The Insider

By John Liang
February 2, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn last fall published an essay in Foreign Affairs magazine in which he described the Pentagon's new five-pillar cybersecurity strategy. Those pillars include:

* Recognizing cyberspace as a new domain of warfare

* Ensuring defenses are active

* Protecting critical infrastructure

* Engaging in cyber defense with our national security partners as a shared activity

* Leveraging the U.S. technological base to retain our technological edge

To that end, the Pentagon's industrial policy office recently released briefing slides that show how the Defense Department plans to implement the fifth pillar. As a note on the office's website states:

The critical message is that our economic security is part of our national security. The risk of compromise to the information technology industrial base supply chain is very real and the DoD's cyber security strategy depends on the U.S. commercial IT sector remaining the world's leader. This requires continuing investments in science, technology and education at all levels.

By Thomas Duffy
February 2, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will give his first view of the world to Congress next week when he appears before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Clapper will present the committee with his worldwide threat assessment Feb. 10. Clapper was sworn in as the fourth DNI on August 9, 2010.

Tomorrow, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will consider the nomination of Stephanie O'Sullivan to be Clapper's No. 2 official. President Obama sent O'Sullivan's nomination to be the principal deputy DNI to Congress on Jan. 5. O'Sullivan previously held the position of associate deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. She was appointed to that job in December 2009.

By Jason Sherman
February 1, 2011 at 9:59 PM

Northrop Grumman today issued a press release touting a successful critical design review of the Long Endurance Multi Intelligence Vehicle, the hybrid airship it is tricking out with sensors for the Army. In December, Inside the Army's Debbie Siegelbaum reported that the LEMV program -- which aims to build three airships with 21-day persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities -- cleared that hurdle in mid-November.

Alan Metzger, Northrop Grumman vice president and integrated program team leader of LEMV and airship programs, reiterated in today's statement much of what he told ITA last month about LEMV, an airship longer than a football field and higher than a seven-story building:

There are three upcoming major milestones in the next 10 months. We'll have hull inflation in the spring and first flight of the airship test article by mid-to-late summer. Upon completion of the development ground and flight testing phase, we expect to transition to a government facility and conduct our final acceptance long endurance flight just before year's end. In early 2012, LEMV will participate in an Army Joint Military Utility Assessment in an operational environment. As you can imagine, it's a very aggressive schedule to deliver from concept-to-combat in this time period.

By John Liang
February 1, 2011 at 9:38 PM

The date is set. The Obama administration will submit its fiscal year 2012 budget request on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.

Officials in the Pentagon as well as the Office of Management and Budget confirmed the date to today.

As always, stay tuned to Defense Budget Alert for all DOD spending news, including:

Analysts: Debt Limit Impasse Unlikely To Dramatically Affect DOD Funding

Defense Leaders Stress 'Conditions-Based' Nature Of Planned Army Cuts

Deputy SECDEF Promises More Basic R&D Funding In FY-12 Budget

McKeon Challenges Proposed Pentagon Budget Cuts

By Dan Dupont
February 1, 2011 at 9:11 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee has just announced a couple of key hearings coming soon. On Thursday, Feb. 17, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen will discuss the fiscal year 2012 defense budget request (that's three days after it's likely to be unveiled, by the way).

And on Feb. 15, the committee will take up the nominations of Michael Vickers as under secretary for intelligence and Jo Ann Rooney as principal deputy under secretary for personnel and readiness.

By John Liang
February 1, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) today announced that his panel would implement a two-year moratorium on earmarks.

According to a committee statement, Inouye says:

I continue to support the Constitutional right of members of Congress to direct investments to their states and districts under the fiscally responsible and transparent earmarking process that we have established.

However, the handwriting is clearly on the wall. The President has stated unequivocally that he will veto any legislation containing earmarks, and the House will not pass any bills that contain them. Given the reality before us, it makes no sense to accept earmark requests that have no chance of being enacted into law.

The Appropriations Committee will thoroughly review its earmark policy to ensure that every member has a precise definition of what constitutes an earmark. To that end, we will send each member a letter with the interpretation of Rule XLIV (44) that will be used by the Committee. If any member submits a request that is an earmark as defined by that rule, we will respectfully return the request.

