The Insider

By John Liang
December 17, 2010 at 6:58 PM

After months of wrangling, the House finally passed the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill by a 341 to 48 vote. Outgoing House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) said the following during floor debate on the revised bill:

Mr. Speaker, today is the beginning of the end of a long journey, a journey that started with the submission of the President’s budget on February 1, 2010.  The law requires the President to send us a budget, and he did his duty.

But our obligation in considering the budget goes deeper.  The Founding Fathers entrusted Congress with the care of the Armed Forces.  The Constitution, Article I, Section 8, requires that we raise and support Armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.  That is our duty.

Most of you, like me, have spent time with our troops overseas.  Their dedication, courage, and devotion never cease to amaze.  Their service and sacrifice is matched only by that of their families who bear the same burden.  Their sacrifice is, at times, almost unbearable.  Yet they do it, and not for us, but for the American people.  However, we bear the awesome burden of repaying their sacrifice.

For 48 consecutive years, the Congress has carried out its duty to the men and women of the military by passing a defense authorization act.  It is a job that has never been easy.  There have been many years where we have almost failed.  In my 34 years, through 12 military conflicts including the most divisive wars in American history – Vietnam and Iraq – the Congress has wavered, but never failed.

This bill is must pass legislation.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  There are literally hundreds of needed provisions in here that will not become law any other way.  I have time to name only a few.  This bill stops an increase in health care fees from hitting the families of military personnel; authorizes military families to extend TRICARE coverage to their dependent children until age 26; and adopts comprehensive legislation fighting sexual assault in the military.  It creates a counter-IED database and enhances the effort to develop new, lightweight body armor.  It gives DOD new tools and authorities to reduce its energy demand while improving military readiness.  It bolsters our defense against cyber attacks. It requires independent assessments of the National Nuclear Security Administration modernization plan and of the annual budget request for sustaining a strong deterrent.   It aligns the Navy’s long term shipbuilding plan with the QDR.  And, it includes significant acquisition reform, the Improve Acquisition Act of 2010, which could save as much as $135 billion over the next five years.  That is just a sampling of the good work done in this bill.

Now some members are claiming, falsely, that the language in the bill on Guantanamo detainees is not strong enough.  Let me tell you what the bill actually does.  It prohibits the release of detainees into the United States or its territories.  It prohibits the transfer or release of detainees into the United States or its territories.  It prohibits the use of any DOD funding to build or modify any DOD facility in the United States for the detention of any Guantanamo detainee.  This restriction applies not only to Thomson, Illinois, but to the whole country.  It prohibits the transfer or release of any Guantanamo Bay detainee to any country which has received a detainee and allowed that detainee to return to the battlefield.  This is the most thorough and comprehensive set of restrictions ever placed on the transfer and release of detainees.  It is substantially stronger than current law, and voting against this bill will have the effect of making it easier to bring detainees into the United States and easier to transfer them to countries that have failed to hold them in the past.

We all know that this year’s journey towards passage has been rancorous and difficult like few others.  No one is happy with everything that was done.  That is just the nature of Congress.  In finding common ground, we all have to give a little.  But we cannot give when it comes to supporting the men and women in the armed forces.  We stand today on the dividing line between success and failure.  Do not fail now.  Finish the journey. Vote for the National Defense Authorization Act.

By John Liang
December 17, 2010 at 6:16 PM

With Congress rushing to complete work on the months-late fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill -- now revised to not include the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" provision -- House lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle today are lauding outgoing Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), as witnessed by the following floor statements:

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD):

This Defense Authorization bill is about securing our nation in stronger and smarter ways. It builds on our strong Democratic record of putting new and better weapons into the battlefield; increasing support for human intelligence collection, cybersecurity, and security for our skies, our ports, and our borders; and looking out for our troops, our veterans, and their families.

This bill authorizes crucial national security programs for Fiscal Year 2011. It promotes efforts to disrupt and destroy terrorist networks and strengthens the ability of our special forces to act directly against terrorist organizations. It increases our international cooperation against terrorists, especially against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Because of the changing threats in the post-Cold War world, this bill also invests in ballistic missile defense and nuclear counterproliferation, including the President’s effort to secure all of the world's known vulnerable nuclear material in the next four years.

