Blakey: Skies need 21st century technology

Sep. 12, 2011

In the 1950s, American cars had no seat belts; drunken driving got you a small fine; and many state highways were dirt or gravel. It's hard to imagine now that we have air bags, anti-lock brakes and a national highway system. Yet, incredibly, another crucial area of transportation still uses 1950s-era infrastructure: the air traffic control system.

U.S. air traffic controllers still use basically the same radar-and-radio system developed some 60 years ago, with equipment in some cases decades old. If a controller from 1980 could time-travel to today, he could start working again with little…

Hawks, doves, or owls?

Sep. 12, 2011

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In a polarized political environment, fractured by partisan debate about the debt ceiling, pending decisions about defense spending have been characterized as a contest between hawks and doves.<br />
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But what&rsquo;s needed most aren&rsquo;t hawks or doves, but &ldquo;owls,&rdquo; with the wisdom and vision to balance federal budget constraints against America&rsquo;s need to defend our national security, preserve our technological leadership, protect our troops, maintain our industrial base and foster middle-class, family-supporting jobs. These are the most fundamental requirements of American government.</p>
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<a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/180935-hawks-doves-or-owls" target="_blank">Read full article.</a></p>

Cut DoD Budget With Care; Sustain Development Dough

Aug. 22, 2011

When Secretary Panetta visited troops in Afghanistan and Iraq last month, press reports heralded his "rough and tumble" rhetoric and "salty" exchanges with the troops. But beneath these lighthearted personal moments lies a serious truth: short of the president, no one bears greater responsibility for the safety and well being of our military volunteers than the secretary of defense. In a time of expanding missions, shrinking budgets, and the prospect of hundreds of billions of "Super Committee" cuts waiting in the wings, those responsibilities must lie heavy on the secretary's brow.

Fortunately, this…

President brought needed sobriety to defense debate

Jul. 19, 2011

President Obama did more Friday than effectively rule out trillion-dollar defense cuts (“Obama lays down new marker in Defense spending debate,” July 15). He also brought a needed dose of sobriety to the debate, reminding those calling to slash defense during wartime that any cuts must be “consistent with our defense needs and our security needs.”

For months, extreme figures on both the left and right have called for severe cuts that would undermine our dominance in the skies and gut our industrial base and research capabilities for decades.

Read full article.

Investments in defense systems dwindling

Jun. 30, 2011

During his confirmation hearing last week, incoming Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated an earlier assertion from Secretary Robert Gates: The defense budget must not be viewed as the panacea for reducing the nation’s debt.

This is easier said than done, in light of President Barack Obama’s call for $400 billion in cuts over 12 years. Even with 100 percent efficiency, it’s hard to see those savings will be achieved without cutting into the bedrock of the Pentagon’s capabilities.

This is a concern. Investment in procurement and research and development must remain…