Next year, when the consequences of this decision are fully understood by the members of this body, we will most certainly revisit this issue and explore ways to improve the earmarking process.  At the appropriate time, I will once again urge the Senate to consider a transparent and fair earmark process that protects our rights as legislators to answer the petitions of our constituents, regardless of what the President or some Federal bureaucrat thinks is right.

By Cid Standifer
February 1, 2011 at 7:25 PM

A long-delayed request for proposals for the Ship-to-Shore Connector, successor top the air-cushioned landing craft, is imminent, according to a notice on Federal Business Opportunities.

The RFP was not posted by the January deadline previously announced by Naval Sea Systems Command. The notice posted on FedBizOpps on Jan. 31 said the RFP is expected out this month. “Due to unforeseen events, NAVSEA now intends to issue the subject solicitation in February 2011,” the post states. “All other information contained in the pre-solicitation synopsis, as updated by the 22 DEC 2010 Modification Notice, remains unchanged.”

In December, a FedBizOpps post said the RFP would drop in January. Before that, it was scheduled to be released in the first quarter of fiscal year 2011. The document was originally slated to be out by the end of FY-10.

At a conference in October, Capt. Walt Towns, head of the Navy's amphibious warfare directorate, said the SSC could still be fielded on time if the RFP were released by the end of 2010.

Initial operational capability for the SSC is slated for FY-19, and the Navy plans to completely replace the LCAC by 2030.

By John Liang
February 1, 2011 at 4:41 PM

The newly appointed ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee plans to try to advance amendments to expand the scope of the Sikes Act -- a natural resources law that applies to the military -- as part of the next defense authorization bill, Defense Environment Alert reports this morning. Specifically:

The effort could extend coverage of the Sikes Act to include state-owned National Guard installations -- something the Defense Department had sought in the last Congress -- and could expand an invasive species management pilot program used by the military in Guam to all U.S. military installations.

Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), who on Jan. 19 was named ranking member of the Armed Services readiness subcommittee, introduced a stand-alone bill -- H.R. 5284 -- last year that would have amended the Sikes Act, extending its provisions to state-owned National Guard facilities and expanding the invasive species management program. While that bill did not pass despite efforts by DOD to include the Guard measures in the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill, Bordallo intends to address the substance of H.R. 5284 in the context of the FY-12 defense authorization bill, the congressional staffer says.

Bordallo's 2010 bill specifically would have extended Sikes Act provisions to state-owned Guard installations, applying the same requirements to these installations to develop and implement integrated natural resources management plans (INRMPs) that are already required at federally owned military bases.

DOD had proposed similar language to Congress last April as part of the FY-11 defense authorization bill, which would have given nearly four dozen Army National Guard bases the ability to substitute military-derived, legally binding INRMPs for Endangered Species Act (ESA) critical habitat designations should those lands be deemed key to an endangered species. Such INRMPs must be deemed by the Fish and Wildlife Service to give a benefit to the species if used as a substitute for an ESA critical habitat designation.

Currently, military installations with significant natural resources must implement INRMPs that protect species, wetlands and other resources. Congress granted DOD the INRMP substitution ability for its federally owned bases many years ago, after the department argued that environmental requirements like critical habitat designations were placing too many hurdles on the military's ability to train. But a DOD analysis last year found that Guard bases did not meet the statutory definition of a "military installation."

DOD suggested technical changes to Bordallo's bill late last Congress -- too late to try to get them into the defense authorization bill -- which was passed in late December, according to the congressional staffer. In addition to the Armed Services Committee, the measure also falls under the jurisdiction of the House Natural Resources Committee, which sponsored a hearing on Bordallo's bill last May, the source notes.

DOD Environmental Management Director Maureen Sullivan testified before the House Natural Resources insular affairs, oceans and wildlife subcommittee last May in support of Bordallo's Guard provisions. In written testimony, she said the ability to develop Guard INRMPs would allow for "more efficient and effective natural resources management" at these bases. In addition, without the amendment, Guard bases could not compete on a level playing field for funds, according to a DOD source.

