The Insider

By Jason Sherman
August 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

After months spent constructing new five-year investment plans, the military services today are required to formally submit their fiscal year 2011 to 2015 spending proposals to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

With this milestone, each of the service's four-star vice chiefs is polishing a presentation on their respective spending request to present in the coming weeks to Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn and other Pentagon leaders.

Lynn and his deputies will be assessing how well the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps funded nearly $60 billion worth of new capabilities that Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants in order to bolster the U.S. military's ability to conduct low- and high-end combat.

Today's so-called POM-lock also officially kicks off the program and budget review, which is being led by 18 issue teams and will conclude in late fall with decisions on where to adjust spending proposed today by the services.

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

NATO is using a new Web site to solicit feedback from the public on the organization's plan for a new strategic concept, a key foundational document for the alliance. The existing concept dates back to 1999 -- years before September 11, the Afghanistan war, piracy and cyber attacks changed the international security environment, as NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen points out in an introductory video message on the site.

“The discussion forum will be your opportunity to help shape the new NATO,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen, by the way, seems well versed in the use of social media tools. He also has a video blog, a facebook account and a Twitter page.

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

With the Quadrennial Defense Review considering the gamut of defense-related issues, Pentagon officials believe there may be no need to publish a separate National Defense Strategy in the wake of the review, a senior official told us recently.

“It's possible we'll choose to publish something, maybe in the late spring, but I suspect you'll see just the QDR,” Kathleen Hicks, the deputy under secretary of defense for strategy, plans and forces, said Aug. 6. “The QDR will have, within it, the defense strategy. But a stand-alone NDS, I wouldn't expect to see anytime in the near future,” she added.

Officials will, however, derive a new National Military Strategy from the QDR, Hicks said.

Unlike in the case of the NDS, updates to the NMS are required by law, she noted.

By Marjorie Censer
August 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Lockheed Martin today celebrated a milestone in its development of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, driving one of its operational prototypes through a banner to mark 50,000 miles of combined testing on four prototypes.

The company flew reporters up to its headquarters in Owego, N.Y., to view the celebration as well as to test drive the newest prototype.

The milestone follows the completion of a preliminary design review here last week. The JLTV program office held PDRs with each of the three industry teams competing in the technology development phase of the program, which is intended to produce a next-generation humvee for the Army and Marine Corps.

Lockheed Martin is teamed with BAE Systems' Armor Holdings division in the effort.

The other teams in the TD phase are AM General working with General Dynamics Land Systems and BAE Systems of York, PA, partnered with Navistar.

For more details on the PDRs and the road ahead for the JLTV, check out the next issue of Inside the Army on Monday.

By Thomas Duffy
August 12, 2009 at 5:00 AM

While official Washington slumbers through another hot August, members of the missile defense community will gather in Huntsville, AL, next week for the 12th Annual Space and Missile defense Conference sponsored by the Army's Space and Missile Defense Command.

The event takes place at Huntsville's Von Braun Center Aug 17-20. According to a notice issued by the command, the theme for this year's conference is “Space and Missile Defense . . .the path forward.”

SMDC also tells us that:

This year's SMD Conference will have an international emphasis, including information on ballistic missile defense in Europe and China. The conference will also emphasize a "Joint" nature. Exhibits and presentations on topics such as future technologies, Army Way Ahead, tactical perspectives, operational perspectives, increasing roles in each of the services, and operationally responsive space will explore these issues with attendees.

According to the command's notice, the confirmed speakers include Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff; NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr.; Gen. Kevin P. Chilton, commander, US Strategic Command; Lt. Gen. Kevin T. Campbell, commanding general, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (SMDC/ARSTRAT); Lt. Gen. Larry D. James, commander, 14th Air Force; Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, director, Missile Defense Agency; Maj. Gen. (P) Robert P. Lennox, G-8 nominee; Brig. Gen. Kurt S. Story, deputy commander for operations SMDC/ARSTRAT; and Alabama Congressman Parker Griffith (D).

By Jason Sherman
August 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense industry executives from six competing firms have joined voices in a bid to remind Defense Secretary Robert Gates of his commitment last year to a sweeping assessment of the U.S. military's vertical-lift needs.

In a July 25 letter to Gates -- which was coordinated by Rhett Flater, executive director of the American Helicopter Society International -- the six executives use a soft touch to prompt the secretary about his 2008 pledge, which is to say, they register no explicit request.

