News & Media

Changes in Defense-Related M&A?

​The Pentagon has been keeping a concerned eye on Defense-related M&A activity since at least 2008, monitoring the U.S. industrial base to ensure that it maintained some level of diversity of suppliers.  The Department of Defense (DoD) has long been concerned with the small number of large firms able to bid on major weapon systems acquisition: four major contractors bid for the F-15, five for the F-16.  But the F-22 and F-35 programs attracted only two bidders each.  Last week, Pentagon leaders began to voice warnings to the industry: Secretary Carter told the press that “it [is] important to avoid excessive consolidation” and that he “[does not] welcome further consolidation among the very large prime contractors.”


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Wearable Technology & Law Enforcement


Motorola HC1 Headset Computer

Wearable technology, devices that are worn by users, is a rapidly expanding market which is set to exceed $32 billion by 2019 (IHS, 2014). Commercial wearable technology applications include biometric monitoring, camera and video functions, communication systems, and internet access. Many of these functions could be expanded upon to assist law enforcement by providing greater situational awareness to both officers and dispatchers. Furthermore, the use of body mounted cameras provides an additional means of ensuring accountability among law enforcement personnel, as per the Obama Administration initiative to field more than 50,000 police body cameras nationwide. 

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State of the Union & Expected Legislative Activity

Of all the measures outlined in the President’s latest state of the union address, the three measures below are the most likely to pass the Republican controlled Congress. 


F/A-18F Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadron 22 operating from the USS Carl Vinson in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
Image Credit: U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Fenaroli

1.  Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)

During his address, President Obama asked the Congress to pass an AUMF specific to combating ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The President has been in consultation with members of Congress with respect to a new AUMF since late December of 2014, and  Speaker of the House John Bohner has indicated a vote will be held on the AUMF by spring of 2015 (Bennett, 2015). A point of contention between Congressional Republicans and Democrats in negotiating an AUMF is the level of discretion the bill will afford to the President, particularly the measures that would prohibit the deployment of ground troops.

The ISIL related AUMF will greatly augment the President’s legal justification for Operation Inherent Resolve, which has been previously justified by the nearly 14 year old AUMF passed after September 11th 2001. Since combat operations in late 2014, the US has launched over 1,800 airstrikes in both Syria and Iraq at a total cost of $1.2 billion. 

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Changes in the Senate Following Midterm Elections

With a net gain of at least seven seats in the Senate and the possibility of gaining another seat during the December runoff election in Louisiana, Republicans are expected to make several key Senate committee appointments in January, including:  

  • Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC for Chairman of the Intelligence Committee (current Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-CA)
  • Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN for Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee (current Sen. Robert Menendez D-NJ)
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Al for Chairman of the Budget Committee (current Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray D-WA)
  • Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT for Chairman of the Finance Committee (current Sen. Ron Wyden D-OR)
  • Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK for Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee (SECWP)(current Chairwoman is Sen. Barbara Boxer D-CA)
  • Sen. John McCain, R-AZ for Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) from the current Sen. Carl Levin, D-MI
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