In Brief: Missile Defense Cuts; Northrop’s $80m Contract; Tuition Assistance Delays

Mike O'Brien

THE PENTAGON is to ask for $9.16 billion for missile defense programs in the 2014 fiscal year that begins on October 1.

The request is about $550 million less than this year’s $9.71 billion. The missile defense plan, which is scheduled to be released on April 10, is part of a $526.6 billion defense budget to be proposed by President Obama.

The reduced proposal comes despite North Korean threats to attack U.S. bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam.

Related: Countdown in South-East Asia as North Korea Loads Missiles

The Navy has already stationed two Aegis-class destroyers, which can track and target missiles, in the region. Last week the Pentagon announced it was deploying Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system, which uses truck-mounted interceptors, to Guam, Bloomberg News reports.

NORTHROP Grumman has won a $80 million contract with the U.S. Navy to upgrade its tactical data link processor.

Related: The Latest in Maritime Domain Awareness and Security

Under the contract, the company will provide software and hardware system development and engineering services for the communication processors aboard naval surface ships.

The Next Generation Command and Control Processor, or NGC2P, is a tactical data link communication processor that provides real-time information about friendly and enemy activity during combat operations, reports.

THE AIR Force, Marine Corps, the Army and Coast Guard have yet to restart tuition assistance programs for continuing education that are currently used by more than 320,000 service members.

The services are still trying to figure out how much money is available under new spending rules ordered by Congress.

Senators James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C., last week wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel asking for the Pentagon to take "immediate action" to get the program started again, reports. They described tuition assistance as "an important recruiting and retention tool, which also significantly contributes to our service members' morale."