The Insider

By Jordana Mishory
June 9, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Panetta told senators today that if confirmed as the next defense secretary one of the first things he plans to do is find a way to speed up the Pentagon's push to become audit-ready.

The Defense Department has failed to comply with a 1990 law mandating all federal agencies be audited. Congress has recently mandated that DOD become audit-ready by 2017.

During his confirmation hearing this morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Panetta said he was concerned when he found out the Pentagon wouldn't reach its audit-readiness goal for another six years.

“We should be able to audit the department,” Panetta said. “If confirmed, one of the first things I'm going to do is see if we can't take steps to improve upon that time table.”

His comments in the hearing echoed his response to policy questions sent to him in advance. In his response, Panetta wrote that “achieving clean-audit opinions is one of my top management improvement priorities. A clean financial audit opinion is important to demonstrate that DOD is a responsible steward of public funds and to ensure management has accurate and timely information for decision making.”

Panetta wrote that he expects senior leaders to work together to achieve audit readiness by the congressionally mandated deadline.

By Jason Sherman
June 9, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Panetta, a former Office of Management and Budget chief during the Clinton administration and a former House Budget Committee chairman, delivered this assessment on the future of Pentagon spending to Senate Armed Services Committee:

The days of large growth and unlimited defense budgets are over. Our challenge will be to design budgets, eliminate wasteful and duplicative spending, while protecting those core elements that we absolutely need for our nation's defense.

He added:

I do not believe, based on my long experience in government and working with budgets, that we have to choose between strong fiscal discipline and strong national defense. I don't deny there are going to be tough decisions that have to be made and tough choices that have to be made. But we owe it to our citizens to provide both strong fiscal discipline and a strong national defense.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, pressed Panetta to explain how much of the $400 billion the president wants cut from national security over 12 years will come from the Pentagon, and how much of those reductions would come in FY-12.

Panetta said he did not know the answer.

“Can you try to find that out for us, because we need to find that out, and give us an answer for the record?” Levin asked.

“I will certainly ask whether that decision has been made,” Panetta replied.

By Jason Sherman
June 9, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Panetta, asked during his confirmation hearing to be defense secretary about cost growth in the Pentagon's largest program -- the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, said: “I think we have to watch it very carefully.”

He added that, in light of the current fiscal environment, no weapons program will escape scrutiny. “I want to assure you that one of my responsibilities . . . is to take a very hard look at all weapon systems to make sure they are cost-effective and that they are, in the end, providing the very best equipment our forces need.”

In response to advance policy questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Panetta offered these views on the Pentagon's tactical fighter programs:

Perhaps the largest modernization effort that we will face over the next several years is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program to modernize our tactical aviation forces with fifth generation tactical aircraft equipped with stealth technology.

Based on current and projected threats, what are your views on the requirements for and timing of these programs?

I understand that the F-35 will replace a range of legacy tactical aircraft in the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps with a fifth generation fighter. Based on the current and projected threats, I believe it is important 56

that we transition to a fifth generation tactical aviation capability across the U.S military services as soon as practical. I understand that one F-35 variant, the Marine Corps’ Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35B is on “probation” while technical issues are addressed. Overall, I believe we should maintain sufficient legacy inventory to support the force structure needed to prevail in the wars we are currently engaged in, as well as in possible future conflicts, while we field the F-35.

What is your assessment of whether the restructuring of the JSF program that we have seen over the past two years will be sufficient to avoid having to make major adjustments in either cost or schedule in the future?

It is my understanding that the F-35 program restructure was intended to put the program on solid ground, with realistic development and production goals and significant reduction in concurrency. I support DoD’s current effort to focus on and reduce F-35 sustainment costs. If confirmed, I will review the overall F-35 program’s status and health.

By Jason Sherman
June 9, 2011 at 3:08 PM

Leon Panetta, CIA director and defense-secretary nominee, believes the United States is in a “blizzard war,” dealing with threats more complex, more dynamic and more intense than those managed during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, Panetta outlined his view of global challenges the nation faces:

This is a time of historic change. Unlike the Cold War when we had one main adversary, we face a multitude of challenges. AQ and other global terrorist networks in places like Yemen, Somalia, North Africa . . . [and] Pakistan. Dangerous enemies spread out across the world. We face insurgents and militants who cross borders to conduct attacks. We face the proliferation of of dangerous weapons in the hands of terrorists, in the hands of rogue nations. We face cyber attackers, a whole new arena of warfare than can take place not only now but in the future. It is something we have to pay attention to. We face the challenge of rising and changing powers, nations in turmoil, particularly in the Middle East -- undergoing enormous political transformation. We are no longer in the Cold War. This is more like the blizzard war, a blizzard of challenges that draws speed and intensity from terrorism, from rapidly developing technology, and the rising number of powers on the world stage.

