Today’s Tidbits: September 18, 2017

Today’s Tidbits: September 18, 2017

Here are our tidbits for today.  Enjoy!

Senate Passes FY2018 NDAA

The Senate passed its version of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today by a vote of 89-8.  Before the final vote, it adopted many amendments, using the House bill, H.R. 2810, as the legislative vehicle for its actions.  We’ll post a summary of key space-related provisions soon.

Orbital ATK – Northrop Grumman Acquisition Confirmed

Orbital ATK and Northrop Grumman confirmed this morning that they have reached agreement for Northrop Grumman to acquire Orbital ATK.  The Wall Street Journal reported the rumor last night. The deal is for $9.2 billion: $7.8 billion in cash plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt.  The Boards of Directors of the two companies have approved the deal.  Now it must pass muster with shareholders and regulators.  The companies hope to wrap it all up in the first half of 2018. Northrop Grumman plans to establish Orbital ATK as a new,  fourth business sector “to ensure a strong focus on operating performance and a smooth transition into Northrop Grumman.” []

Happy Birthday, Air Force! 

The Air Force officially became a branch of the U.S. military 70 years ago today.

Air Force to Review S&T Strategy

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson today announced a 12-month review of the Air Force’s science and technology (S&T) efforts in order to update research priorities and strategy. “The Air Force must reinvigorate its focus on basic and applied research to ensure the long term domination of air and space.”  The review, led by the Air Force Research Laboratory, will —

  • identify high priority research areas for basic and applied research important to air and space power over the next 10-20 years;
  • evaluate how the Air Force can more productively partner with states, consortia, universities and other non-federal research entities; and
  • guide the Air Force in adjusting how it can stay on the cutting edge of technology in the long term.


Trump Nominates Additional Export-Import Bank Members

President Trump nominated three more individuals to be members of the Export-Import Bank Board on Friday:  Kimberly Reed to be First Vice President, and Claudia Slacik and Judith Delzoppo Pryor to be members.  The Board has five slots. For quite some time only two of them have been filled.  A quorum requires three. Without a quorum, the Board cannot approve transactions greater than $10 million.  The hard-fought battle to keep the Ex-Im Bank in business was won in 2015, but has been a Pyrrhic victory so far since it has not been able to function fully since then. Trump earlier nominated Spencer Bachus III to be a member of the Board, and Scott Garrett to serve as chairman. No word on when the Senate Banking Committee will consider them. The Aerospace Industries Association, a strong Ex-Im Bank supporter, issued a press release today urging quick confirmation of Reed, Slacik, Pryor, and Bachus, but opposing Garrett and urging Trump to withdraw that nomination.

New AIA President and CEO

Speaking of AIA, it announced today that Eric Fanning will be its new President and CEO as of January 1, 2018, succeeding David Melcher.  Fanning is a former Secretary of the Army.  Before that, he held a number of other senior appointments in DOD:  Chief of Staff of the Secretary of Defense; Acting Secretary of the Air Force; Under Secretary of the Air Force; and Deputy Under Secretary and Deputy Chief Management Officer of the Navy.  AIA notes that he is “the only person to have held senior appointments in all three military departments and the Office of the Secretary of Defense.”

A Thing of Beauty — Home

On its way to Jupiter 40 years ago today, Voyager 1 captured this spectacular view of planet Earth and the Moon (it’s there — in the upper left hand corner).  The spacecraft had been launched 13 days earlier (September 5, 1977) and was 7.25 million miles from Earth at the time.  NASA says this is the first picture of its kind ever taken.  More information about the image is here: [].

Earth and Moon, taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft September 18, 1977. Photo credit: NASA

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