Bordallo's 2010 bill would also have expanded an invasive species management program for Guam to include all U.S. military bases, according to Bordallo's floor statement last May. DOD expressed concerns with the bill's initial wording, with Sullivan warning that having a statutory requirement to address invasive species "in the INRMP may overburden the process. This would impede the development of INRMPs that would otherwise have substantial beneficial impact," she testified.

The DOD source said a slight tweak was needed to the language, but added that the amendment is nonetheless important because invasive species control currently is not considered a "must-fund" item under the military's budgeting process. The amendment would be helpful in order to avoid mission impacts, the source said, citing the example of the yellow star thistle, an invasive plant that has blanketed 23,000 acres of land on Ft. Hunter Liggett, CA, making some lands unusable for military training.

In her Jan. 19 press release announcing her appointment as ranking member on the readiness subcommittee, Bordallo says she would continue her focus on overseeing the military's massive buildup on Guam, noting the readiness panel's jurisdiction over infrastructure and environmental issues regarding the buildup. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) is the new chairman of the readiness subcommittee.

The Congressional Research Service published a report last October outlining the major issues of moving thousands of Marines from Okinawa to Guam. Here's a taste:

In 2006, the United States and Japan agreed on a "Roadmap" to strengthen their alliance, including a buildup on Guam to cost $10.3 billion, with Japan contributing 60 percent. Primary goals were to start the related construction on Guam by 2010 and to complete relocation of about 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam by 2014. In Tokyo on February 17, 2009, the Secretary of State signed the bilateral “Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Japan Concerning the Implementation of the Relocation of the III Marine Expeditionary Force Personnel and Their Dependents From Okinawa to Guam” that reaffirmed the "Roadmap" of May 1, 2006. The two governments agreed that of the estimated $10.27 billion cost of the facilities and infrastructure development for the relocation, Japan will provide $6.09 billion, including up to $2.8 billion in direct cash contributions (in FY2008 dollars). The United States committed to fund $3.18 billion plus about $1 billion for a road.

However, in September 2009, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) became the ruling party. This political change raised uncertainty as Japan sought to re-negotiate the agreement, even while the United States sought its implementation. The dispute over the location on Okinawa of the Futenma Replacement Facility (FRF) to replace the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma raised implications for the relocation of marines from Okinawa to Guam. In January 2010, Japan promised to decide by May on the location of the FRF. Then, North Korea’s attack on South Korea’s naval ship (Cheonan) in March, and China’s deployment of its Navy near Okinawa which confronted Japan’s forces in April, catalyzed Japan to resolve the dispute in favor of deterrence. On May 28, the Secretaries of Defense and State and their counterparts in Japan issued a “2+2” Joint Statement, in which they reaffirmed commitment to implement the 2006 Roadmap and the 2009 Agreement. In July, the Navy issued the final Environmental Impact Statement on the buildup on Guam, while planning to start construction by the end of FY2010. The Navy estimated that Guam’s population would increase by a total of 30,190, including 8,552 Marines.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2010 (enacted as P.L. 111-84 on October 28, 2009) authorized the first substantial incremental funding for the relocation of about 8,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam, but conditioned upon the Defense Department’s submission to Congress of a Guam Master Plan. Among a number of provisions related to Guam in the legislation and conference report, Congress designated the Deputy Secretary of Defense to lead a Guam Executive Council and coordinate interagency efforts related to Guam. Congress also required a report on training, readiness, and movement requirements for Marine Forces Pacific, with a sense of Congress that expansion of Marine Corps training should not impact the implementation of the U.S.-Japan agreement on relocation from Okinawa to Guam. Congress authorized a total amount (including for Defense-wide, Army, Navy, and Air Force) of almost $733 million.

By John Liang
January 31, 2011 at 5:11 PM

The ongoing political unrest in Egypt and other North African and Middle Eastern countries has caused higher oil prices. This is just the latest nudge for the U.S. military to find alternative sources of energy to power its ships, aircraft and ground vehicles. reported earlier this month that an influential Pentagon advisory board has been revisiting ways the Defense Department -- the nation's largest single fuel consumer -- might insulate itself from fuel-price volatility:

Specifically, the Defense Business Board will review whether the military should utilize contractual instruments available in commodity markets and used by commercial concerns, including airline and transportation companies, to try to stabilize fuel costs.

