The Insider

By Dan Dupont
June 1, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department today made two announcements of key personnel changes in the information systems world:

Alan Lewis has been assigned as principal director, GIG Enterprise Services Engineering, Defense Information Systems Agency, Falls Church, Va. Lewis previously served as chief, GIG Engineering Center, GIG Enterprise Services Engineering Directorate, Defense Information Systems Agency, Falls Church, Va.

Henry Sienkiewicz has been assigned as chief information officer, Defense Information Systems Agency, Arlington, Va. Sienkiewicz previously served as technical program director, Computing Services Directorate, Defense Information Systems Agency, Falls Church, Va.

By Thomas Duffy
May 28, 2010 at 5:00 AM

As Congress continues to pore over the Obama administration's fiscal year 2011 defense budget request, a group of Army financial planners is preparing to meet next month to talk about a vital part of Pentagon budgeting -- how each and every dollar is spent each year.

The Army Financial Improvement Plan Conference/Workshop will be held June 28-29 in the Pentagon, according to the meeting agenda. Army Under Secretary Joseph Westphal and Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale are scheduled to speak.

The agenda lays out why the meeting is being held:

The conference objective is to inform attendees of Army auditability efforts and outline the Army's approach to obtaining auditability. The conference will address the business processes and controls that lead to audit readiness within the DOD, the importance of new systems (e.g. GFEBS, LMP, and GCSS-Army), the short-term goals to achieve auditability of the Statement of Budgetary Resources and assert the existence and completeness of mission critical assets and the roles the Chief Management Officer and the Army's Office of Business Transformation will play in obtaining and sustaining auditability. This two-day conference focuses on the audit executing roadmap, which includes critical preparatory steps affecting all Army commands.

For years Congress has leaned on the Pentagon to get what is called a "clean audit." Several members of Congress have argued that without knowing where the money is going, no type of budget reform is possible for DOD.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) recently wrote to President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which is trying to tackle the U.S. national deficit problem. After laying out what he sees as serious problems with the nation's defense budget, Coburn offered several steps that could be taken to control defense costs. Coburn's first step may be of interest to the folks attending the Army's June meeting:

Begin a crash program to have the Pentagon pass a financial audit; To provide the necessary incentive for a financial audit the “base” Pentagon budget should be frozen in FY2012 at the FY2011 level. Unless and until all major components and all major defense acquisition programs are certified by the Inspector General or an independent public accountant for an unqualified audit opinion, spending for those components and those programs should remain frozen. This freeze should not apply to any spending for direct support of overseas contingency operations or Defense Department personnel and wounded warrior accounts. If the Secretary of Defense or Congress asserts that a freeze will harm the national security of the United States or our troops in combat, funding may be increased but only by equally reducing other Defense Department components or programs.

By John Liang
May 27, 2010 at 5:00 AM

As could be expected, not everyone is a fan of the Obama administration's new National Security Strategy. House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Peter King (R-NY) released a statement minutes ago. It reads:

While I am heartened that this first Obama Administration National Security Strategy addresses the growing problem of al-Qaeda recruiting American citizens and those in the country legally, perhaps most notable about the Strategy is what it fails to say.

I have serious concerns about this Strategy. The Obama Administration refuses to even identify head-on the threat our nation faces. Even though we have been at war against radical Islamic jihadists since they killed almost 3,000 Americans on 9/11, the Obama Administration fails to even mention such terms. By his own account, assistant to the President John Brennan stated in a speech yesterday, "nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists,'" even after these terrorists we are fighting continue to commit their slaughter in the name of "jihad." The Administration is ignoring the quintessential rule of war: 'Know Your Enemy.' Failing to acknowledge the enemy we face will not make the enemy disappear.

John Brennan and others in the Obama Administration are completely ignoring reality and have used this critically important National Security Strategy as another opportunity to satisfy the politically correct left wing and apologize to the world for America.

By John Liang
May 27, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Senate just approved the fiscal year 2010 supplemental spending bill by a 69-29 vote.

The legislation would boost Pentagon procurement accounts by $512 million to buy new aircraft, ground vehicles and other equipment needed for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, a move that would bring spending on new weapons in the supplemental request to $4.9 billion.

