The Insider

By Marjorie Censer
February 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Army's brigade combat team modernization plan serves as a "blueprint" for learning both from past failures and past triumphs, Gen. George Casey writes in a new document.

In his 15-page paper, "Army Brigade Combat Team Modernization: Versatile Capabilities for an Uncertain Future," the Army chief of staff lays out the history of BCT-Mod, which replaced Future Combat Systems, as well as the path forward. He confirms much of what Inside the Army has previously reported, including the cancellation of the Class IV unmanned aircraft system program and two variants of the Multifunction Utility/Logistics and Equipment unmanned ground vehicle program as well as the plan to accelerate fielding of capability packages -- specifically, Casey writes, to 29 BCTs by 2016 and to all BCTs by 2025.

He stresses the Army is committed to incorporating Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles into its fleet and to developing and beginning fielding of the Ground Combat Vehicle "within seven years."

"Applying lessons from FCS, Stryker, Bradley and Abrams, we believe our approach to GCV development and procurement will be a model for acquisition reform, with an incremental development approach including competitive prototyping to enable production of the first vehicle by fiscal year 2017," Casey writes. "Capabilities incorporated in subsequent increments will be informed by changes in the security environment and enabled by the maturation of advanced technologies."

By Sebastian Sprenger
February 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM

NATO officials apparently are willing to accept the pass they are being offered on the issue of U.S. nuclear weapons stationed in Europe after a senior Pentagon official said the U.S. government will debate the future of these weapons in the context of the alliance's new strategic concept.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michèle Flournoy said earlier this month U.S. officials will not take a unilateral position on the continued need for the forward-deployed atomic bombs in the upcoming Nuclear Posture Review, but rather would seek a NATO-wide resolution of the matter.

At issue is whether Washington will keep an estimated 200 nuclear weapons on the continent. The weapons are remnants of a much bigger arsenal once designed to deter Soviet aggression during the height of the Cold War. Several high-ranking European politicians have recently spoken out against the keeping of nuclear weapons in their countries.

"The strategic concept will have to mention nuclear forces one way or the other," Stéphane Abrial, NATO's supreme allied commander for transformation, told reporters this morning. While meetings on the thorny issue are already going on, the matter really rests with the alliance's political -- not military -- decision-making circles, Abrial said.

Work on new NATO strategic concept is supposed to be finished by the end of the year, when alliance leaders meet in Lisbon, Portugal.

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 22, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Letitia Long will be the next director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the first woman to lead a major intelligence agency, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced today. Long, the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is uniquely qualified to lead NGA, Gates said.

"Her more than 30 years of engineering and intelligence experience include service as the deputy undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, deputy director of Naval Intelligence and as a coordinator of intelligence community activities, for the director of Central Intelligence," he said. Long will take over later this year from Vice Adm. Robert Murrett, Gates said, an "outstanding leader" who was extended to serve a fourth year in the post.

By John Liang
February 19, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Looks like Operation Iraqi Freedom is getting a revamp. Not the operation itself, just the name.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a Feb. 17 memo authorized the remaming of OIF to "Operation New Dawn" beginning Sept. 1, Washington Note reports. According to the memo:

The requested operation name change is approved to take effect 1 September 2010, coinciding with the change of mission for U.S. forces in Iraq. Aligning the name change with the change of mission sends a strong signal that Operation IRAQI FREEDOM has ended and our forces are operating under a new mission. It also presents opportunities to synchronize strategic communication initiatives, reinforce our commitment to honor the Security Agreement, and recognize our evolving relationship with the Goverment of Iraq.

By John Liang
February 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Missile Defense Agency plans to meet with potential contractors this spring to discuss an effort to marry MDA's digital modeling and simulation training into a coherent whole.

The agency plans to conduct a series of industry days sometime between April and June of this year at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, "to exchange information with interested parties regarding the Objective Simulation Framework (OSF) and improve the understanding of the Government requirements and industry capabilities," a notice posted today on Federal Business Opportunities states. "As part of the Industry Days, potential offerors will have an opportunity to meet with the Government in one-on-one meetings to discuss the OSF."

