The Insider

By John Liang
June 15, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian Air Force later on this summer plan to conduct a cooperative air defense exercise focused on combating terrorism, according to a NORAD statement issued this afternoon:

This exercise will take place in Russian and U.S. airspace to include Western Alaska and Eastern Russia in early August 2010. The scenario will involve both Russian and U.S. aircraft monitoring an international flight seized by terrorists.

The U.S. and Russian militaries have invited media representatives to observe the exercise either from the Alaskan NORAD Region Command Center at Elmendorf Air Force Base, AK, or from the Russian Federation Air Force Control Center in Moscow, according to the statement.

By Jason Sherman
June 15, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Pentagon's acquisition executive and comptroller are directing the Defense Department to comply with a new law requiring full and open competition for earmarks awarded by House members to for-profit entities, a statutory requirement more strict than it is for earmarks sponsored by senators.

The 2010 defense appropriations act -- section 8121, to be exact -- requires the Pentagon to sift through 99 pages of congressional earmarks and sort out which are intended for “for-profit” entities and which are to be directed to non-profits, such as universities.

Aston Carter, the acquisition executive, and Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, lay it out in a June 7 memo:

Effective immediately, comptroller, contracting and program/project management personnel should work collaboratively to identify the applicable “for-profit” earmarks sponsored solely by members of the House of Representatives and ensure . . . compliance (with the new law).

By John Liang
June 14, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Pentagon inspector general just came out with a report on the Defense Department's program to process excess equipment in supporting the Iraq drawdown.

The effort, named "Operation Clean Sweep" and begun in October 2009 under Fragmentary Order 0436, "defines the roles, responsibilities, and procedures necessary for processing excess equipment in support of the Iraq drawdown," according to the IG report. In its audit, the IG did the following:

We evaluated DOD's plans for Operation Clean Sweep to determine whether roles, responsibilities, and lines of reporting were well defined and documented; the plans comprehensively addressed equipment accountability, visibility, and disposition; and whether realistic milestones were established. We also determined whether Operation Clean Sweep was effectively implemented in accordance with those plans.

While the IG commends the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) (ESC) and the Mobile Redistribution Teams (MRT) for processing and re-establishing "accountability for about $768 million of excess equipment from Oct. 2009 to April 10, 2010 . . . not all units supported the MRT mission, limiting the effectiveness of Operation Clean Sweep," the report states. Specifically:

During our site visits to four Forward Operating Bases, we identified units that denied the MRTs access to their excess equipment, did not comply with FRAGO requirements to sort their excess equipment before the MRT’s arrival, and did not provide adequate logistical support to the MRTs. This occurred because FRAGO 1022 did not require mandatory participation in Operation Clean Sweep and the MRT’s mission and goals were not communicated to all units and commanders. During our audit, U.S. Forces–Iraq and 13th ESC issued two FRAGOs which addressed our communication concerns; however, neither required mandatory participation in Operation Clean Sweep.

Mandatory participation is key to Operation Clean Sweep effectiveness. When units pack and ship excess equipment without MRT assistance, the risk of injury to personnel at the receiving activity is increased and the accountability and visibility of the equipment is delayed. We identified containers at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, that were not packed and shipped by the MRTs, which were poorly packed and contained items such as weapons and hazardous material. In addition, those items were not brought to record until reaching Camp Arifjan, delaying the accountability and visibility of equipment that might be needed elsewhere, including Afghanistan.

Consequently, the IG recommends the following:

We recommend the Commander, U.S. Forces–Iraq, revise and reissue FRAGO 0436 to require mandatory participation in Operation Clean Sweep.

We recommend that the Director, U.S. Forces–Iraq, Joint Staff Logistics Directorate issue FRAGOs directing participation in Operation Clean Sweep to those units not participating.

We recommend the Commander, 13th ESC, revise and reissue FRAGO 0094 to remove the option to decline participation in Operation Clean Sweep and to also report unit participation data to the Director, U.S. Forces–Iraq, Joint Staff Logistics Directorate.

By Dan Dupont
June 14, 2010 at 5:00 AM

It's technically known as the "integrated life-cycle chart," but it's probably enough to call it, simply, The Chart. It's supposed to outline everything you could ever want to know about the Pentagon acquisition process.