Earlier this month, the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to a $32.7 billion FY-10 war cost supplemental spending request to help pay for the addition of 30,000 U.S. military personnel President Obama last fall ordered to Afghanistan. As reported on May 17:

The package hikes procurement spending above DOD-requested sums, including $104.3 million for the Army; $207.8 million for the Navy; $144 million for the Marine Corps; and $55.8 million for the Air Force.

These figures are detailed in the 90-page committee report accompanying the spending bill. obtained a copy of the report.

While the procurement accounts saw increases, DOD's $25 billion request for operations and maintenance accounts was cut by $435.5 million to $24.5 billion; and the $1.8 billion request for personnel spending was trimmed by $108 million to $1.7 billion.

The procurement accounts received funding to replace two “battle-loss” Army helicopters, an AH-64 and an UH-60. Also, the Senate measure would fund ballistic protection for Army helicopters.

The bill would fully fund five MC-12 Liberty aircraft for the Air Force.

Further, the Senate panel would add funds to “improve the Army's automated biometric identification capacity,” according to a statement.

By Christopher J. Castelli
May 27, 2010 at 5:00 AM

On Thursday night, the full House rejected an amendment to the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill that would have stopped funding for the Joint Strike Fighter’s alternate engine program. The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and other lawmakers.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said President Obama should veto the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill if it includes funding for the alternate engine.

By John Liang
May 26, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Missile Defense Agency wants to gauge the interest of potential contractors in the agency's follow-on effort to the command, control, battle management and communications (C2BMC) program, according to a May 20 Federal Business Opportunities notice.

With responses due by June 21, MDA seeks the following information from interested contractors:

a. Company profile to include number of employees, annual revenue history, office locations, DUNs number, etc.

b. Explanation of the respondent’s ability to perform the capabilities described above (in whole or in part). This should include a description of the company’s effort in the past three years in support of same/similar requirement(s). Include information such as contract number (indicate if your role was a prime or subcontractor), organization supported, contract value, Government points of contact and current telephone numbers, and a brief description of how the contract referenced relates to the technical services described herein. Of particular interest are past performance examples where the company has developed international capabilities with host nations that share resources and sustain interoperability with U.S. systems; experiences where company has managed multiple contractors in a unified team developing capabilities; and experiences in fast-paced, dynamic programs with constant requirements change.

c. Describe the company's recommended approach to transition work from the current provider to ensure no break in C2BMC service and operation, and minimize schedule impact derived from transition. The company should also discuss whether it currently has specific expertise needed to execute the activities described in this RFI, or how it would gain such expertise.

d. If the company recommends parts of the C2BMC Program for separate development, provide the strategy to seamlessly integrate its parts with the other parts it is not providing with minimal schedule, cost, and performance risk.

e. Describe the company's approach in fostering relationships within and across the BMDS Elements and their respective industry team (to include, but not limited to GMD, THAAD, and Aegis BMD) to ensure responsive and efficient working relationships.

f. Describe the company's recommendation on how to foster innovation within the C2BMC Program to provide new approaches to C2BMC development. Alternate approaches to C2BMC architecture and development may be considered. Explain the alternate approach and provide examples of its performance.

The Pentagon's latest operational test and evaluation report, released in January, recommended that MDA revise its Integrated Master Test Plan “to incorporate the operationally realistic testing needed to support the phased, adaptive approach to providing missile defense for Europe.” The Ballistic Missile Defense System elements that need updating in the plan include: the C2BMC system; Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense; Ground-based Midcourse Defense; and sensors.

By Carlo Muñoz
May 26, 2010 at 5:00 AM

This week, the first cadre of Afghan Special Forces were graduated from the training and qualification course run by U.S. and coalition advisers, according to U.S. Special Operations Command chief Adm. Eric Olson. The newly minted cadre of elite Afghan troops will be the first of many expected to pass through the schoolhouse over the coming months, he said today during an irregular warfare symposium.

Once fully trained, those troops will form the backbone of the country’s counterinsurgency and irregular warfare operations.

As first reported by Inside the Pentagon in March, U.S. military advisers were looking to establish an Afghan special forces brigade and a separate Afghan commando brigade, akin to the way U.S. Special Forces and Army Rangers are organized. The Afghan soldiers who completed the SOF training course will be part of the special forces brigade.

Those special forces troops and commando units, known as Kandaks, will support the 134,000-man ANA general purpose force expected by October, which will keep the Afghan army on track to hit its 170,000 total force goal by 2011.