Lockheed Martin is one of the companies in the beginning stages of figuring out how it will compete for the effort. As Inside Missile Defense reported in January:

The agency late last month published a request for information in Federal Business Opportunities calling for “contractors who are able to design, develop, test, field and maintain an ((Objective Simulation Framework)) that can be used for a variety of applications to include ((Ballistic Missile Defense System)) ground tests and performance assessments.”

John Holly, Lockheed’s vice president of missile defense systems, told reporters in a conference call last week that his company’s “expertise in system engineering, system integration along with a particularly strong effort in terms of modeling and simulation will make us very competitive in that environment.”

“What we’re looking at is what is the right composition of talent to make sure that we provide the MDA customer with the absolute best value at lowest risk,” Holly said on Jan. 7.

When asked whether his company had begun to look at potential subcontractors for the effort, Holly said: "What we’re working toward right now is we will certainly have a collection of highly qualified subcontractors with us; until MDA puts out a draft request for proposals or a final request for proposals we won’t know the exact composition of what that procurement's going to be, so I can't give you an explicit answer that we’re teamed with company XYZ, but we're keeping all of our options open and we are going to actively pursue that particular effort."

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Kicking off what promises to be a busy few days, Defense Secretary Robert Gates will return tomorrow to his old stomping grounds at the CIA for the third time since he retired as director -- and the first time since taking over the Defense Department, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said.

“Director ((Leon)) Panetta has kindly invited the secretary to come over for a luncheon meeting, after which he will address agency employees,” Morrell told reporters today. Those events will be closed to the press.

On Monday night, Gates will host a dinner in honor of Anders Rasmussen, the secretary-general of NATO, to continue their discussions from the recent NATO defense ministerial meeting in Istanbul. Guests will include the secretary of state, the national security adviser and the U.S. ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder.

Rasmussen is in town for the NATO Strategic Concept seminar. On Tuesday, Gates will give the opening remarks for the seminar at the National Defense University. “The Strategic Concept outlines the alliance's security tasks and guides its future political and military development,” Morrell said. “It is being updated and revitalized to address new challenges that have arisen since the current concept was enacted in 1999. The secretary will talk about the ongoing transformation of NATO from a defensive alliance to a more expeditionary force capable of dealing with a range of traditional and nontraditional threats.”

Later that morning, Gates will open the first meeting of the Council of Governors, which is charged with strengthening the partnership between the federal and state governments to guard against natural disasters and acts of terrorism. Also Tuesday, Gates will meet with the minister of defense from Brazil, Nelson Jobim. “This is their third discussion over the last 14 months and will focus once again on increasing defense cooperation and exchanges between our two countries, specifically defense technology and trade. The ongoing humanitarian operations in Haiti will also be high on the list of discussion points,” Morrell said.

Finally, on Wednesday night, Gates will receive the Distinguished Service Award from the Nixon Center.

By John Liang
February 18, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The consensus embodied by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is beginning to fray, Vice President Biden warned today.

In a speech at the National Defense University, Biden said the United States is "rallying support for stronger measures to strengthen inspections and punish cheaters" of the NPT. Specifically, he said:

The Treaty’s basic bargain -- that nuclear powers pursue disarmament and non-nuclear states do not acquire such weapons, while gaining access to civilian nuclear technology -- is the cornerstone of the nonproliferation regime.

Before the treaty was negotiated, President Kennedy predicted a world with up to 20 nuclear powers by the mid-1970s. Because of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the consensus it embodied, that didn’t happen.

Now, 40 years later, that consensus is fraying. We must reinforce this consensus, and strengthen the treaty for the future.

Biden acknowledged the difficulty of negotiating a ban on the production of fissile materials that can be used in nuclear weapons, but said the Conference on Disarmament "must resume its work on this treaty as soon as possible."

The vice president also reiterated the administration's desire to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty:

A decade ago, we led this effort to negotiate this treaty in order to keep emerging nuclear states from perfecting their arsenals and to prevent our rivals from pursuing ever more advanced weapons.

We are confident that all reasonable concerns raised about the treaty back then -– concerns about verification and the reliability of our own arsenal - have now been addressed. The test ban treaty is as important as ever.

As President Obama said in Prague, “we cannot succeed in this endeavor alone, but we can lead it, we can start it.”