The Defense Authorization bill also supports the wellbeing of our troops and the strength of our Armed Forces. It keeps TRICARE strong and ensures that military families can keep their children on TRICARE policies up to the age of 26. It also reduces strain on our forces by providing for 7,000 more personnel for the Army and 500 for the Air Force, while helping all of the services rebuild their worn-down equipment and weapons systems.

But this bill is personally important to me for another reason, Mr. Speaker. It's named after my good friend, Congressman Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Chairman Skelton has represented the people of Missouri for 34 years. He has stood up for the interests and ideals of people across his district, from rural towns to some of our Nation’s most important military bases. He has been a workhorse of a Congressman: always well-informed, always public-spirited, and always passionate about serving our Nation and its security.

For many years, Ike Skelton has been one of America's leading voices on defense policy -- and the decisions he made as Chairman will shape the future of our country, for the better, for many years to come. I am proud to have served with him. And I am proud to support this important bill, which he did so much to shape, and which fittingly bears his name.

Armed Services Committee Ranking Member (and Chairman-elect) Buck McKeon (R-CA):

Mr. Speaker, today I rise to speak with a heavy heart for a couple of reasons.  One is the process that has brought us to this point.  The other is that this is the last defense bill for my good friend and partner on the committee, Ike Skelton.  He has been a force on the committee and within the defense community for decades.  The way he has conducted business on the committee sets an example for all members of the committee -- and this Congress -- to follow.

Considering Ike's legacy, the actions of the Democratic leaders in the Senate and the House are all the more frustrating to me.  They have made it completely clear that they place a higher priority on repealing the Pentagon's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy than on the National Defense Authorization Act.

The procedure that is set up in the House to pass legislation is: the House passes a bill, goes through committee, goes through hearings, finally is passed by the committee, passed on the floor.  A similar process should be followed in the Senate.  And, then once those two bills have been passed, we have conferees appointed, the conferees get together and negotiate the differences in the bills, and the final bills are brought back to the floor.  To this date, we have not had a Senate bill passed on the floor.  So this brings us to this point without a Senate bill, and giving individual Senators an opportunity to have a line-item veto on the House bill after we pass it here and send it back over.

Many of the provisions that we passed in our bill went through a semi-conference and some of the provisions, which were championed by the House, include a higher pay raise for our troops than the statutorily mandated pay raise of 1.4 percent, a provision which would have exempted critical force protection and MEDEVAC personnel from any troop cap in Afghanistan, and several provisions regarding the nation’s nuclear and missile defense policies.  Those found themselves on the cutting room floor of the conference.

Unfortunately, most of those provisions had significant support in the House of Representatives and within the Republican Conference.  The American people have spoken, and they are demanding a process that is better than the one that got us to this point.  They want a legislative process that works to provide our troops with the resources they need—not a process that is held up for months and then rushed through in the waning minutes of a lame-duck session.

The process in the Senate -- coupled with the Democratic Leadership's goal of advancing legislation to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' ahead of the annual defense authorization bill -- is driving the politicization of the National Defense Authorization Act, and is indicative of a flawed process with misguided priorities.  In a time of war, this is unconscionable.

One thing I can promise to the American people and to our military; they will no longer be used as a political football.  We will return to regular order in the next Congress.

Now back to my good friend, the Chairman on the committee.  I want to commend him for years of service to this nation, to this Congress, and the people he has represented.  We all owe him a debt of gratitude, and I have appreciated working with him, especially these last two years as I have had the opportunity to serve as Ranking Member alongside him.  We will all miss him.

Ike, we owe you much and appreciate your service.

By John Liang
December 17, 2010 at 4:40 PM

House Democrats have selected Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) to be their ranking member on the Armed Services Committee once the new congressional session begins next year. Outgoing committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) had this to say about the appointment:

I congratulate my friend Congressman Adam Smith on his new role as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee for the 112th Congress.  I am confident that Congressman Smith will be an outstanding leader and work tirelessly to protect America and support our men and women in uniform.

