The Insider

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September 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

With Gen. Stanley McChrystal's report to President Obama on Afghanistan dominating the news today, an Army solicitation for an Afghanistan marketing plan -- also issued today -- has caught our eye. The Army is looking for an Afghan company to carry out a media and advertising campaign “to influence the Afghanistan people at all levels (strategic, operational and tactical) and which will directly translate in the reduction of the number of ((improvised explosive devices)) used against the Afghanistan people and coalition forces," the solicitation states.

According to the notice, here's the situation the Afghan people and McChrystal's forces face:

Foreign terrorists, religious extremists, and militant militia continue to use increasingly sophisticated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) as a weapon of choice against the Afghanistan populace, Afghanistan Security Forces and Coalition Forces – causing casualties among both the civilian and military populaces. As a result, the Coalition Forces are collaborating to produce a comprehensive marketing and information campaign for Regional Commander East RC(E) which will be designed and produced by the contractor chosen for award under this solicitation, and will be in coordination with the strategic information goals of the RC(E).

The Army wants the company chosen to produce 12 conceptual campaigns during a given year. These campaigns -- covering security, nation development and governance issues -- are to use television and radio advertising, billboards or other outside media, and newspaper ads.

The Afghan company will be signed to a one-year contract. At the end of that year, if the marketing campaign is successful, the Afghan people will recognize an atmosphere of security and one in which the Afghan security forces can transition into the lead, the solicitation asserts.

-- Thomas Duffy

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September 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

John McHugh, the new Army Secretary, was sworn in this morning at a Pentagon ceremony.

The ceremony for the 21st Army secretary just happened to fall on Sept. 21.

Also sworn in was Joseph Westphal, the 30th Army under secretary.

-- Chris Castelli

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September 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

A group of activists led by the Union of Concerned Scientists is seeking to get out ahead of President Obama's speech to the United Nations General Assembly and subsequent chairing of the U.N. Security Council this week by beginning an advertising campaign calling for steep reductions to the world's nuclear-weapons arsenal.

Obama will speak to the General Assembly on Sept. 23 and chair a meeting of the Security Council the next day, according to a UCS statement issued today:

Both the president's address and the Security Council session are expected to focus on nuclear weapons policy. The campaign also coincides with an ongoing administration assessment of U.S. nuclear weapons policy, called the Nuclear Posture Review, which will determine U.S. plans for the next several years.

The campaign will feature an advertisement signed by retired Army Brig. Gen. John Adams, former deputy U.S. military representative to NATO; Bishop Howard Hubbard, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Joel Hunter, senior pastor at Northland: A Church Distributed; Leon Lederman, a Nobel laureate in physics and a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology; Barry Levy, former president of the American Public Health Association and an adjunct professor of public health at Tufts University's School of Medicine; and Charleta Tavares, Columbus, OH, City Council member and board chair of the Women's Action for New Directions Education Fund.

The ad is scheduled to appear this week in publications like Congress Daily, The Hill, National Journal, Politico, Roll Call and The Washington Times, according to UCS.

In addition to the print ad, the signatories will send a letter to President Obama and UCS will simultaneously deliver letters from some 11,000 citizens from across the country to the president and other officials involved in the Nuclear Posture Review, according to the statement.

-- John Liang

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September 18, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Former FBI Deputy Director Robert Bryant has been selected to be the next National Counterintelligence Executive, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair announced today. In his new job, Bryant will serve as the head of national counterintelligence for the United States government.

In his announcement, Blair said:

The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX) sets the priorities for counterintelligence collection, investigations, and operations, and conducts in-depth espionage damage assessments. To ensure the effectiveness of these programs, ONCIX also performs periodic reviews of all U.S. Counterintelligence programs, evaluates them against strategic and budgetary goals, and makes fiscal recommendations to the DNI.

In the recently published 2009 National Intelligence Strategy, counterintelligence is elevated for the first time as a mission objective. “Integrate Counterintelligence” is one of six mission objectives, and the strategy calls for a counterintelligence capability that is integrated with all aspects of the intelligence process, both offensively and defensively, to protect our secrets, and to better serve the policymaker and the operator.

During his FBI years, Bryant investigated and prosecuted the spies Aldrich Ames, Earl Pitts and Harold Nicholson. He also was in charge of the investigations following the Oklahoma City bombing and the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. He was most recently the president and chief executive officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

– Thomas Duffy

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September 18, 2009 at 5:00 AM

China's interest in developing a land-mobile, maneuverable anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) has been gaining increased attention in the open literature in recent months.

