of Caterpillar’s business practices – for the proposition that “CAT provides Israel with the bulldozers, specially designed for weaponization.”

An obviously annoyed Dugan responds with a sharp rejoinder:

“Robert,

Please read my post, but if that’s too much trouble, I’ll summarize…

We supply machines to the United States Government.”

He then repeats the process by which Israel procures Caterpillar machinery:

“The facts, not opinion. We sell machines to the United States as part of a program that includes reviews by the State Department, Congress and the Executive Branch.

Fact. As I indicated in my post, we do not weaponize machines used by the IMF [sic, IDF]. Modifications may be done to our machines after they are sold.”

Dugan ends with a scathing remark which he seems to apply not only to Naiman, but to the BDS movement in general:

“It is too bad people keep making claims that are not factual.”

Naiman’s response?

Silence.

Throwing another wrench in the BDS campaign against Caterpillar was the revelation by The Elder of Ziyon blog that “the official Caterpillar dealer in Ramallah transferred several tractors to the Palestinian Authority” several weeks ago [emphasis added].

The blog cited Palestinian Tractor’s website, which boasts a Caterpillar logo and speaks proudly of its status as a Caterpillar dealer:

Palestinian Tractor and Equipment Co. Ltd. was established in 1995 as a sister company to Jordan Tractor and Equipment Co. and as an affiliate Company to M.E. JALLAD the dealer of Caterpillar Inc. in Lebanon and Syria since 1929. It is a part of Caterpillar dealers network established all over the world.

As a Caterpillar dealer, PT&E are able to bring to the country not only the finest quality products but also the expertise and the know how of a world leader in the productive use and management of machines that serve various segments of the market.

[Watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony here]

The response of the BDS movement?

Silence.

Of course, another course of action could have been to boycott, divest, and sanction the U.S. government and Palestinian Authority, but this would have merely distracted the BDS movement from its mission to demonize and delegitimize Israel.

 

Much thanks to Huffington Post Monitor and The Elder of Ziyon  for their research and original reports.

Solomon Burke

1948 Israel War of Independence Overseas Heroes Honoured by Museum of the Diaspora

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People will be opening a special exhibition to honour the volunteers who made an invaluable contribution towards winning the 1948-49 War of Independence and helped to lay the foundations of the Israel Defense Forces

Many elderly World War II veterans will be making a special journey to Israel to participate in this prestigious honour in the presence of state and military dignitaries, as well as ambassadors and military attaches.

Known as MACHAL (Mitnadvei chutz l’Aretz) which translates as volunteers from abroad, over 4,500 men and women, Jews and non Jews, from 58 countries rallied to Israel’s aid in her struggle against the invasion of 6 well-armed Arab nations.

By July 1948 it looked like the war might be lost. 70% of Israel had been occupied by the invading Arab armies. The Egyptians were 20 miles from Tel Aviv. Without the MACHAL pilots and air crews in their fighter and bomber aircraft, the outcome of the war might have been very different.

In the face of a United Nations embargo on the export of military equipment to Israel, the Machal volunteers were also instrumental in smuggling desperately needed planes and equipment into Israel.

The War of Independence was Israel’s longest, costliest, and most fateful war. 6,300 civilians and military personnel were killed (1% of the entire Jewish population of Palestine). 123 Machalniks (119 men and 4 women) lost their lives.

72nd Command Battalion of Machalniks

The late Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin stated: “You came to us when we needed you most, during those hard and uncertain days in our War of Independence. You gave us not only your experience, but your lives as well. The People of Israel and the State of Israel will never forget, and will always cherish this unique contribution made by you – the volunteers of Machal”.

Prime Minister Ben Gurion said: “The Machal Forces were the Diaspora’s most important contribution to the survival of the State of Israel”.

In 1993 Stanley Medicks, co-ordinator of the British and European Machal Association and fellow Machal comrades raised the funds for a memorial to be built in Israel in memory of the 123 Machalniks who gave their lives.

http://www.machal.org.il/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=302&Itemid=357&lang=en

Jewish Press Staff

Azerbaijan Arrests 22 in Iran Terror Plot

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The Azerbaijani National Security Ministry announced that 22 people have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Iran, AFP reported Wednesday.