In my opinion, the House Armed Services Committee is the finest committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and it has been a great privilege for me to serve first as Ranking Member and now as Chairman of this committee.  I hope Congressman Smith will treasure this leadership position as much as I have.

By John Liang
December 16, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Incoming House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) announced that the Republican Steering Committee has appointed twelve new members to the panel for the next congressional session. In a statement, McKeon said:

“The Armed Services Committee will be blessed with the addition of such a strong group of members next Congress. Their backgrounds -- including many with combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan -- and unique experiences will benefit our committee, the military services, and, most importantly, the men and women of our Armed Forces and their families,” said McKeon.

“Our new Members will be called upon to immediately put their talents to work on behalf of our troops as the committee shifts to a war footing. We will work tirelessly to ensure our deployed forces have the resources they need to win in Afghanistan and sustain hard-fought gains in Iraq. Additionally, I’m confident that each of our new Members share my commitment to spend every defense dollar wisely and return fiscal discipline to the Department of Defense,” concluded McKeon.

The new Republicans selected for the House Armed Services Committee include (in alphabetical order):

Mo Brooks – Alabama

Chris Gibson – New York

Tim Griffin – Arkansas

Vicky Hartzler – Missouri

Steve Palazzo – Mississippi

Scott Rigell – Virginia

Martha Roby – Alabama

Jon Runyan – New Jersey

Bobby Schilling – Illinois

Austin Scott – Georgia

Allen West – Florida

Todd Young – Indiana

By John Liang
December 16, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Evidently the Missile Defense Agency isn't the greatest place to work. At least according to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK).

In a statement released today in the wake of yesterday's failed Ground-based Midcourse Defense intercept attempt, Inhofe says that recent funding reductions to MDA has resulted in the agency's "ranking of 223 of 224 for employee satisfaction and commitment in the 2010 Best Places to Work survey of Department of Defense (DoD) agency subcomponents."

Inhofe also makes a connection between what he sees as inadequate funding for missile defense and opposing the ratification of the follow-on Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty:

At the very same time that the Senate took up floor consideration of New START, which would place restrictions on nation's missile defense program, the Missile Defense Agency announced that it failed another planned Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) intercept of a ballistic missile target during a test over the Pacific Ocean. This was the MDA's second consecutive failure of a Ground Based Interceptor test and its third test failure since the MDA came under the control of the Obama Administration. Since then, the MDA budget has been cut by $200 million, GBI missile modernization has been reduced by nearly $2 Billion from its highest spending levels and the Airborne Laser has been reduced to a test and evaluation bed. . . . The Obama Administration is placing our national security at risk by failing to fully fund, field, modernize and test a missile defense system and pushing this Senate to ratify a nuclear arms treaty with Russia that clearly places limits on future developments of U.S. missile defense.  This is just another reason to oppose the New START Treaty.

By John Liang
December 16, 2010 at 4:15 PM

The House Republican Steering Committee is meeting this week to decide the committee membership in the next Congress. Among those decisions will be a recommendation from incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) to become vice chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

"Mac Thornberry is a real leader in our Conference on national security. His record on both the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees has shown him to be both an innovator and strategic thinker," Boehner said in a statement. "I am backing him to be the next vice chairman of the Armed Services Committee, a role that will provide Mac with new responsibilities and opportunities to advance the security of our nation. I have also asked Mac to lead an initiative on cybersecurity that cuts across committee lines."

Boehner also appointed Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) to become chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, according to the statement:

As a former FBI Agent and U.S. Army Officer, Mike Rogers' experience and expertise has proven invaluable throughout his tenure on the Intelligence Committee. It is incumbent upon the Intelligence Committee to ensure that Congress and the Obama Administration are supporting our intelligence professionals and providing them with the resources and authorities they need to keep America safe, and I look forward to working with Mike in his new role as Chairman.