On Jan. 7, the chairman of the Defense Business Board, Michael Bayer, directed the formation of a new task force to examine the Pentagon's energy acquisition practices with a particular focus on options for hedging, returning to an issue the panel examined in 2003.

The panel, "Fuel Hedging Task Group," will be led by Denis Bovin, an investment banker and seasoned Pentagon consultant, and John O'Connor, a Defense Business Board consultant.

Bayer, in a Jan. 7 memo, directed the panel to "reexamine potential ways to reduce the department's exposure to fuel price volatility, including hedging in commercial markets."

Inside the Navy reports this week that the service is putting the finishing touches on a set of technical guidelines for the alternative fuels it will use to power its ships. The Navy is hoping to release the 350-page document to the public in the first half of this year, according to Gregory Toms, the expert who sets the standards for shipboard fuels at Naval Sea Systems Command. Specifically:

The release will come amidst an increasing push to meet the green energy goals set by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus in 2009 -- goals that are widely considered to be the most ambitious of all the services. By 2020, for example, the Navy is aiming to use alternative sources for half of its total energy consumption.

The Navy has focused much of its energy on bio-fuels -- fuels derived from organic materials ranging from plants to animals -- contracting 150,000 gallons of algae-derived ship fuel from the San Francisco-based alternative energy company Solazyme late last year. That order came on top of the 20,000 gallons the company had already delivered to the service in 2009.

But the petroleum-based fuel the Navy now uses for its aircraft and ships -- called JP-5 and F-76, respectively, needs to meet a complex set of requirements. JP-5, for example, has a significantly higher flashpoint than the fuel used by the Army and Air Force because of shipboard safety precautions.

Lots more military energy news being reported in Inside the Navy and Inside the Army this week, including:

Pentagon Policy Still Needed To Give Army Operational Energy Plans Teeth

Navy Attacks RAND Study Calling Biofuels Effort Commercially Unviable

Mabus: Aircraft, Ship Engines Need Industry Help To Run On All Biofuel

By John Liang
January 31, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Congressional Research Service reports are somewhat tough for the general public to come by given that CRS does not release them publicly.

Inside the Army reports this week about one such report that lays out a case for proceeding at a "more measured and introspective pace" with the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle and infantry brigade modernization programs while service officials determine the impact of a recently announced end-strength cut and a proposed reorganization of its brigade combat teams. Specifically:

"These possible actions have implications for both programs," states a Jan. 18 Congressional Research Service report obtained by Inside the Army. The document refers to a Jan. 6 announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to cut the size of the Army by 27,000 in fiscal year 2015 and to plans, advanced by the service's Training and Doctrine Command, to add a third maneuver battalion to the heavy and infantry variants of the Army's brigade combat teams.

Defense acquisition chief Ashton Carter was expected to issue an acquisition decision memorandum for the E-IBCT program any day. The document would approve the purchase of some additional equipment for infantry soldiers after the Army voluntarily stopped two program components and was granted a less-than-expected number of Network Integration Kits in a Jan. 14 Defense Acquisition Board meeting.

Meanwhile, the service received responses to its GCV request for proposals on Jan. 21. The Army plans to field the vehicle in 2017.

According to the CRS report, the number of vehicles and infantry brigade modernization equipment required by Army forces could change depending on force structure decisions. "The Army could conceivably change the number of HBCTs as well as their organization which could have a significant impact on the numbers of GCVs procured and total program costs," the document reads.

Adding to the uncertainty is the chance that HBCTs "might be assigned new roles and missions," according to the report. "The same can be said for the overall requirements for E-IBCT equipment if [infantry brigade combat team] numbers and roles and missions vary significantly," it adds.

Click here to read the report.