"Nobody has ever been able to hit a moving target with a ballistic missile yet," retired Navy Cmdr. Paul Diarra, head of the consulting firm Global Strategies & Transformation, said at a Defense Forum Foundation luncheon on Capitol Hill today.

Diarra wrote a brief article in the May issue of the U.S. Naval Institute's Proceedings magazine (which also had a longer article written by two other authors on the same subject) where he noted that if China does indeed develop such a capability, "((t))he numbers are going to be in China's favor. In a wartime situation, even if every U.S. ((Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense)) interceptor hit and destroyed an inbound-ASBM, naval missile magazines are very limited and cannot be reloaded at sea.

"This is a glaring deficiency for us," Diarra's article continued. "It severely limits our defense and turns high-tech, network warfare into a simple battle of attrition favoring the offense," he warned.

To illustrate his point during his Capitol Hill presentation today, Diarra showed a photo of actor Slim Pickens from the movie "Dr. Strangelove" riding the nuclear bomb at the end of the film. The next picture Diarra showed was what he called a "Slim Pickens" overhead view of anti-ship ballistic missiles bearing down on a U.S. carrier battle group.

"This is what the Chinese are trying to do with their ballistic missiles, which is target our carriers and other capital ships from thousands of miles away," Diarra said.

Such a Chinese capability has "profound consequences" for U.S. Naval and global strategy, he added, especially since the United States is so dependent on unfettered global access and unimpeded naval power.

"We've become so used to this that we take it for granted," Diarra said. "The Chinese are not taking it for granted."

-- John Liang
 

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September 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Senate yesterday voted to confirm John McHugh as Army secretary and Joseph Westphal as under secretary, according to press reports.

McHugh, the former ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, and Westphal appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee at a nomination hearing in late July. The committee favorably reported out their nominations days later.

McHugh succeeds Pete Geren, who has served as Army secretary since July 2007.

Westphal is on leave as a political science professor at the University of Maine. He previously served as chancellor of the University of Maine system and as assistant secretary of the Army for civil works beginning in 1998. In 2001, he briefly served as acting Army secretary.

-- Marjorie Censer
 

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September 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

One analyst is predicting the Government Accountability Office will soon overturn the recent award of the Army's Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles contract to Oshkosh.

FMTV competitors Navistar and BAE Systems earlier this month filed protests with the GAO of an August award to Oshkosh worth $280.9 million for 2,568 FMTVs. According to Oshkosh, the order is expected to total 23,000 trucks and trailers. BAE Systems was the incumbent in the competition.

In a Sept. 17 "issue brief," Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute (who also runs a consulting shop) writes that the Army made "fundamental mistakes" by accepting a "wildly unrealistic cost estimate from Oshkosh without making any serious attempt to determine whether it was valid" and by rating the three offerors "equal in terms of risk and capability," even though BAE Systems was the incumbent.

And, Thompson writes, the service rated the offerors equal with regard to past performance, ignoring BAE's relevant past experience.

In combination, these missteps nearly guarantee that the protests lodged by the losing teams will be sustained when the Government Accountability Office rules on them later this year. But the truck award raises more far-reaching questions about the competence of Army source selections, because the errors were so egregious. Consider the issue of cost realism, a central concern in acquisition reform. Despite lack of facilities, workforce and relevant experience, Oshkosh bid 30 percent below what BAE is charging for building the same trucks today. BAE bid below its current asking price too, and but not that low -- even though it already has a production process in place. Army personnel accepted the bids at face value without any effort to independently verify them, and in fact made cost the sole determinant of the award.

Additionally, Thompson writes that capabilities and past performance were supposed to outweigh cost as factors in the competition, and rating Oshkosh as equal in production capability "seems preposterous on its face." In past performance, the Army "ignored a host of factors" in assuming Oshkosh could match BAE, including Oshkosh's high-priority contract to build Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles.

"What this all adds up to is a procurement disaster in the making, a conclusion GAO analysts should have little difficulty reaching," Thompson concludes.

According to his biography, Thompson, chief operating officer at the Lexington Institute, also runs Source Associates, a "for-profit consultancy."

-- Marjorie Censer

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September 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Defense Department officials today announced the members of a newly created commission charged with evaluating the military's ability to help civil authorities respond to a domestic catastrophe involving weapons of mass destruction.

Chairman of the 12-member commission is retired Adm. Steven Abbot, who is the president and chief executive officer of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Also on the panel is retired Army Gen. Dennis Reimer, former Republican Congressmen George Nethercutt and James Greenwood, and former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R).

