Congress is tightening the purse strings on the aerospace and defense industry's revenue stream with new efforts to push contracting performance, reaffirm the use of award and incentive fees and even recompete programs when they breach cost estimates.
Besides having to squeeze more out of plateauing military budgets, the new standards--part of the Fiscal 2007 defense authorization measure--reflect growing congressional concern over program spending while the country is at war.
Requirements that U.S. airports, and carriers flying between the U.S. and Haiti, must advise passengers bound for the Caribbean nation about security risks at Port-au-Prince Airport are no longer in effect, the Dept. of Homeland Security announced this week.
It's expected to take three or four years to develop standards for the kind of command, control and communication avionics the FAA demands of unmanned aerial vehicles before the agency will consider loosening restrictions on unmanned flight, a top FAA official says.
The Senate wants to authorize more money for missile defense and long-term fighter procurement in Fiscal 2007, but its version of the defense authorization bill also eases requirements for U.S.-made specialty metals in military hardware--setting up a showdown with the House of Representatives.
However, any reckoning between the two legislative bodies will have to wait until Congress returns from this week's July 4 holiday break.
In the wake of the Pentagon's decision last year to truncate F-22 buys at 183 stealthy jets, two recent measures in the U.S. Congress could breathe new life into production and sales of the Lockheed Martin-built aircraft.
The House of Representatives has overturned a years-old law barring sale of the F-22 abroad, and the Senate has given the Air Force the nod to enter into a multiyear purchasing agreement that could be critical to keep the fighter line open for years to come.
F-22A Raptor advocates in Congress have suffered a small blow as the congressional Government Accountability Office issued a report June 21 that said, "the DOD has not demonstrated the need or value for making further investments in the F-22A program."
Fifteen House Democrats asked the Government Accountability Office yesterday to investigate security conditions at commercial airports around the U.S. and what the Transportation Security Administration is doing about them.
Led by Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, the lawmakers asked the GAO to follow up on a report it issued in April 2004 identifying weaknesses in perimeter security and access controls.
The Transportation Security Administration will screen 100% of packages delivered directly to airport ticket counters for particular flights, the agency's chief said yesterday.
"We have in place significantly upgraded security screening for packages that go on passenger planes," said TSA Administrator Kip Hawley. "From a risk basis, we'll say 'Yes, we're going to do 100% screening of any package that's targeted to a specific flight."
The Dept. of Homeland Security plans to start issuing new transportation worker identification cards to seaport workers by yearend but doesn't know when it will extend the program to the aviation sector, a top DHS official said yesterday.
Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson told a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that the long-delayed project to issue tamper-proof identity cards to all workers in secure transportation areas, such as docks, rail yards and airports, will begin with a national rollout that eventually will enroll 750,000 maritime workers.
Investigators from at least two federal agencies are examining the wreckage of a Predator B to determine what caused the Homeland Security Dept.'s only unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to go out of control and crash in the Arizona desert last week.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection's sole Predator B drone crashed early April 25 north of Nogales, Ariz., but the chief of Homeland Security Department's CBP Air and Marine division remains confident in the unmanned aircraft program, he told The DAILY and Aviation Week & Space Technology in an exclusive interview.
The Transportation Security Administration announced plans yesterday to expand its Registered Traveler program to 10 to 20 airports, starting this summer, but it will delay a full national rollout until 2007.
TSA said late last year that it planned to launch a nationwide public-private, fee-based program on June 20 that would expedite security checks for previously vetted trusted travelers (DAILY, Nov. 4, 2005). TSA has been overseeing a Registered Traveler pilot project in Florida at Orlando Airport since last summer.