By John Liang
May 26, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The head of EADS North America is urging Congress not to approve an amendment to the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill he says is "prejudicial against the EADS North America bid" for the Air Force's KC-X airborne refueling tanker competition.

"As you are aware, consideration is being given to amending the Defense Authorization Bill to incorporate issues currently before the World Trade Organization as factors in the KC-X tanker competition," Ralph Crosby writes in a May 25 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). "If passed, this legislation would violate the WTO Treaty which forbids punitive action taken on trade matters being adjudicated by the organization."

As Inside U.S. Trade reported last week, the House Armed Services Committee attached an amendment to the FY-11 defense authorization bill that seeks to more closely tie the result of a WTO panel case against alleged European Union member state subsidies to Airbus to the tanker competition. Specifically:

But the amendment, offered by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) and accepted by the panel by voice vote late in the evening on May 19, is far weaker than another measure, sponsored by Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), that was kept out of the bill in part due to furious lobbying by the European Aeronautical Defense and Space Company (EADS) and the EU, sources said.

The lobbyists argued that the Tiahrt bill -- the “Fair Defense Competition Act,” which would have required the Defense Department to calculate the effect of illegal subsidies and add their amount to the EADS bid price -- would have violated the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding agreement by taking unilateral retaliation outside of the WTO.

The Pentagon has stated that it will not take the Airbus or Boeing WTO cases into account in the tanker bid, in part because the WTO appeals processes are not yet exhausted and won’t be for years.

The weaker Smith amendment will require Defense to issue an interim report on the impact of WTO-illegal subsidies on the fairness of the KC-X tanker competition 70 days after the WTO panel makes its ruling public.

The public unveiling of the ruling is expected in June, but according to sources familiar with the confidential version of the report, the panel has found that Airbus received some prohibited export-contingent subsidies and some actionable subsidies which caused serious prejudice to rival Boeing’s products.

In his May 25 letter, Crosby writes:

In support of this initiative, it has been widely reported in the media that the Boeing Company today has made allegations of improprieties by EADS, specifically regarding trade with Iran. I assure you that these allegations are untrue. EADS scrupulously abides by the laws and regulations that govern the sale of our products -- which include the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Boeing clearly has resorted to the use of falsehoods, as their only possible tool to prevent the fair competition that the Department of Defense has committed to for the selection of a replacement aerial refueling tanker for the US Air Force. Their effort to use legislation to change the rules of this procurement places their own self-interest ahead of that of the US warfighter, who will be the primary beneficiary of this carefully formulated competitive procurement.

By John Liang
May 25, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The House Armed Services Committee has included a measure in the just-approved fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill that aims to curtail 11th-hour conflicts over military readiness and private-sector wind turbine projects, Defense Environment Alert reports today.

Renewable energy projects, such as wind farm proposals, are increasing and becoming a significant encroachment issue for the military, according to DEA.

On the legislative language, DEA reports:

The committee approved a measure that aims to address obstruction of military activities due to the operation of wind farms -- coming on the heels of a high-profile conflict related to the Pentagon’s concerns over a major wind farm proposed for Oregon that raised protests in the Pentagon over its impacts on radar.

DOD backed down from its opposition in late April, vowing to work with the National Security Council and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to avert confrontations with wind energy developers in the future (Defense Environment Alert, May 11). The issue arose as the Obama administration, including DOD, is pushing for increased renewable energy projects such as wind energy, with DOD attempting to strike a tone of balance between support of the administration’s renewable energy goals while being mindful of potential impacts on homeland security. A high-level DOD environment official recently noted that the processes in place to review such projects are inadequate to handle the volume of work now being seen on the renewable energy front.

The committee approved the energy encroachment measure during full committee mark-up on the FY-11 defense authorization bill, H.R. 5136, which passed out of committee on a 59-0 vote May 19.

The measure was part of en bloc amendments sponsored by Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), chairman of the Armed Services readiness subcommittee. The amendment directs the defense secretary to designate a single entity within DOD to coordinate with the FAA “on aviation obstruction impacts on military installations and operations” and to accelerate the planning tools being developed that DOD will use to give notice of its position on new energy proposals that may obstruct aviation, according to a description of the amendment released by the committee. The committee declined to release the amendment language.