By John Liang
December 15, 2010 at 11:20 PM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member John McCain (R-AZ) appear to have come to an agreement regarding the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill. According to a just-released joint statement:

Over the last few days, we worked closely together and then with the House of Representatives to come up with a defense bill that we believe can pass both the House and the Senate.  Because of the unique circumstances in which the bill is being considered and the importance of the legislation to our men and women serving in uniform at a time of war, we have agreed to drop many controversial provisions that were included in the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The bill includes a wide range of provisions that will provide the men and women of the armed forces and their families with the pay and benefits they deserve, ensure that they have the training and equipment they need to conduct military operations around the world, improve the management of the Department of Defense, and contribute to our national security.  It is our hope that the House and the Senate will move quickly to enact this important legislation before the end of the Congress.

No word yet on which "controversial provisions" were dropped. Stay tuned for more.

By John Liang
December 15, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today voiced his support for passing an omnibus fiscal year 2011 spending bill:

I strongly support Congress approving an omnibus appropriation bill, rather than requiring that the Department of Defense operate under a year-long continuing resolution.

To do otherwise would leave the Department without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements. The proposed continuing resolution would cut defense funding by about $19 billion but would not reduce or eliminate any of the additional bills we must pay in the coming year. We will need to cover the military pay raise, increases in military health care costs, higher fuel prices, and other "fact of life" bills. None of these additional costs are covered by a continuing resolution.

The omnibus would allow the Department to pursue critical national security initiatives such as standing up the new Cyber Command, increasing special operations forces, and funding family support improvements including efforts to upgrade Department of Defense schools. And the heavy volume of reprogrammings needed to manage the vast and complex operations of this Department under a year-long continuing resolution would slow our efforts to meet unanticipated wartime needs.

I urge the Congress to take these concerns into account and enact a full defense appropriations bill as part of an omnibus appropriations bill.

By John Liang
December 15, 2010 at 9:20 PM

The Project on National Security Reform today released a congressionally mandated study that recommends establishing a system to produce and manage a cadre of "National Security Professionals" who can handle complex 21st-century issues. According to a PNSR statement, the report, "The Power of People: Building an Integrated National Security Professional System for the 21st Century," recommends setting up an "Integrated National Security Professional" system "designed to function collaboratively across agency and government boundaries." Further:

PNSR believes this human capital system is urgently needed to produce and retain the necessary personnel with the requisite training and experience in whole-of-government approaches, to work in permanent, temporary, and emergency assignments. The current agency-centric system, established by Executive Order 13434 in 2007, is not robust enough to do the job. The new system must be rooted in 21st century practices of collaboration and integration, facilitated by technology, and centrally managed by a Board with a Senate-confirmed director.

Check out the report here.

By John Liang
December 15, 2010 at 6:15 PM

With Republicans taking over the House of Representatives, one can expect a different way of doing business in the people's chamber, according to Rep. Buck McKeon (CA), the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Speaking at a get-together this morning with reporters on Capitol Hill, McKeon said:

Under the new Congress, we're going to try to put more authority back into the committees; we're going to have a schedule that allows committees to function more -- you know, in this last year or two, sometimes we're in a hearing with the secretary of defense, and we have to leave to go vote to name a post office. We're going to have a lot of change in that regard, so the subcommittees will also be more enthroned, so to speak . . . The Speaker's office is not going to be telling us what to do, and we're told that we should be prepared to bring bills to the floor under open rules, so it'll be a different process than we've seen in the last few years.

By Christopher J. Castelli
December 15, 2010 at 2:50 PM

The Navy today published basing decisions for the F-35B, the Marine Corps' short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (STOVL) version of the Joint Strike Fighter. Plans for the East Coast and West Coast, which made news locally in recent days, are formally outlined in two separate Federal Register notices.

Meanwhile, Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos told reporters Tuesday that the F-35B will not be ready by December 2012 as previously planned, noting he had hoped the program would be further along but he is not wringing his hands over the delay, according to published reports.

By John Liang
December 14, 2010 at 5:14 PM

The board of directors of the transatlantic consortium developing the Medium Extended Air Defense System has named a pair of new leaders.