We would like to express our strong support for your DOD Future Vertical Lift initiative to develop a joint approach to the future development of vertical lift aircraft for all the military services.

It's not every day that executives from competing defense firms lend their signature to a common letter. But they all clearly would like the Pentagon to package a new competition for a multibillion dollar helicopter program.

Signing the letter along with Flater are: Richard Millman, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter Textron; Jeffrey Pino, president and CEO of Sikorsky Aircraft; Philip Dunford, vice president and general manager of Boeing's rotorcraft systems; Scott Rettig, president and CEO of AgustaWestland; David Oliver, chief operating officer, EADS North America; and Marillyn Hewson, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration.

Last May, Gates directed the Pentagon’s acquisition shop to spearhead a comprehensive review of the U.S. military’s rotorcraft needs. He directed a two-year assessment that was expected to influence the requirements for a joint heavy lift aircraft and a joint multirole helicopter for future reconnaissance and attack missions, according to industry officials. The executives, in their letter, recap their hopes for this effort:

We believe that this initiative, consisting of (a) common requirements definition via a Capabilities Based Assessment; (b) early integration of the Science and Technology community to define the technological art of the possible and to reduce risk; and (c) a Joint Strategic Plan identifying the path ahead to develop and field new capabilities, shows the potential to be an unusually successful approach to support current and future warfighters. We also view it as identifying a clear way ahead for the Department of Defense and for the vertical flight industry. It will allow us to conduct informed industry research and engineering and to be better able to focus precious Independent Research and Development resources on DOD’s areas of greatest need. We believe the integrated approach of your Future Vertical Lift initiative will allow the development, maturation and fielding of truly Joint, revolutionary capabilities more quickly and at less cost to the Government.

August 11, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Defense Department announced this afternoon the appointment of two new senior Pentagon officials and the reassignment of a third. According to DOD the people, and the jobs, are as follows.

Robert J. Butler has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and will be assigned as deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber and space policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Washington, D.C. Butler previously served with Computer Sciences Corp., San Antonio, Texas.

Michael C. McDaniel has been appointed to the Senior Executive Service and will be assigned as deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense strategy and force planning, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Washington, D.C. McDaniel previously served with the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Lansing, Mich.

Marcel J. Lettre II is assigned as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, Washington, D.C. Lettre previously served with the principal director for countering weapons of mass destruction, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Washington, D.C.

By Jason Sherman
August 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Security challenges caused by increasing global temperatures offer the United States and China new opportunities for military cooperation, particularly in Africa. That is a finding offered by Rymn Parsons -- a naval reservist and attorney with Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Norfolk, VA -- in a new monograph published by the Army War College.

The U.S. military is the best vehicle, most notably in areas in which conflict is occurring or where civil government is ineffective or not present, for enabling diplomacy, development, and defense, as part of a preventative, collective security construct. The military’s reach, capability, and durability in these circumstances are obvious (but not limitless) advantages.

So, too, is the military’s capacity to connect and coordinate external and internal entities, not merely indigenous and foreign security forces, but also regional and international governing organizations and non-governmental organizations. Sub-Saharan Africa would be a particularly good place to address the challenges that climate change is causing and will produce. It is also a particularly good place to take advantage of opportunities that environmental engagement offers. Working together with African militaries, AFRICOM and the PLA ((China's People's Liberation Army)) can enable security and stability projects focused on global warming and other climate change phenomena.

The intelligence community last year concluded that climate change will degrade U.S. military readiness by diverting key transportation assets and combat support forces. The Pentagon, at the direction of Congress, is currently examining the national security implications of climate change in the Quadrennial Defense Review.

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 7, 2009 at 5:00 AM

That term became the new mantra among Defense Department officials some years ago when roadside bombs in Iraq were killing dozens of U.S. forces every month, with no end in sight. It symbolized a shift in attention -- mainly through intelligence and good old fashioned police work -- toward understanding and disabling the networks of bomb makers behind the deadly attacks.

Similar thinking is apparently going on among the nation's intelligence agencies charged with stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction, according to a speech by a top official this week.

In the past, counter-WMD efforts often were understood as a "technical" discipline providing "descriptive analysis" to U.S. decision-makers, National Counterproliferation Center Director Kenneth Brill said in a speech this week at the Washington Institute for Near-East Policy.