Members on the committee voiced their need for the language both during subcommittee and full committee markups. “The subcommittee has also been concerned about readiness challenges associated with wind-farm obstruction of military training routes and radar,” Ortiz said during the subcommittee markup May 13. “In the end, we need to establish a process that better balances energy security and military readiness, because our nation needs both.”

During consideration of the amendment in the full committee markup, Ortiz said the measure would establish a common process whereby early input from the military can be given.

And during the readiness subcommittee markup, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) detailed why he believes the amendment is necessary. “I strongly support alternative energy projects, but we must give the Department of Defense an opportunity to review these projects and notify the developers of any impact on military training and readiness early in the process,” Forbes said. “As it stands now, there’s no requirement to notify DOD of wind farm developments, and as a result, they find out so late in the process that any objection they need to raise in the interest of military readiness jeopardizes the entire development.” That is not good for the developers or DOD, he added.

The measure was included in the full committee mark-up after the subcommittee held off on marking up a provision because of jurisdictional issues. Ortiz said the final amendment does not achieve all of his goals, but he did not elaborate on how it falls short.

By John Liang
May 24, 2010 at 5:00 AM

President Obama has nominated Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, the current commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, to be the next chief of of U.S. Joint Forces Command.

According to a JFCOM statement released today, if confirmed by the Senate, Odierno would replace Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis later this year. Odierno has been head of U.S. Forces-Iraq since September 2008.

Prior to his current post, Odierno served as commanding general of U.S. Army III Corps from May 2006 to September 2008, according to his official bio. Further:

General Odierno returned to Iraq to assume command of USF-I less than seven months after completing a 15-month deployment with III Corps from December 2006 to February 2008, during which he served as the Commanding General, Multi-National Corps-Iraq. As the day-to-day commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq, General Odierno was the operational architect of the Surge and was responsible for implementing the counterinsurgency strategy that led to the dramatic decrease in violence in Iraq in 2007 and 2008. He is noted for being one of few Army generals in history to command a division, corps and entire theater in the same conflict.

A native of northern New Jersey, General Odierno attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1976 with a commission in Field Artillery. During more than 33 years of service, General Odierno has commanded units at every echelon, from platoon to theater, with duty in Germany, Albania, Kuwait, Iraq, and the United States. After his first assignment with U.S. Army Europe, General Odierno was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded two batteries and served as a battalion operations officer.

Following advanced civilian and military schooling, General Odierno returned to U.S. Army Europe and the 7th Army, serving as a battalion executive officer, division artillery executive officer, and brigade executive officer, deploying in that capacity for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He later commanded 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, 7th Infantry Division, and the Division Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division. From October 2001 to June 2004, General Odierno commanded the 4th Infantry Division, leading the division throughout the first year of Operation Iraqi Freedom from April 2003 to March 2004. The unit was headquartered in the restive Sunni triangle north of Baghdad, and in a significant accomplishment late in the deployment, Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division captured former President Saddam Hussein near his hometown of Tikrit in December 2003.

By Dan Dupont
May 21, 2010 at 5:00 AM

It's a big day for the Army -- and the start of something bigger, the service announced today:

The U.S. Army closed the industry Request for Proposal (RFP) submission process today for the Technology Development phase of the Ground Combat Vehicle Infantry Fighting Vehicle program. This marks the beginning of the formal source selection process, which will culminate with up to three competitive contract awards in late fourth quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2010.

The source selection process is used during competitive, negotiated contracting to select industry proposals that offer the best value to the Army. During the GCV source selection process the government will review the submitted proposals and adhere to Federal regulations designed to ensure full-and-open competition among offerors. The process also prohibits the release of information related to the proposals, companies involved, dollar amounts, details concerning the source selection.

Upon completion of the Source Selection and the Milestone A review, contract awards will be made for the technology demonstration phase of the program. The Technology Development Phase involves risk reduction, refinement of requirements, competitive sub-system prototyping activities, and planned technical reviews leading to a Preliminary Design which demonstrates the maturity to enter into Engineering and Manufacturing Development EMD phase.

But don't expect to hear much more for a while:

"We have had good response from industry and now the source selection process will begin immediately. Due to the sensitive nature of this procurement and the Federal prohibition on the release of procurement information, the program office will not release further source selection details until the close of the process," said COL Bryan McVeigh, program manager GCV.