The other members are retired Vice Adm. James Metzger of Science Applications International Corp.; retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Ervin Rokke; the retired Army National Guard two-stars Dennis Celletti, Jerry Grizzle, Ronald Harrison and Raymond Rees; and James Carafano of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Panel members held their inaugural meeting this week. They are expected to produce a report with recommendations for lawmakers and Pentagon leaders within a year.

-- Sebastian Sprenger

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September 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Not all the missile defense news out today has to do with Europe. The Pentagon just announced that Navy Capt. Randall Hendrickson has been selected for rear admiral (lower half) and would be assigned as deputy director of the Missile Defense Agency.

Hendrickson commanded the Aegis cruiser Lake Erie (CG-70) from 2006 to 2008. In 2007, the Lake Erie shot down an errant U.S. intelligence satellite. He also commanded the destroyer Ramage (DDG-61) from March 2002 to November 2003.

Hendrickson replaces Navy Rear Adm. Joseph Horn, who in July was reassigned as MDA's program director for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense.

According to the Pentagon statement, Hendrickson is serving as head of theater missile defense (N865) in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

-- John Liang

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September 16, 2009 at 5:00 AM

While the Army briefs the Pentagon and Congress on its new modernization plans (now that FCS is no more), defense analysts around town are offering their advice on how the Army should prepare for the future.

Last month, Center for American Progress' Lawrence Korb and retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Yakovac discussed Army modernization at a Center for National Policy event. And CSBA's Todd Harrison gave a presentation on the funding challenges the Army faces.

Now, in a new paper, the Heritage Foundation's Mackenzie Eaglen chimes in.

She employs the buzzwords of the day: full spectrum and hybrid threats. She writes that for the Army to maintain "full-spectrum capabilities in an operating environment of hybrid threats," it will need to develop more dual-use and multirole platforms. The future force will likely consist of legacy and modern vehicles and equipment operating together, she writes, advising Army leaders to keep this in mind as they plan for the future.

Eaglen advises the Army to better articulate to Congress the future scenarios where medium-weight combat vehicles will prevail. She says this will also help "identify the specific capabilities needed for the revamped Army manned ground vehicle program."

She offers two possible future scenarios -- both Army interventions to prevent the invasion of a country. She describes the Army intervening in a Caucasus country and an intervention to stop a tank invasion in the Andean region of South America, describing both as potential hybrid conflicts.

"Many other contingencies are certainly possible, although the central question is to answer where Army modernization meets operational requirements in the Pentagon's concept of operations," writes Eaglen.

In her vision of hybrid conflict, "Army leaders should continue investing in land stealth, sophisticated active defense systems, an electro-optical countermeasures system and a fire-control system with a radar and laser range finder."

And, Eaglen writes, "many of the Future Combat Systems' elements should be preserved if not further refined first. "

-- Kate Brannen

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September 16, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The American Civil Liberties Union has cautioned a newly formed Defense Department advisory panel against making recommendations that would concentrate too much disaster response responsibilities in the hands of the military.

"(W)e ask the panel to refrain from assuming at the outset that choosing to use military forces to respond to domestic emergencies is automatically the best course of action," ACLU officials wrote in a Sept. 10 letter to DOD.

Pentagon officials recently published the missive as a public comment for the Sept. 15 inaugural meeting of the Advisory Panel on Department of Defense Capabilities for Support of Civil Authorities After Certain Incidents.

The congressionally mandated group is charged with assessing DOD's ability to help civil authorities cope with a chemical, biological, rediological, nuclear or high-yield explosive (CBRNE) incident on American soil.

Rather than DOD, the Department of Homeland Security would be the "natural agency" to house a dedicated CBRNE response capability, the ACLU letter states.

Panel members should consider "alternatives for emergency CBRNE response that maintain the traditional dominance of civilian agencies in domestic operations and thereby leaving the military to focus on its own mission of fighting foreign enemies," ACLU officials argue in the letter.

-- Sebastian Sprenger

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September 16, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Northrop Grumman's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ronald Sugar today announced he plans to retire next June, according to a company statement:

To facilitate an orderly transition process, Sugar will step down from the chairman and CEO positions and the company’s Board of Directors effective December 31, 2009. He will continue as an employee officer advising the company until his June 30, 2010 retirement date. Sugar will assume the title of chairman emeritus effective January 1, 2010.