But officials now are increasingly trying to figure out the motivations of WMD-seeking adversaries and deduce from those potential strategies to "discourage, prevent, rollback and deter" their WMD programs, Brill said.

"To get to the left of the proliferation problem, we need to learn about and understand a state’s motivations, determine ways to address those motivations and identify what levers and opportunities can be applied or exploited to dissuade interest in WMD," according to Brill.

"The Intelligence Community, in coordination with partners across the U.S. government -- is instituting a new watchfulness to guide its action -- watchful for nascent WMD programs, watchful for levers that can discourage such programs, and watchful for the threats that have been made real in this era of globalization," he said.

By Marjorie Censer
August 6, 2009 at 5:00 AM

After seven years of underfunding of the war in Afghanistan, President Obama will have to funnel more resources to Afghanistan operations if he hopes to win there, according to a new report.

The report, written by Anthony Cordesman and Erin Fitzgerald of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, argues that the Bush administration dramatically underresourced the wars both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The Bush Administration failed to develop a meaningful long-term strategy or plan for the Iraq and Afghan Wars, while also failing to properly resource its wars and produce sound budgets," a summary of the report reads. "For the past eight budgets, the Department of Defense requested emergency supplemental or 'bridge' funding outside of the regular defense budget."

Consequently, the administration and DOD "never developed a consistent or credible long-term funding profile for war fighting, nor did it properly manage either conflict," the summary adds.

Only beginning in fiscal year 2009, the report says, did the administration "began to fund the war seriously."

But, it adds, Obama now must "deal with two badly managed and budgeted wars." In Iraq, he must handle the withdrawal of forces, while in Afghanistan he must "now pay far more to compensate for a past Administration's grand strategic failures or risk losing the war in Afghanistan."

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 5, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The White House yesterday released a memo outlining the Obama Administration's science and technology priorities for fiscal year 2011.

The document sets out four "practical challenges" to which agencies must divert dollars from "lower-priority" projects.

As for defense-related themes, the memo lists as one of the four practical challenges "technologies needed to protect our troops, citizens and national interests, including those needed to verify arms control and nonproliferation agreements essential to our security."

The document gets more concrete in a section prescribing four "cross-cutting areas," which agencies also must sufficiently fund.

According to the memo, investments will be needed to enhance U.S. space capabilities because they are "essential for communications, geopositioning, intelligence gathering, Earth observation and national defense, as well as for increasing our understanding of the universe and our place in it."

By Sebastian Sprenger
August 5, 2009 at 5:00 AM

U.S. Special Operations Command today asked for industry proposals aimed at beefing up the military's flying drones.

Unmanned aerial vehicles play a crucial role in Defense Department attempts to kill extremist leaders in Afghanistan. And SOCOM officials are seeking ideas for payloads capable of providing full-motion infrared video that would enable operators to "identify individuals and determine their intent from altitudes and slant range such that the aircraft platform is non-detectable," according to a notice published on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

Also sought are payloads enabling what officials call "tagging, tracking and locating," an uber-secretive process that involves discreetly placing some kind of hard-to-detect emitter on a person so the individual can be targeted with aerial weaponry at any time.

Additional technologies of interest to SOCOM are mapping and automated change detection, which officials have mentioned previously as a useful tool for finding buried improvised explosive devices.

Other payload technologies mentioned in the FBO notice have to do with precision-guided weapons, the employment of lasers, and communications.

Industry proposals must fulfill the requirements of technology readyness level 6, which means offerors should have prototypes that can be tested in a lab environment.

By John Liang
August 4, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The resignation of the director of national intelligence's top cybersecurity adviser doesn't sit well with Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-ME).

As The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday:

Melissa Hathaway, who completed the Obama administration's cybersecurity review in April, said in an interview that she was leaving for personal reasons. "It's time to pass the torch," she said, adding that she and her colleagues have provided an "initial down payment for what's needed to start to address cybersecurity."

Hathaway said yesterday that she would resign her position effective Aug. 21.

Collins, however, said in a statement released today that the resignation "underscores the continued lack of leadership within the Obama administration on cyber security issues. The loss of her expertise on this issue is unfortunate. However, the White House plan to appoint yet another czar to address this real and growing threat is not the answer."