More details:

The contracting strategy developed by the Army is in line with the new DoD 5000.2 guidance for competition. The program plans to award up to three (3) Technology Development phase contracts, marking a 27-month period in which to test and mature subcomponents and other material elements of the designs prior to a Milestone B decision in FY 2013. The subsequent EMD phase would run through the first quarter of FY 2016, and include delivery of the first prototype vehicle in FY 2015. The Army is approaching the GCV’s development in an incremental fashion -- designing it for adaptability, modularity and scalability to adjust to and incorporate technological change.

So who bids? Read our stories, one published today and the other yesterday:

Sources: Germany's KMW to Join SAIC, Boeing for Ground Combat Vehicle Race

Team Led By General Dynamics Submits Bid For GCV

And, as always, stay tuned for more.

By Marcus Weisgerber
May 21, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Several published reports over the last 24 hours claim the lower chamber of the Dutch parliament wants to cancel the country's already ordered F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and drop out of the test program.

As reported by the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad:

On Thursday, during this parliament's last official session, a slim majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by the Labour party that called upon the cabinet to end Dutch participation in the 'operational test phase' of Lockheed Martin's JSF-project.

The motion fell short of a definitive refusal to invest billions, but it is the latest step in a long political march in that direction which began in 2002.

The Netherlands is a Level 2 partner on the JSF program. The country inked a deal with Pentagon on June 17, 2002, to contribute $800 million to the test program. It plans to purchase 85 F-35 to replace its aging F-16s.

By Zachary M. Peterson
May 20, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead weighed in today on the announcement this morning that a North Korean torpedo was responsible for the sinking of a Republic of Korea ship in March. The sinking of the Cheonan killed 46 Korean sailors.

"I think it's in the best interest of all countries, specifically those in the Western Pacific an area that is so vital to the global economy, that the nations and navies in that area come together to address the problem and hold North Korea to account," Roughead said following a luncheon speech at the National Press Club. "I think that all the countries have that obligation."

The Navy chief noted he does not determine what actions are taken by the United States or any other sovereign nation, yet he argued the incident is "a matter that needs to be addressed by the international community." Roughead spoke at the Center for Oceans Law and Policy conference on "United States Interests in Prompt Adherence to the Law of the Sea Convention."

In a separate statement released this morning, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) called the behavior of the North Korean navy "unacceptable."

“Today’s report suggests that North Korea has once again defied international law and undermined international peace and security, in direct violation of the Armistice Agreement," Skelton said in the statement. "Such behavior is unacceptable."

By John Liang
May 20, 2010 at 5:00 AM

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) had some choice words for the Obama administration upon learning of the resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair:

That a man who has willingly dedicated himself to the cause of our nation's freedom would rather step down than continue to serve as America’s top intelligence officer is a disturbing sign of the stranglehold the Obama White House has placed on America's intelligence agencies. Clearly, and understandably, Director Blair was frustrated by the White House's micromanagement and sidelining of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on national security issues.

Blair's resignation is the result of the Obama administration's rampant politicization of national security and outright disregard for congressional intelligence oversight. Blair's resignation is disturbing and unfortunate. The concerns I have come from how the Obama administration conducts national security, not over the director of national intelligence, who they never allowed to do it.

Hoekstra said congressional Republicans would be "watching closely who the president plans to name as a successor," calling the administration’s national security apparatus "broken, dysfunctional and in disarray, with Blair being "the one person you could count on for rationality" among U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan -- "and he’s the one the president let go."

By Tony Bertuca
May 19, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Army has announced it will hold a “renewable energy rodeo and symposium” June 8-9 at Ft. Bliss, TX, to showcase energy initiatives impacting all levels of the service from ground vehicles to installations.

But while it's in Texas, this rodeo will not feature any bulls or horses -- just displays and demonstrations of technologies that address the generation of renewable and alternative energy sources as well as their distribution, transfer and application.

The event is being co-hosted by the Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center and Ft. Bliss, the Army's center for renewable energy, according to a statement from the service.

"The energy rodeo and symposium provides a unique opportunity to evaluate mature technologies in a dynamic environment while, at the same time, establishing crucial partnerships," Ft. Bliss commander Maj. Gen. Howard Bromberg is quoted as saying in an Army statement. "We are looking for game-changing technologies and innovative solutions for the energy and environmental challenges we all face."

According to the Army, the rodeo's list of anticipated attendees includes government officials, industry representatives, renewable energy experts, academics and Pentagon-level military and civilian officials from all branches of the armed forces.