By Dan Dupont
June 9, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Two big personnel moves announced today by the Pentagon:

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John R. Allen for appointment to the rank of general and for assignment as commander, International Security Assistance Force/commander, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan. Allen is currently serving as the special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Army Lt. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti for reappointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as the commanding general, I Corps and Fort Lewis, Joint Base Lewis McChord Wash., and commander, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command/deputy commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Scaparrotti is currently serving as the commanding general, I Corps and Fort Lewis, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash.

By John Liang
June 8, 2011 at 4:01 PM

The Navy has decided to cancel its intent to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for a proposed "Geothermal Development Program" at Naval Air Facility El Centro, CA, according to a notice published in today's Federal Register. Specifically:

It has been determined that preparation of a PEIS is not appropriate at this time when considering the current project scale and stage of geothermal energy development at Superstition Mountain on Naval Air Facility El Centro. The [Navy Department] will develop an internal document known as an environmental and operational feasibility study. This internal document will analyze the environmental and operational framework within which a geothermal development may proceed and will provide the DoN with information required to determine the DoN's geothermal energy program needs at Naval Air Facility El Centro. Should geothermal development be indicated as feasible and a project to be developed, the appropriate level of National Environmental Policy Act analysis and process will be performed.

By John Liang
June 7, 2011 at 9:18 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee just released its mark-up schedule for its version of the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization bill.

The subcommittee mark-ups -- most of which will be closed to the public -- will take place on June 14 and 15 under the following schedule, according to a committee statement:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011:

9:00 a.m.-----Subcommittee on Airland.  CLOSED.  Room SR-232A.

10:30 a.m.-----Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.  CLOSED.  Room SR-232A.

2:00 p.m.-----Subcommittee on Seapower.  CLOSED.  Room SR-232A.

3:30 p.m.-----Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.  OPEN.  Room SR-485.

5:00 p.m.-----Subcommittee on Personnel.  CLOSED.  Room SR-232A.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011:

9:30 a.m.-----Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.  CLOSED.  Room SR-232A.

The full committee will mark the bill up in closed session from that Wednesday through Friday, according to the statement:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011:

2:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Full Committee.  CLOSED.  Room SR-232A.

Thursday, June 16, 2011:

9:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. [with a break for lunch]

Full Committee.  CLOSED.  Room SR-232A.

If the mark-up is not completed by the end of Thursday, then the committee will get it done the following day, according to the statement. Further:

The order of Subcommittee reports and consideration of General Provisions will be as follows:

-- Airland Subcommittee

-- Strategic Forces Subcommittee

-- Seapower Subcommittee

-- Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee

-- Personnel Subcommittee

-- Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee

--General Provisions

The House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the bill on May 12, and the full House followed suit on May 26.

By John Liang
June 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

The Missile Defense Agency just announced it would take a little bit longer to decide the winner of a multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract to develop and maintain the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system. According to an MDA statement:

The pending Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) development and sustainment contract undergoing proposal evaluation is now planned for award late this fall. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have each submitted proposals to compete for the contract award. The award amount will be proposed by the companies in their respective proposals. The Source Selection Authority has determined that it is in the best interest of the government to ensure rigorous and comprehensive proposals by industry, and evaluation by the government, by extending the anticipated award date into November of this year.

An MDA spokesman told Inside Missile Defense that contract execution will still begin in fiscal year 2012.

Boeing has been operating under a series of six-month "bridge" contracts as the main contractor for the GMD program, with MDA never having signed the company to a final deal to complete the system's core elements.

A Lockheed Martin and Raytheon team is competing against a Boeing and Northrop Grumman team for the contract, which has a potential annual value of $600 million.