Further, Collins said:

Indeed, the Administration should take this time to reconsider the merits of putting a cyber czar within the White House -- with no operational authority and shielded from Congressional oversight. Rather, the Administration should work with Congress to establish an effective, accountable cyber leader at the Department of Homeland Security.

This position should be given real authority over cyber security with the singular focus of protecting America’s critical networks, throughout the federal government and within the private sector. Effective cyber security requires the cooperation of numerous agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security is the nexus of key realms – intelligence gathering and dissemination, security planning and threat assessment, and coordination with law enforcement and private sector officials.

A czar at the White House -- unconfirmed and unaccountable to Congress -- cannot create the environment needed to secure our critical networks.”

By John Liang
August 3, 2009 at 5:00 AM

A draft White House executive order requiring a 20 percent cut in greenhouse-gas emissions from the federal government, currently circulating among federal agencies, could prompt the Defense Department to call for amending acquisition rules to allow for investments in costly energy efficiency and other low-emitting technologies, reported late last week. Specifically:

The draft order could also revive long-standing concerns from DOD over spending restrictions currently enshrined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which generally require agencies to procure the most cost-effective goods and services.

DOD officials have long argued that such approaches hamper their ability to procure low-carbon technologies, which often have high upfront costs and do not achieve significant savings, making it difficult for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) to approve under their current budget scoring approaches.

Brian Lally, DOD’s facility energy director, told InsideEPA recently that the department’s existing drive to increase its energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions is hampered by the scoring procedures, which CBO and OMB use to calculate projects’ compliance with the federal acquisition rules.

The scoring should be revised, Lally said, to allow the military services to undertake projects -- such as constructing new, highly efficient buildings -- that have high up-front costs but could achieve significant savings that OMB and CBO do not currently consider. He added that he is building support within the department to push the Obama administration for such a change in the rules. . . .

Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief Ashton Carter also said May 26 that the Pentagon is working on ways to incorporate energy efficiency considerations into acquisition policy, in line with the department’s own expert recommendations. Carter told an audience of leading military policy experts that energy will be a key driver of military purchasing decisions under the current administration. Specifically, the department is working to incorporate the fully burdened cost of fuel -- the true cost of delivering fuel to the military end user -- into acquisition decisions, which would militate toward lower energy consumption in vehicles and systems.

That story got the attention of New Republic blogger Bradford Plumer, who writes in a post today:

To put this in context, the U.S. military is the world's single biggest oil buyer, and accounts for about 80 percent of the federal government's energy demand (and about 1 percent of all U.S. demand). And, for the past few years, the Pentagon has been contemplating an energy diet. It's easy to see the motivation here: In 2008, the military shelled out about $20 billion for energy, more than double the $10.9 spent in 2006, thanks to the spike in oil prices, and no one in the Pentagon sounded terribly thrilled with writing a $10 billion check to the Middle East.

By Marjorie Censer
August 3, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Though Defense Secretary Robert Gates was right to cancel the vehicle component of the Army's Future Combat Systems program, the service needs a new modernization strategy to ensure it does not repeat "the mistakes of the past," according to a new Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments report (.pdf).

The report, "Correcting Course: The Cancellation of the Future Combat Systems Program," was authored by CSBA president Andrew Krepinevich, a new member of the Defense Policy Board, and Evan Braden Montgomery.

It argues that Gates' cancellation of the manned ground vehicles was "justified" because the FCS program "was an ambitious but fundamentally flawed attempt to transform Army force structure.

"Although its original intent -- to improve the Army's ability to meet emerging threats in a changing security environment -- was reasonable, the program ultimately pursued extremely complex and costly solutions to a set of military challenges that have become less and less relevant since the program's inception," the document continues.

More specifically, Krepinevich and Montgomery write, the FCS effort involved fiscal, technical, joint and operational risk.

Yet, they warn that the cancellation of the vehicle component will not itself guarantee success. The report notes that a "a number of FCS components will still be introduced to units throughout the Army over the next decade and a half" and that the replacement ground combat vehicle will be produced under roughly the same timetable as the previous MGV program.

"Apparently, the Army will attempt to incorporate as much of the FCS program as possible into any new design," the report reads.

Consequently, it adds, the Army should "develop a modernization strategy that will mitigate the risks described above, in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past."