By John Liang
January 28, 2011 at 5:53 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, visiting Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska to attend the change-of-command ceremony at U.S. Strategic Command, this morning shared an anecdote from his days as an airman:

Visiting this organization carries a special meaning for me, as I spent most of my time as an Air Force lieutenant, serving in the old Strategic Air Command. I well understand the pressure under which you work -- and the occasional pitfalls, some serious, some less so. For example, one day in 1967, we were told there was a problem with the war plans. SAC Headquarters in Omaha needed to change the launch sequencing for all the missiles immediately. So, we at Whiteman, ordered pizzas and worked all night to fix the strike execution control documents, using -- and, here, I’m really going to date myself -- large, unwieldy sheets of laminating paper. The next morning, we received a call from a major in one of the launch control capsules. Turns out that one of SAC’s new targets had become a carefully laminated piece of pepperoni.

By John Liang
January 27, 2011 at 6:00 PM

A new Government Accountability Office report released this morning notes that Afghanistan's National Army has reached the "interim" goal of 134,000 troops three months ahead of schedule.

"Officials cited increased recruitment of new soldiers and higher training capacity as factors that enabled the growth," GAO's report states. "The ANA has also generally achieved its goal of drawing proportionally from Afghanistan's major ethnic groups, with some key exceptions."

That said, Afghanistan's army still faces challenges, including "high rates of attrition -- the loss of soldiers from the force before they complete their contracts -- and absenteeism," according to the report. "In particular, high attrition could impact the ANA's ability to meet its end size goal of 171,600 by October 2011."

The international community and Afghanistan's government "have set an objective of having the Afghan army and police lead and conduct security operations in all Afghan provinces by the end of 2014," GAO states. The report further notes:

As of September 2010, no ANA unit was assessed as capable of conducting its mission independent of coalition assistance. About two-thirds were assessed as effective with limited coalition support. Efforts to develop ANA capability have been challenged by difficulties in staffing leadership positions and a shortage of coalition trainers, including a shortfall of approximately 18 percent (275 of 1,495) of the personnel needed to provide instruction at ANA training facilities. Neither DOD nor NATO has completed an analysis of ANA sustainment costs. Such analysis is important given that, as of January 2010, the International Monetary Fund projected that it will take until at least 2023 for the Afghan government to raise sufficient revenues to cover its operating expenses, including those related to the army -- highlighting Afghanistan's continued dependence on external sources of funding. In addition, DOD and NATO studies indicate that growth of the ANA beyond the current end goal of 171,600 may be needed -- potentially up to a force size of 240,000 personnel. Any such growth will necessitate additional donor assistance.

Consequently, GAO:

. . . recommends that the Secretary of Defense, in conjunction with international partners, take steps to eliminate the shortage of trainers; clarify what ANA growth beyond the current end goal, if any, is needed; and develop estimates of the future funding needed to further grow and sustain the ANA. DOD concurred with GAO's recommendation regarding trainers.

In comments on an earlier GAO draft of the report, DOD "partially concurred with the need to develop growth and cost estimates for the ANA." Specifically, the department states in a letter included in the report that:

The department is currently evaluating potential growth of the ANA in 2012. To help inform that evaluation and future growth decisions, the department has prepared cost estimates to grow and sustain various ANA force levels. The necessary resources to support an eventual growth decision will be included in the department's upcoming budget submission and are regularly shared with our international partners to encourage them to contribute the necessary resources. Beyond 2012, it is difficult to speculate as to the exact overall ANA end-strength requirement and associated costs due to the large number of variables (e.g., size and composition of international forces, future security threat, and future capability of the ANA). Additionally, we note that the final end-strength of the ANA is not controlled by the DOD, but ultimately decided by the Government of Afghanistan and the international community through the Joint Coordination Monitoring Board process.

Earlier this week, Army Gen. David Petraeus, head of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, released a letter to his troops that included an assessment of the situation in that country in 2010:

Despite the achievements of 2010, there is much hard work to be done in 2011. And, as always in Afghanistan, the way ahead will be difficult. As President [Hamid] Karzai has made clear, the Kabul security bubble needs to be extended into neighboring provinces. The gains in the south and southwest have to be solidified, joined, and expanded. Areas of improved security in the east and west need to be connected and extended. And insurgent advances in recent years in the north and mountainous northeast must be halted and reversed.