Some friends in both parties may question aspects of our approach. Some in my own party may have trouble reconciling investments in our nuclear complex with a commitment to arms reduction. Some in the other party may worry we’re relinquishing capabilities that keep our country safe.

With both groups we respectfully disagree. As both the only nation to have used nuclear weapons, and as a strong proponent of non-proliferation, the United States has long embodied a stark but inevitable contradiction. The horror of nuclear conflict may make its occurrence unlikely, but the very existence of nuclear weapons leaves the human race ever at the brink of self-destruction, particularly if the weapons fall into the wrong hands.

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Pentagon acquisition chief Ashton Carter said this morning the Defense Department remains hopeful it will have competition in the Air Force's $35 billion KC-X tanker program, as opposed to having to award a sole-source contract.

DOD believes it has a "fair, transparent, right-down-the-middle approach" to the important and lucrative program, he said at a conference sponsored by Aviation Week.

As recently reported, the Air Force will release a request for proposals for tanker competition no earlier than Feb. 23. Once the RFP is out, Boeing and Northrop Grumman-EADS will have 75 days to respond, according to a Feb. 8 Federal Business Opportunities notice. The service plans to award the KC-X contract in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010.

By Marjorie Censer
February 17, 2010 at 5:00 AM

The Army announced earlier this month that Lt. Gen. James Thurman, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and policy (G-3/5/7), has been nominated for a fourth star and assigned to serve as commanding general of Army Forces Command at Ft. McPherson, GA.

Additionally, in the same announcement, the service noted that Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, chief of the Army Reserve, has been nominated to the rank of lieutenant general. An Army Reserve representative told Inside the Army that Stultz has been nominated for another term as chief of the Army Reserve, requiring him to go through the nomination and confirmation process.

By Sebastian Sprenger
February 16, 2010 at 5:00 AM

There's no peace in cyberspace. That's according to the Army's forthcoming Cyberspace Operations Concept Capability Plan 2016-2028, developed by the service's Training and Doctrine Command. In a fictitious operation, the document attempts to apply the yardstick of the Army's full-spectrum operations model to cyberspace operations. Phase Zero of that model normally includes peacetime, or "shaping," operations. But not in cyberspace, the draft document argues.

"There is no traditional phase 0 or peacetime in cyberspace, as adversaries continuously seek to conduct cyberspace operations, particularly exploitation, against the United States and its allies in order to pursue their strategic objective," the document states. There is, however, a cyber equivalent to the "dominate" phase. And that means unleashing what the Army's new nomenclature terms "CyberWar" activities.

"CyberWar and enabling capabilities will exploit and attack computer and telecommunication networks and embedded processors and controllers in equipment, systems and infrastructure, in accordance with appropriate authorities in support of the commander's objectives," the draft Army plan reads. "This is the first time (in the progression of the Army's six-phase full-spectrum operations model) that CyberWar attacks on tactical target embedded processors and controllers in equipment, systems and infrastructure are conducted to disadvantage the adversary," it adds.

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 16, 2010 at 5:00 AM

National security looms large on President Obama's agenda this Wednesday, which includes a morning meeting with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Situation Room. The White House released a list of expected attendees for the session, which is closed to the press:

Vice President Biden
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Defense Secretary Robert Gates
Susan Rice, permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations
Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg
Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (via videoconference)
Karl Eikenberry, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan (via videoconference)
Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan (via videoconference)
Pentagon policy chief Michèle Flournoy
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff
Gen. David Petraeus, U.S. Central Command
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Commander in Afghanistan (via videoconference)
Lt. Gen. Dave Rodriguez (via videoconference)
Lt. Gen. William Caldwell (via videoconference)
Vice Adm. Michael LaFever (via videoconference)
Director of National Intelligence retired Adm. Dennis Blair
CIA Director Leon Panetta
Deputy Secretary of Treasury Neal Wolin
National Security Adviser retired Gen. James Jones
Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon
John Brennan, assistant to the president for counterterrorism and homeland security
Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, special assistant to the president for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Robert Nabors, OMB deputy director

In the afternoon, Obama is slated to meet with Clinton, lunch with King Juan Carlos I of Spain and then join Biden to meet with Gen. Raymond Odierno, the commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill in the Oval Office.