David Berganini has been named president of MEADS International, and Volker Weidemann will be the new executive vice president and chief operating officer, according to a statement. On Berganini:

Berganini has 23 years of systems engineering and program management experience, and was named Chief Engineer for MEADS International in 2007.  In this role, he was responsible for Mission Success across all facets of the system/subsystem technical design and was the architect for the incremental Critical Design Review (CDR) that led to tri-national approval of the MEADS design in August 2010.  He also led the industry team working with the NATO MEADS Management Agency (NAMEADSMA) to implement a low-risk optimized program for integration and test of the advanced air and missile defense system.  Berganini was previously director of Systems Engineering at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, responsible for technical and personnel leadership and oversight of the Systems Engineering Department.

He succeeds Steve Barnoske, who led MI through successful completion of the CDR phase of the MEADS program.  Barnoske guided the program team to successful tri-national approval of the MEADS system design and set in motion an organizational transition from design to integration and test efforts.  He moves into a new leadership position in the Tactical Missiles line of business at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control.

As for Weidemann, he replaces the retiring Klaus Reidel. Moreover:

Weidemann has served MI for the past 5 years as director of System Engineering, Integration, and Test (SEIT) and was responsible for coordinating tri-national design efforts at six development locations.  He was responsible for development and implementation of design requirements for the MEADS system and its six major end items.  During his tenure, he led the technical team through the transition from design, including a successful Preliminary Design Review and Critical Design Review, to initial build and test efforts.  Retired as an officer in the German air force, he has over 20 years of engineering management and air defense experience.  He previously served as SEIT Deputy Director and has been associated with the MEADS program for over 12 years.

Weidemann’s responsibilities as Director of System Engineering, Integration, and Test (SEIT) will pass to Norbert Wührer.  For the past three years, Wührer has led the Launcher and Reloader integrated product team based at LFK in Germany.  He has over 20 years of systems engineering expertise in air and missile defense technology, and has served as Project Manager for several Patriot efforts, including PAC-3 Missile integration and the German live firings at WSMR.

Riedel retires with extensive executive management experience on the MEADS program and will retain close ties to the program.  He previously served as President of MI and Chairman of the MI Board of Directors.

Dr. Walter Stammler, Chairman of the MEADS International Board of Directors, said, "The board appreciates the leadership that Steve and Klaus have brought to the successful MEADS design effort and development of our first major end items.  We now look to Dave and Volker to ensure successful flight tests and completion of the Design and Development contract.  MEADS International is proud that we will soon be delivering the mobile, interoperable, and affordable air and missile defense system jointly envisioned by Germany, Italy and the United States."

While a bridge contract with industry for MEADS has provided a sense of business-as-usual for the trinational project since the summer, Defense Department leaders are expected to decide by the end of this month whether they want to add nearly $600 million to the program, Inside Missile Defense reported on Dec. 1. The money is needed to bring the program's design phase to a successful close, according to officials. Further:

What could play into the decision are signals given last month at the NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, where alliance leaders agreed that territorial missile defense should be a core NATO military mission. Experts said the move would ultimately afford upper-layer missile defense a place as a NATO-wide program, including dedicated funding streams. That new focus, officials said, would also trigger a renewed emphasis on lower-level defense systems, of which MEADS is one, that could provide a symbolic boost to the U.S.-German-Italian project.

Adding to the debate in the three countries are newly emerging prospects of sales to countries in the market for air and missile defense systems, including Poland, Japan, Spain and Qatar, several officials confirmed.

Defense acquisition chief Ashton Carter is expected to decide by year's end whether the Pentagon would help plug a funding hole of roughly $1 billion, diagnosed last year by an Office of the Secretary of Defense-led assessment.

The cost-sharing arrangement agreed in the original MEADS memorandum of understanding for the currently design-and-development phase of the project -- 58 percent from the United states, 25 percent from Germany and 17 percent from Italy -- would remain in place, according to defense officials.

By John Liang
December 14, 2010 at 5:05 PM

The Missile Defense Advisory Committee plans to hold a classified meeting in January on the "Fiscal Year 2011 United States Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation Study," according to a  notice posted today in the Federal Register.

