Tag Archives: Defense

Congressman Norm Dicks: What a Year

Rep Norm Dicks (D-WA) Addresses a Crowd in 2008

It’s been quite a year for Congressman Norm Dicks.  In the span of a few months, the longtime Representative from the Kitsap Peninsula has quickly gone from high profile Democratic leader to highest profile.  Dicks had long served on the House’s Appropriations Committee, as Chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as serving as the second higherst ranking member of the powerful Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.  Earlier this year, Rep. John “Jack” Murtha (D-PA) unexpectedly passed away, which moved Rep. Dicks into the position of Chair of the Defense Subcommittee.

Just as he started to get comfortable in his new role as Chair, another bombshell dropped today.  The current chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. David Obey (D-WI) annouced that he will not run for re-election in 2010.  This leaves Dicks, the number two ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, as the next most senior member.  While seniority isn’t everything in the House, it means quite a lot.  If seniority rules (and if the Democrats keep control of the House in 2010), we could see Congressman Dicks ascend to the head of the most powerful committee in Congress.  That said, it appears as though Dicks may already have some competition for the spot, so this is nowhere near a done deal.

Some of you who are a little tired of politics (or don’t care at all) may wonder why this matters to us?  Here’s the quick and dirty:

The Pacific Northwest has never been synonymous with Defense.  That’s why PNDC exists, and why I’m here blogging at 6pm on a Wednesday.  Congressman Dicks has been in the House since 1977, and has been championing Defense-related causes for many years.    For the first time in a long, LONG time, the Pentagon is going to be paying close attention to what’s happening out here in the Great Northwest.  I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican… that’s something I could definitely get behind.

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Filed under Northwest Regional News, Politics, Washington News

STUAS Watch – Smoke or Fire?

Integrator

Pictured is the "Integrator", Insitu's offering in the STUAS competition

If you haven’t heard, the Navy is hosting a little competition known as Small Tactical Unmanned Air Systems (STUAS), Tier II.  At stake are around a billion dollars in business over 10 years, and de facto leadership in the small UAV market segment within DoD.   Insitu (a PNDC member) of Bingen, WA has a lot riding on this competition.  Here in the Northwest, a boatload of Insitu subcontractors have grown up with the company’s Scan Eagle UAV.  Quite a few of them are holding their breath for a long overdue decision from the Navy on the fate of the Integrator, Insitu’s entry in the STUAS Tier II competition.   The Navy originally intended to make a final decision in 2007, but the decision has been slipping to the right for what feels like an eternity, with no hint at when a final call will be made.  Until now?

One of our eagle-eyed members picked up a quote from Insitu CEO Steve Sliwa, buried in an article in The Oregonian dated 17 April.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Sliwa said his attention is focused these days on a Pentagon decision, expected within 30 days, about expanding its use of unmanned robotic aircraft.”

Is the Navy preparing to make a decision?  I, for one, have no idea.  As they say over at Fox News: we report, you decide.

Read the full article from The Oregonian here.

PS:  There are also a couple of interesting nuggets about Insitu’s facilities for those of you who follow the company closely.

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