“Twenty-two citizens of Azerbaijan were arrested by the National Security Ministry for cooperating with the Iranian Sepah [the Iranian Revolutionary Guards],” the Ministry said, according to AFP. “Firearms, cartridges, explosives and espionage equipment were found during the arrest.”

The 22 individuals were allegedly instructed to “commit terrorist acts against the US, Israeli and other Western states’ embassies and the embassies’ employees.”

Azerbaijani authorities did not clarify if these were new arrests – since Azerbaijani authorities did not release the date of the arrests – or confirmation of earlier arrests made in February.

Situated between Europe and Asia, and with Iran straddling its southern border, Azerbaijan has recently become a strategic front in a war of subterfuge between Israel and Iran, with reports that both have activated intelligence operatives in this the largest country in the Caucasus region.

Arrests come amid attempts to patch up Iran-Azeri relations

The announcement of the arrests came a day after Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev met with senior Iranian officials in an effort to prevent a further deterioration in relations with Iran due to Azerbaijan’s recent crackdown on Iran-linked terror plots, and its burgeoning ties with Israel.

Iran has grown increasingly nervous since it’s northern neighbor signed a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Israel last month, whereby Israel will supply Azerbaijan with drones and missile defense systems.

“We will not allow Azerbaijan’s soil to be used against Iran under any conditions,” Abiyev pledged after meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ahmad Vahidi in Tehran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the official Islamic Republic News Agency that “[w]e are sure that we will face no problem from our brother and neighbor Azerbaijan.”

Coming on the heels of these magnanimous proclamations, the arrests are likely to inflame tensions and nullify any good will the high-level meetings may have fostered between the two countries.

Jewish Press Staff Writer

Methodist Church Unanimously Rejects Divestment Resolution

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) voted unanimously against divestment from three companies which do business in Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights, according to a report by the Israel Action Network, a project of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard came under attack by several bodies within the United Methodist Church, which recommended the religious organization sell all their shares in the companies.

GBPHB commended the companies for their human rights policies and codes of conduct.  The Caterpillar Company was acknowledged for providing equipment which “improves the lives of the Palestinian people,” according to the Israel Action Network report.  It was also noted that Caterpillar does not sell construction equipment to Israel, but rather to the US Foreign Military Sales Program.  Hewlett-Packard was complimented on its record of environmental friendliness, and Motorola Solutions was praised for its work in conflict areas such as Eastern Congo.

The Methodist vote took an opposite approach from that of the Presbyterian Church, which voted in 2004 to divest from Israeli companies.  In June of that year, the Presbyterian Church General Assembly issued one resolution stating that “the occupation… has proven to be at the root of evil acts”, and another calling on the US government to prevent Israel from building a separation barrier.  The assembly also adopted policies rejecting Christian Zionism.  In 2006, the Presbyterian Church backtracked, stating that it would only invest in companies involved in peaceful work in Israel and Arab occupied territories.

The World Council of Churches and United Church of Christ have also adopted divestment policies.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America rejected a pro-divestment resolution in 2005.

Malkah Fleisher

Report: Russia Upgrades Syria Radar System to Provide Early Warning to Iran

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Israeli military magazine Israel Defense has reported that Russian military experts recently upgraded Syria’s long-range radar capabilities to provide Iran with a more cohesive early-detection system in the event of a strike on its nuclear facilities.

The report said that the experts brought new equipment and software modifications with them, and focused on a radar facility “south of Damascus,” and another on Mount Sannine in Lebanon. The upgraded radar is purported to be able to detect aerial activity within a range of hundreds of kilometers. This is in addition to other sites in Syria that are operated and manned by Russian officials – like the port of Tartus Port, which also comprise the framework Syria’s early warning system.

Russia is reported to have invested “considerable efforts and funds” to upgrade Syria’s radar systems.

Jewish Press Staff

IDF Raids, Shuts Down, Palestinian Television Station

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Reuters reports that a privately owned TV station, which had just begun its operations in Ramallah, Judea and Samariah, was raided by Israeli soldiers on Wednesday. The soldiers seized broadcast equipment, computers and files, according to Ahmed Milhem, an employee.

Watan TV began to operate at 0200 a.m. local time and lasted for three hours.

The station is now off the air.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told Reuters she had no initial information but was checking for details.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-raids-shuts-down-palestinian-television-station/2012/02/29/

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