The agenda of next month's meeting, set for Jan. 19 and 20, will include "briefings on Technical Ballistic Missile Defense Cooperation; Joint Missile Defense Immersion and Collaboration; Ballistic Missile Defense Situational Awareness Capability; Analysis on Integration of Ballistic Missile Defense Capabilities; Military-to-Military Engagement; Missile Defense Advisory Committee Executive Session; and Missile Defense Advisory Committee outbrief to the Director, Missile Defense Agency."

By John Liang
December 14, 2010 at 3:08 PM

The Pentagon recently asked the JASON research group to conduct a study on the theory and practice of cybersecurity, the findings of which were obtained by the Secrecy News blog. According to the report, JASON was asked to "evaluate whether there are underlying fundamental principles that would make it possible to adopt a more scientific approach, identify what is needed in creating a science of cyber-security, and recommend specific ways in which scientific methods can be applied." Further:

The need to secure computational infrastructure has become significant in all areas including those of relevance to the DOD and the intelligence community. Owing to the level of interconnection and interdependency of modern computing systems, the possibility exists that critical functions can be seriously degraded by exploiting security flaws. While the level of effort expended in securing networks and computers is significant, current approaches in this area overly rely on empiricism and are viewed to have had only limited success.

The JASON report "identifies a need to accelerate the transformation of research results into tools that can be readily used by developers. There are some very sophisticated approaches (model checking, type checking etc. as discussed previously) that can be used to assess and reason about the security of current systems, but they are not widely available today in the form of developer tools. There may be an insufficient market for private development of such tools and this may argue for a more activist role on the part of DOD in supporting future development."

Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that the Defense Department must spend far more money defending its networks than hackers do attacking them, a trend that has to be reversed, Inside the Navy reports this week. Further:

"The lines of code to attack any software haven't changed in the last five years, a number of them," Cartwright said during a roundtable discussion hosted by Government Executive. "What changes is, every time we get attacked, we have to spend substantially more than they invest to protect ourselves. We've got to turn that equation around."

He said the Pentagon intends to make it much more difficult to attack its networks in the future.

Cartwright noted that that major military networks were "not designed to be defended," but were made to allow anyone to plug into them virtually anywhere and use them in myriad ways.

"We've got to change that construct to one that gives us a layered defense, gives us a non-homogenous surface, so to speak," the general said. "In other words, it is not the same when you go out. We like to see things like operating systems changed every few hours and be invisible. It makes it extremely difficult."

By John Liang
December 13, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter wants to strengthen ties between the Defense Department and federally funded research and development centers, according to a memo he distributed last week.

"As we implement the secretary's efficiencies, including those that are directed in my memorandum dated September 14, 2010, I believe the single most important enabler of the improvements we seek is to increase the competence, quality and performance of the acquisition workforce," Carter writes. "At the same time, we need to continue to make effective use of the other two important sources of technical, acquisition and logistics expertise available to the Department: DOD's FFRDCs, and industry contractors."

FFRDCs were set up "to provide the department with unique analytical, engineering and research capabilities in many areas where the government cannot attract and retain personnel in sufficient depth and numbers," according to the memo. They are also "free from organizational conflicts of interest and can therefore assist us in ways that industry contractors cannot. Our FFRDCs maintain core competencies in domains that continue to be of great importance to the Department. These are immensely valuable capabilities, and the Department should use all means available to preserve and strengthen them," Carter writes. Consequently:

In recognition of the unique role that FFRDCs play in fulfilling our critical needs, we establish long-term relationships between the Government and the FFRDCs in order to attract and retain high-quality and knowledgeable personnel to the FFRDCs. As a result, we should employ contracting methodologies that provide the strongest long-term strategic relationships with our FFRDCs. We are working with the FFRDC sponsors to identify the most effective contracting strategies to support these long-term strategic relationships consistent with law and regulation. Use of any of these contracting strategies will be supported by vigorous sponsor comprehensive reviews conducted every five years, and a strengthened annual review of each FFRDC, conducted by my office, thereby ensuring that we have robust program management and oversight of these capabilities to ensure they are fulfilling their intended purposes.