And it's been updated:

The update to the online Integrated Life Cycle Chart (aka horse blanket, wall chart, IFC) is complete. The new chart is called the Integrated Defense AT&L Life Cycle Management Chart (ILC). The new Web-based ILC interface replaces the PDF file (v5.3.4) that had been the interim interface since the wall chart was updated in the summer of 2009. The new ILC reflects changes from the 5000.02 and the new Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG). Note that the recently released budget guidance, of 9 Apr 2010, is not reflected in the ILC; however, a statement informing users of the recent changes has been posted on the ILC site. The chart now links to ACQuipedia articles rather than ILC-specific templates.

It's quite handy. Check it out here.

By Dan Dupont
June 11, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The National Guard Caucus is making a push for more money in the defense bill "to help the National Guard and Reserves address critical equipment shortfalls." According to a statement issued today by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Kit Bond (R-MO), the co-chairs of the caucus, a request for $870 million more in the fiscal year 2011 defense appropriations bill was sent to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Vice Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS).

Leahy said, “We are asking the Guard and Reserves to take on more challenges than ever. Vermont has deployed more than 1300 soldiers of the Vermont National Guard to Afghanistan, where they are performing with skill and courage. Congress now has the responsibility to make sure they are supplied with what they need to continue these missions. The Guard and Reserves have never let us down, and we must not let our Guard and Reserves down. These carefully targeted funds will go a long way toward making sure that the men and women of the National Guard have the equipment they need.”

Bond said, “Since the 9/11 attacks, our Guard and Reserve troops have been called to serve in unprecedented ways – from providing emergency flood and hurricane response, to securing our borders, to fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Bond. “Unfortunately, right now our citizen-warriors don’t have the equipment they need to continue their expanded mission to keep Americans safe here at home and abroad. I urge my colleagues to support these funds to help address this equipment shortfall and send a message to the Pentagon that we won’t allow our Guard and Reserve troops to continue to be short changed.”

Bond and Leahy have asked for added funds for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account, to be included in the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011. The increased funding would go toward equipment needed for both domestic and overseas missions.

As to where the Guard is short:

The Army National Guard, for example, faces a $5.2 billion shortfall in its truck inventory and needs at least $200 million for new Blackhawk helicopters for medical evacuation missions. The Air National Guard faces a steep future shortfall in modern fighter jets and transportation and cargo aircraft. An element of the Leahy-Bond request would help modernize aging Air Guard fighter and transportation aircraft fleets for use in the years to come. The funds they request can also help defray operational costs the Guard and Reserves may incur while providing support to civilian agencies during disaster relief missions here at home.

By John Liang
June 10, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a science and technology cooperation agreement with his counterpart from the Czech Republic today. According to the American Forces Press Service:

In a ceremony held at the U.S. mission to NATO, Gates and Czech Defense Minister Martin Bartak signed documents that provide the legal framework for engagement and cooperation in a variety of science and technology projects, including research, development, testing and evaluation.

“I see this agreement as a manifestation of our relationship with the Czech Republic and our view of the Czech Republic as a valued ally,” Gates said at the signing ceremony.

The memorandum of understanding means the two countries have agreed on a general framework that will be followed by separate agreements on specific projects. Asked after the ceremony if those future projects include missile defense, Gates said today’s memorandum does not include any specific initiatives, but that missile defense could be a future project.

Bartak noted that the agreement covers more than defense-related research and development. It proves, he said, that cooperation between the United States and the Czech Republic is ongoing, and will continue.

InsideDefense.com reported in April that the Pentagon's Joint Staff had begun a new "Joint Capability Mix" study to look at the Obama administration's "phased adaptive approach" to missile defense in Europe and its implications for the Defense Department's weapons, sensors and systems requirements.

The Obama administration last fall scrapped plans for a ground-based ballistic missile defense system championed by the Bush White House. That plan envisioned interceptors stationed in Poland and a radar site located in the Czech Republic. The Pentagon's new plan, dubbed the "phased adaptive approach," is to field a network of ship-based BMD capabilities in Europe within a few years and introduce land-based interceptors later this decade.

According to Navy Rear Adm. Archer Macy, director of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization, the "Joint Capability Mix III" study is scheduled for completion by April of next year.

"With the advent of the phased adaptive approach (PAA) for missile defense, we are embarking on a new round of analysis to understand the implications of that decision on our needs for sensors, weapons and systems," Macy told the Senate Armed Services Committee April 20. "The PAA concept will be applied in the different areas of responsibility of the combatant commanders, and each will have their own needs for how to accomplish their ballistic missile defense responsibilities. In order to integrate these needs across the department, we are the initial stages of conducting the next round of analysis in this area with Joint Capability Mix III."

The previous Joint Capability Mix study, JCM II, was conducted in 2007 to examine theater upper-tier missile defense requirements. That study concluded that combatant commanders would need nearly twice as many interceptors as the 96 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense interceptors and 133 Standard Missile-3 interceptors that were then planned.