To capitalize on the security gains we achieved in 2010, we will also have to maintain our support for Afghan-led efforts to establish governance that can earn the support of the people. We will have to sustain our work to enable Afghan institutions to improve basic services and to show the Afghan people that a brighter future lies in supporting the new Afghanistan rather than returning to the repressive, brutal days of the Taliban. Additionally, we will have to expand our efforts to help Afghan officials implement President Karzai's direction to combat corruption and the criminal patronage networks that undermine the development of Afghan institutions. In support of the latter effort, we will need to pursue initiatives to ensure that our contracting and procurement activities are part of the solution rather than a continuing part of the problem.

By John Liang
January 27, 2011 at 5:33 PM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates spoke with reporters yesterday on a plane en route to Canada and took the opportunity to talk about his proposed budgetary efficiencies initiatives, according to a transcript released today by the Pentagon:

. . . The first is that there is opposition clearly in some quarters to any reduction in the defense top line from the earlier projections, going from $566 billion to $553 billion. That's fine as rhetoric, but let me describe to you the real world that I live in.

In fiscal year '11, if we end up with a year-long continuing resolution, as increasingly seems likely, that will represent a $23 billion cut in the defense budget, below what the president asked for. This Congress would be responsible for that.

It's the worst of all possible kinds of reductions, in significant measure because it comes halfway through the fiscal year. But beyond that, we can't make up all of that through changes in contracts and programs and so on. And, in fact, most likely it would come out of operations and maintenance, even in war - operations and maintenance, through stretching out programs, which is what makes them very expensive; cuts in training and readiness.

And frankly, that's how you hollow out a military even in wartime. It means lower flying - fewer flying hours, fewer steaming days, cuts in training for home-based – home-stationed ground forces, cuts in maintenance and so on.

So, again, if we ended up with this yearlong continuing resolution, this new Congress would be responsible for a cut that's nearly twice the size of our FY '12 proposal and much, much more damaging.

So my question is about the seriousness of those who are worried about reductions to the defense budget, and I think they can demonstrate that seriousness by passing a defense appropriations bill, which still would be $10 billion less than the president has asked for.

So in short, talk about not cutting defense in FY '12, as far as I'm concerned, is simply rhetoric without action on the FY '11 defense budget that's already in front of the Congress.

Second, there have been some concerns expressed about a $78 billion cut in the projected defense budget over the next five years. First of all, to make clear to everybody, that's in budget projections. The reality is the dollars in the budget will go up every year. And the impact on the services is very modest. Of that $78 billion, $54 billion are coming from - is coming from outside the services, from other Defense agencies and other cuts. Fourteen billion (dollars) is through changes in defense - in assumptions, like lower inflation. We're going to have lower pay raises than we had projected, and so on.

So $68 billion of the $78 billion don't touch the services, really, at all. Four billion - an additional $4 billion comes from restructuring the Joint Strike Fighter program, and I would argue that's actually to the advantage of the services. And $6 billion is from the force reductions in '15 and '16.

And my view is, on those force reductions in the Marine Corps and the Army, that's far enough out in the future that if our assumptions about what the world is like prove to be not correct, there's plenty of time to adjust and change those - change those figures.

So the bottom line is, of that $78 (billion) that supposedly is dramatically affecting our defense capabilities, only about $10 billion come out of anything having to do with the troops or investment funds or capabilities.

Finally, we have been able to carry out the promise to the services that the roughly $100 billion in savings that they found through the efficiencies, they will get to keep. Now, the reality is they're having to deal with about $28 billion in must-pays - additional fuel costs, things like health care and so on. But they will get $70 billion more than was in their original program for investment through the savings they've identified that will be returned to them.

So I just wanted -- those were the three things that I just wanted to mention. And I - as you can tell, I feel especially strongly about the continuing resolution because the consequences for us - I mean, it's one thing to talk about FY '12 and then to express concerns about something that may or may not happen in four or five years, but I have a crisis on my doorstep. And I want them to deal with the crisis on my doorstep before we start arguing about the levels in FY '12.