Northrop's board of directors has elected Wesley Bush, the company's president and chief operating officer, to CEO and president, effective Jan. 1, 2010, according to the statement.

In another senior company personnel move, Northrop's board elected Lewis Coleman, currently lead independent director, to the role of non-executive chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2010, the statement reads.

-- John Liang
 

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September 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

As some lawmakers mull changing the law to permit overseas sales of the Air Force's F-22A Raptor, U.S. Pacific Command chief Adm. Timothy Keating is steering clear of the debate.

At a breakfast with reporters in Washington this morning, Keating acknowledged Japanese officials are interested in acquiring the Raptor. But the admiral also reiterated the Obama administration's position that Lockheed Martin should build no more than 187 Raptors.

"To the best of my ability to determine, the Japanese would like to buy the F-22. We're not going to sell it to them," Keating said. "The president has made it really clear."

As InsideDefense.com reported last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee included a provision in its version of the fiscal year 2010 defense spending bill urging the Air Force to develop an exportable version of the Raptor. But House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) -- who authored the legislation barring foreign sales of Raptors -- reaffirmed his position against international F-22A sales earlier this year.

Keating told reporters, "There is a law against exporting the F-22 and I don't see the law being changed. And the number is 187."

-- Chris Castelli

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September 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

More money and a change in attitude -- that's what is needed if the Defense Department is to truly accept irregular warfare as primary mission of the U.S. military, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning.

The committee held a hearing to consider Mullen's nomination for another term as chairman.

In answers to questions posed by the committee prior to the hearing, Mullen lays out why irregular warfare is having a hard time finding solid footing inside the Pentagon:

I believe there are two obstacles: resourcing and changing mindsets. Regarding resourcing, for example, we look forward to working with the Congress to fulfill Resource Management Decision 802’s intent to establish the National Program for Small Unit Excellence so that the Joint Irregular Warfare Center, led by US Joint Forces Command, is adequately funded to support the mission of the NPSUE.

While we have progressed, I believe we have more work to do in changing mindsets. We have made great strides within the Services to share capabilities, and we need to continue in that direction to ensure that all new capabilities we develop/program for are truly joint. Irregular Warfare capabilities must be joint and Services must work with each other to identify training and simulation tools that can provide cross-functionality. My staff as well as OSD continue to reach out to the interagency to support our common missions. We collaborate closely with the Departments of State and Homeland Security and are expanding our efforts with other agencies. The goal is to leverage and compliment each other’s capabilities and work together to build joint irregular warfare capabilities that are value added to all.

Mullen made the following suggestions to further institutionalize irregular warfare within DOD:

In my view, our progress in executing some of the Irregular Warfare anchor points illustrates the sort of changes needed. The most important considerations that could complement programmatic decisions in support of the further institutionalization of capabilities for irregular warfare are:

  • An outside review (e.g., Red Team) of USD-Policy developed Defense Planning Scenarios (DPS) to ensure the family of scenarios is appropriately balanced to address the future threat environment, specifically, hybrid, complex threats.
  • A DIA-led annual, unclassified, update on the IW/hybrid threat through direct collaboration with Joint Forces Command, J2; the Joint Irregular Warfare Center; the Defense Intelligence Agency; and the National Ground Intelligence Center.
  • An IA/hybrid wargame for the interagency, specifically, Department of State, to generate valuable insights and inspire a comprehensive perspective essential to meeting the complex security challenges we face.
  • Use our Professional Military Education Program as a strategic asset to improve synchronization across all military departments in education and training with our foreign partners.

-- Thomas Duffy

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September 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been designated to lead the U.S. delegation to the Sept. 24-25 Conference on Facilitating the Entry into Force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in New York City. She will also deliver the U.S. "national statement," according to a White House press release:

Since 1999, this conference has been held every other year to provide a forum for discussions on how best to encourage states to sign and ratify this important nonproliferation treaty, especially those states listed in Annex II that are required to ratify the Treaty before it can enter into force.

While the United States sent a delegation to the initial conference in 1999, it has not attended the subsequent four conferences. Accordingly, U.S. participation in this year’s conference will reaffirm the strong commitment of the Obama Administration to support the CTBT and to work with other nations to map out a comprehensive diplomatic strategy to secure the Treaty’s entry into force. To advance the latter agenda, Under Secretary of State Ellen Tauscher will hold a series of bilateral sessions during the Conference. This commitment to realize the promise of the CTBT is part of the President's comprehensive agenda to prevent nuclear proliferation, and to pursue the ultimate goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

-- John Liang