The new study "will be, if you will, a repeat, where we look at scenarios across . . . three regions, compare them against the COCOMs' warfighting plans, and then understand what are the implications," Macy told the committee.

By John Liang
June 9, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Three senators will unveil a bill tomorrow that would modernize the government's ability to safeguard computer networks from attack.

Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Thomas Carper (D-DE) will hold a press conference to introduce the "Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010," according to a joint statement issued today.

The proposed law "will modernize the government's ability to safeguard the nation's cyber networks from attack and bring government and industry together to set national cyber security priorities and improve national cyber security defenses," the statement reads.

By John Liang
June 9, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Missile Defense Agency has officially begun the process of developing a next-generation Standard Missile-3.

The SM-3 is the cornerstone of the Obama administration's proposed "phased adaptive approach" to defend Europe against a ballistic missile attack from Iran.

According to a Federal Business Opportunities notice issued this afternoon:

This is a pre-solicitation notice for the Missile Defense Agency’s next generation STANDARD Missile-3 missile defense interceptor. The Agency intends to issue a solicitation for concept definition and program planning. The STANDARD Missile – 3 Block IIB, or SM-3 IIB, will optimize early battlespace engagements, increase defended area, and provide early intercept capability against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) from forward based locations using the Aegis weapon system infrastructure and Mk 41 Vertical Launching System. The concept definition and program planning phase, beginning in fiscal year 2011, will include extensive trade studies to define missile concepts, benchmark performance, anchor technology assessments, define a viable development plan, and identify risks and mitigation strategies. We will select up to three contractors for this phase that have demonstrated experience in kill vehicle development, booster development, missile development integration and test, and missile production.

Inside the Navy reported last month that the service is anticipating burgeoning demand in the coming decades for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense assets and expects to fund installations for nearly 60 cruisers and destroyers through fiscal year 2024, with all new-build DDG-51s getting the systems, according to an April report the Navy submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Specifically:

The report, required by the FY-10 Defense Authorization Act and submitted by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, states that the Navy and the Missile Defense Agency plan to implement the Aegis modernization program -- which includes the latest version of Aegis BMD -- on all 62 original DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and nine Baseline IV CG-47 Ticonderoga-class cruisers. Officials are also considering adding BMD capability to the six Baseline III cruisers.

Beginning with DDG-113, the Navy will also install the system on all new-build Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, a program the sea service restarted in the wake of the truncation of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer program. The report states that no new-construction Aegis ships would be needed beyond those in the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan.

“Based on threat analysis and current indications from CCDRs ((combatant commanders)), Navy and MDA concluded that CCDR requirements for surface combatants with Aegis BMD will outpace capacity through approximately 2018, assuming standard six-month deployment lengths,” Mabus wrote. “Accordingly, the president’s budget for 2011 includes funding for additional capacity and capability of surface combatants with Aegis BMD to bridge the gap between available Aegis BMD inventory and CCDR requirements.”

The Navy is experiencing a surge in demand for its Aegis BMD-equipped ships due to President Obama’s “phased adaptive approach” to missile defense in Europe that heavily relies on Aegis BMD ships in the first phase until ground sites can be installed. Rear Adm. Archer Macy, director of the Joint Integrated Air and Missile Defense Organization, told the Senate Armed Services Committee April 20 that the Navy would be increasing Aegis BMD installations to the point where the service would have 38 ships over the Future Years Defense Plan, which is reflected in Mabus’ report.

By next month, the Navy will have 21 Aegis BMD-capable ships -- 16 destroyers and five cruisers. All but one of the ships will have Aegis BMD baseline 3.6.1, the initial version of the system that is integrated with the Aegis Combat System and provides an exo-atmospheric engagement capability against short-, medium- and some intermediate-range ballistic missiles with the SM-3 Block IA missile, as well as the SM-2 Block IV missile to engage short-range ballistic missiles in the terminal phase, according to the report.

By John Liang
June 8, 2010 at 5:00 AM

A top Air Force official late last month told an energy forum that the service needs to find ways to measure progress in meeting energy goals, and is also reviewing its organizational structure for handling energy issues -- labeling both of these as key priorities on the energy front.

As Inside the Air Force reported May 28:

The service will spend about $6.7 billion on aviation fuel and $1.4 billion on installation support this year, Air Force Under Secretary Erin Conaton said. She was confirmed by the Senate on March 4. The White House has stated that American dependence on fossil fuels is a national security issue so officials must decrease demand and diversify the sources of supply, she said.