As reported yesterday, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) during a hearing yesterday signaled his sharp disagreement with the Obama administration's proposed cuts to the Pentagon's budget and vowed to fight "any measures that stress our forces." Specifically:

McKeon said that while he supports Defense Secretary Robert Gates' effort to find efficiencies in the Defense Department's operations, he plans in coming weeks to "pursue" the consequences of the White House Office of Management and Budget decision last month to cut planned DOD spending by $78 billion over five years.

"I intend to pursue the impact of this decision by the administration,” McKeon said. “We have asked much of our men and women in uniform over the years. They have bravely fought and sacrificed for all of us -- each and every one of us in this room. I cannot in good conscience ask them to 'do more with less.'"

By John Liang
January 27, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Rose Gottemoeller, the assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, is in Geneva this week attending the Conference on Disarmament. Here are some highlights from the speech she gave this morning:

. . . On the Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty:

Mr. President, an FMCT long has been one of the key goals of multilateral arms control. A cutoff will provide a firm foundation for future disarmament efforts, and help to consolidate the arms control gains made since the end of the Cold War. It is one of the key steps called for in the Final Document of the NPT Review Conference. An FMCT's verifiable controls on fissile material will play an important role by strengthening confidence among the relevant states and help to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons.

Mr. President, no other world body of sovereign states is better suited to negotiate an FMCT. We readily acknowledge that an FMCT would have profound security implications for countries that have unsafeguarded nuclear facilities, including the United States of America. Under the CD's rules of procedure and consensus principle, every State assembled in this room will have an equal opportunity to defend its interests and ensure that an FMCT does not harm its vital interests.

The entire point of seeking to pursue an FMCT here, in the CD, is precisely because of the consensus principle undergirding this body's substantive work. No country need fear the outcome of FMCT negotiations. And no country should feel it necessary to abuse the consensus principle and frustrate everyone else's desire to resume serious disarmament efforts and negotiations.

. . . On the follow-on Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty:

Mr. President, the Administration is pleased that the United States Senate gave its advice and consent to ratification of the New START Treaty on December 22 of last year. When he called to offer his condolences for the tragedy at Domodedovo Airport, President Obama congratulated President Medvedev on the successful vote in the Russian State Duma. Yesterday, there was a positive vote in the Federation Council, which is excellent news. The legislative process will be followed by an exchange of the instruments of ratification, which will bring the Treaty into force.

When the Treaty is fully implemented, it will result in the lowest number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by the United States and the Russian Federation since the 1950s.

The New START Treaty sets the stage for further limits on and reductions in nuclear arms. As President Obama stated when he signed the New START Treaty in Prague on April 8, 2010, once the Treaty enters into force, the United States intends to pursue with Russia further reductions in strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons, including on non-deployed nuclear weapons.

The U.S. Senate made clear its strong interest in addressing the numerical disparity in non-strategic or tactical nuclear weapons between the United States and Russia. The Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification calls for the United States to seek to initiate negotiations with Russia to limit and reduce tactical nuclear weapons within a year of entry into force of the New START Treaty.

Work is already underway in Washington to prepare for such dialogue with Russia on future talks.

The United States will continue its long tradition of transparency about nuclear weapons, as exemplified by the stockpile numbers that we released during the NPT Review Conference, as well as the many briefings and documents which we made available in the run-up to and at the RevCon, and subsequently.

As a follow-up to the September 2009 P-5 conference on verification, transparency and confidence building, the five will meet later this year to take up these issues again, as part of our effort to implement the Review Conference's final Document.

. . . On preventing an outer space arms race:

Mr. President, the U.S. National Space Policy was released on June 28, 2010, and reflects the principles and goals to be used in shaping the conduct of U.S. space programs and activities. One provision of the policy states that the United States will pursue pragmatic and voluntary transparency and confidence-building measures - or TCBMs - to strengthen stability in space by mitigating the risk of mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust.

To implement this part of the policy, the United States is continuing to consult with the European Union on its initiative to develop a comprehensive set of multilateral TCBMs, also known as the "Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities." We plan to make a decision in the coming weeks as to whether the United States can sign on to this Code, including what, if any, modifications would be necessary.

