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Posted by John Keller

There seems to be a lull in technology-related contracting at the U.S. Department of Defense over the past week. A scan of the bluetops shows days on end with just one or two awards of consequence to the aerospace and defense electronics community. Makes me a little nervous.

Not a lot to report out there. The Navy's about to pull the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise out of the water to scrape off the barnacles and repaint the hull. If you're looking for excitement, that's about it.

It's not to say nothing's going on; there are a few solicitations out there. The Air Force is looking for ways to keep UAVS from crashing into each other. DARPA wants a UAV that stays up for five years. The Coast Guard wants a WMD-detecting radio network, and the Army wants a vehicle-mounted sensor that tells where the enemy snipers are.

Still, the lack of contract volume seems strange.

Makes me wonder what's going on -- or not. Doesn't seem like a normal lull in contract activity to me. That usually happens with a gradual slowing of contracting, not a sudden dropoff like we saw this past week.

Walk out away from the campfire at night, you usually hear crickets and other night sounds, not silence. When the crickets stop chirping and an ominous silence descends, then it's usually time to pay attention; something's about to happen. Could be good, could be bad, but you had better keep a clear eye, nonetheless.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a flurry of activity come up soon. Then again, might this be the beginning of a long-term slowdown? I wish I could tell you for sure. All I can advise is we had better pay attention.


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Welcome to the lighter side of Military & Aerospace Electronics. This is where our staff recount tales of the strange, the weird, and the otherwise offbeat. We could put news here, but we have the rest of our Website for that. Enjoy our scribblings, and feel free to add your own opinions. You might also get to know us in the process. Proceed at your own risk.

John Keller for MAE
John Keller is editor-in-chief of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, which provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronic and optoelectronic technologies in military, space, and commercial aviation applications. A member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since the magazine's founding in 1989, Mr. Keller took over as chief editor in 1995.

Courtney Howard for MAE Courtney E. Howard is senior editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine. She is responsible for writing news stories and feature articles for the print publication, as well as composing daily news for the magazine's Website and assembling the weekly electronic newsletter. Her features have appeared in such high-tech trade publications as Military & Aerospace Electronics, Computer Graphics World, Electronic Publishing, Small Times, and The Audio Amateur.

John McHale for MAE John McHale is executive editor of Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine, where he has been covering the defense Industry for more than dozen years. During that time he also led PennWell's launches of magazines and shows on homeland security and a defense publication and website in Europe. Mr. McHale has served as chairman of the Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum and its Advisory Council since 2004. He lives in Boston with his golf clubs.