5 Things to Start Your Week: February 26, 2018


Here are five news stories and events to start your week, from the editors at Military.com:

1. New Nuke Missile Could Go on Zumwalt Destroyers

From Richard Sisk at Military.com:

"The Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) includes a long-term plan that could put nuclear cruise missiles aboard the new Zumwalt class (DDG 1000) of stealthy Navy destroyers, according to the commander of U.S. Strategic Command.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, StratCom chief, said the plan to develop a new, low-yield nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM, or "Slick-em") would not be limited to using ballistic submarines as the sole launch platform, as many assumed when the NPR was endorsed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis earlier this month.

'It's important to know that the NPR, when it talks about the Sea-Launched Cruise Missile, does not say "Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile," ' Hyten said in a Feb. 16 keynote address in Washington, D.C., at the National Defense University's Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction."

2. Trump Pushes for Personal Guns on Base

Should troops be allowed to carry personal firearms on base? The question has spurred robust debate in recent years -- and President Donald Trump may just have re-started the conversation.

As Richard Sisk reports, Trump suggested he would re-examine the policies that require troops check their personal weapons or leave them home when they enter military installations. At the Conservative Political Action Committee conference at National Harbor, Maryland, Trump brought up the topic while referring to the recent tragic high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this month.

"If we can't have our military holding guns, it's pretty bad," Trump told the CPAC audience, "and I'm going to look at that whole policy on military bases."

But do military leaders want troops carrying on base? Maybe not. Army chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley is on record saying he doesn’t support the idea.

3. Air Force Wants to Decrease Manning for Unmanned Aircraft

It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s just a fact: It takes a lot more airmen to operate and maintain unmanned aerial vehicles than it does to fly a traditional manned aircraft. But the Air Force is on a mission to change that up.

At the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Lt. Gen. Steven L. Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command, said the service is looking to find efficiencies in the infrastructure-intensive field of remotely piloted aircraft.

"We're going to change the game -- I am working with the whole of the Air Force to build a strategy and an architecture that gives us more [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] for less people, for less money," Kwast said, according to a report from Military.com reporter Oriana Pawlyk, who was in Orlando for the conference.

4. It's Official: Trump Wants a Military Parade

Reports that President Donald Trump wants a massive military parade to showcase American strength have spurred controversy. Military Times reported this month that the spectacle could cost up to $30 million and published a poll showing 89 percent of readers are opposed to the idea.

But that may not stop the president.

He told Fox News Saturday that he likes Veterans Day for the parade, or possibly July 4.

But, Trump added, he won't follow through on the idea if it can't be done at a "reasonable cost."

5. Mattis Wants More Lethal Close Combat

From Matthew Cox at Military.com:

"Defense Secretary James Mattis sent out a Feb. 8 memorandum to the service secretaries, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all combatant commands and other Defense Department agencies announcing the Secretary of Defense Close Combat Lethality Task Force.

'I am committed to improving the combat preparedness, lethality, survivability, and resiliency of our nation's ground close combat formations,' Mattis wrote.

'These formations have historically accounted for almost 90 percent of our casualties and yet our personnel policies, advances in training methods, and equipment have not kept pace with changes in available technology, human factors science, and talent management best practices.'

Aside from new military technology, the task force may provide much-needed coordination for the services to ensure they are working together on small arms and equipment innovations -- something that the Marine Corps and the Army often fail to do, experts maintain."

-- Oriana Pawlyk, Richard Sisk, and Matt Cox contributed to this report.

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