We're secured from blogging operations after another hectic week here in the National Capital Region, which brought many stories we didn't get a chance to write about. Here were just a few of them:
• Did you see John's post at Defense Tech about the secret UAV base in Africa? Nothing official about this, but it could well dovetail with the mission of the 100 Army Special Forces troops in Uganda helping to chase the Lord's Resistance Army.
• Engineers up at General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine moved a major section of the Navy destroyer USS Zumwalt this week, as Christopher P. Cavas reported in Defense News. The 4,000-ton block they moved is bigger than an entire Navy frigate.
• DoD said this week that F-35 costs forced it to cut four jets from its next order, Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio reported ...
• ... Meanwhile, Time's Mark Thompson weighed in on the food fight between DoD and Lockheed over who should pay for changes to forthcoming F-35s warranted by discoveries in earlier test aircraft. He notes that the underlying cause of the dispute -- trying to design and build airplanes at about the same time -- sounds like "sheer idiocy."
• Secretary Panetta showed this week that he can be a dangerous man to bet against, figuratively and literally: A restaurateur friend out in California said at his New Year's Eve party last year that if Panetta could "catch" Osama bin Laden, he'd agree to uncork his 1870 bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, worth some $10,000. A few months later Panetta, as director of the CIA, ran the operation that took care of bin Laden. So now his friend, Ted Balestreri, has to pay up, as Nick Allen wrote in the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper. Balestreri told Allen this was a bet he was glad to lose: "I'm out 10 grand but it was worth every penny. It will be my honor to honor one of America's great heroes. Leon has made us all proud." According to an AP report Friday, Panetta's wife, Sylvia, said if they can make it to Balestreri's New Year's Eve party this year, they will have a glass of the wine.