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 12, 2010 at 5:00 AM

National Security Adviser Jim Jones completed a five-day trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan to view first-hand the status of efforts to implement President Obama's strategy in the region, the White House said today.

Jones, a retired four-star general, traveled to the region Feb. 8 to 12. He met in Afghanistan with senior Afghan, U.S., and ISAF leaders and traveled to Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Panjshir. "His travels allowed him to personally review our efforts in the critical areas of security, development, and governance," the White House said in a statement.

While in Islamabad, Pakistan, Jones met with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani to discuss a variety of "issues of mutual concern to both countries, including the full spectrum of development and security matters," the White House said.

In particular, Jones reiterated America's commitment to a long-term and comprehensive relationship with Pakistan, the White House said. Jones also had the opportunity to travel to the Swat Valley and elsewhere in North West Frontier Province, where he "congratulated" the Pakistani army and paramilitary Frontier Corps on "the success of their security operations in the west and noted the tremendous sacrifices made by Pakistan's security forces," according to the statement.

By Christopher J. Castelli
February 12, 2010 at 5:00 AM

This week, the Senate confirmed candidates for several national security posts, but left other key Pentagon nominees on hold. If the vacancies continue, President Obama says he may make recess appointments.

The Senate confirmed 27 Obama administration nominees yesterday, including Douglas Wilson to be an assistant secretary of defense for public affairs; Mary Sally Matiella to be an assistant secretary of the Army for financial management and comptroller; and Caryn Wagner to be under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed Clifford Stanley to be under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness and Philip Goldberg to be assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research.

The confirmations came as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who had been holding up numerous nominees in a bid to secure jobs in his state for the Air Force's KC-X tanker program, largely backed off in response to a threat by Obama to use recess appointments. But Shelby is still blocking confirmation of Frank Kendall, who would be the Pentagon's No. 2 acquisition official; Erin Conaton, for under secretary of the Air Force; and Terry Yonkers, for assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. If the Senate fails to confirm more nominees when it returns from the Presidents' Day break, Obama might make recess appointments when senators leave town again, he said yesterday.

"While this is a good first step, there are still dozens of nominees on hold who deserve a similar vote, and I will be looking for action from the Senate when it returns from recess," Obama said in a statement. "If they do not act, I reserve the right to use my recess appointment authority in the future."

By Marjorie Censer
February 11, 2010 at 5:00 AM

An Army spokesman confirmed to Inside the Army today that the ground combat vehicle materiel development decision review scheduled for today has been postponed until tomorrow due to yesterday's East Coast snowstorm.

The MDD was originally scheduled for Dec. 22 but postponed at the request of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Tomorrow's review is intended to decide whether the GCV program -- the Army’s effort to replace the terminated Future Combat Systems manned ground vehicles -- will begin at milestone A or B.

The Army has previously said it plans to release the GCV request for proposals this month, shortly after the MDD review is held. Contract award is expected in the fall.

By Sebastian Sprenger
February 11, 2010 at 5:00 AM

A small group of international defense analysts writing for the London-based Centre for European Reform this week published a critique of Germany's proclaimed desire to have all remaining U.S. nuclear weapons removed from its soil.

The problem with Germany piously stepping first in line to renounce nuclear weapons on its territory is that the country has not concurrently renounced nuclear deterrence. It wants to continue to enjoy the protection of America’s nuclear umbrella, without sharing the burden of risk associated with stationing weapons in Germany. In other words, the country wants others to risk nuclear retaliation on its behalf, but it would rather not be a target itself.

That would be a nice deal if Germany could get it. But it is a beggar-thy-neighbour policy. Germany is expecting Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Turkey and the United States to do the hard work of explaining the logic of nuclear deterrence to their own publics so that Germany may enjoy the benefits. Or, worse still, if the German policy were taken up by other governments on the continent, the US would be left alone to bear the burden of defending its European allies. That would not be well regarded by the American public or by their elected representatives. Nor are other allies satisfied with the current arrangement likely to be impressed.

Questions over withdrawing U.S. nuclear arms in Europe also could impact Turkey, another host country of American atomic weapons, the authors argue. With Iran ramping up an alleged nuclear weapons program, and Turkey being within the reach of Tehran's missiles, getting the U.S. warheads out of Turkey might just force the country to pursue its own nuclear weapons program, the report states.