By Tony Bertuca
June 7, 2011 at 3:23 PM

An Army instructor with 32 years of service as a soldier has written a paper pushing back against Training and Doctrine Command's “Army Learning Concept 2015,” criticizing its focus on developing digitally connected millennials rather than “adult” leaders.

“Our Army does not need more technology, gaming, simulations and technology-delivered approaches to 'individual' learning for digital aged millennial soldiers,” wrote Michael Sevcik, who teaches at the School for Command Preparation at the Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS.

His paper, “Army Learning Concept 2015: These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For,” was posted today on Small Wars Journal.

“What our Army needs is a learning strategy targeted on adults and focused on the command team, NCOs and leaders at all levels,” Sevcik wrote. “ALC 2015 should be a source of help for our commanders who are responsible for leader development and lifetime learning of their Soldiers. As written, it clearly is not.”

ALC 2015 was published by TRADOC in January and heralded by Gen. Martin Dempsey (who ran the Army's schoolhouse at the time) as “an important component of our effort to drive change through a campaign of learning.” Dempsey also highlighted the strategy for focusing on “the opportunities presented by dynamic virtual environments, by on-line gaming, and by mobile learning.”

But Sevcik sees a problem with this focus and the service's recent effort to equip soldiers with handheld communication devices.

“For over a decade there have been warnings that our millennial generation is addicted to technology at the expense of interpersonal skills, team building, common respect, the ability to communicate to one another,” he wrote. “In many cases our millennial soldiers have exchanged critical thinking for a passionate embrace of trivia. . . . When TRADOC issues 100,000 new digital handheld devices to soldiers, how long will it be before 'Joe' is wasting time playing computer games, buying stuff on E-Bay and surfing the net for porn?”

By John Liang
June 7, 2011 at 2:56 PM

The House late last month passed a measure attached to the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization bill that would significantly narrow the reach of an amendment the Defense Department had sought to exempt critical infrastructure information from disclosure requirements under the Freedom of Information Act, Defense Environment Alert reports this morning:

DOD sought the exemption following its failure to persuade the Supreme Court to use a personnel rules exemption in FOIA to protect weapons depot safety maps from disclosure.

Open government groups were successful in paring back what they considered to be a blanket exemption DOD had requested that they feared would have used the guise of protecting critical infrastructure information as pretext for withholding all types of data, one open government source says. Sources say the revised amendment is significantly narrower than the version DOD had sought, paring back the type of information that can be withheld and adding a balancing test for the public interest.

In its passage of the FY-12 defense authorization bill May 26, the House approved an amendment sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) that would exempt DOD critical infrastructure security information from FOIA disclosure requirements provided the data's disclosure would result in "the disruption, degradation, or destruction of operations, property, or facilities of the Department of Defense," the language says. For the exemption to take effect, the defense secretary would also have to determine that "the public interest consideration in the disclosure of such information does not outweigh preventing the disclosure of such information."

Further, the amendment defines DOD critical infrastructure security information, saying this term means "sensitive but unclassified information related to critical infrastructure information owned or operated by or on behalf of [DOD] that could substantially facilitate the effectiveness of an attack designed to destroy equipment, create maximum casualties, or steal particularly sensitive military weapons including information regarding the securing and safeguarding of explosives, hazardous chemicals, or pipelines." It also calls on DOD to write regulations to implement the measure.

By John Liang
June 6, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Inside the Navy is reporting this morning that the family of systems that will replace the canceled EPX program will include a variety of unmanned systems that are already a part of the Navy's program of record, most of which will be fielded around 2019.

In a list of responses to information dominance industry day questions dated April 5, officials listed the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Increment 3, Medium-Range Unmanned Aerial System, Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike and MQ-8B FireScout drones as components in the EPX stew. Further, ITN reports:

"Fire Scout is currently deployed and expected to reach Initial Operating Capability (IOC) in the 1st quarter of [fiscal year 2012]," the document states. "The other systems have proposed IOCs in the 2019 timeframe."

However, a presentation from the Pentagon's director of operational test and evaluation posted online the same month predicts that Fire Scout will not start initial operational testing and evaluation in September as scheduled. It notes that the program has a single set of shipboard ground control station equipment, and that set is used with ships for military utility assessments.

"If [the] system is not ready for IOT&E before [the] ship sails, IOT&E is further delayed," the slide notes.