Additionally, we look forward to working with our colleagues in the international community in the Group of Government Experts (GGE), which was established by Resolution 65/68 during the 65th session of the UN General Assembly. It is our hope that this GGE will serve as a constructive mechanism to examine voluntary and pragmatic TCBMs in space that address real problems.

Within a short time, the United States will be announcing its National Security Space Strategy. Like the Space Policy, the National Space Strategy will be based on the notion of shared interest: It is in the shared interest of all space-faring nations to ensure the responsible, peaceful and safe use of space.

With regard to arms control, the National Space Policy states that the United States will consider space-related arms control concepts and proposals that meet the criteria of equitability and effective verification and which enhance the national security of the United States and its allies. The United States continues to support the inclusion of a non-negotiating, or discussion, mandate in any CD program of work under the agenda item, "Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space," which is known as PAROS.

. . . On the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty:

The Obama Administration will continue to lay the groundwork for positive U.S. Senate consideration of the CTBT, working closely with the Senate, and to bolster international support for the Treaty.

While the Administration prepares for U.S. Senate consideration of the Treaty, the United States has increased its level of participation in all of the activities of the CTBTO's Preparatory Commission in preparing for the entry into force of the CTBT, especially with respect to the Treaty's verification regime.

U.S. technical experts are working closely with their counterparts from the Provisional Technical Secretariat to explore joint efforts to improve the capabilities of the various networks of the global International Monitoring System and the functions of the International Data Centre in Vienna.

After an absence of eight years, U.S. experts are fully engaged in advancing the effectiveness of the On-Site Inspection element of the verification regime, both from policy and technical perspectives.

The United States has also assumed full responsibility for the costs of operating, maintaining, and sustaining the 31 stations of the International Monitoring System assigned by the Treaty to the United States.

By John Liang
January 26, 2011 at 10:43 PM

The Pentagon announced this afternoon that Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have been awarded separate $107 million contracts for preliminary design work on the Space Fence, which the Air Force says will revolutionize the way space debris is identified.

Inside the Air Force reported last November that Air Force officials had released a request for proposals the previous month for the Space Fence program's preliminary design review. Further:

The Electronic Systems Center released the request for the preliminary design review of the Space Fence program, which will be valued at more than $3.5 billion, according to a service statement. Officials would like to award up to two preliminary design review contracts worth up to $214 million for the program before March, said Linda Haines, the program manager.

"It is going to be a best value award to the government based on mission capability, past performance and price," Haines said, during a Nov. 4 telephone interview. "So obviously, at the minimum I'm looking for an offerer with the most technically solid, mature response to our criteria, obviously with the least risk and a plan that meets our objectives."

The contractor or contractors winning the awards will utilize an 18-month period of performance for activities that include developing preliminary system designs, radar performance analysis and prototypes, according to the statement. The work will address critical manufacturing processes, key technical risks and production costs to help meet the Air Force's initial operational capability need date of September 2015. Final proposals are due Nov. 19.

Later that month, Lockheed and Raytheon each submitted their own proposals, ITAF reported:

Lockheed officials submitted their proposal on Nov. 18 for the preliminary design review of the $3.5 billion Space Fence program, according to a company statement. Raytheon officials submitted their proposal on Nov. 19, which was the last day to file, said Scott Spence, the program director for the company's space fence program.

The Air Force Electronic Systems Center (ESC) released a request for proposal last month. Service officials plan to award up to two preliminary design review contracts for the program before March. The deal could be worth up to $214 million.

The program will use multiple S-band ground-based radars to detect and track space objects, according to a service statement. It will offer improved accuracy in identifying objects, more timeliness and better surveillance.

"We were delighted when the Air Force, after a lot of analysis, selected S-Band because we have been making S-Band projects for a long, long time," said John Morse, the director of Lockheed Martin's space fence program, during a Nov. 19 interview. "We have got over 400 large S-Band antennas out there in the U.S. fleet as well as several international fleets."

Raytheon and Lockheed were among the three companies ESC awarded $30 million multi-contractor concept development contracts in June 2009, according to the statement. That work will be completed in December.