“All of us in government are charged with being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” she said during a May 27 energy conference in Washington. “We need to be able to demonstrate to ourselves, to the Congress and to the American people that our energy dollars are being spent in the most effective manner possible.”

In its issue released today, sister publication Defense Environment Alert fleshed out Conaton's remarks:

Conaton in follow-on remarks commended the service's December 2009 strategic energy plan, whose three pillars are lowering energy demand, increasing supply and changing culture. But she said the military still needs "a bit more detail on how we're going to measure progress over time. One of the questions I keep asking, not just on energy but across the board, is: how do we know how we're doing?" she said at a media availability following her speech. Conaton was confirmed by the Senate for the No. 2 Air Force slot March 4. She noted that metrics are important to considering return on investment for energy-related projects.

"Over the long-term, we need to develop force-planning tools that help us understand how energy performance contributes to force effectiveness, capability and operational risk," she said.

Conaton also signaled the plan to consider if the Air Force's organizational structure is well-suited to addressing operational energy issues. "We have a fantastic emphasis on installations energy, and as DOD is taking a closer look on the operational side, I think we are too, trying to take a look at: is the organization that we currently have at the staff level the most effective?" she said at the media availability. While she said she takes her job as the Air Force's senior energy official "really seriously," many issues come across her plate every day, and she wants to make sure the Air Force has officials who are constantly focused on meeting the service's energy goals. "So we're in the process of taking a look at what the best way is to do that," she said.

She particularly pinpointed the Air Force's operational uses of energy, as opposed to facilities' energy consumption, as posing "greater challenges in reducing demand" and finding ways to measure progress. "We've taken the first steps in reducing fossil fuel usage by almost 9 percent since 2005," she said during her speech. "But we have more steps to take and we need ways of measuring progress as we go, not just in aggregate terms, after the fact."

By Sebastian Sprenger
June 8, 2010 at 5:00 AM

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) today expressed hope China would come around and help "calm any passions" on the Korean peninsula following the alleged torpedoing of a South Korean vessel by the North. Some sort of retaliation following the incident, which killed 46 sailors, is sure to come from Seoul -- perhaps in the form of sanctions or "something more physical," Skelton told reporters in Washington this morning.

"Cool heads seem to be prevailing right now. But this has the potential to really get out of hand," he said.

By Christopher J. Castelli
June 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) today released a letter from the Pentagon stating the department's opposition to House legislation that would add mention of the Marine Corps to name of the Navy Department and the title of the Navy secretary.

The House Armed Services Committee's fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill includes the provision, which is the brainchild of Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). In recent years, House authorizers have repeatedly tried and failed to enact the proposal, which has never survived the conference process with the Senate Armed Services Committee. The May 26 letter from DOD General Counsel Jeh Johnson is the latest shot across the legislation's bow.

"In our view, the renaming of the Department is unnecessary, would incur additional expense of several hundred thousand dollars a year over the next several years (according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate) and would not enhance the standing or reputation of the Marine Corps," Johnson writes. "A re-designation could be viewed as more than symbolic, and could easily be misinterpreted as a step away from the heritage and tradition of a strong Navy and Marine Corps team." The Navy and Marine Corps have been one team led by one secretary since Benjamin Stoddert was named the first Navy secretary by President Adams in 1798, Johnson notes.

By John Liang
June 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Missile Defense Agency over the weekend had a two-stage, Ground-Based Interceptor successfully perform every action short of intercepting an actual target missile, according to an MDA statement.

The interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA, at 3:25 p.m. Pacific time yesterday.

The two-stage rocket was originally meant to be the main weapon deployed to Europe to help defend the region against the Iranian ballistic missile threat, but the Obama administration in 2008 shifted its focus to using sea- and land-based versions of the Standard Missile-3.

Consequently, the two-stage vehicle is being developed as a hedge against the possibility of the administration's "phased adaptive approach" not working or experiencing delays. Specifically, according to the MDA statement:

The two-stage GBI is undergoing developmental testing as part of the Department of Defense’s strategy to invest in a new missile defense option which can contribute to our homeland’s defense. Results from the test will characterize two-stage performance and design for potential future missile defense applications.

A target missile was not launched for this flight test. After performing flyout maneuvers, the two-stage booster delivered an exoatmospheric kill vehicle to a designated point in space. The exoatmospheric kill vehicle is the component that, if a target missile were present, would collide directly with the threat warhead to perform a “hit to kill” intercept. After separating from the second-stage booster, the kill vehicle executed a variety of maneuvers to collect data to further prove the performance of the kill vehicle in space.