But there's more that the ITN article didn't go into. That presentation also states that "program delays are common," adding that "the reasons behind the delays are varied," and can include:

– Problems conducting the test

• Test range availability, test instrumentation problems, and test execution problems

– Performance problems in DT or OT

• System problems identified during testing that must be addressed

– Programmatic

• Funding or scheduling problems

– Manufacturing

• Manufacturing delays or quality control problems

By Sebastian Sprenger
June 3, 2011 at 2:04 PM

With Gen. Martin Dempsey slated to leave the Army chief of staff post for bigger things, there's suddenly a new context for his overarching vision document that was slated for publication in mid-June. As Inside the Army reports in this week's edition, a draft version of the document hits many of the themes Dempsey has propagated since he became Army chief of staff in April and from his preceding tenure at Training and Doctrine Command.

Yes, the document is but a draft. And yes, Dempsey's nominated successor, Gen. Raymond Odierno, may choose to tweak the plan (like, say, the section on "mission command") or even scrap it altogether.

But the draft document nevertheless provides an important snapshot of what the sitting chief of staff has deemed important at a juncture in time that happens to involve senior leadership transitions.

One change made "in the last couple of days" involves the document's title, an Army spokeswoman tells us. Instead of the chief's "intent" for the Army, it is now dubbed the CSA's "Thoughts on the future of the Army."

By Amanda Palleschi
June 3, 2011 at 11:30 AM

The FBI is investigating the recent breach of Lockheed Martin's computer networks as a "cyber crime," while the Pentagon is playing a supporting role in analyzing the breach, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Cyber Policy Robert Butler.

"As part of our [Defense Industrial Base] information sharing program, we stand ready to provide assistance, with [the Department of Homeland Security]," Butler told a forum in Washington Thursday. However, "on all cyber crime activity [the FBI] has the mantle," he said.

"The analysis on these activities, first of all is challenging," Butler said. "It's diffuse and has lots of different pieces that have got to be put together." Lockheed Martin said last week that it suffered a computer network attack on May 21. A Defense Department spokeswoman said the "impact to DOD was minimal" and that the department "did not expect any adverse effect" as a result of the breach.

By John Liang
June 2, 2011 at 9:17 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee just announced it plans to hold a hearing on June 9 regarding Leon Panetta's nomination to replace Robert Gates as defense secretary.

Two sessions will be held -- an open one at 9:30 a.m. and a closed one at 2:30 p.m., according to the announcement.

By John Liang
June 2, 2011 at 4:08 PM

The Space Tracking and Surveillance System program office has officially moved from Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA, to the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center in Colorado Springs, according to a June 1 Missile Defense Agency statement.

The transfer ceremony took place on May 25, "which also highlighted the renaming of the Missile Defense Space Experimentation Center to the Space Development Center," the MDA statement reads. Further:

The ceremony opened with remarks by Dr. James E. Armstrong, MDA CIO and Deputy Director of the MDIOC, who recognized this milestone, the latest in a long history of MDA integration at the MDIOC. "We are excited about the movement of MDA's STSS Program Office to this facility, and we will do our best to ensure they are successful," Armstrong said.

The presiding officer of the ceremony, Mr. Rich Ritter, Program Executive for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR), also recognized the importance of this transition. Referring to the ceremony as a "graduation" of sorts, he stated the move would increase the number of demonstrations and tests. He further highlighted the growing importance of space assets to missile defense.

The outgoing STSS leader, Colonel Select Matthew P. Murdough, commented on his years with the program, thanking his staff and wishing the new leadership good luck before taking part in the traditional flag transfer ceremony. After the symbolic passing of the unit flag from outgoing to incoming leader, Dennis Miller, the MDSDC Director expressed his thanks. "The journey is not finished," he said. "We look forward to the next steps of the program."

The ceremony concluded with Mr. Ritter unveiling the new name and logo for the Missile Defense Space Development Center. The MDSDC, led by Dennis Miller, is now responsible for operational control of the STSS Demonstrator satellites and the Near Field Infrared Experiment Satellite.

STSS is a key component in MDA's development of a space-based sensor layer to detect missile launches, provide continuous target tracking, and pass track data to missile interceptors with the accuracy and timeliness necessary to enable successful target interception. The seamless administrative transfer will not affect current satellite operations.