Despite earlier reports that the Joint Requirements Oversight Council basically has sided with the Air Force over the centralized management of unmanned aerial vehicle acquisition, there are still rumors of an ongoing war among the services. The Financial Times reports that Army officials claim the Air Force is the only one standing out in the cold, since the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps are working together on acquisition efforts. A “senior Army officer” claims the Air Force is spreading falsehoods and its leaders “independently lobby” Congress. Of course, the Army has been working the Alabama delegation pretty heavily, too. According to FT, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England is poised to make a decision on the issue. However, Congress, bolstered by a recent Government Accountability Office report that criticizes DOD’s employment of intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance assets, already has indicated a willingness to roll the UAV issue into a larger discussion on roles and missions.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.