Several missile defense assets and emerging technologies observed the launch and gathered data for future analysis. Participants included the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, AN/TPY-2 X-band Radar, and the Upgraded Early Warning Radar at Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

Initial indications are that all components performed as designed. Program officials will evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

By Christopher J. Castelli
June 7, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Boeing is still advocating the CH-47 Chinook and V-22 Osprey for the VXX presidential helicopter mission despite launching a new relationship with AgustaWestland for U.S. production of the AW-101 medium-lift helicopter, Phil Dunford, vice president and general manager for Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, said today.

Dunford declined to say whether Boeing will ultimately offer a mix of at least two of those platforms for its VXX bid. Boeing will craft its offer based on what the Navy's analyses of alternatives says about factors such as the performance, "productivity" and the cost of VXX aircraft, he added. Those findings might become apparent in August, he said. Boeing will face competition from a Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin team that plans to offer Sikorsky’s H-92 helicopter. The new Boeing-AgustaWestland relationship for the AW-10 is solely for the VXX program, Dunford said.

According to a Boeing statement, the deal "will give Boeing full intellectual property, data and production rights for the aircraft in support of the VXX program. Because of this arrangement, the aircraft will be a Boeing aircraft, built by Boeing personnel at one of its U.S. facilities. The company will submit information regarding this aircraft in response to the Navy's current Request for Information by the June 18 deadline."

Meanwhile, EADS North America is seizing on the AW-101 deal to criticize its rival Boeing's rhetoric in the Air Force KC-X tanker competition. The AW-101 (also known as the EH-101 and US-101) is based on a foreign design, just like EADS' tanker bid.

“We’re pleased that Boeing has openly acknowledged the contribution that international teams, products and platforms make to U.S. national security,” EADS said in a statement. “For several years, Boeing and its allies have been harshly critical of the participation of EADS North America in the KC-X tanker competition. With this announcement, we now expect Boeing to cease its shrill rhetoric and finally allow the KC-X competition to focus on the merits of the tanker offerings.”

By John Liang
June 4, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The New York Times is reporting that President Obama tomorrow will announce his choice of retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper to become the next director of national intelligence. According to the newspaper:

The decision could generate consternation on Capitol Hill, where the prospect of General Clapper’s nomination has already been met with mixed reactions among lawmakers of both parties, who argue the job should go to someone from outside the military world.

Clapper, the under secretary of defense for intelligence, recently objected to a proposal by House lawmakers to create a center of excellence for intelligence support to irregular warfare, Inside the Pentagon reported in April:

In a March 12 letter to the congressional defense and intelligence committees, Clapper responds to a requirement in the classified annex of the House version of the Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act, which directed his office to provide a report on the value of establishing such a center.

“Due to the broad nature of irregular warfare activities, I do not believe there is one organization capable of serving as a Center of Excellence for Intelligence Support to Irregular Warfare, nor do I believe one is required,” Clapper writes. Inside the Pentagon reviewed a copy of the letter.

The Defense Department believes that an enterprise approach best serves the needs of all the organizations involved in irregular warfare activities, according to the memo.

By Christopher J. Castelli
June 3, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon acquisition executive Ashton Carter has issued a memo on fundamental research that broadens guidance issued by his predecessor, John Young, on contracted fundamental research. Much of Carter's memo echoes Young's guidance, but there's a key change, according to Robin Staffin, the Pentagon's director of basic science.

"The Secretary maintains his strong support for basic research," Staffin tells us through a spokeswoman. "Since the 2008 memo, it became apparent that there were cases where fundamental research was funded by subcontract from industry with funding categories 6.3 or above, in addition to direct DOD university grants. This memo now covers these cases."

Here's a key section of Carter's May 24 memo:

There will be circumstances in which the DOD Components may find it valuable to perform research with other Budget Activity funds (e.g., Budget Activity 3 and higher) without placing restrictions on publications or personnel. This should be within the discretion of acquisition personnel in consultation with contracting officers, Component management, counsel, and the cognizant Comptroller to ensure consistency with financial management regulations. In addition, the DOD must not place restrictions on subcontracted unclassified research that has been scoped, negotiated, and determined to be fundamental research within the definition of NSDD 189 according to the prime contractor and research performer and certified by the contracting component, except as provided in applicable federal statutes, regulations, or executive orders. Provisions shall be made to accommodate such subcontracts for fundamental research and to ensure DOD restrictions on the prime contract do not flow down to the performer(s) of such research.